Minus One Minerva

When I first met Minerva, she was a mess.

I mean, she was in pieces – literally.

That’s because I ordered her that way, of course…no sense in mucking about with prefab nonsense when a little elbow grease and tricksy hardware know-how could carry the day.

Yes, on that day over five years ago now, I cracked open the unwieldy box of computer parts I’d purchased and, squinting in the dusty beams of late-afternoon sunlight, began to assemble my precious, precious computer.

It should be noted here that I have always been a “do-it-yourself” kinda girl, at least when it comes to computerized electronics. Anything mechanical does not respond to my freaky-deaky powers of insight, but throw a few chips into it and I can make it sing, brother. Which is why I was pleased but ultimately unsurprised that Minerva came together so painlessly…sure, her processor arrived from the manufacturer with a few broken pins (and that’s why we buy the shipping insurance, ladies and gentlemen), but beyond that, building Minerva and installing her OS and all the other crap I use every day went like clockwork. Within a few hours after replacing her processor with the new one, she was humming along, busily becoming the primary hub of my little home network.

And now, she is gone.

Sure, her hard drive survives as an external USB attachment, but that’s cold comfort when I look at her dim and unilluminated shell sitting in the corner of my library like the husk of some unloved sea creature with skin problems and social retardation.Her motherboard is fried, and the financial complications accompanying my Transition do not allow for the purchase of another for some months.

So, for the past week, I have been in mourning, rebuliding, restoring and reinstalling as much as I can by incorporating her into the little server I use for data backups, but it’s just weird to be using another machine (even my laptop seems somehow less fit for the job) to work on illustrations, answer e-mails, and, yes, write my blog.

However, I have steeled myself and am determined to move past this temporary setback…onward and upward, and all that.

In her honor, I present to you, gentle readers, the following poem, written about Minerva’s Grecian analogue, Athena, and her temple at Athens – also known as the Parthenon. It’s not so much a tribute as it is a tangentially-connected bit of verse that will help me get the hell over things, but there you are. For those of you interested in this sort of thing, the poem is written as a modified choka (my own preference is to make every verse conform to the 5-7-5 rule, rather than the more traditional 5-7-5, 7-5, 7-5 pattern with which you may be familiar).


Four by nine; that is

The ratio of X to

2 times X plus one

Dream of Pericles

No other temple like it

Athena rules here

Behold! A statue

Thirteen meters, head to toe

Gold and ivory

In her hand rests Nike

On her shield, centaurs wage war

Wise queen of Athens

Behold the huge frieze

That adorns the naos trim

Her honor, or theirs?

Only in Athens

Could mere mortals appear where

Gods and legends dwell

Gaze with wide wonder

At four outer friezes of

Pan-Hellenic might

Centaur, Amazon

Barbarian and Titan

Taste the blades of Greece

Mighty is Athens!

All Greece pays homage to her

And her Parthenon

Yet even Athens

Must pay the piper of time

War, conquest, neglect

Where are the voices?

Dust chokes the alter and fills

The reflecting pool

Gone is Athena

Her face is turned away, now

From those she favored

The stone is pitted

Faces soften, colors fade

Memory erodes

Like a shed snakeskin,

The shape of what was remains

The ghost of Hubris.


5 Responses

  1. I wish I could hug you, Claire. My old machine still sits here at my desk, looking hungrily at me and asking why I can’t fix it. I can’t say that I know how you feel, because I didn’t create mine, nor do I understand the darn things like you do, but I have an inkling of the mourning, at least. I’ve missed you, but now I understand why I have had to miss you.

  2. My question is this: Do you prefer apple or PC and why?

  3. @Tara: Awww! Thanks! 🙂 Yes, the healing is slow, and the tears are many. And, I have to say, I’ve missed posting. My blogging muscle was getting all crampy from disuse! 🙂

    @Sra: I prefer the Mac for (some) creative endeavors, although, really, since most of my work is done in Corel these days, the only edge for me is with Photoshop…it’s just faster, cleaner and I get good file compatibility with print shops (although, again, most shops will take either format these days).

    From a UI standpoint, I’m enough of a customization junkie that any computer other than one I’ve set up for myself is borderline annoying to use, PC or Mac. I get frustrated when Windoze decides to crap all over itself like an incontinent wildebeest, but my long years of rooting around in the guts of both the hardware and the OS in its various iterations have made me prefer it to the Mac OS, which, despite my years of application use, still mystifies me if I decide to go poking about in its labyrinthine innards.

    So, I guess the short answer is: PC for most things, except for the one or two for which I prefer the Mac.

  4. How did the motherboard fry? I suspect Brian.

    As I recall, there was a Minerva in popular literature who was a computer, but was not satisfied with that and became a human woman. I believe this was only so that she could have sex with Lazarus Long. (The whole last quarter of that book reads like a B-grade porno.)

    You remind me that my own computer is in need of an upgrade. Sadly, fundage is scarce these days, so my little unnamed computer will have to do for now.

    PCs are fine for most everything. I still can’t get over the sluggishness and the alien weirdness, not to mention the art deco feeling that a Mac seems to exude. They just have this “smarmy” aire about them that I dislike. And don’t get me started on that stupid one-button mouse that Mac INSISTS still exist. Apple should stick with the iPods and get out of the computer business.

  5. @Sov: HA! Brian! That’s priceless. It’s nice to know I have a witness if I ever need to file a motion to keep him away from my electronics. 😀

    Nah, I suspect age and the recent rash of powerful storms that have wreaked havoc on our power grid. Poor Minerva finally just gave up the ghost.

    And, yes, my Minerva is named for Heinlein’s Minerva as well as the goddess.

    Oh, and I totally get the “smarmy” vibe from Macs as well, but in my case that’s an asset. Like speaks to like, and all that. 🙂

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