Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Exile and The Button - It Could Drive You to Drink

I've been away - forced into exile - intellectual and creative exile. I've been wandering, lo these many days,  in the barren, lonely desert of a no man's land called:  No Computer.

Having a glass of water dumped on one's Mac is not a very healthy thing for the electronic storehouse of one's life's work. It could drive you to drink. The memories. The stuff. The hundreds of gigs of photography.  The thousands of kilobytes of writing. All the information that we stuff into these little battery powered boxes that make up our intellectual lives - no longer available at the touch of a button. Over time, these inanimate objects morph into one big old scrap book of just about everything --  becoming pretty darn important. Ah yes - time. Nothing like a few days of no computer time on your hands to make you realize just how vulnerable you are when something bad happens to the laptop.

Through the years I've owned a veritable conga-line of laptops.  I crave more processor power. From time to time I trade up to a bigger, better, more slick and shiny model. I actually still have most of them - gathering dust - mementos of a by-gone age. But I have never been forced by an act of God (or stupidity) to change data processing horses abruptly. Nothing bad ever happened, therefore I was lulled into a false sense of security - never making system back-up a priority.  A little old glass of water changed all that forever. Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink...

In all fairness, I do back up my photography and business files - pretty often.   But never the full system. I don't back up some of my files because I'm an uber-efficient gal. I do it because I get close to filling up the computer hard drive and have to back things off to make room for more stuff - lots and lots of stuff.

This little water-borne lesson in computer due diligence taught me that my Power Book's (the white one) speaker holes make it particularly vulnerable to liquid spillage catastrophes.

Not backing up your entire system regularly tends to further complicate a hydro-cataclysmic computer disaster. Therefore, do yourself a favor. Do as I didn't.  Back it up and if you are a Mac user, use that little clockey-like button at the top right of your screen. You know -- the one that looks like a clock with an arrow circling it - like this:

This little button is very important! It is salvation! This is the Time Machine button. And, By simply pushing this little button before the evil glass of water changed my life, I could have saved myself days of anguish and misery. I could have simply purchased a newer, bigger, faster, expensive laptop, restored my data, and been on my way.

As the water dripped slowly from the shiny white surface of my laptop that later would refuse to boot up, I began to come to the panic-mounting realization that I was screwed.  Ignoring the nagging little voice in my head that said "back-up, back up.  Push the little circle-arrow thingy" was bad - big time... I made a drink.

Several drinks and days later...  Sitting in a store waiting my turn. A store stuffed to the gills with other desperate zombie-esque souls shuffling from place to place, looking for a life raft - palms sweating, hanging onto every syllable uttered by the blue-t-shirt-wearing techno types, as if their very lives depended on it.

Hopeless and panicked, sitting and listening, trying to understand as a blue-clad,  stocking-capped sporting-several-nose-rings someone, tries to get it through terror-numbed skulls that this thing you've done to yourself is very bad and whether or not you're going to leave this house of mutual misery happy or still screwed.

Perched on my tall black stool, waiting for the worst, knees banging against the cool Formica-clad counter, it slowly began to dawn on me that this experience may, in fact, be different that I had imagined. That this stunningly beautiful woman with long corn-rowed braids and a voice like butter was not going to lecture. Rather she was there to help!   Her calm, silky voice began to sink in.  Her unbelievably beautiful smile became a beacon of hope. Four days of sweat finally starting drying from my armpits. My now much-deeper-furrowed brow began to relax.

As I listened my heart leapt! I was weak with boundless gratitude as this gorgeous young woman/aspiring novelist standing behind the Cincinnati Apple Store Genius Bar, assured me that, as long as my hard drive hadn't had a very large magnet placed over it when it was taking its swim, my data could and would be retrieved -- retrieved elsewhere and for a fee -- but retrieved!  

So now I am back on the grid -  the proud but slightly less well-heeled owner of a shiny new aluminum Macbook Pro. I vow to always be true to the little arrow circle thingy! I am determined! I can do this!  Besides, as I am not really a borderline techno-idiot, and since a very nice fellow in a stocking cap named Paul at Computer DNA took pity on me,  my new, very expensive, shiny, clean, aluminum-clad window-to-the-outside-world has been set up to back itself up every time I plug it into the shiny, new, aluminum-clad terabyte hard drive specially purchased for just such a purpose.  Room for lots more stuff. All I've got to do is remember to plug the darn thing in...

 The Computer Crazed Cosmo:

This little baby will get you through it when nothing else can - if you're being driven to drink...

1 part vodka
1 part triple sec
1 part cranberry juice (diet cranberry juice works just fine)
1 part water (to make it last longer -- it's more refreshing with less of a killer kick)
1 tsp fresh lime juice

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.  Shake well and serve on the rocks or straight up in a martini glass.




  1. First off, you're saying you need an excuse to drink? Second, does drinking make Coleridge make more sense? Third, that looks awesome and I'm going to make it.

  2. Rich, I don't know if anything can help Coleridge make sense but a good Cosmo could sure make it a whole lot more fun to read!


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