Glaringly Obvious In Retrospect

Sometimes you wind up embroiled in projects that viewed in hindsight, you wish you really had never started. For example, today I was replacing the mouse on my mom’s computer. While at her desk I noticed that the entire monitor screen seemed coated with this dark film. There was a light clear film-free irregular area around the very edges of the screen’s perimeter, which was just wide enough to make it apparent how dark the rest of the film was.

Curious, I licked a finger and tried to wipe away some of the grunge at the edge. My finger blackened right up, so I figured this was just the result of cleaning the screen with Lemon Pledge or something. Thinking I was doing her a favor, I asked Mom if she had some glass cleaner. Armed with paper towels and Windex I quickly widened the clear area to a couple of inches around the perimeter. But in the center of the screen, the dark film remained unabated. This was progress, but now the screen looked like hell. It was as if some translucent amoeba was oozing out from the center of the screen like a menacing shadow.

I was clearly getting a bit frustrated as Mom watched me scrub at the screen. To her credit, she did offer that she could probably manage to get along with the screen in that condition. However, I recognized that this offer was borne of the same sort of maternal martyrdom that would cause her to make great sacrifices like offering me the last cookie. I knew well that had I been the tech from Geek Squad, she would have been thinking about having my father impound my vehicle pending a suitable resolution of this visual abomination I had created. I just couldn’t leave it like this.

It was slowly dawning on me that this film I was trying to remove was, in fact, the monitor’s anti-glare coating. But I kept dismissing those thoughts because that stuff is bonded to the glass and doesn’t come off. But as I tried various household cleaners to no avail, it be came clearer that the correct statement was that it doesn’t come off everywhere. I even tried a razor scraper and extra fine steel wool. Each effort resulted in a small clear blotch here or there, which at this point made the problem look worse, not better.

It’s interesting that there is a new bevy of possible solutions that open up once you reach the point of deciding that you’re okay with the device you’re trying to fix becoming a boat anchor. I was at that point. So it was time to go to chemistry class. Acids (vinegar), bases (ammonia), benzene solvents (paint thinner), something would have to make a difference. But not so much…

Like all problems in life, chances are, you aren’t alone. And chances are even greater that someone has written about your problem on the Internet. So through the grotesque screen I started a search. I quickly found a promising albeit long thread. It was clear there were others with this problem who had pursued much the same approach that I had. Some had gone a bit further and tried oven cleaner, Comet, and Soft Scrub. But their results were not hopeful. One guy had solved the problem by placing the monitor on the railing of his back deck and blowing it to hell with a shotgun. I was chuckling, but thinking it was probably good that my dad was out on an errand and I didn’t know where he kept his shells anyway.

Then I ran across a suggestion one guy claimed worked. He said that using acetone on a Brillo pad resulted in a clean monitor after about 40 minutes of scrubbing. Sure, this was going to make quite a mess, but at this point I figured, what the hell? I also figured I’d need to go to the store, but on request Mom produced a fresh box of Brillos and an industrial size container of nail polish remover. I was a little surprised by the latter as I’ve never known her to do her nails except for very special occasions. But I’m sure this bottle was on sale and she got a very good deal on it.

And voila! After about 40 minutes of scrubbing, I had a clear, clean, and scratch free monitor. Nobody was more surprised than me. And unlike how the Geek Squad Tech would have fared, I got a sandwich and a piece of pie for my efforts.


Holiday Gift Guide

Is there a hard to shop for person with fair hair on your list? Or maybe just a raving fan of the movie Legally Blonde? (Wait… are there any raving fans of Legally Blonde? Oh yeah, sorry Honey.) Well, then this is the perfect gift. The Keyboard for Blondes.

Seriously… that’s what they are calling this $50 pink keyboard with such precious mods as a Backspace key labeled “Oops!” and an Enter key labeled “Yes!” And their tag line? “Experience a blonde moment like never before.”

You go ahead and click through and shop… I need to go wash my eyes out.


Pardon Me?

I’m sure by now that you’ve seen the video of Sarah Palin being interviewed after she pardoned the turkey. Meanwhile, a guy slaughters a live one in the background. It’s delightfully ironic, but you have to keep in mind that she’s from deep in hunting country where slaughtering animals is about as natural and everyday an occurrence as you can get. While this looks like a wildly inappropriate venue for an interview to most of us, this was just another day on the town in Wasilla. And of course her answers to the reporter’s questions border on incoherent. I’m only sorry that we won’t get to see Tina Fey reenact the scene. I think she does Sarah better than Palin herself.

But the really interesting part of the video doesn’t happen until about the 2:32 mark. Even if you’ve seen it before, play it again and skip ahead, then listen for 30 seconds. Hear her answer to the reporter’s question about what she’s thankful for this time of year.

That seems a pretty typical response, right? Mostly she’s thankful for family. Track gets a special shout-out about his safety in Iraq, the kids (presumably Piper and Willow) are doing well in school, and little Trig is healthy and happy. But there are five right? What about Bristol? She’s not in school, so she wasn’t lumped in there. Was it just an oversight? Perhaps. On any normal Thanksgiving that might be true. After all, each of the kids weren’t named explicitly, and as any parent with many children will tell you, sometimes one gets overlooked now and again.

That would all make sense, except… wouldn’t you think Bristol would be a little more front and center on the list? After all, the 17-year old is living at home, has dropped out of school, is (by now) 8 months pregnant, and is planning a wedding with Levi. It would seem that now that the election is over, Bristol is likely the person around whom the entire household is revolving.

Unless, of course, she isn’t really pregnant or getting married. I know, I know. I should let this one go. But I can’t. It just doesn’t smell right. It’s not the gossip angle, I couldn’t care less about the tabloid-ish scandal. I want to know if the whole thing was an orchestrated con-job. Were we lied to? That’s all I want to know. It all would have been easier if Palin had ever released her medical records, but she never did.

The reality is, I won’t the score until next month when Bristol, hopefully, delivers her baby. If for some reason there is no baby (or the baby dies at birth or something), then it’s pretty clear we’ve been had. But even if she has the thing, the truth could still be murky, especially if she delivers late. January 18th will be 9 months from Trig’s birthday. Bristol could have gotten pregnant almost immediately after his birth, and serial pregnancies from a fertile 17-year old are way more likely than a full term pregnancy from any 44-year old. So I really do kinda hope Bristol pops a healthy full-term baby out in early December. That would make me feel better. I’d be grateful, even if her mom isn’t.