Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Strasser Syndrome



I had planned to set aside some time during the next few weeks to work on a few of the stories I've been neglecting and perhaps put the final touches on a poem that I wish to use in a guest blog post. This may not work out as I'd hoped.

A few days ago, I pulled out the laptop and started it up. Up to a point, that is...

I noticed I got a pretty background and a mouse pointer that responded quite nicely to any mouse movements, but there was nothing to click on. I tried booting again, several times in fact, with irritatingly consistent results.

I tried to restore from the restore partition, but nothing changed.

I tried to reload from the initial system backup, but the outcome was the same.

Eventually, I found the diagnostics and ran them. Everything checked out properly - except the hard drive, which was what I had feared. It had failed.


Failed hard drive
The hard drive the died...

I have all of my data, of course. It's backed up in three different places, so that isn't a concern, but this was the only computer with Office 10 installed, and some of the files were in the new Office 10 format (.docx). Yes, they can be converted, but I didn't want to hunt for any formatting inconsistencies and such.

If you've read Bethanne Strasser's blog, you may remember that she recently had a problem with her laptop computer right when she was trying to finish up a project. She was coming up on her book release when her's quit. I didn't have any hard deadlines, but I did want to get back to work on these projects. So my inner voices, Ego-Master and Id-Boy, began a conversation on what to do next.



Scenario: Id-Boy spots a problem with the main computer bank (aka, the laptop) and calls upon Ego-Master for help.

"Sir, we've had a system failure of some sort. I can't get to the files!"

"Relax, son," replied Ego-Master. "We'll work our way through this."

"See, sir. The computer won't respond!"

"Doesn't look good," said Ego-Master as he stared at the monitor. "Not good at all."

"But, sir, we're almost out of time before vacation. What will we do?"

"You want to do some writing during your vacation, son? Well, we don't need no stinking computer to do some writing!"

"How is that possible, sir?"

"You got some paper? You got a pencil?"

"Yes, sir."

"That's all you need, son."

"You mean, manually write the words?" asked Id-Boy sounding incredulous. "I - I've heard of that, sir. You know, from the history books. But I never thought I'd really have to do that sort of thing!"

"It's easy, son. And once the laptop is fixed, you just type the words in."

"But, sir, what about spell check? I need my spell check! And a thesaurus! They'll all be gone!"

"Snap out of it, boy! By God, I won't have this! If some girly little romance writer can handle it, so can you!"

Id-Boy bowed his head and responded meekly, "Yes, sir. Sorry, sir. It won't happen again."

"Besides, when you finally do type it in, you'll have your spell check back in working order."

"Yes, sir. I'll do my best."

"In the mean time, I'll order a new hard drive. It should take less than a week to get here."

"A week?"

"I'm not paying for that express shipping, boy! Good God, that costs more than the drive!"

"Sorry, sir. It just seems like forever. How long can one of these pencil things last?"

"A long time, son. A long time. I'll even show you how to sharpen it."

"Sharpen it? Isn't that dangerous, sir?

"Ha!" laughed Ego-Master, leaning back with his hands on his hips. "Depends on what you write!"

"You've been through this before haven't you, sir?"

"Yes, my boy, I have. It's been a while, but you never forget. Never. There's even a name for that horrible feeling you get when there's writing to be done and the hardware lets you down."

"A name, sir?"

"Yes," said Ego-Master, putting his hand on Id-Boy's shoulder and looking off into the distance. "It's called the Strasser Syndrome."



Yes, I know this was supposed to be a more serious blog, but the circumstances at hand seem to be preventing that.


© 2012 K. R. Smith

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