"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

THE FUCK?!!! (part deux)

i come home from school and begin the tedious process of unpacking all my shit just so i can repack it to move out to L.A. to begin my stint as a teacher.

and what do i need more than anything in the world right now? well, to be back among friends and some hugs, ideally, but i'll settle for some comfort music (the one song i can't get out of my head right now is "tonight, tonight" by the smashing pumpkins, and another S.P. song i don't know the name of but that i know i would recognize it if i could only hear it again, because i was overwhelmed with a feeling of forwardness, of no-looking-back, of immediacy and now, that flooded out the words, all i could hear was the beat and the swell of violins, a tolling bell, as i drove around in the infinite dark and expanse of cornfields in northern illinois, clutching the hand of someone i love, wishing we could drive forever and ever into that blackness and this song would never end and i would never have to let go, never have to say goodbye or even goodnight)

but i come home and plug in my harddrive, and what do i hear? an awful clicking, the whir of a struggling fan trying to bring my computer to life, and then the tinny sound of a clunky alert on my computer, telling me it can't read the disk and to eject it. wow, i want to vomit. this is the same sickening feeling i got in my stomach about a month ago when this happened the first time. and why should i be surprised? of course this would happen, i'm karma's biggest bitch. i want to vomit all over Bill Gates and Steve Jobs' faces right now, for inventing my dependency on technological happiness and for turning my life into invisible data, so easily corruptible and so easily lost. bastards!

i can't even begin to contemplate the scope of what i lost this time. (gag reflex). just about everything of value to me was on that stupid little lunchbox-sized piece of machinery, all of my writing, all of my plans for future writing, drawings, photos of friends and video projects (many still in progress), concert videos, memories of friends, lovers and family, and so many, oh so many good albums i may never be able to recover again. funnily, the only thing of huge value i did manage to save on my laptop was my recently completed senior project. and i don't even care about it, because i have dozens of hand-bound copies lying around my room right now. the materiality of it makes me ill. (gag).

i'm going to go the library now, i guess, to try to find a copy of the Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. and then i'm gonna put Billy Corgan on full blast on my half-blown speakers and proceed to drown my sorrows in lemonade and whiskey. and when i sober up again, i'm gonna invest in a typewriter. perhaps i shall become a luddite.

[edit: i go to the library website and find that, of course, both their copies of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness are lost and/or missing. such is my life these days...]

[edit #2: after looking at smashing pumpkins downloads, i realize that the song we were listening to in the car on the ride home was "Disarm."]

with infinite sadness,
stephanie

2 comments:

Angela said...

hi stephanie,

nick told me about your blog, i think, and although i feel a little voyeuristic since we don't know each other thaaat well, i like your perspective.

and i wanted to let you know that i share your frustrations. packing up everything to move across the country to TORTURE ourselves? what are we thinking? i can only hope it will be worth it.

i forget if i told you about this or not, but i just read a book called the freedom writers' diary. it's about a first-year teacher in LA, and she really inspires her students. there's a movie too. haven't seen it. it's all a little cheesy, but a good pick-me-up for people in our situation.

and leaving the lovers? it's tough.

i think i have a few sp songs from that album if you need me to email them to you :)

best,
angela

Paul said...

I see you've stumbled upon the wonderful concept of "distributed backup" -- If you give your friends copies of your data (works well for media, not so well for private files) and lose it, you can ask for copies back, and since digital copies don't degrade unless you foolishly buy DRMed media, the system works essentially forever.

For more thorough backup, I've found a "3+" system works really well for my keeping my data (aka "nearly everything I have") intact without inconveniencing me too much or costing a ton. Its especially good for people who use laptops as a primary machine. I call it a "3+" system because everything important is 3 or more places simply as a matter of usage. Under the way I do it, all content "Created" (created, downloaded, scavenged, etc.) initially goes on my laptop's internal drive, either in a sorted manner (school files, music) or not (Big Scary Downloads Directory). Currently in use things, and those things important enough to always want on hand are kept on the laptop, and EVERYTHING I might ever want again is copied in a sorted manner to a large external disc. Because I'm paranoid (this is unnecessary, it just makes disaster recovery simpler) the large external disc also periodically (every couple months) gets a full image of the content of the laptop in a folder, made with something like HDCopy (Windows) or CarbonCopyCloner (OS X haven't used it in a while, still looks OK) or simply command line cp (anything vaguely unix-like) that you can start the laptop off of if something goes wrong. The third copy is made "when you feel paranoid"-- whenever you get or do something you think about how catastrophic it would be to lose, make a copy of that thing on some other media. Ideally, you send your third copy offsite (trustworthy storage accessible from the internet, a couple rewritable optical discs stored somewhere trustworthy, etc. emphasize trustworthy), but in a drawer/firesafe/whatever will do. Then there are the extra copies of things -- copies made to lend to friends, copies left in the endless gmail inbox, copies left on a thumbdrive after your done with them, etc. These are no good for coordinated recovery, but great for "oops, I accidently deleted/changed/failed at x situations.


I find a system like this better than conventional backup because it automatically sorts and cleans, and makes the safe copies part of the routine instead of a special activity. I suppose thats the idea of the automated backup widgets microsoft and apple have been pushing lately, but I don't feel the need to pay apple $500 to protect me from my bad habits when I can simply change my behavior a bit for the same effect (not to knock time machine + network drive style systems, its a great idea, just rather expensive)


I don't want to sound like I'm implying losing data is your fault, but as a "computer person" its basically my job to harp (Is that being called a sexist phrase right now? I don't think I care.) at people about backing up, so I'm trying to do it constructively when it might be heeded.