Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Technical difficulties

Before I got knocked off-line, my final post had been "Underground - Becoming radicalized". That could have sounded ominous in a way different than the reality.

My desktop PC - which I use for everything - gave out two days before that. It just died with a PXE error, and trying to correct the boot order didn't work. Trying to reinstall the OS also did not work. Trying to access the hard drive separately via another computer? Nope, not working.

I tried to keep things going with my laptop, a Chromebook that I had bought in 2012. It was out of support, but I only used it for travel. I typed my blogs on it, and chose the daily songs based on what I remembered of what was coming up. I thought maybe I could do Christmas songs for a while, until I figured something out. Then the Chromebook died.

That wasn't a new issue. Periodically it would freeze, and then I would have to remove the battery, wait, put it back in and restart. That didn't work this time.

My brother loaned me his laptop, so I tried keeping at it, and then that one froze. I flipped it over to take out the battery, and it had screws keeping it in.

Sometimes you need to give up.

I later discovered that I just had to let the battery drain all the way on the Chromebook, so part of my problem was my habit of keeping things charged. For the Toshiba, I could not find a tiny Phillips screwdriver, but I made a tiny flat head work, and I kinda-sorts have two working laptops now, as long as I don't push my luck. Before that, though, it was hard.

A few months ago I came really close to losing Comcast, until my sister paid the bill. That is phone, television, and internet for us. My cell phone was already gone, so the landline is the only way of reaching me now, and without cable that would make keeping my mother entertained harder, but what was hurting the most was the thought of losing internet. I thought about the human connection, the news, the music, and simply having any access to the outside world. Care-taking can be very isolating. I thought about it and it was agonizing.

This was so much worse.

If we had lost internet, I still would have been able to write. I wouldn't have been posting new blogs or submitting screenplays, but at least I could still have written in my journal. I could still have the creative outlet that works best for me.

I'm not good at writing by hand. My hand cramps up after a very short while, and even before that it is too slow. I have a lot of pent-up thoughts to get out. That month without an outlet was hard. Even when no one is listening, I need to be able to say it.

It still is not smooth sailing. My brother's laptop had an expired copy of Office 2016. I tried putting in my license, but that's for an older copy. I tried reinstalling my software, but I can't get the CD drive to work. (The Chromebook doesn't even have a CD drive.) I am using Wordpad, but then if you save in Rich Text File it tells you that is Word and it's expired again. A friend suggested Open Office, and I guess I should look into that.

I need to check out Amazon Studio's version of screenwriting software too. I could probably find my Final Draft license in e-mail, but that is also older, and this is an older laptop that is only borrowed. Nothing is ideal right now.

But at least I am able to write something again. I wrote out all my feelings in a new journal file, and now they are coming out in the blog, just like old times, except without all my files.

That could be worse. Because I publish so much of what I write, I think the only creative (maybe some day could make some money) projects that are truly gone are about three chapters each for the next novels in each series. Otherwise, screenplays are up on Amazon Studios, books are on Kindle Direct Publishing, and short stories and poems have mostly been blogged. The notes I use to keep names and dates straight are gone, but that can be reconstructed.

Journals going back to 2000 and special projects are gone. Writing them the first time was most important, so maybe that's okay.

Musically it's hard. I have been able to recreate, for the most part, which reviewed bands still need a song of the day and which bands still need to be reviewed. There are probably gaps. Also, the sound quality seems a lot worse on the Toshiba. I hooked up the same speakers, but I don't think the sound card is very good. Is it even ethically proper to still try and review bands with diminished sound quality? I could still make this week work, because I had been listening to two back before the second crash, but beyond that I am not sure.

I cannot recreate my Emo notes, and that is frustrating. I mean, someday I hope a professional can recover the files, but that takes money I don't have. And maybe some luck.

Obviously, I see the importance of backing up in a new light. I've never not been able to get files off the old drive before, but that's probably because it was different parts that failed.

All of that combined is why yesterday I wrote about what I intend to write rather than what I will write. I still have lots to say, and I need to write at least some of it, but maybe not in the blog. Maybe I can maintain a journal, but only manage that. Maybe I can manage screenwriting again, and have time for that, but only for that. Maybe there's a long hiatus on reviewing bands.

All of those things fill different roles for me, so any of them would be a loss, but there has been loss. Loss is nothing new here.

So it comes back to that decision: when do you fight harder, and when do you give up?


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