Odds Bodkins

Obviously I’ve been off the radar for a little while. Holiday stuff, mostly. Cleaning, baking, wrapping – all the usual trappings of family and food and too many people in close contact with each other for too long.

Gifts that didn’t quite cut it. (Or in my case, gifts that didn’t happen. Seriously? I pre-order a specialty book for someone mid-November – signed, numbered and all that…knew it would get here after Christmas because it was a special order, etc…and just found out today that the website had the wrong god damned picture on it and they don’t have the special edition after all…and those special editions are sold out now everywhere else. *sigh*)

And then there’s the laptop.

See, my faithful little netbook is over 3 years old now. It’s slow. I  spilled tea on it about 6 months ago. While it was still on. And now the Ctrl keys don’t work. (I remapped them to my CAPS lock key as a work around.) The USB ports take a good 10 minutes before they realize something is plugged into them. In short, it’s becoming a pain to use – and for me, the stress of having technology not work correctly when I’m trying to find time to write? Not good.

So, I ordered a new one.

Everything went great. Got the components I wanted. It shipped early. In fact, it showed up yesterday and it was pretty and pink and metallic and ready to go. I don’t know if it’s a tech thing or what, but there’s nothing quite like a new computer, all ready to be set up. Maybe it’s a bit like having an empty notebook or a fresh canvas.

It’s about potential.

And I’ve been in a writing slump the last few weeks. So I was looking forward to this new machine. New year. New beginnings. All that fun stuff.

(It’s a mental thing – I get it. There’s nothing wrong at all with my main desktop – I was just looking forward to escaping someplace quiet and different with the laptop.)

Anyway. Fed Ex drops it off. I unpackage it and boot it up and start the install process. IMG_0953[1]Only about 10 minutes into it I look down and realize the left side of the laptop has essentially exploded out. I can see there are snaps inside and attempted to pop them back in, but the chassis itself was warped so it wouldn’t stay.

The thing is, I don’t think it looked like that when I took it out of the box. Best I can figure is that it came from a fairly cold environment. (Cold enough that my fingers were leaving condensation finger prints on the outside of it.) Once I brought it in and plugged it in, maybe the heat from the hard drive caused the metal sides to buckle.

I don’t really know. Shoddy workmanship, even so.

So I call Sony to tell them the laptop is defective. I talk to a nice lady and give her my name and phone number and *poof* – the power goes out. So I get on my cell phone and call back and get a different guy in tech support who takes my info and then transfers me to someone in sales, who asks me for my order number. (Which I don’t have, because no power, and my computer has all that info on it.) She attempts to transfer me back to tech support, but I get nasty because I’m fairly angry and frustrated. (And I’ve played the transfer game before. After about the third or fourth time of explaining the situation again? I’m done.)

She tells me I need to mail it back to them and then they’ll send me a replacement, just as soon as I get them the tracking number. So 10 minutes later I call them back from the parking lot of the Fed Ex store. (We’re still without power at home anyway.) She says I’ll get an email with a new order number shortly.

Which I do.  And it looks okay, so I figure I’m good. Power comes back on and the rest of the evening is uneventful.

But later that night – about 11 PM or so, I’m looking the order over and realize that one of the parts is wrong. So I start to send an email to let Sony know…and the power goes out.

Again.

Maybe I’m like one of those people who puts out an electrical field when they get stressed. (That’s what I tell myself, anyway – though I believe the real reason is that someone cut a tree down on a power line somewhere. Ha ha.)

So, back on the phone with Sony. Let them know the issue. They put me on hold for a looonnnggg time, but eventually came back and agreed I was right. Gave me a reference number and told me they were putting in for an updated component.

*crosses fingers*

And of course, by that time it’s nearly midnight and I’m was just feeling so frustrated. Because I was all hopped up and ready to create and then I was tired – and I hate feeling like I didn’t get anything done.  And with the power fluctuating up and down, I didn’t dare actually start anything on the desktop.

(I did sketch out some notes by hand for what could potentially be a new UF book/series, though, so it wasn’t a complete loss, but still.)

Hopefully the new laptop will show up in a week or so and everything will be good. (Though I’m a bit gunshy now. I have terrible luck with computer companies, but we’ll see how this goes.)

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6 Responses to Odds Bodkins

  1. Renee says:

    Crappo about the new laptop being defective. Hope the new one arrives quickly so you can put this all behind you and get back into the swing of writing.

