Welcome - willkommen!

Blogging in English und auf Deutsch.
English: A key topic of this blog certainly is Bullying, and what can be done against it.
Deutsch: Ein Kernthema dieses Blogs is ganz sicherlich Mobbing, und was dagegen getan werden kann.
E: There are still lots of other topics here, too - feel free to cruise around and take a look :-)!
D: Es gibt aber auch noch viele andere Themen - schaut Euch einfach um :-)!
E: I look forward to comments on my blog entries!
D: Ich freue mich über Kommentare zu meinen Blog-Einträgen!

In the banner picture: Libera.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Conan O'Brien, John Cleese, Jeremy Brett and the letter Ä

Cryptic title, right? Now what on Earth is he up to, you may think ... Does he want to embed the German mutated vowel "Ä" into celebrities's names?

Conän O'Briän?
John Cläse?
Järämy Brätt?


No. The fun would be endless, but: No. Not yet, maybe :-) ...


During the night from Friday to Saturday, I was writing a message reply on YouTube. Well, that's not exactly news, as I basically write several of those on many days of the month, plus comment replies, or also write comments I make mself on fellow YouTubers' videos.

The thing is that I, long ago already, decided to pre-write messages that will become longer and more complex, in a Word document, and save this document ever so often while creating the text, just in case something goes wrong: Web browsers freezing, my computer crashing without warning, maybe a power shortcut ... you name it. By things like these, I had quite a few lenghty messages I had written already going down the drain, and as I could, in most of the cases, not save the document I had written online, sometimes one solid hour or more of thinking and writing was lost.

My idea of preventing me from having all that trouble is a good one:

Pre-writing stuff in a Word document, and saving the progress ever so often, and, only after finishing the whole text (plus a decent spellcheck!), putting it via copy and paste into the respective web form, what could go wrong with that?!

Nothing. If you do it this way. Which I do. Most of the time.


Well, at times, the idea of what I could write in reply to someone unfolds and looks like it's gonna result only in a few lines of text, and for that, I don't bother to open a Word document and go through all the necessary hassle - I simply start writing, an I assume that I will be finished with the note a few lines later.

Sometimes, that is the case. Like ... almost never. Mr Eloquent here does not exactly stop after three sentences, does he?

And so it occurs that I get caught up in the moment, and write and write, ignoring possible risks and developing my thoughts - my fingers trying to catch up, speed wise, with my brain, and manufacturing typos here and there, of the charming or ... alarming kind.


That's what happened the other night.

I had been thinking a bit, about what I wanted to write, and when I finally had found how to enter into the topic, I started off. The messge developped nicely, and at some point (and a lot of text later), I was in sight of the finishing line, so to speak, when I noticed that my laptop was slowing down a bit (which happens at times, as it is an old one, and I always over-stress it, with lots of tabs open, online and offline).

I just had made a typo and wanted to correct it. I pressed the "Back" key ...

I dont have a clue whether this is the correct English word for the key that shows an arrow to the left on it, and, by pressing it, moves your cursor backwards, erasing everything you wrote, character by character. My dictonary offers "backspacer", if related to a typewriter, for the German word "Rückstelltaste" ... so: I hope you're on board with what I mean.

... but nothing happened. As I said: My laptop is old, and once in a while, there is obviously some traffic jam in the RAM, and things slow down to an almost halt.

I was not in an almost-halt mood, but wanted to finish and send the message. And so, I persistently pushed the above mentioned button again and again, and then "agaiiiiiiin" - meaning: I pressed the button constantly for a few seconds.

Bad idea.

I encountered what happened now on other occasions before, and had promised myself to avoid that, but learning from experience is always said more swiftly than done, do you agree? Ha ha, thought so!

If I do that "agaiiiin" thing in a webform, press the "Back" key for a few seconds, it ever so often happens to me that my browser thinks I want to return to the site I was before I entered the form I am currently writing something in. Well, I NEVER want to do that - and if I would, then I'd use the appropriate button in the browser's task bar.

So that's what happened: My browser mistook my prolonged click on the "Back" button for an order, and brought me where I did not want to go. And, in the process, the complete message I had been writing was gone.

Well, in my younger years (until a few weeks ago), I would have been screaming bloody murder now, and possibly would have even maltreated my computer hardware. But as I am "Old and Wise" now, I refrain myself from these follies. Mostly.

I indeed was kinda frustrated, as it was some 2 a.m. already, and I seriously did not want to start writing all over again - but other options were not there.

So, just to let out a bit of that anger, to vent some steam ... I started typing rapidly with all ten fingers, just random, and not even really really hard ... But due to the fact that my fingernails are a bit long at the moment, I got a bit underneath of some of the laptop keys, and actually ripped three of them off!

Sounds more brutal than it actually is, as these keys are neither glued nor welded to their spots ... but three keys were off the hook, anyhow: The "W", the "S" and the "Ä". Lying there separately, and their rubber knobs underneath lay bare.


"Good job," I thought to myself, and wanted to put the casualties of my little special action back into their places.

