Friday, December 12, 2008

Lost Sutras of the Iron Buddha

As reported the other day, we’re running a sleek new computer setup here at the House Of Fear, having managed to migrate almost all vital files off the poor doomed hulk of the old PC. The new machine is rocketing along, so no complaints there.

The problem is in the phrase “almost all vital files.”

There were only three major losses. First is five years’ worth of archived e-mail messages, for two accounts, and along with it numerous sign-in protocols, mailing addresses, and all the ephemera that gets around via e-mail. Some of it I’ll soon be frantically scrambling to recover, but most of it, frankly, was of no further use. In a way, it actually feels liberating to lose this stuff; it’s a fresh start.

We also lost all our Firefox bookmarks, which were extensive. This is a bit more troublesome. The ones that were useful on a daily basis I can hunt up quickly enough, and the potential story ideas will, I suppose, resurface in the fullness of time; but I feel a certain insecurity at the loss of my research folders, even for articles filed years ago. I was meticulous about those, I suppose because I was always afraid that someday I would get an angry e-mail claiming I’d got my facts wrong, and it was a comfort to me that I could point to exactly the source where I’d gotten those facts.

So that’s a little discomfiting, but not heartbreaking. What’s really got me distressed, though, is the deletion of a single subfolder from my music collection—all the DJ mixes I’ve compiled. My reconstructions of my old cassette tapes; hours of seamlessly-blended party music; all my carefully beat-matched workout mixes; my various Popdose projects; longform CD-length mixes of which I was absurdly proud; all the materials for a new project I had hoped to launch after the New Year—gone.

I’ve got extensive notes for most of this stuff, and in theory I could reconstruct it all; but what had the thrill of discovery in the initial construction now seems impossibly tedious. I simply haven’t the heart to do it, now. And all the happy accidents, never to happen again—I’m gutted.

And the irony is this: the Iron Buddha is among us once again, having been resurrected after a fashion by a total reformatting of the hard drive. Restored to factory-fresh condition, he dwells among us, reincarnated with no memory of all his former wisdom, reborn as a humble gaming computer, relocated to the basement from his former place as head of the household. His blue eye glows with tranquil blankness. If only I could reach back through time, I think, and take his instruction just once more.

No comments: