Friday, November 12, 2010

Life With Stan

I made more progress than I expected yesterday. I'm still analyzing the book for what needs to be fixed, but then I also got the second book outlined, and that gave me ideas for things to sprinkle in the beginning of this book. I think I may have something ready for my agent when she gets back from vacation.

Meanwhile, Stan has been acting up a lot lately, and he's getting into the electronics. I don't think I've mentioned Stan in a while, so here's the backstory: I sometimes joke about having a "ghost" because although I live alone and there's very seldom anyone else in my house and no one but me has a key, it often seems like things have been moved around or hidden. I can spend days looking for something, only to have it reappear in plain sight. It probably really is just me being disorganized and sloppy, but it's more fun to blame my "ghost." My house was built in 1984 and is pretty much the typical 80s bachelor pad kind of place. Furthermore, because of the layout and location, the consensus among my neighbors is that the original target market for our houses was airline crew members (and I think we do still have a fair number of airline crew members living here). So I decided that my ghost, whom I named Stan, was the ghost of a 1980s bachelor airline pilot who died while trying to impress a date with a stupid flying stunt. In my head, he looks a lot like a cheesy version of Magnum PI. He does seem to steal my 80s music CDs most often.

Well, lately, Stan seems to be trying to send and/or receive faxes. I ended up having to unplug my fax machine because of this. Suddenly, for no apparent reason and without the phone ringing, my fax machine would act like it was receiving a fax and printing it out, only nothing came out. The problem is that the printer cartridge on my machine is one of those rolls of film types, and it was advancing the roll even though it wasn't actually printing anything, so it used up an entire cartridge on the ghost faxes. This kept happening even after I removed the printer cartridge. I'd be sitting in the living room and hear a funny sound coming from upstairs, and it sounded like the fax machine was sending something. So, I unplugged it to end Stan's fun.

Meanwhile, he's been tinkering with my cable TV settings. With digital cable, there are about a zillion channels, and I only get a few of them, but all of them still show up on the onscreen cable guide, so favorites lists are a must. And yet I have to re-create my favorites lists every other day or so because I think Stan is rearranging them. Channels that aren't on my list will suddenly appear, while other channels that are on my list will disappear. I'll even have multiple versions of the same channel, with the original and a couple of different digital and HD versions (even though I don't have an HD box). Stan is no high-brow because PBS is one of the channels that always disappears from the list.

I could be falsely accusing Stan because my cable box reset itself last night while I was watching TV, and now my favorites lists are all messed up again. I don't know if it's my box or the system, but at least this is an improvement over the last box, which kept losing the signal and then distorting the picture. I can watch TV just fine with this box. It's just the favorite's list that I have to keep re-creating. And it's more fun to imagine a cable box war with a ghost than to think I have yet another faulty converter box.

Now I need to get to the library before the weather takes a turn for the worse. We're already approaching the "look out for British child-care professionals sailing under umbrella power" levels.

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