The Unanticipated Effects Of Hurricane Faye

Hurricane Faye may not have amounted to much of a tropical storm, but her crazy energy certainly wreaked havoc in my life. Beginning on Saturday, things just started to go wrong for me. Think I’m exaggerating? Read on.

Hurricane Faye
Hurricane Faye
  • I’d been putting off upgrading my blog to the new 2.6 version of WordPress (for you non-techies out there, that’s the software that runs my blog), but when I had a little free time Friday evening I decided to get to work. After the upgrade I noticed something strange. Strings of gibberish characters were interspersed throughout my posts. Researching further I discovered that these weird characters showed up wherever I had typed quotation marks, dashes, semi-colons, or exclamation points. In some cases, they make the posts virtually unreadable – not a good situation, since I use the blog as a platform from which potential publishers can sample my work. I am editing each of my 366 posts to remove the gibberish, but it is a time consuming job. As I edited I began to notice a pattern; only the posts that I wrote in Microsoft Word and then cut and pasted into the blog had been affected. There is some strange coding that goes on in the background of Word and it doesn’t always transfer well when pasted into an html (web-based) application. Guess I’ll be using a text editor from now on.
  • I was invited by Guido, over at to participate in his new series of posts that profile other bloggers and their answers to ten questions. Saturday morning I decided to respond to his ten emailed questions. Two and a half hours later I was nearly finished, when I suddenly lost the entire thing and had to start all over. I learned a valuable lesson, though. Never, never write anything on webmail. Write somewhere else and then cut and paste. In any event, the project took me about 5 hours, twice
    as long as it should have.
  • HappyHotelier also wanted four photos from around-the-world trip. I store these photos on an external hard drive, so I turned on my network to look for a specific photo I wanted to use and discovered that about half of my photos from that trip had disappeared from the drive. It’s likely they were never copied properly in the first place, since I was changing over from a Windows computer to a Mac and I had built a cross-platform network to force my older Windows external hard drives to talk to my Mac – yes, yes, I know I am going techie on you again. Fortunately, I had also stored all the photos on CD’s, so I dug them out and proceeded to back them up external drive, which I have since reformatted for my Mac. Once all my photos were safely copied to the drive, I decided it had been a while since I’d backed up anything from my Mac to the external drive, so I began that process. At 4 a.m. Sunday morning I had only one folder left to backup – my writing folder. Bleary eyed, I dragged and dropped it. Instantly, I knew what I had done. Instead of backing up my most current data from the Mac to the external drive, I had dragged my OLD folder from the external hard drive and dropped it onto my Mac. I lost everything, including my latest copy of the book I am writing. Fortunately, I make a practice of emailing myself a copy of the book every now and then, and I had done that on August 8th, so I was able to retrieve that copy from my web mail. If I hadn’t had the foresight to email a copy to myself, I would have lost the entire thing and a whole year’s work. Even so, I lost nine days of work, which was substantial.

I won’t even go into the problems I’m having with my blog feeds and Feedburner (that’s WAY to tecchie), other than to say that I was again up until 3:30 a.m., trying to resolve the issues. Since Saturday morning, I’ve had about nine hours sleep, but now that Faye has passed, things seem to be settling down. I’ll just recreate the chapter of my book that was lost, edit the garbled blog posts, and hope that Faye doesn’t decide to turn around and come back at us.

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