Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Severed Ties

Although for three years I’ve been maintaining this blog and writing some short stories, of which I’ve managed to sell a few, I don’t really consider myself a writer. To tell the truth, I don’t consider myself much at all. I just am. I exist in an ever increasing state of flux and I try to make a conscious effort to never truly be classified as one particular thing. This type of flexibility has kept me open to doing some amazing things and has also closed me off to some of the more specific minded people who can only work in a pigeon holed environment. I feel sorry for people like that; they seem to miss out on a lot of really cool stuff.

Where was I? What was my point? Damn, sidetracked again…

Oh, yeah, got it…

Saturday night I got home from work a bit early, my house was dark and empty as I burst through the door with only one thing on my mind, change clothes, grab a cigar, my computer and head out to my porch. I’ve got this short story due in March and it’s only supposed to be six to ten thousand words long and I had already written over twenty-six hundred words and I hadn’t even gotten out of the first act of the tale. So, once I was seated comfortably on my chair and a heady cloud smoke from my Gurkha encompassed my head, an excellent music selection blasting from the speakers and my fingers started to work their mojo on my laptop. After sixty minutes I had added over thirteen-hundred words to the tale and there was even a glint of actual plot and resolution to what I was creating.

It felt good, I was alone, doing something I enjoyed and my muse was dancing to the music of my keyboard. As I finished the scene I was writing, I put the remnants of my cigar in my ashtray and considered lighting up another one and continuing the sock-hop of joy with my muse by blazing up another stogie. But, the temperature was dipping into the thirties, my fingers were getting a bit frosty and I was at a good stopping point. So I packed up my gear, and went inside my toasty home. I quickly went about making myself ready for bed and by the time I got situated in my room with my laptop next to me, my phone charging and my book opened to the page I had marked the night before, I paused and opened my laptop, it had apparently shut itself off.

My heart stopped, I hadn’t saved my progress in the story, I hadn’t shut down any programs, I just closed the lid to what has become an ever present new appendage to my body. I took it in stride, I figured I had accidently hit the on/off button. I was tired and it’d been a long day so I just set it on the floor and tried to not let it bother me too much. I read for a bit, and then went to sleep knowing that all would be ok in the morning.

It wasn’t.

In the AM everything was most defiantly NOT ok. My computer would not start up in normal mode and when I tried to start it up in safe mode, well, it ignored my commands at that as well. The only good thing that happened was the plastic and metal contraption decided it would be ok to back up the sixty-nine gigabytes of hard drive information on my back up drive. Although it was going to take at least a couple hours, I was hopeful. By the time I needed to leave to go to work the machine had transferred eighty percent of my information onto a little black plastic box I had bought on a whim. As I got on my bike to head downtown, my hopes for a full recovery were waning. Horror stories from other writers who had experienced similar events filled my mind and all their lost works. One of whom I know for a fact took a Kimber 1911 and emptied a full magazine into the offending machine. He then buried it under a dead oak tree stump on a full moon. I still tell him to this day he should have framed it and hung it on the wall of his writing room as a warning to all new computers and technology in his office that had the thoughts about going rogue.

He peacefully assured me he had taken care of any and all mystical issues with electronics with his past magical sacrifice. What could I do but agree with him for he is more experienced than I in matters such as mysticism. Of course, he could have just been yanking my chain in an attempt to get a reaction out of me. But if that were the case, he failed. With his telling of the tale, I just nodded my head with an expression of what I hoped was awe on my face. (Of course it could have been gas, but I’m not telling a man with an arsenal that fact or I may end up under a stump on the night of a full moon.)

Unfortunately for me, I hold no “magical” properties, with the exception of my D&D characters I wouldn’t know how to perform a spell and I know if I attempted such a dastardly deed, I’d most likely end up as some demons plaything for all eternity. So, when my computer crashed and I spent what seemed like endless hours agonizing over my lost work, I remembered I had not really lost too much. Sure some photos and my internet exploring history and maybe some games but what did I really lose? Anything tangible? Nope, all my writing I keep on a thumb drive and I have back-ups stored in various places. So I calmed down, borrowed my laptops twin and posted on facebook my computer was kaput. I then placed a call to my computer guy and made an appointment to bring my laptop in. (Although I really did want to introduce my hard drive to a nice 168 grain hydra-shock 10 mm round from my Glock, I restrained myself.)

Not long after I posted my status on facebook, I received a message from my cousin Ray. Now Ray and I have only met once in my life, or so I currently believe, I could be wrong. That meeting took place in the 1970’s while he was visiting Green Bay and on college break from Purdue. (He’s really smart). But since then, we’ve had very little interaction with each other; I’m ok with that, simply because I don’t interact well with most people. But, onward… Ray and I chatted a bit about the status of my six pound paperweight and then he sent me his phone number. I called him.

Quick back story on my cousin, he lives in Washington State, and works for a company that makes computer software and things that computer software operates on as well as phones and other such modern contraptions. They also used to make these really cool music playing devices, but they stopped making them. I’m pissed about that but I try not to let it rule my life. I don’t know if I can say the name of his company so I will call it… “Macro-Hard” (Yeah, no one will get that reference!)

So, Ray and I are talking on the phone, I’m sitting on my front porch, puffing on a cigar, with a dead laptop on my lap and a terabyte back up hard drive plugged into the useless piece of technology. I assume Ray is sitting in his one-thousand square foot office with twenty or thirty modern computers monitors on his desk and NORAD, POTUS and the JCOS all on hold so he can help me get my machine up and running again. Oh, and I’m sure some guy named Bill was pacing back and forth in a hallway outside of Ray’s five-hundred pound petrified redwood double office doors. But that is just an assumption and not a fact.

After what seemed like endless hours of troubleshooting, pushing various buttons and performing some modern binary magic by both Ray and me, my machine was reset to its original factory settings. I then loaded the sixty-nine gigabytes of back up information onto my machine. I quickly thanked Ray and he told me I could remove the ad-hoc headdress made of mashed potatoes, tin foil, day old bread and a dead chipmunk, he also said I could stop dancing the pogo to Oingo Boingo tunes as well as remove the adult diaper. I complied with his orders; except for the dancing to Oingo Boingo… it is after all “A Dead Man’s Party”

And who could ask for more?

Thank you Cousin Ray for giving me back my amputated appendage, I’ve been crippled without it.

You all have a great week.


  1. It's been about a year since I've read your blog and it's quite interesting and entertaining.

    I know the name of the company, but then, I also know Ray. He was in GB in 1971 and I have a picture of all you kids. I think we were in Door County by the water. I'll get you a copy.

  2. how is it working? Everything pretty much back to normal? Or at least normal enough?


  3. Ray, things seem to be working well, with the exception of when I'm on the net, I'm getting pop-ups like crazy now and surfing is a bit slower. I downloaded AVG and CCleaner.