Understanding Computers

My smartphone threw me out of bed at 8 am. I had set up the alarm clock. I allowed half an hour of reading time, then I got up and was ready for breakfast at 9 am. Incredible!

It had become late last night because my Laptop had shocked me with a blank screen – completely white – when I tried to shut it down. No reaction to nothing. Not on the touchscreen not by any keys. I was horrified! All my work was not saved in the cloud but just on my SSD. Stupid anyway. My bill and warranty certificate were safely at home. Stupid as well. I desperately tried to do something and finally found one key that worked. It brought me back the active IE sessions. So I could google. I tried to find out if there was a way to shut down without using the touchscreen. It was successful. I got it shut down and when I restarted my normal screen was back. What a relief!
But I did not manage to fall asleep for a long time, was too upset.

More incredible even than getting up at 8:30 was the fact that after breakfast I managed to sit down and do homework immediately. I finished three critique letters and set up my narrative arc. I admit that I got distracted now and then by emails but I was contented with my progress.
At noon it started raining just when I carried the garbage bags out. It had cooled down at least a bit and that felt so good. I never thought I could be happy about rain.
One implication of the rain however was that I could not meet Colum McCann tonight in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The reading had been transferred to the bookstore in DUMBO. So I decided to meet him in Bryant Park instead on Wednesday. That’s easier to get to.

When the rain had stopped I set out to explore printing opportunities. There is a big Staples on 125th Street at Lenox Avenue. I swallowed when the guy there told me their prices. Three minutes of computer use are a Dollar and a printed page is 49 Cents. Fortynine! Are they crazy? The page is 15 Cents at the library and using a computer is free. So I walked to the Harlem branch, studied the machine supposed to provide me with a print-and-copy card and put money on it. That was easy. Then I needed a computer. They were all in use. I tried to place a reservation but my library card was rejected. The nice young man who had helped me last week was not around today. So I stood in line at the counter – for ages because there was a problem. When it was my turn finally, the woman checked my card and told me it is expired, was valid for three days only. I said that I had been told it would be valid for three months and she kindly changed the expiration date. When I got back to the computers I found one that said “available” and could log in with my Card now. But there was the next problem. Their computers are not what I am used to. I found a Novell window offering me an Internet Explorer and Office 2003. I had my files on a data stick and they were Word 2010. How the hell should I address them and get them to the printer? But – wonders still happen – I could simply open and print them with the old Word version. They were successfully sent to the printer. But how would I get them out of the printer and on paper now? I inserted my print-and-copy card to a little machine next to the printer. It showed me that I could use 5 Dollars and 70 Cents – and nothing happened. Until I realized that the computer next to the printer has a big Button “Retrieve Printouts”. I hit it on the screen and again nothing happened. Well, of course not. I am spoiled. I laughed about myself, picked up the good old mouse instead and – wow – the computer showed me my prints and I could select and finally print them. When I made copies afterwards – page by page, no feeder – I saw that printing from a data stick is possible there without using the computers. Will try that next time, when I will need to produce 15 copies of my 5-15 pages workshop text.

At least a little bit of movement was needed then and I walked south to 116th Avenue to check out Amy Ruth’s restaurant as a dinner option. I felt like a good soul food dinner today. Chicken and waffles or so. But Amy Ruth’s looked deserted. Well, it was Monday. On Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard (aka 7th Avenue) I walked south all the way down to Central Park. The area is mainly residential. Back uptown I walked on 8th Avenue, which is pretty busy. Probably every second shop is a beauty parlor. In between there are Restaurants, Cafés, Delis, Laundries and Real Estate offices. Looking west makes obvious that Morningside over there is Heights. Between Harlem and Morningside Heights there is a valley and the far side is definitely higher. 116th street shows a great contrast between Central Harlem – where I am staying – and West Harlem. We are in West Africa here. African markets, African restaurants, hair braiding salons and people sit on chairs on the sidewalks to chat and play board games. They don’t wear Jeans and T-Shirts nor suits and ties. They wear kaftans and turbans. The area is called Little Senegal.

I finally went to the supermarket and bought zucchini, tomatoes and spaghetti. Monday is not a good day to eat out in Harlem.

What I learned today:
How to print (and yes, I am spoilt)

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