F Is For Fun, Fun, Fun…

There I was, sitting in my chair, in the Family Room, watching Agents of Shield, preparing to write something for the letter F. I was ready to write, so I picked up my Chromebook, and turned it on.

And stared at it for a minute or two, as it didn’t do a thing. Not one damn thing.

Being the curious me that I am, I turned it off. You have to understand. It’s a cheap Chromebook. I can’t count the number of times it’s done that very thing. Turned on, it’s little blue power light shining in the dark, and never displayed anything on its screen. I know what to do when a computer does that. Start at the beginning. Turn it off, and try again.

And within 10 seconds, it responded. But… It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Instead of a white screen with a Chrome Logo, and the word Chrome under it, the machine displayed a two inch tall exclamation mark, and two sentences. “Chrome OS is missing or damaged. Insert a USB Recovery Stick to restore.”

I rolled my eyes. Sometimes I swear I can see my brain. “Step 2. Duplicate the problem.” Off goes the power. On it comes again. And less than ten seconds later, there’s that same message, with that same exclamation mark.

I sighed. I hadn’t planned on reinstalling Chrome OS on the Chromebook tonight. It meant I had to stop watching my TV program. I’m not happy about that, but it’s not a big deal. I can watch it On Demand on Thursday. I picked up the Chromebook, and hauled it upstairs, to my desktop computer. Another of the computers my kids would call a Frankenstein, since I’ve raised it from the dead with various parts as needed.

I learned something new as I tried to download the recovery image to a flash drive I keep specifically for the purpose of repairing the Chromebook. Google changed how you get the recovery image. Oh, joy. Now my desktop PC has Google Chrome on it, just so I can run the Chromebook Recovery Utility, which only runs in the Chrome WEB browser.

I started the download. And watched it reach ⅔ complete. Then it died, and posted a red message, “Download interrupted. Please try again.” I did. And promptly duplicated the problem. So, I changed the desktop from the wireless connection to the network to the wired connection. And… Duplicated the problem once again.

That meant it was time to walk down the hallway, to the loft, and cycle the power on the Verizon FiOS router, ‘cause it’d lost its mind. After I’d done that, I tried the download one more time. And duplicated the problem once again.

“I’ll try this one more time!” And I kicked off the download one last time. It’s still running. It’s taken over 40 minutes. I don’t want to touch the desktop computer, in case that causes the download to fail again.

Geek that I am, I decided, “What the hell. I’ve got time to kill.” So I pulled the battery from the Chromebook, pulled the bottom plate off it, and stared at its guts. The hard disk drive was obvious. It’s ⅓ of the guts. I couldn’t resist. I knew the machine was rated for a 160 GB HDD. So, I grabbed one of my toolkits, and pulled the screws holding the HDD in place.

Then I looked at the HDD.

It’s a 320 GB Seagate Momentus slim line hard disk drive. 320 GB. Not 160. That said, do the math. 160 X 2 IS 320. So, it’s probably got its own backup. I considered hooking it to the BlacX on the desktop, and taking a look at it. But decided not to, since the download was still inching along.

I took a look at the RAM. A single 2 GB SODIMM. And a slow one at that. By some company I’d never heard of. I enjoyed peeking and poking around. But decided it was time to put it back together. The RAM clicked into its slot. And that’s when I noticed the cables connecting the HDD and the touchpad to the system board were… There’s no polite way to say it… Cheap. Among the worst I’ve ever seen.

So, I reseated the cables.

Then, I put the HDD back in the machine, and sealed the whole thing back up.

“I need to write for the letter F. But I don’t want to touch the Desktop. And the Chromebook’s a brick. That leaves… The iPad Mini.”

I loaded Google Drive, and then opened a new Doc. And started to peck away at the touch screen on the iPad. The iPad’s OK, but not something I’d used to type anything. From that perspective. It sucks.

So, I decided to look at the error screen on the Chromebook one more time. I turned it on. And the bitch booted Chrome OS.

Turns out the problem was the HDD cable had come loose, and the Chromebook couldn’t find the HDD to load the OS.

And I just killed a frickin’ hour and a half figuring that little detail out. Sigh. Hence the title of this little story I’ve written tonight. A true tale, written on my Chromebook, waiting for the Chrome OS Recovery to finish downloading and setting itself up on the USB Flash Drive. And I’m OK with that. Because I learned something new tonight.

The hard way. But still… I learned something new.

And as always, I had fun, fun, fun.

Hey, stuff like this is what I do. Every day at work.

And I’ll have fun, fun, fun, to the brain cells in my noggin’ burn out. (With apologies to the Beach Boys). So. This will have to be what I write for the letter F. This little story of me having fun, fun, fun.

Yeah. I know. I have a strange definition of fun. But then, I have strange definitions of damn near everything. And yes. This is a true story. It really happened. Just now. Trust me on this. I can’t make this stuff up.

It’s April 7th, the sixth day of the 2015 A to Z Challenge. This is the sixth of 26 pieces I’m writing in April. Today, the letter F. Tomorrow, who the heck knows? That’s the mystery of life. We take it as it happens.


