Monday, October 20, 2014

My Cat Caught a Lizard, and Other Things

Oh... I can't resist mentioning the grammar in the title...
Can't... resist...

It's just that it's such a good example of using a comma for clarification of meaning, not for telling someone where to pause or take a breath. See, these two sentences mean different things:
"My cat caught a lizard and other things."
"My cat caught a lizard, and other things."
The first sentence means my cat caught other things along with the lizard, which, with my cat, could be almost anything. Actually, I think he caught a spider this morning, too.
The second means that my cat caught only a lizard and there are other things I'm going to talk about.
Commas. They're important.
And not for telling me how to breathe.

I've made no secret, even though I haven't mentioned it in a while, of my antipathy for Windows 8. It's like a book, a horrible-bad book, that your English professor wrote and then made you read as an assignment. But, not just read it, read it over and over again. And it never gets any better, just... you get used to it. But, then, he tells you that he's made it better. You know, major re-writes and edits and all of that, but people start reading it and they tell you it's pretty much just the same. Maybe worse. Definitely not better. You don't bother with the new one.

That's me and Windows 8.1. I haven't known a single person who has said to me, "Oh, yeah, you should definitely switch to 8.1. It's way better." No... Pretty much everyone has told me that it's pretty much the same. A few of said they liked it less. So my computer has been prompting me to "upgrade" to 8.1 for a while, now. Months. Every time it prompted me, I told it "no." Why bother for just more of the same. I am, at least, used to Win8.
I guess it got tired of asking.

The other night, it just up and told me, "Heya, I'm upgrading to Windows 8.1. I can do it right now, or I can do it tomorrow. When do you want that to happen?" What I wanted to tell it was "NO!" but it wouldn't let me. I tried... well, I tried all sorts of things and it wouldn't let me stop the "upgrade" even though my stuff in the "Should I upgrade?" section told me that I could opt out.

Then it told me I needed to backup all of my files, which was fine except that I couldn't. I backed up my document files, but I have all of my photos on the computer, and I didn't have anything to put them all on nor did I have time to do it by the time I realized there was no way to stop the 8.1 installation. Really, I wouldn't have had time to do it without at least a week of notice. I was pretty furious by that point. Sort of a walking rant.

When the computer finally prompted, "I'm going to install Win 8.1, right now," I thought I had beat it by simply turning the computer off... but I was wrong. An hour or so later, the prompt came up again. And I turned the computer off again. But, when I turned it back on, it said, "Screw you! I'm installing this sucker, right now!"

Have I mentioned that I hate computers? Yeah... Kind of like how I hate cars. They should just work. Period. And they should work in the way you want them to work.

I have Win8.1 now. Here's what's changed:

  • Everything is slower now. The computer takes longer to boot and pages take longer to load. You know, it's the heightened security or whatever.
  • I no longer have to sign out of Windows before I can turn my computer off. Seriously, why was that even a thing? So that's one positive thing, although I still have to go to the start screen to do that.
  • All of my files are now backed up to the "cloud." Because, as we have seen with the recent cloud hacking of celebrities "special" pictures, the cloud is more secure than having things just on my computer.
All of that and my cat caught a lizard. In the house. It was a western fence lizard
which I think are pretty cool because they're immune to Lyme disease. He was playing with it under the kitchen table, but I didn't pay any attention to him, because that's where he likes to play with pieces of cardboard he pulls off his scratching box or with the little strips off the Netflix envelopes. But he just kept going and going. Usually, he's only good for entertaining himself in that way for 5-10 minutes, but, once he crossed the 20 minute mark, I began to wonder what he was doing. At some point, I checked. He had a lizard. Amazingly, it was intact. Apparently, all he was doing was batting it around and throwing it in the air. However, it was still dead.
It was sad-making.

There was another thing, too, but I can't remember what it was. That's what comes of being interrupted as many times as I have. Always am. Probably, it wasn't important, and this is long enough anyway.


  1. I saw one of those I guess in California.

  2. Did you back up to the cloud, or did Windows arbitrarily decide to just stick your stuff there on its own?

  3. That's why I'm glad I still have Windows 7.

  4. Aw. Poor little lizard.

    My iPhone did the same thing. It installed an update I'd been avoiding for months and the result slowed it down. I was bummed. Now I have an Android. We'll see what happens.

    I used to throw commas in everywhere! Now, I'm a bit better. Just a bit. I have a funny story about Bryan fixing my comma usage but it contains adult language and I don't want to make your blog R-rated. But, it explained the comma usage you mentioned perfectly and was funny enough for me to remember it.


  5. Our cats haven't caught any mice in a while. I'm taking that as a good sign but maybe they're just getting lazier. I don't think we have lizards in Vermont. That would be wild!

    Sorry about the computer issues.

