What A Wonderful World – David Attenborough

A great weekend and happy life to all!

What A Wonderful World – David Attenborough.

Madonna Badger: A New Kind of Hero

Article first published as Madonna Badger: A New Kind of Hero on Technorati.

At 5 a.m. on December 25th, a woman was chased from her bedroom by raging fire and oppressive smoke and clawed her way up a scaffold that braced the outside of her Victorian home. While that woman climbed, screaming hysterically, “My babies, my babies,” inside her parents and three young daughters – 9 year old Lily and 7-year-old twins, Sarah and Grace, fought a losing battle so horrible as to be unthinkable.

Over and over I imagined that last Christmas Eve, good food, laughter, presents under one of several trees throughout the house, squealing, excited little girls, grandparents that looked on with joy and pride, and the warmth of the fated fireplace embracing and extending a deceptive, rosy glow. Of course there was also the resident Santa Claus – Madonna’s father who had just finished his pre-Christmas stint as the Santa Claus for Saks in Manhattan – a job about which he had always dreamed.

When promises of real Santa’s visit were made as the lure to a final bedtime, Madonna’s girls worried whether he would be okay coming down their chimney. Not to worry, someone assured them, all remaining embers would be removed to ensure Santa’s safe journey into the Badger house. When all was finally quiet, just Michael and Madonna were left, wrapping presents into the wee-hours. It was then, when they were finished wrapping, that someone did something with those embers and put them someplace that proved catastrophic. Indeed, Santa never made it and instead, those embers traded their cozy, rosy warmth into a hellish inferno.

I have read everything I can get my hands on about the tragedy of Madonna Badger and her home on Shippan Avenue in Stamford, CT. I have read, I have cried, I have shuddered in fear and horror, and I have wondered, how does a mother go on after something like that? How does a mother deal with the guilt and helplessness? How does a mother function? How does a mother breathe?
Breathe she did. Breathe she does. When those of us with weaker character tried to imagine even attending the funeral of our children and parents killed in such a manner, Madonna was preparing the 20-minute eulogy she would deliver to a full church. When she started out, her opening words were: “This is going to be hard.” It was hard. Albeit with tears and a few stops along the way, she prevailed.

Madonna Badger is a woman of strength, class, and graceful power. She is a woman I would want standing behind me in times of crisis. She will keep breathing. She is my idol.

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Snow Arrives!

FINALLY!! It is here, it is white, and it is cold. But oh how beautiful. For me there is nothing like a winter landscape, or the feeling I get coming into a fireplace warmed room after being outside. Then there is the steaming cup of tea sweetened with honey harvested locally during the summer past. Its taste hints of summer clover and sunshine. But I am happy for now, looking out the window, my mug in hand, listening to our local owl hooting as the sun sets, sparkling on the snow-blanketed meadow out back.


Healing a Sick Computer

MAJOR computer malfunction yesterday! Not that I had anything to do with it!! No way.

Fact: I had an anti-virus software on my computer whose efficacy I doubted.

Fact: With this doubt in head, I proceeded to do what I know NEVER to do – download another anti-virus software program without first deleting the existing one. OUCH! I will proffer an (lame) excuse – I have been “under the weather” for the last two weeks with some sort of respiratory crud-ness. Still, I know better!!

Fact – thereafter NOTHING worked! Out of commission were email, Yahoo messenger, ease of Internet access, and overall speed (lack thereof) of computer. In other words – as stated, nothing worked.

Thus began an odyssey into digital hell. I spent HOURS on the phone with various vendors – several anti-virus, Microsoft, and my ISP. No one was able to fix what was a wildly complex issue, or set of issues. In one de-moralizing 2 hour conversation with a gent from India, my enthusiasm for the company’s ability to help me grew to a great crescendo, that instantly collapsed when he said, “And we can do all this, AND MORE, for just $139 for the year.”
So, there I was with a completely vulnerable and unprotected computer, not knowing which way to turn. The thing with these tech support operations is, it’s all in who you get. I got several very nice, but frankly ineffective folks who could tell me no more than I knew myself. (I know enough to be EXTREMELY dangerous). Finally, towards the end of this journey, I got a fellow who offered me priceless advice: download Microsoft Essentials anti-virus (free), after performing a system restore – setting the computer back to a previous state, which of course had to come before downloading anything and all previous removals would have to be removed again.

The saga was not over, though the pieces began then to fall into place. Here’s what had to happen next:

  1. Find and download previous anti-virus software removal tool
  2. Make sure previous anti-virus software was indeed removed
  3. Download Microsoft Essentials
  4. Fix, fix, and fix again the settings for my email (Outlook)
  5. Do a disk cleanup
  6. De-frag the hard drive
  7. Perform a system restore – setting the computer to a previous, non-messed-up state
  8. Test, test, and test again: email, Messenger, and all other programs
  9. Restart, restart, and restart again
  10. Bid adieu and glad tidings after spending 12 hours sorting through this mess

When I left my computer last night, it was still not 100%. Email was acting flakey and Messenger required a here-to-fore unnecessary massaging before going live. The question then became: what was I in store for in the morning (now)?

Voilà! Somehow, magically, miraculously and without the proverbial further ado, my computer is at 100%. In fact, it is at 150%, maybe even 200%! I am much happier and markedly de-stressed.

Okay, now for the moral of this long and sordid tale. Actually, there are several:

  • Never, never, never put more than one anti-virus software on your computer at one time. The associated conflicts wreak havoc with its previous operational equilibrium
  • If installing a new anti-virus program, find out whether you need a removal tool for the one you have currently. With some anti-virus programs, the uninstall program feature on the control panel is not enough to rid your hard drive of the subtly infiltrating fingers of some programs
  • Do not take on digital projects of massive proportions when not feeling up-to-par
  • Take advice from the computer: REST – things always look better in the morning!
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