It should come as no surprise to anyone, least of all me, that the day after I wrote the last post, my laptop gave up the ship. I'm not sure exactly what happened. It had been running clunkily for some time, but there was no problem I was able to identify and virus scans detected no problems. Several blue screens of death later I decided it was time to replace the machine. The old one had its own special problems anyway; the cooling fan had burned out within a year of purchase, and I'd recently spilled some tea on the keyboard and fritzed out the touchpad, so I was using a USB mouse. (I'd like to point out that the tea-spilling was cat assisted, but it's totally the type of thing I'd do.)
And then of course it was several days before I could replace it. Naturally the next day was the day I had to turn in a big project in an effort to save my grade in my English course, so I spent much of that day in a dingy computer lab trying to make myself care about my grade enough to turn in work slightly better than awful.
I did not, in the absence of my computer, spend time each day writing in a journal or anything. Why would I do that? That would require work.
The new computer seems to be okay mostly, but the wireless adapter is clearly garbage, can't find a strong signal if I'm sitting next to the antenna and drops out all the time. On the one hand, yaay, force me to be productive instead of surfing the internet! On the other hand, what the fuck, you know? Anybody know anything about replacing/upgrading wireless receivers in laptops?
Now I'm struggling to figure out what exactly went wrong with the previous computer. I plugged the hard drive in to this new machine to extract the valuable data from it and unfortunately, a significant portion of the data appears to be corrupted. I don't understand how this came to be, since the data didn't seem to be corrupted before the blue screens of death. In Windows Explorer now, I can see the folder the file I want is in, and I can see the file. But when I try to copy it from the hard drive to the new computer, it tells me that the file is no longer in that location and can't be copied. Weird.
Some of the files that won't copy--no doubt a lot of them, in fact--are of no importance, but there are a handful of things there that would be nice to have back, including among them a bunch of edited files for a game that would take probably twenty to thirty hours to recreate. It's not that I can't do that...but gosh, that's a lot of time to spend for something that ultimately is not worthwhile. Plus there are some pictures and stuff that I would like to have back. Not sure what to do about those, but I'll try to find someone who can help.
Is it worthwhile to recreate all those game files? I don't know. On the one hand I enjoy playing the game more with those edits. On the other hand the time invested is pretty high; redoing it all seems like a waste. How do you value time spent on something that is ultimately unproductive? I enjoy the game, certainly, it's good recreation, but at the same time so are lots of other things. Maybe I should just download a copy of SimCity 4 again and roll with that.
08 December 2014
A friend recently asked this question on Facebook. I noted that at the very least my own longform blogging seemed to be dead. But the question did get me thinking.
Meanwhile another thought occurred: when I’m writing, I generally feel better. I’ve noticed this before but I’ve never meditated on the problem. Do I feel better because I’m writing? Do I write because I’m feeling better? What the hell do I mean by better, anyway? Isn’t this more clear in my own head than it is when I put it down on “paper” anyway?
The answer to the last question is “Yes.” Not a surprise. I always write for an audience, not for myself, even if, on balance, the audience I have in mind is a whole bunch of identical copies of me.
Lately I’ve become obsessed with chicken and egg questions—what is the cause of this or that tendency or behavior pattern that I want to correct. It’s a very handy obsession, because it’s so easy to convince myself that I can’t take any action toward changing said pattern I want to correct until I understand precisely where it comes from.
This is a load of bull. I’ve been seeing a therapist, just for a couple of visits to sort through some questions for myself. My anxiety is getting worse as I get older and it’s holding me back more than it’s protecting me; I’d like to know what I can do about it. But I feel compelled to start by asking where it comes from. On this question my therapist’s views are clear: what’s the fucking difference?
It’s one thing if you have some hidden desperate family secret you’ve been repressing for ages, but for me, I had a typical, unexceptional childhood, marked out by certain patterns that probably affect my behavior but which don’t rise to the level of tragedy, or even to the level of mattering to anyone other than me. So why does it matter to me?
The bottom line is, it shouldn’t. I don’t need to know exactly whether the egg preceded the chicken or vice versa, all I need to know is that I can fry the eggs up for breakfast and roast the chicken for dinner. What matters is not where a behavior comes from but whether it’s worthwhile now, and if not, how to change it. Change can come without an explicit understanding of history.
So, do I write when I’m happy and feel like my life is going well? Or does writing make me happy and help my life go well? Well, who cares? Can I write? Yes. Do I want to write? Yes. Why don’t I? Um…. . . . . . . . . . . . .
So, yeah, anyway, here’s a low-threat way to face down an anxiety and set the pattern to face down more in the future: write! Something, at least, every day if possible. Why shouldn’t I? I don’t need to come up with a theme, I never had one in the past. I just need to write. And so write I shall.