“Ooooh fuuuuudge.” Only I didn’t say ‘fudge.’ I said the word. The big one. The queen mother of dirty words. The ‘f, dash, dash, dash’ word. Yep, for a full minute this morning I was little Ralphie Parker. It was the moment I opened up Martin’s script, Lost, on my laptop and noticed the font. Courier New as opposed to the old SG-1 and Atlantis Times New Roman. Hmmm. I checked Carl’s script. Courier New as well. I went back to the two scripts I’d slaved over these past few weeks. Times New Roman. I automatically used an old template without even having given it a second thought. But I was certainly thinking about it this morning as I accessed the “edit format” function of Screenwriter, changed the font to the accepted Courier New, hit “OK” – and watched the scripts balloon. Script #1, once 50 pages long, was now a pudgy 56. And Script #2, formerly 53 pages in length, was a colossal 60! Anyone up for a three-parter?
No, no. I didn’t think so. Actually this is a good thing. It allows me to focus on tightening up both scripts without having to worry about relative act lengths. Once I’m through with them, these scripts will sing. And when the my fellow writer-producers read them – well, there won’t be a dry eye in the house.
“Hey, wait a minute!”I hear you say. (Yes, that’s right. I’m hearing things. I also saw the ghost of the woman who used to play the nosey neighbor in the old Bewitched series, but that’s a story for another entry). “You were supposed to read those scripts last night!” Yes, yes. No need to shout. That was the plan. Unfortunately, I got a little sidetracked by computer issues. Or maybe wordpress issues. I’m not sure which. I was trying to back-up my blog but every time I tried to export the blog to my laptop, the XML file was empty (0kb). I contacted tech support and they informed me that they were able to export the blog no problem, then asked me to send them a screenshot of the error message I kept getting. As it turns out, getting a screenshot of the error message proved just as daunting as trying to back-up my blog so I finally gave up and, just in case, went back to my old blogger home and imported an older XML back-up of my blog. Well, I clicked the “import” button anyway. When I went to bed last night at a little after 11:00 p.m., blogger was still in the process of importing. Some twenty-one hours later, the “Importing your blog” feature is still at it. Al…most…done…?
Stumped, I went to the experts. Google. My search turned up quite a few suggestions for backing up a blog. And I’m sure they would prove very helpful to someone who could understand them. The first suggested I use an FTP client to download all the files. Great! Hire someone to do the job! I searched the yellow pages for FTP clients but came up empty. Then I thought “Hey, wait a minute! If they’re working for me, shouldn’t I be the client?” Was this some roundabout way of getting me to do the work myself? I returned to the site and read step #2: “Log into phpMyAdmin and select your WordPress database.” What the what now? I read on and realized that even if I could log into my phpMyAdmin, the site warned me that I was essentially playing with fire and, in trying to address my issue, I could inadvertently screw up my blog or trigger World War III. Maybe both.
I moved on to the second suggestion which instructed me to download the WordPress Database Back-up Plug-in, which I did, then told me to “Extract wp-db-backup.php, upload it into /wp-content/plugins/ and activate it under the Plugins menu.”, which I didn’t. Okay. Let’s see – wp…wp-content… Seriously. It’s like trying to get to the Universal lot without a map. It can’t be done!
Okay, moving on to suggestion #3: “Use straight MySQL commands“. Of course! It’s so simple! Why didn’t I think of that! Step one advised me to change my directory. The rundown for step two sounded suspiciously like instructions for creating my own dirty bomb and included the following helpful breakdown:
user@linux:~/files/blog> mysqldump –add-drop-table -h mysqlhostserver
-u mysqlusername -p databasename (tablename tablename tablename) | bzip2
-c > blog.bak.sql.bz2
Enter password: (enter your mysql password)
It’s as if this guy’s cat just walked across his keyboard and he didn’t even bother deleting that section before posting.
Finally, option #4 was a link that read “complicated method”. Needless to say I didn’t bother clicking.
Further research suggests that the Export function on WordPress times out after sixty seconds and, given my blog’s enormous database, it would take roughly double that to download it in its entirety. So it would appear that, after sixty seconds, the function simply throws it’s hands up and says “F- this! I’m gonna go watch Big Bang Theory!” and leaves me to my own devices – said devices being the hammer I was going to take to my laptop in frustration.
So, what to do? Do I need to go out and buy a laptop fast enough to allow me to complete the export in less than the 60 seconds allotted? Do I need to ignore the painfully obvious fact that this isn’t working and keep trying in the vague hope that it may eventually, magically, actually start working (because, I’ve got to tell you, this particular approach, while the simplest, has yet to achieve results even remotely promising). Or should I turn my blog into a print edition that I can simply photocopy before mailing out to interested subscribers?
