Now virus free and twice as fast… that’s what she said

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It has been a strange couple of weeks. After five years of almost constant use I forgot how to exist without my computer, so when it went away I felt confused and lost. Really.

I had a couple of viruses I couldn’t kill, and after uninstalling a printer there was an annoying Windows pop-up asking for a CD-ROM that I’ve never owned and, just for laughs, my Internet browsers and Windows Explorer mistook my photos for viruses.

So I carried my hard drive to a local computer repair shop some friends recommended. The guy behind the counter told me the job would take “two to four hours”. Ten business days later it’s back on my desk where it’s supposed to be.

In the five years I’ve had this computer I forgot how to watch television. Instead of having it on in the background while surfing the Web, listening to the TV as though it were a radio, for two weeks I had to sit on the couch with the remote and watch ten programs at once five seconds at a time.

Normally anytime I hear something interesting on TV — it happens — I could immediately Google it. Suddenly I was back to the stone age and using some kind of ink leaving device and the backs of old envelopes, hoping I could find them later on if my computer ever came back.

At the moment I’m writing this and listening to Willem Defoe and William Peterson in “To Live And Die In LA”. Everything feels right.

At one point, maybe on Day Three, I realized I haven’t played my PS3 in months. So GTA4 got me through a few hours. I think, mostly, I just walked around my apartment waiting for something to happen.

Something I did discover is looking after my son for 12-14 hours every day is a lot different without a computer around. More walks, more buggy rides, more playing with the Big Yellow Ball.

The repairs took so long because they had to reinstall Windows and backing up my files took two days. I have a lot of files — among other things: 3,000 photos and 8,000 mp3’s. Give or take. Nearly five years of basically constant use apparently left my Windows XP OS with a lot of broken panes.

The computer people also had a few other machines to work on. This is what they told me when I called them every day. I would have called them every hour, but my son and I were playing catch with the Big Yellow Ball.

It took me about a day to rebuild the directories and folders they moved. For a long, long time I thought I had lost every artist from Rev. Gary Davis to ZZ Top. But, thank God, the computer people had just divided my music folder into two.

I lost a lot of programs with the Windows installation, my Microsoft Office software is gone. I gave the disks to someone years ago, so now I have to use WordPerfect… which isn’t too much of a sacrifice I guess.

Getting the little things back to normal has been the most frustrating process. Like, somehow I’ve lost the “Hibernate” option when I’m turning off the computer. So now I have to use “Standby”. I guess that’s not a huge sacrifice either.

They also added a bunch of RAM. And now my computer is clear of viruses, it has been thoroughly cleaned on the inside, and it’s faster than light.

So, $180 later, I have my computer back on my desk and I’ll be eating soup for the rest of the month.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
This entry was posted in crazy people with no pants, Grand Theft Auto, Health, Lithium, Little Victor, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Now virus free and twice as fast… that’s what she said

  1. bats0711 says:

    Seriously where did the hibernate option go? I’ve been trying to figure that out for months now. Logically it still should be there but then again I guess logic has zero to do with computers. I am however glad to hear you got to know the big yellow ball that well, I know your son loved that also!

    • Gabriel... says:

      I have a vague memory of flicking a switch and the hibernation option just showing up. But I also have a vague memory of making out with Barbie Benton, and I know that never happened. I’ll be calling the computer people tomorrow (later today) about it. If I get a decent answer I’ll let you know.

      The problem with the Big Yellow Ball is it’s unpredictable, and my son’s aim sucks. Which means daddy spends a lot of time crawling around his room. Which also seems to make the kid happy.

  2. PiedType says:

    No computer for 10 days?? Ewww. It hurts to even imagine it.

    • Gabriel... says:

      I thought about getting to the library to use their free service, but their hours coincide almost exactly with the time I have Victor. And I figured there was no way he’d sit still for six hours while I updated my blogs, surfed for email and caught up with Gawker.

  3. Detached says:

    Don’t stop playing lots of big yellow ball 🙂

  4. zoom says:

    I’m hooked on my computer too, so I can totally relate. But I hope now that you’ve got your computer back, you can find a way to achieve a better balance. Long live the big yellow ball.

    • Gabriel... says:

      Every once in a while he’ll be babbling in his baby language then, mostly when I turn around, he’ll say something really softly and it sounds like regular human speech. I was playing catch with him late last week and I swear he said “I catch ball”. Maybe it’s some kind of random speech generator, where he’ll make enough sound combinations over a few years that eventually something has to come out that makes sense.

      Over the day Victor and I are generally separated by one room, and it’s always open — my computer is right across from the door, so he can always see me, at least when he wants to. His big thing now is waving like a maniac. When I walk past the room I always wave to him — if he’s looking. And two (or so) weeks ago I waved really fast, and he laughed like crazy. So now when we wave he’ll initiate a maniac wave and I’ll wave like a maniac and we both laugh.

      We do play with his toys together quite a bit, but he does seem to really enjoy just quietly standing in his playpen and staring out the window. I’ve got two busy streets below me, and whenever I walk in and break his concentration, he’ll always point to something he finds interesting and talk to me about it… unfortunately it’s in his own language.

  5. nursemyra says:

    Being without a computer for a little while can be good for the soul

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