Sunday, February 15, 2015

Well. That was fun and a half.

Looking outside just now, one would be hard pressed to determine that it has stopped snowing. The wind has been gusting, sending billowing clouds of white powder into the air with such force that any view is temporarily obscured by a swirling 'white out'. It has warmed up to a toasty 9 degrees Fahrenheit out there. As I'm fighting off a nasty bug that is 'going around'  it's a good day to be inside. It's the final day of Brattleboro's yearly Harris Hill ski jump weekend. It's an event of some renown, attracting international competitors to town. I've always kind of wanted to go and watch the event, but to be honest I just can't see spending $20.00 to stand in a snow covered cornfield to watch someone else have fun.

That was fun and a half. Just as I completed the above paragraph, the power went out. It came back on after a few minutes. The computer was booting up when the power went out again, announced by a fear inducing metallic click.
It's fairly interesting to note how quickly my apartment  cooled down without heat. The power was out for an hour. When it came back on, I started up the computer and returned to busy work I had been doing. When I looked at the computer again, a screen I had never seen before was displayed. As I looked, somewhat admiringly, at the art deco inspired background, an error message appeared. It noted that my computer was unable to start up. A repair program began running. An anxious half hour later I was contemplating a week or two of abject despair when another message appeared that the program couldn't repair the problem (gasp!) - would I like to try a restore? The most recent restore point was set two days ago when the last Windows update was installed. About 10 minutes later I breathed a nice sigh of relief when the Windows welcome screen appeared - but without its usual musical fanfare.  With a nearly full 1 terabyte hard drive, it takes a long time to boot up. After another 10 or so anxious minutes, I found that the restore process had turned the sound all the way down. (Whew!)  After another ten minutes I noticed I'd received a message flag - there was a new update ready to be installed. (sigh) And that is how I spent the last 3 and a half hours. At least I got the dishes done.
Now, back to the ski thing for a moment. Back in the late 1930's, Brattleboro was a skiing hot spot. The sport was really just getting started. There used to be special trains from New York City bringing folks to town for a weekend of skiing. (The hills used were of very modest size, nothing like today's big resorts.) The Harris Hill ski jump itself (see photo above)  is in town, and just a short hike through a wood to the place where my garden in located. The path between the two goes by the spot where a woolly mammoth's tusk was found in 1865. It's on display in the town library. The ski jump competition became such a part of Brattleboro that the sign which welcomes folks into the down town area used the image.  

Yesterday, February the 14th, was the birthday of Jack Benny. When I was a kid, Benny's show was one of the most popular of the early tv shows. I was a fan. He had started in vaudeville, and worked his way up to spots in Broadway revues before fronting one of the first big radio shows. Benny's character on the radio and tv show was a guy named Jack Benny who was cheap, vain, egotistical, and often rather petty. (In real life Mr. Benny was quite the opposite.) I've used clips from his shows in my program several times. They are still funny and listeners often comment about them.

My radio show last night opened with a clip from one of Benny's birthday shows. There were also a few songs for Valentines Day, with the bulk of the program suspending the usual format to offer a tribute to the February 15th birthday of composer Harold Arlen. Instead of the standard moon-June kind of Valentine songs, I played a few for the lonely hearts, the broken hearts, the stood up, the also rans, those who don't want to be bothered, and the ones who don't give a damn. You know, the kind of songs that fit into dark smoky dives where your next drink gets poured without your having to ask. One of the guys who wrote a lot of those songs was Harold Arlen. I hope listeners enjoy the show.



Anonymous said...

Glad to see no permanent damage was done to your computer.
I always liked Jack Benny. He could really crack you up.

sdt (a.k.a. stevil) said...

Delores - I'm glad too. I had faith that the situation would resolve itself somehow, but I will admit to a few anxious moments while waiting.