Friday, July 15, 2011

Cold Turkey

Unlike Generalissimo Francisco Franco, my PC is no longer dead!

I’ll tell you about it but first let me apologize for being a general butthead and leaving you high and dry, with no fresh bluz to entertain you.  Admit it… you missed me a little, didn’t you?  What? You didn’t even know I was gone?  You barely even noticed?  Well, it damn near killed me

It started on a dark and stormy night.  Yes, really.  Monday night we got a hellacious thunderstorm.  Lightning was cracking and it seemed like the thunder was shaking the place.  And like a dipshit, I still sat there on the PC, reading Red Town Blues.  I knew I shouldn’t be, but it’s so hard to tear myself away from all your interesting blogs.

So naturally, there was a giant boom and everything in the place went dark… but only for a second.  Then everything came right back on, including my PC.  I took that as a sign, so I logged off and the computer did its usually shutdown cycles and turned off.  Then I unplugged it.

Then Tuesday night when I came home from work, all primed to bang out a fresh post, the PC wouldn’t respond at all.  Repeated mashings of the “On” button did nothing.  (Yes, I plugged it back in first.)  Around back, I noticed a flashing green light.  I thought that might be a good sign, but wasn’t sure, because I COULDN’T LOOK IT UP ON MY LIFELESS COMPUTER!

All night long, I had a sick feeling in my stomach, because I know how much stuff I have on this unit.  I’ve had this PC since 2004, so I have 7 years worth of digital pictures, all my writing material for this blog, personal records, and emails going back to 1999 from my 1st computer.

I was afraid all of that was gone for good.  There was some stuff that I could replace, like all my music files.  Probably 95% of the music files on my computer are also on my MP3 player, so I could reload those onto a new computer.  And I have a lot of pictures saved to Flickr, but only about 25% of everything I have.  Most of my spreadsheets, (sports events, DVDs, CDs, Movie ratings, medical history, annual gift log, Steelers mojo, etc) are also on my work PC.  They may not be completely up to date there, but I wouldn’t have to fill in much.

What really made me sick was all the pictures.  I’ve spent so much time over the years scanning old photos, plus taking a ton of them myself.  And what makes me so mad it that I almost lost them because of my own negligence.  First of all, about a year ago, I filled up a 2 GB thumb drive with all my picture files, just for safe-keeping.  Then earlier this year when I bought my new car stereo, I deleted them all so I could fill the thumb drive with music to play in the car.  And I felt OK doing THAT because I also just bought an external back-up drive, on which I would back up my pictures.

But I never got around to it.  I loaded up a lot of my heavy files… videos and raw pictures straight from the camera… but I never got around to figuring out how to run automatic backup of selected folders.  And then WHAM… the PC turns into a doorstop in an instant, trapping all my stuff inside.

I didn’t sleep well at all Tuesday night.  All I could do was toss and turn and stress about all the things I would lose if I couldn’t fix the PC.

The next morning when I got to work, I Googled the problem and quickly found a message board that addressed the this particular issue.  I copied and pasted a bunch of it and printed it off, so I could attack it at home.  It called for going inside the box, which is something that I’ve never done.  I don’t know jack about the inner workings of a computer, outside of the “On” button.  But just knowing that there might be a solution made me feel loads better.  And even if it didn’t work, I had reason to believe that the data could be retrieved.  If my fix didn’t work, I’d take it straight to the Geek Squad at Best Buy.

I probably should have come home Wednesday and got right on it, but Wednesday is a good TV night.  Both “Big Brother” and a 2-Hour “So You Think You Can Dance” were on, and if you think I’m going to skip my Cat Deeley fix, you’re crazy.

Then Thursday night, I had plans to go to an Orioles game with Sitcom Kelly, who again is making noises about starting her own blog.  We’ll see.  So mentally I planned to dive in after work on Friday.

But it was weird this week, being home without the computer on.  No email checks, no checking blog-hit stats, no commenting on your blogs, no answering comments on my OWN blog, no reading Twitter… I was killing me!  But on the bright side, when my shows were over at 11, I could just go to bed.  I didn’t have to come over to shut down the computer, but first check stats again, check for new blog posts, check emails, catch up on the late tweets, play just one game of Angry Birds and goddamn it’s 11:45 already. 

So I’m well rested.

D-Day was tonight.  After dinner, I took out my instructions, got out my tools, put fresh batteries in the flashlight and had at it.  It was touch and go there for a while.  I had to unplug the motherboard, then plug in the PC again and reconnect the motherboard.  The “jolt” was supposed to shock it back into functionality, much like the cardioversion I had on my heart.  But I had a heck of a time getting the plug out of the motherboard. 

I read that there was some kind of lever that I had to pull, in order to release the plug.  Took me forever to find the right way to pull it, meanwhile I was turning my fingers to hamburger.  Gonna have some sore fingertips tomorrow, I tell ya.

Anyway, it worked just like they said it would on the message board.  So thank you to all the geeks that made it possible for me not to have to pay big bucks on a repair bill.

And first thing tomorrow, I’ll figure out how to back up my important files onto my external hard drive. 

Well, maybe not “first” thing.  The new Harry Potter just came out.  Plus I have to go shopping… And stop at Wendy’s.  So maybe “fourth or fifth” thing…

Thank you for coming back.  I’ve missed you. 


