My friend Greg recently gave me a computer. It was very generous and I was (and still am) amazingly grateful because I had determined that this would be the year that I stopped paying for TV. This bit of free hardware allowed me to tell DirecTV to go pound sand and, shortly thereafter, Bellsouth to do the same.
Friends have asked how this experience has been. And while it has been a challenge, I’m glad I did it when I did (that is to say during the summer before the new fall season starts) Because by then I should be an old hand at seeking out the programming I want to see.
Because, while the experience of watching TV hasn’t changed all that much (I don’t use a remote control any more, I use a mouse); the act of finding something to watch has become more involved than hitting the “guide” button on the remote.
A few days ago, the new computer wouldn’t power on. It tried to. The lights lit for a few seconds and the cooling fans spun, but it just couldn’t fire up. So, I figured it needed a new power supply. I called around town and found one for less than $40 and figured I’d install it myself. It seemed simple enough, you just follow the distributor cap model – replacing each old connector with a new one as you work your way around the drives and motherboard.
All seemed right with the world. I closed it up and hit the power button. It powered up. But I got a message that the drive had no OS and to put a boot disk in. Uh oh. One of the drives wasn’t hooked up. I opened it up again and, for the life of me, couldn’t tell which one wasn’t connected (and didn’t know which one was the C drive).
So, I asked Dollie to pack it all up and take it to the shop where she bought the power supply.
Incidentally, Joe’s Computer Shop in Murfreesboro does great work. They sorted the problem and fixed it quickly and cheaply. They have my business from now on.
During the day or so that the computer was down, I mentioned the trouble to a co-worker and how my computer repair skills aren’t as great as I thought they were.
“Won’t your friend fix it?”
“Your friend that gave it to you? Can’t he fix it?”
“What? No. I’m not going to ask him . . ”
And thus we come to one of the great conflicts of the 21st century. I’m not sure what the corollary is for the pre-information age. When one finds oneself with an overabundance of computers (which can happen easily for the tech-savvy) giving one to a friend is an act of charity and kindness, but it is also a way of decluttering your home.
It is bad form to come running back to him if the computer has issues. I’ve heard countless anecdotes about it from friends who are the designated free tech support for their families. I’ve heard tales of it on podcasts and read blogs about the anger and frustration the giver feels because he thought he was doing something nice for a friend and it turned into a huge headache.
No sir. I don’t roll that way.
Incidentally, when I hooked the computer up yesterday, it booted normally, but one of the drives wasn’t there. I cracked open the case, found the loose connector and hooked everything back up. It made me feel good that I wasn’t completely helpless.
Years ago I saw a documentary about a celebrity cemetery and about the only salient fact I recall is that a businessman is buried face down in the tomb directly above Marilyn Monroe. It turns out the guy’s name was Richard Poncher and he bought two plots from Joe Dimagio when he and Marilyn were going through a divorce. Poncher’s hope, of course, was that he and Marilyn would be raised from the dead in some sort of black mass to have zombie sex at the turn of the millennium. I guess that didn’t happen. I don’t know, I don’t read the LA papers.
Regardless, the man’s widow has a Beverly Hills mortgage to pay off, so she plans to move her dead husband one space over to her burial plot so that she can sell the spot directly above Marilyn on eBay. As of this writing, the auction has four days to go and is at $4.6 million. Hugh Hefner, by the way, bought the tomb next to Marilyn a few years back.
Now I’ve seen some of her movies and yes, she was attractive and sexy and an iconic figure. But where is the cache in being buried near her? How is that possibly worth $4.6 million?
Murfreesboro doesn’t have a Whole Foods. I doubt we’re missing much. But Whole Foods is seeing a little backlash because John Mackey, the company CEO, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal against the public option for the health care reform bill. Suddenly all these crunchy granola types were shocked, SHOCKED! that the head of a large corporation might not be walking the walk and talking the talk that his company espouses.
If you shop at Whole Foods, you’re paying higher prices to make sure the products you buy are cruelty free, organic, fair trade, dolphin friendly etc… So the idea that the CEO would be conservative or even libertarian was seen as outrageous. So the customers have organized boycotts on Twitter and Facebook:
“A lot of people have been paying a premium for the Whole Foods brand for years,” said Mark Rosenthal, a playwright living in Massachusetts who founded the Boycott Whole Foods group a few days ago. It has nearly 14,000 members. “A lot of people are sad to look at this corporation and see that it is just like any other, if not worse.”
Whole Foods spokeswoman Libba Letton said that Mackey was expressing personal opinions in the op-ed and that the company has no official position on the issue. Whole Foods has sent letters to customers apologizing for any offense and created a forum on its Web site to discuss the issue. There are more than 10,000 posts, compared with 77 posts on the raw foods forum.
Like I said, Murfreesboro doesn’t have a Whole Foods and even if we did, I doubt I’d shop there. I find it amusing that these granola heads believed that this corporation was somehow different than all the others or that the CEO was motivated by anything other than the bottom line. I also find it funny that the CEO didn’t realize his customers would take offense to such a public statement. I wonder if his flaks were given the head’s up before it was published.
What he wrote was a diatribe on the public option that, for some reason, wound up calling for tort reform. I don’t think he intended to speak for Whole Foods and certainly wasn’t trying to piss off his customers.
For the record, it is my understanding that Whole Foods provides high-deductible health insurance for employees as well as $1,800/ year for health care expenses. That’s not too shabby.