[ Free Me From This Bond: Chapter 10 ]
I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult was getting those last three chapters out to the world! Sean walked away with my Android tablet about three weeks ago, so I am left with just my desktop-replacement laptop (an Acer Aspire 6530 w/16-inch screen), and my portable Compaq tc4400 PC tablet with swivel screen and touch tablet features. Well, I certainly continue just fine with the loss of my Android, as I still remain with two wifi-capable systems.
But then, I inadvertently pass on my Compaq to Sean about 10 days later, who (like me) does not realize the backpack he admires (and which I gladly present to him), contains that notebook. As a matter of habit, I’m accustomed to remove the Compaq from this pack the moment I get home, and stash it in a secret spot. Don’t know why I didn’t do it the night ruddy-handsome street-dragon Sean shows up. (What can I say, but that I’m an incurable space cadet! Were there a college course called “Advanced Airhead 201” I’d be the head of the class.)
Sean is certainly not at fault, I want to declare to all the world as my enlightened jury. Unfortunately, I make him the unwitting thief of my finest laptop ever, which he may or may not be able to return at this point. Either way, I still regard him as an absolute darling, who has nothing but my best wishes in every way. BTW, Sean is the street dragon who drew those Sharpie fine-point designs on my hands, as depicted at the end of Chapter 8.
How good looking is Sean (you might ask)? He has (or had) a shaggy mop of jet black hair with a flurry of curls, like a dark halo. Sean has since shaved his head to form a close-cropped Mohawk that looks absolutely bitchin’. His closely-set anthracite eyes are especially sexy and hypnotic. Little did I know just what a gorgeous body he really has, ’cause every time he hangs out with me, he’s bundled up in layers. But the last time Sean dropped over, he peeled off his top clothes to change into a fresh T.
I was stunned. His torso is precisely cut with well defined pecs and gorgeous tight nipples. Broad shoulders, chest, and a saliva-drippingly trim waist! Though of short stature (5-foot-5 I guess), he is a truly buff male of approximately 27 years, with nicely shaped forearms and bulging biceps. Really lickable armpits (I might add) with just a splash of hair: a delightful oasis between solid upper arms and deltoids. In short: a breathing Greek statue of classic proportion.
Well, I still have my Acer which serves me quite well, with the extra benefit of connecting to the Internet via Gold’s Gym across the street from my Hobbit SRO. But then, the Aspire 6530 burns out some chips, which afterwards only allows me to run the computer off a live optical disc. (I did not learn until more than two years since purchasing this particular model, that it has a notoriously hot CPU that would eventually lead to major burnout; and that is exactly what happens to me…and it couldn’t possibly come at a worse time!)
Now here is where things devolve from annoying to outright frustrating.
The laptop screen is malfunctioning, but so what, I have a separate LCD monitor hooked up, and it works just fine. The hard drive is wrecked, then again I do have five live DVD’s with different versions of Linux: Puppy, Mint, Debian, Knoppix and Parted Magic. So I pop in my favorite distro (which is Puppy), and I’m good to go (or so I think).
Whaaaa-aat? The operating system refuses to load! I whine, as if my Puppy defecated all over the hardwood floor instead of the newspaper I laid down. What’s up with that? Oh, well, let’s see what else I can try. Yes, let’s go with Mint.
But that system grinds away like an ogre’s jaws coming offa three lines of meth, and takes over a half hour to fully boot up. And after it does, it is so sluggish and non-wifi capable as to be useless! Grrrrr. Let’s try Knoppix next.
Fuggedaboudit. Knoppix is anemic, it’s like an old Appaloosa ready for the glue factory. Once it is loaded, the screen is BLANK believe it or not, and refuses to respond to any of my strokes (like a cheap Polk Street hustler, I might add). *sigh*
Debian is no better, much to my disappointment. What on Jehovah’s Green Ball of Slime is going on here? All those discs have always worked just fine before, the few times I’ve used ’em!
