The Crash of 2014

Apr 14, 2014 by

          “Did you transfer everything to your new computer?” my little sister asked.

          “I paid for a data transfer at Future Shop. The files that were salvageable had to be unlocked for me to access them, otherwise I would have transferred everything myself with a USB. I got the data transfer at half price though. It was supposed to be $100, but they only charged me $50.”

          “Why?” she asked.

          I shrugged. “They were being nice,” I guessed.

          She was skeptical. “Were they guys?”

          “Yes,” I answered in amusement, knowing where she was going with this.

          “That’s why,” she affirmed. “They probably thought you were hot.”

          “Hey, whatever gets me a discount!”




It had a good run: 2007 – 2014. I probably should have let it go back in 2013, when the screen began showing signs of detachment.

It had a good run: 2007 – 2014. I probably should have let it go back in 2013, when the screen began showing signs of detachment.

          Let’s talk about how my life is the definition of irony. A little over a week ago, I was ready to throw my laptop through a window just to have the satisfaction of watching it crumble upon hitting the ground. I had three previously written pieces ready to go up on The Happiness Experiment. All I had to do was post them, an apparently simple task that ended up taking an entire day to complete. My laptop kept freezing. Every time it froze, I had to restart it. Every time I had to restart it, I had to wait a half hour before it was actually useful, as per usual. I wanted to snap the screen off the last hinge holding it to its base. I had had it.

          I began to seriously consider using this year’s tax refund (from the return I’ve yet to file) toward buying a new laptop. The idea was hard to stomach because I had been planning to use most of my refund toward paying down some of my student loan. However, my laptop needed to be replaced. Its extremely slow operating speed had been costing me way too much time, and its screen was hanging by a wire. In trying to convince me to buy a new one, my little sister made the point that it would be best to replace my laptop while it’s still working so I can easily transfer all of my documents and pictures. Knowing that my computer crashing before I’ve backed up my shit is so something that would happen to me, I planned to save the folder containing the entire contents of this blog to my USB before the weekend. The version that was currently on my USB hadn’t been updated since the summer. (Stupidly, I chose not to back up this folder regularly, like I knew I should have. Although I’m significantly less prone to perfectionism than I used to be, I have my lingering tendencies. For example, I didn’t habitually save this folder to USB because I had a few unfinished and unedited pieces of writing that were out of place, and I wanted the folder to be back in order before saving. Last summer turned into this spring, and I still had yet to save it to my USB. My inability to save the folder as it was irritated me, because the importance of backing it up outweighed the importance of its organization. The most annoying part is that I was fully aware of this, but didn’t save regardless.)

          Of course, Friday came along, and I still hadn’t backed it up. I thought about doing it before watching How I Met Your Mother. It would have taken seconds, but I was tired and it was Maria day. Saving blog content to my USB was not a task for Maria day. I proceeded to watch How I Met Your Mother. I streamed the episodes without trouble until I got to the series finale. Because my computer was being a pain in the ass, the legitimate version of the episode on City TV’s website wasn’t working, and I couldn’t find any functioning links elsewhere. In a stubborn attempt to watch the end of the series, I clicked on one link in particular that I remember thinking I shouldn’t have, noticing right after clicking it that it had a 10 percent chance of working and low ratings. I figured that couldn’t be good. I made a mental note to save everything to USB as soon as I woke up in the morning. What if that link had contained a virus? I would have been fucked. After an hour of frustration because my continuously freezing laptop was failing to play every link to the series finale that I tried, I decided to stop being lazy and get my dad’s laptop from downstairs. The City TV version worked on his, and my favourite TV characters and I exchanged tearful goodbyes in my mind before parting ways.

          On Saturday morning, as soon as I woke up, I opened my laptop to back up my blog folder. Foolishly, before doing so, I deleted the old version I had saved to my USB in the summer. It was seconds after clicking delete that I realized I couldn’t open anything in the latest version of the folder on my laptop, including the document that contained every single piece of writing I’ve ever posted on The Happiness Experiment. I scanned the folder, and found decryption instructions throughout. – Yeah. My laptop had contracted a fucking virus on the same night I was going to back up my blog content, but didn’t in favour of doing exactly what led to the virus. And, yeah, I didn’t realize the folder had been corrupted until promptly after I deleted the only unencrypted copy I had. (Note to self: Never delete anything off a USB stick until the updated version is saved to it first!)

