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This Is Not a Rant. It's Just an Update.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Those of you who keep in touch with me via email and Facebook know that I've been AWOL for awhile. First, the whole family was touring through North Dakota and Montana for two weeks. We returned to calf-high grass and two nonfunctional mowers. So there was grass management. The pond was half drained due to a malfunctioning pump filter. So there was fish and muck management. My aunt and cousin and family came for a couple of days. So there was beloved relative management. The Swinging Orangutangs had two gigs. So there was music and sleep management.

After the trip, which was fun but emphatically not a vacation (we were working at two different bird events), my two Canon cameras had about 2,000 exposures on them. Real nice ones. Birds, wild hosses, bison and the like. I was afraid to touch either one of them, because I knew I didn't have the memory on my laptop to handle it, and I wasn't ready to delete a few thousand photos, to make room, because I haven't even blogged about Honduras yet. Why can't they make a laptop with a 90 terabyte memory? They can send a man to the moon.

In the end, it took me a full 24 hours of cussing and deleting files and starting over and backing up and cussing some more and trying again to stuff those fabulous trip photos down an overloaded, smoking laptop's unwilling little throat.

And the grass was still growing outside while we figured out how to get a broken lawn tractor to the repairman without a pickup truck. That same day, June 18, my furnace peed all over the basement floor, and oh, I forgot...the kitchen sink was stopped up for three days upon our return, and the plumbers fixed it, but also spilled 21 years worth of drainglunk on our basement floor. That was really cool. They dumped the compacted stinky grease right next to our driveway and Chet rolled in it. I have pictures of that shamefaced doggeh, but I can't show them to you. I'll get to that in a minute.

I will tell you that laptops don't like having 25,000 photos in their library. They act plumb weird when you get that many in 'em. And a laptop hates talking to a camera with a full memory card of 1,863 photos; it doesn't want to talk to it at all. The laptop hides and pulls the covers over its head and waits for the constipated camera to go away and drop its damn photos somewhere else.

And somewhere in that 24 hours of pure blasphemous fun, during which my children would come into the studio, wordlessly hug me and then creep back out, my laptop's power cord flat out melted, which, upon research, appears to be a Known Problem for the MacBook Pro. A week and $49 later I had someone splice the durn thing and I was briefly back in business, albeit awkwardly swaddled with black electrician's tape. MacBooks and heat, they go together like Polish sausage and grainy brown mustard.

So this morning, June 29, I got up and fired up the Laptop Which Has My Entire Life On It, and it had no sooner booted up than an inky black Curtain of Doom dropped down over the desktop display. Hmm. Restart. Five minutes of tenuous joy. Curtain of Doom. I got on the phone with Apple, thanking the iGods my AppleCare Protection Plan has three more months of good in it, and spent the next four hours troubleshooting. Installing the operating system again. Resetting. Bla bla bla. But the Canadian technician on the phone sounded cute, so that helped. It's hard to flirt when you're freaking out, but I managed. Long, boring story short: it has to go to the doctor. Or the coroner. Or something. Maybe it just needs an autopsy. So before it died for the tenth and final time I transferred a few vital things onto my Old Slow iMac (which has some shutdown issues of its own) so I could function. That was just today.

Oh my. I seem to have let a rant slip out.


That's what's coming, if I can drag the photos off my external hard drive. Yes, Jesus saves, and so do I. I back up like a scalded ape. I'm just sayin' that there is so much busted stuff coming down I want to wear a hat.

Now. Something good did happen today, and that's that I found out that my commentary about the ferocity of a mother's love ("This Mama Will Protect Every Hair on her Cub!") will air this afternoon, Monday, June 29, on All Things Considered in the second hour. For those of you on Eastern Time, that'd be sometime after 5 pm. So tune in. And if you miss it, you can find it at the link above.

In the meantime, I am going to take the kids to pick some blueberries, because that I can do without paying a repairman.


Don't wear white pants!

Powerful NPR commentary; even just reading the transcript is powerful... wonder if there's any chance either of those 2 lads will hear the piece and recognize themselves.

Ben and Jerry's, a hot bubble bath and some guilty pleasure TV always make me feel better. What a day. You may need to double up on the ice cream to make it through.

I love the Jesus saves and so do I comment. Made me laugh.

Better days are a waiting!


You have restored my faith that bad things do happen to other people besides me. And by the way, bad bad things have been coming your way so I will say a prayer that that changes very soon.

Cyberthrush, one of the cool things about living in Appalachian Ohio is that I can write about my neighbors all I want and never fear that they'll bust me.

Although... I did just get busted by the lady who runs the blueberry u-pick place for publishing a photo of her on my blog a year ago. The blog has a better reach in this community than NPR. Odd but true.

The whole thing is just funny. Sorry. Better days are ahead I'm sure.

Yikes, you poor thing! Good thing you're resilient. Hope fun times are coming your way.

Jeez--I don't know what to say. I feel your pain? No, not really. While I have had the blue curtain of death (the PC version) descend, I have never had all the attendant woes--tall grass, sink gunk, melting cords, etc.
I guess the only thing I can recommend (after the blueberries) is liquid and red--wine.

Julie, I'm sorry everything has come crashing down on you (clunk, thud), but I'm glad you have a good enough sense of humor to present it in the way you do. Despite the harsh reality you spelled out, it made me laugh. I'll have to check out the NPR piece soon, thanks for mentioning it.
Enjoy those non-technical, freshly picked blueberries, mmmkay?

Wow! That sounds like my house! ;-)

Wish I were there to help you out in so many ways. Instead I am up north, saying prayers for your home and sanity. I hope that helps a little, as I have been there! Maybe I can talk you down sometime. {{{hugs}}}

Oh, God, Julie. You are one tough lady.

