Posted by: guinness222 | May 10, 2008

"Luke,…I need to borrow your light saber!"

Yes boys and girls it’s time to suit up, don the armor, sharpen the knives, be sure the powder is dry, and…of course, borrow Luke Sky Walker’s light saber. Why you ask? Because to day is the day I’ve deigned to take on the mightiest foe on the face of our planet, the very essense of blue evil, the Darth Vader of the dark side,…..Microsoft!
Yup, that’s right, and it all began innocently enough. I had just finished my 2007 income taxes, was please and printed out a copy to review, shut down and settled back for a triumphant glass of a good Shiraz and a review. “Perfect!” I muttered after a while, set the forms all down and smiled. But just like a good wine, as Ernest and Julio Gallo once said, “we shall file no taxes before it’s time.”
So a month or so later, actually April 15th, or “Christmas for the IRS”, I get up early, fire up the old Dell Dimension, kick back with a dark roasted blend of Arabica coffee beans ground and steeped in hot water, and await the sacred icon screen. I reach over to the mouse, slide it skillfully and swiftly to the “TurboTax 2007” icon and expertly “double click”. The hour glass begins to spin, and I’m scant seconds away from my treasure, a final copy of my tax returns to drop in the mail before the midnight deadline of today.
Then there is oh so small and almost impreceptible flash of light, and a screen pops up that says simply, “Turbo Tax 2007 has encountered a fatal error and can not continue.” It refers me to thier web site, so I go there and find layer after layer og “geekspeak” that translated means “Yo, bubba,…you done got into a big shit storm here!” Then I saw a “click here to download instructions to correct the situation”,..and BAM, I mashed the button. The printer whirrred, the motor came on and dragged the paper over the drum, dry, microscopic particles of “black stuff” being fused onto the page and oput it comes.
They looked simple enough, “go to the “add/remove programthingy, remove a thing called “Frameworks.NET.2″, download a new copy from the evil empire, load it, run it , and simply restart the tax program” (Shoot, I can at least do this shit!). Then I read the next line, …”and if that doesn’t work” and there were two more pages of do this, do that, and then another “and if that doesn’t work”, etc. etc.etc.
(Thank God Microsoft is not in the medical field, picture this,…so remove the heart from the body, carefully inspect it, turn it around 180 degrees and reinstall, then apply the high voltage paddles,…. and if that does not work…” you get the idea.)
Well fix one failed. I told the damn machine to remove the programthingy once I found it,(just like the pictures showed me), but alass it chunks, it grinds, it crawls on it’s belly like a reptile,…then “pop” another screen saying, “We’re sorry, we can not complete the removal process you requested and will notify Microsoft of the problem for you and then shut down”. Well Whoopty Freakin’ Do Dah, Thanks.
Option two doesn’t even let me get that far before it croaks!So I try the other three or four “if that doesn’t work then try..” options and none of them do. Well I gotta run out make copies of the marked up preliminary tax returns I had been reviewing, get them in the mail, and now back to the problem.
Now I notice I can’t forward any e-mails with movie, or “wav” files on to my other friends, and about half way into start up all the little icons “blink out” and poof, then they are back.
So today I flew my trusty terminal rightinto the mouth of the beast, and down to the download files, looking for an answer. I found a relatively non-descript little 66 meg upgrade download called “XP Service Pak 3.0”. I remember seeing 2.0 or 2.1 on my machine, but not 3.0. For the past month and a half every time I go to shut down it tells me I have automatic updates to install, and I say ok, and it chuncks and grinds and always does the same thing “Automatic Upgrade failed to execute, please try again, we will notify Microsoft of this problem,…click here to send” well I’m tired of it you hear me Bill (as in Gates), I’m tired of it!! So I push the download and install for the Service pak 3.0. I skipped right over all the disclaimers, all the “click here to insure your computer can hanlde it” buttons, all the flags, and then it tells me go take a shower, shave have lunch and come back in an hour or two! So I did.
Where else does a guy go when his mental strength has been sucked from his body and his defenses are at an all time low? Of Course to the Home Depot “Super store” , building supplies everything, and not a piece of “soft goods” i.e. clothes, shoes etc., computer stuff, or any of that. Just tons of “stuff” to build with! (Fortunately I got over that phase of my time here on earth doing that stuff, so it’s harmless for me to be there.
Being a good dooby, I said to the wife, “Hey Honey, wanna go to Home Depot, we could always look for a new Vanity top for the bathroom?” (During one of our Hurricanes a few years ago the candle on the vanity top spilled hot wax all over it and burned and bubbled the top in several places. I’m a guy, just put a glass over the bully section and a vitamin bottle on the burned marks, no one will know!)
Now it looks like this little excursion is going to cost us about $4,000 for a vanity top,AND then a new Granite kitchen countertop, sinks, faucets, etc. etc. etc.
Moral of this day so far? A) If you marry a carpenters daughter you can’t go wrong taking her to Victoria’s Secret, but for God’s sake never to a Super Building Supplies place. B) after the third “which color do you like, the Solarium Gold splatter, or the black victorian granite variation?” You stand tall, look her straight in the eye and say, “Happy Mothers Day Honey, you pick,…I’m going to the Barbeque section.” (sigh)
But the ‘puter seems to be healthy again so I guess I beat the evil empire. One out of two ain’t bad. Time to go to Buster’s, I think I got enough left for a couple of pints!


  1. Post Script, I spoke too soon!! The damn Turbo Tax program still dies on start up despite having been re-installed, the “fixes” for the NET.2 don’t work, and at this point I’m about to put out a Bounty on Bill Gates! Recently MS announced it would no longer be selling XP Pro. Why? Becasue we aren’t buying “Vista” becasue it’s a piece of crap.(Had it on two computers spent good money on my Teckie and said “Get that shit off my Computer and put XP Pro back,…I don’t care what it costs!!”
    But alaas that’s another column. So here I sit, end of the weekend, succeeded in nothing but spending a shit load of money on new counter tops and STILL no good copy of my personal Tax return, let alone my business one. (I take it “Microsoft ate my tax forms” is not a legally defensable situation when it comes to being late paying your taxes

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