          Panicking, I drove five minutes – the time I gave myself to cry – down the road to Future Shop. I knew that the worst-case scenario was that I’d have to copy and paste every post on The Happiness Experiment into a new Word document. It would be time-consuming, but my writing was not lost. What I was more upset about was the fact that this had been preventable. What I was most upset about was losing one particular piece of writing that I never posted. I post almost everything I write. Once in a while, though, I write something just for me. Just to write. I had very few of these private pieces and I couldn’t remember what most of them were about, but there was one in specific that I cared a lot for. I had written it last May about Niagara, and it was too personal to publicize. It was one of my favourite pieces of writing; and, unfortunately, it was not available on my blog for me to retrieve and it could not be rewritten. How I feel about the subject matter now is too different from how I felt about it then.

          Future Shop was closed when I arrived. I impatiently waited in front of the doors for the longest seven minutes in recent history until it opened. When a manager finally unlocked the doors, he asked how he could help me.

          “I have an emergency!” I dramatically declared.

          He led me inside to one of his employees. “She has an emergency!” he jokingly mimicked me, making me smile.

          The staff worked in attempt to recover my data for hours. First, the good news: my pictures, including my photos from both of my trips to Europe and my other travels, were safe. So were all of my folders – all of my folders except for one: the only one I cared about. My blog folder, which stored everything from my theme to my writing to my post images to my social calendar, was irrecoverable. I didn’t have to be told this. I knew it was permanently lost from the moment I discovered the virus. I knew because losing that file above all files would be ironic, and my life is nothing if not ironic. I smiled in response to the bad news, because my life is also nothing if not entertaining.

          “At least this will inspire more blog content!” I laughed, deciding to focus on the pros.

          Though my writing could not be recovered, I am fortunate that it is publicized on this blog. The Happiness Experiment is serving as its own backup. Yes, copying and pasting everything into Word will be inconvenient, but the important point is that my writing is not gone. Though I have permanently lost the running document of ideas I had for future posts, I know I’ll develop an abundance of new ones. The reason I had that list to begin with was because I generate ideas at a faster rate than I can write them. I’ve lost my social calendar, which I like to look back on sometimes to remember the things I’ve done since creating it last summer, but I’ll make another one to smile back on later. I’ve lost some posts that were in progress, but I can remember the gist of them and restart. I’ve also lost the pictures from the train track and alleyway photo shoots that Olivia and I had last June for this blog, but I do have the few photos from those shoots that are posted, so I can save them from my blog to my new laptop. – Oh yeah, I bought a Mac! (Between my Mac and my iPhone, I feel very 2014.)

          After what happened, I decided to invest in a laptop with minimal chance of viral infection, even though I don’t know how to work Macs. (Did you know that to scroll down on a Mac you have to move your fingers upward on the mouse pad? Apple refers to this as the “natural” scroll setting. There is nothing natural about that. Bless the guy at Future Shop who set my Mac’s scroll to what Apple would consider unnatural.) I’m actually typing into a PC right now and will continue to do so for a few days until I work up the patience to test my Mac. Having a computer that will turn on whenever I hit power and – you know – run is going to spare me so much time and irritation, a huge positive outcome of this mini mess. It’s doubtful that I would have actually splurged on a new laptop had this not happened. I also bought a USB with 128 gigs of storage, enough space to back up everything on my computer, which I intend to do daily moving forward. I’ve def learned my lesson. Needless to say, I’ll be filing my tax return this week. Cross your fingers for me that my refund is high enough to pay for all of this!

          On a final positive note, although I’ve lost some personal pieces of writing, I’m happy to report that I found the one that matters. I had emailed myself a copy of that piece about Niagara. I’m so happy that I’m anal like that! If only I had been anal enough to email myself the document containing all of my posts. #touché!

Happiness Tip: Regularly back up your shit!

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