[A hilarious little post-script. About ten minutes ago, I had just uploaded the above pic and was about to hit “publish” when my laptop flashed what the gals in playback refer to as “the blue screen of death” and immediately, and mysteriously, rebooted itself. Well, I guess that settles it. The problem isn’t technical after all. It’s supernatural. My latop is cursed.]
Some further discussion on The Speed of Dark:
Ponytail writes: “Seems like today the increase in autistic diagnosis is frightenly soaring. I never heard of it when I was young.”
Answer: Maybe that’s just it. Is it a case of an increase in autism or are experts simply doing a better job of diagnosing autism?
Sparrow_hawk writes: “Is one type of therapy good, but the other is tampering with someone’s mind? Where do we draw the line?”
Answer: Not an easy question to answer. There are certain many, many cases in which medication has helped people. On the other hand, one can argue that ours is an over-medicated society. Where to draw the line? I don’t know.
Otros Ojos writes: “However, now that breakthroughs in knowledge and treatment have taken place in some areas, there’s quite a bit of bandwagon-hopping. Misdiagnoses are made; prescriptions are written when a course of behavioral therapy might actually be more effective as well as making meds unnecessary, but maybe both doc and patient really want change NOW. Or maybe a typically short-sighted health insurance group will pay for the meds, but no other type of therapy — which really makes me burn, especially where kids and adolescents are involved.”
Answer: Couldn’t agree more. Often, easy and fast is not always best.
Iamza writes: “When does a kid go from being very active and mildly inattentive to needing treatment for ADD, stat!”
Answer: I’m thinking, in many cases, about the point the parents get fed up.
Sparrow_hawk also writes: “ Is it more humane to lock someone up or to treat their problem with mind-controlling technology? This gets into the big-brother discussion. It is certainly cheaper and more convenient for society as a whole to use the mind-chip. You keep the members of your society functional and don’t have the expense of prisons.”
Answer: Hey, I brought up the parallel but if I was a character in the story I’d have no doubt been arguing for the mind ship as well. It becomes a very interesting topic of debate given that many who argue against the “throw away the key” mindset insist that the goal of incarceration is not to punish but to rehabilitate. Well, the mind chip would be the quickest and most effective way of accomplishing this.
Chevron7 writes: “I felt that the existence of Lou-Before deep inside the new Lou was a big F You to the people handing out the treatment. I’m sure they thought that nothing would remain of the old Lou. Perhaps I’m reading something into the end that no-one else is reading.
I am sitting here at a desk entering my notes, and the desk is in a ship and the ship is in space, and the space is full of light. Lou-before hugs the series to him, dancing inside me like a joyous child, I feign more sobriety, in my workday coverall, though I can feel a smile tugging at the corner of my mouth. We both hear the same music
Isn’t that hopeful?”
Answer: I guess my feelings were clouded by new Lou’s off-hand dismissal of the friendships that once meant so much to him. Yes, maybe Lou-Before is somewhere inside, but the people who cared for him (and he cared for in return) seem to have become little more than an afterthought to him. And I find that incredibly sad.
Sparrow_hawk writes: “It seemed to me that the turning point for Lou came when he heard the sermon in church about “drinking from the well.””
Answer: This is truly. I look forward to seeing how the author responds to your question.
Thornyrose writes: “Given how Moon works to show us that using labels like “he’s a retard”, or “he’s autistic” is not good reason to assume someone has no depth of intellegence, ability to plan, or to feel, it seems odd that Don is presented so one dimensionally as “the nutcase”.”
Answer: I read her depiction of Don in much the same way as her depiction of Marjory – purposely vague. In the case of Marjory, I think it was so we could empathize with Lou, follow allow on his journey of discovery and, hopefully, love. In the case of Don, his character’s motivations are left purposely vague so he can play the part of the villain. Like Lou’s friends, we react strongly to what he has done and yet we don’t really know what led him to act. Yes, obviously, he doesn’t like the fact that Lou receives “special treatment”, but there are hints that it goes far deeper than that. Also, we receive the occasional hints that Don has been denied the support offered Lou – as in the incident at the tournament.
And thanks to Charlie’s Angel, Mishmee, Otros Ojos, Sparrow_hawk and others who have shared some of the personal challenges they and their families have faced. Good luck to you all. Ttoday’s blog entry is dedicated to you guys.