Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Likes Old Movies and New Computers

Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House

You simply must watch this movie, if only for the scene in which Mryna Loy picks her paint colors. Filmed  in 1948, starring Myrna Loy and Carey Grant, it is absolutely hilarious.  If you have ever owned a house or taken on a renovation or dealt with contractors or New Englanders in any form, then you will appreciate it.  Grant and Loy, fed up with their tiny Manhattan apartment, and their daughters' progressive Manhattan school, buy an old house in Connecticut.  And so the fun begins. There are a couple of scenes that had me laughing so hard I was crying.  There's an amusing side story in which Grant, an advertising executive, is supposed to come up with a slogan for "Wham" brand ham (a WHALE of a ham!).  Carey Grant is a scream as the sputtering homeowner and Myrna Loy--one of my favorite actresses of this era--has a genius for delivery.


Remember what buying a PC used to be like?  You'd take it home from the store and liberate it from its styrofoam sheathe and plug it in, and then be confronted with a stack of start up disks, labeled something like 1-10.  And you had to laboriously insert each disk, in the correct order, and hover over the computer, following instructions.  And when you were done, you weren't really done, because then it was time to set up your internet connection.  And even though you'd carefully saved all your account information from your internet service provider, your computer would ask you impossible questions like "Please choose if you have a POP server or a SMTP server or a LAN."  And you'd be like, "How the fuck do I know?"  And if you did have a LAN--and you had no idea if you did or not-- the set up was completely different and if you screwed it up you would never have internet again.  So you'd have to call your internet service provider and wait on hold for forty-five minutes until some 13 year old got on the phone and talked you through it like you were an idiot.  Remember that?  And then it was time to install the printer, which involved more disks, inserted in the correct order and dire warnings about when and when not it was appropriate to actually connect the printer to the computer or to turn it on.  Remember that?  And then you would have to install all this anti virus software, and receive daily "reminders" from Norton or McAffee or whoever about the urgent need to upgrade your virus protection.  Remember that?  Indeed, setting up a new computer was a little like childbirth:  the end result was nice, but you never wanted to go through it again.

Our old desktop PC, which, at age seven was practically an antique,  succumbed to a particularly vicious virus, and I did what I have been talking about doing for years:  I switched to a Mac.  Remembering my past experience setting up a desk top computer, I was expecting a frustrating afternoon.  The instructions for setting up a mac are brief.  Basically, you plug it in and you turn it on.  We waited breathlessly over our new imac for a few seconds and with a sound like a hallelujah chorus, it sprang to life.  To set up the internet, you simply plug in the modem.  No impossible questions about LANs or POPs and we were instantly connected to the internet.  Then there was the wireless router.  The salesman assured us that our old one from the PC would work on the imac.  It sounded too good to be true, and it took hours--literally hours--to install it to the old PC.  I plugged in the router and checked the internet connection on my laptop.  It worked.  The printer?  I put off installing it because it was such a pain to do it on the PC but yesterday Grace had a paper due.  I plugged in the printer, expecting to see boxes about drivers or "incompatible device."  Nothing happened.  Well, let's just try printing the document.  I hit "print" in Grace's document and the printer worked perfectly.

And so they lived happily ever after, the end.


  1. I was a Mac girl who married a PC man. I've tried to forget...

    I will have to look for that movie. It sounds like a hoot and a half.

  2. I thank God all the time I married a man who has a team of techs working under him to do our dirty work.
    And that movie? I've always loved it. Cary Grant is SO FUNNY--the whole cast is, really.

  3. I married a Mac guy (he was originally an Amiga guy). When my last clone blew up in 2000, I stole his lombard bronze (mac laptop) and never looked back.

    He dual boots Windows on his iBook now to run a few apps for school. It's so jarring to look over and see the blue screen of death.

  4. I love Mr. Blandings (or should I say Mrs. Blandings). The robin's egg blue amongst other colours for the paint was hilarious.

    Blue! Yellow! Red!

    May have to purchase this on DVD now as I haven't seen it for a while...

  5. I Netflixed (I reserve the right to verbify any word) Mr. Blandings and it was great. Thanks for the recommendation!