Well, this is a complete catastrophe

The computer technicians were unable to get anything off my old hard drive. Not. A. Single. Thing. They said they worked all day, tried everything, and the only thing left is to send it to some outfit that will try taking the hard drive apart or something, at costs I cannot afford and with no guarantee of success. I’ve given up.

I don’t have the whole thing backed up per se, but fortunately the things that really matter are more or less retrievable. Charley is online of course. I have a few files for it that were offline but they’re not terribly important in the grand scheme of things. I’ve got the play I wrote and the novel I’m working on backed up in a couple of places.

Still, this is a bad end to a remarkably bad week.

Computer update

Stupid computer is still in the repair shop. I was supposed to get it back today but I don’t think that’s happening. The repair guy called to say the hard drive was failing (news to me) and needed to be replaced. They had two different kinds in stock. I don’t know anything about computer hardware so I said, “If you were me, which one would you pick?”

Of course he recommended the more expensive one.

On the bright side, I suppose that a brand new hard drive is guaranteed virus-free. And at least they caught this hard drive thing before the computer just up and died on me.

All week I had a headache, all the time, and no over-the-counter stuff would touch it. Finally, after four or five days of suffering, I went to the doctor for a shot. He said it was a stress headache. No wonder.

Computer’s trashed again

More malware. I can’t figure out how I keep getting this stuff. I have anti-virus protection. I don’t hang around MySpace, YouTube or Facebook very much. Shrug.

Michael has ran like three or four different scanners through the computer and none of them can find anything, in spite of the fact that there obviously is something there. Cause every time I try to open any program a message pops up saying “you can’t open this because you have a bunch of evil viruses, pay us $49.99 and we’ll get rid of them.” Riiight. So Michael threw up his hands and it was either my brother or the computer repair people that Michael knows who are cheaper than the Geek Squad. I didn’t want to use my brother because that would involve a) driving to Dayton and back and b) getting my brother in my business, so I took it to the repair shop.

They say I can have it back Friday. Till then, my online activity will be catch-as-catch-can.

Two family abduction recoveries

As many Charley Project viewers sent in to me, Stephen Michael Palacios found himself. He was abducted by his non-custodial father from Waco, Texas in 1993, when he was three years old. His mom had custody and Stephen’s father had visitation. His dad made off with him and never came back. Young Stephen’s father is also named Stephen Michael Palacios, so in the Charley casefile I called the abductor Stephen Sr. Yet the articles I found refer to him as Stephen Michael Palacios Jr., which I guess makes the son Stephen Michael Palacios III.

Anyway, in late August a Texas newspaper published an article about this 17-year-old case and somehow Stephen the son found it. I imagine it must have given him a bit of a start. I have no idea how Stephen the father had explained his son’s origins, but once he read the article Stephen the son demanded his father “do the right thing” and turn himself in to the police. Stephen the father did just that. He has been jailed on charges of custodial interference, and presumably Stephen the son will be reuniting with his mother soon. He will turn 21 in just a couple of days. This has been published in several news outlets including CBS News and Yahoo! News. The former article has a picture of Stephen the son and his mom pre-abduction; the latter article has a mug shot of Stephen the father.

And I found an article about another recovery, that of the sisters Jaden Dawson Cummins, Jasmine Nichole Cummins and Sierra Emberton. I had gotten their recovery notice from the NCMEC a few days ago and they’re already in my resolved section. Their paternal grandmother and her boyfriend abducted them. The children’s father was in prison and for whatever reason the mother couldn’t care for them, so the grandmother had custody. She and her boyfriend took the girls to Mexico in 2008 when she found out the mother was going to get them back. Mom had another kid in their absence and is now pregnant again. The two younger girls, Jaden and Jasmine, who are now 3 and 4, have forgotten most of their English by now. I’m sure they’re young enough to pick it up again quickly.

Computer still nonfunctional

My boyfriend is still working on it. (And he followed a lot of y’all’s advice, thanks.) He is somewhat mystified though, he has run several anti-virus, anti-malware etc programs through it and the stupid messages still keep popping up. If this continues I will have to take it to the stupid shop. Michael has a friend who can offer a discount or maybe even free service.

On the bright side, in the past two days I’ve read five and a half books.


In spite of my nice anti-virus software I got just a few months ago, some evil malware program or virus or something slipped through and hijacked my laptop and is holding it hostage unless I buy their stupid software which will probably cause even more problems. (I don’t know how the designers of malware live with their consciences.) Every time I try to open any program or visit any website, a message pops up saying my computer is riddled with viruses and they will fix it for $29.99.

The hijacking occurred at six a.m., when I had gotten up after my usual three-hour sleeping period, suffering from a wicked hangover besides. (You would think that being incredibly drunk would cause my brain to let me sleep for longer than three hours, but no.) I woke up my boyfriend and demanded that he fix it. He fussed with the computer for an hour before reminding me that he had gotten to bed later than I had and saying he was just too tired to summon the brainpower to remove the malware. He promised to fix it after he got home from work. Which is at 11:00 p.m. So I have been without my computer ALL DAY. I had to content with borrowing his, and also going to the library and drowning my sorrow in books.

Here’s to hoping he can fix it and I won’t have to summon the Geek Squad.

Kurt Newton

I found this anniversary article of four-year-old Kurt Newton‘s disappearance from a remote campsite in Maine, near the Canadian border. He’s been missing for 35 years this month. Also, a 1979 article about the same kid and his parents’ search for him in the years following his disappearance.

That poor family. I sit there imagining them licking all those stamps and sealing all those envelopes, sending posters to every school superintendent in the country. And that colossal search effort in the woods — it looks pretty certain he was kidnapped, it seems like if he had been in the woods they would have found him, with all the searchers and bloodhounds and helicopters. The abduction theory wasn’t considered for weeks, until after the search effort was exhausted. I can’t blame the cops there — Kurt vanished from a very remote wilderness area, no one saw or heard anything suspicious, and people simply weren’t as aware of child kidnappings as they are now. But of course by the time they got around to thinking of that possibility, Kurt and whoever took him were both long gone. The abduction conclusion here was reached more through process of elimination than anything else.

I wonder if his parents are still alive, or if they had any more kids after his disappearance, or if they ever gave up hope. I wonder, if he is still alive, whether he remembers them at all or has some vague sense of unease about his origins.

Eugene Fish article

I found this really great article about the mysterious 2004 disappearance of Eugene Fish from Colorado. To hear his wife tell it, Eugene simply decided to walk away. His now-deceased parents doubted that, however, and so do the cops. He was fairly young — only 53 — and he had his own land and a pretty good pension, and he was the sole heir to a small fortune. And he left it all. Why? Or, more likely, who?