It’s like clockwork.

From the first time I ever gave it a shot, every year that I’ve done NaNoWriMo, there has been something to come up and make things complicated. Every time, something bad happens that threatens to derail the entire plan. I thought that it was just bad luck the first time, but I soon discovered that I could almost set my clocks and calendars by it.

 

The first time, it was being basically booted out of where I was staying—a situation that I’m choosing to call a “constructive eviction” as I really was afraid for my safety. Exactly a year later, things got a little different and I wound up with a computer to work on!

…except it blew up. The hard drive went up in smoke and the smoke damage delicate stuff inside the refurbished machine, and I had to try something else. I didn’t get a darn thing done for Nano that year.

 

The following year, things seemed to be going well. I had a plan, I had an outline, I had the skeletal first zero-draft from the first place I’d been living, and I had my own apartment.

…I also had a catastrophic injury to my left knee—remember that series of rants and lawsuit? That one—and my computer was somehow lost by my now-ex (not why things ended, but I don’t feel like getting into it. Some of you know the deets already, and some of you don’t, but the burden of an ongoing investigation means that until further notice, my lips are sealed). He arranged for me to borrow a friend’s tiny netbook until he could pay off my PC (I hadn’t even finished paying it off when it happened) and then replace it outright. That year, I finished.

 

I thought the luck had improved by then, that it wouldn’t happen again, but then—this was last year—my battery crapped out. I had to replace my warranty and then replace the battery. I managed to pull it off—and I managed to win, though the draft wouldn’t be finished for another couple of months.

 

My third shot in a row comes up in a few weeks. The plan was to back everything up, find my notes, make sure that the batteries and things were working properly, and then get ready to get started by creating the Scrivener project .scrivx files. Nothing going wrong here—

A strange error message popped up and I asked a friend what tests I could do. I wasn’t seeing problems in any of the scans I did, so we went to these tests on a CD-ROM.

The first test didn’t detect my hard drive.

“What is that?” I ask with a face resembling this. –> (O_o)

“I don’t know! I’ve never seen that error code.” Delivered with a “the hell is this” awesomeface sort of look.

“How the HELL does this keep happening to me?” I laugh. The pattern was coming back.

“Okay, we’re gonna try something else then,” Seamus*of course the names have been changed to protect the guilty innocent suggested, and we rebooted to the disc and tried something else.

This time we didn’t get an error message initially. We instead got system beeps. Like…loud, painful, I-actually-shouted-“HELL IS THAT NOISE?!”-beeps.

“I don’t know!”

My computer issues are kind of like patients in a teaching hospital: never a dull moment.

BEEP. Lag. Successful reboot. FREEZE.

“THAT could be the hard drive.”

 

Flash forward to now: I’m backing up my important data to Skydrive and an external enclosure. It’ll likely take days. A jar near my printer contains the money that I am saving for a new hard disk drive. The documents are currently safe, but backing up obsessively is the way to go. I’m not losing my work…again.

Computer trouble: Must…Prevent…FAIL!

That’s something that someone who is trying to make a living at this whole ink-slinging thing doesn’t need to hear/see. After having yet anouther instance of a total crash on my machine, I caved and got Memtest. …then I spent a day and a half waiting for a chance to figure out how to use it. After calling WTF at a friend of mine, we got the damn thing running. The scan was still going on when I left the hangout, but as I got meds ready and did some minor straightening up in the pantry, the scan finished.

The RAM is clean.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that means the problem is unequivocally the hard drive.

I’m too hopped up on my medicine, mild sleep deprivation, and a Bob Marley soda to really have a stronger reaction than “Well, shit.” Luckily, there shouldn’t be TOO much of a problem–there’s a solution across town and all I have to do is to remember to get out there and get it done. Whoot.

…now to pray that nothing goes wrong before Nanowrimo begins.