Turns out Parted Magic is the only functioning live DVD that actually boots up properly, and allows me to connect. But as it also turns out, there still persist serious roadblocks in accomplishing my Cyperspace Mission to Queerify This Planet 100%. For one: I can’t login to my WordPress account, because there is only one browser provided, that is called Chromium, and which has pointless error glitches that refuse to allow me to log into WordPress, and Goddess knows what other sites that I may require to accomplish My Scintillatingly Unbelievable Destiny.
For another: Parted Magic doesn’t provide an image editor of any kind. For this reason, I must work with whatever pics I download, without any cropping, resizing, color adjustment, or whatever. The various web-based image editors I sampled, require Adobe’s Flash Player, which Chromium browser forbids! (Update one week later: finally discovered an excellent online editor called “Lunapic” that does not require Flash to be installed, so I’m happy enough. Necessity is the mother of all bitches. Another problem w/Chromium is you cannot upload a file from the hard drive, or it will shut down. I therefore have no choice but to edit images via their URL.)
Surely Amazon.com has plenty of live DVD’s I can order for less than $10, that will solve my pathetic dilemma. But whaddya know: in spite of ordering more than twenty items in the last two years with the same credit card settings, Amazon suddenly decides there is a problem with my bank account! WTF, didn’t Jesus get crucified so good souls like myself, wouldn’t have to go through such tortuous grievances? My Blog, My Blog, why hast Thou forsaken Me! So I contact my bank which declares there is no problem on their end. OMFGoddess, boink me with a Callanish megalith. This can’t be happening.
Okay, so I can just google for some other cyber-stores outside of Amazon, that will provide me with a functional DVD that won’t prohibit me from logging onto WordPress. OSdisc.com comes up as the most likely candidate. But once more, Google’s Chromium browser decides I can’t log onto that site, due to security certificate disinformation. (Which is most definitely not the case, though I can do absolutely nothing about it, as Chromium does not allow me the option to log on anyway. Jeez! Stuff me in an iron maiden, why don’t you! Gag me with a splintery fish bone from The Last Supper.)
What about Cheapbytes, I query to my perhaps-not-so-imaginary daemon. They’ve always been a reliable source of inexpensive and live DVD’s. Though it’s been several years since I’ve ordered anything from them. Well, Dear Reader, what do you think happens when I visit their site? Their home page is in a simple and clean format with a single link: “Click here to enter the CheapBytes store”.
So I do just that. But instead of their online products menu booting up, I get the following (and useless) statement: “If you can see this page, then the people who manage this server have installed cPanel and WebHost Manager (WHM) which use the Apache Web server software and the Apache Interface to OpenSSL (mod_ssl) successfully. They now have to add content to this directory and replace this placeholder page, or else point the server at their real content.”
I certainly don’t give a royal cockring about Apache this and OpenSSL that, so it’s quite obvious that once more I’m sheer out of luck. Suddenly like a bolt from Thor’s hammer, I come up with this absolutely brilliant solution: Oh, I know, I’ll just purchase a DVD via eBay.
So I log onto eBay and search for “linux live dvd“. Which results present a copious list of The Perfect Answer to my online dilemma. It is only then I realize that I have no funds in my Paypal account (well, actually $1.18, but what good is that…can’t even get a 10-second BJ from a snoring vagabond for that paltry sum). And should I funnel $20 or so from my savings acount, to Paypal, it will take at least five business days to register.
Unfortunately that is not soon enough, as I promised my literary agent just yesterday, that I shall have my book ready for publication by Sunday…only THREE DAYS from now! (BTW, my agent chooses to remain anonymous for a while longer; but let me say for the record: he’s an Absolute Angel). Additional googling across the vast, ghostly realm of cyberspace, draws a blank (as far as live DVD’s go). So what about asking for help from the Berkeley Unix User Group (BUUG) which I founded back in 2000?
No way, I decide. They’re a bunch of Libertarian snots who totally mock and deride low-income, left-wing types like myself. I dare not place myself at their untender mercies. Besides, our mailing list suddenly went down four days ago, so I couldn’t even post my request if I wanted. Good Goddess, this is such a jackass muck-up, I’m ready to bash the next hetero who looks at me the wrong way!
