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Saturday, March 29th, 2008
5:50a - The past
I'm working through a very tough time right now. The 1.5TB RAID in the downstairs closet began emitting papery-scratching noises about three hours ago, and froze the Mac Mini it was connected to. I disconnected it and brought it upstairs and tinkered for an hour and finally got it to spin up, and have been copying files off it (as the papery noise continues) in groups, waiting for the hammer to drop, and the whole rest of the archive to become inaccessible.

I wasn't prepared for this to happen. I mean, no one is ever completely prepared, but I was especially unprepared this month because I've been rearranging my backup equipment.

The first thing I copied off, to a safe location: THE ENTIRE BRAINDEAD MONKEYS SAMPLE LIBRARY. I had maybe %10 of this at most in properly backed-up format, and the copies I gave to the other monkeys are, of course, now sliiightly and untraceably out-of-date. Losing these files would have been terrible.

Equally terrible to lose, are the items I copied next: Unprocessed video captures from ancient VHS tapes, taken with a camcorder some 15-20 years ago. All of my immediate family. The tapes are long gone, so this represents the only copy.

While browsing through it to make sure it was intact, I made the following screen capture:

This image was captured some time around 1989. It's of the dining room table in the house I grew up in. There are other precious images from this video, but this particular one struck me for an immediate reason: This same table is downstairs in my house right now.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to realize that a few weeks ago I had six friends gathered around that same table, eating sunday dinner. Afterwards we turned the pads over and played cards on the felt surface, late into the evening.

Glancing around the room, I think the only thing from my family that I still own, that is older than that table, is my grandfather's guitar. I played a silly song for La on that just last month, encouraging her to "goo tooo beeeeeed, sleepy Laaaa; get some sleeeeep, Works-Too-Hard Laaaa". It's also audible in the forthcoming Braindead Monkeys album.

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6:09a - Also from the archive...
Slowly, the files emerge from the damaged RAID drive. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to lift everything off and then run a full backup of the destination drive later today.

This is a rare shot of our old Ford truck parked next to the Aerostar van, so that the two can actually be compared for size. When I was a kid, the truck was absolutely huge. As an adult, I've always wondered just how big it actually was. I had a suspicion that it was no bigger than, say, a modern F-150. Well, it was at least as big as that.

We sold that truck years ago, so someone is probably still driving it out in the boonies somewhere. When you're in the cab and driving on the freeway, it makes this musical two-tone growling sound like, "HRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA". It's comparable to that sound Hollywood films use whenever an aeroplane is plummeting towards the ground, except it's constant. The plane never quite crashes.

Remember that big manly gladiator schtick that Russel Crowe did several years ago? He cribbed that from my Dad. This is Dad around 1990, standing in the driveway, watching his visiting granddaughter play basketball. In the background you can see the roof of a big boxy trailer that we used to haul to Sierra City and camp in every year.

This sequence was nearly destroyed by magnetic damage before I could digitize it. It's my younger sister and our next-door neighbor practicing the viola in the upstairs living room. 1989 maybe?

Yes, this is me. Probably around age 15. My sisters and I would occasionally produce short, semi-comprehensible plays to entertain our parents and visiting guests. I was playing the part of "President Elect George Bush", who had been kidnapped by "The Democrats and Michael Dukakis", and imprisoned "Somewhere In The Caribbean" (in a hallway, behind an insurmountable blue pad). Who would save me from my predicament?

Rambo, of course. As played by Brian, eldest son of the friends our parents had over for dinner that night.

His younger brother Kevin and my older sister played "Scary Democrats". That's what's written on the paper taped to my sister's shirt.

I've also preserved a play we created called "Red Riding Hood In The 90's" that is absolutely hilarious. I still have to de-noise, transcode, and then re-encode it though.

The RAID drive is getting noisier and noisier. I've still got 60GB of general sample library to go, then an 'emulation' folder, then an ancient 'stuff from the PC' folder. I'm also too tired to stay awake and monitor it, but I don't dare turn it off because it may never spin up and/or initialize again.

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