On Gifts

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“Anna smiled. It was just as she’d thought. Gifts, she recalled him saying, aren’t frivolous things, they’re very necessary. They’re demonstrations of love and affection, and their “excess” makes life more than mere drudgery. You can do without many things, Anna, but not gifts, however small and insignificant they might seem.

From Myst: The Book of Ti’ana
(Yes, I know, reading that book makes me a huge geek, but it is one of my favorite book series.)

So, here’s the thing about me: I am a terrible verbal communicator of feelings, on the whole. It’s something I work on, but am not good at.

I am, however, good at giving gifts, tokens, trinkets. I’m not talking about Christmas GIFTGANZA. I suck at that. I’m talking about everyday “I’m thinking about you” or “You’re awesome!” type gifts. Things like leaving a Hershey’s kiss on a keyboard for a birthday (it helps when you have master keys to the building) or making a blanket for a friend who had admired one you previously made. Things like bringing a cookie to someone having a rough day, taking time to recommend a book, or making baked goods sans chocolate (heresay!) so all can enjoy. I think the most meaningful gift I ever made was a dinner of (as I recall) spaghetti, salad, and yellow cake for a friend’s family when her father died. Mike and I drove to her family’s house and left it on the door. I didn’t want to be in the way, I didn’t want to send flowers, but I wanted to do something to let them know that I was thinking of them.

In a way, it kind of fits that I’m in IT (although, if you had asked 18 year old me, I would have laughed at you). Every time I get to help someone, it’s like a little gift, and they’re happier for it. I thrive on being able to do something for them that makes their day brighter.

Mike and I had a long discussion about this last night (hence the fuel for post). I iterated that while I certainly don’t expect anything in return for these gifts (indeed, they’re often spontaneous, like when I tried to buy brownie mix for a friend across the country, and didn’t read carefully enough and ended up sending it to myself), I feel like people don’t realize that it is my way of trying to gain acceptance and friendship. It feels like my way of saying, “Hey, I think you’re cool, we should hang out more often.” in a friendship kind of way.

I’m certainly not complaining or bemoaning the fact that other people don’t see these gifts the way I do. I understand that everyone is different, and they may see a cookie as YES CHOCOLATE! and not an overture of friendship. I imagine most people have no problem being like, “Hey, let’s go out for lunch!” It’s hard to make new friends, man.

I’m really trying to walk the fine line of not sounding whiny and annoying here while still explaining my viewpoint.

Let’s bring this back around to the quote, shall we? As mentioned, that quote is from the Myst series of books (yes, from the video game). I really identify with it, because it just seems so fitting in my philosophy. (That, and the quote from the same book, where Aitrus’ mother tells him he was born old.) Simple, thoughtful gifts/trinkets/tokens/what-have-you are just part of my vocabulary. They’re just not verbal.

I feel like this is finishing lamely, and I probably have more to say on this subject. I almost made an outline, but then I thought that might be too much effort for a blog post. It is, after all, the internet.

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Backups

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I already back up fairly regularly with TimeMachine on my computer at home–that’s not the issue.

One of the people up here at Sixth, her apt got broken into, all her computers AND BACKUP DRIVES were stolen. Yes, she had backup. No, she does not have it how. Five years of data and art projects, gone.

Mike and I were talking about this last night, the need for offsite backup, just in case. Costco’s got a 1TB drive for only $229 (yes, Mike, it is Western Digital). I’m thinking we back up our computers, and then leave it at my parents’ in Anaheim. Far enough away that it’s safe, not so far that we couldn’t get to it easily. Anyone else have offsite storage? Hell, does anyone else actually back up?

O noes!

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I just realized Leopard replaced the AppleADBMouse-209.0.10 driver that I had hacked with iScroll2! No two-fingered scrolling! We must reinstall!

Relatedly, despite having used iScroll2 for several years now, I *just* realized that it’s for the ADB trackpads. You know, Apple Desktop Bus, that went out of style back in the beige computer days. Like, 1996. Why was Apple still using ADB trackpads in 2004? Weird. Two-finger native trackpads are USB, thankfully.

Welcome our new arrival!

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Say hello to the newest member of our TiVo family (which currently consists of two Series 2 TiVos, non-dual tuners). It’s a TiVo HD (which will be nice with our HDtv!) for which we trudged allllll the way up to the Costco in Vista to procure. That is the Costco of Items Past ™ and they carry all the stuff that other Costcos used to carry and don’t have anymore. It was only $279 there, and we picked up an HDMI cable with a cleaner cloth and a power thingie for only $40.

Since we have the crazed TiVo downstairs still (it’s crazed because you can’t transfer anything to or from it without it deciding to reboot itself in a cycle until you cancel the transfer), hooked up to the digital cable box, the new TiVo has been relegated to the tiny tv in the office, so it can be on the network and download any software updates. It’ll be all set for when Cox comes with the cableCARDs on Wednesday.

I think it’s pretty awesome that TiVo set it all up to work with cableCARDs. Having the digital cable box attacked attached to the TiVo was really a pain in the patootie to set up. And when you change channels, it has to tell the TiVo, then the TiVo tells the cable box, and then it’s ten seconds down the line and the channel finally changes. With the cableCARDs, we’ll eliminate the cable box from the equation. I had told Mike that there was no way on heaven or on earth that I was setting up a new TiVo to work with that digital cable box, because it was hours of wrenching and yelling at the inputs and then it suddenly just decided it worked. WTH.

All in all, YAY new TiVo!

You will be assimilated

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At an ergonomics training class at work a couple weeks ago, the trainer said I should be using a headset since I’m on the phone all the time. So I did some research and lo:

It’s got an attachment thingie for an over-the-head band, but my head is so ridiculously large that the band doesn’t reach my ear all the way on the other side.

(I like Xena there in the background. It’s a nice touch.)