Wishing I Was More of a Techno-Nerd

Since I last posted, I learned how to download pictures from my new (to me) DXG camera.  That was how I was able to share the pictures and YouTube footage I shot at the “Kill the Bill!” rally at the Statehouse on Tuesday.  Until yesterday, I hadn’t paid attention to the fact that this camera features the ability to record audio files.  Between the lens and the shutter, there is a small microphone, and close to it is a speaker about the size of the nail on my pinkie.

Currently, I’m a little more than halfway through a taped letter (as in magnetic recording tape) to a friend in St. Louis, a tape I’ve been promising to mail him since before Christmas.  As I’ve been spending my breaks and lunches with my Memorex portable cassette recorder in my hand, I’ve also been wondering about the possibilities that the audio feature of my camera open up to me.

One thought has crossed my mind, the possibility of occasionally posting spoken-word entries to this blog.   I have made very short-lived attempts at keeping taped diaries in the past, never lasting more than a few days.  I was most prolific when I was carrying a microcassette recorder with me most of the time, a machine that has since conked out on me, but which I will replace this spring.

But for the moment, I am stymied as to how to proceed.  I made small sound files last night, of about 30 seconds’ duration max, consisting of little more than “Testing one, two, three.”  I was able to load them to the laptop, but how to get them from the hard drive to the blog is still a mystery to me.

And maybe it’s supreme arrogance on my part to think my life is so worth chronicling that I should endeavor to record it in yet another way.  I already have a voluminous diary, and I think that paper will ultimately keep longer than computer files.  I have this blog, which I’ve kept for four years (including its time on LiveJournal).  So do I need to turn on the microphone and open a vein?

I pondered this for awhile at work yesterday and today.  The surface of my work table here at home is too cluttered (beyond just the usual genius-at-work scattering of papers), but I did manage to clear away some of the detritus that has clogged my L-shaped desk at work.

Quite an odd assortment of inspirational figures.  I’m the only one who could hang up Abraham Lincoln, Jack Kerouac, Elvis, and Fritz the Nite Owl all in one space.  The picture of Susie is a school picture from second or third grade.  And, even though I make snide comments about my hometown of Marietta, Ohio whenever I can, a post card of the banks of the Ohio River, with Front and Greene Sts. in the foreground, hangs where I can see it many times daily.

Some more of the decorations adorning my pod wall.  Susie’s “mug shot” was from when she was in Bugsy Malone, Jr. at the Davis Center for the Performing Arts.  I didn’t have the money to buy a framed print of this New Yorker cover, so I hung up the original magazine cover.  The cast of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit hangs above a picture that a third-grade Susie drew (“I ♥ Chess”) of a chessboard and its pieces.

The only way I can guarantee not losing a memorandum or procedure list is to tack it to the wall, where my eyes will eventually light upon it.  This means there is usually very little cloth exposed.  Sergeant George Baker  published a comic called “The Sad Sack” in Yank, The Army Weekly during World War II.  One strip showed the hero of the strip at a paper-laden bulletin board.  He keeps burrowing deeper and deeper into the items tacked there until finally, by candlelight, he sees a yellowed order: “All men will fall out promptly at midnight to cross the Delaware River.  By order of General George Washington, 1776.”

The closest the Industrial Commission came to this was when an elderly woman in my department retired.  She had been there since about 1942, and she was hired quickly because most men were in the service by then.  She retired a year or two after I came, and when people cleaned out her desk, they found several uncashed paychecks.  (Compare that to me: If my paycheck is $50 short, I notice it immediately and I’m on the phone to payroll at warp speed.)  I am not sure of this woman’s precise age.  There are unconfirmed rumors that she waited tables at the Last Supper, while others claim she is Millard Fillmore’s illegitimate daughter.

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Hardly a Day of Rest

The last entry ended on a note of suspense, kind of.  When last we saw our fearless blogger and diarist, he was planning to walk from Fallis Rd. in Clintonville to his abode two miles south, all the while carrying a La-Z-Boy recliner on his back.  The recliner was in perfectly good shape, so no idea why its owner put it at curbside.

Well, I lasted about a block and a half before I aborted mission.  However, I didn’t think it’d be right to ditch the chair in front of someone else’s house, so I reversed direction and put it back where I found it.  My back made a crack sound that resembled a piece of firewood when you break it in half.
Now that that’s out of the way…

