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18 August 2012 @ 10:33 am
The Lady on the Grey  
This week has ended up having a sort of theme. I read Storm Front, the first Dresden Files book and followed it up with The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Both are urban fantasy and are about as different as can be and still be in the same sub-genre. And yet...



Storm Front has Dresden trying to solve a murder before he either becomes a victim of the murderer himself OR gets arrested for the crime himself. He has to fight a shadowy threat with the help of supernatural allies.

The Graveyard book has Bod trying to resolve the mystery of the murder of his family before he becomes a victim himself. He has to fight a shadowy threat with the help of supernatural allies.

Which just goes to prove a point Gaiman made in some advice to an aspiring writer I saw on Tumblr recently. All plots have been done before but no two authors will tell it the same way.

A character in The Graveyard Book is The Lady on the Grey who is yet another take on an anthropomorphic personification of Death. She's got some qualities in common with Death of the Endless but she seems to be a different person. Or maybe it's just that like all the Endless how the reader sees her is determined by the perceptions of the character who is interacting with her.

She has made her presence known this week as I've read about her.

My office mate had a relative die suddenly.

It's seemed like every day has brought news of yet another actor/writer/artist/important person who has died.

I got notice that two of our former patients had died.

There was a incident at the psych hospital that shares the building with us where a terminally ill man had landed there via involuntary commitment after going to a local emergency room for treatment for something and responding to someone's suggestion about something do do with a long term issue that it wouldn't really matter since he was going to die soon. As soon as the psych hospital staff did their initial evaluations and realized that he wasn't suicidal he was dying they worked to get him connected with hospice services and released to his family. Because they were able to help them find support services they might not have otherwise known about his brief stay actually worked to his advantage but I'd still recommend watching what you say to ER staff.

And finally my external hard drive died. My net book is in the process of slowly dying and I had moved a number of files to the external drive so they wouldn't get lost when it finally went. I was in the process of shopping for a new laptop and I didn't think it was much of a risk to have files in only one place for a couple of weeks.

/sigh/

There were drafts of things that I've written and saved research for same and finished stuff that isn't posted online like the game modules I wrote when I was GM of a Rolemaster game and hundreds of mp3s, videos, comics, pictures, and ebooks. A lot of it, but not all is backed up elsewhere on old backup CDs and a couple of old small backup drives that I replaced with this 1T capacity drive but I don't know what's actually still on there and nothing newer than a year ago is. I've got some stuff on my Kindle and some stuff that I left copies of on the net book so I could access them easily but there's still a lot that's just gone.

I know I've lost a bunch of episodes of the the Sherlock Holmes and Gunsmoke radio series, a good chunk of several web comics I follow, a number of fan vids, doujin, and not a few fanfics.

I do own legal copies of most of the anime and manga involved but they aren't digital and require digging out of books and tapes from storage boxes in three buildings in two counties.I can re-download a lot of the other stuff but that all takes time and some stuff is just going to be gone. 

I've discovered that the problem with using Calibre as my main index is that when the actual files are gone Calibre doesn't retain a list of what used to be there. It rebuilds its list every time it opens based on a scan of it's folders. This means I've lost a lot of notes on stuff I've indexed over the last six months. Bother. Does anyone have any recommendations for free or cheap software to catalog one's media with? Ability to click on an entry and pull up the file a big plus. I'd still recommend Calibre as a way to convert files and add them to your ereader but a catalog that erases an entry when the file itself gets deleted isn't useful when what you want is to figure out what you need to track down again. Being able to put in entries for items in a series that I don't have is good too.

I know Excel can do it in a basic sort of way, it's what I used to use, but it's not that great to work with when you have hundreds of files.

I did finally make a decision on what laptop to order and the new baby will arrive around Tuesdayish. When I've gotten it all updated and running I'll start the long slow process of re-ripping music from CDs, and pulling old backup disks and drives out of storage to see what I can reconstruct of around 150 GB of stuff.

I think instead of using an external drive for backup I'm going to use cloud storage. It's a PITA to access your stuff but at least it's there. Not gonna pay a yearly fee to backup cute cat pictures or songs I've ripped from CDs I own but anything that I wouldn't want to lose is going to get uploaded as soon as I decide on what sort of catalog I want to use.