186 // Mental Health In Safe Mode

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I was always into computers as a kid, I don’t remember the exact year we got our first, but I remember it was big. To put it in the house the desk needed to have more depth than width, in order to fit the Cathode Ray Tube monitor, and the tower was as tall as the desk too. If you had the audacity to move the mouse, the cooling fans would kick in and you’d think you’d move next door to Heathrow Airport. Whatever the impracticalities were, it was an unblemished land of possibility.

My first real vivid memories are of Windows 97′, but I am fairly sure we had a computer or two before that. This was back before the internet, which makes a computer seem as useful as inventing a boat before water existed or Trump before ignorance existed. Existed it did though, and I pushed it to its full potential, mainly by selecting the ‘unravelled scroll’ ClipArt and then writing ‘Paul is da best 98” in 3D metallic writing with WordArt.

Inevitably I got bored and started deleting random things which I deemed unnecessary. The selection process was done at random from the list of programs running in the ‘Processes’ tab in the Task Manager. It was a great way to free up some very precious RAM unnecessary for my ClipArt projects. This behaviour would inevitably deem the machine almost unusable, as I’d essentially deleted the majority of its core functions. I’d call my Dad over and assure him that I did nothing, that the new blue screen of death happened spontaneously with any input from me.

He would eventually have to boot up the machine in… (drum roll)… safe mode, exactly – clue was in the title really. This mode is able to run the system on its bare bones and start from scratch, so you are able to re-install windows from the CD-ROM.

Unsurprisingly*, I have been in safe mode today. It wasn’t through some kind of saboteur deleting my core functions, I just had a bit of a headache and then had the day to myself (entirely). So I didn’t speak, there was no need to be social or actively listen to anything or anyone. Even the pesky fellows in my brain had a little day off. Safe mode was all very, well, safe. No threats from outside or in, I was just running along the minimum power and functions required.

That was until my girlfriend returned home, along with her sister and soon followed by my girlfriend’s friend. Now this is not a problem – at all in fact. Except I’m stuck in safe mode over here and it takes 7 hours to re-install the Paul Green operating system from the CD-ROM, plus it was a bit scratched so it wouldn’t read it initially. Emergency action was required and I had to make do with the basic functions available. There was no ClipArt or 3D writing, I managed a few smiles and the odd remark but I suspect the installation will be complete just as everyone is leaving. At least I will be able to have a game of minesweeper before bed.

Paul Green

*Unsurprising, If you are a regular reader of the blog, and know the format of my posts.

P.S Thank you very much to Anabela V who bought me a coffee today – it was very kind and very much appreciated! If you’d also like to buy me brown liquid you can do it here.

FEATURED ARTWORK: This weeks featured artwork comes from the marvellous artist and illustrator Rosie Chomet, who kindly allowed this piece to be featured. I think she is a fantastic artist who I found through WordPress and if you would like to find more of her stuff, something I’d strongly recommend, you can find it here.

If you would like your own artwork to be featured please use to the contact page to get in touch.


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  1. desertcurmudgeon

    That was hilarious, but also frightening. Why, you ask? Thanks for asking. Because if comparing oneself with one’s technology is an accurate gauge of our human qualities, recent events tell me I’m in big, big trouble. I recently got a new car. It has no CD player. Because apparently humans don’t buy CDs anymore. Except for me, whose home is overwhelmed by nearly 3,000 of them. A CD player can’t be installed, either, because of all the ridiculous non-features (as far as I’m concerned) like phone hook-up, turn-your-car-into-your-phone, bluetooth nonsense. So I went looking for an iPod and a newer PC to use for music uploads from CD/download to iPod. But PCs aren’t really sold anymore, unless they are geared for offices. I own a flip phone, so there’s nothing this formerly useful device can do to remedy the situation. Hence, everything I have spent money on for the past quarter of a century is now obsolete. Extrapolate that out to the topic at hand and it follows that I am obsolete.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Paul Green

      You are well and truly a valued member of the ‘Old Skool’. It is an achievement I think, well until it becomes annoying that you can no longer use all the things you’ve acquired. It is a badge of honor though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. S. Hansen

    Oh man, windows ’97. The good old days.
    I was an expert hacker back then, like some kind of ninja I’d sneak into my older sisters room and boot up her PC. She was far too social to be home soon, I had at least 37 minutes to play bejewelled. But she put a password on it.
    Good news is you could bypass the log in by just hitting enter…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jonathan

    Erm… did you realise that Windows 97 was a bootleg of Windows 95 OSR2 ? Microsoft never actually released a “Windows 97”. I remember those days well though – our first PC at home was in 1993 – a tower like you describe, and a hulking monitor too. I remember booting into safe-mode too, and running the Windows install over the top of itself to repair the computer after a session of “tinkering” lol.

    You’re wrong about the internet btw – it existed since the late 1960s, and Windows had access to it via the Web and email from about 1994, when Mosaic appeared (the fore-runner of Netscape Navigator).

    Remember AOL giving out CDs through the mail, and on every magazine in the known universe ?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. LadyButane

    This made me smile. I wanted to “be the best hacker” when I was about 9 years old and my brother got me into the MS-DOS screen which was the worst thing ever. I’d heard him mention Deltree and BOOM, the computer was screwed haha.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. undertherainclouds

    My first computer was a commodore 64. I was so excited to play chuckie egg I was willing to wait the 20 minutes it took to load the game from cassette. Then came dial up Internet, which was most annoying when you weren’t allowed to use it because dad was waiting for an important phone call and of course the Internet blocked the phone line. Those were the days!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. mikeykjr

    Oh, what memories . . . wait, some are still a reality. I have ten boxes: one with Win 3.1, another Win 95, Win, 97, Win XP, a few Linux boxes, Win 7 and Win 10 machines. Yes, I have a small museum – LOL Yes, they all work (the last time I turned them all on). Don’t get me started with dial up and THAT SOUND. Nightmares, no thank you. I still play some MUDs (text-character based games) from the old days too!


  7. Savannah

    Can I just say – I make and sell greeting cards on Etsy (not terribly successful, but it’s fun) and I use a LOT of WordArt. Also, I can relate to your safe mode metaphor with my own mental health issues. Love your site!

    Liked by 1 person

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