The Midnight Writer
by Mike Lloret
I'm happy to report that the recent torrential rains have not succeeded in washing me or my house and garden away. Yet. As I write this the night before the absolutely final deadline, as usual my ears are being assaulted by the racket of the rain bucketing down outside, loud enough to drown out the sound of the television ten feet away and turned up quite high indeed. The news is grim, and I really don't need to hear it... the scenes of watery devastation and the subtitles giving ever-increasing figures for deaths and damage are unfortunately clear enough.
So far the only damage I have sustained is to my second motorbike, the one I use for getting to and from the station. Last Thursday I had parked it on the gravel next to the house and thought it safe enough, but the night's downpour saturated the soil beneath the gravel sufficiently that the bike's kickstand sank into it, and I awoke to find that gravity had pulled the bike over, and the cowling and the frame beneath it had bent badly when it crashed into an outside door frame. Between that, the deluge Friday morning, an incipient cold, work that I could do just as well at home, and the news of train services being disrupted, I decided to stay home rather than risk being marooned in Tokyo if things worsened. Back when I was commuting daily by bike from Kawasaki to my office in Tamachi, that would have been unthinkable: I have ridden through quite serious typhoons, in confidence if not in comfort. I am less inclined to trust my fate to the vagaries of JR East. Saturday was a little less grim, at least when I set out for work. I managed to get pretty well drenched later in the day, however.
Tomorrow I don't have that option, though, much though the idea of another day off might appeal to me; I have to get the AJ masters to the printer. This would be a good time to thank my highly esteemed colleagues once again: Ann got the cartoon to me early, with a backup, Paul did his customary magic in filling up the pages (I was afraid we'd have a 12-page newsletter this time), and Stuart valiantly provided yet another swell cover on very short notice. Thanks a lot, guys! Thanks are also due to the contributors, as ever. Ken Cotton, especially, is to be praised for another nick-of-time submission... he's saved the day several times now. David Parry continues to find time in his busy schedule to send in his excellent material, faithfully and professionally. Many thanks, guys. I continue to hope that your efforts will encourage more people to submit articles to the newsletter.
There's nothing very new on the computer front for me. I recently upgraded Display Doctor and Netscape Communicator, with no trouble at all. The nice folks at GOL having helped me out with some trouble I was having uploading mail through a connection established through ODN's Kumagaya access point, I am having no special trouble with communicating, and for once I seem to be in the situation of having nothing to complain about. The Brute has been very well-behaved of late. I'm sure that can't last.
To try to ensure that it lasts as long as possible, however, I continue to put off upgrading to windows 98. I believe I'll wait until I'm more sure that the bugs have been mostly removed before I consider installing what appears to be the world's biggest patch. I'd be interested, by the way, in a review of Win98, if anyone would like to write one. Until next month, stay tuned.
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