FYI: other than my longterm “friend” Casper, there is no one else I know who’d allow me to get on their computer once or twice a week, to complete this novel. And Casper, to say the least, seems awfully hesitant to let me drop over and fulfill my mission. Don’t know why he has killer bees in his pants over this, but I sure do not appreciate his lackluster offer to help. But such is the nature of middle class home-owner types who view the world as a system of ownership with proprietary privilege. Have-nots be damned!
Another possible solution: the San Francisco Public Library. Which I’ve used for several days in a row, though they leave much to be desired. For one, I can’t download any images, which I use to make my articles more entertaining (see photo above). For another, patrons are limited to just an hour per day, which thwarts my creative process big time. For I am accustomed to musing over every single paragraph before moving on to the next…which of course requires liberal amounts of time that can’t possibly be satisfied by sixty-minute limits each day.
But what really ends my brief affair with the library, is their flaky wifi connection, which too often fails to connect. The last time I use one of their IBM Thinkpads to post to my WordPress blog, their online service fails after twenty minutes. This also means they can not scan the laptop’s bar code to show that I properly returned it. So I tell them:
“I’m really nervous about returning an expensive item like this laptop, without just standing there, to see it’s been properly scanned before I depart. So I prefer to wait until your database is back up.”
“Fine with me,” replies the cheeky librarian (coke-bottle glasses ready to drop off his waxy nose with a loud crash). “But you’ll have to wait at least two hours before we get the system up and running again.”
I found his claim of two hours or more quite dubious. “What about a receipt to show I’ve returned it?” I suggest.
“No, we don’t do that,” he promptly answers, shoving his weighty bifocals back up to that hopelessly deficient excuse of a nose bridge. A house fly lands on the chunky black frame’s left hinge.
So I storm outta that furshlugginer dive otherwise known as “The Harvey Milk Local Library,” not knowing whether or not they’d charge me five hundred dollars or more for a laptop which they could claim I didn’t return. So what next? I think.
Thus begins my citywide search for a computer repair shop that might have some live DVD’s on the shelf that I could purchase for a low cost. To my chagrin, the several stores I visit either do not know what a “live DVD” is (fer chrissake, what’s wrong with that picture?), or offer to download and burn a disc for the exorbitant sum of $65 or more! (Did I mention yet that I live on a meagre disability income, which barely clothes and feeds me each month, after paying rent? I am truly a semi-starving artist: the Real quasi-McCoy.)
I am growing desperate. But wait, I suddenly realize, Isn’t there a computer shop on Irving Street near 7th, with Linux logos all over the storefront? Surely they can burn a live DVD. If they can’t help me, no one can!
The Inner Sunset is a neighborhood I frequently visit, to buy cheap produce at Park’s Farmer’s Market, dine at Howard’s Cafe, and stroll through the Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park. It is a short ride on the N Judah from Duboce Park to get there. Disembarking at the UC Med Center, I stroll along the north side of Irving Street, in order to find My Linux Solution. But this shop seems to have disappeared, as I walk along the avenue without finding any Linux logos, or even a PC service.
Several blocks beyond 7th, I cross the street and enter Radio Shack. “Do you have any live DVD’s for sale?” I nonchalantly query the sole employee. He has no idea what I’m talking about (dear Goddess, save me from these “anal ogs“). So I ask him if he knows of any PC repair service between this store and the UC Med Center. He shrugs his shoulders: “No. I don’t live in this neighborhood.” Well, I don’t either…but why should that matter? I think. Don’t you ever get out?
Rather than beat the clueless dweeb to a bloody mass of quivering adipose, I decide he’s already there, and exit to continue my search on the next street over (Judah). Figuring that perhaps the Linux sanctuary might be somewhere along the way. After hiking the hill for several blocks, I conclude I’m on the wrong track, and decide to try once more, the Irving Street promenade.
