The Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Done

So the reason my computer was running so slow turned out to be…something.  It was running at 100% CPU usage, which, for those of you who don’t speak Computer, is way too much.  In light of that, I called my father, the computer guy, and asked him to help me fix this problem.  After hours and hours of searching through my computer, he failed to identify the source of its slowness, i.e. the thing that was making it eat CPU for breakfast.  Then I took a look through the programs it was running and saw something titled “Bing Bar.”  I assumed this was Bing as in that search engine no one uses, but it might have been a virus.  At any rate, I uninstalled it.

The good news is that my computer stopped running at 100% CPU.  The bad news is…my computer broke.  My father looked at it again, and eventually decided there was nothing more he could do and that I’d have to take it somewhere to get someone to look at it.  Luckily for me, we have Information Technology Services (ITS) right on campus.  So I took my computer to them, and they fiddled with it, and then they decided that the only way to fix it would be to restore it to factory settings.  Gee, I thought, I’m so lucky that my computer is still mostly functional.  Now I’ll be able to back up all my files and not lose absolutely everything I ever lived for.

That night, I plugged in my external hard drive and did some dragging and dropping of files.  My dad gave me the sage advice of checking to make sure everything backed up properly by plugging the hard drive in to another computer.  I thought this advice was good, but (and here’s the important part) I never actually went through with it.  Even though I was suspicious of how quickly everything had “backed up,” I still never got around to checking that everything I lived for was okay.  I have no idea why that didn’t fly to the top of my priority list, but I’m kind of scatterbrained.  Especially when it is least convenient for me to be so.

Skip forward to after my computer has been wiped, and ITS nerd guy plugs in my external hard drive to retrieve all of my everything.  Can you guess what happened?  That’s right.  He looked at me and said slowly and quietly, in the tone of someone admitting to the fact that they just ran over all of your pets and your grandmother, that I had not backed up a thing.  All I had done was copy shortcuts from my computer to my hard drive, which does absolutely nothing.  Then, for about ten seconds, I had to live with this fact.  Ten seconds to try and wrap my head around the fact that I had lost everything, and that this problem could have so easily been avoided.  Then Mr. ITS said, “But…” and I perked up my ears.

Thanks to sheer luck, the damage was not too bad.  Mr. ITS installed a program on my computer that had the potential to recover documents from my computer’s hard drive.  It did this quite well.  So well, in fact, that it brought back Word documents that I had deleted years ago.  But I still thought I’d lost a lot.  None of the JPEG files could be recovered, which meant that I’d lost London.  Remember how I was abroad for a semester?  Maybe you don’t.  But I thought I’d lost that.


Apparently, at some point I backed up all of my files, including my pictures from London and my books, onto my flash drive!  I couldn’t fit all the pictures, so I lost Dublin, but I can get pictures of that from my best friend who accompanied me on that trip.  I’m certainly not complaining.  Not only did all of my books get saved and my pictures from London, but the recovery program found my completed version of Grotesque, the only book that had not been recently backed up.  Considering how stupid I had to be to get myself into this situation, I am incredibly lucky that pure serendipity got me out of it, despite the fact that I probably didn’t deserve such a nice bail-out.

At this point, you might be wondering why I’m telling you all this.  Aside from the fact that it’s funny in a “Ha ha, I almost lost my entire reason for living” sort of way, it also pertains to this blog.  See, I recently acquired a Wacom tablet, which I was using to draw funny little cartoons, if you’ll recall.  Unfortunately, I lost Photoshop Elements when I wiped the computer, as well as all the things I drew using it.  This means that I lost an entire artistic series of pictures I drew based on those iconic, red phone booths you see in London.  Hours and hours of work.  Gone.  I will redraw them anyway, and maybe share a few, when I’m able to reinstall Elements.  The only problem is that the CD to restore it to my computer is somewhere back in California, in a large cardboard box maybe.  (We just moved)  So it looks like I won’t be able to illustrate my blog for a while.  Not until that CD or some other solution is found.  My only other option is MS Paint, and well…

…I just don’t think that would work out so well.

That’s all I have to say for today.  Somehow I will persevere.  I’m lucky that I got back what I did, even though I still lost many things that were important to me.  Obviously, I learned to be more careful with my files.  I’ve already gone back through and properly backed them up again.  I also learned that there is no point kicking myself forever about this mistake, because it’s in the past.  Yes, I had every opportunity to prevent it, but I didn’t.  And nothing I say or do is going to change that.  All I can do is deal with the consequences and try to learn from it.  I’d like to say I already have learned a good deal.  Only time will tell if this lesson will stick, but I have a feeling it will.

My father will probably be somewhat peeved when he reads this, so let me just say: I’m sorry, Dad!  I know I should have listened to you.  Thanks for all the help, though.  I don’t know what I’d do without you.

Word of the Day: Serendipity (n) – The faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident.  Also, the fact or an instance of such a discovery.



Filed under books, Humor, Technology

3 responses to “The Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Done

  1. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss your ms painting skills. That has internet ‘meme’ written all over it.

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