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ThEdblog 005

Stories + Photographs by J R Compton

gone, all gone ...

merely one of my suddenly many more than a million missing files

Yesterday, my second newest hard drive, one of a gaggle of smaller, mere multi-gigabyte drives, compared with the new, two-terabyte drive I just bought, died. Didn't crunch or screech. I've heard those. Always knew something was happening, endured the noise long enough to back up everything on it. Instead,  I got a barely audible, slow ticking sound. I thought it might be the battery-powered clock on the wall six feet away, but it stopped when I turned the drive off. The drive didn't spin. No whirring. It had been a 500 gigabyte hard drive. My newest, therefore what I believed to be my most dependable. Wrong again.

I'd just backed up Vortex, Blue Jar and Fish Bowl, my under 300-gig drives, to the new one. Took hours, felt like weeks. The new one's a different brand, looks like a short, fat book. Encyclopedia or dictionary of gray metal. Only it's plastic, of course. Whose binding flashes noticeably but noiselessly. The other three look so alike I wrote their names on them with a magic marker, so I'd know which to turn off. I kept them off and disconnected from their complexity of black brick power sources and wrangle of wires thinking that would extend their lives. The new one's got a black, matchbox-sized plug. I haven't come up with a name for it yet. Like cats, something will present itself.

At the moment, the most endearing title I can think of is "warmed-over spit."

So sometime last evening I lost just under 500 gigabytes of files. Mostly backups of images.The images, actually. There's no front-ups, so they were all I had, except some folders (PCs call them directories) with possibilities for shows and monthly collections I now have to go through again again to ferret out all the useless ones. Half a terabyte of stuff, other than gazillions of image files, I can barely describe.

I'm struggling to know if I miss them. Working that hard to assert a negative must mean I don't.

Why keep all those files, if I don't know what they were or how I would find anything I wanted, if I even knew what they were. How can I miss something if I don't care that it's gone? This happened one other time. That time I lost 500 megabytes of files. I didn't know what I was missing then, either. Worried that it might include something precious, but never figured out what it was. 500 gigabytes must be the new 500 megabytes.

I'm changing my backup strategy. Instead of saving everything, I'm going to save the original file versions of the images I use on my Bird Journal, a few of the people I love, and rare few art pix. I don't really need to save all the images on this site, since the reason I made them is to make of the large originals, small versions to post here. Having a gigaflop image lost somewhere pales in significance compared with my actual need to have a dinky jpeg somewhere online.

Most of those files and folders upon folders of files had already soaked up hours and years of my man hours winnowing down to the few that seemed worth saving. Except now they're gone, I know they weren't — saved or worth saving. I have fat disk books of CDs, and later DVDs of backups of images I already don't know and don't care what files are on. Last week I bought more recordable DVDs to burn a kajillion DVDs of to keep forever and never know what's there. Something's wrong with this picture.

I can't wait to see what image I come up to illustrate this complexity. Maybe most appropriate would be an empty image file space with a flashing question mark. I like that. So very appropriate, yet confusing to everybody — truly illustrating this story.

I'll have to keep track, in the coming months, of what I learn to miss that I've lost. Online, early this morning, I learned there are places that would remount my failed "disk" into a new enclosure with a new mechanism and new media — for only $500. I wonder if I have anything worth paying that much to save. Or if I'll ever figure it out.


I've blown off writing about art lately and for some time into the future. Everybody I talk or email with seems hell bent on telling me how negative I am when I write about art. I know I used to do that, but it's just not worth the time or effort anymore. So mostly I say positive things about artists' work I perceive as positive. I wrote one negative piece this year, and that was for some other publication, and those turkeys wanted it.

Then, too, I've got this major endeavor of a time-soaking job to do qu-rating this winter, and this lull, delicious as it sometimes is, will end suddenly and precipitously too soon.

So get off my back. Read what I have actually written, not what you think might be there. Then go bother some body else.

Miter or Miter Not - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Miter or Miter Not from unDO#3

After six weeks

Figured I didn't get the DO job, because they never told me anything but that they'd call me back later that day. That was more than six weeks ago. Now developments may be developing, so I had to promise not to "blog" about the process any more, so I won't.

Meanwhile, my unDO columns for DallasArtsRevue have been a boon — both because I enjoy doing them and because they get me out and doing stuff that's often worth covering in an unDO.

I'd wondered if I could even write that many words, but apparently I can. I never counted them. I forget what the editor told me was how many words I had to write one or two times a month. Maybe two thousand. Probably in type too small for me to read. I'm sure with unDO#3 I wrote more than enough words.

My next unDO won't be as long as #3 was. It took longer to write it than to do all the stuff I wrote about, and I'm still catching up on my sleep after those marathons.

I'd writ the above and was coasting along doing mostly not much, still resting after producing unDO #3 when the DO editor emailed me again — finally! — asking if I thought I was too old to write for them, did that mean I didn't want to meet him at Starbucks the day after tomorrow.

I replied that I didn't think I was too old to write for anybody, where was this Starbucks? So maybe that means I'll know about this thing soon or in another six to eight weeks.

un DO

I wrote my first Dallas Observer column for DallasArtsRevue instead. It's called I'm Not The Dallas Observer's New Art Critic & Neither Are You and it pretty much explains about me and that job.

The second unDO column was Repeating Patterns & New Ideas, and the third one is Deja Vus, Skewed Views, 3-D Oohs & The Muse, which is more than a little silly a name, but the story is serious, and in it I think I've written some of my better critiques in a long time. YMMV.

Lara Polk from her

Laray Polk from her Gaza Zoo installation at The MAC through October 10

I've been asked to be the Art Critic for the Dallas Observer.

So far, this opportunity, which is anything but a done deal, has been a secret, except that I've asked my three favorite advisors, and their takes have been decidedly mixed.

I like the idea, except that every publication except Houston's ArtScene, has significantly altered my written words till I often did not even recognize the opinions I have expressed in print. I have written around this topic often, and you may find those instances on this site by perusing the positive feelings about the job, which is to write a half-page column twice a month. And I understand that the content of that column should not overlap with this site, although both would cover the same people, places, events, ideas and exhibitions.

A tall order.

I've spoken with their new editor three times on the phone, and then we both went on vacations, and I called him when I got back. And, and, and.

I see the possibilities of a wider — and younger — readership for both my writing and this site. That's would be nice. I — perhaps because I am pushing 64 — tend to write for older, more accomplished artists with perhaps more wisdom than others. Or it tends to be they who appreciate my kind of take on things.

I still strive to write about all ages of artists, and DallasArtsRevue Supporting Members represent a variety of age and skill levels, but the people I most identify with are people within about 20 years of my own age — in both directions.

Very unlike DallasArtsRevue, the DO column might only have a couple, small photographs — if that many — per column.

The editor has seriously perused both my personal site and this one, so he's seen dozens — perhaps hundreds of stories I've written, but he still suggests I write a test column. I don't mind writing a first column, but such a column would be a considerable change in my usual style of writing. I think.


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All Contents of this site are Copyright 2008 or before by editor/publisher J R Compton.
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