In an unprecedented — and totally warranted — act of aggression, I am about to use my current computer to purchase its replacement. We require little in a new system. In addition to the very basics, we’d settle for the following features, none of which our current beast has:

1) A monitor that does not make heavy breathing sounds.
2) Volume control that does not sweep up and down at the computer’s whim.
3) The ability to turn it on more than once a week.

Unfortunately, comparison shopping is tough because none of the above qualities are listed as options. I am hoping that means they are now standard, along with enormous hard drives, high-tech flat-screen monitors, and Vista, none of which we need but it seems we’re going to end up with anyway because all but the lowest-quality computers seem to have them now. (Note to self-appointed Mac missionaries: We are not getting one, so don’t bother suggesting it. Thank you.)

Alas, this means no new couch for us for a while, since that would make for a pretty scary credit card bill, but the Couch of Death affects me most when I’m also suffering from other allergies (way to kick me when I’m down), so things should get better here soon, and I’ll aim for finding a replacement by next spring instead.

And while we’re more or less still on the subject of computers (Ha! How’s that for a segue?), I have broken down and started another blog, because I quite CLEARLY do not have enough to do. See, much as I like to write, I have other hobbies, too. One of them is sleeping in. Another is eating cookies. And yet another is photography. Since the first two do not make for an interesting series of blog posts, I decided to create a photoblog. After all, as anyone who’s ever known a proud grandparent has learned, photos are more fun when you share them with strangers. Not having any grandkids, I’ve had to settle for taking photos of landscapes, flowers, and other elements of nature. As a nod to my inner grandparent, I’ve even indulged in a few cat photos, although I promise not to overwhelm.

I have eight or nine images on there right now, just to get started and give people an idea of what they’ll see, but I’ve scheduled many more; a new one will appear each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is really a good deal compared to the biweekly updates on here.

If you’re curious, you can check out the blog, Playing with Pixels, at http://caryncaldwell.com/photos. To navigate, just click on the right-hand side of the picture to move through to the end of the album, or use the left and right arrows below. You can even subscribe to the RSS feed or receive email updates, just like for this blog, because I like to get fancy like that.