This has the potential to be a long post so, fair warning.

First up: Laptop is back.

The Apple store was packed.  Again.  I mean, really packed.  Like, wall to wall people, packed.  Shocking for a weekday, midday, if you ask me.  But you didn’t ask me, did you?  My actual time spent waiting for the laptop was less than 5 minutes.  Walked in, told the guy standing in front of the Genius Bar who I was, he looked it up, said ‘wait over there’ and someone came walking out with my laptop a couple minutes later.

What was wrong with it:  Essentially, it was freezing/locking up at seemingly random times.  The first time it happened, I’d just come back from writer’s group.  I chalked it up to travel weirdness and rebooted.  The next day, it happened again when I was working with some files in Word (I hate Word – more on that in a second).  Since I’d just done an Office for Mac update, I zeroed in on that as the culprit and checked to see if there was a bug fix update, and there was, so I installed that.  didn’t solve the problem.  Started calling Apple support, which is free with your Apple Care Protection, which I have on all my Apple devices.  Went back and forth for days until they decided maybe it was time to get the hardware checked out.  The Apple store, according to the documentation, shipped my laptop to Memphis TN. O_o

What they did: In Memphis, they ran the laptop through some hardware tests and decided that the battery and the logic board both needed to be replaced.  Okay.  I’ve had logic boards replaced before on my iMacs and it wasn’t cheap (even though I didn’t pay anything due to Apple Care).  The paperwork I’ve received doesn’t list the cost of any of the parts – this is different from past visits with the iMacs where parts costs were broken out.  I still remember when they replaced $1200+ worth of parts on the 27 inch iMac but it costs me $0.

Looking up the cost of a MacBook Pro Logic Board online, I’m seeing a retail price starting around $500.  The battery looks to be around $100 w/labor.  My paperwork lists a total ‘price’ of $280 for repairs.    I paid $0.  Hmmm.

Any way you look at it, I still believe the Apple Care Protection is worth it.

While going through all of this, the folks at Apple convinced me that I should take the 27inch iMac in for diagnoses.  That computer is no longer under the Apple Care Protection, which extends the 1 year warranty on your Apple product, out to 3 years.  This means that I’m looking to pay out of pocket for any service and parts to fix that machine.  I decided to see what that might cost.

Why?  Well, being computerless for a week has sucked.  I couldn’t write.  Couldn’t blog (I have the WP app on my phone but I’m too long winded to use it without going a little nuts).  Couldn’t podcast.  Essentially, all the stuff that I do online I couldn’t do and that is just ridiculous.  Someone told me I should’ve had a backup plan.  I did, I had 2, actually – the 20 inch pre-intel iMac and the 27 inch intel iMac.  The 20 inch stopped booting late last year and the 27 wasn’t far behind it.  I never intended for my MacBook to be my ‘main computer’.  It was always intended to be my writing machine.

Now, forced to use it for everything I do, including the resource heavy stuff like podcast recording and editing, I probably pushed it a little too hard, which is what caused it to fail.

I am notoriously hard on computers, both software and hardware.  Friends and family have often joke that I should be a product tester simply because I tend to find new and interesting ways to break things.

So the iMac is in a queue to be diagnosed (out of warranty, there’s a 10-day bench wait).  That diagnosis will cost me $79.

In case you’ve forgotten, I am unemployed.  Still unemployed, I guess I should say.  So I’ve decided on a number that will hurt, but that I can live with, in order to fix that iMac.  If they come back above that number, I’ll just have to pass.  Money is too tight.  The Apple Senior Tech I spoke too was convinced it would be less than $200 to fix the iMac.  I think it’ll be higher.  We’ll see…

On Unemployment:   It sucks.  I don’t recommend it.

On Writing: Been on hold since I hit 100k+ last week and had to take the MacBook in.  To keep myself from going completely stir crazy, I printed out that book before taking the laptop in, and spent some time going through it with a pen and making edits.  Now I get to take those edits into Scrivener.  There weren’t a lot, which is mostly good.  I say ‘mostly’ because a lot of time, I am blind to my own mistakes and it takes other people to point them out to me, which is where the writers group comes in.

