Near Miss and Gifts

In a frenzy of virtue, yesterday I got up, left the house and went to the coffee shop for a smoothie and an extended period of dissertation work. It was going really, really well. I had a yummy very berry smoothie, and was actually trucking along with the writing when a terrible song came on the radio, so I thought I’d get out my headphones and listen to my own music instead. I leaned over to my backpack, pulled out my headphones, and knocked over my open bottle of water right into the keyboard of my PowerBook.

In a frenzy of action — you’ve never seen a pregnant woman move so quickly — I flipped the computer over so the water could drip out, unplugged it, and started drying it with my handkerchief. (Thanks to No Impact Man I’ve started carrying one around instead of using 3-4 disposables a day.) Then, I started looking around at my fellow coffeeshop folk, looking for advice about what to do next as I loudly shouted “Fuck!” The guy behind me suggested that I shut it down — which I could still do — and I even got to save my work. Then, I took out the battery and left it upside down for a while to let the water drain. A few hours later, I thought maybe the water was probably gone, and I was DYING to know whether it was ok. (especially since I hadn’t backed up in, oh …. a WHILE.) It was fine. I couldn’t believe it. The only thing that was off was that they space-key sounded a little squeaky. That has since gone away. SO, horay Apple! Horay quick thinking! Horay for water — the least damaging substance you can dump on a laptop, apparently.

A couple of good things came of this near miss, though. First, I finally got the serial number of my exploding battery so that Apple can send me a new one (something I’ve procrastinated on for months). Second, I was so so terrified that I had lost all of the work I had done in the past few weeks (ahem, months?) that I wrote out by hand the next 2-3 pages of the chapter that I had been really struggling with. So, some good came of this dramatic and potentially terrifying incident.

Had the computer actually died, it would have been truly a tragedy because yesterday was my birthday. Wouldn’t it have been awful to lose my computer on my birthday?

The funny thing about birthdays is that as you get older, there are lower and lower expectations on the present front. I mean, when you’re a kid, you get lots of stuff for your birthday. As a grownup, usually I ask for a nice dinner with Spousal Unit. Since I knew he was crazy busy and because we had plans to go watch fireworks last night (our city is too small to do them on the 4th, so they have them for my birthday instead. Isn’t that nice of them?), I knew I wasn’t getting a nice birthday dinner so I figured there wasn’t much coming my way. So, before the laptop/water incident, I bought myself 2 dissertation books, pre-ordered the Harry Potter (yes, I’m probably the last person on in North American to have not ordered her copy) and the second season of Angel. (I’ve got all of the others, but for some reason don’t have that one.) I sent Spousal Unit an email telling him of my great shopping success for myself. He was only a little pissed that I had bought for myself the Harry Potter pre-order he had gotten for me as one of my birthday gifts! So I canceled it. Then, later last night my best friends came over with a gift for me…. yes, Angel season 2. DOH! Never again will I buy myself things on my birthday! And, here I was thinking I wasn’t going to get any gifts!

But, by far the best gift Spousal Unit gave me was this:

Which is particularly cool over the pregnant belly.

You can get one of your very own here.

If you don’t understand the reference and want to, go here.

Anyway, so today, I’m wearing my new shirt and letting my inner geek flag fly. Hope you all have a day full of gifts and happy accidents. And don’t be afraid to let YOUR inner geek fly!

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6 responses to “Near Miss and Gifts

  1. Happy, happy, happy birthday!

    And congrats on the dissertation work, and on avoiding the disatrous effects of water on the laptop! (Might I point out one thing? I noticed a rather glaring omission from your list of good things to come from this near miss: why did you not say that upon learning that the laptop was still functional you immediately paused to backup everything on your hard drive? Seriously, what more could it take to serve as a warning sign on the importance of backing up your work? Do I need to come all the way over there myself with an external hardrive or what?)

    Last things: that shirt is totally cool and I’m not gonna preorder HP7. I figure I’ll wait until the day or two after it’s released and just pick up my copy at Costco, just like I did with HP6.

  2. Just a bit of friendly advice. If you can, find out whether your computer has a waterproof keyboard. If it does, then cool. Otherwise, I strongly recommend that you immediately turn off your computer and leave it off for at least a couple of days. If possible, take it apart or open it up while it is off. The heart and brains of your computer are basically beneath your keyboard. The circuity doesn’t mix well with water – even a tiny bit – especially when electricity is running through it. Since your dissertation writing is what is at stake, you might want to be as cautious as possible. Just my friendly opinion.

  3. Have you backed up the diss (and the rest of your harddrive) yet?

  4. Hi… just wanted to give some cyber support to you. i am at work trying to force myself to write my master’s thesis (100th year for the attempt) and i came across your blog while googling (is that right?) how many days there are in summer, i found you in summer 2005, curious as to your progress searched for last day and this came up… congrats on the baber! i am preggie too. anyway… hope all is well and thanks for letting me know that the process is painful and arduous but it is a process and it will be over!!!! peace

  5. Happy birthday!

  6. Thanks for the comments and advice — the computer seems just fine. And, as far as I can tell, this is a pretty good model to spill on if you have to, because apparently it is hard to get water from the keyboard down into the innards of the thing. (I did some checking.)

    Scrivener, don’t panic — I did back up immediately when I turned it back on — at least I put the dissertation file on my jump drive. Today, I did a larger backup and this evening Spousal Unit is going to teach me how to do a fancy unix one-line backup thing to our external drive, so I’m covered!

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