Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Technology has been unkind to me

From the simple to the massive, various systems have been coming down with bugs …

Since Thursday, I've been hit by several failures of technology.

Thursday night, the bulb in the halogen torchere in the living room burned out. No problem, I thought, we always keep a spare in the tool drawer in the kitchen. Nope. Apparently the last time that bulb was changed, whoever changed it didn't put a new spare bulb on the shopping list. OK, I thought, I'll turn on the hanging lamp in the other corner. It's not as bright as the torchere, but it's bright enough to read by. It's plugged into a wall outlet that's controlled by a light switch near the door. I flipped the switch, and nothing happened. Well, all right, I reasoned, the living room is open to the dining room; I can turn on the dining room light. Three of the five light bulbs came on, and as I watched, one of them flickered out. OK, I'll just put new bulbs in, I thought. I went back to the tool drawer and found that there were no candelabra bulbs either. So when I'm in the living room, I'm pretty much in the dark. (Of course, there are some who would argue that I'm in the dark most of the time.) Yeah, I'll get to the store eventually and get some light bulbs, but I've had other things occupying my time.

Also Thursday, my ISP was having problems; I could get online, but I couldn't access email. This was a problem, as I had set the email system at the community college where I teach to forward email coming from the student information system. That meant that if my students sent me a message, I couldn't get it. When the ISP continued to have problems into Friday, I reset my account on the student email system so as not to forward to my ISP anymore. The student system was scheduled to be out for maintenance all weekend, but if my ISP was flaking out on me, I didn't really have any other choice.

Then there has been a problem in the blogosphere. It's not earth-shaking, it's just that there's a feature on one of my favorite blogs that isn't working. The cessation of its function coincided both with the blog author's making some changes to improve the feature and with my receiving an upgrade of Java. Since nobody else who visits that blog has reported a problem, I'm more inclined to blame the Java upgrade than the blog owner's revision, although it may just be plain bad luck that the revision and the Java upgrade happen not to agree with each other.

This morning, I was lying in bed, annoyed at how noisy the neighbors' bug-zapper was. Yes, the number of mosquitoes has skyrocketed in Albuquerque lately, but this was ridiculous – popping so often, and so loudly, it was almost as if it was in the house instead of next door. Then I realized it WAS in the house. I jumped out of bed and ran to the computer room, where I found the monitor of the desktop computer was doing a very good impression of a bug zapper, making big popping noises each accompanied by a flash on the screen. Pressing the power button caused no change in this behavior; I had to turn off the power at the power strip.

Late this evening I got an email from a student who didn't pay attention to the multiple announcements I had made in class about the student information system being down for the weekend, who needed to know the homework assignments for tomorrow. OK, so that one's not really my problem, just the student's, but it was annoying. It would have been good of the IT people to have made the major system upgrade between terms.

So today I was working on grading papers, and then creating what I call Reality Checks. These are mini-report cards, about the size of a check, that give each student a snapshot of his or her standing in the class – whether the student is doing well, keeping up with the work, needing to work a little harder, or needing to work a lot harder. While I create all of my class documents on the laptop computer, the desktop computer is what's attached to the printer. Usually, that means I copy the files onto a thumb drive and take it over to the desktop to print the files. With the desktop's monitor doing its bug-zapper impression, I needed to clear space for the laptop on the desktop's desk, unplug the monitor from the power strip, turn on the power strip, plug the printer into the laptop, and wait until the printer and laptop decided they would be willing to talk to each other.

About halfway through printing the Reality Checks, the printer stopped printing and refused to do any more. It had decided that one of its toner cartridges was empty, and it simply would not print until the cartridge was replaced. That is one of this printer's more frustrating "features" – there is absolutely no detectable degradation in print quality, and I expect even when the print quality does decline, it would still be OK for a couple hundred more pages, especially if the toner cartridge gets shaken up once in a while. Sure, the print quality might not be good for important stuff, but it would certainly be OK for rough drafts. It's a huge waste to have to replace a toner cartridge when it's probably still usable. What's even more frustrating is that if one of the color toner cartridges needs replacing, the printer will still refuse to print even if it is told to print in black and white and not even use color. And the printer is clever, oh, so clever – it isn't fooled when the toner cartridge is taken out, shaken, and replaced. Oh, no, it's not going to fall for that trick.

