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Wednesday, January 22, 2003

What I didn't expect when I opened the garage door this morning was to see water beaded up all over the green paint on my new Saturn. It had been indoors since I drove it home from its treatment at the dealer last night, and I know the garage roof doesn't leak. The car looked as if it had just gone through the carwash without any wiping.

So I wiped. I got an old T-shirt out of the old T-shirt drawer and moved the water beads around a bit. I think most of them ended up on the garage floor, although the car never did get dry. Later, after a few miles of driving, the car was free of both water and the spots and streaks that water leaves behind.

Then it started to rain again, and it rained and rained all day. My car and I will never be dry again, I just know it.

I spent the day dealing with bigger problems than water spots, though. Somehow I got through the payroll this morning before the monitor starting snapping at me. It's been making a crackling sound, as if it had a live electrical wire flopping around inside it, for about a week. I knew the time was coming to replace it, but I don't know why it had to be the day I was stuck waiting for an auditor to show up.

After she left this afternoon, I hopped in the car and zoomed over to Best Buy. I've been looking at monitors and checking prices, and I knew they had what I thought I wanted. After standing in front of the Mitsubishi 17-inch flat screen for fifteen minutes without getting anyone's attention, I grabbed a cart and loaded it on.

Then after I paid and got the rebate form, I wheeled the cart out into the parking lot, hoping I wouldn't have to wheel it right back in again. I thought the carton might fit into my huge trunk, but it wasn't even close. Here I was standing in the rain trying to stuff a three-foot box into a 33 1/3-inch opening. I actually gave it a little shove, even though I knew it wasn't going to go.

Then I tried the back seat, but I wasn't sure until I squeezed it through the door that I was going to make it. It rolled around back and forth all the way home, but we got here in one piece. I drive pretty carefully these days anyway, especially in the rain. Still no dents in the car, but it's up to 116 miles now.

We were talking about my new monitor, weren't we?

And oh my, what a difference! Such sharp, clear images I've never seen on a computer monitor before, at least not one sitting in front of me. It makes Word and Excel seem like new programs. Even more important, it makes every website I visit bolder and brighter. Yes, even yours! Even mine!

Maybe I shouldn't let another new toy become the latest key to my happiness, but something has to be. I spend so much time sitting right here, working and just surfing around, that I didn't realize I'd grown so used to seeing everything look drab and washed-out. Things have come a long way since I got my first Compaq portable in 1986, with its yellow monochrome screen and memory the size of a pea.


The resolution on my new monitor is so sharp it can't even be reproduced.
You'll have to take my word for it (or drop by).

My friendly auditor was here and gone in an hour and a half. She didn't even have to call ahead for directions this time. I was hoping to be able to warn her about the mud she'd have to drive and walk through, but it wouldn't have discouraged her. She told me some people put her in dark corners, or turn the heat way up (or way down), apparently hoping she'll rush the job and miss something. Having nothing to hide, I nodded sympathetically and offered her a cookie.

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I don't want to make too much of this, but Dreamhost had a mini-meltdown last night and forgot who I was. My site was down for awhile, but more importantly, my incoming email was bouncing all over the place. If you wrote to me and got a message that I didn't exist, please try again. I'm still here, and the one thing I haven't changed this week is my email address.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Fragmented
"But I decided not to write that, because the Red Cross seems to be satisfied that we're not doing anything wrong (then why does it look so bad?), except (and the Red Cross didn't mention this; this is my own opinion) we seem to be thumbing our nose at the rest of the civilized world, which is hardly ever a good idea, especially when we're at war. Oh. Right. No war."

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