Saturday, August 17, 2013

When things go awry...

The other day, after a long absence, I went into my website ( to post an updated page about my 2013 book, Canadian Disasters (now in bookstores near you!).   
I also needed to clean house.
I felt like Doctor Zhivago seeing all those cobwebs in his Siberian cottage;  The comments cache was deluged with thousands of robo messages the comments cache.  Fourteen thousand  comments were there, ranging from polite requests to visit posts with mysterious foreign addresses like; zapoznaj się z innymi artykułami
and there were lengthy oriental posts such as:  教育自分をリンス 可能性がに糞 あなしますが間違いなくないそれらのほとんどは 可能性がガソリンにUnreadable to me, except the message: Here is my weblog:  たのしますが
There were also flattering but generic compliments: My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post's to be what precisely I'm looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content in your case? I wouldn't mind publishing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write in relation to here.  By the way check out my page: 

So I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.  With trance-like vision I began bulk-selecting 20 at a time while scanning them for the rare genuine request; Dear Mr. Schmidt, I was wondering if you could come to our school and talk about your recent book...
OR Dear Mr. Schmidt, you visited our library last year and we'd like you to return...

Twenty robo comments at a time fell to my murderous keystrokes; purveyors of Calvin Klein knock-offs, penis enhancers, sellers of Nike Air or free stuff, offerers of editing services, renters of hotels and airline deals, and thousands of offers to speed up my Mac. Page after page were marked for deletion and I saw the numbers gradually go down. After a few hours it even began to feel like I was doing something important... "No, I wasn't planning to finish those countertops today... "  Use the computer?  Well, I'm kind of busy right now..." "Email somebody?  Why don't I do that for you.  Tomorrow. It'll be faster..." 
Somewhere in the middle I found a message from Hennie W. - our erstwhile babysitter from Zaandam, Holland, who came as au-pair girl to Hamilton to help take care of my brothers and me when our parents were working. I was just four, but have happy memories of her . In May, while in Holland, Hennie and her husband hosted Shirley and me for an afternoon, including sightseeing at Madurodam and a pancake dinner. (Halo Hennie!) She had great memories for us and I remembered her laugh.

After removing 4000 plus comments I went to bed, but the next day I could no longer log in to my website.  Firefox couldn't flame it, Safari couldn't discover a way into it, and even mighty Google Chrome couldn't peek in.  I phoned my webpage guru, who is supposed to charge me a yearly fee to keep my domain name intact, (and who hasn't charged me yet), and he got me into it once, but after that I was blocked again.
Stuff should work.
So anyone trying to reach me, just email me at

But there's another reason my face is red.  

I owe Mr. Toyota an apology.
Months ago I suggested the 2005 Toyota Corolla is for paranoid people only.  The doors lock with malevolent regularity just when I needed them to be open and accessible. It was far and away the most annoying car I'd ever owned. The doors locked when I started, stopped, put it in gear, took it out, stopped, started...
But a couple of weeks ago my mechanic mentioned in passing that the Toyota could be programmed to lock or unlock its doors with various key and transmission positions. It's in the owner's manual, of course (but I don't have a manual).
So I looked it up on google and found the solution.
All fixed.
The car is much better behaved. The doors stay unlocked until I want them locked up.
Sorry Mr. Toyota.

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