Sunday, February 24, 2008

Identities in extremis

Last week my desktop, after many faithful years finally gave up the ghost; a new one has been ordered.

Yesterday we drove down to DC to visit Glass3 in Georgetown - a gorgeous exhibition that once again shows that Washington, DC area artists are doing and creating something new in the genre. If you don't believe or understand my words to this effect over the years, go visit the exhibition and you'll see what I mean -- It stands out to the most casual observer. DCist has reviewed the show here and Heather Goss immediately picked up on the visual revelations of a three city international exhibit; let's see if the WaPo and the WCP get it.

Then we also wanted to see, and did swing by the opening for the talented new minimalist works by Akemi Maegawa at Irvine Contemporary. Akemi used to be my wife's neighbor in Bethesda for many years, and we walked away from the Irvine show with our second Maegawa original!

We then planned to swing over to Heineman Myers in Bethesda for their 10PM-10AM art party. We did get there eventually, but around 1AM, because we had an unplanned DC incident when we returned to our car. Heineman Myers was packed to the gills at 1 Am and still packed at 2:30AM when we left; full of music and dancing and booze.

In all the old movies, when the main character drives somewhere, he or she always finds a prime parking spot close or right in front of wherever they are going. I call this curious Hollywood effect "Doris Day parking," since in all of her movies she always managed to drive right up to and park right in front of wherever she was going.

So we had found an almost Doris Day spot on our visit to Irvine Contemporary, about a block away, almost corner of P Street and Kingman Place, in a nice, quiet residential neighborhood one block away from busy 14th Street, and right under a bright street light.

When we got back to the car around 9:30 PM, the rear passenger window had been smashed in and my laptop and my wife's travel bag were gone.

And so was my remaining computer, and my back-up to the dead desktop, which now has to make a visit to the expensive PC surgeon to see if they can somehow reclaim its files from its tired innards.

DC Police Officer Negron was on the scene within ten minutes, and in my mind has given the DC police department a huge positive checkmark in my book. He was friendly, helpful, made us feel a little better and was very detailed. We were also surprised when a crime scene expert then showed up (Officer Negron had called him) and did a CSI routine on the scene, including looking for fingerprints, etc.

I am thankful and impressed by the professionality, but more than anything else I want and need that damned computer back!

"They usually pawn it," said Officer Negron.

My laptop is useless to most people. Unless you are able to defeat 128-bit double encryption, no one will be able to log on without my 16 character alphanumeric password.

But, who knows, maybe pawn shop owners have the help of seedy SysAdmin experts who can bust through anything, and I suppose that you can always wipe out the computer OS and reload a new Windows OS and start from scratch.

But if any of you see a veteran (3 years at least) dark gray Hewlett-Packard laptop with a Verizon Wireless Card sticking from the left side port, anywhere around the 14th Street corridor, in a pawn shop or anywhere else... give me a shout.

Things happen for a purpose, and one reaps what one sows, and maybe I shouldn't have busted Mr. Molinari's window when I was a kid playing basketball in our backyard in Brooklyn and my shot went really wide.

Life moves on and I will go through hell over the next few weeks with a new desktop and a new laptop and waste weeks trying to reorganize my Virgo life; and calling all the credit bureaus, and the social security administration, etc. as inside the PC bag were also 4-5 really important pieces of ID cards for various things.

That worries me more than the loss of the laptop.

"In the worst case scenario," said Officer Negron, "those can be sold and used to start bank accounts, credit card applications, etc."

Identity theft; but life moves on and so does that window-smashing thief.