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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Putting toe back in the water...

Per the last post, I have been limping along without my main computer access for more than a week, and one of the activities put aside for a bit was my blogging. I have been relying on my laptop of late, and there was access to my desktop at work -- but there was enough data salvaging and other work to keep me preoccupied and away form the blogosphere....

News came today via email that the repaired unit has shipped from wherever HP's facility is (I never did look at the pre-typed shipping label that they sent with the box to FedEx the comatose desktop), and if all goes well I should have it in my hands by the time I return home form work on Thursday evening. Still unknown to me what exactly went wrong -- other than knowing it had something to do with the videocard (or a video chip on the motherboard) that may have gotten overheated -- rather bizarre for a "Media Center" unit that is supposed to handle all that stuff with ease. When I inquired about the status of the unit two days ago, they mentioned having to wait for a part to arrive, so that indicated to me that it needed more than merely a video card replacement.... I remain a bit anxious about this happening again, and so I will put it through another round of heavy video use as a test on Friday....

As for getting back to blogging, I don't think that will be a problem. I have launched a project that involves going through two or three volumes of my water soaked library each day and conducting an intellectual triage, sorting out those that are salvagable from those that are "totalled", and then sorting out those that are worth keeping in their current "bloated" (it is amazing what water does to paper) and mildewed condition. It is a situation that callws for comments and perhaps some reflections....

I have already "saved" two of what I regard as classic "keeper" books:
  • Menand, Louis. 2001. THE METAPHYSICAL CLUB. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux. This is a terrific book that I think about the way that most folks feel about a good mystery novel that you just can't put down. When I realized it was damaged in the flood I gave it a spot right in front of the de-humidifer. Once it dried and seemed salvagable, I put under a stack of heavy storage boxes to try to "flatten" it back into shape. It has a bit of a bulk and bulge to it now, and it opens awkwardly, but still readable and useful as a source. I am going to put it under a bit more pressure tonight, but it is definitely a keeper. Menand's historical approach is central to understanding pragmatism as the dominant intellectual movement of period we associate with progressivism. Although there have been some articles lately discussing pragmatism and public administration, I really don't think the historical link between the two has been explored enough. I will be returning to Menand again....
  • Simon, Herbert A., Donald W. Smithburg, and Victor A. Thompson. 1950. PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Luckily, this copy of the original edition was merely dampened by the event rather than soaked, and so it took to the drying and pressing process very well. I still refer to this old thing -- despite the fact that the book has recently been reissued.... I think it provides a good deal more insight into the thinking of Simon during his PA days than his later reflections on the field....
I am also resorting many of the books that got misplaced on shelves to keep them from the rising water or put into plastic bins; and of course I have the stacks of books that I've purchased over the past several months that I've kept out of my home office area until the rest dry and I can make room for the new ones....

Should be more than enough to blog about....



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