Rather than praying, cowering, beseeching, and all of that....
He resets his DeityBook 'status' to Wrathful, and very soon there's a whole lot of smitin' goin' on!
Consider - I am reaching a crisis point in my China Exit Strategy (ha!), and really needed to get super-busy at the start of this week... chasing up missing payments from various employers, trying to distill some coherent plan from the almost entirely inconsistent advice I've been getting from a string of different 'visa agents' (and certain unhelpfully 'helpful' friends!), trying to book some affordable flights to the UK and the US, getting hold of a big chunk of foreign currency, and finalising a sub-let on my apartment for part of the summer.
So, it was most unfortunate that I suddenly came down with 'flu from hell over the weekend, a wretched sore throat and fever, utterly debilitating. And then my phone got cut off unexpectedly quickly (it's usually OK to let the bill drift until at least the middle of the month, but the phone company is wildly erratic in its disconnection policy), which was a bit inconvenient for chasing up visa agents (some of these guys keep you on hold for 20 or 30 minutes at a time - which destroys battery and credit on a mobile phone). My mobility was further restricted when I managed to dislocate the dodgy cartilage in my right knee yesterday evening, and my usual 'prayer mat technique' for fixing it wasn't working (it had come out on the inside of the knee rather than at the front, and it's rather difficult to achieve full extension of the knee joint sideways - not without doing horrible things to your cruciate ligaments, anyway); I managed to sort it out eventually, but that was 40 or 50 minutes of extreme anxiety I could have done without. Then, when I managed to drag myself down to the Post Office to make amends for my telephonic delinquency this afternoon (the nearest one is two miles away, but it's so much nicer an experience than trying to pay in a bank), I found that their computer network was down. I was forced to go to the bank after all - and regular readers may have some idea of how bad that can be. I managed to get the job done in only about 20 minutes (which is astonishingly quick for a Chinese bank; mind you, there were only two people being served ahead of me...).
But then, when I got back home, finally ready to take on the massed hordes of visa fixers and travel agents and whatever... my computer CRASHED.
What? No, of course I'm not backed-up! Years of relatively trouble-free computer usage have made me complacent, I know. The last time I did a full back-up of any of my computers, I was still having to use floppy disks - and it ended up requiring half a dozen of the things, and taking absolutely hours. I gather it might be possible to get everything on two or three DVDs now - but it's still a bit of a hassle.
Yes, yes, I'm on it. I just don't have any free disks here right now. I am going to have to leave my computer switched on until I can get out to buy some tomorrow.
Oh, no - the CRASH was not a permanent crash. After the third or fourth restart, and much praying and cussing, and just going away and leaving the dratted machine alone for an hour to try to catch it by surprise... it eventually relented, and stopped hiding all my data from me.
But it had been a VERY SCARY experience. For a while, everything that I've ever downloaded or stored on this computer had disappeared - no photos, no music, no documents; not even a desktop folder with my name on it (although my 'Froog' administrator account was still in place, and GoogleChrome was the only non-preinstalled program still displaying on the desktop and in the Programs list [odd, because it is one of the more recent programs I've downloaded; stuff like Skype that I put on way back when I first bought the thing had GONE]).
A lot of this stuff, I do kind of have 'backed up'. A lot of it has been transferred over from former laptops, which are still just about alive. A lot of the work-related stuff I've taken the precaution of BCc-ing to myself on e-mail. But a lot of the most valuable stuff - training materials and research notes and articles that I've compiled over the past two or three years (stuff that is 'valuable' to me in terms of the time and effort and pride that I invested in creating it, rather than its possible financial worth) - well, it was looking as though that was ALL GONE. Not a happy feeling.
HOW do computers do this to us? Like mischievous amateur conjurors terrorising their family and friends in the parlour after dinner, they make you think that your most valued possessions have vanished into thin air and can never be restored. But eventually, after far, far, far too long, the lost items reappear again. "Only kidding!" they cry, with a smug grin.
And you just want to beat their head in with a spade and bury them in the back yard, don't you?
I am hoping that my new most regular commenter, John, who seems to be a bit of an IT whizz, might be able to chip in with some diagnosis or encouragement on this harrowing episode. In fact, I am inclined to blame him slightly. He had recently given me a tip about a crafty way to revert to the 'old look' on Yahoo Mail (changed a few months ago to something that is, to my mind, uglier, harder to navigate, and - at least on my browser, with my connection speeds - much slower and less stable than its no-frills predecessor). He told me that the new template wouldn't work on smaller screen resolutions, so if you put your display settings back down to 800 x 600 pixcels (and didn't that remind me uncomfortably of playing Doom on an ancient secondhand desktop while I was at law school, many, many, many years ago!!), Yahoo relunctantly gives you the option to switch back. Oh joy, oh bliss!
But not for long. After implementing the template selection on all of my various Yahoo accounts, I went back into my Control Panel to return my screen settings to normal. And something wasn't quite right. The desktop wallpaper didn't look as crisp as it had (much better than 800 x 600, but still not that great). And my desktop icons had all been arbitrarily rearranged in the upper half rather than the left side of the screen (and some of them, I think, had disappeared altogether; I do have rather a lot - I find it a lot easier to go straight to a desktop shortcut that to have to go through pop-up menus).
So, I thought, something is being a bit glitchy here. Maybe I need to Restart to fully restore my old Display settings.
And that's when God - or the Devil - started messing with me!