New Computer Foibles & Other Things

This week has possibly been one of the most trying and busy weeks I’ve had in quite a while. A little over a week ago I came down with some sort of head cold/sore throat combo that seemed to have my name embroidered on it in gold thread. It’s been a little over a year since I’ve  been sick to any sort of degree, and I’d forgotten how much it sucks. It started with a little bit of a sore throat and a runny nose—nothing major—but turned into another spree of going deaf in one ear, which, if you click the link I just shared, you’ll understand why that terrifies me. I immediately started taking meds to try and fix things before they got out of hand…. unfortunately that lead to an even bigger problem: The mixture of allergies, head cold, and meds meant that my eyes got really dry and before I knew it, I had a pink, swollen eye. Le sigh.

All of this comes down to a week of miserable sniffly noses, splotchy red throats, and irritatingly itchy eyes that makes me want to hide in a damp, light restricted closet filled with tissues. As miserable as that is (and really, it wasn’t fun, but I was surviving like a trooper) things became complicated when my family got word that the two brand spanking new gamer PC’s we’d ordered a week or two before were finally on their way. This was joyous news! Except, we’d decided to move around the three computers in our house to separate rooms, which meant a lot of furniture rearranging, cleaning, reorganizing, and backing up of old files. To make a very long story short, I just spent the last 3 days inhaling mountains of dust (because I’ll admit it, I am the WORST when it comes to dusting. I just don’t do it. At all.) It felt like we were moving. Seriously. Couches, beds, dressers, TV’s, book shelves, desks, chairs… all of it got moved over the course of two or three days (mostly by myself because my husband has a displaced rib and a bad back that makes moving anything heavy a no-go).

For a normal person, this situation would have sucked. It was tiring. It was dusty. It involved a lot of cat hair—but for someone like me who is severely allergic to dust mites, cats, and basically everything ever—it was torture. I spent two days unable to catch my breath because the dust irritated my allergies so bad that I was in a perpetual asthma attack. It hurts to breathe right now… which also means that on top of all my other head cold related problems, I haven’t slept in two days. Double le sigh.

The good news is: everything was completed on time. I backed up my computer like a pro, got everything moved and put away, I managed to somehow not die in the process, and the new computers arrived! Everything was hooked up, my internet was turned back on, and I thought “Wow, that went smoothly. I can get back to my regular posting schedule without a blip in the radar.”

And then I realized that my new computer wasn’t recognizing my external hard drive…. the hard drive where all my artwork, music, books, photos and writing resides. Somehow during the moving of everything in my house, my external hard drive broke. My husband figured it was the shell—this is a pretty common problem, and the shell we had on the external hard drive was pretty iffy right out of the box. Whatever, I have a new, awesome computer, and we can just mount it and make it an internal drive. Problem solved! Except it wasn’t. My PC still doesn’t recognize the drive… even after adjusting the BIOS. So what does this mean? There is a 50% chance that either we were incredibly unlucky and the drive isn’t getting enough power, in which case getting a new shell will fix the problem. Or, unfortunately, my drive is dead.  I cannot tell you the amount of horror this awakens in me. I will literally bawl my eyes out if it’s dead.

I can replace my art. Mostly. It’s posted to my DeviantART account. I can replace my music (it’s just a pain). I can even replace my books if I have to (that’s an even bigger pain—I just finished replacing my hard library with e-books and cataloguing all 22k of those)…my photo’s, sadly are irreplaceable, but eh… who cares… my writing? I have backups of –almost- everything (I think)… but not Khet. My beloved Khet which I’ve spent months re-writing. Though I still have my very vague hand-written outline, the detailed typed outline that’s 23 chapters long? That, my friends, will be lost. Excuse me why I hyperventilate.

So the short of it is this: I’m sick. My new computer is awesome. I’m online and ready to post to my blog… but I may have lost my soul to the evil that is a broken hard drive. Please pray for my literary babies.

Simon & Schuster Insider & UPS Foibles


If you’ve never heard of Simon & Schuster’s Insider program, let me give you a little info. Simon & Schuster has a program they call “Simon Insiders”, it’s a program where anyone who loves the publisher, or books in general can gather up Tweetable and Facebook-postable articles straight from the Simon Insider’s website and spread it among their followers. There’s some incentive to it, mostly being on the front lines of knowing some publishing news as it comes out and being entered into contests for things like free books or Audible downloads. It’s a pretty neat program and you can queue up all kinds of articles to automatically post for you over a period of time. I joined it a few months back (to fill my twitter/Facebook feed with book-related posts).

One of the perks to being a Simon Insider is that every month, the top re-tweeters and posters of Simon Insiders articles get thrown into a short list of people who are eligible to win a Simon & Schuster prize pack… as sort of a Thank You for spreading the publishing news. In November, I was one of those top contenders, and they shipped me out a swag-pack. That pack arrived today.

Honestly, it’s pretty cool stuff. As you can tell from my shoddy picture up there at the beginning of this post, I got a size Large Catch-22 vintage book-cover T-shirt… which is pretty awesome. I also got a shiny Pocket Books notepad, a little blurb about Japan Town, a thriller by Barry Lancet, a Sabrina Jeffries tote, an Astor Place Vintage mirror/sewing kit, as well as two books: Song of Spiderman by Glen Berger, and The Secret Recipes by Dominque Ansel.

I’ll be honest, it’s pretty neat getting new stuff in the mail. The books look interesting, the shirt is awesome, and the other items are useful. I couldn’t be happier… except one thing…. UPS wrecked the package. Let’s take a look:


Can we just take a moment to look at this nightmare? This is only one side. There were rips and re-tapes on both ends and both sides of the package. It was so beat up that the interior had ripped open and the padding between the layers of paper (which I can only refer to as handfuls of recycled fluff) had spilled out into the contents of the package.


So unfortunately, in the end, the mirror/sewing kit was shattered, leaving splinters of mirrored glass all over my floor, and the book tote was ripped (see the corner of the first picture) and covered in fluff. It’s a little sad. I was hoping for the contents of my package to arrive intact, but I’m still happy with what Simon & Schuster sent me—I’m just not so thrilled with UPS.