Monday, June 30, 2008

For whom the bell tolled

Doorbell, that is. It rang early on Monday afternoon, and there was a delivery dude from local trucking company Star Track (I know; cute name), with a skinny box to be signed for. Ask not for whom the doorbell tolled, because I've been waiting for it since Thursday, which is at least six wees ago. And...

Here it is, halfway to installation. All I need now is a wifi adaptor, and I'm back in business ... though I am a tad-bit disappointed. I don't get to saunter into IT Warehouse an ask where they keep the gay cables. There was one in the box. Its' a 22" wide Samsung monitor which is coupled up to a Dell computer, and this old laptop will be retired with honors. It can go out to grass with my blessings.

Have you ever counted the number of computers you've bought, over the years? A few days ago I was tallying up the regiment of typewriters that have all gone to that great print shop in the sky; the last few of them coexisted with surprising harmony with the first computers, but change was in the air and they knew they were doomed. They slunk away in docile surrender when the first desktop PC came throug the door.

It was a dual disk machine. Remember those? You started with two 5.25" floppies, with your operating system (MS Dos 2.1) on one and your application on the other. You had two floppy drives and you juggled disks. Next came an 086 with your actual, genuine hard drive. All 30MB of it. (That machine cost $2500, believe it or not ... contrast that with the $600 laptops you can get today. And shudder.) Next came a 386 with a 100MB harddrive (and a power switch on the back that arced and was always gunked up with corrosion. Go figure). Next, a Compaq system which was your actual $6000 Pentium I, to which I added an extra harddrive ($999) and (this was outrageous in 1996/7) a CD burner ($1700). In those days, blank disks cost A$7 EACH. The Compaq was one of the much-lamented Presarios, and it was full of bugs, kinks, quirks. To get a job done by a specific deadline, I ended up paying two grand for another Pentium -- something called an Edge, whatever that was. It worked: I'm not complaining! The Compaq stuck around and did service as a word processor for several more years. If you didn't ask too much of it, well, it didn't deliver too much, but it kept on working. Next was Pentium III, which ran Win98 like lighning. Then a build-up that was bits of this and bits of that. It cost $800 (without a monitor) and was screamingly fast for its day. Then, an Acer with was Celeron inside (and which is still doing sterling service on the other desk) ... then this laptop; then another laptop which 'had to be done,' because SOME system had to run Vista, and no machine we have had the brains to run it. And lastly, the Dell which is going online right now (and which is an XP-Pro machine ... I'm not impressed with Vista. Sorry guys).

I've lost count. I'm also sure I've forgotten some machine which landed in some dumpster yonks ago. You work it out. And I'm not even going to think about the printers I've acquired in the same time frame ... though I will mention that I paid $2,400 for a HP Laser back in the mid-1990s. Makes your blood run cold, doesn't it? Right now, you can get a laser for about $90. [Sounds of slow strangulaton]

So, as of tomorrow, I don't have an excuse for not getting boat-loads of work done, an if I don't deliver the haunted house novel in a timely fashion, you have every right to deliver a swift e-kick. In fact, I *am* beginning to get the feeling that comes over every writer from time to time: a kind of restlessness, where only one thing will cause the itch in the fingertips to go away ... getting the story out of the brain and into the computer. Even the subsidiary characters are fully-formed, and I have the ending to the story; I just have to get onto Google Earth and choose the exact location for the house itself.

An old house, with a history. An isolated house, where time, distance and winter will easily come together to weave a kind of prison...

Trust me, it's going to be fun. No vampyres in this story ... but I do have several more plotlines for the characters from NOCTURNE and TWILIGHT, and it wouldn't take much persuasion to inspire me to write another novel there. I'd also like to get back into THE SWORDSMAN and finish out that story, but first I want to get HELLGATE finished, 'right to the end,' as they say; and what readers are actually asking me for lately is (no surprise here) more NARC. More Jarrat and Stone. Oh, yeah.

These stories are all on the agenda -- it's just a question of time. Bear with me. Seeing the new website is, in itself, enormously inspiring.

Speaking of which, said website launches in about 36 hours. It's in full working order, with just two items waiting to go up. The screen-reader versions of the ebooks for NOCTURNE and WHITE ROSE are the last elements waiting for upload. And with the new computer installed, I'm sure I'll get my 'second wind.' That's when the endorphins kick in and you don't feel the pain any more.


Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Nice monitor, beaut! I'm jealous! Bastard! :)

Mel Keegan said...

VERY nice monitor ... and I'd come back with some swift, witty rejoinder along the lines of 'Take no notice, Mel, he's just jealous,' but ... you already confessed to that, so --

[sound of ripe raspebrry]

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