Geeky Moms Don’t Drink Often. But When They Do….

Awhile back, some of us on posted in a thread started by fellow denizen of the Ahto Spaceport Cantina, Ztalker. He described the perils of getting not just drunk, but reaching the category of ‘snockered into stupidity and/or oblivion’.  After a few posts on the negatives of hangovers, the thread naturally digressed to some of the more entertaining things we’ve done or seen while under the influence. I, of course, had to share my story of drinking with my fellow SCA shire-mates from Crescent Moon at Lilies War about 15 years back now.

A heavenly pina colada!

We here camping for the week, had no worries about driving, were at a safe campground, life was good. The only bad thing was hubby was stuck working for Uncle Sam that weekend, so he wasn’t able to attend the event.

Anyway, I’d just finished working during a very warm afternoon on a field, passing out water to folks and doing first aid. I trudged back to my campsite, hot and tired. I was heading to my tent to get a Diet Pepsi (Elixir of the Goddesses) when my campmate Sherry called me over. “Jae, I have some pina colada here!” I debated, since I hadn’t eaten yet, but then she said the magic words: “It’s cold!”

She had me at ‘cold’. I grabbed my beer-stein sized mug, which she filled to the very top with TGIF Pina colada straight from the bottle. It was ice-cold and fabulous, and rather thick for a drink, but I was too tired to pay attention to that little detail.

About 1/8th of the way thru, the buzz started. I said “Wow, this is really strong.”

She looked at the instructions of the bottle for a moment and replied, “Oh, we’re supposed to be mixing this with ice.”

We laughed and continued drinking it without the ice. Of course, this should have been my first clue that maybe we should have gotten some ice, but I didn’t care at that point. The pina colada mix was ice cold, my tired feet were propped up, and I was feeling a little too mellow to even consider extricating myself from that camp chair.

We started telling jokes. They started out semi-clean. After all, she was a ‘Southern Belle’ type, and I’m Christian. We both try to behave. Unless we’re soused.We can get a bit off-color at those times.

Shortly thereafter, another friend, Jeff, came over, saw we were drinking and laughing hysterically, and went to get his 151 proof rum out of his tent. I promptly added the rum to the over-strong pina colada mix, because apparently 80 proof wasn’t good enough. It did have the benefit of making the pina colada a little less thick, however, and that was beneficial. We started talking and degenerated to dirty jokes.  And by ‘dirty jokes’, I mean ‘the kind that will make even an ER nurse blush’.  The conversation theme for the evening developed into “f—ing like bunnies”, because yes, I do let loose the f-bomb every now and then. Every time one of us said it we all laughed loudly, clicked mugs together, and took another drink. We finished off the bottle of TGIF pina colada and switched to Rum-and-Diet Pepsi, since that’s lower calorie, of course. We apparently were still sober enough to be concerned about calories.

It’s natural to get the munchies when drinking. We pulled out tortilla chips, Doritoes, and Oreos–always an excellent combo with Pina coladas and Rum-and-cokes.
Sometime while we were eating, a bit of tortilla chip broke off of the chip I happened to be eating and fell smack-dab on the middle of my chest. It looked quite silly there, so I picked it up and popped it in my mouth.

Sherry exclaimed, “Jae!! You just ate a bug!!”

“I did not. It was a broken tortilla chip that fell on my shirt!”

“It was a bug. We saw it,” added Jeff.

“I swear, it was a tortilla chip. Besides, it was crunchy.”

“So are bugs!” said Jeff.

“Yeah, but it was salty, too!”

Jeff insisted, “And so are bugs!”

The one brain cell I had left functioning fired. I asked, “Jeff, how do you know bugs are salty?”

He didn’t have a good answer for that. To this day, I maintain it was a broken tortilla chip. To this day, they still claim it was a bug.

After that, the three of us decided to do a walk about camp. In the dark. We quickly discovered that the gravel road that was flat earlier that day actually had developed an incline while we were drinking, and we found ourselves holding each other up and trying not to fall down the hill. I grabbed Jeff’s belt when he started to veer down the side of the road so that he wouldn’t fall over. Fortunately I was in the middle of our stumbling threesome, so I did not experience the problem of kissing the gravel road.

After walking around the camp saluting our friends and gleefully sharing the “f-bombing like bunnies!” theme with everyone, nature called. We decided to make our way to the nearby portajohns. After we helped Jeff into one of them with the admonition “Don’t pee on the seat!!”, we ladies did our business and found our way back out safely.

The bad thing about portajohns is that they have no lights in them. It is remarkably dark in a portajohn at night, and when you’re inebriated, the laws of physics are altered such that it’s even darker. All three of us thought to bring our refilled mugs of rum with us on the walk (stagger) through camp, because we did have our priorities, you know. However, not one of us thought to bring a flashlight.

