Tuesday, July 10, 2007


A problem is preventing Windows from accurately checking the license for this computer, error code: 0x8007007e

That's the stupid error code that has brought me to my knees and to my wit's end. Nathalie and I own three PC's which all run on Microsoft products. So invariably they crash every so often. Unfortunately, this has become the norm and I've simply accepted it. So when one crashes, I simply reboot, spit out a few perfunctory curse words, and resume my day.

However, some time ago the main desktop (our workhorse which contains all our vital work related, school related, financial and other data) crashed and then presented the above statement, refusing to load up Windows. I spent several days trying all sorts of tricks to resuscitate the computer, but to no avail.

Being that I'm quite computer proficient and have a modicum of programming knowledge, I thought I'd be able to get past this, but no. Whatever "problem" was preventing Windows from checking the license was impossible to identify or fix. It had simply made up its mind that I was guilty of owning an illegal version of XP. Like Mike Nifong, it refused to see it otherwise, screwed me over, condemned me, and then locked me out.

Safemode didn't help. Internet searches for a solution turned up nothing. Out of desperation I called the jokers at Microsoft, who weren't much help either. It was time to face the music: I had to do a reinstall.

I went through all the stages of grief (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance). And after about a week of much bitching and moaning, I'm now doing a complete reinstall. Which in itself has brought on a new level of misery thanks to not being able to identify the system recovery disk that contains all the various drivers, and then the various components of the computer's vital innards refusing to either accept the new system drivers or cooperate with the rest of the computer.

I thought I knew frustration, but this has proved otherwise. It's been 12 days since this started, and I'm nowhere close to having a functional computer yet. It pains me to say this, but the next computer I buy is going to be a Mac.

Coming from a former engineer and current geek, that's a sign of total defeat and ultimate surrender...

* * * * *

A picture of the hallway leading to the dining room at Smitty's Market in Lockhart, Texas, where Nathalie and I had the second best brisket in the world. Smoked and slow cooked for hours, it achieved a tenderness beyond all other briskets in the world, as if it had reached barbeque nirvana.

The best ever was at Kreuz Market a few blocks north, but their barn-like building isn't quite as photogenic or as full of character. Hard to compete with the 100-year old ambience of Smitty's. Although, from a barbeque standpoint, Kreuz's brisket will easily bring a man to tears.

* * * * *

While glancing at the semi-informative package of Starbucks coffee beans the other day, I saw that it recommended that I use up all the coffee beans within 7 days of opening the package to ensure optimal freshness. (And optimal profit for the company.) This got me to do a little math...

Per recommendations of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, 3.75 ounces of coffee are to be used for 64 ounces of water. That's 0.35 ounces of coffee for every 6 ounce cup of water. So to use up a 1 pound (16 ounce) bag of Starbucks coffee, I need to consume 45.7 cups of coffee in a week. So during the average work week, I need to drink 9 cups of coffee a day?

I drink my coffee strong, and I drink a lot. But there's no way I'm pounding down 9 cups of Espresso Roast a day.

Not only that, it'll probably be disconcerting to a few patients to have a jittery surgeon.