Driving Me Crazy

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Oy to the vey. It’s been quite the week, and it’s only Tuesday. Sunday morning before the birthday brunch in honor of Senorita Burns (photos of the fete and Baby Wombat here), I was sending a couple gems of the thousands of Australia pictures to one of my editors. Only, when I went to attach them…they weren’t there anymore. Hmm, that’s odd. I had just been going through and archiving everything in Lightroom, and the thumbnails all still appeared and didn’t return that “image not available” message that they normally do when files had been deleted. (Also, not stupid enough to delete files in the first place. Or empty trash can without checking first, for that matter.) But, nothing. Instead of calmly stepping back and accessing the situation, I began to freak the eff out—and rightfully so. Turns out they have disappeared into some vast abyss on my hard drive, never to be heard from or seen again. I immediately took my sick computer to the Mac Genius Bar for about the 87th time in the past year (for serious, in the two years since I switched to Mac, they have had to replace my hard drive THREE times and give me an entirely new computer, too). They did what any competent computer-toting person would do and searched my hard drive (um, as if I didn’t already try that, geniuses) and declared them gone. OK, I was expecting a little more exploration, but whatever. I returned home in tears, and SVV took the controls. After some Internet research, he was able to recover all the lost files, but only in 100KB thumbnail versions (which aren’t big enough to print, let alone blow up for the magazine articles they’re supposed to accompany). Some more highly technical playing business last night by Sean, Wizard of Photography, Computers and the Internet, did nothing more to save my photos, so I’m thinking I just have to come to terms with them all being gonzo. Unless any of you have had similar situations and had success at a data recovery center? I’d consider forking over a couple hundred bucks for that if I thought there were any hope.

This leads me to my lesson for the day: BACK UP. The really sad and ironic part is that I’ve been really good at this of late. I have two external hard drives, and the day before I left for Oz, I was copying everything to them, but then one went kaput and gave me a glaring red CORRUPTED error, and the other is only compatible with my Dell. So how ironic that my external hard drive would crash right before my Mac decided to delete all my Aussie files, right? And SVV bought me some archival DVDs on THURSDAY, which is precisely what I was working on doing when said photos went missing. Apple gave me a new MacBook in November, which has Time Machine (my old one did not), and I stupidly thought that it just automatically backed up all your files for you (I didn’t know it had to have a hard drive attached, which just leads me to a “what’s the point then?”). Since this whole thing has gone down, no fewer than five people have chastized me for NOT backing up. I TRIED, PEOPLE, OK? Also? Telling me that now does NOT help remedy the situation, it’s just like you’re trying to make me feel stupider than I already do. As my friend May pointed out, “it’s like that Sex and the City episode where Carrie’s computer crashes and everyone starts telling her to back up. She was like, ‘where were these people three days ago when I needed them?'” Any non-Genius Bar geniuses out there who might have any suggestions for fixing this problem? Yeah, I didn’t think so. And now a picture of an incredibly adorable and well-behaved baby to make me feel better (temporarily).

On a slightly happier note, I’m finally ready to chat a bit about the Guatemala and Honduras trip that happened just, erm, four months ago now (or rather post lots of pictures, as, for once, I don’t have a whole lot of insightful things to say on the subject). You’ve been waiting with bated breath, right? I’m so sure. Well, anyhow, if you’re thinking of heading down to Central America at some point, the first words of advice I’d give you are: DON’T LISTEN TO LONELY PLANET. Once upon a time I was a huge LP fan myself, then SVV and I purchased their Central America on a Shoestring book to guide us in our 16 days down there. In the Guatemala chapter alone, the word “rape” appears no fewer than four times. While it’s fine to WARN people about things to be on the lookout for, one can get “raped” in any country—it’s not as if it’s some overwhelming problem that plagues just Central America—and I really don’t think the Guatemala Board of Tourism would be that thrilled to know that Lonely Planet was promoting their country like so.

