This has been and continues to be a great summer … except for blogging, trying to maybe work on a website, and other such “online” tasks.
Now, there are several reasons for this that I’m not going to go into just now (e.g., and in no particular order: the instant-gratification time-sinks like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., that are full of interesting tidbits but require slogging through far too many individually-irrelevant items to find them; various great travels with friends & family; car-maintenance nonsense that tied me up for a week before getting fixed; ordering, having to wait for, and then trying to learn a new camera; taking workshops & teaching private lessons; my ongoing efforts with the Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County especially at the Urban Edible Teaching Garden; and more!).
The thing I will describe in some detail is that ON TOP OF ALL THAT, the internet connection in my studio is failing. It’s definitely the internet-part, not my own computer, as confirmed by the experiences of others in the building, my taking in other devices that work fine via other connections, etc. And there is no easy way for me to fix that.
I mean, how can one complain when one pays nothing for the service?! Yes, I pay a monthly rental for the studio space, all “utilities” included. I get heat for free. I had to buy my own window air conditioning unit, but they put in an extra electrical line that I can use at no extra cost for the AC in summer, or a space heater to supplement battle between the furnace and the leaky windows in the depths of winter, or my kiln (just one of those at the same time mind you but, for the price, that’s ok with me too). There’s water (restrooms, kitchen, and big utility sinks) and trash pick-up and they take care of clearing away snow outside in the winter. And so on. And the building even has a “business class” internet connection, which has let me post away happily for the past few years.
But my studio is in a “community center” building. The folks that run the center just live in the neighboring community; they organize things through phone calls, visits to each other’s homes, or even just walking around “the Square” (as the neighborhood may be called); they do hold only an occasional formal meeting in one of the center’s open rooms when they want input from the community. But the important thing with respect to today’s topic is that they don’t work in the building at all. They have no need for internet service there. And the center’s budget goes for things like all those utilities and maintenance items and such.
So where do the ‘net services dome from? Well, there’s a local Linux User’s Group that used to meet in the building every month. The are the ones who really wanted the ‘net, so they made a deal with the center: they’d provide it, anyone could use it for free the rest of the time, while they’d get a comparable discount in the rental they paid for the meeting room. That worked wonderfully for my first years in that building! (Well, it was configured so you had to re-sign-in every hour or two, so I’d have to time any long sessions (e.g., system upgrades) to fall between that, but again, for the price, that was never a major inconvenience.)
Except, recently, that group has been rotating their meetings around among other locations. Lots of groups do that (including some I’m a part of), so it does make sense. They have left their conmputer and routers and such at the center, and they are still paying the bills, but something is very wrong with it. And they aren’t coming to fix it. And the center-folks won’t touch it because it’s not theirs.
I could take my computer home (nice desktop model with a huge screen) and connect from there. But it was just so very convenient to have that beast in my studio! Especially with metal clays, there is a lot of time that goes into little bursts of just “waiting for something to happen” — waiting for some moist clay pieces to dry before being able to proceed, or for some frozen stash to thaw, or for a kiln-load to finish firing, etc. Those moments are when I would easily catch a bit of “online time” in my studio. And, yes, I could still catch some via one of my “mobile devices” while at home, but for writing and doing photos and such, I just so much prefer the good, big, fast device I’d hooked up in my studio between my big, bright windows and my tidy little photo-taking table. Besides, I don’t have anywhere near as many “gap times” at home, and I’ve already found ways to use the few I do have productively.
So, I don’t know what to do. The big beast is big! If I were to take it home, I’d first have to figure out where it would go, then I’d have the hassle of packaging it all up and hauling the huge box down three flights of stairs at the center followed by up two more flights at home. If there is any chance the ‘net services will return in the next few months, it will just be easier to wait. Until I know more about the possibilities, though, I’m not going to put myself through everything involved in moving it. Instead, I just ask that you bear with me for a little while longer. I’m fine otherwise. (To illustrate, I’m including two photos from last month’s great road trip across PA with my cousin Marie from CA. The first, with my cousins, her nieces, Becky and Katie, at Phipps Conservatory; the second, at Ohiopyle, after we’d spent an afternoon at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.)
Thanks so much for your patience!