Sunday, October 2nd, 2011
8:07 pm - Of Keyboards and Mice...  
Previously on LiveJournal, our hero managed to dump a glass of milk into his wireless keyboard.

That was Wednesday night. I took it over to the sink and ran a bunch or warm water through it, then left it leaning on one end to drain. Friday morning it seemed thoroughly dried out, so I gave it a try. It connected all right, so I figured all was well and detached the wired keyboard I'd been using as a substitute. I opened a browser window and that's when odd things started happening. Every time I typed something into the browser, it opened a new tab. The first time I thought I'd accidentally hit the new tab key combination by mistake, but by the third time I realized something was amiss.

Keyboards are tricky things. The keyboard is a PS/2 rather than USB, and if you plug as PS/2 keyboard in after the system has already started up they often don't respond at all. So I figured a quick restart would do the trick. The next thing I know I'm looking at the system setup screen* cycling through all of its options as fast as it possibly can. I hit the [Esc] key to exit, and that brought up the screen where I have to answer [Y] or [N] to exit. Yay! Except the [Y] key didn't work. Nothing for it, I plugged my wired USB keyboard back in, gave the machine the old three-finger salute, and... It did it again. Handy tip&emdash;If you're having issues with your wireless keyboard sending incorrect commands to the machine, make sure you remove its batteries when you plug in its replacement.

* You, know, the one where if you hit [Del], or sometimes [F2], right after start up so as to set your boot order and suchlike.

I put it aside, and tried it again yesterday. It was sending long lines of the number 2, but otherwise seemed functional. Put it aside again, then tried it this evening, and it finally seems to be back to normal. I was able to type this post without issue.

---
I have declared the garden season to be over. It was a very mixed bag of results. On the good side, I got seven or eight spaghetti squash for my mother. I also got a softball-sized cantaloupe, and four pickling cucumbers that got made into icebox pickles. On the bad side, I didn't get any particularly large tomatoes. There were plenty of smaller tomatoes, particularly plums, but anything of size that approached ripeness either exploded thanks to the combination of very little rain followed by buckets, or got eaten by critters.

I haven't mentioned the critters before, but back in early July my neighbor mentioned that all of his ripening tomatoes were being gnawed by chipmunks. I noticed the same signs, including burrow holes, so I got some rodent repellent down at the Agway and sprayed it around as best I could**. It seemed to work for awhile, and I finally got some non-prechewed tomatoes, but it turned out to be a losing battle. I also discovered that it wasn't chipmunks after all, but field mice. I actually saw one of them duck under a leaf as I tried to pick a tomato. It's a shame, really. There are a lot of half-eaten tomatoes out there that could've been mine. The ones I got were tasty.

** It's made from rotted eggs, hot peppers, and something else nasty that escapes me at the moment. It's not supposed to be sprayed directly on the edible portions of the plants, which was kind of difficult at that point, so coverage wasn't great. I was able to direct a stream down one of the burrow holes, though.

The threat of the field mice going after the other stuff made me pick things sooner rather than later. The cantaloupe was ripe, but not very flavorful. The squash aren't quite as yellow as I would've liked. Stupid mice.