Help Desk Baffled
This agreeable but dumbfounded person said that he could only suppose something has gone wrong with my Windows installation and that his supervisor will be giving me a call to set up a much longer appointment in which we will reinstall Windows.
I then happened to run across my department's network person, who was relaxing in the TA Office with our mutual friend the specialist in all things Viking and Scandinavian/Icelandic. We gave the laptop another, briefer, examination and he too confessed himself flummoxed. He did say that he personally reinstalls Windows annually on his computer, but this only confirmed my belief that computer specialists (no matter how brilliant and/or congenial) have a different genetic makeup than I do, and are probably from another planet (sorry Julia and Swobodin). I have previously endured the thrills and excitement of reinstalling Windows, and in my view it is not much better fun than watching paint dry. In fact, I would probably rather watch paint dry since that is a pastime that requires less rapt attention. Nor does watching paint dry involve very many subsidiary issues other than refraining from touching the wet paint.
This, of course, is exactly the sort of diversion one needs while trying to put together a post-doc application that must be postmarked by October 1 and which requires four letters of recommendation to be acquired very much at the last minute from bemused professors. I have already learned that one of my standard recommenders is not available to write anything until the following week, and another one is out of town for the year.
The rabbits have offered up their own unique manner of diversion, in which someone or other removed a Ravel two-CD set from the CD tower, chewed the paper cover thoroughly, and separated the halves of the case so that each CD could be individually pawed. (Perhaps this had something to do with last night's radio broadcast of Ravel's "Tombeau de Couperin.") Ms. Spots also saw fit to impress upon me that yarn can be as fine a treat as good hay; she was observed under the kitchen table with a ball of Crystal Palace yarn gradually disappearing into her mouth. (Fortunately I had pretty much finished knitting the scarf to which the ball of yarn had been attached.)
On the positive side, I have finally gotten the desktop computer to recognize the DSL signal, but this may be a fleeting thing since that was what preceded the laptop's ills. It is exciting having DSL, of course, after having spent 17 hours updating its copy of Windows via dial-up.