So I cut down 8th Avenue and march east, on the same side as before. Lo and behold, four doors after crossing 7th, I see a green-lettered “Linux” plaque on a storefront shelf. No wonder I missed it the first time around, I realize. The picture window is curtained by a large white shade that conceals its purpose. There is also another sign in the right-side glass pane: “extentech.com“.
584 Irving Street. Alas, no one seems to be home. I knock, but no answer. I jiggle the door handle, to discover it is locked. So I depart homeward, to return the following day. *sigh*
Next day: I’m in luck! The door is wide open (What a relief: my frantic search has finally come to a happy end!). I discern a long-haired, pudgy gentleman with a face so white it makes fish bellies seem gray by comparison (Ah! The quintessential Linux geek!). He’s typing his sausage fingers away at a large desk facing the entrance. But the moment I set toe on the door’s weather stripping, a fetching dandy decked out in Banana Republic duds, emerges from a dark corner to block my passage:
“Sorry, this is a private business.” And with that, slams the door in my face before I can even utter a single word. (Which, I assure you Kind Reader, is “screw” followed by “you”. Is there no justice in this world?)
Upon returning home, I boot up my feeble system and log into Extentech, to discover it is some sort of java-based spreadsheet application. Apparently, I conclude, the Linux service no longer exists, replaced by money-grubbing yuppie entrepreneurs, who think this is still the pre-dot-com-bust late nineties.
Exasperated (with just two days left to fulfill a promise to my literary agent), I decide to take a break and ride the N Judah streetcar for a pleasant afternoon at Ocean Beach. If CompUSA brick-and-mortar were still around, I fume in a back seat of the mostly-empty car, I could just purchase a live DVD for a few bucks and be done with it. (But that’s just not in the cards in these post-modern times, now is it?)
A wobbly old lady with saggy skin barely hanging from her bones (like the crinkly-white plastic bags holding her canned goods, bok choy, pink cotton panties and turnips), enters and sits in the hard plastic side-seat right before me. She stinks like a dead, rotting long-tailed Macaque in the mouth of a Komodo Island dragon. Holding my breath to prevent a nasty expulsion from my retching esophagus, I move to the front. Riding San Francisco’s municipal transit is always a memorable experience.
As I make my way towards the forward end of the segmented streetcar, I spy through a window, this rather ordinary storefront on the corner of 31st and Judah, with a large, plain white sign in bold vermilion letters that read:
This shop BTW is but four blocks distant from another computer service that offered to burn me a live DVD for the outrageous sum of 69 buckazoids!
I feel compelled to hop off the bus a few blocks further down the line, and hobble back uphill (I have a bad knee) to that store to see if, finally, I can get a viable DVD at a reasonable price. The door’s plate glass (like the picture window itself) is fully obscured by white venetian blinds. So I press to open and walk in, where I immediately stand face-to-face with a sturdy-built young fellow and a sleeping infant in his burly embrace.
“Yes, may I help you,” he speaks in a thick Eastern European accent that I take for Russian. I almost swoon over this exquisite Cyrillic tongue that evokes Medieval castelli, thick, dark stained-glass renderings of Orthodox martyrs, and brooding damp forests where millennia-old vampires consort with village maidens lost in the wilderness while gathering gooseberries and indrik dung.
I then notice in my periphery, another young fellow (though deliciously skinny and with black hair instead of brownish-blond), sitting at a large, mostly-vacant desk, with the exception of a desktop computer (plus potted English ivy and printer) which LCD casts an oyster-white pall to the office’s subdued lighting. The entire space is impeccably neat like a kitten’s sphincter just wiped clean by mother’s tongue, and sparsely arranged: two large silver-gray desks, two desktop PC’s, one telephone, and a multi-segmented burlap-padded divider that separates the three of us from viewing over two thirds of the actual floor space. Like they just moved in only moments before my arrival.