  6. Pat: Yep, that's what you had a picture of.

    JeffO: It didn't back up everything to the cloud, but it did decide to back up some stuff. I'm not sure how it decided which things to choose.

    Alex: Unfortunately, that wasn't an option when I got my computer.

    Elsie: Yeah, it's not a good idea to sneeze commas. Or to have them follow a conjunction unless there's an adverbial phrase or something.

    TAS: I did see a mouse out in my backyard the other day. Cute little thing. I think it was eating tomatoes.

  7. Go yell at my teachers for all saying that commas are "when to breathe".

    Microsoft is very good at making their system very bad. I love computers. I just hate the operating systems.

  8. I'm not thrilled with computer upgrades and changes. I'd just like to see things stay the same unless they're really making something a whole lot better which I don't see them doing much of the time. I still have Vista on my computer while my wife has that older version that no one supports any longer and I can't remember the name of it. I do have a computer with Windows 7 on it that I need to set up and I guess I'll be doing that tomorrow maybe.

    For me next stop will be like Windows 13 or something. I'm content with what I've got. Well, kind of, I think.

    Tossing It Out

  9. Jeanne: I know that teachers teach it that way, but it's completely wrong. And, well, kind of insulting. It says to the reader "you're not able to read this on your own and need me to tell you how to do it."

    Lee: That would be Windows XP, which I really liked. I skipped Vista entirely because of all the issues it had.
    Win8 is a big change because it's geared toward mobile devices with touch screens. The problem is that for people like me who are still using a desktop and don't have a new-fangled touch monitor, it messes things up. It was just too early to make inflict on everyone.

  10. Good comma example. I like "Let's eat mom" v. "Let's eat, Mom." Lizards quite often run into my house. Franklin ignores them. I get rid of them.


  11. Janie: I like it better when it's, "Let's eat grandma."
    Don't ask me why; I don't know.

  12. I've had the same kind of issues with my computer. It annoys the crud out of me and makes me paranoid about my files every time. My computer has gotten slower and slower. It's time to buy a new one, but I'm so used to this one and I don't want to make the effort of going to Best Buy and having a sales person talk gibberish to me about ALL THE COOL THINGS when really I just want internet and Word. That's it.

  13. My personal variant (and maybe even what Elsie is referring to) is the difference between "F*** that, grandpa!" and "F*** that grandpa!"

    And you're right - grandma/grandpa is better. I think it's just funnier.

    I'm running Windows 8.1... which I custom modded just to look like Windows 7. Because who was the genius who thought it'd be smart to A) take away the Start bar and B) make you go through a huge series of steps just to shut down?

    (Oh, and you get my e-mail?)

  14. Sorry about Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. It takes me back to other great advancements from MS that pissed off the world.

    They were due. :-/

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  15. Jessica: Yeah, I know what you mean. The problem, though, is that, these days, you have to have something pretty good if you want to use the Internet. Unless you want to spend 10 minutes waiting for your pages to load.

    ABftS: That genius who thought of those things was let go by Microsoft after the release of Win8. He was a big deal guy and had done a lot of successful stuff prior to 8, so, when they got to 8, they gave him a little too much power, and he failed to listen to the people working under him. So... yeah...

    Anna: I think Win8 is a great idea for people with touch screens and all of that; I can see how it would be advantageous. But those of us who don't shouldn't be forced into it.

  16. Mice outside are okay. We've got owls and other predators around to keep them in check. But if they turn up in the house, no mercy!

  17. Sorry to hear about the lizard, but at least your cat had fun for awhile. And hey, no messy partial carcass clean up is a plus.

    I hate windows 8. Is that even a strong enough word? Probably not. I installed a free shell so other than the initial sign in screen, I can pretend I'm back in windows 7 land. I'm much more comfortable inside my shell.

  18. Unexpected computer problems can be daunting at times. But I hope you had it checked out, since you said that your computer got slower after the installation. This is just to determine what went wrong. And with regard to the cloud system, all systems have their own pros and cons. It's just a matter or choosing the system that works best for you.

    Lillian Walker @ TaylorWorks

  19. TAS: Supposedly, everyone has mice in their houses.

    Jean: Detest? Loathe? Is there a word strong enough?

    Lillian: No, nothing's wrong. It's "supposed" to get slower.

  20. First of all, thank you for reminding me that there's a spider corpse on the floor of my office waiting to be thrown away, courtesy of my cat. I noticed it when I was on my office phone, which, gasp, has a cord, so I couldn't take care of it then, and promptly forgot once off the phone.

    Okay, aside from that, poor lizard. But cats will be cats. That spider on my floor is courtesy of my cat. Also, no way do I want my files automatically backed up to the cloud. No. No, no, no. Is there a way for you to turn that option off??

  21. Shannon: I think from this point on, I have to manually back stuff up to there. I'm not sure, actually. The cloud is a nice idea; it's too bad it also makes a convenient target.

    Does your phone also have a rotary dial?