Friday, November 30, 2007

Curse You, Microsoft!

I spent much of yesterday cursing Bill Gates and the horse he rode in on. My agent is pretty leading-edge technologically, which is wonderful because we can do almost everything electronically. If I had to print things and mail them, nothing would ever get done, and I don't need more paper in my life. I try to be as paperless as possible, and still I'm drowning in the stuff. The down side of her being on the leading edge is that she actually upgrades her software when new versions come out. I tend to be rather anti-consumerist and resist buying something new just because it's new as long as what I have is doing what I need it to do. When it comes to word processing software, that means I can type and letters appear on the screen. The very first version of Word I ever used did that just fine, and I can't see that subsequent versions have changed or improved all that much. I did have to finally upgrade when I got a new computer and needed something that worked with OS X, which isn't an upgrade I particularly resented as the version I had would no longer work. The problem comes with the fact that the latest version of Office is incompatible with everything but itself. I admit that I am a version behind, but even if I had the very latest version available for Mac, it still wouldn't have worked. The upgrade that will be compatible won't be available for Mac until next year. Who releases something so widely used in such a way that it's incompatible with everything else on the market? We finally worked out that my agent could save the file as RTF and I could still see tracked changes, but that was after a lot of frustration and research. I joke about Bill Gates being the antichrist, but you know, if he were so inclined (he actually seems like a decent human being, his business practices aside, what with his charity work and the way he's raising his kids) he really could bring the global economy crashing down, with business functioning at a crawl, without much effort.

Now that I can actually read my agent's input on the new book, I have a ton and a half of work to do. So much for taking it easy this December and not being on deadline with a lot of work to do. Oh well, there's always next year.

My neighborhood Christmas tree lighting ceremony is tonight, and I'm debating whether or not to go. I'm a dork about that kind of thing and even at my age I still ooh and aah about seeing a tree lit, but I'm not really in the holiday headspace yet (I guess going to a tree lighting would help). I also feel kind of self-conscious at these things because, theoretically, they're for the kids, and I worry that a lone adult in the crowd would make people suspicious about my motives, since I'm generally the only person there who isn't herding around a few rugrats. Not that I blame parents for being a bit concerned, given that all you have to do to round up a whole group of perverts is post the profile of a 12-year-old on MySpace and they come out in droves (what did these people do before the Internet? You'd think we would have noticed mobs of men in raincoats hanging around playgrounds). Just as I think there should be a special punishment for the meth dealers who made it so that they have to put Sudafed behind the counter, I really resent the sickos for making parents have to be so paranoid about their kids and for making adults who enjoy childish things like tree lightings and animated movies have to worry about what parents will think about their presence. For the record, I'm there to look at the pretty lights and have zero interest in your children, other than enjoying looking at kids looking at pretty lights and getting that expression of wide-eyed wonder that's so cute.

The thing that's fun about the neighborhood ceremony is I remember when they first did it, and the tree was this little twig that looked like Charlie Brown's tree (they use a live tree planted in the park), and now it's this huge, lush tree. I guess I've lived here a while. It's also fun listening to the mix of languages. We have pretty big Japanese and Indian populations in this neighborhood, and they always show up for events, I guess to absorb American culture, and then there's a good sized Finnish contingent because of the Nokia outpost nearby. It makes me feel all international. But I do have work to do, and I'm not too terribly in the mood, so we shall see what I end up doing tonight. And now I must run errands, then work.

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