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paperwork, support, Joyce, end of Firefly

Graham mailed earlier this week to suggest lunch tomorrow. What with that and a backlog of random work, I decide to take today off and get my taxes out of the way.

Taxes take me much too long. It's easy, but I only do it once a year, so I never get good at it, and I'm nervous about making mistakes, so I check everything several times. People tell me I should buy software. But I live most of my life never having to deal with proprietary software at all, and the occasional glimpse I get of it--trying to deal with the odd problems at my parents' house or whatever--reminds me why I don't miss it. I suppose I could try something web-based next year.

Somehow taxes inspired me to clear some more paperwork off my desk. So I also signed our new lease, paid some bills, cleared out a backlog of bank statements, and threw away a lot. Oh, and backed up, which I hadn't done in months. (Shame on me.)

The laptop saga continues: Wednesday afternoon they left a message asking for more details. The person I got the next morning of course knew nothing, and could only read me a note the technician left, which claimed that my laptop had never been sold with the LCD I used to have. Huh? So she said a supervisor would call me back. When I hadn't heard back Thursday night I tried calling again and all they could tell me was "the customer had unblocked the job", or something. Who knows. I'm regretting not just trying to solve the problem myself. I doubt the LCD replacement was necessary at all.

So I don't expect my next laptop will be a Lenovo. I think it's to the point where I should just ignore the big Windows vendors entirely, actually. There's a couple sources of Linux laptops now, but more interesting to me are the barebones laptops, which I'd previously overlooked. I've been satisfied with the desktops I've built from parts--they're inexpensive, and in the event of a problem (which I've rarely had), I'm not suddenly dependent on some hard-to-communicate-with bureaucracy.

Every now and then I pick up Joyce's Ulysses and read the first chapter. I don't think I've ever made it much further. There's a scene I love--just a few sentences--where the characters settle with the woman who delivers their milk. I like the combination of the amusing odd non-base-10 denominations, the vivid dialog, and the image of this old woman reeling off the bill from memory and doing the sums out loud. Also, I realize this is totally trivial and geeky, but: it reassures me that the author gives me all these numbers, and that they all add up right. I get this warm feeling knowing that I'm in the hands of someone with an attention to detail, and knowing that whenever I slow down and examine some passage, I'll find something interesting.

Maybe this time I'll make it to chapter three. Probably not.

We watched our final Firefly episode tonight, "Objects in Space", a good one. I'm borrowing the DVD set from my sister, so I'll hand it over to my parents when they visit weekend after next. That gives us a couple weeks to maybe try an episode or two with the commentary turned on. I don't entirely understand why the show had such a cult following--it won't change my life--but it's pretty good, and seems pretty original in some ways.