South Park Self

techno-jinx rampant, sable, in chief three small thunderclouds

I suppose I'm due for an outbreak of my techno-jinx, it's been lurking in hibernation for a while, but the emphasis is on the "lurking" - it's an undead horror that will never truly die. I have been without home internet since Wednesday morning, my existence bound by the sad contemplation of that doomful little red blinkenlight on the modem. My helpful Imaginet geek checked all the widgety connection thingummies, and the problem is apparently Telkom doing "routine maintenance" on the lines in the area, by which I assume they mean they're digging up the perfectly functional network and replacing it with something they crocheted from palm fibres while high. Techno-jinx 1, me 0, Telkom their usual 32 956, while cackling.

They may well have sorted it out since Wednesday, but I have been unable to check, on account of how my computer monitor abruptly stopped being able to talk to the actual computer sometime on Wednesday night, right in the middle of a high-stakes Dragon Age battle. Intensive operations swapping out monitors and connection cables suggest that it's not either of them, so I somewhat amateurishly diagnose that my video card has died. Either that, or it's a more pervasive problem with either the power supply or the RAM or the hard drive itself, which is preventing the poor creature from booting properly at all. Since it can't get as far as talking to the monitor either way it can't tell me what's actually wrong, which is a horribly helpless sort of position to put me in. These days I can usefully solve a good 70% of my computer problems by the power of random semi-competent fiddle, creatively channelling the Evil Landlord and various ex-boyfriends, and Google. Not this time, clearly. Techno-jinx 2, me 0, Telkom still cackling in the background because still no internet, which means my perfectly functional IPad is useless for internet-withdrawal-placation purposes as the wireless doesn't work. Curse that cloud computing, anyway.

It's entirely possible that this dual techno-failure was a signal from the Cosmic Wossnames on high that I need to get my butt back to work after ten days of sick-leave - certainly I have been far more motivated to actually leave the house when I can neither noodle around on the internet nor play games. I am thus back in the saddle, placating the swirling black clouds of internet withdrawal by virtue of my work internet (although my Tumblr feed is pretty much out of control as reading it full-time is not compatible with student advice or doing any actual work), and plotting to take the hapless computer in to the nice Korean geekpersons at Cafe Viva this afternoon. I am also way ahead on my tv-watching and reading, which means I have finally cracked open Parade's End, of which I have been somewhat scared in my weakened state as it looked heavy and possibly tragic. In fact, it's both tragic and absorbing, and exquisitely made, and is providing a horribly addictive plethora of compelling characters and amazing set and landscape porn. Last night I also combined the high-class BBC period drama with a completely random and uncalled-for acquisition of Chinese takeout, all on my own, just because I was grumpy and could. It turns out that techno-jinxen, if not placated, can be more or less forgotten with sufficient crispy duck with pancakes and Benedict Cumberbatch being Noble in spades. Thus Techno-jinx 2, Telkom infinity, but me 1.

In the context of all of the above I record, for posterity, my delightful discovery in the course of looking up "blinkenlight" to confirm that it was in fact spelled thusly and did indeed mean what I though it meant. Namely, the Wikipedia article on same, which reproduces in its entirety that beautifully Goonish conglomeration of mock-German warning sign which is one of the most elderly of tech memes, and whose existence I had entirely forgotten about. When confronted with a rampaging techno-jinx, horned and clawed, it is as well to remember that DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! and to RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN. If I can get them to blink. News at 11.
Ever suspect your system might have caught the lurgi you had? Otherwise it's probably Telkom being a big business!
A novel idea, it hadn't occurred to me. I do think of my techno-jinx as a discrete entity of its own, a monstrous cloudy something that occasionally bumbles into my orbit, rather than a virus.

Telkom isn't really a big business, it would be better at things than it is were that the case. Telkom is a lapsed parastatal, which means by definition it embodies the worst characteristics of government and business. We're doomed, basically.
Parade's End
Uuuuuggggggghhhhhhhh, I wanted to slap half the characters. Everyone is stupid and does stupid things. Ben is lovely though, such tortured, so emo. And the suffragette is amusing :-)
Re: Parade's End
I finished the series last night, and I utterly disagree with you on the wanting to slap them :>. I ended up with so much sympathy for all of them - it's an incredibly compelling portrait of people shaped and constrained by their culture and class, whose individual happiness is lost in the system's requirements. Rebecca Hall was amazing, Sylvia was heartbreaking - there were moments when I preferred her to Valentine. Given the critique we're given of Christopher's retrogressive feudal idealism, the slightly fey glowing innocence of Valentine is a bit of a red flag, even if her idealism looks forward rather than backwards. I am wildly impressed by the way in which the series managed to present a love triangle in which you were actually rooting for all three characters, and how it also managed to render the cutting down of that tree both devastating and necessary. I now totally want to (a) rewatch from the beginning, and (b) read the book. I honestly did not expect to love this series as much as I did. Sold.
The blinkenlights article says: "Very early computers had a tendency to 'fall over' meaning that they were unreliable". Time-travelling from the far future when computers no longer do this?
Yes, I thought exactly the same thing. What the hell is the Windows Blue Screen Of Death, after all? Although I suppose they mean "fall over" in a more wholesale mechanical sense - complete hardware crash to inoperation, rather than software freeze. Which, I admit, our systems don't do so much after all. I suspect the Devil and all his angels have moved on to irritation via software freeze because it's easier, and just as annoying.