Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fun with Technology

Sometimes, I think technology senses stress. This week I'm trying to fit in two weeks of work, doubling up on medical school writing, trying to finish a draft, and then I had an additional thing come up that I needed to write this week. That's in addition to all the other little to-do items for getting ready to leave town. So when I took a brief break yesterday afternoon to check my e-mail and look up a couple of things for the med school, it had to turn into an epic adventure. Suddenly, every web site I tried to go to, it bumped me back to my ISP, which told me I had the wrong password for my DSL modem. I've got a password for e-mail, but in all the time I've had this service, I haven't had a password for the modem. When I got the new computer, I just had to plug it in, and it went straight to work. The notice page told me to call tech support, where I learned that "I don't know, you moron machine, I'm calling because you told me to" is apparently not a valid response on the voice recognition system. It took forever on the phone with customer support to deal with it, which took an hour out of my workday. And, would you believe, the same thing happened again this morning? But I still had all the codes from the nice Indian tech support guy I got to yesterday when I stopped yelling at the automated system and zeroed out, so I was able to re-set it all again myself. Then I had to do it again. My modem may be dying. I've only had it since 2004.

This was after my toaster oven bit the dust over the weekend. The bottom of anything put in it was burning, while the top was untouched. And in this weather, you really don't want to turn on the big oven. So that had to be replaced.

This means I've been deleting still more items from the to-do list. Things that seemed vitally important are now in the "I'll live without it" category. I'm focusing on the must-do work stuff. I know the book will need one more draft because there are some things I need to go back and work in, but on this draft I'm focusing on straightening out the plot. I may start the next round of revisions at the end, since I can tell I'm getting a little impatient with the sense of having a deadline. There really isn't any time pressure here because I think my agent would kill me if I sent her one more project before she gets the two she's already got off her plate.

I guess my real time pressure is that I hope to take a "vacation" in October when (I hope!) it finally gets cool, and I want everything done by then. I'll have completed three books this year (one start to finish, one the second half of a first draft and then a major rewrite, and one a major rewrite on a completed book), so I've been very diligent this year. I think I need to take a break, and I've been trapped inside by the heat for so long. When it becomes nice out, I want to spend some time getting out and about, going on long walks, walking to restaurants in my neighborhood, eating on the patio, exploring the city and generally enjoying my favorite time of year before I plunge back into the same level of diligence in writing. I have a side project I want to play with while I'm starting the extensive research that the next project in the queue will require.

Ballet starts again tonight, and I'm excited to see if all the exercise I've been doing has any impact on the dancing.

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