For some reason I cannot fathom, the Universe does not want me to have a working Compaq computer. It last worked on July 2nd. It has spent the last two+ weeks in the shop. Yesterday morning, it arrived back at my home courtesy of Airborne Express, may they rot in Hell. The box looked fine from the outside, but when I opened it, the computer, instead of being held nicely in the middle of the box by the foam thingies, was up against one side of the box. The plastic front of the box was popped out, the case was bent, and a piece of broken plastic fell out when I pulled it out of the box.

I had a long, unrewarding talk with Compaq customer "support", who appear to be unable to do anything except send me another box. If I'm to get my money back, it has to be through the store where I purchased the computer. Yeah, sure...

So I'm going out to buy a new computer. I'll donate the Compaq to some nonprofit when it comes back... While I'm at it, I think I'll buy a scanner and a laser printer. Writing a book is expensive on an inkjet--seems to take one cartridge for each time I print the sucker out...

Meanwhile, I made a flying (actually, driving...) trip to L.A. this Mon. and Tues. to talk to two people about starting a business based on my book. The business would offer management training for computer professionals. We spent two days discussing marketing and the basic financials of such a business. Where we came out is that it's a good small business that will never become a big business. Would keep 2-4 people employed most of the time, although when there is a business downturn like now, training companies are the first to feel it.

Actually, it's an interesting deal I have with these two. They are giving me marketing and strategic help, and I'm building their website for them. Back to the prehistoric days of barter, but it seems to be working out well. It's interesting that building a website seems to raise all sorts of questions about their business strategy, who will read the site and what will they want to know, etc.

Actually, they are putting together a kind of new-business incubator to work with new entrepreneurs. This looks like a really good idea, if they can get the investors to back it. I'm going to be back in L.A. for a week, and I'll talk to them again about this idea.

On the personal front, Diana and I went to Villa Montalvo to hear a Mozart concert last night. Villa Montalvo is an old estate at the edge of the Santa Cruz mountains--the have put up an open air theatre in the back where there are concerts almost every night. I will say I have never seen so much beer consumed at a classical music concert before!

I fear that my hearing is getting a bit weak for concerts. And my hearing aids appear to be taking lessons in reliability from Compaq. With them out, the violins sound like they are in the next county. With them in, the violins sound out of tune. I haven't really noticed this effect with opera--perhaps all the costume and drama distracts me enough.

Actually, there were three things I wanted to do last night, and, to be honest, the concert was in third place, but it was a birthday present from my kids so I didn't have a lot of choice. I went and enjoyed it. But there was a talk by somebody who knows about self-publishing books and Wed. is my usual meditation night.

Kind of crazy that I'm writing my second book before I've even figured out how to get the first one published... Oh, well, hope springs eternal...

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.