For those who fear the end of OS is near--I'm inclined to agree.
Because I learned the hard way this weekend that there does not appear to be any such thing as "tech support" for OS anymore. Or Salon. Or...you can't reach them via the OS mailbox, anyway. Not a good sign...
To elaborate for those of you who didn't see my previous post about my Big Downloading Debacle, I discovered the lack of tech support when DownThemAll, a Firefox addin, "ate" all my articles from last November through last week when I was trying to save them in case OS does indeed bid us adieu in the very near future.
Yes, that's right. All of my posts from last November through last week just disappeared at the click of my mouse. No joke.
When I tried to send a message to tech support via the OS site, I got this error message:
Message sending failed for email@example.com as user(s) doesn't exist
Messages sent from my personal email account did go through, but have gone unanswered for the past two days. As have messages to editors I hoped could help.
How DownThemAll snatched the files down permanently is a mystery to most. Techie pals have told me that being logged in at the time might have allowed it to happen. But they also told me that I should've received some sort of "Do you really want to delete this?" message before it happened, so that I could cancel and leave things intact.
Didn't happen.Roger Ebert, incensed, sent me a flurry of emails about how ridiculous the whole situation was, and trying to comfort me at the same time--this is why I love that man. He Tweeted and Facebook'd all those posts, too, which is why this whole situation sucks even more.
God, I'm sorry, Roger...
There's an easy fix according to those techies, too. Tech support would ostensibly find a restore point just the way you do when your computer hiccups and you get tired of trying to figure out which update did it (that's for us PC users, anyway). You click on the date you want to "roll back" to...et voila!
I have learned how to find the "code" for all of my articles and...everything else I view online, actually. That is how I restored them here--some look a little weird, but it's not so bad. All your comments are intact, too--that really mattered to me.
But that's not the most important part. You see, there is always a lesson in these glitches: a practical one and a spiritual one.
I've told you about the practical stuff. From now on, I'll know where to find the code I need to fix stuff. I just hope I never need it again.
The spiritual test...well...I think I passed. I have my Hopi inlaws and friends to thank for that.
You see, each year up on the mesas there's a ceremony, one of the womens rituals that follow the summer katsina dances, called The Basket Dance. It is my favorite "dance" of all, because it is a raucous redistribution of wealth which kept me from ever having to buy things for my kitchen or bath. Stocked my pantry with goodies, too.
It's one of the most joyous--and dangerous--dances of the year. That's because after singing a slow, repetitive song of prayer, the women of the village walk over to the huge piles of gift laden boxes, and the men of the village rush to encircle them in anticipation.
At that moment, the women dancers begin to lob everything from big plastic tumblers and dish towels to...IPods...into the crowd. I kid you not--it behooves all present to keep an eye out for frizbeeing frying pans and big cans of veggies or fruit.
One of my Hopi students arrived one Monday with a bruise shaped like the bottom of one of those cans. He smiled loopily when I teased him about it, and bragged about how much loot he'd caught--and seeing a friend fall off the roof trying to catch something an aunt had thrown his way.
The friend was fine. He landed on a bunch of other relatives. They were fine, too.
Women can also get into the fray, but the lucky ones just stand on a chair or up on the roof tops and have hubby or brother or cousin toss back whatever they've just caught. You often see women trekking back to their houses with big garbage bags full of stuff their male relations handed back to them. Other women brave the crowd, right beside the men--at their own peril.
Now...how did I learn how to face "loss" and "frustration" from all this? Here's the deal.
Along with all the produce, pots and pans and .mp3 players, the women toss beautiful, priceless, one-of-a-kind baskets and other handmade items that would cost a fortune in the Indian arts stores, to their husbands, nephews and other male relations. Sometimes a throw misses its aim, and several men dive for the beautiful token of affection at once.
And sometimes...that beautiful token of affection gets ripped to shreds in the melee.
I have seen white visitors shed tears over this. Many are aware how expensive these items would be in the outside world. Others just can't stand thinking of all the work put into them--watching them unravel into useless bits of yucca and grass drives them back into the house to get a grip.
But the men who've just torn them apart, and the female relation who made it for the one who didn't grab it fast enough...are usually laughing their asses off. Yes, I know that sounds bizarre, but...that's the "Don't Worry, Be Hopi" part.
First of all, they've all probably got more of this stuff at home than any art dealer could collect. Second, those aunts and other female relatives can replace the ripped up ones pretty quickly, if necessary.
But third...and this is the "lesson" I spoke of...Hopis do not believe in being deeply invested in possessions of any kind. The clans that gathered on those mesas had fled some of the most celebrated "civilizations" in the Americas. At the time they fled, those rich, cushy centers of commerce and comfort were being corrupted by greed. Their leaders were morally bankrupt, and the people they governed were in turmoil.
The people who became Hopi joined together on those wind swept mesas for a reason. Life would always be hard there. There would be no "riches" to covet. Scraping a few crops from the parched desert soil was a grueling task.
That's exactly how they wanted it to be. In such a place, one would always be mindful and grateful for the miracle of life itself, and content to live in the "now" as much as was humanly possible.
A torn up basket? Feh. We got to see how pretty it was for a moment, and to remember how talented its creator was. And then...it was gone. But its creator is still here and she gave us joy.
And the men got to tussle and guffaw and act like little boys for a few minutes, too. There'll be stories going around about that for weeks.
And then...there'll be other baskets...
I hated losing my posts. I hated looking at my lists of posts and their popularity and realizing that now, nobody would know about the ones Ebert helped push to the top of that list. All those thousands of views...no longer documented. Except on the pages I saved.
I'm not that Hopi--that sh## hurt. I'm not gonna lie.
But...I did save those pages. And the ideas I wanted to share originally...are still there.
So I spent the morning pasting code into the "New Post" form over and over again. Most of the old posts are back, with a little notes about why they're back.
And meanwhile...I'm still writing.
Always will be.
My blog is in tatters like those baskets. But...the bits and pieces are back up. I'm humbled but healing.
And you are still here with me, too. Til the bitter and possibly imminent end.
Bless you all. Let's hang on together.