Friday, February 27, 2009

Brilliant Children, and the Old Maids Who Love Them...

Long-time readers of this blog have heard often about my friends Shane and Anna, and their newish son YoYo. In every conversation with Anna, she tells me yet another amazing remark that YoYo made this week. I am convinced he will be either the next Einstein, DaVinci, or some equally important titan of human history. For a three year old who's only really learned English in the last 9 months, he has an insightfulness and a clarity of thought astonishing in a kid who can't read yet.

He's also hysterically funny at times. To set up today's example; I will occasionally call or visit the Caudills, but by no means am I a constant visitor. I do have Auntie privileges (I am referred to as Aunt Susan) but in general I see them once a week at most. Despite the lack of regular interaction, I think YoYo likes the idea of me (while not disinterested in me, he doesn't feel the need to stick by me when there are toys at hand - he is a focused Playa), enough so that he will speak of me even when I am absent, although I can't imagine why.

Anyway, Shane just sent me this:
So Anna was talking to her mom on the phone, and Yoyo didn't want to talk to Nana... so he comes out of his room on his toy phone saying, "oh, yes aunt Susan. what aunt Susan? would you like to talk to my little boy, aunt Susan?" and hands me the phone. "It's aunt Susan, she wants to talk to you."
I laughed so hard I cried. He just keeps coming out with these bizzare little diamonds of comedy and observation.

Here's another sample of his unexpectedness:

There's nothing like a little boy from China bouncing around to T-Bone Burnett!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Plague in Middle Tennessee

Since early January 2009, I have been fighting against a tide of malware, viruses, trojans, rogue agents, and shyster software unlike anything I've dealt with in the last 2 years. It's been great for business, but it's no fun for anyone to have to deal with. So here's some preventative measures you can take - even if your system is clean at present, having the tools in place will be handy if you do get infected)-. It will take probably an hour or two, but might take longer if it's really deeply rooted.

1) If you are needing an antivirus software (if you don't already have one, or a Norton/McAfee subscription is running out) then AVG Free is the best solution - it's free, and works better than either of those 2 major softwares! You can easily get it at

2) The quickest way to run a scan and clean up your system is to download and install Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, also available at It's the simplest, fastest and most thorough software I have found for this purpose, and I have used it constantly since "the Plague" descended in January.

3) Also consider getting the latest version of Ad-Aware from It takes a while to download, install, and update, but it can sometimes find problems that MAM and AVG miss.

Between these three tools (all of them are free) you can be 95% certain you've cleaned up any nasties on your computer. MAM and AA can both be installed safely, since they are anti-Malware, and don't have any conflicts with each other, but make sure you have removed any pre-existing antivirus software before installing AVG (you can only have one AV software at a time!)

Bear in mind that if you have some of the more virulent and malicious softwares on your computer, it will probably fight letting you download, install and scan with these tools. You may need to download the software to a flash drive on another computer, then install it on the infected computer. Sometimes you can't even do this, and the only solution is to take out the hard drive and hook it up to another computer and run the scan from there - that way it's essentially powerless to resist. I can do this if necessary.

That's a lot to throw at you, but it's the approach I've been taking for some years now, and it generally works. You can contact me if you get stuck, or if you don't want to hassle with it! :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Middle-Aged Child

I was struck this morning by a particular dilemma that I will probably be struggling under for the rest of my life; that of being an immature adult. I live the life of an adult - I work, live alone, drive myself places, I spend my time with other adults, I do responsible and mature things - but I feel so terribly childish and inexperienced at odd times. I don't know anything about REAL self-sacrifice; the kind that only comes with marriage or children. And as such, I feel retarded in my maturation process.

I still call guys "dude" - and I'm a middle-aged woman! I just spent an evening practicing music with a cover band, all of whom are younger than me, and was telling them all about the new Demetri Martin TV show. It's not that I'm trying to stay young; but I can't stop doing certain childish things. At the same time, my favorite activities include needlework while I watch PBS history series. I delight in toys from Doctor Who, and I like dispensing advice to new mothers. I collect pictures of kittens and bunnies, and I crochet afghans.

At some point, I was supposed to put away childish things, and yet because I'm single, it's never really happened. At what point do I gracefully transition into being a middle-aged woman, when I have no children, no house, and no husband? I'm not complaining - I like my independence and the freedom to come and go as I please, and am glad to avoid the frustrations and sacrifices of marriage... and St. Paul recommended the single life for people who had the gift for it. But without those experiences that go along with family life, how do I ever catch up with my peers?

There are worse things - I am well and generally content. But somehow, I feel like an Excessively Late Bloomer.