  2. Denise Z says:

    Holy Cow!!! Sounds like its time to get out the broadsword and start banging on the tech. Hope the new one gets there soon and purrs like a kitten. Sending Happy New Year thoughts of joy and giggles your way.

  3. Shades says:

    Ugh, that really sucks about the gift. I usually try to get gifts well in advance, mid November should have been fine. Bleh, stupid stores messing up. I would suggest trying to find it on ebay or something if you’re really determined, but if it did pop up it would probably be more expensive.

    And I know exactly what you mean about something new. There’s something refreshing about setting up a new computer. Sure it may take a while to reinstall programs and games, but… I guess it’s kinda like wiping a cluttered desk that you’ve been using for years clean and getting all new stationary and things for it, or repainting a room. It’s new, it’s refreshing. You suddenly have all that space and the freedom to set things up differently if you want (not that you can’t change an old computer, but new things are so exciting 😛 )

    That’s terrible luck with both the power and the laptop too :/ Hopefully the power will be sorted out and a shiny new laptop without problems will arrive on your doorstep soon. Hmm, taking our the electricity when you’re stressed… It could be kinda worse, you could be like Yashiro from Skip Beat who just destroys any electronic devices he touches~

    Oh! And if you’re still thinking about some sort of self publishing like a Kickstarter I thought I might dump what I know on here in case it helps:

    The downside as far as I can see it is that most Kickstarters for books that I know of are webcomics, so they’re a visual thing, and they also have web-based audiences (so they’re easy to get ahold of and spread the word). A written book is probably going to be harder because it isn’t visual and isn’t an online medium. However you do have three books that are already done so it isn’t a jump in the dark for people to support you, you’ve already proven yourself, and with those books of course you’ll have fans of them. How easy it would be to rustle up those fans and draw them towards a kickstarter I don’t know. Another good thing is that unlike a comic book you won’t have to print in colour, though you’ll probably have more than double the pages that a comic book might.

    Anyway, as far as kickstarter campaigns go I would look at Johnny Wander as a great successful example ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/746734715/johnny-wander-bookstarter ). The people behind it have done a couple of previous Kickstarters (the Benign Kingdom art books) so they’ve learned a few things about how to manage their kickstarter campaigns. Take a look at their front page and updates to see what they might have changed or introduced at what point during their kickstarter campaign and how they presented it overall. Having a range of rewards, prices at a number of different levels, and goals that introduce new things to motivate people to pledge higher seem to work well.

    One hiccup I’ve read about gaming kickstarters running into (and I’m sure it applies to others as well) is undercharging or underestimating the cost of their rewards and shipping. You need to make sure rewards have enough to cover the shipping, international or within the US. You also need to make sure that those rewards will cover the cost of the items in them (things like merchandise or whatever you might choose to pop in, I imagine if you had any spares of the previous books you could add them in as reward tiers, same thing for signed versions, ebook versions, and if you had artwork related to the books (and had the agreement of the artist) you could maybe pop some prints of those in as reward tiers too). This seems kinda obvious, but some people like gaming kickstarters don’t seem to have allowed for such things and have come up short because of it.

    The key things with rewards is that what people pay isn’t what the reward is worth. With kickstarter the pledge is basically a donation, the reward is just a way of thanking those people for donating. So while you don’t want some pledges too high for some rewards you don’t want them too low either. I think there’s also indiegogo, which as I recall will let you have whatever you’ve managed to raise even if you don’t manage to make your goal (with kickstarter if you don’t make the goal you don’t get the funds).

    And that’s about all i can think of. I just finished reading A Brush of Darkness and A Sliver of Shadow 😀 I can’t wait to read the third book, but I have to wait until it finally gets here around the end of January. I’d be happy to support you if you did decide to do a kickstarter or something similar 🙂

  4. allison says:

    Wow, Shades! You left me soooo much information. Ha ha – thanks, so much. 😀

    I suspect I wouldn’t bother kickstarting an actual novel – I’d probably just e-pub it myself. But there’s a good chance that Aimo and I would like to get Fox & Willow printed up for real one day, so that’s where all this info will come in handy. (Poor Aimo would probably have to provide arts to the high bidders.) 😀

    • Shades says:

      You’re welcome, hopefully there’s something useful in there 😀 And if you e-pub one be sure to let us all know, I’d love to read more.

      You know I was just wondering the other day whether you guys were going to think about making books of Fox & Willow. It’s good to know that it might happen, I’m always eager to add more webcomic graphic novels to my book shelves.

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