Sunday, August 31, 2014

Last One

This is it, folks. I've been writing this blog for five years, hoping it would take off, or at least get noticed. It hasn't, so it's time to move on. Maybe it's time to seriously work on a novel, or maybe just admit I'm a mediocre hack and devote my life to PTA and ice bucket challenges. I've had fun. I wish I'd been a better writer so more people would have read me. I guess I'm far from the first to wish that. Thanks to everyone who has followed and made kind comnents. It meant a lot to me, really.

Take care.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Ace Frehley Challenge, Part 3

Here's Part 1. And here's Part 2. And finally, here's Part 3:

This was meant to be a post about listening to former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley's new album Space Invader. Post, singular, one. Yet here I am on Part 3. How did this happen?

Jinkies, maybe it was the old caretaker.
It's not because I loved the experience so much that I felt it deserved three posts. Although, yeah, in a twist I sure as hell didn't see coming, I really do love Ace's new album, proving that middle-aged dogs can be taught new tricks if a handsome blonde drummer is doing the teaching. But that's not why the simple act of listening to a CD has stretched over four days and three posts.

It's because my laptop is Satan, and it looked into my heart and gleaned its fondest desire and set about to thwart it.

See the fangs? That means evil.
As you know if you've been following this story, on Wednesday of this week I listened to Ace's CD in my car. And as I did, a blog post began to write itself in my head. My reactions to the music were so immediate and visceral that they spontaneously transformed themselves into words - that's the best description I can come up with of how my brain works when it's inspired. By the time I got home from work (and picking up Precocious Daughter and running an errand and all the things I apparently now do because I'm the mom of a high-school student), I knew exactly what I wanted to do (write down my review of Space Invader) and how I wanted to do it (by playing the album again and writing as I listened).

Turns out I should have written it in longhand while wearing
a charming smock with a Peter Pan collar.
But, you know, hindsight.
After dinner I sat down with my laptop - which was neither glowing red nor emitting sulfur fumes to clue me in as to its evil intent - and opened the CD drive. I haven't used the disk drive much since owning this computer, maybe just a couple of times to load some software. Still, I had no reason to believe it was anything other than a normal CD drive that would take my brand-new CD and play the music files inscribed on it.

In other words, I had no reason to believe it was not a CD drive at all but rather a gaping maw, hungry for my joy.

And not nearly this adorable, either.
The computer swallowed my CD.

I saw it happen. When I pressed the disk onto the spindle, it didn't quite "click," which I realized belatedly as I slid the tray closed. No biggie; I've done that lots of times, and usually the drawer won't close properly, or it will spit the disk out, or you simply push the little button to slide the drawer out and reposition the disk. Any one of these things happens when you don't insert a CD properly.

It is ape law.
What doesn't happen - or at least, has never happened to me or to anyone I know - is that the CD slides up and over the edge of the tray and disappears into the works of the computer and is gone.

It was one of those WTF moments that had me simply staring at the empty tray where I had placed a CD just moments before. I closed the drawer, hoping the disk would drop back into place, then reopened it. Nothing.

Then I did the same thing, like, 14 times with the same result.

As Freud laughed from the abyss.
 And just like that, my evening of happily listening to and writing about music became a search-and-rescue mission in the belly of the digital beast known as my laptop. I felt like Ripley in Aliens when she first laid eyes on all those goddamn eggs.

Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit shit.
I tried to remove the CD drive, which didn't work. I tried to disassemble my computer, knowing that the last time I tried to disassemble a computer I basically crippled it because I'm an idiot. (I stopped before getting too far in, because see the previous reference to being an idiot.) Finally I shined a flashlight into the drive to see if the disk were somewhere I could reach it. I saw its gleaming edge nestled in among the circuit boards and blood vessels and whatever the hell else is inside a computer. I think I saw a kidney, I'm not sure.

So I removed the tiny screws on that side of the computer body, enabling me slightly pry apart the top and bottom halves of the case. Keep in mind that I am cursing like a character Quentin Tarantino cut from one of his scripts because he thought she cursed too much at this point.

Hey. You watch your language, young lady.
Then I tried to pull out the CD. My stubby fingers couldn't reach it. I thought if I could get something in far enough to snag the hole, I could pull it out. Because apparently I was channeling an adolescent male at this point. A Q-Tip didn't work. A small, slender screwdriver didn't work. Thinking back, I probably could have unbent a paper clip and formed it into a hook. But that didn't occur to me, because my train of thought mostly consisted of panic and trying to find new ways to conjugate the word fuck.

I finally pulled the CD out using a pair of needle-nose pliers. It was like being told by your obstetrician that it's time to drag your baby into the world with forceps. You're desperate to get the baby out, but you're terrified that your child will have a misshapen head and go through life being called "Two-Dent Kent."

I always suspected that's what happened to Linus.
So I had my disk back. It had been dragged through a machine by a slightly rusty pair of pliers, but I had it. I was absolutely certain it was ruined. Ace Frehley was about to earn an extra royalty because my computer had devoured my copy of his CD. Which may lend to credence to all that stuff about KISS being in league with Satan. My laptop certainly is one of his minions. Maybe disk drives and CD players all over the world are chomping up copies of Space Invader so that Ace can make extra scratch.

I may be on to something here. Of course, I just typed all that on my laptop, so now it knows I know.

So much for opening the pod bay doors.
Anyway, with great trepidation I dug out my portable CD player - because I had already had the CD drive on my computer exorcised and permanently sealed with wax from a blessed candle - and tried the disk.

OMG OMG OMG, it still worked.

Fuck you, Satan.
But I was completely spent, and had used up all of my good curses. So I got no further than writing the introduction to my post, which became Part 1. And I really wanted to tell the story of my evil computer and how apparently a pair of needle-nose pliers is the best precision instrument for digging around inside a laptop. So that became Part 3.

And of course, Part 2 was my review of the album itself, which I hope by now you've read and enjoyed and if not go read it NOW because I worked really hard on it and went through a lot to bring it to you and also I'm desperate for hits.

Thus endeth my little three-act play. Thank you.

P.S. When I wrote Part 2, I just streamed the album on Rhapsody. Which I could have done the first time and saved myself a lot of aggravation. But then I wouldn't have a story to tell. And it's all about the story. So...thanks, I guess, satanic laptop.