The Perversion of American Democracy
The Great Christmas Computer Crash of 2007

Merry Christmas


[UPDATE 10:45AM: OH. MY. GOD. Sometimes the world, the gods, Gaia or whomever smiles upon us.

To my utter horror, after tearing the house apart (which will take a couple of days now to restore to a livable condition, I couldn't find my original Windows discs to re-install.

I'm good about not panicking in such situations, but I was dejected at what I would need to go through (beg and grovel?) to get new discs and how long it might take.

I called Lenovo (got through with no wait time on hold) and the customer service guy acted like this happens every day. Hit this key, click that, click that, and then click that, etc. etc. and the machine will be restored to its factory condition when I first received it.


I still need to offload everything I want to keep and that's a major undertaking considering how much is on the machine and that might take more than just today. But even the snow doesn't feel so daunting now.

What a great early Christmas present. I'm in a much better mood (she said, grinning).]

Yes, this greeting is a bit early, but get used to it - it may be all you see here at TGB for the next few days.

My laptop has gone all wonky - a virus run amok and some registry errors that together undoubtedly mean I'll need to reinstall Windows. Most of the time the machine won't boot at all, but I can occasionally get in long enough to retrieve some information I need before the machine goes nuts again.

Meanwhile, I’m using an antique computer in the guest room that is on its last legs; the monitor appears to be ready to die any minute, the noises emanating from inside machine are mildly alarming and it's so slow, it feels like a typewriter. At least I got email set up now so I can send and receive, but if you sent me anything in the past couple of days for which you're expecting an answer, it's hit or miss whether I can do that on the laptop so I'm not making any promises.

One other thing, Typepad has instituted tighter controls on their comment spam filter which means some of your comments don't get published. They are not lost, but I am not notified and must check the Typepad spam folder every hour or so to see if any of you have been labeled spam. I'm keeping up with it as best I can and your comments will be published as soon as I discover them.

There is a story at The Elder Storytelling Place today. The Perfect Christmas Tree from Sharon Lippincott. But unless I can tolerate this ancient computer (it’s got better internet access than a 9600 baud modem, but not by much), that blog will fall silent for awhile too.

Meanwhile, I need to work on moving snow and my car around outside. Yesterday we had a third major dumping in eight days here in Portland, Maine, with more, "they" say, on the weekend and I’m tellin’ ya - I’m not nearly as enamored of snow here as I was in New York City now that I must dig out the car every couple of days and move it here and there to accommodate the city’s snow removal trucks.

All that aside, have a Merry Christmas everyone and if you have any tips on reinstalling Windows with the least amount of pain, do send them along...


Merry Christmas, Ronni. Stay warm. I envy you all that snow.

Sounds like you need a new computer for Christmas. Anyway, here's wishing you and yours a Very Happy Christmas and good health and happiness for the coming year.

Good Lord!!! Sounds like a mess!!! I wish I could help but I'm sort of a technical moron and will leave that to the techies. (I recommend Winston.) I wish I could send you Isaac -- my teenage neighbor & snow removal ace extraordinaire. Hope you get all this sorted out!

And Merry Christmas to you!!! Hope you're up and running soon!

Hi Ronni. Seems like the season has brought some unwanted gifts for you. I wish a merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it and to all a good year filled with good health and good family, friends and computer connections and banishment of all flu and pc viruses.

I dug out ten winters' snows while living in Cambridge, MA. I know and FEEL (icy fingers, freezing nose) your pain. My mantra then: "If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" (Ode to the West Wind by Percy Bysshe Shelley)

Ronni, think Macintosh. All pretty, shiny, and no viruses. Well one or two in recorded history...

Love to the three of you: human, feline, and avatar? second self? alter ego? fill in the blank: ___

Merry Christmas Ronni,
We're doing the same shoveling here in Boston.

Sell the PC and get a Mac.