Judie said...

Well, I must say I was beginning to get a little worried. I thought maybe you had had some sort of cardiac episode. Had I known you were only struck by lightening, I would have felt much better.

Glad you're back at the helm. For Pete's sake, back up all those photos IMMEDIATELY. Thunderstorm season isn't over yet.


Your Hot Arizona Auntie

themajessty said...

good luck with the computer!

bluzdude said...

I was hoping everyone saw the last couple tweets I did, where I mentioned my PC problem... they're on the sidebar; the last couple tweets. That was the only way I had to let people know what was going on. I had to spend 20 minutes pecking out the messages on my Dumb-Phone.

Yes, I'll do the backup, probably on Sunday. Our forecast calls for clear skies.

Well, I guess I had the good luck because the fix worked. Thanks!

Oilfield Trash said...

Glad you got your pc back up.

Cassie said...

Oh your worst nightmare has always been my greatest fear. So for Christmas Matt got me an external harddrive and I haven't looked back. I mean, those are all my kids' lives there, since nothing was on physical film.

On that note, I missed you. As your original commenter, I missed my Bluz.

bluzdude said...

Actually, my worst nightmare is that I would be gone for a week and no one would notice.

I still have to get back to your site and fill in some captions on all those pictures. I tried from work, but for some reason, on that PC your comments field yields black print on a dark background, so I can't see what I'm typing. That would produce a bunch of typos, I'm sure, which I know you don't like. I'll get there...

reeeik said...

WOW not like it was mini blinds or anything complicated like that ....

bluzdude said...

Yeah, I knew you would comment on this one. Hell, I almost emailed it to you last night, just to prove that I could fix something. (That's why I included the picture... proof that I at least successfully opened the damned thing.

BTW, one of my chores today is to go buy a power screwdriver, because, in fact, I have to put up a new mini-blind in the kitchen. Pinky broke the last one.

I'll be extra sure this time, to check that the screwdriver is set to "forward" and not "retract." Lesson learned, my friend.

DG said...

Welcome back. I was beginning to wonder if someone should start calling hospitals. Mr. DG keeps bugging me to backup my computer. Maybe I'll try to learn from your experience.

bluzdude said...

It's definitely worth your piece of mind to back up your files. It's actually pretty easy. I got a 500 GB external drive and it really wasn't very expensive at all. And I started the backing up sequence this morning... it's percolating right now. And from this point on, every time I turn on the PC, it will automatically search for anything new in the files I designated, and back them up.

And as my friends will tell you, if I can figure out how to do it, anyone can.

The Reverend said...

Glad you got your PC back, I noticed a lack of posting on my blog feed and was getting worried!

bluzdude said...

Thanks for noticing, bro... it was like dying a slow death... cut off from contact with the outside world.

Cher Duncombe said...

Bluz, so happy you are up and running again. You have been missed! I wonder if a surge protector would help and save you that cardio-fix inside the computer? If you are at all like me when ours crashed once, you probably felt as though YOU needed a cardio-fix!
Cheers, Bluz!

bluzdude said...

I have a surge protector in use. Guess it got overpowered. Next time I go to Best Buy, I'd better pick up a new one.

ettible said...

Oh, gosh, losing all of my stuff is something I worry about, like, every day. Guess where all of my photos from the past five years are. Give up? On an external drive on my desk at work. Which means that anyone could steal them at any point. So now you have my freaking out even more. Yet I'm clearly going to do nothing about it.

bluzdude said...

Always happy to inspire panicked inaction in others...

red pen mama said...

I expect you to get cracking on the outraged post about the debt ceiling increase and the obstinate GOP at your earliest convenience.

I feel about the same way about computers and cars: when they work, it's great, but when something goes awry I hate them!

Jessica R. said...

Glad you're back!

I dropped my Mac laptop this past weekend and the screen is going all screwy on me. :/

Mrs. Bachelor Girl said...


I swear, before I got my Mac, I went through this same scenario about once a month. Here's hoping it never happens to YOU again.

bluzdude said...

Red Pen Mama,
So far, I’ve been avoiding that controversy, because it’s getting to be the same old thing, over and over again. The Dems are trying to get things done, (in this case, avoiding another economic collapse) and the Republicans are holding everything hostage until they get what they want, country be damned. And what they want is the big business money-wheel to keep on turning and turning. There is nothing new there whatsoever, they’re just being obvious about it now. That said, I’ll probably have an angle on this in next Thursday’s post.

Just wait until the baby starts spilling/spitting/smearing stuff on it… Heck, you should wrap the thing in Saran Wrap right now.

Hey, someone should totally market some kind of PC protective device for parents of small children… a kind of retroactive PC Condom.

Mrs. Bachelor Girl,
Are Macs somehow impervious to lightning strikes? I wouldn’t put it past Steve Jobs. And you, too, should look into the PC condom… The goo will be a’flying in your house before you know it!

Kernut the Blond said...

Wow! I'm super impressed. I've never dared open my computer, either, but you've given me hope that should I ever need to I just might be able to fix something without making it worse.

bluzdude said...

I owe it all to the Internet! And the Google. All I did was look up my question and print out some key comments from the IT message boards. Worked like a charm! Otherwise, I'd probably be out $200 to the Geek Squad and probably have to buy a new computer to boot.