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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

IM IN UR HEAD, MESSING WIV IT

Our usual vet scoffed at the idea of girlie hormones for Padge when I dropped him off (in the pink cat box we use for individual trips, as opposed to the big blue double cat box) to have his head siphoned.

I left him for the day, and tried not to think about it.

When we went back to pick him up, the vet was contrite. He'd shaved Padge's forehead, but kindly left him a ridge of eyebrow, which gives him a slightly Neanderthal look. He hasn't got a drain, just a very large open weeping wound.

'See these white marks all over his head?' the vet said. 'They're masses of ancient fighting scars, the ones that didn't get infected. I checked all over his body, and they're everywhere, lots of tiny puncture and scratch marks. Do you still want the hormones?'

Yes, indeed-y do, thank you very much!

I decided not to put a photo up, because a cat with a huge weeping sore on his forehead is not a pretty sight. And he's too cranky to sit still and let me take a photo, because he wants. to. be. outside. NOW.

It's sad. He was such a gloriously beautiful cat, and now he looks like a retired boxer. He's still lovely, just a bit battered. All he needs is a bitten-off ear and he'll have the complete set. Let's hope the eunuch pills work.



Today when I got to work, I turned on the computer as usual, and tried to boot up Firefox. But it wouldn't work. It tried to tell me that it was already up, thank you very much. So I rang my IT man, Simon, who is pretty jolly and is the only person in the vicinity who has seen me wearing medieval clothes and hanging out with the excellent For Battlers near Yass. He has forgiven me for hanging out with the Evil Sydney Lemmings when I could have been hanging with my homies.

Anyhoo. I was talking to Simon on the phone about the Firefox problem, when he said 'hang on, I'll just work my magic. Watch this.' Watch what? I thought, and kept working on the email I was composing (about running a Book Clinic. More on this later). Then my mouse arrow started moving of its own accord, and folders started opening and closing. I couldn't help it; I gave a little gasp and said 'Simon! Is that you?'

He laughed, and said, 'sorry, I should have warned you properly. Some people find this really disturbing.'

I did find it really disturbing. Intellectually I could grasp that my uni computer is on a network, that it's not my exclusive territory, that it makes sense for the IT guys to be able to fix my problems without having to come all the way over to my office...

But it was ICKY. It made me realise that I use the screen like an extension of my brain, to help me organise my thoughts and my day, and having someone moving around in there outside of my control was like having a stranger lurking in my brain. I found it extremely invasive, and it sort of made me feel violated in a small sense. I wasn't offended, because the intellectual part of me won over, but it was certainly a shock.

Simon was experienced enough to recognise my reaction (apparently there are two common reactions: repulsion and amusement) and was nice enough to teach me how to know when he or anyone else is in my head on my screen. And he promised to warn me each time he does it, which I assured him he didn't really have to do, but he's obviously an ethical ITer, and I like him for it. Even if he's on the dark side (he hates Macs, loves PCs).

He's off-screen now, but I can't shake that feeling of somebody watching me...






PS: Ooh! Forgot to mention that the glich in Firefox was a funny little file buried in the bowels of my applications support, and it's name was PARENTLOCK. Oh, how we roared.

14 comments:

ThirdCat said...

I know, that watching stuff freaks me out. And yet, I still keep a blog...

Ampersand Duck said...

I know! It's a wonderful contradiction. I love blogging, but still find it weird when people IRL around me know and read my blog.

Pavlov's Cat said...

So, is this just a network thing? (I mean, I know hackers can hack, but ...?)

And how DO you tell?

And what did he do with PARENTLOCK to fix your Firefox?

I get Firefox going cattywumpus a lot, but so far all it's ever taken to fix is a quick restart of the computer.

Ampersand Duck said...

I'm not sure about the hacking thing... creepy, eh?

But this bit WAS just a networking thing, and I have a wee pair of binoculars on the menu bar of my screen (I'd just thought they were an anti-virus thingy). When the binoculars have a screen around them, he's in there...

I think he just deleted the Parentlock file. But I couldn't really see what he was doing. It only took a moment to make it go away. He's had a few of them lately on the network.

We have a dumb thing where we have group licenses for software, but only a few people can use the software at the same time. This usually only applies on the public access computers, but it was giving the same message to me on my staff computer.

Computer software licenses suck. Curse you, Red Barons!

dinahmow said...

Thank the cyber lords I'm alone.I couldn't cope with a network!

Sorry to hear about your groggy moggy. He sounds like the old fellow next door(who is probably the father of the kittens)Looks like Antony Quinn in the movie about the punch drunk boxer!Hope he recovers, with or without the hormones.
(I came over from Barnaclegoose.I'm not a creepy in-your-head stalker!)

Ampersand Duck said...

Welcome, dinahmow! You don't have to know me to comment on the blog -- and there's a difference, however minute, between a lurker and a stalker!

I now have a whole new appreciation for my home computer!

Pen said...

They have a box that you have to click on to let them take over your screen at my work. Or at least, it gives us the illusion of control. I'm sure the IT people could just start cursor moving any time really. It makes me laugh - as if I'm doing something through mind power alone, and my mind knows how to do something I don't really know how to.

Ampersand Duck said...

Ah, you have the 'amusement' reaction. Good for you (although I agree that it's an illusion of control...)

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

pffffffttt! you *were* hanging with your homies at Festy. homie is where the heart is, dontcha know?

all your duck are belong to us.

(one day you'll come to Festy when I'm there too, instead of pushing out a baby)

Mummy/Crit said...

Poor Mr Padge. I hope he picks up soon. Pus-filled head and all. It's good you got to it before it got worse (head abcesses can go really wrong)

I'm vaguely amused by your IT guy experience, but I've never really been on a network, so I can't relate directly. I can understand your "ew" reaction too though, in the "extension of your brain" way...

Helen said...

Heh, at my work I am Simon. But we do it the other way - we only use the virtual desktop thingy for PCs which sit in the buzzing computer room being robots, and which might occasionally fall over and need to be restarted or whatever. We think that problems involving actual humans often originate from the interactions between said humans and the PCs and it's always a good thing to come over in person and see what the problem is.

I certainly hope Padge feels better soon. It would be good if the vet had a long distance virtual dressing changer.

I had a most beautiful burmese cross charcoal tabby who had to have one eye removed. My unfeeling brother said "She looks the same now coming and going!"

Ampersand Duck said...

I quite like your brother's sense of humour, Helen...

Padge is feeling fine. The head is now smaller and the wound is healing. The hormone pills are very yummy to him, so I have to force his antibiotics down his throat, and then give him his girlie pills as a reward! Fancy.

Ampersand Duck said...

And Speedy, you're gorgeous. Yes, I had hoped to get that way this year (Rowany, not pushing out a baby :) ) but it all got a bit complicated. We'll definitely try to come again. And you should still drop by if you're in the area!

The Shopping Sherpa said...

So there wasn't ye olde Timbucktoo doorbell thingy before he came rocking in to visit?

I miss Timbucktoo...