Betrayed By The Aether

Kage Baker was wont to occasionally throw her hands in the air, whirl around in her swivelly desk chair and exclaim: “The computer won’t work!”

This could mean anything: a power failure. A virus attack. A corrupted file. The sudden engagement of the screen saver. Kage, although she never learned about macros or hot keys or keystroke commands, had an unparalleled ability to accidentally reproduce some order she didn’t know existed, and change an entire document to Cyrillic. Or disappear it entirely. Her margin and spacing choices were especially prone to this derangement, and it was always rather challenging to figure out what coherent but inappropriate command she had spontaneously generated this time.

On the other hand, there is no denying that computers will, in their fast-as-lightning, idiot savant, GIGO-emperiled way, do weird things. There is always a reason, but unless you can figure it out postmortum (as it were) the entire sequence can present like black magic. There honestly seems to be no reason sometimes for the things the Interwebs do … like, eat transmissions.

I know there must be rational reasons; physics, while it gets weirder every day, is not so arbitrary. But emails do vanish into thin air, and postings, too. Hitting send doesn’t always have any more effect than prompting a little sign to light up saying Shared With Your Friends, or some such kindergarten-level reassurance. But, you know what? All that really means is that the program has noted you hit the Send key, and has thus acknowledged that stroke. It doesn’t mean what you sent got there.

Unless the problem is wide-spread and prevents you from using your system, most folks don’t bother to find out what caused it. It’s chance, or gremlins, or a peevish Loa (Kage kept a sigil for Papa Legba written on her computer, trusting him in his role of human/spirit intermediary to keep her Interwebs working). For Kage, it was an especial mystery: even when I could show her how she’d done it, she wouldn’t remember the exact method next time and so would do it again …

I’m carrying on like this because yestreday’s post seems to have vanished utterly. Where and how and when? I do not know. If it showed up in anyone’s mailbox – since I know some of you Dear Readers get my ramblings sent to you – please let me know, eh? It apparently evaporated from its placement on here on WordPress, as well as Facebook and Google+.

I do recall that I was going on about a couple of nice back-from-extinction stories. For instance, the Black-footed Ferret (a handsome little vermin) is regaining lost ground in preserve areas of the Great Plains. This is especially nice because they are the main check on the population explosion of prairie dogs … and it turns out we need prairie dogs (in reasonable numbers) to keep the native prairie grasses healthy. The floral ecosystem of the Great Plains maintains the local aquifers and ground moisture and helps prevent enormous range fires. Also, it supports buffalo. It’s all interconnected, of course, which someone has finally convinced the Bureau of Land Management is what the word “ecosystem” means …

Also, while the feral tiger population is decreasing with frightening speed in most of the world – as tigers are eaten by wealthy Chinese men – in one Indian preserve, they are thriving. Also thriving in this preserve are Indian Rhinoceri, who also suffer from the attentions of the Asian marital aid industry. Why is this one preserve different from all the rest? Because they have instituted a new policy: they shoot poachers on sight.

I am entertained by the thought of who, among Company operatives, got to breed and transport  herds of Black-footed Ferrets: the Great Cat Herding Project, it should be called.  Could have been hilarious.

Also, I am wondering if some of the Enforcers are having a nice sojourn in India at the moment, hunting poachers. Warm weather, nice scenery, and if you’ve got a jones for curry, it’s a dream assignment …

So anyway – if anyone sees that wandering blog o’mine, give a holler. I’ll fish it out of the rushing stream of the Interwebs and try again.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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6 Responses to Betrayed By The Aether

  1. Kara says:

    If the Great Cat Herding Project was anywhere near California then I’m sure Joseph was involved – probably at some point when he was still in is monk’s getup too. Poor Joseph. Those things can, er, climb, can’t they?


  2. Kate says:

    Ferrets are Mother Nature’s Slinkies. They work on antigravity and come equipped with VTOL drive. Getting them back to the Great Plains probably required some tanks (in which to transport them) and a crew of sprinters in welding gloves to chase and handle them. If Joseph had been part of this operation, Black Footed Ferrets would be very, very extinct.


  3. Rachel says:

    There is very little like a teething ferret. They’re like an unholy cross of a caterpillar, a lemur and a piranha.


  4. Kate says:

    But cute, Rachel. Very, very cute.


  5. Please oh please say Lewis was involved. I have no idea why ferret-herding would require a literature specialist (maybe it was all hands on deck and he was nearby?), but the idea of him being involved is just too entertaining to me.


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