Meanwhile, I'm wishing the desktop computer's monitor really were a bug zapper. I'm getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. They love O-negative.

Going back to the beginning, here's a group writing project that shouldn't take too much time and energy – create a light bulb joke with the format "How many ____ sailors does it take to change a light bulb? ____, (because) ____."

For example, "How many Etchells sailors does it take to change a light bulb? It doesn't matter, because they're all busy bragging about their fraculators."

"How many MacGregor sailors does it take to change a light bulb? Six: one to change the bulb and five to replace the wiring on the boat."

Post your answers here and/or on your own blogs with a link here. Come on, I'm expecting some good ones about Lasers and Force 5's.

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20 Comments:

Blogger Tillerman said...

OK. Here are 7 light bulb jokes for you.

Mon Jun 08, 09:12:00 AM MDT  
OpenID Turinas said...

How many sailing bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb?

250

1 to change the light bulb and 249 to write supportive comments, share lightbulb changing experiences, recollections of the time Tillerman invented the first lightbulb holder made of duct tape, Joe to post a girl in a bikini holding a fish with a light bulb in its mouth (not that I'm complaining, Puffy to post why windsurfers are better lightbulb changers, Bonnie to write a great story of kayakers changing lightbulbs in Brooklyn, Christian to paint a lovely water color, Tugster to share photos of lightbulbs on tugs, etc

Mon Jun 08, 10:03:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Andrew said...

How many Laser sailors does it take to change a lightbulb?

If Part Three does not specifically allow a change or
addition - IT IS ILLEGAL!

Mon Jun 08, 02:20:00 PM MDT  
Blogger O Docker said...

How many America's Cup sailors does it take to change a light bulb?***


***The correct answer cannot be determined at this time pending a decision of the New York state appelate courts.

Mon Jun 08, 03:32:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

There's another America's Cup LBJ from JP over in my comments.

Mon Jun 08, 03:38:00 PM MDT  
Blogger O Docker said...

And we posted these within minutes of each other.

This is depressing. I'm spending so much time over at JP's blog, I'm starting to think like him.

Mon Jun 08, 03:46:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous EscapeVelocity said...

How many Catalina 22 sailors does it take to change a light bulb?

They don't, they prefer the old ones.

How many J22 sailors does it take to change a light bulb?

275 kg.

How many J24 sailors does it take to change a light bulb?

Three. Foredeck holds the bulb, pit turns the ladder, skipper yells at them for not doing it fast enough.

Mon Jun 08, 08:06:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

And another one (about Hobie cats) in a comment to another post on my blog.

Mon Jun 08, 08:18:00 PM MDT  
Blogger M Squared said...

How many Santana 20 sailors does it take to change a light bulb?

Two: one to hold the lava lamp bottle and one to change the light bulb.

Mon Jun 08, 11:41:00 PM MDT  
Blogger O Docker said...

This just in on the America's Cup light bulb controversy. The answer will now hinge on how the appellate court interprets crucial language involving exactly what constitutes a light bulb. Attorneys for the challenger are arguing that an electrical appliance designed to emit light is not actually a 'light bulb' unless it has been used at least once in the past as a source of light. Thus, a new bulb cannot actually be considered a 'light bulb'. The decision is not expected to be handed down until sometime in October. What's the deadline for this writing project?

Tue Jun 09, 10:09:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Andrew said...

How many Optimist sailors does it take to change a liight bulb?

One, and her Dad
[who will end up doing it for her while she runs round the boat park with her friends]

Tue Jun 09, 12:44:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

Latest legal filing on the America's Cup light bulb controversy just in...

The phrase "light bulb" in the challenge from the Rio Grande Sailing Club is inherently confusing and open to several interpretations. "Lightbulb" is a noun, free of adjective, and is primarily a technical term to describe an electrical device used for providing illumination.

However the Secretary of RGSC chose to issue a challenge to be performed with a "light bulb". In this context it is clear that light is an adjective and bulb is a noun, and that the adjective modifies the noun.

