Monday, October 13, 2008

Why I bang my head on my computer desk

It happens to all of us, sooner rather than later and much more often than any of us would like. The computer—our lifeline, our connection to the world, the instrument of our creation—bites the big one. It happened to me last Monday morning.
I’m sitting at my desk with my mug of tea, minding my own business, with three documents and a few others things open and minimized on my computer, I download my email, but then, before reading it, I decide to check something in my bank account. But the…darned…page…won’t…open. Aargh!!!
I then say to myself, Self, close everything, reboot and try again. So I dutifully try to close everything that’s open. Nothing…will…close. Nothing! Not one program. Aargh!!!
So, taking a deep breath, I punch the button to manually shut off the computer. That works out just fine. But when I punch the same button to turn it on again, it gets just so far. Then it gives me the message that haunts all of our nightmares: Windows cannot load because it is missing a file. Reboot from the CD.
Okay, okay, okay. I can do that. I slip the CD into the drive and up comes six different messages. One of them is Do you want to repair the problem?
Well, of course I do, you stupid computer. Why do you think I’m sitting here pulling my hair out? Sooo, I select that option and the computer cycles through the instructions, reboots…and asks me the same stupid question!!!!!!! So once again I go through the process. And again. And again. And again!!!
By now I can tell you tea is not strong enough but I can’t bring myself to pour Jack Daniel’s at seven thirty in the morning.
My last chance to win-reinstall Windows XP from the CD. Of course…ha ha ha…we all know THAT WILL WIPE OUT EVERYTHING ON THE HARD DRIVE!!!!! But, smart me, I have an external hard drive that backs everything up on my computer every single night. No problem.
Sooo, here we go, reinstalling Windows XP. Voila! We are now in business!
Because I can no longer access the PC Backup files TO RETRIEVE MY THREE WIPS!! Well, &*(*&*(*&
NOW I’m banging my head on my desk.
By an accident of luck (not braisn, I can assure you) I had two of them saved to my flash drive. Actually, all three but, of course (bangs head) one of the files is corrupted and only gives me four pages out for almost forty.
Banging head again.
Next step: calling son-in-law sobbing madly and throwing self on mercy.
By Tuesday I really was back in business, sort of. Everything was up and running except…I still can’t access the backup files, so I am buying new software. And I am manually backing up to the external hard drive every document I work on, as well as to two flash drives. And I spent the week pounding away at my computer doing my best to recreate my lost manuscript. (Much, much, much banging of head.)
By Tuesday night I was ready to drink the Jack Daniel’s straight from the bottle, but by Sunday night when I finally sent off my finished manuscript to my editor I decided one drink should be limit. Next time I’ll give the rest to my computer.
Sooo. What horror stories do y’all have? Tell me about them. I just know everyone’s computer has been bad at least once.
And while you’re here, let me tell you about my latest release from Ellora’s Cave, ONCE BURNED.

One hot summer Cassie Fitzgerald gave her virginity and her heart to Griffin Hunter. When he married her sister, Diane, she fled Stoneham and for six years nothing could make her return. Not her sister’s murder, for which Griffin was and continues to be the only suspect. Not her father’s suicide, which the police chief wants to sweep under the rug. But now her mother is dead and she has legal obligations she can’t avoid. Nor, it seems, can she avoid Griffin, who wants her more than ever and makes no bones about it and to whom she finds herself just as susceptible. Will Cassie be able to control her own hot need for this man or will she be pulled back into the same sensual vortex? Can she uncovers the secret Stoneham’s hiding, the riddle of Diane’s murder and the answer to her relationship with Griff without destroying herself in the process?

