...the Journal

Refrigerator Door

Another self-explanatory magnet.

You'll be happy to know, there are only three more magnets left to go!!!

Household Hints


A Medieval Home Companion:
Housekeeping in the 14th Century

Care of dogs and husbands

When dogs come in from the woods and the hunt, they have clean bedding--made even by the master himself--before the fire. Their feet are anointed with soft tallow, sops are prepared for them, and they are made comfortable out of consideration for their labor. Similarly, if women do for their husbands what men do for their horses, dogs, donkeys, mules and other beasts, certainly all other houses where their husbands have been waited on will seem to them only gloomy prisons and alien places compared to their own.

I am a theatre critic

OK...so it's a new "career", but if you're interested in reading my reviews, go here

Updated 3/10/01


In a Sunburned Country
by Bill Bryson

I don't have a lot of time to read this book, but it's great reading.


I tried watching the excellent Wit with Emma Thompson, but alas, fell asleep

That's it for today!


25 March 2001

I saw a commercial on TV the other day about "Generation D," the kids who have grown up with computers and the lingo of the Gen-Díers. It was a foreign language to me.

There was a time when I was the techno geek of everywhere I worked. Starting back in the 60s when I worked for the Physics Department at UC Berkeley. I had an old IBM, in the pre-Selectric days, when to type technical manuscripts I had a bunch of interchangeable keys that I could whip in and out with facility. I also knew the inner workings of the Xerox machine and often even when the woman who ran the copy room couldnít figure out what was wrong with the machine, I could.

I quit that job and stayed home for awhile, but I eventually ended up at The Lamplighters, where I got my first real introduction to computers. The guy who instructed me didnít really know what he was doing and taught me by telling me which keys to push, but I wanted to know why I was pushing them; I wanted to know how to do it better and faster and so I began to experiment and figure things out for myself. In time, I was showing my trainer shortcuts and explaining to him why various things worked the way they did.

Gilbert and I got little Apple IIcís at about the same time, and we were also learning how to use the new desktop which came with--gasp!--a real hard drive! I loved figuring out how to make the programs work. We were figuring out how to make Lotus 1-2-3 work for what we wanted to do, and at the same time working with an integrated program on the Apples. It was such fun beginning to get a handle on something I thought Iíd never begin to understand.

I remember when Walt and I were first married and he was taking a class in Fortran. I looked at his books and realized that computers were something I would never, ever comprehend. And yet here I was not only using one, but beginning to understand what I was doing.

I worked at home at that time, for a typing service that contracted out its work. The company was going high tech and bought a couple of dedicated word processors. I worked in the office occasionally and by now was getting the hang of the lingo and I was enjoying mastering the machines. The woman I worked with called me in exasperation one day and said she absolutely could not figure the damn machine out and if I wanted a full time job, I had it. That was how I went back to work full time.

I was the undisputed expert on the word processor. I not only could figure out how to do complicated material using its various options, but I also new where to kick when it was acting sluggish.

When I left that job, I went to work for another typing service which very soon upgraded from IBM selectrics to PCs. I was introduced to WordPerfect 4-something. We went through several version of WP and I loved the program. I read technical manuals in my spare time to learn how to do things better and faster. I mastered graphics, and tables, and columns (oh my!). I spent a long time trying to convince my boss that macros would make her life so much less complicated, but she had no interest in learning anything beyond the basics.

I got my own home computer, with a whopping 60 mg hard drive. I thought Iíd died and gone to heaven. I had books on WordPerfect and subscribed to the WP magazine, and I devoured each new improvement. I got into graphics software, started a newsletter, etc., etc. I attended users group meetings and heard about all the great new programs that were coming on the horizon and how they would make things even better.

Only something started to happen. The new improvements were no longer things that I needed to use in my day to day life, and I kind of began to fall behind on my reading. Iíve continued to upgrade when I can see a use for upgrades. I learned HTML programming when I wanted to design a web page, and added Front Page when I discovered how much easier it was to do things in a WYSIWYG format. But I never have bothered to learn Java and know that this is to my detriment.

I went to Office Max yesterday and looked at all the new gadgets that are out now and the programs that are supposed to help us do everything from put on makeup to design whole civilizations. And it hit me that I have gone from being a computer geek to being a computer dork. I donít have a clue what most of this stuff does.

Iím still sitting here using two computers, because the modem on the new one is very temperamental. There are days when it works just fine, and other days when you canít connect to the Internet for love nor money, and if you do connect, the connection lasts just seconds. I tried sending a one line e-mail last night, pushing "send" the second that it cleared my password, but it disconnected before the email could go through. Five more attempts at connecting were equally as unsuccessful, so I gave up. Yes, I should take it in for servicing or buy a new modem or something; I just havenít gotten around to it. (In a year?)

(Frankly, I've been too embarrassed to admit that I couldn't "fix" whatever was wrong with a brand new computer, which is no longer on warranty, of course. I felt it was something I was doing wrong because I just didn't understand the new machine and didn't know the right questions to ask.)

When Peggy was here, she showed me a few tricks on the graphics programs she uses and it made me realize that I have been missing out on some really pretty spectacular stuff, so I've started tinkering again.

But the biggest thing thatís happened to me technologically is the new PicturestoEXE program that Peggy set me up with. For the first time in literally years, I have something that excites me and has gotten my creative juices flowing. Because of this program, Iíve finally started moving graphics files from one computer to the next, Iím reading on-line manuals again. Because you can add music to slide shows that you create, I began doing a lot of researching of MIDI sites (thanks, Wilma!) and then, when I discovered MP3, I had to learn how to convert CDs to MP3, so Iím doing that as well. (Peggy even has me interested in Napster, in its waning days, but unless I can get a predictable, consistent Internet connection, that ain't gonna happen).

I still havenít quite mastered it, but it has my creative juices flowing again and once more I have an incentive to learn. Itís scrapbooking taken to new heights. This I can relate to.

Iíll never design my own Sim city, and probably never own a palm pilot and most of the new technology is going to be stuff that, now that Iím not in the workforce on a daily basis, I will have no need for, so I will never get the Gen-D lingo, just because it has no practical application in my day to day life.

But at least Iím discovering that itís still possible to teach this old dog new tricks. And probably everyone I know is going to get sick of seeing these slide shows Iím having such a great time putting together!

One Year Ago:

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 3/25/01 by Bev Sykes