Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
About those fireworks...

Ellie Mae or may not...

Ellie Mae or may not...
In through the out gate...

Rattler relocation

Rattler relocation
Snakes are beautiful critters.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
"Let us bee happy in our work..."


Nothing says summer like zinnias.

Pink Yarrow and carnations

Pink Yarrow and carnations
Life on the farm

HappyDay Farms grows it better.

HappyDay Farms grows it better.
Home-grown by HeadSodBuster

Where the living is easy

Where the living is easy
Garlic drying, with our newly painted water tank in the background

July magic

July magic
Artichoke-strictly for ornamental purposes

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tech for Tots or Lost in [Cyber] Space-Episode 5

This is the fifth in a series of episodes, chronicling the shocking disappearance of the blog, "Mark's Work," thought at first to be simply overcome by cannabis, and certain to be found at the nearest pizza parlor. How wrong we all were and there's nothing more that needs to be said, except for maybe a generic statement of a techie nature. No more than twenty volumes. Hopefully. 

Tech for Tots
Lost in [Cyber] Space-Episode 5

You have to pay to play in this world and I get that, especially when it comes to technology, but reality has the nastiest habit of rearing its ugly head and making its presence known. In this case I had told Joe on the phone originally, that if he were to come work on transferring the data from Terra Jean, my old computer, to Suzy Puente, the new and improved model, that I had the loot to defray this cost.

I mean, hey, how much time could it take to pull a few handles, drink a few beers and whip a little technology on the mountain? Oh, yeah, and track down a blog that had obviously been hitting the Black Lime/O. G. Strawberry a little too hard.

The way Joe had explained it to me, was that it was a security issue, plain and simple. “They want to make sure that you are you, and that someone else isn’t trying to hack your account.”
Who else could be me, besides me? Who'd want to?

Why anyone would want to cop to writing my blog, if he weren’t really the author, was beyond me. There is a fair amount of self-incriminating evidence perched out in the open, waiting for any interested party to come along and claim it, not to mention some downright embarrassing revelations when it comes to those more-than-one-hundred posts on my mood spectrum disorder. But hey, as the kids say, whatever.

Unfortunately, timing being everything, we found when we awoke the very next morning after I had contracted with Joe to work on my tech issues, that Dozer, our English bulldog, had suddenly developed some technical difficulties of his own. His right rear hip had decided to take some time off, leaving poor Doze incapable of walking. Period.

Dog people know what it’s like when your pet is hurting. If it’s your kid, you can explain what’s going on, soothe her and take her to see the doctor. When it’s your pet, all he knows is that something is wrong, something hurts and though he is getting some serious love, he is still dazed and confused.

I’m sorry little dude that you are in pain-we’ll get you to the vet’s

I had gone over to Lito’s spot early that morning to continue the job of working the soil in preparation for spring planting, before either Annie or the Doze was up and at ‘em. And though Annie’s plans did not include leaving the mountain that Friday, she found herself doing exactly that, as the nice veterinary in Willits was able to squeeze Fattie in at last minute’s notice, no lightweight task if you’ll excuse the pun. 

Seven hours and $700.00 later, Annie was back with our Bowser and he was feeling no pain from the medication he had been given. The pugnacious one had been inspected, injected and determined to be infected by a little varmint who gained access in the first place via a tick.

By the time X-rays had been taken, blood examined, and three hours of waiting had elapsed, Annie was back on the road and headed home, the truck nonetheless traveling at normal speed, despite the load having been lightened by seven hundred smackers.

Stop me if you have heard this before, but it would be cheap at twice the price…
Dozer, Bowser, Boo-Boo, Biggie Fats, Fattie, Fat-Chaw...

I never mind spending the loot on the things that matter, and Boo-Boo matters, just as Suzy Puente mattered. The older I get, the more powerfully I seem to glom onto those possessions around me that rock my world.

To say that a large chunk of my universe was dominated by technology would be a understatement, for better or for worse. Like the small child, when it was good, it was very good; when it was bad, it was horrid. But it was the only game in town that mattered to me and losing my blog had left me unconsolable.

