GateHouse — A short parable for this holiday season, starring .htaccess files, five lightsabers, inessential ambition and egregious, carrying-a-walrus-with-two-hands-over-your-head stupidity:
I am, as anyone who has spent more than four minutes with me and my collection of stories involving personal interactions with “Weird Al” Yankovic (there are six) will attest, a nerd. Not a geek, mind you, nor a dingus, and not really a twerp, although there was a good period of pronounced twerpery between the years of 1987-1989 that cheerfully coincided with the purchase of a new camera by both my Dad and the school yearbook staff. Good times.
The point is, nerd. To wit, I spent Thanksgiving this year at the home of lovely and hospitable friends who have one baby and five lightsabers. Also to wit, I just said to wit, which actually makes me want to beat myself up. Anyway, after dinner the husband component of this couple produced the replica lightsabers — I’m going to stop and do that again with overbearing punctuation: five. replica.lightsabers — and the small percentage of guests who were able to regard this development without releasing a sigh of utter despondency adjourned directly outside and — well, there’s no other way to say this — had a Jedi fight. I would say we did this for the benefit of my five-year-old son, but I’d be lying if I suggested that I found the entire endeavor to be anything south of way awesome.
Anyway, this minor though not entirely un-violent episode coincided with a time in which I decided, hey, you know what, this Internet thing seems to be gaining traction amongst the youngsters and the media, in that order, so let’s see if I can’t get my blog looking a little spiffier and moved to a new host that can make that happen.
Now, please note here that ability to name “Star Wars” bounty hunters or not I am about as familiar with Internet-based behind-the-curtain futzing as I am with competitive weightlifting, and this sort of work is not only something I have zero experience with, but so far removed from my skill set as to compel anyone who knows me personally to make a snarky yet accurate wiseapple crack, such as, “Great idea, and maybe next you should try out for the basketball team!”
Anyway, you can pretty well imagine how this blog thing went. Everything actually seemed to be gliding along pretty smoothly, until I clicked the first button, and then black clouds closed over my house, I began receiving all manner of colorful error messages about my root directory and .htaccess files, tongues of flame began shooting out of my USB ports (which hurts), and I got a rash, which may or may not be related but I thought I’d bring it up. This is true: at some point I deleted my primary password; at another point the blog reverted to 1997 and everything was in Times New Roman on a white background without character styles and if you know anything about design you know THIS IS THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD. Also in honor of this last hopeless error, I now have Spice Girls songs stuck in my head. Sigh.
So, as my to-do list tonight included two things: 1. Write column and 2. Endeavor to destroy the Internet, I’ve given up on the blog thing and gone back to No. 1, so I’m writing this over a ramshackle muddle of windows that basically serve as a road map of my failures: There’s an FTP site open for some reason, there’s my blog, which seems awful forlorn for something which has no face, and about 400 text documents on my desktop, all of which have “config” in their names, which is a word that screams “Do not jerk around with this file, gravy-brain.”
And oh my goodness but I have just now this very minute no joke noticed that I have managed to temporarily resolve what has been hours of chaos by embarking on my usual plan for fixing all things, from cars to baseboards to toy trains: just putting it back where it was before, and walking away slowly, which is what I am doing right now, the lesson being if you’re going to be all stupid and ambitious have a real nerd around, because he can either fix the problem for you, or provide a lightsaber with which you can take out your aggressions.