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In a somewhat unfortunate turn of events, I learned that you should not store thousands of photos on iPhoto. And I also learned that I’m what I’d like to call an organic user of computers, which means I go any which way and organize things how I think they should go and leave stuff everywhere. Think of it like an unplanned town, vs. a planned city. You can get around, but it takes longer and you might get lost. Of course it’s also terribly charming, but what I want to tell you is, when it comes to computers, don’t be charming. Be methodical.

The iPhoto problem is the following. You may think that there are many iPhoto folders. You see your photos split into events. But this is on the user end. But way back in the very depths of your computer, behind the black curtain (or in the black box, though later you will understand how I know that this box is actually grey in color), they are all actually in one folder. Which in my case contained 169 GIGS of data (oops, nearly 30,000 photos, many pixels on the megacam) .

Yes, please feel free to gasp. I am snap happy. And for some reason there are doubles of a lot of folders in there. And well, it didn’t seem problematic, until it was. Here the problem is backing up the data. It’s hard to get 169 GIGS of data to flow seamlessly through a firewire from hard disk to external drive back to computer again (especially when it seems like perhaps the hard disk is, in a word, frito). In the end, patience, perseverance, a mac guru and magic mojo did the trick, and the data is back where it once was (though I cannot seem to get the keyboard back to how it once was and spend many minutes each day looking for things like ! instead of ¡ and ? instead of Ç, etc.), and the @ seems to have permanently gone missing (I cut and pasted it there).

I still don’t know exactly what the problem was, as the friend who looked at (and ultimately fixed) the computer is a man of few words. I remember when he opened the back panel and took out the RAM and the hard drive that I felt sick to my stomach, like I was looking at the entrails of a beast. My beast.

He had to reformat the hard drive, and re back up all the stuff onto a mega external hard drive that I have, and before you ask, yes, I do use time machine, but I hadn’t done the backup that recently, and the computer was acting slow, and well, isn’t that always the way. I also called AppleCare to find out what they’d have done (besides having me send the computer far far away) and it turns out they don’t back up your computer. They advise you to do so before sending it in. Which works great if you’ve got a CD drive that doesn’t work, but when your whole computer is fracked (but not that kind of fracked), it’s not particularly helpful advice, though southern-sounding David on the AppleCare help line was very helpful.

So here’s what I have to say, having experienced (and lived through) near computational tragedy.

1. Suriname pics, OMG, por fin (finally) yes!
2. don’t keep all your photos in iPhoto
3. back up more regularly than you already do
4. definitely ask me if you live in Santiago and need a Mac genius, I’ve got his number

Here’s a tiny tidbit of Suriname for you, all taken from the second day I was there, which happened to be Nov. 25th, which is when Suriname got its independence from the Netherlands. I loved the pro-Suriname sentiment, everyone dressed up in their I heart SU regalia and typical clothes and wandering the stalls of the giant street fair near independence square. Oh, and parachutists. Of course.

Wee one, dressed up for Independence day

Some folks wearing I heart SU tees.

Getting her face painted with the Suriname flag.

Parachutist over Independence Square, Paramaribo

Pardon the size of the pictures. I have to investigate further why this is, but for now, this is the largest size I can find. Computer user beware!

Also, happy holidays to all!