Ever have one of those days?
Friday morning, I ran to the store up the road because I was out of Diet Dr Pepper. That really is a big crisis around here. On the way home, I came this close to getting clobbered by a box truck that apparently missed my brake lights and my turn signal. He almost lost control as he drove into and out of the ditch; I was impressed that he missed me and saved the truck.
After I got home, I tried to repair my inside rearview mirror. I waited the requisite five minutes to let the adhesive on the button set up, then attached the mirror. The button promptly came off the windshield as soon as I adjusted the mirror.
And as I was helping my oldest daughter load the push mower in her car, the liftgate came down gently on my head, but it was heavy enough to break my reading glasses that I’d pushed on top of my head.
I got my computer back last Saturday with two new fans. One of those fans started acting up Thursday night, necessitating a trip back to the shop today. They’ve already been able to fix the fan issue, and since I experienced a couple of crashes when I attempted to play Civ VI, they’re going to try to replicate those crashes, since they’ve got the machine. I guess that’s a win?
On my way back from the shop, I went to adjust my phone mount, and it came apart in my hands.
American Injustice by David S Rudolf is a great primer on the causes of wrongful convictions. One of the cases mentioned in the book was the subject of the Netflix series The Staircase. Rudolph talks about a multitude of other miscarriages of justice, though, covering things like rabid corruption in a North Carolina county, the problems with incentivized witnesses, and criminally incompetent lab technicians. If you’re new to the idea of wrongful convictions, this is an excellent book that will force your eyes open.
I grabbed Monument by Howard Owen from the New Books shelf at the library, too. It’s the eleventh book in his Willie Black series, and 21st overall. I loved it. Black is a 60-ish mixed-race reporter in Richmond, Virginia. He’s been at the paper for several decades across several different beats, and most recently is working “night cops,” covering the evening crime beat. And in the week following George Floyd’s death, that’s a busy beat. It gets even busier when someone finds two dead bodies in a bookstore on the edge of the riot zone.
This was a great book. I didn’t have any problems jumping into the series where I did. My library only has six of his books in ebook format, and just one of those is a Willie Black story. I’m going to have to look for the others, but I’m sure after reading this one that the hunt will be worth it.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my main computer had to go in the shop to deal with some things that weren’t quite working right. I needed to get the fans replaced, and I thought the system hard drive was failing. On Day 13, the shop texted me and said the fans had arrived, but the vendor sent the wrong ones, even though the part number matched. Something about a 4-pin connecter vs a 3-pin. They’re exchanging the fans, which will take a week.
They also mentioned that they’ve had it running on the bench for the entire week, and so far, the machine hasn’t crashed at all for them.
Isn’t that about normal? Nothing breaks when the tech has it.
In the meantime, I’ve been making do with a couple of backup machines. I first started with a nine-year-old HP subcompact that I’ve used off and on for a travel machine. But it’s so old that it’s barely useful for anything. After a week or so, one of my boys mentioned that he was thinking of selling his laptop since he didn’t really need it anymore. His mom and I both perked up, since she’d worked her way through two older computers and was looking for an upgrade.
We took turns using his HP (we seem to have an affinity for HP machines), which worked well enough for a few days. She ordered her own replacement which arrived quickly (an Acer Aspire 5, if you’re wondering) and I’ve taken over the newer HP.
At any rate, one of the things I’ve noticed, especially over the last ten days as I rearranged my desk and workflow, is that I’ve been producing more. Like a lot more. Almost 7,000 words in the last ten days, including a full blog post besides this one and 2,500 words towards Walls, and that in just one day. I haven’t written that much in months. It felt tremendous to look back at the day’s production and realize how much I’d gotten accomplished.
One of the things I ran into on the subcompact is that it was so under-powered that I really couldn’t do much of anything on it except write. Web browsing was almost painfully slow; even adding something like Pandora in a browser window could bring the machine to a screeching halt. With a machine that limited, all I could do was write.
Ditto the other HP. It’s not nearly as limited, but because I was sharing it with my wife in the beginning (and it still belonged to my son), I hadn’t moved all my bookmarks and browser extensions and so forth over to it. That meant it took a deliberate effort to get away from the writing and see something online for whatever reason.
Let’s be realistic. I have the focus limits of Dug. Anything that helps me stay focused on the task at hand is a Good Thing™ and should continue to be used.
I still haven’t moved all my bookmarks over, though I’ve configured Edge with most of my extensions. I think for now I’m going to keep it that way on this machine and see how my production levels go, even now that I’ve got the big machine back. I’d been talking to my wife about getting a new machine dedicated to writing anyway, so maybe this is all a fortuitous event.
I didn’t get everything fixed on the MSI in the end, just the fans. But when they replaced the fans, they applied fresh thermal paste, so that should help with any heat issues I might have been having. Our suspicion was that because one of the fans was dead and the other wasn’t healthy, the crashes I was seeing were due to overheating. We’ll see. Other than a crash while I was playing Civ VI the other day, I haven’t seen any problems, so that’s a win at this point.
Stay tuned to see where this all goes. (Scroll back to the section about Friday to see the latest. It’s back in the shop.)
- Walls sits at 22,860 words.
- The Nth Passenger is at 729 words.
- After Episode 3 is now at 1,671 words. The entire story is at 91,426. Episode 1 is complete on the website; I haven’t posted any of Ep 2 (chapters 18 – 33). I should get to work on that.
- In Plain Sight is still sitting in my “Approve Edits” folder. I also need to get a cover done.
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