Saturday, January 26, 2008

My Computer Apparently Controls My Mental State

Dearest readers,

My blogging silence is not due to negligence, nor a lack of running. It's because of my computer. Here's what happened: last weekend my iTunes upgraded itself to 7.6. Lo and behold, the next time I put my iPod in to sync it, the computer says, "This iPod is corrupt and needs to be restored." Well, OK, I figure that some kind of software install was part of the upgrade, I can restore it and re-sync it. I restore it, plug it in, and ... same thing. I try my Nano. No dice. So now I have no 30G iPod at all (it's been restored) and can't sync the Nano. Half a morning with the folks at the Genius Bar in the Apple Store, plus on the phone with Apple support and Dell support for literally two straight days. No exaggeration -- from 9am to showtime. I should've just gone to India directly to talk with the tech support people, I spent so much time on the phone with them. We did EVERYTHING -- system restore, rolled back iTunes to 7.5 (which wasn't easy, let me tell you!) reset the drivers, everything -- to no avail. The iPod worked. iTimes worked. Just not on my computer. Out of curiousity, I plug in a memory stick that has my steno dictionary on it, and discover that it can't be read either. Yet I have no problem using the printer, which plugs into the same ports.


So I get the Geek Squad to come in, and my new best friend Rodney (actually, he's my computer husband) does a diagnostic and discovers a bad section of the hard drive. And PS: this was my first go with Geek Squad, and I was really impressed, even though he couldn't fix the problem on the spot. So I will give them the thumbs up, and recommend them. I will also recommend the Apple support line, the two people I spoke to tried everything short of reaching through the phone and doing it themselves, even though I'm using a PC. Dell, they tried, but you know, not so much. I'm telling you, if this hard drive swap doesn't work, Monday morning is a trip to the Apple store. The only thing keeping me from a Mac is the incompatibility with the steno software I use, but the steno people told me that as long as the Mac runs Bootcamp (which allows you to work in a Windows environment) and has an Intel processor, I can run the software.

How did this happen? Was it because of the upgrade? I understand next to nothing about computers, so when something goes wrong it's super frustrating. What I do understand is that when there's a bad section of the hard drive, nobody knows exactly what section of a hard drive does what. All we know is, it's bad. So Dell sent me a replacement hard drive, and my roomie Laura sent me all the system recovery software I had at home, and I've spent the past few days trying to pull everything off my computer using DVDRs, since an external hard drive is out of the question -- can't plug it into the ports, see? -- and one of my actors has a friend who is a Dell-certified technician who is coming over to the theater in a few minutes to double-check that it's not a problem with the actual ports themselves, and then I'm going to try bribing him with good scotch to install the new hard drive and software.

Here's the thing: I am totally overreacting to this. I'm right now, as I write this, ready to throw up, thinking that the problem is with the computer and not the hard drive, and having to deal with Dell again and getting more parts. It's making me crazy. All week I've been depressed, hostile, upset -- all because of a machine. Why am I allowing this to run my life? My head knows that it's just a machine, it's just information, 95 percent of which is recoverable. But I can't shake the anxiety attacks I'm having over this whole process. I've lost sleep, my appetite is see-sawing between nonexistent and ravenous, and to make matters worse, all the time that's been devoted to solving this problem is time I could've spent running, or better yet practicing my steno. It's such a shame that something that is, in the long run, so insignificant, can take on so much importance. I guess that there are so few times these days that I can actually relax into a routine, and this was one of those times, and to have it completely disrupted by this problem just devastated me. Plus which, I train with the iPod, and not to be able to sync the Nano is really annoying. I don't have a lot of stuff on there, and I've been listening to the same three podcasts over and over.

Selfishly, and this may be why I'm overreacting, it put a damper on training for the Miami Half. I was really looking forward to this race -- which is tomorrow AM, by the way -- and if you recall from earlier postings, running this means a lot to me. I signed up for it in the wake of my post-marathon blues, and having it as a goal did a lot towards bringing me out of that funk. Disrupting the training with something so stupid as the loss of running music and podcasts has hit me a lot harder than it should, but maybe that's why.

Has this ever happened to you all? Not necessarily this specifically, but this kind of response to something that you KNOW doesn't deserve that much of your emotional energy? And if so, how did you solve it??

Anyway, it's time for me to head outside and wait for my new computer husband. This new building is beautiful, but confusing to navigate if you're coming here to do anything other than see a show. Tomorrow, I'll be up at 3am, heading down to Miami for the half, and hopefully by next week I'll have no more computer trauma and can tell you all about the race, and all the other stuff I've been meaning to catch you up on. Wish me luck.


PS: Even though I haven't updated Buckeye Outdoors, I have been running. Did a 12.2 last Sunday, and ran 3.5 on Wednesday and 5 on Friday.

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