Her breath was frozen in her chest. Swallowing hard, she made her feet move, one in front of the other, doing her best to ignore him, her eyes still drawn to him. This was a different Griff from the daredevil who lived in her darkest dreams. He was not only older but harder, less yielding. His hair was still sun bleached and too long, his body fuller but still tanned and muscular. Aviator sunglasses hid the remembered blue of his eyes but his mouth that had pressed such passionate kisses on every part of her body was set in an expression of bitterness. There was something almost lethal about him now. If she hadn’t known him so well, she might have been afraid of him.
And something else defined his posture. Anger? Sadness? She didn’t want to know. She especially didn’t want to feel the quickening of her heartbeat, the tightening of her breasts, the instant hardening of her nipples and the primal beat that began throbbing between her legs. The heat had burned her once—scorched her—and she wasn’t about to play with fire again.
But her brain apparently had taken a vacation, along with her ability to make a sensible decision and stick to it. All these years, all that pain and it took only seconds for her body to leap to life in the once familiar response.
She detoured to the trunk of the rental car, her keys in her hand that trembled despite her best efforts.
Griff reached out one arm and pressed down against the lid of the trunk so she couldn’t open it. “I heard you were in town. I came to see for myself.”
“Please let me open my trunk.” She tried to make her voice as flat as his.
“We have things to talk about, Cassie.”
“You’re wrong. We have nothing to say to each other.”
“Oh but we do.” He moved until he was standing right next to her, crowding her space. “We have a lot to say. We have unfinished business between us.”


MaryF said...

I feel your pain. In August, my son was using the desktop and the monitor went out. A few weeks later, the dh's laptop died (still under warranty, thank God.) Just three days later, MY laptop died. Thank goodness our computers are networked. My old stuff is backed up on, but my WIPS are not.

So now we just have the dh's laptop, shared three ways, and I have a book to write and 2 sets of galleys to go through!

Regina Carlysle said...

OMG!!!! This is just a HORROR STORY. Maybe you should write one of those next. LOL. I've been there. Once lost ten chapters of a ms. and I cried for two weeks. I was just learning about this computer stuff and hadn't backed up correctly so nothing was saved. NOTHING. I had to start from scratch.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...


This happened to me two years ago when my laptop died. Now this one is getting cranky.

Heidi said...

Oh I so feel your pain! Last week, my daughter, who'd returned from a six month stay on a working cattle ranch, got on my laptop. (I hate it when anyone uses my laptop!) I'd just added ten more pages to my WIP and although I had saved my work - 250+ pages - I hadn't backed anything up for three weeks - stupid me! All of a sudden she began screaming "Mom!". I rushed upstairs in time to find a virus downloading, my computer beeping, and a message taking up my entire screen flashing - YOUR COMPUTER MEMORY IS BEING ERASED!!! I somehow managed to control my panic long enough to press the power button and hold it down for 10 seconds - the only way to shut the thing off. Fortunately I didn't touch anything else. Talk about having a heart attack! I immediately called my computer geek son and he explained what happened and helped me restart without downloading the virus. Here's the thing - apparently there is a virus embedded in a fake (but very realistic) site that actually mimics Youtube - you think you are on Youtube and the streaming video is exactly the same, but the site downloads a virus and the minute you try to touch a single key on your keyboard, your memory is toast. Oh my God! What a near disaster. Now I'm backing my work up twice a day.

Desiree Holt said...

Well, I'm backing everything up four tiems, I can tell you that. And all these horror stories just remind me how tied up we are electronically, but I wouldn;t go back to paper and pen or typewriter (typewriter?) for anything. Heidi, I think you get the award for the most horrigic story so far.

Anita Birt said...

For someone who has gone to hell and back with computer problems you remain remarkably sane with sense of hunour intact. I call in help when my computer acts up because I don't have a clue how to fix the darn thing. Hell,I just bougt a new phone and our visiting granddaughter had to get it working properly. These young people seem to know everything about everything. Love the excerpt.

N.J.Walters said...

I feel your pain!

Before I bought my new computer, I had one that was way old. Every now and then, it would pop up the message that I had performed an illegal operation and it was shutting down. It usually did that when I was in the middle of writing. Lucily, I'd only lose whatever was new.

I back up like a fiend. It's on my hard drive, two flash drives and burned onto a CD.

I'm glad you're back up and running, but I'm sorry you lost your work. That always hurts.

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