I don’t hate it, but it’s not my first choice when it comes to candy and desserts. But then, I’m not much of a sweets guy anyway. Licorice, now that’s one thing… And I mean LICORICE… Well, what I’m able to get my hands on, anyway. I’ve never had any of the really good imported stuff.
But we definitely aren’t talking about that red stuff that kids think is licorice.
And there are certain pies I like.
And certain cakes.
But I really have to be in the right mood. At any rate, faced with a choice between chocolate whatever and a slice of Lemon Chess Pie, I’d go for the Lemon Chess Pie. Faced with a choice between a slice of Lemon Chess Pie and a piece of Fried Chicken, I’d go for the Fried Chicken…
I know, how can a fat guy not be into sweets. Dunno. Just one of those things. But, that’s not really what this blog is about.
When I worked as an electronics technician, I absolutely loved things with moving parts. Why? Because items with moving parts are wayyyyy more likely to break down. Friction, wear, deterioration of plastics and polymer gears, belts, etc. It was guaranteed money. After all, as a tech your job is to fix things. If they weren’t breaking then you were out of a job. It also didn’t hurt at all that I’m mechanically inclined. I can look at a mess of gears, sprockets, belts, motors, solenoids, and the like, and pretty much tell you what drives what, in which direction, how fast, and the reason.
However, this blog isn’t about moving parts either…
It’s actually about a USB device. Universal Serial Bus, in case you aren’t familiar with the acronym. The device in question – that being a flash drive, also called a thumb drive, memory stick, and several other names – has no moving parts. It’s a lovely little piece of circuitry that contains something called NVRAM. Non-Volatile Random Access Memory. Basically, that means that even without power applied it remembers what you told it. And, you can tell it to forget that and remember something else. Or, remember the first thing AND something else… I all depends on how much capacity your flash drive has.
So why all this fuss about USB flash drives?
Well, as an author who happens to be a former electronics tech, I don’t trust computers. They break. I know this. It’s how I made a living… While I specialized in printers, computers have moving parts too. Hard Drives, fans, and the like. Plus, they think they are smarter than us, and on occasion decide to prove it. Mine threw one of these fits back when I was writing my third novel. I was nearing the end of a marathon writing session – back then they all were, because I still had the “day job” and could only write on weekends. During this particular session I had hammered out close to three chapters of Perfect Trust. I blinked. The screen flickered. Then it turned blue. Then silly words about exception errors and the like popped up.
Apparently my computer had taken exception with something I had written, and in retaliation it crashed. But not only did it crash, it corrupted my saved files, as well as my autorecovery file. Yeah. I lost it all, except for the backup I had made the previous week.
After that painful incident, I began backing up more often – like every few pages or so. Not just saving. Saving in multiple places. And, a copy goes with me. For years the copy was either on a 3.5 inch diskette or a CD-ROM.
Then I got my first USB Flash Drive.
Small. Compact. Bunches of memory. A place to store all sorts of stuff. And, it fit right in my pocket. This was what I had been looking for. A simple way to carry all of my manuscripts and notes around with me, just in case of a catastrophic failure of my system at home, my notebook computer exploding, and my other backups being corrupt. Basically, it was another layer of redundancy that made me feel better about my redundancy. Know what I mean? Of course, it didn’t account for a CMF – that being a Catastrophic Murv Failure.
Well… It was unseasonably warm that year at PUF.
Yeah… I know… It looks like I just changed subjects again, but keep reading…
I had a workshop to do prior to jumping in the van and heading into town for dinner with some friends who lived nearby. Normally I don’t leave events for that sort of thing, but this was a special case and The Big Kahuna was all good with it. Unfortunately, the person using the seminar venue ahead of me ran over with her workshop. Not a big deal, really, except that what ran over was not the workshop itself, but 30 minutes worth of cleanup. I’m not exactly sure what she had been teaching, but she had all manner of props, etc, that she had to pack up and move out before my class could sit down and listen to me ramble. Among the props were 4,897,236 Hershey’s Kisses.
Don’t ask me. Like I said, I haven’t a clue what she was teaching…
At any rate, as a gesture of apology, good will, don’t kill me, or something on that order, she walked over and thrust a handful of these chocolate bombs at me. I tried to politely decline, not being a big chocolate fan, but she insisted that perhaps the o-spring might want them. Conceding, I took the foil wrapped confections from her, and that was when the initial failure began. A failure that would soon cascade into a full blown CMF.
What was the failure, you ask? Simple… I stuffed the Hershey’s Kisses into my pocket.
Yes. I know. Stupid. Why do you think the title of this blog entry is Stupid Murv Tricks? Don’t worry. It gets “stupider”…
So, anyone who has seen me present a workshop knows that I’m not a “calm” sort of speaker. I’m more along the lines of Morris Massey without the leisure suit (yes, my videos are OLD). If you’ve never seen one of his motivational / training videos, then the simplest explanation I can give you is that I’m all over the stage. I run, jump, wave my arms, yell, talk, laugh, dance, and generally have a good time. Presenting should be fun. Attending a presentation should be fun. See the correlation?
Anywho, and hour or so later, after generating an enormous amount of fat guy body heat, in the unseasonably warm afternoon, presenting a workshop in an outdoor pavilion, there I was, riding along in the passenger seat of the Evil Mobile as we headed out for the dinner. Johnathan Mentos and Dorothy Morrison were in the back with the O-spring, and E K was behind the wheel, as usual. We were chit chatting, comparing notes and generally “debriefing” as we tend to do post seminar, when suddenly everything turned blue.
Well… not really. But it sure seemed that way, for you see a random snippet of information shot through my forebrain. It took the form of a complex mathematical equation involving the integrity of foil wrapping, ambient temperatures, elevated body temperatures, proximity to such, and the melting point of Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses. All of that was divided by the variable, USB Drive In Pocket.
My mouth engaged, suddenly announcing, “OH SHIT!”
At the same instant, the snippet of faulty op-system code triggered my motor reflexes and blocked all Logic Services from my brain. My arm flew up, then immediately down as I slapped my palm against my pocket. Apparently the subroutine wanted to know if the Hershey’s Kisses were still there.
Unfortunately, they weren’t. In their place was Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. Prior to the catastrophic failure it had been nestled precariously within the confines of the ultra-thin foil wrapping.
In the end, the USB drive survived, although it seemed a little touch and go there for a bit. To this day it sort of smells like a toll house cookie…
But the thing is, I’m not a huge fan of chocolate…
More to come…