Thursday, 1 November 2007

Hubris punished

I am pretty annoyed right now.

Having been told last night of someone being nice about this blog I suppose I was probably feeling smug and deserved punishing.

As I think I have mentioned before, nearly all of this blog is written on my HP Ipaq PDA while commuting. This morning I was "working" on some more of the Ingestre Pavilion stuff (1, 2) which is somewhat overdue for fettling and display, it now being more than two months after its marked shelf-life, oops.

I got an idea which I was quite enjoying writing about, indeed so much so that I skipped swimming (fool) and continued working on it through breakfast, writing pretty continuously from 7.00 to about 8.20. I should not be immodest as it clearly invites more punishment but I was really quite "into it" (whatever that may mean) and even chuckled once or twice at my own scintillating wit. Fool, Vogel, fool.

At 8.20 I tried to save it and encountered a problem with Word on my PDA which has happened annoyingly often recently, and it would not save. I have a workaround for this so I implemented the said workaround and then found to my horror that I had suffered a Procedural Accuracy Excursion and that every word I had written had vanished.

At this point, I was not at all happy.

I am well aware that it is only writing, that it does not really matter, that this trifling accident has not affected worldwide starvation or persecution, gun control, the next Olympics, or even the price of strawberry yoghurt. Despite this effort to take several deep breaths and then several more, and retain some sense of perspective, I am really quite annoyed. I don't usually get so enthusiastic about writing something that it would keep me going like that. Ironically, less enthusiasm would have saved it (in both senses) as with the usual interruptions I would have kept having to save (aha) the file and would thus have encountered the problem earlier or even several times - I could simply not have destroyed the entire document with one mistake.

I have been working in or with computers for around thirty years and the sort of baby mistake I made is the sort of thing that makes me sigh at the naivety of users, as long as they are not me.

Despite the unimportance of what has happened I do feel a sneaking sympathy with the unfortunate Stephen Thrasher, he of the "laptop helpdesk tape" that went round the world in a trice some years ago and was much included in songs and the like. "And everything I've been working on for the past two ********* ****** years of my life is gone!" Poor Mr Thrasher. I've only lost a few pages.

A mature attitude would call for me to say that I will simply rewrite it and that it will be better the second time round, a well-worn writers' cliche if ever I heard one. Unfortunately I do not have this mature attitude and am still busy being angry, especially as there is really only the one person with whom I can be angry, stand up Vogel. As for writing it out again - well, I don't know. I felt fairly inspired while I was doing it. I am not sure I can recreate that nor that my rather hopeless memory will be much use in recapturing the feel. I now have a day's work to do and plenty else to worry about. I am reminded of the truly, deeply appallingly dreadful words of the song MacArthur Park concerning cakes, rain and recipes. (If you do not know them please look it up somewhere. They are so dire that I will not quote them here, even in the extreme of rage which I now embody.)

So, to summarize: bother.

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