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A Cause for Celebration

It’s National Grammar Day!

Who wants to join me tonight for a sentence-diagramming party?

Any takers?

No one?

Bueller?

This has been, probably, the best National Grammar Day I’ve ever had. After last night’s trip to the Apple store to get a second opinion on my beloved laptop’s failure (she was booting to a black screen) I was excited but cautious. The most helpful Apple Genius I’ve ever spoken to explained that it was the exact problem Hugh had diagnosed Monday night (while I was being useless and crying over spilled milk… er, fried graphics card). He told me that he could fix it in house, that it would normally cost close to $1,000, that it would be free, and that he could do it by Saturday morning.

Rewind.

Saturday morning is so much sooner than 6-8 weeks from now. I rejoiced. I thanked the gentleman profusely, and I left Norma in his care. Skipping the few blocks back to the metro, I inundated Dad with this exciting news on the phone because otherwise I would have stopped and told a complete stranger. When Rebecca got home I shouted a few “YAY!”s at her and made her hug me. I overflow with joy at the thought of my girl getting cared for and healed during her in-patient stay.

I slept much better last night, knowing she was on the mend.

This morning the miracle-working Apple Genius called and left the message that would come to be known as the best National Grammar Day news ever. He had already fixed my computer, and I could pick it up anytime. I YAY-ed at my computer, my co-workers, some friends via text, and my 10 followers on Twitter.

But today’s celebration isn’t just about my reunion with a working laptop. There was a birthday in the office today…

Pam’s!

The newly formed Birthday Committee (our boss loves birthdays) got her flowers and gathered everyone to wish her a big Happy Birthday. I was a really sneaky inside man and distracted her so she wouldn’t run from her desk. Maybe some day I’ll get her to tell me what life was like when she was 25.

And, since I had my camera out at work…

Elizabeth mocked my chair’s height and my general stature.

I showed off my beautiful mouse pad. It was a birthday gift the year I started this job.

Devon illustrated how proud she is of her star for winning trivia in February. Yes, we hold a trivia contest every month.

That picture is a contender for the best I’ve ever taken.

Happy Friday from the office!

Reading 102 or The Steve Jobs Effect

I may have made it clear yesterday that I am a staunch supporter of real live books, preferably of the old, used and free variety. But I have to contradict myself a tad and admit that I’m a bit of a hypocrite.

I understand the beauty of reading a book on something as small and light as a Kindle — I once tried to read The Emancipator’s Wife on the metro and it was a miserable failure. It is the size of a dictionary and quite the hassle to hold open with one hand while clinging to a handrail and dear life with the other.  I gained two things from that attempt: slightly strengthened forearms and an $11 late fee at the library. I never finished the book.

Having helped my 79-year-old grandma learn how to use (and love) her Kindle, I also learned that e-readers let you increase the text size if your eyesight isn’t what it used to be. I may only be 24, but I could really get on board with this idea. Squinting is finally starting to get difficult — and painful. I also learned that the Kindle store has a lot of classics for free! I loaded Grandma’s Kindle up with a bunch, to which she responded that Mark Twain is getting a little long-winded.

Though I can concede that these possible advantages to using an e-reader exist, I would still feel like I’m cheating on my library card, the books I’d never discover on Amazon, and my ability to judge my reading progress based on the number of pages in my left hand versus my right hand.

And yet, despite my distaste for reading electronically, I make my living working on an electronic publication.

Yes, I’m ashamed. My cheeks are red and I’m hanging head in self-disgust.

Enter the iPad2.

Twitter was all abuzz yesterday about the iPad2 and caught me at an especially vulnerable time. With Norma Jeane out of commission, I could fall in love with anything that has an internet connection and and a glowing apple right about now. I’m not even sure what the advantages of the  iPad are, but I think it lands somewhere between an iPod and a MacBook? Either way, I am at the mercy of Steve Jobs’ product unveiling whims.

I’m headed to the Apple store after work today for a second opinion on my laptop’s demise. Hopefully, sometime between now and then, I muster the self-control to not be tempted by the shiny, new, functional Apple products I will encounter.

Here’s hoping I leave with a working computer.

And here’s hoping it’s the one I walked in with.

I miss her, and so does Prince.

Goodbye Norma Jeane

I am heartbroken.

Lost.

Disconnected.

Spiraling into depression.

But mostly, I’m heartbroken.

My MacBook Pro that’s been by my side, in constant use for three years, is sick.

It was a Christmas+graduation gift from my parents in 2007. It saw me through my last semester of college, a 40-page paper about a YouTube video, CommLaw exam reviews, a six-minute slideshow of photos recapping the beauty of undergrad.

Together, we edited photos, wrote captions, copy edited articles, designed layouts, proofed, indexed and finalized a 464-page book. We wrote columns and editorials for the CT. We created 15 different versions of my resume, wrote countless cover letters and crafted eloquent emails to potential employers.

Lately, we’ve been processing hundreds of photos every few days, occasionally mashing together videos from my Flip and frequently researching grad schools and career paths. We’ve sporadically Googled the cost of living in other cities. We hosted brainstorming sessions for Rebecca’s wedding.

Now it sits unplugged on my desk, cold from lack of use.

In mere minutes Sunday night it went from researching Oscar nominees to barely breathing with a pitch black screen — the only visible light glowing from its backlit keyboard.

I kept my cool and went through Monday confident that after work my troubleshooting would bring it back to life.

It didn’t.

I called Apple support, but they wanted me to pay for them to tell me troubleshooting options — probably ones I’d already tried.

I cried like a child whose favorite toy met an untimely death out of a minivan window on a family road trip.

I called Hugh and asked if he had any idea what could have happened.

I stared blankly at the silver shell, holding the battery in my hand, convinced it was the traitor who self-destructed and took my whole computer down with it.

Rebecca gave me a hug, poured me a glass of Chianti, we turned on our shows and I put it out of my mind for an hour or so. But I woke up this morning feeling an emptiness that the 3.7 inch screen of my phone cannot fill. Droid just doesn’t.

Candle in the Wind has played on repeat in my head and I think about our better days together.

Hug your laptops, friends. You just never know how long they’ll stay with you.

You may also want to back them up every so often.

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