2010/12/30 Th – Joyous Strains

For maybe a week, I’ve been going to bed at around this time, shortly before dawn…
 
I came home on the 23rd, Thursday.  My old school mate, Petra Pintar, recently mobile, had carried me to the grocery and back, and then dropped me off at the bus stop.  The usual two-hour length of the trip was doubled because of issues with the bus coach that were not fully explained to me, leading to our being stranded for some time, perhaps at the American Fork parking station.  Fortunately, I was amply clad and had a book to read, and no demands on my time, so I enjoyed the trip.
 
That evening, my maternal relatives had a family party at the usual location, Kim’s ward building.
 
On Friday evening, I finally visited the nearest store to procure some offerings for my family the next day.  I found some rather tasty things within my budget.
 
Christ Mass day was happy, glowing, and warm (and we have enjoyed its afterglow even till now).  Our collective mood was excellent in the morning, and we were able to visit my mother’s mother and Dave’s parents.  Our step-mother Lucie had come to visit us… the night before, I think.  All three parties were unnecessarily generous to us children.
 
By chance, I was given a portable "note-book" computer, along with several other very kind expressions.
 
These days, we’ve been enjoying each other’s company, and watching movies and so on.  On Tuesday, I made my very first visit to the Church History Library, the new building they finished last year, and did a little research, planning to return on Wednesday or Thursday before going back to Provo.
 
I think it snowed a little on Sunday or Monday.  On Tuesday night the sky rained wonderfully, and on Wednesday night came a prodigious wind storm, which turned into a dramatic but restrained snow burst on Wednesday — all gifts from Nature to soothe us in our shelter.
 
My immense happiness was interrupted late on Tuesday night.  For reasons I could only assume, this computer had acquired some flawed or hostile code, and after I restarted it to restore what seemed to be a routine error, it couldn’t initialize the operating system, but would continually crash and re-start after each attempt.  My trouble-shooting was a little unpracticed, but I finally got a command prompt and discovered that beyond the broken operation system, the main drive, C, was inaccessible, as if absent.  Windows would not start by any means, and I failed to load on a primitive version.
 
Normally, I would have restored the system with our system recovery CDs without hesitation.  My sense of tragedy had quickly awakened, however, with the recognition that I had just barely finished down-loading all my stored photographs, consisting of the past several months at BYU.  I hadn’t yet thought to back them up externally, but of course I had yet thought to empty my camera’s storage cards for re-use — first of all, after the family party, I had needed to clear a card for holiday pictures, which I also promptly transferred to this machine before clearing the card again.
 
Basically, I realized I was about to lose everything…  Now, I still safely possess lasty year’s things — everything before Mongolia, and some after; and possibly, I’ve saved more recent things externally.  Really, it was primarily Myeong-Seon I would be losing.
 
Beyond that, on the week-end and early week I had done a fair amount of research toward the project of our employ, the missionary language-learning paper, and I had saved that data only on this computer.  Not only were those hours to be sacrificed… but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anything else for at least a day as I attempted to recover from the computer failure.  My schedule has become somewhat constricted because the professor wanted to have something prepared before requesting a continuance of his funds for 2011; and it takes me a while to get research done; I find that I have to get a firm grasp on things before I refer to them.
 
That night, I made the decision.  Rather than wait till morning and try to find some service centre to help me, I would rely on the file recovery program I’d purchased just over five years ago after what was my first (and I think last, till now) catastrophic data loss.  I had paid forty-five dollars for it; but on Tuesday night, I would have willingly paid triple for the service, and more still.
 
So, I went ahead and wiped the drive and re-installed the system.  The major risk was that the re-installation itself would disrupt the "deleted" but still physically present data I hoped to recover.  But as I came to find out, my enormous advantage was the thing that had seemed most cruel: that I had just barely transferred and saved my crucial files, meaning that a minimum of scatterring would have taken place.
 
And so it was.  After waking up on Wednesday (afternoon) hoping to see the process complete, I found that it had aborted due to a lack of space on the external drive (there are two drives in the unit).  I did it a second time with the larger drive; meanwhile, I got in better touch with my new portable thing.  By Wednesday night, I was going through the recovered files…
 
My copies of Myeong-Seon’s pictures did not fare extremely well, as they were a month or two old.  Roughly half of them survived.  The situation brightened as I got to my latest pictures, which had retained their integrity at a rate of about 95% (besides pictures, I was after movie files, obviously, along with documents to recover my recent research).  I also found a lot of Shanna’s pictures, the first group of which was fairly holey, and the second of which did as well as my pictures.  And then, a lot of very old files turned up:  my mom’s Japan pictures (which were largely corrupted), some of my Mongolia and Vancouver pictures, along with general pictures from the past few years… and a few Bomie things… as well as some of Tugsuu… all of which I have backed-up.
 
