Friday, February 17, 2012

Life before computers

Last week, my laptop died somewhat unexpectedly and quite dramatically since I'd only just managed to print out the first draft of a paper I had to submit for my university studies when it went grey, then black and then dead. Life looked pretty bleak as I pondered on what I'd lost (including the paper I'd written) and cursed myself for the fact that, as always, I hadn't done a recent backup...not for months, in fact. Anyway, in the midst of wallowing in my gloom and doom, Mo read me this poem. I suppose it's public domain, so I hope I'm not infringing someone's copyright, but acknowledgements aplenty to whoever wrote it in the first place. It gave me the first smile I'd had in days.

A computer was something on TV
From a science fiction show of note.
A window was something you hated to clean...
And ram was the cousin of a goat.....

Meg was the name of my girlfriend
And gig was a job for the nights
Now they all mean different things
And that really mega bytes

An application was for employment
A program was a TV show
A cursor used profanity
A keyboard was a piano

Memory was something that you lost with age
A CD was a bank account
And if you had a 3 1/2" floppy
You hoped nobody found out

Compress was something you did to the garbage
Not something you did to a file
And if you unzipped anything in public
You'd be in jail for a while

Log on was adding wood to the fire
Hard drive was a long trip on the road
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived
And a backup happened to your commode

Cut you did with a pocket knife
Paste you did with glue
A web was a spider's home
And a virus was the flu

I guess I'll stick to my pad and paper
And the memory in my head
I hear nobody's been killed in a computer crash
But when it happens they wish they were dead! 

Friday, February 03, 2012

What you can find in pursuit of the totally mundane

This lovely place is Maassluis. It is one of those enchanting fishing villages on the estuary that flows from Rotterdam out into the North Sea. Luckily, it is just inside the great flood gates that protect Rotterdam from sea surges and excessively high tides, so although there is no lock between the river and the main harbours, it is safe from extreme conditions.

I had to go there today as it is where my new bookkeeper has his offices, and despite the horrible weather that disrupted the entire country, I was really glad I had the chance to see it.

Visits to one's bookkeeper aren't exactly guaranteed to inspire enthusiasm, but what a little gem of a place Maassluis is. It is further from Rotterdam than would ever be convenient for us to live there, but it is one of those places where you kind of wish you could.

The snow doesn't often do much for this type of scenery, but today, it highlighted the colours, the yellows, the reds and the warm earthy bricks of the elegant 18th century Dutch houses that line the quays. The sky was pearly and the water glimmered with its sheen of ice. A lovely, lovely scene, even though my hands were shaking with cold as I took these photos.

It had taken me two hours to get there, courtesy of the snow, road and rail chaos - and longer than I have ever cared to wait on freezing draughty platforms. It should have been a twenty minute ride. Even so, I can honestly say I really enjoyed the ad...venture.