Kinda Cranky

Faith In An Age of Darkness

Faith In An Age of Darkness

The sun came out for a few brief minutes this morning and kissed the treetops. Unfortunately it was kissing them goodbye, because it was soon chased away as grey clouds marched west from the eastern sky. January was so dreary, almost always cloudy and February is following suit.

I have been cranky for the last week or so. What is my problem? It is my good fortune that my problem is gloriously inconsequential, magnificently temporal and ultimately resolvable. It is a luxury to be cranky about small matters.

So, just what is this small matter that is making me feel cranky? It is a problem I created for myself.

< boring description of computer woes >

When I upgraded my operating system to LION, my PGPDesktop software ceased to function. I had years and years of encrypted data on volumes created by PGPDesktop, that were suddenly locked and without the software the key had been thrown away. As far as I could figure out I had two options. Update PGPDesktop to work on LION, or use an older operating system to install the old PGPDesktop, unencrypt my volumes and burn the raw data files onto DVD data disks.

The company that developed PGPDestop sold it to Symantec, who wanted a lot of money and a lot of my time to upgrade to their new improved product. The upshot was that even the new improved product was not working well on LION. After spending a lot of hours figuring all this out, the result is that upgrading the original PGPDesktop is not really a feasible option. That door is closed.

So, onto the next option. I could not install PGPDesktop on my iBook because the operating system is too old.

So, onto the next option. I could not update the old iBook to any operating system that I presently own, because the iBook is too old and the hardware is not compatible. That door is closed.

So, onto the the next option. I could purchase an operating system upgrade for the iBook. I did find copies of TIGER, the only upgrade option, for sale for $189.00, or more. Ouch! That door is open but the price tag is prohibitive.

So, onto the next option. This is, actually, where I ran out of options for a few days and felt pretty cranky about it all.

Then, as I was reading messages sent to a recipe email list for MasterCook software, the light bulb went on. MasterCook is Windows software, and a Mac user was being advised to partition their hard drive and install Windows on the partition. OK, I could partition the hard drive on my computer and install an older version of the Macintosh operating system on it, install PGPDesktop and voila, problem solved. I could open my encrypted volumes and burn the raw data to disks!

It took me three days to archive and delete files on the computer, to create enough free disk space to create a partition.

It took me another two days to successfully install the Leopard operating system on the partition. Another day to install the old version of PGPDesktop. Finding old serial numbers always takes me quite a while!

I now have the solution in place and have unencrypted and burned one volume of data to disk. There are quite a few more to work on, but I can take my time with those now that I have the solution in place.

I’ve been irritable through this odyssey of correcting my own mistake.

< / boring description of computer woes >

I’ve just finished reading “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. I enjoyed the book immensely. I would read it again in a heartbeat.

However, I would have enjoyed it more had it been actually been written by twelve black maids from Jackson, Mississippi, with one chapter by Kathryn Stockett, rather than all chapters by Kathryn Stockett with a tribute “chapter” after the end of the book that lovingly describes Kathryn’s black maid. Although the story is written with such obvious love, I was disappointed that such a story would be written by the employer and not by “the help”. And although Ms. Stockett states that “sometimes lines are made to be crossed”, I think she is still colouring inside the lines with her book.

Perhaps I misunderstand the intent of the book, which is a story about the voices of black maids in Jackson, Mississippi. Perhaps the book is only about the “help” insomuch as black maids were there to “help” and dearly loved for “helping”. The love comes across in the book, but the respect? I couldn’t find it.

I am a firm believer that people are quite capable of speaking for themselves.

In my experience, and harsh experience it is, many people who “successfully” advocate for others (when those others are conscious and capable of speech) are building a career.

Not all, there are people on the planet who give freely of themselves. You usually do not hear about these people, they are invisible heroes/heroines, satisfied that they have helped. They do not need to have much made of it.

Giving, when it advances one’s agenda, is not generosity; it is at best happy circumstance.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-3 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -2.9°C
Dewpoint: -7.4°C
Humidity: 71 %
Wind: 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -5

Quote

“It has always seemed strange to me… the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”
John Steinbeck

Notes

John Steinbeck

“widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). He was an author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and five collections of short stories; Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962…

He spent his summers working on nearby ranches and later with migrant workers on Spreckels ranch. He became aware of the harsher aspects of migrant life and the darker side of human nature, which supplied him with material…

The elder Steinbecks gave him free housing, paper for his manuscripts, and beginning in 1928, loans that allowed him to give up a warehouse job in San Francisco, and focus on writing…

Grapes [of Wrath] was controversial. Steinbeck’s New Deal political views, negative portrayal of aspects of capitalism, and sympathy for the plight of workers, led to a backlash against the author, especially close to home. Claiming the book was both obscene and misrepresented conditions in the county, the Kern County Board of Supervisors banned the book from the county’s publicly funded schools and libraries in August 1939. This ban lasted until January 1941.

Of the controversy, Steinbeck wrote, “The vilification of me out here from the large landowners and bankers is pretty bad. The latest is a rumor started by them that the Okies hate me and have threatened to kill me for lying about them. I’m frightened at the rolling might of this damned thing. It is completely out of hand; I mean a kind of hysteria about the book is growing that is not healthy…

the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man’s proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit—for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and of emulation. I hold that a writer who does not believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature.
—Steinbeck Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech”

After reading how John Steinbeck was harassed by business and government because of his political beliefs, I am relieved that I am an “unsuccessful” writer, worthy of no censure.