But it turned out to be that the fixture of my laptop's keys is a slightly different one than the one of my PC's keyboard. You don't only "point and click / for the key to stick" (rhyme tyme, ha ha!) but there are two separate plastic pieces, that kinda work together to form some kind of holding device for the completely flat key itself (which looks like a Edition Frankenstein plastic fingernail, black and square ... but I digress).

Discovering that might have been exciting at some other point in my life, but right there and then, I only knew I was in trouble.

I tried to put the keys back on, but only succeeded with the "Ä" ... kinda at least ... it was fixed in it's spot, but somewhat askew, and I had to press pretty hard to make it work / put a letter in places ... And so, I ripped it off again - deliberately this time.

The other two would not hold at all, as their two little white "FixUsafe" thingies were off and lying around in the wilderness, and I had NO idea of how to put them back together and into their proper place, so they would provide a hold for the "W" and the "S".

At that time of night, my inventor spirit was kind of on a low level, and so I decided to NOT fix the mess I had created then, but to write the message I had on hold with the keyboard of my regular PC (rest in pieces ...), which is, together with my laser mouse, connected to my laptop via a Bluetooth hub - the mouse being far better to handle than the laptop's touchpad, and the keyboard just coming with the package.

Worked out fine, except that I had to write much more carefully - as almost all the keys of my regular keyboard have been worn off by my ever busy fingers, and you cannot read most of the inscriptions any more, I have to write blindly, kinda.

Well, it worked: I pre-wrote the message in Word, copied and pasted it, clicked "Send" ... done, some 30 minutes after that little fiasco I had created. And I decided to deal with the broken keys later that day. Some hope :-/ ...


Well, in the light of Saturday's morning, noon, and then early afternoon, things looked ... still the same as they had during the night: Messed up. And so, I started to try to get into the matter for real, and to understand how these two mini plastic pieces would work together magically, to hold those laptop keyboard keys in place.

It took me some hour and a half, of trying this, and cussing on that. And I kinda felt like an idot. How, I thought, do they manufacture these things, if they need ages already to fix only one key to the fricken keyboard?!

I decided that I needed some background in form of entertaining audio / video.

And now, ahaaa, the three guys from the title come into view.


I began with (listening more than watching) the YouTube playlist "Conan O'Brien" I once started to put together:

I went through all the videos there, and even added some new ones that I found in the Related Videos boxes. Really entertaining; good and funny brain food, to kinda soothe that smoking thinking machine of mine, that tried in vain to put back together pieces that I had not been even aware of ripping apart the night before.

When I was through with the Conan O'Brien playlist, I discovered, in YouTube's video recommendatins, a video with one part of an interview with the wonderful and hilarious John Cleese. I started with watching this, and then collected other interview bits from related videos again, putting them together into a new playlist "John Cleese":

Best entertainment too, as I am a huge fan of this guy for ever so long. I'm sure I will still enlarge this playlist with more videos, if I can find some.

Third in line (only chronologically, though!) was the late British actor Jeremy Brett. I had collected, but not yet watched several interviws with the best ever Sherlock Holmes actor some time ago already, in the playlist "Amazing Actor: Jeremy Brett", but not yet watched them. Now I did:

Well, it so happened that listening to, and partially watching, all of these very special treats à la moi obviously helped me along, because all of a sudden, I could grasp the concept of this weird fixing thingy they use for the keys of my laptop. Heureka!

I managed to fis the "W" and the "S" after a few attempts each. Some fiddle work was still necessary, as the pieces are very small and intricate, and I kinda get clumsier by the minute, obviously ...

But, funnily enough, I was not able to get the "Ä" back into place, as one of the two fixing pieces had actually cracked in one place, during my attempts of re-installing it's original state. The "W" and the "S" are fine, though.

And so, I spent some hours of my Saturday in a very different way than I had expected, and worked my brain in ways that were not very comfortable, albeit amusing - even more so in retrospect!

Plus, I got an extra bonus from all that:

The "Ä" is the one key (not letter in the alphabet), that I seriously came to hate - as it (on German keyboards) sits directly besides the key that hold the apostrophy and the "#". When I write stuff in English, I basically NEVER need the "Ä / ä", but I have to put in an apostrophy ever so often. And guess what happened almost every time?

Right - no apostrophy appeared, but the stupid "Ä" jumped in the middle, helping me to create words like "donÄt" and "thatÄs" etc. etc. It was annoying to the max! I was always so careful not to hit the "Enter" key intead of the apostrophy ... and punched the "Ä" instead. The only key that was kinda not in the game was the apostrophy itself!

But now, with the "Ä" key not being in place, it is faaar easier for me to aim for and actually hit the one key I need, as I have an optical AND palpable indicator of "NOT that one, nitwit!". Ta-daaa :-)!

And the good thing is: You don't need the "Ä" in German very often, either!

Okay, okay: As soon as I can get my hands on some replacement for the holding device that kinda did not survive this interesting lesson in craftsmanship, I will, of course, get the "Ä" back into it's place. But until then, I'll not miss out on much - I can write an "Ä / ä" by pushing the rubber knob ...

... and writing an apostrophy now is fun again. Isn't it? 'tis, 'tis :-)))!



No comments: