Offering Sacrifices to the Software Gods

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This blog post is totally off-topic, I think — well, given the Endless Winter, maybe not totally off-topic — but I feel the need to vent my frustration and so I am giving space to it.

For years I used to carry around little spiral-bound notebooks, journalling on the train, on a plane, up in my mother’s room when I went to visit my dad and brother after she died, wherever…until communing with a laptop became more expedient. Not to mention that I once left a notebook in the ladies room of the Chicago Theatre the first time I went to see Steely Dan and I never recovered it. I imagine it was simply thrown in the trash, but for quite a while I got slightly paranoid and thought somehow someone had stolen the notebook or would find it and manage to trace it to me, even though my name wasn’t on it. A lot of the early bird-and-music observations are buried somewhere in much earlier notebooks such as the ones pictured above, and someday I have to go through and decipher them, my handwriting not always being legible even to me, since I have always thought faster than I can write, and it still happens to me even as I type at the speed of 120 wpm.

But now that everything is supposedly secure with my new laptop, it’s only fitting that I find a new cause for paranoia. Somewhere in the last day or two, I think it might have been yesterday morning, I saved and closed everything and let Apple install the latest security update, which I had read about, I think, in the New York Times the day before, and it didn’t seem like an issue I had time to deal with, as far as backing up All My Data before, since I have never, ever lost a text document…

Drivel is sometimes my only verification of existence, especially when the Crows aren’t around. I don’t take it personally with the Crows, they’ll be back as soon as the weather improves.

Crow IMG_0150_1

Well, suffice it to say that I am glad I didn’t lose any of my work I was doing with the photographs, although I do have the original photos backed up externally – but I lost the entire month of drivel for February 2014, whatever it was, basically stuff that I wrote on the weekends, sometimes a comment here and there during the week, nothing terribly important, I don’t think – except that now I will never know.

I guess I’ve been lucky. Just dumb luck. Read about this happening to people all the time, right? The stupid file was saved! I didn’t lose December or January. What happened to February? I lost a month of my life. Not the first time it’s happened (having had an entire laptop stolen) and likely not the last either.

Where the paranoia sets in? Maybe I’m being spied on by the NSA and it’s incorporated into the Mac update. Wouldn’t surprise me. Not that I’m doing anything any more subversive than anybody else. I may have signed a few extra petitions and letters urging people to drop the Keystone XL… but that’s another off-topic blog post let’s hope not in the making.

I am still fried over this lost file, but I will never ever recover it – I’ve been everywhere on the Mac and it does not exist, and yes, I downloaded some free software to look for it which doesn’t help either – it simply got swept up during the installation or restart or whatever it was that went on yesterday or the day before or the night before or whenever it was that I allowed this to happen. Maybe it was last night when I was just too tired to do anything? No, I was falling asleep reading something. It wasn’t last night. Just as well I didn’t notice it last night, it would have pissed me off even more and I wouldn’t have been able to sleep. I am simply going to start saving these damned things on a flash drive. It’s easier and I can always overwrite with the latest version. Period.

Thanks for listening to my rant. I’ll be back soon with an update on the baby birds.

P.S. Arggh!! As I am now restoring the last version of this post…

Well I’d be really annoyed if any of my picture work disappeared along with it so I guess I can live with this small sacrifice. Offering up journals to the software gods. Really.

McGinnis in the Rain

Rain, rain...

Rain, rain…

Let me get the disclaimer over with. I planned on posting last night but my laptop apparently decided I had been taking it for granted, perhaps after hearing the washing machine had decided Saturday morning that it had had enough too. But it hasn’t been all bad. I took off from work on Friday because I had a ticket to Steely Dan at Ravinia and there was really no way I could envision driving that far after working half a day. I was also rationalizing I could make up for not birding last weekend after the water heater staged its own rebellion.

Stormy Sky

Stormy Sky

Friday, the forecast was for scattered thunderstorms, but you can never tell where they’re going to scatter, so I got up as early as I my body would allow, and I managed to get to McGinnis Slough at 7:10 AM, whereupon a little rumble of thunder turned into a downpour. I sat in the car and waited for it to stop. Which it did, and then it started again. I must have gotten in and out of the car five times before I finally managed to take off for more than a few feet. And even then I had to stop and open up the umbrella. McGinnis got a good soak.

Rain starts again...

Rain starts again…

I think she might have stayed for the photo if the rain hadn’t suddenly picked up again…

Blackbirds drying off

Blackbirds drying off

When it seemed like I might yet be able to see a few birds, I took the shortest route to the south end of the preserve, stopping to admire the first Rose Mallow blossoms.

Marsh Mallow - not "Rose" - I'm hearing "Rose Darling" by Steely Dan...

Rose Mallow. But I’m still hearing “Rose Darling” by Steely Dan…

I wasn’t seeing as many birds as I heard, Marsh Wrens and Song Sparrows singing in between cloudbursts, Blue Jays calling from everywhere. But then I heard something different yet quite familiar. Sandhill Cranes. I followed the sound and found a pair of Sandhills and two young Great Blue Herons. Only one heron fit in the frame with the cranes.

Sandhill Cranes with a Great Blue Heron

Sandhill Cranes with a Great Blue Heron

A closer view of the cranes.

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There was a break in the clouds, finally, so I ventured to the farther, northernmost side, where there were predictably a lot of Great Egrets. This group constitutes perhaps a third of the total I counted.

Great Egrets

Great Egrets

And one managed to fly by ever so slightly closer.

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I left shortly after the sun was finally starting to shine, almost three hours later. When I got home I was a bit dismayed to find it had not rained at all on my garden while I was gone. But the quiet of McGinnis with the rain stayed with me and served as the perfect meditation to take a slow day off, nap, do a few chores and then go to Ravinia. Fagan, Becker and the excellent musicians that share the stage with them delivered another memorable concert. I have been singing their songs ever since.

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