The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag, Alan Bradley

My computer died last week. Out of nowhere, thin, yellow, vertical lines appeared, and everything froze. I did a hard reboot, the computer worked for two or three blissful minutes, and then the same thing happened again. This time, when I rebooted, I didn’t make it past the Apple logo before the same thing happened. The fear that gripped me then was nothing compared to how I felt two reboots later, when I was looking at a black screen and every five seconds, a long beep would interrupt my gnashing of teeth.

This was clearly not one of those problems that was going to simply disappear. I really wanted it to be. I left my poor computer alone and went to dinner, fingers crossed that when I returned, this hiccup would have passed. I would have access to all of those things I unwisely had chosen to write in Word rather than Google docs. These problems usually sort themselves out with a little peace and quiet, I assured myself.

I was wrong. Also, an idiot. Because only an idiot would get her hopes up, only to return to that screen of death and be reduced to inconsolable weeping. I was actually pretty proud of myself for lasting as many hours as I did before I resorted to crying; back in the day, I would have given the thing one or two good thumps and promptly run out of ideas that didn’t involve a large hammer or a window. This is what I like to call progress.

Nevertheless, I eventually troubleshot my way into the depths of despair, having called the US Apple help line and tried in-store UK service without any luck whatsoever. My husband dropped the machine off at a local repairman who handles machines still covered by Applecare (thank God it doesn’t expire until July), and now, I’m waiting. In a few days, we leave for Spain, and right now is supposed to be my last hard push for deadlines before vacation. That hasn’t so much happened though, since I can barely bring myself to type on my tiny phone screen any more than I have to.

Can you blame me for retreating into the comfort of the second Flavia de Luce novel instead of facing the mounting anxiety I have over unsaved work on my hard drive? I think not. I’m well within my rights to crawl under the covers and enjoy a little scientific suspense. I find her character and the world she inhabits so comforting, and it was charming to discover that the second book was nearly as much fun as the first. To be fair, I’m one of those people who loves to find a good series; of course, when I picked up the first book, I did so specifically because I didn’t have time for a series right now, but apparently, Fate had other ideas. It’s been quite a while (okay, maybe eight months) since I found a series that hooked me fast, but it’s a feeling that I love.

So many of the books I read these days are wonderful stand alone experiences, but when I find a world I can slip into again and again with genuine pleasure, it makes trials like computer implosion a little easier to bear. It won’t get my work done, of course, but hopefully a few chapters here and there of the next volume will bolster my spirits and give my thumbs a well deserved touch screen vacation.

For more on Alan Bradley, go here.

Also, please note that while I’m waiting for word on my computer (and when I’m on vacation next week), I may not respond to email queries or comments as quickly as usual.

10 thoughts on “The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag, Alan Bradley

  1. Keeping my fingers crossed that your computer is revivable, work intact.
    When mine dies, I curl up in a corner, muttering promises to back up everything more frequently, promises that go the way of most New Years resolutions…

    1. Thank you. I’m still anxiously waiting to here whether they’ll get the logic board in time, and whether, if they do, the data on the hard drive will be at all retrievable. I do a lot on Google docs, but not enough, and since I’ve been traveling, I don’t have my once a day back up that I have set up at home. I miss my computer so much, and I keep thinking of things I don’t have backed up, usually right before bed…so now I’m exhausted and frustrated! Excellent combination!

    1. Me too! And preferably before I make the problem any worse by continuing to press restart hoping for a different restart. Incidentally, my camera also broke this week (of course it did – I’m on vacation) and I just want to bash the thing with a rock.

    1. I finished the third one last week and am trying to resist the fourth (which I saw you reviewed and had to carefully avoid reading for spoilers) while I get other work done! It’s so hard to stop though!

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