So I describe to Valentin (the husky shaggy-haired dude with a sleeping toddler), my pathetic frustration with a very compromising, though partially-useful, live DVD; and how I badly need a more workable solution in the form of a full-featured system on disc. Unfortunately, due to the language barrier between Anglos and Slavs, he thinks I need a DVD drive replacement, rather than simply another DVD. Eventually, the misunderstanding gets resolved, and Yevgeny tells me to come back in an hour, and they’ll have a freshly pressed Ubuntu DVD ready for me.
Yes, Ubuntu, that’ll work just fine! I realize. (Though I’d prefer Fedora or Mint 11, this is no time to quibble with a most gracious offer that I cannot even imagine, considering my convoluted and exasperating search for a practical solution these last few, infuriating days of cyber BS.)
“How much will you charge?” I have to ask. To which Yfsevgeny calmly replies: “Twenty dollars.”
“Oh, fantastic, I can afford a coupla ten-spots!” I gleefully exclaim; and offer to pay them right away. But Yevgeny graciously waives my payment with the obvious implication that he trusts my return. Now, how sweet is that?
But before stepping out to stroll leisurely down Judah Street to the ocean and back again, I remark:
“You’ve saved my day, gentlemen! I’ll just get some exercise and enjoy the ocean air, while you good angels set me up with a live DVD that I’m sure will clear up my vexing dilemma.”
With that, I depart, walking as if on Cloud Nine. For they are such sweet-natured and gorgeous dudes, I can’t believe my good fortune…I almost forget the urgency of my mission. The chill fog invigorates my nostrils as gelid wisps swirl down my sinuses and into these jaded lungs. It is indeed a wonderful day. And in my walking the Avenues and Ocean Beach to pass some time, I encounter this beautiful mural painted on a house addressed 1482 La Playa Street (between Judah and Kirkham):
But let’s save that for a future blog entry, okay? I have many photos now, of that artful house and surroundings, which will certainly grace my WordPress pages in due time.
Well, almost a half hour has passed, I surmise, and begin my casual hike in return to Alliance Computers. Some blocks before then, I enter the local health food store, and check out the pricey goods. I notice a shelf full of cereal boxes and think: Hmmm, Mike asked if I have any cereal, to make the soy milk I provide more palatable and nutritious. I should buy some right now. But then I think better of it, realizing I prefer at this time, to travel light without any encumbrance of backpack or shopping bag. I can just buy some bulk cereal when I return to my own neighborhood (which is the Castro a.k.a. “Eureka Valley”). Satisfied with my expedient laissez-faire solution, I step back out into the sunlight that has only minutes ago, burned away the last of the morning fog.
To my surprise and joy, just a few feet from my sight flits this darling and most colorful parrot, around a bicyle, never leaving it more than a distance of two feet (though obviously untethered). Nearby stands a strapping young fellow of most pleasant demeanor, whose name I soon learn is “Popi”. The parrot’s name is “Patricia Dolores” otherwise known as “P.D. Bird”.
Popi and P.D. Bird are inseperable; she never leaves his presence more than a yard or two, even though she’s free to fly wherever. Or as I call them: “Cross species soulmates”.
It never ceases to amaze me that, what creatures we stereotypically consider to be the most terrifying and ugly of all God’s beasts (that is: dinosaurs), have evolved in the slow passage of sidereal time, into what absolutely everyone regards as the most inspiring and beautiful creatures of all: birds! Let us pray that Alfred Hitchcock (or, more honestly: Daphne Du Maurier) was absolutely and eternally wrong.
Patricia Dolores is so charming and so delightful, my heart actually aches to leave her presence, and march back to Alliance Computer’s Professional Computer Repair shop. But I steel myself with this encouraging reminder: Two handsome dudes await me several blocks away, who are so incredibly gracious to perform for me an immeasurable service, I’d better not disappoint them! It is indeed a most bless-ed day, don’t you agree, My Darling Reader?
Sauntering up Judah’s steep hill, I keep an eye peeled for their PC repair shop…yet it isn’t until 27th Avenue that I realize it couldn’t be this far back. I distinctly remember crossing 32nd Avenue almost immediately upon my exit to Ocean Beach…so the shop should be located somewhere between 30th and 32nd. So how on earth could I have overshot my mark? How could this even happen, when I’ve been scrutinizing every storefront along the way?