#FinishThatThought 40 : A War Begins

Merlin stood in the cave entrance, unable to believe what he saw. Angels soared above the trees, up the mountainside, toward his home. He did not want to fight them, but they were leaving him no choice.

The Angels had taken up arms, hunting and killing fairies and dragons gifted with magic. They’d destroyed entire villages and towns to rid the world of magic.

Merlin was the Black Magic Dragon, The dragon of legend that nearly destroyed the fairies. The ancient dragon, from the Northern Ice. He’d known the Angels would come for him someday, but their audacity surprised him. He walked into the clearing outside his cave. “If they want a war, then they shall have one.”

Merlin screamed, filling the sky with the sound of sheets of metal being torn apart. He flexed his wings, and took to the sky, leaving his cave behind. Upon spotting him, the Angels left the mountain, heading into the sky, chasing him, exactly as he knew they would.

Merlin’s black magic was useless against the Angels, they were immune to it. But they were not immune to his talons and his teeth. He changed direction, racing toward the sun. The Angels followed. Merlin accelerated. He possessed speed the Angels could not match. He could have easily escaped them. But they would find him again. They’d given him no choice but to stop them.

He plunged toward the ground, directly at the Angels, with talons fully extended and teeth barred. He sliced through the Angels, his talons stronger than the finest steel, sharp enough to slice through rock, cleaving Angels in half. Dead Angels rained from the sky.

Merlin screamed, the sound of metal rent asunder echoed through the sky.

Thus began the war between the Dragons and the Angels.

296 Words

I wrote this for Week 40 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

A Clip From Chapter 28 Of JuNoWriMo 2012

Then Merlin came out of the trees. One moment he was not there. The next moment he was. It surprised the girls. Both Musica and Sunshine jumped, and let out little squeals of surprise. “Merlin! Where did you come from?”

Merlin laughed. It sounded like metal plates bouncing off of a stone floor. “I have been watching from the trees.”

Mystica had to laugh herself. “Merlin is invisible in shadow.”

Merlin cut in, “Except to you, of course. You’ve learned how to find me.”

“Just because I can feel your black magic. And that tells me where you are.” She looked at her daughters. “But you can’t feel his magic, so you can’t tell where he is.” She looked at Merlin, “But that’s why you’re here, isn’t it? To play hide and seek. So they girls can start tl learn how to find you?”


The girls spent hours playing hide-and-seek with Merlin. He would hide in the shadows, and they would try to find him. Then, they would hide in the shadows, and he would find them. Merlin took his time finding the girls. He knew exactly where they were. Mystica knew that. She knew where they were too. Even without watching them. She knew Merlin could see them in the shadows. He could hear them breathing. He could smell them.

She knew that Sunshine and Musica could not find Merlin. Unless he let them. They couldn’t see him. They couldn’t hear him. And she watched as they walked right past him many times. Merlin had fun hiding for a while, and then he started leaving clues for them to find that would guide them to him.

With each round of the game, Merlin made it more difficult for them to find him.

Eventually, Sunshine and Musica grew tired of playing. And the sun was getting low. Mystica helped the girls bathe in the lake. Neither of them knew how to swim. So Mystica had to keep them in shallow water.

After they were clean, they went to their houses for the night, and went to bed.

But before they went to sleep, Musica took her flute, and she played. It was a beautiful song. Merlin had come out to listen. He’d curled up like some big kitten on the ground next to Mystica. And listened. “She has musical talent that is beyond someone her age. That’s part of her gift of wild magic. That she can play like she does.”

Sunshine fell asleep that night, listening to beautiful flute music. That night, she had wonderful dreams. Of playing with Musica. Singing songs. Chasing butterflies. All of it things she never thought she’d do. But now. All of her dreams were coming true.

And she loved Musica. Her sister. She’d always wanted a sister. Now she had one.

And she loved Mystica, her Mommy. She’s always wanted a mother that loved her. And took care of her. And could protect her. And help her learn all about who she was. And what she could do. And now she had one.

Sunshine slept very well that night.

Another Clip From JuNoWriMo 2012

Scream stood on the peak of a mountain in the Black Mountains. Looking south. Over the Gray Hills. He had landed to sleep. Even dragons had to sleep. Something that only made him angry. By sleeping, he couldn’t watch the village. A village in the Southern Plains. Where there was a special little girl. A girl that played a flute. A girl that made Scream happy. Made the anger that he felt fade away. Put out the fire in his blood. I tiny fairy girl. Named Musica.

A fairy girl gifted with Wild Magic.

Scream would not let the fairies destroy her. He would protect her. No matter what it took. No matter who he had to fight. He would protect this child. This Musica.

Scream woke with the rising of the sun. And when he woke, he screamed. A scream that split the sky. That would be heard in the Gray Hills. That would remind everyone that he was there. Watching. That he would strike again if they abandoned another child. Sentenced another that was blessed with wild magic to death.

Scream knew all about wild magic. The dragons had long ago accepted it. And it had spread. First in just a few young dragons. But over time, it grew. And now, every dragon was gifted with it. Wild magic. Scream had his own wild magic. He used it every time he screamed.

Like that morning. When he screamed a second time. And the clouds along the horizon parted. Leaving the sky clear. So he could look at the Northern Plains. And the village where the child lived.