Nevertheless, the chapters on traveling in Guatemala had both Scott (who is never scared of anything) and me freaked out, especially lines like this one that warn against driving, or ever being outside of the heavily tourist areas at all really: “There have been incidents of robbery, rape and murder in the highlands…there are persistent rumors about a Japanese tourist who was lynched for taking a picture of a child in the highlands. ” Might I add this was the chapter for serene and clairvoyant Lago de Atitlan (Guatemala’s equivalent to Lake Tahoe), not even Guat City? And don’t even get me started on the chapter that informed us if we were ever walking on our own, we’d need to carry a machete. Utter ridiculousness, Lonely Planet; from now on, my money will only go to Frommer’s, Fodor’s or Rough Guides.

We had basically resigned ourselves to taking the chicken bus all over the country, which would definitely put us back time-wise, until my friend Victoria, who lived there for eight months as a single woman, e-mailed me saying she drove everywhere in her own car and never had a problem. In the end, I’m so glad we listened to her, as we saw so much more of the country than had we been stuck taking a 12-hour bus 100 miles every time we wanted to switch locations. And what do you know? We never even ran into a  single suspicious character or felt threatened in the least. I’m much more paranoid when I get off BART at the Civic Center exit than I ever was in Guatemala. However, one thing to be worried about when driving down there? Road conditions. Behold, the primary east-to-west INTERSTATE through the country:

(That’s all actual dust, not merely a cloudy camera lens.) It was like one long rollercoaster ride transversing Guatemala. Need I say more? Other than whatever you do, do NOT forget your Dramamine, dawgs. And how many times do I have to tell you? Put that Lonely Planet away! Now!

  • February 10, 2009

    Ugh. So sorry to hear about the stupid computer eating your photos. I have no useful advice, but I shall spend my afternoon cursing your computer, macs in general, and Steve Jobs, if you think it’ll help. 🙂

  • February 10, 2009

    I knew better than to tell you to back up. I hate that! Will send you a disc in the new week or so 🙂

  • February 10, 2009

    I figured your trip to Guatemala was a bust, hence the delay in posting the pics and talking about it. Too bad! I was thinking about planning a trip down there later this year to visit Antigua and Tikal. Did you visit those places? If so, were they horrible?

  • February 10, 2009

    100% agree about Lonely Planet. I hold them personally responsible for ruining my honeymoon. HIGH WINDS DOES NOT MEAN MONSOON SEASON, LONELY PLANET!!!

  • February 10, 2009

    I am def going to back up all the stuff on my new Mac now. I’m glad you referenced the SATC episode, because that’s exactly what I was thinking about… sorry about your photos. Maybe if you win the Oz job you can just redo?

  • February 10, 2009

    OOHhh!!! I’m so sorry about your photos! My dad used a data recovery program once. It was under $50 if I’m remembering correctly and he used it on a memory card, not on a hard drive. I don’t know if that kind of thing would be of any use to you, but it worked so well in his situation that he acutally uncovered photos he’d never realized were lost! I’ll bug him for the name and email you!

  • February 10, 2009

    I would have bought a machete if they had scimitars.. Speaking of, if you own and/or operate a business that manufactures and/or sells “portable” external hard drives I have something I’d like to show you

  • February 10, 2009

    Glad the car advice worked out. Lonely Planet screwed me over on Guatemala too, but only because my parents looked through it two days before I was set to move and they totally freaked out…in only the way parents can do when they see the death threat sections!

  • February 10, 2009

    Oh, NO. Your missing-files story is one of my worst nightmares. Missing *photos*, no less. So sorry. I’m shaking my fist at the sky on your behalf. Why has Steve Jobs forsaken you?

  • February 11, 2009

    Oh no, I hate what happened to your pictures! (Duh.) And I hate that so-called professionals never know what to do either.

    When I first started blogging, I only blogged about all the trips I took (to not nearly as exciting destinations as you, obviously, but still). Needless to say, I never backed it up and then some stupid server crashed and all was gone. Neat, huh? I went batshit insane, I can tell you that much. A few months ago, I also poured hot tea over my laptop which ruined the hard drive so that the computer wouldn’t start anymore. For a second I thought ALL MY STUFF was dead, and gone forever.
    I, too, went to see a dozen different computer stores to fix it but it wasn’t until my dad asked some sort of superior mega secret specialists who work for his company, that they were able to get the hard drive and install it in an external hard drive frame (I don’t know the technical terms, sorry), and it worked again. Certainly taught me a lesson about backups.

