Contortions like these, my computer could be an Olympic gymnast

Dang, that’s a fright!

I maintain a tidy computer desktop, with files and folders neatly arranged and positioned to my liking and with one in particular always in its place at the top, the draft of my book.

So my heart skips 50 beats when I go to open the book draft. And find it not there!

I’d just dragged files en masse to the trash so it’s the first place I check. Not there.

Oh. Shit.

Enter a keyword for a global search. Nada.

Oh shit x 10. Calm panic is setting in. Yes, for me, there is such a thing.

I don’t back up with near the regularity as guided by my nature and common sense. More on that momentarily.

Thoughts of the hours and hours and hours of work lost and content that can never be recaptured shake my mind hard like a hurricane a tree. One thought tepidly comforts. The book backup on a CD.

When was the last time I backed up onto the CD I ask myself. Maybe a couple months ago. Not ideal but better than losing an entire book.

I conduct another global search. Voila! The book draft is found!!!!!!! It’d been accidentally dragged along with other files into a folder where it doesn’t belong.

Relief without equal or expression.

I instantly respond by moving the latest draft over onto an RW CD. And now comes why, despite my better nature and judgment, I backup so infrequently.

My laptop’s a 2004. In dog years that’s 42 years, in computer years 7,000.

Long ago the CD drive began behaving so unreliably that I altogether quit borrowing library music CDs to burn. The plastic security label sent the drive into a state of perpetual spin and non-ejection. Even spanking brand-new CDs now fail to eject.

Witness the last dance. Book backup CD is stuck. The laptop (a Powerbook – and no, it doesn’t have that tiny hole that accepts a paperclip end to dislodge stuck CDs) is positioned into all variety of unnatural computer contortions toward releasing the CD.

Since this is a one-man show, a certain flexibility is required on my part. Laptop is balanced on a piece of wood with crooked arm  on its side in an upright position for gravitational support. The CD icon is highlighted first. Then fingers of the left hand fly over to pressed the command-E keys (eject). Simultaneously, fingernails on the right hand are poised tightly against the CD slot awaiting the microinch of CD edge that may or may not emerge for a microsecond. When no edge emerges, the CD is sucked back into the computer and the effort begins anew.

For 30 minutes I did the dance! Thirty minutes

Success is finally achieved when the laptop’s held in X upright position at Y angle and nails are posited at Z position at the CD slot, alignments so randomly mysterious that I could neither recount nor recreate them.


External hard drive you say? Those words have entered my mind millions of times. Money. It’s about money. Money is for essentials of rent and bills. My gratefulness for these are enormous; not a day passes without an expression in thought or word of gratitude for survival.

Point blank, an external hard drive is a luxury I cannot afford at this time.

Yet the question is begged: Can I afford NOT to back up?

Really. Seriously. Because it’s about protecting the book, a life’s work, as well as the whole of the laptop.

Reckon two breaths remain before the drive gives up the ghost. Don’t wanna be there when it happens; can’t take on the need or expense of a trip to the laptop doctor.

So that’s it for this drive. No more backups. No more contortions. No more shots at the Olympic gold in computer gymnastics. No solution immediately in sight.

That’s the first time my book draft was misfiled. It will be the last.

Same can’t be said for damn stuck CDs!


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Country Cinderella
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 00:37:36

    I am glad you were able to find your book and to back it up.

    I know a back up drive is pretty expensive right now but what about a usb drive? They are getting cheaper and cheaper. I know the size that you might be able to afford, would not have a very large memory size, but it might be enough to at least save your book on.


    • allycatadventures
      Dec 02, 2010 @ 11:30:15

      @CC – Thumbdrives, yes, checked those out. Best to be said is that with Christmas around the corner, if Santa leaves green under my imaginary tree, a nonessential luxury item like a thumbdrive, even possibly a hard drive, is within reach. We will see. 🙂


      • Country Cinderella
        Dec 03, 2010 @ 16:53:51

        I recently bought myself a larger flash drive during all the Black friday sales. If you would not mind getting a used one I could mail you one of my older ones that has a much smaller memory space (but it should still be a useful size for your book).

        Send me an email with your address if you would like it. I am willing to share. With the new much larger one that I got for a really low price I can condense my saved items to one flash drive rather than several little ones.


  2. mkirkd
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 20:47:40

    What about getting a flash drive to backup your book?


    • allycatadventures
      Dec 04, 2010 @ 12:25:22

      @mkirk – A flash drive is spendy.


      • Country Cinderella
        Dec 05, 2010 @ 22:22:07

        I guess after a while it all gets confusing all the different names used for the same item. When I think of flash drive I think of ‘usb flash drive’ the little device that almost looks about the size of a lego block. When I hear ‘external hard drive’ I think of two different types. There are the ones that tend to be called ‘portable’ they are usually about 2.5 ” wide and are not much bigger than a man’s large bi-fold wallet. The ‘desktop’ external hard drives are usually about 3.5″ wide and about the size of a router.

        Anyway I mentioned all that because I was not sure if you knew which one I was mentioning when I offered to mail you one of my older ‘usb flash drive’ units. I would hate for you to have to worry about your book getting lost just because you could not burn a copy of it on a CD.


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