Thursday, August 15, 2013


Is vernacronym what you get when you cross vernacular with acronyms?  As a writer, I love language, and I love listening to English being spoken in a variety of accents and local dialects.  I know I’ve written about books on CD in previous posts, but I’m having a jolly good time listening to the works of Ian Rankin, a criminal writer from Scotland.  The voice-over is wonderful, and the Scot accents are delicious.

The flawed hero, Detective Inspector John Rebus (make sure you roll that R), is unique in his very Scot attitude toward murder and crime.  Although I am thoroughly enjoying the stories, I admit having to go back and repeat sections where the accent was so thick I couldn’t understand what they were saying, or listening to a word over and over with nary a clue as to its meaning.

So when the good DI Rebus kept saying efffff, whyyyyyy, teeeeeeeeeeee, peeeeeeeeeeeee to himself as he was leaving certain interviews or the company of some characters, I was a mite confused.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what toilet paper had to do with anything.  And what about that “efffff, whyyyyyy” part?  “Flush Your Toilet Paper?”  What if it wasn’t toilet paper at all?  What if it meant “Find yon tiny pub” or “Forget your troubles, Pip?”  There are so many words used in Scotland, Ireland, England, and Wales that are not decipherable to the average American English speaker, how is one to translate such an acronym if one doesn’t know the vernacular?  After all, this was written in the language of the loo, and the wash-up, and the dram, and the pint.

Three- quarters of the way through the book, DI Rebus finally gives up the secret.  I was more than a little taken aback to find that all my mind-bending guesses were for naught.  He was saying a very American “F&*k you too pal.”  Had I been listening to a book by an American author, that would have been my first thought, but since those in Great Britain normally use a B-bomb rather than an F-bomb, my imagination ran wild in an attempt at translation.

One good thing did come of the exercise, however.  I will be sending “vernacronym” to Merriam-Webster for a shot at being a new word added to the dictionary for 2013!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Office woes redux…the saga ends...

We’ll start just after 2 a.m. on Saturday morning.  The progress bar was making incremental movements, though each movement was miniscule and slow.  I went to bed at 3 a.m. and decided to let it run.  At 7 a.m., I was thrilled to discover that it had completed.  I clicked the tiles, one by one.  Word worked; Power Point worked; One Note worked.  Excel did not work.  For the next hour and a half, I uninstalled, deleted, and reinstalled yet another new download of Office.  When the progress bar was only half through in 3 hours, I turned it off.  I would wait for the senior technician call…the call that never came.

I practically killed myself getting home from my Saturday errands by 6:00 p.m., the scheduled time for a tech to call.  I glued myself to the computer and phone and waited.  At 8:00 p.m. I finally gave up and called them.  Two hours with another overseas tech produced no real results.  He was convinced that I had downloaded a virus.  He started a restore to the date that the computer arrived at my house.  When the restore took longer than he expected, he gave me a number and told me to call when it finished. 

Eight minutes later, I made that call, only to get yet another technician.  At least this one was in the continental United States.  We had quite a good discussion.  After about 40 minutes of various attempts at installing Office, he asked why I had downloaded a trial version of Office.  I told him I had not downloaded a trial version or any version other than the one for which I had a code key.  I told him that the previous tech had done a restore back to the day I brought the machine home.  He relegated my end of the phone call to canned music, and I watched lots of movement on the screen.  All of the sudden, Office was downloading and installing.  It took all of 10 minutes.  Then he came back on the line.  He told me that everything should work properly and asked me to test all four Office tiles.  They worked like a charm.  I asked if he had found a virus, and he replied that there was no virus.  It seems the computer shipped with a trial version of Office that was in complete conflict with the paid version I had downloaded.  Once the trial version was removed, everything worked great. 

So I spent an hour on Wednesday, three hours on Friday, and four and a half hours on Saturday on the verge of heaving the new laptop out the window.  Eight and half hours of my precious time, down the drain.  I spent six hours on the phone, doing nothing but listening to someone else type.  All in search of a tech savvy guy with a 15-minute fix.  But it is what it is, and the laptop is working well…just another painful tech saga with a happy ending.