So I catch up with this young, husky Asian dude walking a microscopic gray poodle at the end of a thread-thin leash. (What do they feed it: bird seed and flower petals?) Has to remove his iPod earbuds before he comprehends my request. “No, sorry,” he replies, “I don’t know about any computer shop in that direction. You don’t mean that one across the street?” He finishes, pointing at the very same repair service that wanted to charge me $69. Alright, this isn’t working. I thank him just the same, and reverse my hike back towards the Pacific.
As I retrace my steps, I ponder the metaphysical:
Could this be some of sort of Twilight Zone reality warp? Did the corner shop blink into existence only moments before I arrived…then blink back out, once I departed? Did they beam me up to their flying saucer and anally probe me while in a cosmically induced coma, then erase my memory upon my return to terra firma?
Did they extract my DNA in order to crossbreed with angelic entities, that their racial IQ may be increased tenfold? Ah, life can be such a mystery at times; eh, my Beloved Reader? If only P.D. Bird were here to enlighten me.
Upon returning to Alliance Computers (at 31st & Judah), I discover that Valentin has left, and only Yevgeny remains. How thoughtful, I conclude. Yevgeny has been hanging around for my return, in spite of this delay in tracing my steps back to the proper address.
I shake Yevgeny’s hand with a firm grip, and he responds in kind. To which I comment:
“I really appreciate what you’ve done for me. It is not part of your job to create live DVD’s for your clients. You went out of your way in an act of kindness, which I intend to repay. I will include you in my soon-to-be-published novel, in your very own chapter called ‘Yevgeny Saves The Day’. This will give your business quite a substantial boost.”
Yevgeny then rises from his chair to fetch the Ubuntu DVD from a shelf on the opposite wall. And remarks: “So, you’re gonna be famous, eh?” He stifles a chuckle. To which I respond:
“Yes. I’ve already received rave reviews from reknowned authors and bloggers. One said that I’m the best writer to come along since Shakespeare. I’m certainly not gonna argue with that!” (Of course, I didn’t tell him that the Shakespeare I’m referring to, is not the magnanimous “William” of internationally historical fame, but one called “Donald”, who’s written several forgettable articles for some obscure local publication located in Omaha, Nebraska. Ha ha, I am truly a mischievous dragon.)
I continue my brag to Yevgeny’s kind and attentive ear: “I hope when you read my profound novel, you will find influences from some of the Russian greats, such as Gogol, Kafka, Dostoevsky and Pushkin.”
Yevgeny turns to face me; apparently I’ve piqued his interest. I continue:
“After all, you must admit that this convoluted situation of finding a live DVD, for which you’ve so kindly bailed me out, is a rather Kafka-esque dilemma.”
Yevgeny then smiles the most glorious grin I’ve ever witnessed. My heart melts. I then pay him $20, take the Ubuntu DVD into my own grateful hands, and depart.
BTW, Sweet Reader, during our excellent dialog, Yevgeny informed me that he is not Russian, but hails from Belarus. “Though you may as well consider my people Russian, as there is little difference.”
Yevgeny: I already know how I appear to you, like some goofy old fart popping in and out of high-tech businesses bragging about getting published soon, and how I’ll become insanely famous and rich. I make you laugh; and that is so nice. I have no idea why we’ve been brought together, but I must say this:
Making you burst out in hilarity is such a thrill, I wouldn’t change it for the world. If playing the fool is the only way I can do this, so be it. However: in your laughing at me because you perceive this budding author as merely some deluded megalomaniac:
You owe me a shot of Belaya Rus for that! I look forward to it.
Upon departing from Alliance Computers, I walk to the nearest stop to ride the N Judah back home. To my surprise and pleasure, I discover a grocery bag filled with three unopened boxes of whole-grain cereal (one Kellog’s Corn Flakes, two Ralston Foods’ Corn Biscuits). Without spending a single red cent, I’ve found the sweet answer to Mike’s request.