OK--so I am fresh off listening to your NPR story, and reading all the comments.
Um, maybe I should stop contributing to NPR--seems like a world of yahoos listening. Or at least one very BIG yahoo.
I am almost speechless and clueless as to what set that off.
Great story--though--leaping on a truck and having the temerity to allow your son to eat peanut butter. . .and ALL.

Hopefully, you are getting all your bad luck over in one day. And to top it all off, the rubbish posted on the NPR site. (Not your story which was amazing and I could so relate to it, but the wackos who wrote in about it. Makes me really wonder about some people. Good grief, it's just a story, not something to file suit over!). Keep holding onto Liam and Phoebe and Bill of the Birds and Chet Baker, too. If you have them, all's right with the world.

Gotta tell you, people, the NPR comments section can be a weird, weird place. Every story I do, no matter how innocuous, gets a spurt or two of really vile, vituperative stuff. Even the one on the true identity of Woody Woodpecker--one man took me to task for boasting about being on "vacation" in Honduras "on NPR's nickle (sic). Which was so ludicrous I could only laugh. Oh, wait. That's NPR calling, and they're going to send me on an all-expense paid vacation again. While laying off 70 staffers.

The one about turning 50 and then disappearing drew one woman who had to boast that she jogs and has no elastic in HER pants. Well, pin a rose on your nose, Skinny.

This one's probably the worst, though, with threats and hate speech, and I can't help but notice that the really mean ones have never known what it means to bring a helpless baby into this mean, reckless old world. To be completely responsible, 24 hours a day, for that tender, new life. Which lack of experience, by the way, the two teenage parking-lot speeders share with them. The common denominator of all mean-spirited commenters seems to be a lack of appreciation and empathy for the life experiences of others. And a lack of kindness. Which you, my good readers, dole out in great spades. Love you!

Good Heavens!
This is one of those bumper sticker moments... I like the one that I see once in a while on someone's car in our neighborhood...

Some days the Dragon wins...

Hang in there.

In the words of Sam Cooke - "A change is going to come". It has to!

Wow, I've never seen anyone manifest Mercury in Retrograde quite like that. You are all powerful Oz!

There has to be some kind of Catholic Saint statue that you can buy and bury upside down to make these things go away. That's what they do in Santa Fe. That's how I finally sold my house. I'm going out and see if I can find something for you. In the meantime, keep pickin' blueberries!!!

I heard you! I finally heard you.

I can't go listen after the fact on this rural dial up and some how, even though I am an NPR on the way home kind of guy, I never catch you ...
... but today, just as I finished loading groceries into my JEEP in a Walmart parking lot, there you were.

I loved and identified with every bit of your anger.

I thought you were quite restrained.

I'm so thrilled to have heard you on NPR today! What a GREAT story - I've got twin 8 year olds, and I totally get it. (And I don't care about those who have a problem with it - haven't read the nasty comments mentioned, and I don't know if I ever will.) Must be a little troubling, though, that those jerks in the pickup didn't get it, and now it seems that others don't get it either. ("It" being everything you said, and more, about being responsible for your baby). I do think there's a good chance that the guys in the pick-up do get it now, 9 years later.

I would have done the same thing. I KNOW that anger, and I'm happy for your son that he knows that your love for him will inspire it. Also, he knows that you are really, really cool!

Oh, god, Julie - the day/week/whatever from hell and in spades. Hang in there!

Peanut butter is a gateway drug, you know. Next it's PB&J, then PB & bananas, then Trouble in River City and your kid looks like Elvis. Just say no to nuts - which might apply to one of your commentors, as well. :)

Wren, you craaack me up.

Julie -
If you haven't looked into this already, you might want to give it a try for you photos.

I have an large external hard drive to store my photos. Its a USB connected hard drive with as much space as I could purchase (750 MG) at the time. It just connects to either a laptop or desk top and acts as a second hard drive. The nice part is that you can connect it to any other computer as well. Access time is nearly as fast as if it were an on board hard drive too.

I transfer my raw images directly to it for storage and then edit/work with any copies as necessary. (You probably already know about the degrading everytime an image is copied.) Anyway, its a good way to store nice clean raw images rather than using the on board hard drives,

Enjoy all that you and Bill. the kids, and of course Chet do.


Dave, thank you. Here's what I haven't figured out yet. The cable that goes from my camera to the computer via which I dump my pictures has one tiny squarish end that goes in the camera, and one flat end that goes into a port on the computer. It has the same kind of end the keyboard and printer does--flattish. The ports on my external hard drives are all shaped like a church door--bigger and squarish, with a peaked top. The camera cable isn't compatible with their ports. So I've been dumping them on the computer first, then transferring them to the external hard drive.

Do I just need to get a different camera cable in order to dump photos right onto the hard drive?

And in the midst of all that tiresome chaos, you take the time to read my e-mail, late into the evening (request for bluebird rescue advice), and respond with the most helpful information. You, my cyber-friend, are an awesome human bean.

You can not dump to the hard drive without going through the computer. You MIGHT be able to tell the software that brings the pictures over to put them on the external hard drive, but that depends on the software itself and on the Mac, and I am not familiar with either one.

Whew.... (((((Julie)))))

Holy moly!

julie, have you solved your hardrive issue yet? i bought myself a raid drive. 5 terrabytes. a chunk of change but you should never have issues with all the photos you shoot anymore. PLUS the raid has 5 bays if one goes bad the way its configured nothing will be lost. :) just thought to metnion. i'm up to 40,000 photos just in the last 3 years.

i'm loving the little wren storyies. :)

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