Thank God I no longer have to scrape ice off of a windshield or fall on the ice when I go out. Snow is beautiful if you can stay inside near a blazing fire in the fireplace. As for me,I will forgo a white Christmas, thank you very much. The snow topped mountains that I can see from my windows are as close as I want to get to it. For all of you that still love the white stuff I say, enjoy.

Good lord, you got dumped on in the worst way. I know nothing about computers but my husband is good with them. If you want someone to walk you through it, email me and I will connect you and him up with it.

It's been stormy in Oregon. I was in the other Portland for two nights earlier this week which meant jumping puddles to get anywhere. I was staying up off of 23rd (my total favorite bookstore and more, New Renaissance, is up there), which has a lot of shops I usually like looking through but it wasn't so much fun when it was that stormy-- although I will take our rain over too much snow, I guess-- if it has to be one or the other

Many hearty hugs and smooches from Texasland to all ya'll!

I know Crabby will just wipe it off, but I gotta give her a big lipsticky smack on her cheek!

From my corner of Portland, Maine, I echo your sentiments about the snow, Ronni. Winter doesn't officially start until tomorrow, and I am already sick of it!

My wife is a teacher, however, and had the great joy of a "snow day" yesterday. It should be noted that the ritual of the snow day doesn't change when you move from the student's side of the desk to the teacher's: you still have to get your homework done the night before. If you fail to offer this sacrifice, the snow gods are unpropitiated--and there will be school. ;-)

Good luck with the shoveling. Same here in Boston. But, good news, we're expecting 50 degrees on Sunday!!!!

Good luck with computer and with snow. That shoveling is nasty, and I can't imagine it at all with the quantities that you're getting! Yikes.

I can't help you get up and running on the 'pooter, but I would like to strongly recommend the virus protection software of AVG at We have used to for several years; it updates itself automatically. Last year we purchased an upgrade, but the free program is wonderful.
Lots of info at this link

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it; Happy Holidays to all.

So glad to read that you are restored and there is joy in the old house tonight. Merry Christmas to you too, dear Ronni. You have added much to my life since I found your blog.

Ronni, I too hate it when technology fails one. Hope it'll all get sorted out over the weekend! Wish you all the best for this Christmas and for the year to come.

Ohmyohmyohmy. I echo Tamar: Think Macintosh. After sinking a lot of money into PCs, I switched to an Apple iBook (laptop) a few years ago. It took a little getting used to, but I haven't regretted it for one moment. I know my PC guru thinks I've drowned, if he thinks of me at all. (He must be thinking of me - 90 bucks an hour's worth.)

Here's another thing to try: I baked my first challah today. Now there's something to take your mind off things.
Or maybe you could work on a (ugh) fruitcake?

Take time off and enjoy the holiday. Don't watch C-Span. Or the news.

All the best to you, your alter ego, and your dear Ollie in this holiday season.

Please look at this video, if you need a laugh.

May the New Year make all your technical difficulties miraculously disappear and awaken all of your creative juices.

All the very best. Thank you for setting the bar high on blogging journalism. You continue to be our "Vorreiter" (translation: outrider though it doesn't do it justice. Vorreiter is more a pioneer/role model/someone one step ahead of the others).

ronni, you could always come south for the duration! I'd put you up for a while.....LOL. Happy Holidays!

Good luck with your unloading/reloading. I've found it's not the getting things running again that's difficult, it's the tweaking everything back to the way you had it, that takes the time.

Like Steve, my sons swear by their Macs, too.

Hi Ronni. Best Christmas wishes. Ronni, I started a blog tonight, about my gardening biz in retirement. It's called Darth Weeder, and is on Blogspot. Take a look if you have time. Thanks.

Hello Ronni,

Thank you for being there for all of us amateur writers. It's such a thrill for us to see our words in print. And who else but you would provide us with the outlet for our stories?

You are always so kind to me and tell me that my stories are good. Thank you for that, Ronni.

I hope you and Ollie have a wonderful and happy holiday, and here's wishing you the very best in 2008.

