My Computer Is Back, and Maybe I Am Too?

Photo © 2005 Jimmy Hilario CC 2.0 BY NC ND

Ain’t it fascinating how your life can be completely derailed by a few days of computer downtime (and an impending new job, and a birthday party, and Mario Kart)?

My MacBook Pro’s checkerboard-display crashing problem, which first hit back in January, suddenly reappeared about two and a half weeks ago. After several hours of persistence, I finally got the computer to boot again.

All that time, I was not writing.

It crashed then once or twice more during the week, and through persistence I goaded it back, limping along.

This time, the problem seemed worse than it had in January. I felt it was about time to take it in for service. And then it stopped booting at all. I couldn’t get the computer to come back. But I didn’t know how I was going to afford the repair bill.

On top of that, my daughter C’s MacBook, which I use as a backup, it was also out of service. I had been running a data-recovery program on it for months, trying to get every last bit of data I could off of its failing hard drive. Again, I didn’t know where I was going to find the money for a replacement hard drive. But I knew I needed to work something out, somehow.

At around the same time, Danny from Hungary also ran into a similar problem. He ended up buying a new MacBook Pro, and he disassembled the old one and reflowed (melted) the solder around the graphics chip with a hot-air gun. (He posted a cool video of the process on YouTube.)

As for me, through persistence, I managed to boot my MacBook Pro using the install DVD—just once; that’s all it took. And I backed up every single piece of data on the thing.

All this time, I was not writing. I was not blogging. I was not checking Twitter or Plurk or Facebook. I was not reading my email.

Then my parents graciously offered to take me to Microcenter to buy me a new hard drive for C’s MacBook.

After Microcenter, Dad and I swung by a nearby Apple Store to see what the guys at the Genius Bar thought of my old MacBook Pro. We fully expected to have to buy a new one, because we figured it would cost too much to have this one repaired. And that kind of sucked, because just last October, I had them replace almost everything in it. Really. Back then, the computer had suffered from having been dropped and having root beer spilled all over it. (No joke.) Beside that, the DVD drive wasn’t working so well. So I had had it refurbished, which involved a new everything except the LCD and hard drive.

We were pleasantly surprised at the Apple Store, however. First of all, the Apple Genius dude told me they offered a flat-rate $310 repair service on these older MBP’s, which is much cheaper than what I was expecting. And when I told him about the October refurbishing, even though it was technically out of warranty, he snuck in the repair for free.

So my MBP didn’t cost anything to fix, but it took several days. (They also replaced the keyboard and trackpad, which they said were broken; but I swear both were working perfectly when I dropped the computer off at the Apple Store. No charge, so I didn’t complain. But my trackpad does act funny now.)

In the meantime, I installed the new hard drive into C’s MacBook and restored all of my data onto it, temporarily.

This whole process took a couple days, between backing everything up, going shopping, and restoring my data onto the new hard drive. And all that time, I wasn’t writing. (Actually, I did post one blog post, using a very old, obsolete desktop computer in my basement. Not fun.) And once I got my MBP back, it took another day to transfer all the data back to it.

Gotta cut this story short.

Bottom line: I got little work done while I was wrestling with my computer.

And then Father’s Day came upon us, this year also my birthday. And so I took it easy and enjoyed my birthday party. And my brother, bless him, gave me a copy of Mario Kart Wii. And I’ve been spending so many hours playing it that I’m finally sick of it. But I still dream about it all night long. (Seriously.) I felt an intense, primal need to play Mario Kart, to enhance my kewl Mario Kart skilz. But that’s a different post.

In between all this, a colleague contacted me about working this summer on a contract software-development project. And I would really like to have some money to invest in my writing. So I said yes, even though I’m still wary from my last software-developer disaster.

(This time, I’m going to try to avoid Idiotic Decision #3, and try not to become personally invested. From what I understand, they just want a code jockey, anyhow, just someone to sit behind a computer and wrestle with the code, not valuable advice about how to get their code to submit without the services of El Grapadura. So if the code smells like shit, well, at least they’re paying me a mint to slog through it.)

Yeah, I know money is not a very good reason to do something… until you don’t have any. Even so, money is still the most shallow, least compelling reason you can come up with. But maybe it’s enough of a reason just to last me for a few lousy months.

In any case, with me actually earning a living for a change, my blog postings may be spotty and sporadic this summer.

I ran some numbers, and… It’ll be really nice to have some money to invest in my writing.

In fact, as a big thank-you to God and the universe, I’m thinking of holding a monster book giveaway. By “monster,” I mean, “way too big.” I’m thinking hundreds of books, all being given out on blogs all over the Internet. You know, the kind of thing big publishers sometimes do and indie authors usually can’t afford.

Yeah, it would be nice to have some money to invest in my writing.