Too Many Long Boxes!

End of Summer

by Ye Olde Editor, Michael Hutchison

Discussed this month: Computers, woes, and computer woes

Actually, this won't be as much of a "downer" column as the intro makes it sound!

I suffered a computer crash in late November and could not get it going again until I re-installed Windows. Even when I did that, nothing worked quite right on my computer. Since I've had bluescreens, freezes and glitches all year, it seemed the right time to back up everything important, reformat the hard drive and reinstall the operating system. Doing so would mark off all of the bad sectors as unusable (oh, I I run diskscan, but it never seems to work right) and hopefully the computer would run much better.

All of December was spent burning stuff to CD. I had filled most of my 80 gig hard drive with MP3s, episodes of MST3K, Home Movies, The Critic and The Tick (all traded on and tons of stuff. Plus I had to backup Fanzing and TheHutch and all of my versions of the Cheeks web site. And, of course, my personal documents, my comic book database, my e-mail...

In the meantime, David posted Fanzing 51 (this issue) because I didn't have a moment on the computer to spare. It was always spent burning CDs! I'm writing this on January 13th because I've finally gotten my Dreamweaver program loaded and have a moment to get this column in...even though most everyone has read this issue. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

January 1 I finally have backed up EVERYTHING. I've even made a transport file of my Outlook mail and copied it on three separate disks so that I can't possibly lose it.

After several days spent on the phone with Hewlett-Packard because my restore disk won't FORMAT the disk before restoring (even though I've chosen the "format and restore" option), I FINALLY get the computer in a usable state by Monday the 6th. Tuesday the 7th is spent putting the software and documents back on. The system is working beautifully, with NO crashes. (It's hard to believe that I was getting used to rebooting my computer ten times a day.)

I double-click my Outlook mail transport file. And it's corrupted. All three copies are unusable, of course, because they were copies of a corrupted file. Had I thought to save straight copies of the Inbox file and contacts file, I'd probably be fine...but I'd put all of my faith in my Uninstaller's Transport file capabilities. It never occurred to me that it would create that file in a bad sector of the disk.

I then proceeded to let out my best Charlie Brown "AUUUGH!"

So. I've lost ALL of my e-mail. My inbox with 300+ messages. My "Savers" folder with software registration codes. My Fanzing folder with materials that people have sent in. My comic book orders that have been waiting unfilled for November and December because I had been working on the computer. All of it, gone.

The odd thing is...once I get over the initial shock, I realize how unimportant it is. How many of those e-mails do I really need? There is almost nothing irreplaceable or essential in there, aside from the comic book orders. (If anyone has sent me an e-mail order for comics from my Comic Relief site, please e-mail me again and I'll get you a response pronto.)

I have, however, also lost all of my contacts. My names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and other info for all of my friends, family, Fanzing contributors and other things beginning with F. I'll be chasing down some of you out there to get your info again. If you're one of my buddies wondering why I haven't contacted you lately, please e-mail me with your information (or better yet, attach an Outlook Vcard with your info) and I can get you back into my address book.

Next month is the last issue of Fanzing. I'll have a lot to say about that next month. A great deal of reminiscing and sappiness, I'm sure.

It's also the Elongated Man issue. To anyone who doesn't know about me and my Elongated Man web site...about my obsession with the ductile may seem like the great metropolitan magazine is going out with a whimper instead of a bang. But to all of you in on the joke, it makes sense.

For all of these issues, I've resisted the urge to devote an entire issue to the obscure character that no one else cares about. But if this is the last one, I'm going to go for it. That's why the official name of the issue is "Oh, the hell with it...ELONGATED MAN MONTH!"

Because of the huge delay in this issue, which should have been out for most of December, this last issue will come out in February. The deadline for contributions is January 27th.


is Editor-In-Chief of He is the world's biggest Elongated Man fan and runs the only EM fan site. He lives in Rochester, MN.
AIM: Fanzinger
ICQ: 70101007

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