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I Spy O
by Asa Butcher
2007-08-29 10:42:03
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Offline: Local Area Connection has no signal – Contact your local provider for assistance. Yes, I am disconnected, cut off and hate every isolated minute. What am I supposed to do with my life now my access to the World Wide Web has been brutally snatched away by either a malfunctioning modem, unstable connection or simply a ghost in the machine?

I feel naked. I feel lonely. Skype is constantly trying to connect, my MSN man has a tiny X over his face, my email accounts grasp desperately for contact with the server, Firefox keeps timing out, the RSS Feeds are hungry and I can't access Facebook to update my situation: "Asa is… pressing his nose up against Windows trying to see what he is missing."

It is as though a prankster has covered my windows and removed my doorknob; I know there is a world out there but I'm jiggered if I can get barely a glimpse of it. There could be people ringing the bell trying to enter the door commonly known as Ovi Magazine, but here I am inside a soundproof booth unable to hear their pleas of desperation to contribute to our esteemed publication.

I phoned Technical Support and the gentleman was actually quite helpful, but we couldn't figure out the problem together. He suggested trying another modem to eliminate the possibility that ours is kaput, so I rushed over to Thanos' and borrowed his. Unfortunately I also brought home a piece of chewing gum on my arse that his daughter had kindly left on a chair – I went from one sticky problem to another.

How to remove gum from jeans… I know: I'll Google the problem… d'oh! It was then that I remembered a long-forgotten shelf in the corner of our flat, which carried a selection of encyclopaedias, DIY guides, medical journals, dictionaries and even an atlas. A range of books that are all found in my bookmarks or with a simple Google query, but not today. I'm going to sound like my granddad now, but I'd forgotten how rewarding it is to research something in a book.

Don't roll your eyes at me! In a book you are more likely to head off on a tangent and begin reading adjacent entries. On the 'chewing gum' page alone I learnt all about Chesapeake Bay in the Atlantic, I discovered that a chessel is a mould used in cheese-making and is not in the Microsoft Word dictionary, Cheynes-Stokes breathing is alternating shallow and deep breathing in comatose patients and I even found Chichester, a town in southern England where I went to school. It was fascinating stuff!

After half-an-hour my wife asked about the progress of the chewing gum removal research and I hastily thumbed back to that entry: "Freeze the gum with an ice cube and then break it off with your fingers." So now I am waiting for the water in my ice cube tray to freeze, which may surprise some of you who thought that in Finland we get our ice cubes through its ice fishing industry.

Whether the ice cube freezing trick will work on the gum isn't particularly exciting and I'm sure you don't give a monkey's toss concerning the outcome, but you have stuck with me this far through my offline ramblings and for that I am grateful. Now I expect you will happily click the back button, check you emails and continue to take your online status for granted, but beware because it can vanish without warning…The connection has timed out…

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Emanuel Paparella2007-08-29 12:06:33
The best is yet to come. There is nothing like a computer crash wherein one experiences the loss of all of one's files. It is like losing one's memory and identity, redolent of having one's wallet with i.ds pick-pocketed in Rome. Then one remembers Cicero's orations and other wonderful books sitting on one's shelf and waiting to be read. The internet provider told me it was my fault: I failed to provide for back-up. I wonder if the provider provides books for his children, or does he consider them passè, fit to be burned. How did Eliot put it? We are like crabs on the ocean floor!

Frank2007-08-29 12:32:33
did you know that warm water freezes faster than cold water?

Emanuel Paparella2007-08-29 15:04:32
No, thanks for the information, but as Aquinas put it "The slenderest knowledge that man may obtain of the highest things is more valuable than mathematically precise knowledge of lesser things." The former is science for understanding, the latter is science for manipulation ending in Bacon's misguided statement that "knowledge is power." Aristotle who wrote on natural theology and the soul would certainly agree with Aquina.

Thanos2007-08-29 15:36:27
Please don't remind me these dark times!!! I lost work I have never managed to replace!!!

Asa2007-08-29 15:37:07
I'm back online!

Three cheers for my new modem!!!

The ice did remove all the gum from my jeans and office chair, so the tip actually worked.

Did you know that the formula for ice cubes is H20 cubed.

Emanuel Paparella2007-08-29 17:11:11
I am learning a lot of science today. There is a book out titled The Cube and the Cathedral. Interesting juxtaposition that can be ecperienced in Paris: the modern monument in the form of a cube dwarfing Notre Dame. Highly recommendable read to anybody suddenly deprived of a computer. In any case, congratulations Asa on getting back to normal with the business of publishing on line.

Asa2007-08-29 17:17:00
The Notre Dame was the location of a personal attack by one of the piss-poor caricaturists that lurk on the banks of the Seine.

I refused to pay and he said that I had a big chin! Well, if you put it like that then here's the cash!

Emanuel Paparella2007-08-29 23:13:10
Being able to take it on the chin? That may do one better on the famous "stiff upper lip" for which the English are famous.

On computer crashes, let us not blame ourselves Thanos. In the first place it was definetly not "pilot error," in the second place as the literary psychologist Jacques Lacan has well taught us in his hermeneuics, no message ever goes undelivered by Hermes and nothing ever gets lost. Even astronomers and cosmologists are coming around to that, Aquinas might have had it right all along: the universe may be eternal albeit an emanation of God. Stephen Hawking is still holding out on that insisting that black wholes make matter disappear even though he is unable to explain black invisible matter (97% of the universe); but that is because he does not want to lose face with his colleagues. Eventually he'll come around. The human mind is a universe too as the ancient Greeks well understood and we, alas, no longer do.

Emanuel Paparella2007-08-29 23:18:14
The term "hermeneutics" above is mispelled. Apologies for that and all other unintented typos to any language purist on Ovi magazine.

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