It Died With Its Word Processor On

Kage Baker once had a habit of not turning her programs off before she exited them. This resulted in a lot of lost updates, new work, and sometimes entire documents – her preferred method being to yank the portable medium right out of the drive before it got a chance to remind her to save.

She was eventually cured of this when she accidentally ditched half of Iden when she was getting ready to submit. Two days cursing in  Kinko’s will teach you a lot … you can tell this was a long time ago by the fact we had to go t0 Kinko’s with our floppy disks.

Eventually, she got calmer and safeguards got better and media got sturdier, and there no more accidental deaths. However, the computer can always go south on you.

My Buke is dying piecemeal. It actually came on this morning, and I was thrilled! I was also lulled. I answered some mail. I sent some stern advice to my Congress-critters. I pulled up KUSC Classical online, for background while I worked on stories. All was flowing and serene. There were some oddities – like the random black bubbles floating over the screen; which made me suspect the touch pad was losing its mind. And it did demand an entirely new security sign in from me, probably because it heard me threatening to replace it.

Still, for an hour or so, we were managing. And then, in the midst of a Saint- Saens piece, the Buke made a faint, sad popping noise and went black.

It may come back to life. The story I was working on does exist on my home computer of course, and I can remember what I wrote just before the crash. And thumb drives are sturdier than the old 5-inch floppies Kage used to yank out and throw across the room like square Frisbees, so the other documents on it are probably already right.

In the meantime, I can compose on my Kindle. That is because my Kindle is actually a Kindle Fire and it does all sorts of things … it also has an infintisimal virtual keyboard, so I write very slowly. But it’s all right. I can write.

And my Buke died in action, fulfilling its destiny. Which  is some consolation.

In the meantime, I went online and found a brand new HP laptop. It’s reasonably small – 11 by 8 inches, about the size of a sheet of paper or a hard-cover book. It has a real keyboard, tons of SSD, and is much more electronically muscular than my previous Buke. It costs more than $15.00, but that is probably a good thing, don’t you think?

Also, the one I chose is violet. VIOLET, Dear Readers. I could not resist. It will arrive on Friday. I will get a larger steampunk suitcase for it, and all will be well.

I shall recycle my Buke with honours. And not buy any more Fry’s bargains.

In the meantime, Pacific Grove continues lovely, and Neassa has been out taking photos – she is a grand photographer. When not struggling with my writing tools, I am happily adding new words to several stalled stories. I’ve had to work a little harder to manage to work at all, but, hey – I’m a grown up. I can do that.

And we are both working on a new knitting project – Phrygian caps. Those used to be called “freedom caps”, during the American revolution. Also in the French ones. They are the front-floppy hats you see on Greek heroes and Mithras, too. I shall post a picture when I get the first one finished.

They are appropriate for these days, I think. Freedom is always good – freedom from fear, freedom from insanity, freedom from misbehaving electronics. We just have to work a little for it.

But we’re grownups. Right, Dear Readers? We can do that.










About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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2 Responses to It Died With Its Word Processor On

  1. Tom says:

    No more Best Buy bargains? I dunno, Kate, it sounds like you got pretty good value out of that one. But reliability and processing muscle are a great bulwark against lost work.
    Somehow I’m not surprised to learn Kage was a ‘thrower.’ So was Mary Lynn.


    • Kate says:

      Kage, being a practical lady, only threw non-breakable items. The real problem was pulling them out of drives before closing all the files. But she always held her medical personally responsible for their behaviour. Like, they could have saved the document if they had really tried …


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