It’s not that I couldn’t access what had already been posted-I could. The issue was that I could neither add more posts to the blog, nor edit that which already existed, and it drove me crazy. It was just gone.

To whom do you report a missing blog? Is there a Department of Missing Blogs (DMB) somewhere that I do not know about? There should be. I’d take a number and wait in line. My sister JT is still looking for her missing blog, last seen more than two years ago, talking to a strange blog in an art gallery, while sipping on a glass of an unidentified amber liquid.

Though I have never made a penny off of either my writing or my photos, or maybe because I have never gained materially, I continue to have an overwhelming need to create. After living my life devoid of any right-brained activity, with the exception of the directing of performing arts for students of the middle school, I find I cannot go back to the dark ages.

Social media provides the vehicle by which I parade my work around in front of those who care enough to pause in their scrolling to take it in. The feedback I receive gives me all the motivation I require to continue my artistic endeavors. That is the beauty of being retired.

Take my art away and you remove a huge chunk of my ability to enjoy life. The fact that I am manic 98% of the time, though, still leaves 2% for the dark side to emerge, and when it does, it has the same effect as removing the plug from an air mattress. 

There is no sound to indicate that there is a serious problem; I just collapse. The thing is, I need a trigger to activate the depressive side of my disorder. When I go down for the count, there is always a reason.

So when Joe left on that Tuesday, after spending the bulk of the late morning/afternoon interfacing with both computers, and trying to do the same with me, we knew that the blog was still out there on the loose. 

We knew its disappearance was tied to security issues and that there was an earlier unnamed Hotmail account with an unidentified password. 

We knew that passwords had been the cause of much of my grief and that the problems that had existed with Terra Jean, were being swept along with the flow of the information being transferred to Suzy Puente, and there wasn’t anything either Joe or I could do about it.

That was what Joe was being paid the big bucks to figure out. Better him than me. I did not hold him accountable for either the disappearance of the blog, nor the inability-so far-to retrieve it. Tech being what it is, there is a far greater power that exists that oversees these matters, and her name is Karma, not Joe Cool.

So thus it was that Joe’s words thrummed incessantly in my mind, the ones about not being certain that the blog was retrievable. As long as there were folks around me, the tools for managing my mental issues remain readily available.

As soon as I find that I am by myself, those tools evaporate. What I neglected to do before Joe left, was make sure that I at least had the other tech components of my life in order, even if I had to wait on the blog.

The dust was still lingering in the air from Joe’s pickup leaving, when I made the discovery that to access social media, I needed a password that was different from the new one that Joe had just put into place. 

No blog, no social media and no access to photography on my new computer until such time as Joe returned.

Might as well just shoot me and put me out of my misery…nothing like a little sniveling to soothe the psyche…

Soundlessly, black curtains began lowering themselves over my mind, inexorably blocking out every ray of light that might still have had the courage to try and penetrate the fog permeating my soul.

I spent the next thirty-six hours drifting along in that space halfway between sleep and wakefulness, never being either completely in one world or the other, blankets and pillows providing my only line of defense.

My only memory related to the real world was that the one time I surfaced on Wednesday during daylight hours, I drifted past a clock on the way to the bathroom and noted that it was precisely three o’clock in the afternoon, the hour predesignated for my radio show in Chicago.

Sorry Dan the Man and Big Jack. SportsTimeRadio would have to proceed without me. * I was on the disabled list until further notice.

Tomorrow: some memory-ONE SINGLE memory-I’d sell my soul to be able to remember one single thing: that Hotmail account name and password…

* I rescheduled the sports show for the following Monday and here is a link to the half-hour show featuring the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs: http//


  1. I very much appreciate both the humor here as well as the description of your descent to the 2%. I've said it before but I would prefer to have the 98:2 ration than the 0:100 ratio (you know what I am saying...).

  2. I guess this is a good lesson about forever keeping track of stupid passwords! I hate that, but clearly this is what can happen if you don't.

    1. Yes, even though the Hotmail email account had been dead for four years... I hate everything to do with security issues...