    But meh, I don’t suppose that would work in your case, huh? There HAS to be a way, though. Ugh, this is gonna bug me all week now. In the unlikely event that I will come up with something you haven’t though of already, I’ll report back to you.

  • February 11, 2009

    I remember being at Atitlan in Guatemala, having dinner with a group of international travelers about five years ago. And the topic of whether our parents were worried about us traveling in Guatemala came up (my mom was). And this Dutch girl said, “Yes, my parents are really worried, too. When I told my mother that I had to fly through Washington DC to get here from Amsterdam, she begged me to consider a route that didn’t take me through the States.”

  • February 11, 2009

    i feel like jamaica gets the same bum rap. i’ve never been there but i’ve heard people complain about the drugs, the rape, etc. my mom went there when i was young and said it was one of the most gorgeous places she’s been to. guess i’ll have to check it out myself!

    btw, those roads TOTALLY remind me of the ones in Punta Cana!

  • February 11, 2009

    alright, I’ve been putting it off because of the cost, but if my kids are all in school tomorrow (for once in a week) I am driving down to the apple store to get a backup for my macbook. I know I need to do it and dont want to do it too late.

  • February 11, 2009

    ahhh computer problems are such a headache/pain in the butt/neck etc. I am so sorry 🙁

  • February 11, 2009

    best reason to be married to a computer geek. he fixes all my computers when i break them!

  • February 11, 2009

    Computer stuff makes me crazy. Tears, vomit, and whatnot. Ug.

  • February 11, 2009

    We have that LP book and yes, I know the fear of god they put in you about all the rapes! We went to western Belize, along the Guatemalan border, and had to get escorts to some of the ruins because of the hijackings/rapes that had been happening in the area. Despite that, I didn’t feel in that big of danger once we were actually there. Like any place, you just have to be aware of your surroundings. We rented a car too and were so glad we did! (Even though we got a flat on a deserted back road. The roads in Belize are just as bad!)

  • February 11, 2009

    Sorry about your computer issues! I just bought an iomega back up thing and now when I upload pictures to iPhoto they automatically get saved there .

    Wow – I never looked at Lonely Planet before I went – I am pretty glad I didn’t.

  • February 11, 2009

    I can’t believe they are just gone? WHERE DID THEY GO? That is madness.

    Ignore Lonely Planet? Check, and check.

  • February 11, 2009

    Once you go Mac you ALWAYS go back, AIGHT?

    1987 B.I. (Before Internet) : I am born and raised on PC laptops
    1995 : Birth of the Internet; My family gets AOL (via free 100-hour CD’s)
    2005 : When laptop-shopping for college, I fall for the “fun” operating system and white casing of the iBook G4. . and Dad forks over $1500
    2006 : Professors email me about my papers containing “$)))%_____@(((@***,” better known as Apple’s attempt at a word-processing program. I purchase Office for Mac ($150)
    2008 :
    A) My laptop boycotts accepting CDs
    B) I begin playing the “Every 5 seconds the monitor goes black” -game. Writing papers amid this = BONUS POINTS
    C) I purchase a new battery ($90)
    D) Battery dies – and computer no longer turns on
    E) Dad buys a new “DC” part? And replaces it
    F) Works for a month
    G) Charger cord takes an early retirement
    H) I buy a new charger ($60)
    I) So far so “good” <—shoot me
    2009 :
    TODAY) Excel for Mac is LOL-worthy, forcing me to rise at 6am to finish homework at school library
    B) I fantasize about a $600 Compaq that actually works.

  • February 12, 2009

    What is up with guys always looking so grumpy when they are driving in foreign lands? Hubby did that in London as well.

    I love how they just ignore the whole ‘stay in your own’ lane thing in South America, Mexico, etc.

  • February 18, 2009

    I actually just started backing up. After I lost my hard drive on an old PC and the hundreds of photos of my nephew with it.

    I hate computer issues! Also, this makes me inclined to stay with my PC instead of switching to a Mac. (*ducks*)

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