I am soooo glad that the weekend continues tomorrow!  This Sunday, which we’ve heard is the “day of rest,” was anything but.  Now that my new Hewlett Packard Pavilion Entertainment Notebook PC no longer sits amidst clutter, I am typing my first blog entry on it.  Susie must have been exhausted, ’cause I have my music on fairly loud (not wall-shaking) in my office, which is just down the hall from her bedroom, and she’s sleeping  right through it.  (I have Windows Media Player on “shuffle,” so it’s a tossup as to what will play next.  Currently, it’s America’s “Today’s the Day.” I’ve already heard Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s “Shadow Captain,” and LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade.”)
The busy day began at 12 midnight, not at sunrise.  Midnight found me still hip deep (almost literally) in cleaning up my office, a task that I never truly completed since Steph and Susie gave up trying to use it as a sewing room.  The arrival of the new computer was also the excuse I needed to get to work and finally try to make the office neat.  I’m still Walter Mittyish enough to try and imagine this room many years from now, the entrance door gone, and a cable-thick velvet rope across the doorway, while tourists gape through the doorway to behold the room where HE wrote the…  As I was making this room presentable, I subconsciously had that in mind when I envisioned the finished product.  (TANGENT ALERT:  When my friend Robert Nedelkoff and I toured the Newseum in Washington in March, one of the exhibits we saw was the NBC News office of the late Tim Russert, Meet the Press host.  It wasn’t a pigpen, but there was clutter enough to make it appear that Russert had put in his share of long, sleep-deprived hours there over the years.  Ironically, the Newseum is now the site of ABC News’ This Week Sunday morning program.)

I had enough momentum going that I was reluctant to actually finish the task, even though I knew I was in the home stretch when I began taking bag after bag of accumulated trash downstairs to the big trash cans in the alley behind our house.  I was appalled at how many bottles of flat bottles of Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist I found.  Thank God I don’t smoke, because I would have burned down any of my dwellings long ago.

It was still dark out when I decided to immortalize the moment for posterity.  That meant that I decided to christen the Kodak EasyShare C180 that came as a free gift with the computer.  I posted the finished products directly to Facebook, but I would die before neglecting my Blogspot readers:

The center of operations, featuring my new HP open
on the desk, and the usual overloaded bookcases.

Yes, Virginia, there were reference books before
Wikipedia.  Under Big Boy and the Smith-
Corona Galaxie XII manual typewriter, my New
English Bible occupies a carefully chosen spot.  It
is nestled in between The Art of Fine Words, a tribute
to Arthur Hopkins (1897-1965), who was The Harvard
Crimson‘s head linotypist for 36 years, and the Thorndike-
Barnhart Comprehensive Desk Dictionary.  My logic: The
first printers were monks who produced Bibles, sacred sheet
music, and illuminated manuscripts; the Bible is The Word; and 
the dictionary is all words.

I’m not sure if I tried for the juxtaposition of the
different types of notebooks here.  The plastic
drawers contain MP3 disks of various radio shows,
money order receipts, some rings I no longer wear,
etc.  The screen-saver is a rare picture of a smiling
Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), along with his then-captain, Christopher
Pike (Jeffrey Hunter), from “The Cage,” the original Star Trek pilot–
later incorporated into Part I of the episode “The Menagerie.”
If I look up, here’s what I see.  The headstone marks
the grave of my friend, Cincinnati-born novelist
Robert Lowry (1919-1994), and below that is a 1962
article from the University of Cincinnati News Record 
about his book Party of Dreamers.
Simple explanation for this picture:
This is the gallstone Dr. Campbell removed
(along with the gallbladder) at Grant Medical
Center last February.  I like it better where it is now.

I finally ran out of steam sometime around dawn.  I could hear birds singing outside, and it was just starting to get light outside, but not bright enough to shut off the streetlights.  I think meteorologists refer to it as civil twilight.  When I went to sleep, I knew it would only be for a few hours, because Susie and I planned to go to church–the first time services were at 10 a.m., something that will continue until after Labor Day.
Susie went to a friend’s house after the service, and I went to Kroger to buy an Entenmann’s cake for a party she and I were attending in the afternoon (going all out!).  My energy levels were beginning to flag, so I forced myself out of the house to buy bread and mail some letters at Giant Eagle.  It didn’t perk me up as much as I would have preferred, because the walk to the party seemed to take forever, and it was only a little more than a half mile from our house.
The party (especially the company) invigorated me quite a bit.  Good hosts, good people, good food, and good conversation all around.  Our hosts are dear friends, but this was the first time I had ever been to their house.  (Susie had been there before, several times as a toddler, and just last month for a baby shower, but it was my first time.)
Susie and I left the party to head north to our friend’s apartment to feed the cats, change the litter boxes, and make sure the two cats were fed and happy.  Susie and I did manage to arrive at Olympic Swim and Racquet for the last hour it was open.  I didn’t bring a towel or swim trunks, because I had no plans to get in the water.  Susie changed in the locker room and was in the drink the minute they blew the whistle to announce that kids were allowed in the pool once again (the last 15 minutes of every hour are for adults only).  I had brought my trusty portable office–the blue bag complete with diary, books, MP3 player, and Diane the microcassette recorder–along to entertain myself while Susie was in the pool, but I slept in one of the plastic deck chairs at poolside until someone came on the loudspeaker to announce the pool was closed for the night.
And now it’s midnight, and I’m wide awake!  I thought I’d collapse over the keyboard while typing this entry.  Susie has remained asleep, through comparatively high-decibel pieces such as Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” and The Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein.”
I’m having lunch with a friend at 1 p.m., so I can theoretically sleep until 12:45 if I want.  I doubt I will.