After some unspecified amount of time, undoubtedly too long for us even if it had been only 2.8 seconds, we gals decided Jeff had been in the john just a little too long. After banging on the walls and scaring the snot (among other things) out of him, we asked loudly, at some unknown decibel, but likely approaching eardrum-damaging loud, if the Tidy Bowl Man had come for him. Jeff informed us that we could go do something with ourselves that is anatomically impossible for females to accomplish. This made us howl even louder and bang on the portajohn a little more. We warned him not to let the Tidy Bowl Man grab anything and asked if there were any, you guessed it, copulating bunnies located inside. This elicited a couple more colorful expletives which had us ladies virtually rolling on the ground laughing. In fact, we were laughing so hard that it took us several moments to realize that Jeff was experiencing some distress. When we realized that he was not yelling because he was laughing but was yelling for help, we experienced some level of sobriety. Not much, given our condition, but every little bit helps.

“Help!” called Jeff.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. Being the medical type, I had a number of scenarios passing before my eyes, including having things stuck where they shouldn’t be stuck in portajohns, and who I was going to get to help, because I obviously was way too impaired to do anything more useful at that point than to encourage him that only a few hundred people would see him in a compromised state should we have to call 911.

He replied, “I can’t find the door!”

Sherry and I decided to put our banging on the walls to good use and informed him that the door was the side we were banging on, and explained how to lift the handle to open the door. After a few tries, he was finally successful and expressed his great relief that he wasn’t going to have to sleep on hard wet plastic that night.

At some point during our trek through camp, it occurred to us that it was getting rather late (the fact that we overheard a lot of snoring and other noises coming from tents being our clue), and that even humping bunnies need to rest sometime. We decided we’d escort Jeff to his tent, since we girls were camping next to each other and could hold each other up on the trip back, whereas Jeff was by himself and had no one to keep him from falling down the flat street-turned-steep-hill.

We approached his tent, only to find ourselves in front of one of the event officers. We girls curtsied. Jeff fell flat on his face at her feet. We girls expressed our concern by helping him back up, but only after we laughed.

The event officer commented to Jeff that she thought it was a good idea if he headed to bed since he could hardly walk.

Jeff responded, “I didn’t fall! I was prostrating myself at your feet!”

We girls thought that this logic indicated that perhaps he might be sobering up and offered him a drink from our mugs, though somehow we managed enough discretion to not bring up bunnies doing the wild thing to the event officer. I didn’t want the bunnies to miss out on anything.

Sherry and I got Jeff to his tent and then headed back to our tents, holding each other up, because the flat road had gotten even steeper. Happily, I remembered to drink a big glass of water and take tylenol and an antacid before bed.

In the morning when Sherry’s junior-high school aged son smirked and asked me how I was feeling, I just took another bite of my cherry Pop-tart and a sip of my Diet Pepsi (and managed to keep them down without looking green), smiled sweetly, and said “I’m just fine. Why do you ask?”

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Men, Women, and Computer Repairs

Jimbo and I are geeky enough to accomplish some of the simpler repairs and upgrades to our computer. No, we are not geeky enough to convert from Windows to Ubuntu (although we are geeky enough to know what that is) or read code, though I have picked up a book on basic HTML to figure out how to put the stupid Adsense code into the right place, since the directions here assume you have a Master’s degree in mind-reading. I’ve followed the instructions to the letter and the thing still won’t work. That’s a discussion for another day. 🙂

However, I have learned that men and women approach computer repairs very differently. My style:
1. Read all the instructions before starting.
2. Get all necessary items, including but not limited to appropriate tools, anti-static mat, anti-static wristband (you can’t have too much anti-static), a can of dust-off, and appropriate computer-repair music. For computer-repair music you have to have Enya, Yanni or something with zamfir flutes. It’s like Computer-Repair Valium for those times when you just want to beat the snot out of the computer because it’s not doing what you want it to do, and it’s laughing at you as it gives you the BSOD.
3. Consult the internet computer repair sites, and determine make, model number, size, shape, color, personality of the creator, as well as date, time (including seconds) and moon phase of manufacture of the part to be replaced so that you purchase the correct item the first time. I hate making multiple trips to a store, even if it is Best Buy.
4. Consult Consumer Reports to see if there are any articles on said item, and get its Reliability Data, even if I have absolutely no intention of doing anything different from our current course of action. I just feel better consulting it.
5. Consult and print off multiple online diagrams and articles on how to accomplish a repair, because I’ve discovered that nearly everyone has A Secret Tip. You can never have too many Secret Tips for tech repairs.
6. Find a safe place to put all screws that come out of the case. Place screws in separate tiny baggies that are labeled with locations those screws came from. Identify and label (at least mentally) all parts and where they come from and what wires are attached where.
7. Have phone charged so I can call Dad, who’s done programming for a living.
8. Have the Computer Abuse Hotline number available in case I feel like smashing the computer into little bits.
9. Have another computer with online access available should the above not work as you planned. Note that none of the above will _ever_ work as you planned, unless you have a PhD in computer repair. I bet even Gates swears at his computers now and then.
10. Have Diet Pepsi available in a spill proof container, because, as you know, caffeine makes any project go more smoothly. You gotta have spill-proof, because the Probability of Liquid Disaster increases by natural log zillion if you have an open container.

