t h e i d e s o f m a r c h

Friday, march 21, 1997
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so there was Emperor Julius Caesar returning home from a meeting with his trusted advisors in 49AD, when a local soothsayer warned him of the coming doom of the Ides of March on the 15th.

Ignoring the warning, he proceeded to his final (read very final) meeting, whereupon he was stabbed multiple times by the conspiratorial, Roman senatorial assembly, notably his friend Brutus; and he let out the famous Et tu, Brute? quote.

Break A Leg, Bill
All the Clinton Clown could manage last week was to tear up his lousy knee; none of the gutless liberals around him could find anything to stab the bastard with. Actually, with Greg Norman being Australian, I think Slick Willie had way too many Foster's Lager beers, was sloppy drunk at 2am and fell. Everyone covered for him. At least he didn't have to lie that day in anymore press conferences about the illegal, immoral and corrupt activities of the DNC. And a recent poll show Americans evenly-split on the ethics of what Clinton did at Motel 1600.

Break a leg is an old 20s Broadway Theater euphemism that meant, good luck. It's meaning is almost lost on this so-called accident of Curly Clinton. hey Moe, hey Larry!

Meanwhile, Al I didn't do anything wrong, and I'll never do it again Gore filled in for the ailing Slick Willie at some meaningless functions. The White House handlers are a little gun-shy of letting Al The Boy Scout loose without a muzzle, or a very carefully-written script. No more impromptu gigs for Al this time around, even with his legal counsel present. Liberals are if nothing else intensely-loyal to their do-nothing leaders and wouldn't think of inciting a rebellion within the rank-and-file party members. Then, some people would really have to take responsibility for their collective actions; again, something liberals are chickenshit to do. Hell, they'd all have to get real jobs and we all know that they're incapable of that. Al's got his own set of problems, now. Actually, they both do.

Colder Than A...
After several days of semi-balmy weather we've had a return to normal the cold is back with a vengeance. Spit almost freezes before it hits the ground. I've spent the last 5+ days with customers on-site evaluating their landscape requests and needs. Regardless of how warmly I dress, the wind cuts right through everything. And the ink in my Mont Blanc Pen freezes fairly quickly. Ballpoint pens freeze up too. Maybe I'll switch to chalk this week.

It's too early to do anything in the Garden just yet around here. Soil temperatures are still in the high 40s; wait until it hits the mid-50s. Only bulbs are peeking through now. When we had some warmer days and the top 2-3" of soil heated up temporarily, some dormant perennials began to stir. But as soon as the colder weather returned, they'd go dormant again.

I get questions on plant fertilization all the time. No, do not waste the fertilizer now. It's too cold for any good to be done. Although the roots are mildly active in these cold soil temperatures, they won't uptake fertilizer or nutrients until soil temps reach the low to mid 50s.

Look closely at all the trees and shrubs. They're budded and ready to bloom: everything from yews to hollies, from Jap maples to stewartia and dogwoods. In downtown York, several Japanese cherries (Prunus yeodensis "Yoshino" & Prunus kwanzan "Kwanzan") are in full bloom. That's because the buildings and concrete hold the heat longer than do open areas with no protection. If we get snow or ice soon, all those blooms will abort, and the new leaves will be drastically affected.

After a blah Winter, I hope the Spring is a spectacular one and that the ice and snow storms, freezing rain, sleet and bitter cold are finished for this season. We all deserve a glorious Spring display.

Read It And Laugh
Not Clinton, this time. In the most recent issue of Yonder a local York e'zine I'm featured in a tongue-in-cheek Barbara Walters-style, irreverent interview. If you get a couple of minutes, read some of the articles and other interviews that Kent's done.

Oh shit!
My good friend, Jeff Horn stopped by Monday evening to work on NetObjects Fusion that I had installed as a demo, and to partition my office Pentium 1.9gb 586/200mhz-64RAM into an additional 3-4 sectors. It's reputed to help save space and increase efficiency of operation.

We messed around with Fusion for a while, then bagged it. The learning curve is much too steep for an evening's work. He'll eventually master it and use it instead of HTML to work on his corporate Website. I like using HTML and will stay with HotDogPro v3.0.

Then we started the installation of PowerQuest's Partition Magic and divided-up the Hard Drive into four separate drive spaces. It saved 331mb of space wasted by the single large c:\ partition. Everything went fine during the install. The problem: my CD and Iomega ZIP drives show up in the Win95 Device Manager, but not on Explorer or ExplorerPlus. Yikes! Enough for Moday night.

Tuesday morning I opened the Pentium unit up at work and decided to un-install the Partition Magic. After that was done, I ran MS-Scandisk and MS-Defrag. A boot sector error was found and repaired. Then it happened.

We had a sudden (aren't they all?) 45min total power outage in the area. Everything went out. The Pentium was finishing its diagnostics when the lights went out. When power was restored, it got to a certain point it asked for a command.com interpreter and stopped. The Win95 boot sector was gone. FAT tables were corrupted and destroyed. Data was gone. Apps were damaged. It was a mess. My so-called Rescue Disk had nothing on it: I had previously re-formatted it and didn't get the chance to re-make the updated disk since I was probably interrupted by a phone call, meeting, customer or something. I can't remember exactly, but it was a gross error on my part not to finish the proceedure.

Pete Barry stopped by to have a look, pronounced it DOA and took it back to The Shop at Manchester Industries, where they'll give it a decent burial. Pete called Wednesday afternoon: the prognosis is zero for data recovery. It's a re-format and re-install everything from scratch. I feel ill; I need to lay down for a while. BBS (be back soon in IRC lingo...)

The simple moral is BACK UP OFTEN. I hadn't since last December. I am stupid for not doing something so basic.

Fortunately, some of the data is replicated on the Pentium 1.3gb 586/100mhz-32RAM at home. Much of the critical business data is lost, though, and will have to be re-created, if I can maintain an attention span that long without continuing to be pissed-off at myself.

Serves Me Right
I thought the worst was over with the Pentium's ills, but that wasn't to be. There was a lot more shit in store for me. Thanks to some friends and my parents, it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Without Word97 functioning properly, all my work and landscape schedules through June were lost, plus appointments and confirmed jobs. I tried to open the projects.doc file in several formats, in several word processors and notepads. All provided me with either illegal operation notifications or corrupted file notices. Very disconcerting.

Finally, I retrieved the projects.doc in Q-Basic and picked it apart from there back into recognizeable English. Jeeez, what a mess. Many, many hours were spent recovering data just to get back to where I was weeks ago.

It could have been worse: had I not inadvertently saved a copy of Winword's complete file system, I would have been up shit's creek. Literally. Fortunately, I had a week-old copy in reserve but lost only my time in reconstructing the folders and files. Now I'm limping along instead of crawling.

I've been working on restoring the brains of this Pentium for 3 days and 2 very late evenings. It looks like I'll be at it for many more days, if not weeks, until everything is back to close to where it originally was. The Office Pentium will never be the same unit; it's already quite a different computer than it was.

You've probably got better things to do, but no more important things to do this weekend: BACK YOUR UNIT UP.

They're Back.
The swallows have indeed returned to San Juan Capistrano, CA, to their traditional nesting place for the past several centuries.

That's a good sign that Spring is here. But wait to put tender annuals, bedding plants and herbs out until after the last frost date in your area.

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