So, the biggest loss was the Myeong-Seon collection.  I talked with her on Christmas, I think…  She’s stopped e-mailing, preferring instead to use Skype.  Our single voice chat didn’t go all that well.  She’s having some health difficulties there in Washington…  Any way, if she talks to me again, I’ll try to convince her to send me her pictures again.  And then I expect that she’ll accuse me of not caring about her health ("at all"), but only about little non-living pictures.  Then it will be even longer till we talk after that…  But, never mind.  I know I’m still indebted to her in friendship… especially since reviewing so many pictures tonight of last summer and fall and winter.  I can’t deny how happy we looked together, nor the fond recollection I know we share of that precious time of companionship.  I knew it would end… and so I took it for what it was.
 
…And it was beautiful.  She was a helpful trouble to me.
 
Even so, I have ill enough patience right now to be a receptacle to her complaints and accusals, as piteous as they surely are.
 
Well, I should try my best to be good to her…
 
Now, some hours ago, I got the idea to try to use the same file recovery program on my camera memory cards.  They were freshly erased, most of them, and that might get me back that 5% I lost…
 
I actually haven’t gone through them all individually yet.  It’s getting a little late.  I also haven’t checked my research files, which I apparently have recovered…  The research is the more replaceable of my jeopardised data.
 
The research itself has been very interesting.  I borrowed Dave’s mom Trudy’s set of History of the Church, and have found it a compelling account.  Joseph’s humility stands out very refreshingly in his writing, and his peacability.  He was a simple and forthright man with a brigh optimism.  He was a language enthusiast; I laughed in myself as I read of his familiar exuberance for his Hebrew studies.  I agree with my old missionary colleague, Elder Neff… that I think that Joseph was somebody I would have very much enjoyed being acquainted with.
 
…Well, we all have to do our best…
 
I noticed before starting this entry that I’d finally been answered by the professor employing me.  I’m sure he’s going to be angry that I haven’t finished that which I had intended to finish a full week ago.
 
Let’s give it a read… ……..
 
Well, before that… I got some e-mail from some web-site who had searched out an old "Blogspot" web journal I had for a short time for the purpose of complaining about the S.L. Tribune newspaper, which I still detest for its vulgar bias.  "Be the administrator for your city for our municipal video network," it asks.
 
It would be fun…  It would be funner if I lived here and had a car.  I’m sure I’d be good at going around and taking videos, since I already do that.  …But, I don’t think I’ll have the time in Provo…
 
So, the professor…
 
Well, he was very unobtrusive.  He was sure that I have made progress, and is curious about what I’ve been able to produce.  Also, he wants to know how many hours of his grant money I’ve burned…
 
Back in our last meeting, I’d scheduled myself for 30, and the two girls put themselves for 35 each.  I think he had $1200 available, and at our wage of 9 per hour, that left 33 unclaimed pay-hours.  He’d asked me some days later if I wanted to do more this year, and I said I had already hoped to catch up with the girls, and would want to do more yet.  To this point, I’ve logged 15 additional hours… but in reality I’ve spent much longer… maybe twice as long… working.  For the sake of my research, it’s been productive, but I know I’ve been slow on the writing end, and I decided not to log any further pay time until I could produce more written material… but… I guess if he’s going to lose the money anyway…
 
…He mentioned that he had hoped some money would "roll over"…  I’m not sure if he would need to get new funds next year, or if he already was apportioned some but couldn’t use them till next year.
 
Well, I’m glad he was soft in his e-mail…  Maybe I’ll put off this file recovery for a day or so and spend time working; and now, gratefully, I can type in those old-document reading rooms…  However it goes, he already put our three names on his paper… preliminarily, no doubt… and whether we get paid or not, it’s our project too now.  I can’t predict how busy any of us will be next year, but I’ll have to see my part through regardless of employment situation.
 
I think I just now, with Christ-mass and this job, have gotten enough money to live out my time in Provo.  My mom paid tuition again on Tuesday… for the last time… maybe ever.
 
Happy, beautiful Christ Mass season to all.  What a brilliant time of the year…  I can’t remember being any happier or more contented.  I wish for strength to meet my future trials.
 
-Steve
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