The Male method:
1. determine it’s the DVD drive causing the problem
2. Go to Best Buy and return home with something about 4 hours later, which may or may not include other things unrelated to the DVD drive.
3. Open up the case, unplug everything, plug the DVD in, screw the case back together, and discover the hard drive now also does not work.
4. Say a few choice words.

Now, this all started when the DVD stopped working during the climactic end battle of Jimbo’s campaign through NeverwinterNights 2, which is a very fun game. This meant that when the DVD burned out, it went from being a mere annoyance to be repaired within a week to ‘Dire Emergency That Must Be Fixed Now’. I pointed out that the cost of a DVD drive was half the cost online as it was at Best Buy, and we would still get it in a couple days, even overnight if we wanted. This did not deter Jimbo in Making Neverwinter Nights Work Again, which had now took on the tone of ‘epic quest’. I suggested that he take the case off and pull the old DVD out so that he’ll know what to get. After all, this made sense to me–then you can match the one you have with the correct one in the store. He thought there was only one kind, and so he declined to do that. He wanted to get going right away so that he could continue mortal combat with the King of Shadows. So, off he went to Best Buy.

Normally, Best Buy is about a 25 minute drive from our home. So, I became a tad concerned when he still wasn’t home about 3 hours later. However, he was fine, and when he returned home he was the proud owner of a new DVD drive, 3 blues CDs, and a bottle of Diet Pepsi. He proceeded to unscrew the case and took apart the various components, and discovered one very important thing: there are different kinds of DVD connectors, and he had the wrong one.

After a few choice words and some hand signals in the direction of the computer, he grabbed the old DVD, the new DVD which he now had to replace, and drove back to Best Buy. Well, since he now felt the true urgency of the call of the King of Shadows, it only took him about 47.2 minutes to get back home. I didn’t ask him if he’d been speeding.

He promptly discovered that the new DVD was about .2 mm too tall for the top slot that the original DVD drive came from. He did discover that it would fit if he switched slots with the DVD and CD player, and so he unplugged the cord that plugs into both and reversed the hardware. He turned on the computer–not only did the DVD not work, but the CD now was also out. This did not help Jimbo’s mood any. I decided it was time to consult the Starwarsknights chatbox, because a variety of Trusty Friends happened to be chatting, including stingerhs, who repairs computers at his job, and Kitty Kitty, who has put all her computers together herself since before the Commodore 64 was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Well, we first determined that the DVD had been the Master and the CD had been the Slave, and we needed to flip a couple switches when plugging them into the new slots. While Jimbo went to work to reverse the social hierarchy of the hardware, Kitty Kitty and I broke out chat-singing the Depeche Mode song “Master and Servant” and had a fine geeky time. Jimbo screwed the case back together (with an extra screw left over) and restarted the computer. The computer decided it would not recognize the hard drive, as if the hard drive were now a foreign country and we had not established diplomatic relations with it. This did not help Jimbo’s mood one bit.

I consulted the Chat Box Help Desk once more, and they suggested we check all wires. Jimbo insisted all wires were secured tightly. We then, for approximately the next hour, took a tour through the Bios settings, checked temperatures, input commands, and did a variety of other things to make the hard drive and computer want to re-establish diplomatic relations, all to no avail. Kitty and/or stingerhs mused that the hard drive might have fried because Jimbo was not using anti-static toys. Since all the save games for NWN2 are on that computer, that really made Jimbo start using words I had not heard since he smashed his thumb with a hammer while re-roofing the garage (thumb and roof are doing well, thank you). With language like that, he was going to need to ask for diplomatic immunity from the hard drive, I think.

At some point during all this talking, cussing, and grumbling, Jimbo suddenly noticed that there was a rainbow-colored wire just hanging off of the hard drive in open space, like it was modern art or something. He actually said “I wonder where this plugs in.” It was the power cable for the hard drive, and once that was properly re-attached, the hard drive and the computer suddenly talked to each other and became geopolitical allies once more. Kitty Kitty and I tried hard not to roll our eyes at this, but we failed our Will Saves rather badly. He replaced the computer case, with only 4 screws left over.

So, yes, about an hour after Kitty first suggested that all wires should be checked, the computer was back up and running, and the King of Shadows met his demise.