And don't scare us like that again. My heart can't take it!!!!

Love from me to you....

Oh my lord...I could deal with being snowed in, losing electricity for a short period of time, even having to diet after all of the holiday eats...but to lose my computer? That would just do me in. I know I shouldn't be having a laugh over your misfortune, but I'm just laughing over the antique computer image. Been there! Have a wonderful holiday and a happy new year. Looking forward to your "take" on life in 2008.

Ronni, I am sorry you are having serious computer trouble and it does happen at the worst possible time when you do not need the aggravation.

My grown son who lives nearby usually digs us out from under computer problems but once when he was out of town for a while I had to call "Geek Squad" they dug me out from under the computer problem but they were too expensive and slow.

Merry Christmas to you, Ollie and Cranky...and I hope the snow melts soon.

Good to know that things are getting back into shape! Your guardian angel must have been watching you and thought you needed some help.
No kidding, I know how utterly unnerving computer 'situations' can get! Happy to know it's on the mend.

Good luck, Ronni. I had to re-install Windows a while back too. Don't remember it being traumatic at all; just time-consuming getting everything back the way I liked it. A couple of little things have never been the same. Oh well...

I DID backup all emails first (including the Contacts list) - just in case. And I always have my millions of photos backed-up. That's probably just paranoia, though.

Hope you do some warm-ups before all that shoveling!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

I hope your holidays are wonderful!

You must be living right or something, if you were able to resolve technical issues over the phone! So happy its working, again.
Happy Christmas.

Not so fast, Mizmell. That was only the relief of knowing I won't need to track down missing Windows discs.

I spent all day yesterday and several hours this morning until now PREPARING to reinstall Windows. I'm about to do now - very nervously - wondering what I've forgotten to transfer off onto another hard drive that I'll never have again...

Best of the holidays to you too, Ronni.

For years, my usual way of dealing with any sort of computer problem was to implement the old saying:

"When in danger or in doubt, Run in circles, scream and shout."

But after I went to Windows XP several years back, I discovered the marvelous System Restore function, and that has resolved every problem I've had since. You might try it if you haven't already--helluva lot easier than a reinstall.

Dear Ronni,
So wishing you well with your reinstall! Weather and computers--the only think worse is a body breakdown. Sounds like you are okay in that department, thank goodness. I hope you'll have time to settle back with some cheery (or at least enthralling) reading for the holidays and a good hot drink of your choice. Blessings for the coming year. I second what Frank Paynter said in a comment on the blog regarding the presidential slam dance: lets's keep swinging for the fences!

Hugs for the holidays,

As my dad used to say, "White Christmases are beautiful - on Christmas cards." I've dealt with computer problems too, and they eat up so much time, even when you find a solution. I recently bought a new laptop with Windows Vista, and I don't even know if ti has system restore, which was a lifesaver for me a number of times.

Hi Ronnie,
My 91 year old sister Died last month.Her last months were a living hell.My 87 year old sister is in constant pain.I'm fine and love reading your blogs.
Have a Merry Christmas and a healthy,happy New Year.

Ronni, Merry Christmas to you too. I'm glad I can still read and comment on this blog to say that to you.

I've been having computer problems recently too but luckily I have a consultant that doesn't charge me any money, even if it involves a long distance call.

There is no snow to shovel down here, only a little rain now and then.

Wishing you a very happy and healthy New Year and no more snow for the rest of the winter. You have had MORE than enough. ;-)

So pleased the computer is sorted. Have a great Christmas. if you have more snow you could send some over here please. They forecast rain for us.

Just popping by to add my holiday greetings to the rest.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and content 2008. Best to you.

Dear Ronni -
I can't help because I don't understand the "magic" of these gadgets but I do have Carbonite - a backup system from the net...God only knows if it helps. I pay $ 50.00 a year for it...blah blah blah!!!

Ronni, I started my gardening blog. Here is the addy:

Take care!

Merry Christmas, Ronni!

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