And speaking of The Colorado Springs Fiction Writer’s Group, I am now the VP of the group.  CSFWG is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit with a Board of Directors.  The position of VP opened up when the previous VP had to step down.  Volunteers were asked for and I put my hand up and was voted in at the last Board of Directors meeting.  My duties include organizing workshops, which should be a lot of fun.

The CSFWG is also looking to published a shared worlds anthology featuring stories from various members, including myself.  An Uncommon Collection centers around a bookstore where strange and fantastic things tend to happen, and my story, Charisma, has been accepted.  Charisma is the name of the main character of the story, a retriever of rare and dangerous books and artifacts, who runs into trouble escaping across the Nevada desert on her way to Vegas.

It’s exciting to have another story out there (or rather, soon to be out there).  As more info about where you can purchase this antho becomes available, I’ll be sure to share it here and on social media.

On Other Writing: Still no book sales to report.  My agent continues to search for a home for my UF series.  Alas, it is difficult not to get discouraged by the lack of progress.  I don’t believe that’s his fault in any way.  The market, it appears, has gone quite soft on UF.  Also, we get positive rejections IE, “Well written, not for me right now” sort of things.  So, son, you can write, we’re just not buying what you’re writing at the moment.  (Which is why I’ve been working on other things lately.)

On Hating Word: I mentioned above that I was working in Word.  Let me explain that.  I do all my writing in Scrivener.  When I submit to CSFWG, I compile from Scrivener and slice it up in Word.  You are allowed to submit 50 pages a month, so I take the complied file and I edit it down into 50 page groupings for submission.  I also try to make intelligent decisions as to what to group and where to cut because I am submitting novels.  Have you ever read a novel at a pace of 50 pages per month?  Let me tell you, it’s not ideal.  A lot of stuff is forgotten from one submission to the next, so I try to make each submission solid and not break at awkward places.  This is what I use Word for.

I have a template setup.  In that template, I have my cover page, synopsis page(s) and then pages for the submission.  It’s worked for over 2 years now.  The day I was working in Word, it all fell apart.  Suddenly, I couldn’t copy/paste text from the compile document into the template without the template losing all of its formatting – and I do mean all of it, including margins, header and footers, line spacing, everything.  It made absolutely no freaking sense whatsoever, and is indicative of why Word is a worthless piece of shit.  Even doing a ‘paste special: unformatted text’, resulted in the template styles being overridden.  I spent hours trying to get it working correctly before I finally gave up and walked away.  Even thinking about it now, my blood is boiling and I want to travel to Microsoft, find the group responsible for the development of Word, and throttle the lot.

…but I digress.

I think that’s it for now.  Close to 1500 words on this update.  Yep… I missed my laptop…



  • Paul (@princejvstin) Posted November 13, 2012 3:06 pm

    Yep, you definitely missed your laptop 🙂

    But it is great to have you back. And congratulations on your risk in the ranks of the CSFWG.

  • Larry Kollar Posted November 13, 2012 3:21 pm

    As much as I hate Weird, I think I can help you with that particular problem.

    When you copy the last paragraph marker in a Weird document, it copies the style sheet. So when you paste that into another document, all the style definitions get pasted in with it. So the easy workaround is to avoid selecting that last paragraph marker. When you paste, that final paragraph will be in whatever style is in effect (usually Normal) but fixing one paragraph is a dang site easier than fixing an entire document.

    Good luck on the iMac update. I also use my MacBook as my primary computer, although I’ve found myself writing into my phone on occasion of late (using a BT keyboard paired with the phone, and syncing through Evernote). It’s 5 years old now. I had to send it in with like 2 weeks left on AppleCare, because the LCD started getting fuzzy, and they all but rebuilt it. It even *smelled* like a new computer! (I recently put an SSD drive in it, and holy moly is it ever fast now.)

    I hope you get dis-unemployed soon, although I wouldn’t mind having the extra time to write myself.

  • J.T. Evans Posted November 13, 2012 4:04 pm

    Welcome back to the connected world! I’m glad you had Apple Care for your laptop. That’s awesome!

    And welcome to the ranks of the board of directors for the CSFWG! I can’t express how happy I am to have you at my side, helping to maintain a quality feedback group for aspiring writers and established authors!

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