Essentially Ashland: By Lance Pugh — I seem to have a penchant for technology, for I can usually bring a dead computer back to life simply by touching it and whispering an incantation to two.

I seem to have a penchant for technology, for I can usually bring a dead computer back to life simply by touching it and whispering an incantation to two. This gift seems to work on all makes of laptops, towers, as well as hand-held devices. If it thinks in zeros and ones it just wants to start working as if on display in a showroom and to be my best friend. There are, however, occasional recalcitrant digital beasts over which I apparently hold little sway.

When I walk into a Wi-Fi hot spot the Internet connection somehow takes off like a banshee, with Web sites flashing across monitors like a laser light show at a rock concert. I usually announce myself when entering a coffee shop for fear that the laptops will begin to hover as surprised users drop their java and bagels on the floor.

E-mail speeds up to the point that responses are received before messages are sent, making for some pretty wild, but fast, communications. As I know a little about virus detection and control, as well as unwanted e-mails, the spam actually does stay in the can. The computers also speed up while running other programs, making it difficult to keep your work confidential, as often documents and spreadsheets streak from device to device at a speed that seems to exceed that of light. When that happens I simply whip out my folding tin foil hat and all the programs know that the party is over and head, reluctantly, back to their digital digs and await for their users to get back to work.

It was while reveling in a series of repair successes that I got distracted and stumbled upon a MP3 music player that had settled to the bottom of my backpack. It was not the latest device, but it worked. The only drawback was that the headset was broken beyond repair, which was understandable, as it most resembled an industrial hair dryer that had escaped from an antique store.

After searching about I soon had some "earbuds" in hand and was ready to rock when I discovered that my new "headset" refused to seat snugly in my ear canals, resulting in a dangling "bud" every three minutes. After watching one drop in a cup of clam chowder in the middle of a Grateful Dead song I decided to take remedial action and make those miniature speakers stay instead of stray.

I went into my workshop and looked about for a solution. I first tried molding a little candle wax around the "buds," but the wick was always in the way. I then slapped a little duct tape over them, which blocked out all outside sound while turning my sideburns into flypaper. I tried using a headband, but ended up only with a headache and a lot of strange looks. I was just about to give up when I took a deep breath and smelled a more organic solution.

Satisfied that it would work, I inserted the "buds," grabbed a leash and took my dog, Spooky, for a walkabout. We headed down some alleys and headed toward downtown. I soon noticed that I was attracting strange looks, so I stopped in front of a large window and made sure that I was presentable.

About an hour later we were back home, singing and moving to the great sounds. It was then that I encountered my wife, Annette, who instantly asked: "You seem to be in the middle of a boogie, but why are the earbuds inserted, not in your ears but in your nostrils?"

I went on to explain that with the new set-up all my country music had an extra nasal twang. "Furthermore, who nose?"

Lance@journalist.com was last seen smelling a new song that he had just downloaded. Please sneeze him an e-mail, unless you got the sniffles.