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Monday, February 19, 2007

Overcoming Adversity, One Hairball At A Time

Some folks at the Melody Reunion heard this, but it hasn't gotten old yet...

Short form: We almost didn't capture the Melody Reunion for air on Altrok Radio, because of a one-in-a-million shot taken by one of my cats, or more specifically, by one of my cats' wayward digestive tracts.

Long form: I spent the morning Saturday putting together a bunch of just-in-case discs to bring to the party. ("Gah! What if everybody thinks everyone else will bring a copy of 'How Soon Is Now' and nobody actually does?! Gottaburngottaburngottaburn...")

Throughout, the laptop I planned to bring along hummed away happily in the kitchen, all loaded up with the software I needed to capture the event's audio. In fact, the laptop's been in the kitchen for a couple of years, ready for anyone who needed a quick hit at the weather or at Google to have at it. And honestly, it gets a lot of use - I may have been among the earliest people for whom it made sense that the right place for a computer was in the kitchen where, for most homes, most of the information necessary for the existence of life is stored (albeit in a low-tech but nonetheless complex matrix of paper and magnets on the side of the refrigerator.)

But on this particular day, literally seconds before I planned to pack it up and leave for the reunion, one of our cats decided they needed to get sick, they needed to do it on my laptop, and they needed to do it right then. Gross, sure, but even better was the mark they chose: right over the laptop's internal fan, ensuring that a finely sprayed mixture of partly digested fur, cat food and stomach acid was evenly distributed over my laptop's mother board. The screen went black, and the laptop hasn't contemplated responding to the power button since.

(Bereft of life, it rests in peace; this is an ex-laptop.)

I was already late, and I had to quickly assemble another solution. I yanked out the laptop's mouse, grabbed a keyboard and a flat panel screen from the basement, loaded up a desktop PC from elsewhere in the house with recording software, unplugged it, reassembled the whole shebang in the kitchen (but away from the cats) to be sure it'd work in its new setup, and slapped it in the car...and that's the screen you saw behind the DJ booth with the happily twitching on-screen meters.

Result: I showed a bit late, but I got the meat of the Reunion's music from about 5:30pm through about 10:30pm, and by cracky, it's going on the air starting this weekend.

Incidentally, this is a great chance for me to remind you that backups are your friend; though the dearly departed laptop was the place where I kept the music library that feeds Altrok Radio, I keep a usable spare handy - outside of a couple of hours this morning, there hasn't been an interruption of the station, and we're all set to go forth and conquer.

Unless kitty has an upset tummy again...


Blogger Bill Realman Stella said...

Yay Sean!

(I just had an uncontrollable urge to acknowledge and honor your dedication.)

- Bill

10:24 PM, February 19, 2007  

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