Ubuntu DVD solves the problem, thank you Yevgeny. Ironically, the Pedit Magic disc decides to run perfectly, only two days after purchasing the Ubuntu system. Seems that Destiny played her hand, in that my DVD problem was intentionally forced upon me, that I may be led to Alliance Computers and (more specifically) Yevgeny. For what purpose still eludes me, but surely it has something to do with meeting the excellent folks who run that shop.
But this extraordinary meet-up need not go anywhere. Though I do conjecture possible new friendships that will greatly benefit all parties involved. I realize I put you, Yevgeny, on the spot a bit, and for which I profusely apologize. It is only my cock-a-hoop sense of humor that is playing you the straight man to my trickster self. You are an awesomely sweet, intelligent and dashingly-gorgeous fellow which qualities speak mountains of goodwill on behalf of your belov-ed people of Belarus. San Francisco (and these United States at large) is so lucky to have you! I wish for you, your loved ones (family and friends) only the very best life filled with joy, fulfillment, and the bountiful love that comes from Our Creator’s Infinite Wisdom. Likewise, Valentin.
Though if this episode offends or disturbs you in any way whatsoever (or even makes you feel the least bit awkward, other than your natural shyness; you already blushed once when I said I’m featuring you in my book), I will promptly remove it…or, per your request, edit certain portions.
I invite you, Yevgeny, and Valentin–along with anyone else associated with your excellent business–to add any remarks below in the comments section. And for those in need of computer maintenance and repair, I highly recommend contacting Alliance Computers here in San Francisco: www.laptoprescuing.com. Now, their address, phone numbers and email:
2600 Judah Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
sales AT laptoprescuing DOT com
FYI: Alliance Computers has an exceedingly high rating on eBay. They are international in scope, so don’t hesitate to seek their help from anywhere on this wobbly planet. Considering how helpful and friendly they were to my dilemma, I have to say that you certainly can’t go wrong by availing yourself of their most excellent PC services. They outstrip the competition.
In utter sincerity,
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT BELARUS
The national emblem displayed at the top of this article, is the one for Byelorussian SSR during the reign of the United Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Since the dissolution of the USSR, Belarus has acquired a revised emblem. Click here to view it.
Belarus suffered great losses in the last world war. Quoting Encyclopedia Britannica:
“The German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 overran the Belorussian S.S.R., although the garrison of the Brest fortress made a prolonged and courageous stand. During the German retreat in 1944, there was heavy fighting in many areas of the republic, with major battles near Vitebsk, Borisov (Belarusian: Barysaw), and Minsk. German occupation and retreat produced widespread devastation and loss of life: the death toll has been estimated at about one-fourth of the population of Soviet Belarus.”
The Chernobyl disaster added greatly to the long-suffering history of Belarus’s brave citizens. Again, quoting Encyc. Brit.:
“The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine in 1986 contaminated about one-fifth of neighbouring Belarus with long-lived radioactive materials. The contamination necessitated the evacuation of several areas in Belarus, some of which had not been repopulated more than 20 years after the accident. Moreover, the accident led to an increased incidence of cancer among Belarusians, particularly thyroid cancer in children.”
Belarus struggles for European equality. Sadly, homophobia is still rampant. Click here for the Minsk gay guide. Please note: I have every confidence that Belarus shall rapidly grow out of such prejudice, and come to love Gay Folk as her own children (which they truly are). Change is in the ether! For a rundown of all the great Belarusian authors and thinkers, click here. There is also this site: “Famous Belarusians“.
Will someone please buy me a “Minsk coat” for the chill winter nights, and to show my adoration for the Great and Highly Spirited People of Belarus? How could I not feel this way, after your Great Republic brought me to stand before one of your Most Beloved, Sweet-Natured and Handsome Agents and Diplomats, whom you so nobly name “Yevgeny”. (Not forgetting you, Valentin; this is simply the way the dice rolled. Ha ha, just jiving you!)