Tonight, I had quite the scare. It’s a long story. Too long for any old Facebook post, so in typical fashion, I decided to put it here.
Earlier in the day, I was doing something on my PS4. Let’s just save all the “how the hell do blind people play video games” related conversations for a later post. Also, I use my PS4 for Netflix and Spotify a lot more than games anymore, but that’s beside the point.
I was doing something on PS4, when suddenly, the power goes out. Or that’s how it SEEMS, anyway. The TV, PS4, and my computer black out completely, but I notice that the lights in my office are still on, and my BOS still works just fine. Puzzling, yes?
I investigate a little further, and that’s when I notice the power strip all my electronics are plugged into is a lot warmer than it probably ought to be. Furthermore, the cord that connects my space heater to the powerstrip is nuclear hot.
I’m no electrician, obviously, but it doesn’t take a science major to put two and two together. I unplug the space heater, get a new powerstrip from my folks (the basement is full of computer parts and electronic crap), and plug everything in. Everything works good as new.
Except, to my horror, My computer is displaying an unfamiliar desktop. My desktop is dark green. The desktop it gave me was blue. As in the default color everything in Windows8 is before you go in there and tinker with the settings. None of my folders, none of my programs, none of my shortcuts… Literally nothing is on my desktop except Recycle Bin, McAfee Antivirus (which I swear I removed), a couple other programs, and thmy screen reader program. Except my screen reader isn’t responding. Long story short, if I get a noise complaint tomorrow, it’ll be in large part due to the MASSIVE FUCKING PANIC ATTACK that ensued.
I had a lot of useless crap on my computer I could probably part with in hindsight. I have a lot of pictures I downloaded from the old days of I Can Haz Cheezburger that I don’t even look at anymore. A lot of my music was on the computer, but about eighty percent of that was already on my phone. Some older stories I’ve long since given up on were on there, as well as the finished manuscripts of stuff I’ve already published. It’s already available on Amazon and/or Createspace, so what do I care?
No, the thing that sent me on a panic attack was that Lifers Wear Orange was on this computer. It’s not complete yet (I’m on the verge of finishing the second draft, and moving in to the third), and if I’d lost that manuscript… Well, let’s just say you wouldn’t be seeing the story anytime ever.
Of all the things I hate doing, rewriting things from scratch is definitely in my top 3. There was a time when I had to write the same god damn term paper three times in a row: the first time under normal circumstances, the second time on my Braille Lite (back when it worked) after my computer ended up with a harddrive-eating virus, and a third time after realizing my college, despite claiming to have all the necessary accomodations, didn’t have the cables necessary to hook my Braille Lite to a print printer. I was literally expecting to have to write that term paper a fourth time. I’m pretty sure that was the day I learned all about Murphy’s Law.
In any case, there is nothing I find more tedious, more aggravating, and more torturous than having to write an entire story all fucking over again from beginning to end. A term paper’s bad enough, but even then, it’s only going to be anywhere between three and seven pages (depends on whether or not they want doublespacing or if you can get away with one-point-five spacing). I don’t do a whole lot of short stories. The Novellas of Highfill, Kansas are the shortest stories I’ve written, and even then, they average out fifty to sixty pages. Or one-hundred if we’re going by Kindle format.
As of this current draft, Lifers Wear Orange is just a bit shy of one-hundred and sixty pages in Word. By the time it hits Kindle, we’re looking at a possible two-hundred plus page story. I’m not rewriting all of that.
This would be especially humiliating because I didn’t have any backup copies at the time. Yeah, over and over again, I find I’m having to learn this lesson. Psychostick of all people said it best: “You can never depend on just a single drive.”
Semi-related note: “Blue Screen” by Psychostick is great. Well, virtually EVERYTHING by Psychostick is great, but as a former tech guy, I can relate.
Fortunately for me, when the panic subsided, and rationality took charge, I realized my computer booted up in safe mode. I’ve had this computer since 2013, and I had no idea what safe mode looked like in Windows8. Apparently, it looks like Windows8 when you first boot it up and have yet to put anything on it, I guess.
Everything’s fine. I’m calm, my stuff hasn’t been eaten, and my electronics all work just fine. Although the powerstrip I’m using is significantly tinier than my old one, and now I have to alternate plugs when I need to put my razor on the charger. I’m also having some serious second thoughts about that space heater, although the fact it’s fucking ten degrees tonight has me hesitating to throw it out necessarily.
Everything is back on schedule. You will be seeing Lifers Wear Orange.