A non-ranty update on various schtuff

I expended all my rants earlier. I'm too tired for any more. Instead, you get a cross-section of my life.

• This week is shaping up to be Hell Week. We get these from time to time here at Donald Smith Gillentine Inc., and usually it's those weeks when I have meetings every night after work.

For once it's not me. This week is Boy's final dress rehearsals for Les Miserables. He is working hard, five or six hours a night after school AND after math tutoring, without complaint. Boy has never been one for a strong work ethic, so to speak, so I am pretty impressed with him. Even if he has broken his glasses yet again.

Man is gearing up for finals and as usual is apoplectic. The folks are coming this weekend, so I am attempting to clean up the house, in between all the other nonsense. Of course the play falls on finals weekend and the Author Fair/Relay Cafe and Relay Sunday, because that's how we roll, and we have Cardinals tickets and will likely miss the baby shower of dear friends because we cannot clone ourselves. Who organized this thing? Oh yeah, me.

• Sean Taylor was kind enough to let me yammer on his blog this week about Nocturne Infernum, the unpublished Sanctuary, the thing I regret most and other nonsense. Check out "Missives from Schenectady," and thanks to Sean for hosting me!

• This weekend is the Author Fair at St. Andrews' book sale, as well as the Relay Cafe, and I am baking like a madwoman. I feel somewhat less prepared than last year, even though I know what to expect this time. We're short on volunteers and my usual supply of slave labor is reduced with Man and Boy distracted or booked. But it's as prepared as I can make it... except for the baking. I did mention the baking?

Yes, that means that after work each day I will bake, and after work on Friday, I will be moving tables and making a giant pot of chili as well as setting up the cookies, cupcakes and cakes at the church. If you want to come see us, we'll be at St. Andrews, 408 Hillsboro, Edwardsville from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday morning, we all troop over there with doughnuts, get the authors set up and start selling and signing - as well as minding the cafe in between the volunteer labor. By noon Saturday, Boy must go over to the theater, where he will suit up to be Third Doomed Student From the Right as he has a matinee performance. The signing and cafe close at 4 p.m., after which we must clean up and get the tables back in place. Then dinner with my parents, and we attend the last show of Les Miserables. *cheers Boy*

Sunday is Relay Sunday, which means we are responsible for the treats and hoodwinking our parishioners for donations for Relay for Life. It also means we are responsible for cleanup, which also means we're short on volunteers because oops we have Cardinals tickets and must leave no later than 12:15. Um.

After the game, I will collapse into a pile of overcommitted mush. Possibly with rum. While Jim goes to work.

• In the meantime, technology is abuzz here at DSG Inc. Boy has a MacBook Pro that is quite the beauty - a better machine than mine, despite being four years old. We got it secondhand as a gift, and unfortunately a few months later the wifi card was kaput. So I paid about $125, I think, for a new wifi card, cable and installation. Alas, another month and that card went dead, which rather annoyed me as I returned it to the Apple Store and requested warranty fulfillment.

They replaced the wifi card. And then they saw that the logic board was failing, so they replaced that too. And then the hard drive had dead spots, so they replaced that too. All of this was free. Apple has its faults, but one thing I can never fault is their service. Boy essentially got a brand new laptop inside his old case.

Alas, my laptop needs work and it is too old for me to take it back to Apple. Five years is their limit, and my old girl is pushing seven. And still going strong, mind you, but I'm doing more video and photography and the hard drive is simply not sufficient for my needs anymore. She needs a RAM upgrade, a terabyte drive and I've been advised that replacing the battery would be a good idea quite soon; I'm getting "service battery" warnings and they're about to stop making this model battery.

So I'm debating whether to do the work myself or take it to the local Mac chop shop. If I do it myself, the parts will cost me $240. If I take it to the chop shop, it'll cost $130 more, but it comes with a lifetime guarantee and they transfer my data for me. (Neither includes the battery; I'm pretty confident in my own ability to do simple cleaning and repairs on the inside of my laptop, but there are some things with which you do not screw.) I am leaning toward biting the bullet and paying the extra; not so much for the labor, but for the warranty.

In the meantime, we're planning to switch to an Airport Extreme router and wireless backup system, which should simplify backups here at DSG Inc. All we have to do is sell a kidney to pay for it... so it's a good thing we've finally got a buyer for that old armoire. I don't want to sell a kidney.

Why am I not buying a new laptop when mine is so elderly? Because a laptop with the specs I need would run $1,150-2,150, depending on whether I went with a solid-state drive. Not. Happening. Besides, with new insides, this old girl could have another five years in her.

• And here I am baking and writing whiny blog entries when I should be finishing the SPJ annual report. For the record: I suck at paperwork. Two days to go, and I will make it, but next time I'll believe them when they say start early. I don't use the word procrastination; I prefer "deadline-oriented."

Between that, SPJ Ethics Week, and the launch of the new computer system at work, it isn't really a low-stress week. It is, however, better than two weeks ago, in which I wrote twelve stories and shot and edited five videos. That makes the SPJ paperwork look like a picnic lunch...

• Finally, on a serious note: Today I learned a friend's husband has cancer. And that makes FOUR this year. Four friends and family, people from my personal circle, diagnosed just this year. It's April. I do weary of this disease striking everywhere around me. It reminds me of how far behind I am in coordinating my Relay team's efforts - it's been a hell of a spring so far - and makes me more determined than ever to meet our goal.

So buckle in for a lot of Relay stuff in the next month. Beginning with this: if you have a prize you can donate to our raffle, please email me ASAP. I want to get as much as possible in advance this year. And come by this Saturday for some chili. I promise it'll be worth it.