Monday, June 29, 2015

Computer Guru And Cupcake Godsend

In The Panhandle And In The Basement

Since the development of photography, a subsequent, disheartening phenomenon has followed: losing one’s photos.  I’d wager this frustration first began when David Bachrach barely managed to snap a blurry shot of the sixteenth President before he finished invoking his forefathers four score and seven years prior.  Perhaps we humans thought such irritation at our inability to capture and preserve moments for our family’s posterity when the modern era converted from film to digital images.  Wrong.  A mere handful of days into my vacation, when I had strategically and deliberately saved each day’s photos to my computer to preserve coveted space on my SD card, my device unexpectedly succumbed to the crashing catastrophe of digital proportions and failed to preserve the images of my experiences to date.  Curses!  I practically can hear the shock of the photographer at Gettysburg as Lincoln takes his seat.

Surprisingly, in the quaint town of Coeur d’Alene, after coping with my mildly horrific loss for twenty-four hours, I wander past the lower level of what used to be city hall.  To my joy and delight, I spy the timely establishment of the Computer Guru, and return to fetch my ailing laptop.  Hope springs anew, but the sad truth remains that my photos will not be salvageable.  I begin to accept the fate of the lost images, and I sadly contemplate how best to drown my sorrows.  Thankfully, the adorable hamlet into which I have stumbled provides an immediate cure.  Sharing office space in the basement of the Old City Hall, a cupcake shop beckons me to release my virtual defeat and accept the solace of the moment with a bit of Guinness and chocolate baked into a paper-lined, over-sized, sweetly-frosted remedy for what ails my computer.  I acquiesce.

Of, By, And For

I accept my defeat.  I move forward.  I will let me laptop be held in repose until my return from my vacation and then I will find a solution to breathe life into its monitor.  Now that I am home, I find myself starting from scratch, hoping to be struck by lightning and illuminated into finding a computer repair source that provides me with comfort that sometimes bad things happen to good machines.  I flounder unsuccessfully, wistfully wallowing in the loss of my digital accomplice (see “My Muse” from December 2012).  Were I to find a golden pot of surprises at the end of the computer-repair rainbow, a specialty shop that could restore my faith in electronics, as well as restore my hard drive, would it ever equal the sweet magic of a computer guru juxtaposed in a cozy corner with cupcakes?  Doubtful.

Why reinvent the wheel?  Why struggle in my search for netbook nirvana when I have already identified a cosmic corner where cupcakes and computers live harmoniously adjacent to one another?  I pack my lifeless electronics into bubble wrap, hoping it will arrive at its destination, forty-seven states away from me, with enough functioning bits and pieces to be restored to its previous glory.  I do not worry needlessly.   I know my computer, once safely at its destination, will be embraced in capable hands.  That Ray, as I affectionately dub my laptop, will arrive in a familiar setting, will begin to heal to its pre-vacation stature, and that if all else fails, it will rest in peace next to the sweet smell of cupcakes.  I solemnly believe that the Computer Guru of the Panhandle, by the cupcake shop, and for the sake of my laptop, shall not perish in its efforts.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hazy Shade Of Summer

Not A Cloud In The Sky

After discovering the secret about Jacob’s Lake (see “Jacob Lake” from January 2012), our Plan B excursion brought us to the base of the identically named Lookout Tower.  I didn’t ascend it.  Only Son #1 tackled those stairs, as I remained grounded with Son #2 (with a note to myself to go back and do that) peering upward wondering what the view must encompass.  Even from the dull seats eighty feet below, the history of the structure tickles me.  Yet again, the Civilian Conservation Corps strikes.  More than eight thousand feet above sea level, the most noteworthy quality of its height remains today, as it did in 1934 when its construction was completed, to peer across the tree tops to scout for blazes beginning in the Kaibab National Forest.

Before aircraft skimmed the skies, the eagle-eyes of the solitary individuals perched in their tower detected the first signals of smoke and then provided coordinates to those charged with its extinguishment.  The same service remains today, aided by technology, but still dependent on the eyes of the individual up in the tower.  On the day my son ascended, the clear horizon brought no urgency, sounded no alarm, and the forest slept soundly.  The view up there may have been spectacular, but the outlook at the lookout appeared dull.

Not A Sky In The Clouds

Even the sun appears a sickly shade of scintillation, covered thickly by the smoke from the Washington State fires.  For a record number of days, Seattle measures no rain, no storms pummel Puget Sound, and nearly hidden in plain sight, Mount Rainier cloaks itself in an ominous haze (see “Change of Plans,” December 2013).  The signs of smoke reach from the eastern mountains to the western shore, hovering over the city, threatening its usual summer glow, reminding me that the fire crews at our hotel in Omak wish fishing on the Columbia and sightseeing hydroelectric dams filled their days outdoors.

How different one season to the next might affect the view of the Pacific Northwest.  How tranquil a forest might be in a moist year and how devastated it may become in another.  Looking across the crystal blue sky in Northern Arizona appears in such contrast to the streaks of brown hovering between me and the light of the afternoon, planet Earth altering its best vistas into dingy, haunting reminders of its fragility.  Somewhere above the clouds of ash and smoky haze, the sky desperately attempts to peek down upon me and while I know it stretches high above me, I wonder when I might see it again.  All signs point to a long wait.