Sunday, August 20, 2006

Things Just Don't Tend to Go as Planned

My mother has a tendency these days, whether seeing me in person or calling home from a road trip, to inquire anxiously whether everything is going smoothly on the computer or if I am having "more problems." The way she phrases this gives the impression that I am having marital problems or some sort of chronic ailment.
There is, however, some basis for her concern. Of late the new laptop has been very unreliable about either hibernating when the lid is closed (and if it doesn't, the battery will quickly run down) or shutting off when instructed to do so. You cannot tell it to shut off and simply leave the room, but must periodically inspect it to see whether some arcane process or other is refusing to end. I found out that one problem I was having was due to something from my parents' printer software (there was a lot of angry online discussion about the HP1010 series), but removing that process from the Start menu didn't solve the overall trouble. The new laptop does, however, work well overall and I have got a second hard drive safely installed in it so that between the two drives I have 180GB. (The downside is that I am convinced I will lose or drop HD #2 or the CD drive when swapping them.)
And then... I had pretty much concluded that my old laptop was fine except for the 100GB drive, since it worked with the 30GB drive (until, of course, I attempted to recreate that drive so that it could be put in my parents' laptop, which I still haven't figured out how to open despite massive internet searches for diagrams or instructions). Since I had concluded the 100GB drive was at fault, and since Cesar had mentioned he wanted to get a laptop, I offered to give him the machine if he would buy a new hard drive for it.
Since Cesar was only prepared to spend about $500 on a laptop, he leaped at this idea and ordered the drive. It duly arrived at my place and I set about preparing it. The old drive still worked as storage, so I figured I could do an image of that using Ghost and restore it onto the new drive.
I had found that Ghost didn't like SATA drives, but these were not SATA. All the same, Ghost refused to work on the only functioning laptop with enough USB ports, which is to say the new one. You would not think that it having a primary SATA drive would matter so long as I wasn't trying to image that particular drive...
I had, however, bought Acronis True Image as it was supposed to work with SATA drives, so I gave it a try. It was certainly a lot faster than Ghost, although the terminology was a bit different and confused me somewhat. Still, before long I had made a clone of the 100GB drive onto Cesar's new hard drive.
You do not want to imagine how many times I have now unscrewed and rescrewed hard drives into my old Fujitsu. Fortunately, I have not been keeping count. It has been an insane number of times over the past month. I feel like an expert at this process, although in truth I am really nothing of the kind (or I would be able to open my parents' laptop). The last time I had installed the 100GB drive, it had completely failed to boot, so I was extremely relieved that it still worked as storage and I could copy files from it (quite a few gigs in just the past few days after getting the new secondary drive).
Well, what should happen but the new drive made exactly the same sickly sound as the old and also refused to boot? Not being a real expert, I am unsure whether the mechanism that tells the hard drive to run is dead, or whether there is some sort of boot sector corruption which copied from old to new.
I was very unhappy, as, I imagine, Cesar will also be when he returns from Guatemala and learns that he doesn't have a laptop after all but merely a hard drive.
In the meantime, I made another appointment to take Ms. Spots to meet Willow, since Cesar had offered me the use of his apartment as a rabbit-bonding venue during his absence.
We were somewhat late to the appointment, as Someone Who Will Remain Anonymous (in this context) felt a need to embark on an important conversation with me despite being aware that I needed to take Ms. Spots to the House Rabbit Society in ten minutes. While the conversation had its tense moments, Ms. Spots ultimately defused things by going into her Flopsy Bunny mode and demanding petting, which caused fond amusement in both humans.
Willow, still bereaved but perhaps no longer overwhelmingly depressed, looked utterly enchanting, but then I have a thing for smoky rabbits with white noses. The two rabbits initially stayed in opposite ends of the enclosure, which is neutral-to-positive behavior. Eventually Calypso Spots came forward and very gently snuggled up her head beside Willow's. We were ecstatic. She was being Dr. Spots, who is kind to sad rabbits.
Willow (who in the past week had been discovered to be female rather than male!) was clearly deeply touched whenever Ms. Spots came over and was gently friendly. She was open to being petted, but she obviously really wanted a kind rabbit.
To my vast disappointment, Ms. Spots really began to lose her manners during the visit. It was not an issue that she wet on the floor, as we had forgotten to provide a litterbox (although her behavior when she did so reminded me more of an unneutered male). But at some point she seemed to decide that although Willow needed some cuddling, it was also important to nip at Willow's scut and belly. Since poor Willow hadn't done anything even faintly assertive, let alone aggressive, this struck me as utterly uncalled for. It would not have bothered me in a different situation, but I didn't think Willow needed to be shoved around by a spotted diva. Willow is a small, shy, somewhat traumatized rabbit who needs gentle treatment. She began to look very uncertain about the whole venture.
After two or three of these experiences, we decided that while the two were bondable, another meeting was called for rather than an immediate adoption. While I'd like to get Willow and give her a loving home, I don't want her to be at the mercy of an extremely confident rabbit twice her size. Cami and Ms. Spots, for instance, were not the same size but seemed quite capable of having a relatively equal relationship; Cami was gentle but knew how to stand up for herself.
Calypso Spots and Willow will have another meeting on Sunday, which I hope will be agreeable to them. One thing about looking for a pal for one's rabbit, it can result in the human learning about a whole new set of traits. Now that Ms. Spots has learned she can train all her humans (not just me) to do her bidding nearly all the time, she has become something of a prima donna rather than the slightly shy but friendly rabbit she once was. When I bring her to the House Rabbit Society, she is not alarmed, but figures that she knows her way around and should either be petted or allowed to nap. I suspect she has already decided that the House Rabbit Society is part of her territory, although a part that has to be shared.
We will see.


Blogger Kristen said...

Ergh! Sorry about the computer troubles. Happy belated birthday!

August 20, 2006 8:48 AM  

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