A "bulb" is defined in botany as "a short, modified, underground stem surrounded by usually fleshy modified leaves that contain stored food for the shoot within."

And "light" is defined both as "pale, whitish, or not deep or dark in color" and also as "of little weight; not heavy".

By choosing such vague language, unfortunately RGSC has not made it clear whether the challenge is to be performed with onion bulbs (former definition) or snowdrop bulbs (latter definition), or whether indeed the challenger may choose to compete with an onion bulb against the defender's snowdrop bulb.

In a subsequent filing I will acquaint the court with similar difficulties and ambiguities in the meaning of the word "screw"...

Tue Jun 09, 01:26:00 PM MDT  
Blogger O Docker said...

And now this on the America's Cup. In a surprise move, the sailors may not be installing a light bulb at all. They're now being asked to fire off a six-foot-long Roman candle, which most agree is far more spectacular to watch than any kind of light bulb. This has raised an uproar between those who would love to see Roman candles lighting up the night sky and traditionalists who claim generations of Cup sailors have changed light bulbs and the Cup just wouldn't be the Cup, and whatever.

The only problem is that now no one knows just where the Roman candles would be fired off and many are so disgruntled by all of this they're starting to use the word 'screw' in contexts not intended by the drafters of the original challenge.

Tue Jun 09, 02:39:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous darusha said...

How many cruising sailors does it take to change a lightbulb?

Six. Only one to change the bulb, but 5 others to talk about the time they changed a lightbulb at the top of the mast while in the middle of a gale on the way to the Tuamotos.

Tue Jun 09, 03:01:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

I didn't originally specify a deadline in the original post, but I've now decided it's reasonable to allow until the end of next week, or midnight, Saturday, June 20.

In keeping with the spirit of Five O'Clock Somewhere, this means as long as it's not midnight yet in Samoa, so many of the procrastinators will have a sizeable chunk of Sunday to work with as well.

I'm still working on figuring out the most equitable way to count entries -- per post/comment, or per joke, or some other method.

If I count posts/comments, some have just one joke and others have several. But then, those who put multiple jokes into one post/comment could simply avoid that problem by making a bunch of single-joke entries.

The one solution, I guess, if we're trying to break a record, is to get so many posts/comments (not counting the running series about the America's Cup sailors, which I'm counting as one unit) that I can break the record without counting each joke separately.

To encourage participation, I am offering all contributors a gift: the next time you find yourself in New Mexico, a pint of your choice either at Socorro Springs in Socorro, or at the High Country in Chama. (For those under 21 and/or who don't consume alcohol, Socorro Springs also does awesome root beer and cream soda.)

(How odd ... the verification text I am being given to confirm this comment is "popye").

Wed Jun 10, 12:31:00 AM MDT  
Blogger yarg said...

How many ISAF rule writing sailors does it take to change a light bulb? 1001. 1000 to exchange emails for three years, and one to print them, pile them, and stand on the pile to reach the light bulb.

How many Laser sailors does it take to change a light bulb? Laser sailors don’t use light bulbs, they light the room with a computer monitor while reading Tillerman’s blog.

How many Laser sailmaker sailors does it take to change a light bulb? It only takes two, but it takes 30 years to do it.

How many US Sailing sailors does it take to change a light bulb? Seven. One to write the book on light bulbs, one to teach the course, one to collect the money, one to issue the certificate for successful course completion, one to maintain the website for certified light bulb changers, and one to change the light bulb.

Wed Jun 10, 08:37:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

Hey yarg. That last one has only six. You missed out the "one to present US Sailing Life Time Achievement Awards For Excellence in Light Bulb Changing to the other six."

Wed Jun 10, 11:33:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous Tillerman said...

How many Practical Sailor Testers does it take to change a light bulb?

There's no way to find out without signing up to be a subscriber.

Wed Jun 10, 12:50:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous Andrew said...

I don't have a sailboat, so I posted in the entry where she talks about me.

Fri Jun 12, 09:00:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Gerald said...

I see the pint offer, so here's my contribution:

How many college FJ sailors does it take to change a lightbulb?
To be honest, know one really knows. When it went out, someone just dragged the keg out into the beach and the party went on anyway.

Tue Jun 16, 06:44:00 PM MDT  

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