Thursday, December 23, 2010

Viruses, Sticks, and Clean Dishes...

My computer came down with a nasty virus the other day.

It was called "SecurityShield", and is designed to shut down programs on your system, telling you that they are infected with or some such or the other, and would you like to register your copy and clean these infections off of your system for the amazingly low price of $79.95, all major credit cards accepted?

This seems to me the cyberspace equivalent of the unscrupulous rat-catcher who carries around a packet of rodent droppings to scatter in your cabinets while you're not looking:

"All done here, but lemme show ya somethin. You got rats. Big 'uns, too, from the looks of it."

"Oh, um, wow. Can you..."

"Ayuh, I can get rid of 'em for ya, but rodents that size? It'll cost.

"Oh, ayuh, it'll cost..."

Thankfully, my tech-savvy brother was able to get rid of it for me without wiping everything and re-installing my operating system (see, Mom, when he was twelve and I told you not to kill him 'cause someday he'd be worth something, I was right), but it still left me with four days of almost no computer time except for the fifteen minutes or so that I could convince my mother to let me use her computer to check my email.

What to do?

Well, it started me thinking about things I used to do before computers and the internet were in almost every American household (yes, kids, I'm older than the dad-blamed intrawebs), so I dusted off my abacus and sat down for some recreational math.

Ha, ha; just kidding there, kids. We all know that math is evil, and on the list of Fun Things To Do When You Can't Get Online ranks somewhere below "ritual suicide", but above "cleaning toilets".

When I was a kid, way back in the pioneer days of the 1970's and 80's, we went outside and played with sticks a lot. Except they weren't really sticks, they were swords, and all you needed to have fun was enough kids to form opposing armies (of course, if one of those kids was lucky enough to have access to a discarded refrigerator box, well, then your adventures were complete).

My own kids were gone for the week with their mother's parents, and all of the kids I used to play with are long since grown up, so I didn't think it would look right to the neighbors if I went out and played with sticks by myself, so I decided to do some of the other things that needed doing.

Like cleaning the kitchen.

I know what you're thinking; that doesn't sound like fun, and quite frankly, it wasn't, but it had been awhile since I had done the deep-core cleaning that kitchens require every so often, the kind that involves a couple of hours of back-breaking labor that results in:

a. A clean kitchen

b. A rewarding sense of satisfaction at a job well done, and

c. One sore back

Well, now the kitchen was clean and I still had no internet access. I couldn't even write, because I couldn't access Word, and I long ago gave up writing longhand.

So I did some laundry. Then I sat down with my pencils and drew. Then I painted with watercolors a bit.

Over the next four days, I did all kinds of things that didn't require a wi-fi connection.

Most of you are probably wondering what the point of this is, so here you go:

I discovered, during my time of non-connectedness, that life was still happening.
There was still a world outside of the internet, and I have a place in it.

Don't get me wrong; I love being out here in cyberspace, sharing my words with you, and I have met some truly wonderful friends that I wouldn't have met otherwise.

The internet can be a good thing, but it can also make you forget that the world that's been around for millions of years is still going on strong out there.

Use the internet. Enjoy the people you meet here.

But don't forget to turn off the computer and do other things. Every now and again, it's good to be off the grid.

A virus taught me that.

My sore back teaches me that if anything like this happens again: whether the kids are here or not, I'm going outside to play with sticks.

Thanks for reading my ranting,


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Seasoned Greetings

I haven't posted in a couple of weeks; it's been busy.

I haven't had much time for writing either, but I haven't been completely idle.

I have completed my Christmas card for 2010, and thought I would share it with you, my gentle readers:

The next week or so promises to be hectic (as I'm sure it will be for most of you as well) and I'm not sure if I'll be able to post again before Christmas, so I'd like to take this chance to wish you all a very happy holiday season, no matter the holiday you celebrate.

Thanks for reading my ranting,