• James Parry

Parrywinkle November 12, 2015

Well, this week's weather may have been unprecedentedly wonderful for November. But as that old adage goes, into every life a little rain must fall.

Tell you dear readers, it's been bucketing down in mine these past few days. Almost monsoon-like, you might say. But with the help of a certain Hudsonite by the name of Terry Sneller, and the infinite patience and understanding of my beautiful Sunshine, I'm pleased to report that I have weathered the storm. The proof being that I am actually able to write this column in my home and e-mail it over to the office on Harwood and meet the deadline for this week's issue of Your Local Journal. At times, I thought it might never happen. Permit me to explain.

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A LUDDITE'S LAMENT - My sea - okay, make that pond - of troubles began late last Wednesday when my trusty iMac desktop computer crashed. Was working fine in the morning but when I went to turn it back on after a brief break for lunch, I knew I was up the creek without a paddle. All I got on the screen was a flashing icon with a big question mark in the centre, followed by another with a very sad face.

Oh crikey, I thought. What the hell do I do now? Repeatedly tried rebooting - while really wanting to kick in the screen in my frustration - but zip. Same mocking icons. Flashing, flashing, and flashing. “Is it a virulent virus?” I asked myself. “Have I been horribly hacked? Is my hard drive as dead as a dodo? Is my umbilical cord to the Internet and Google irreparably severed? Is this the end of the world as I know it?”

A quick call to Carmen Marie Fabio, my favourite editor in the whole wide world - and not just because she's my boss, well perhaps - was hardly reassuring. "Sounds like your hard drive's dead James." she said with a sympathetic sigh. "Have you backed everything up?"

"Pardon?" I replied, gulping like a blow fish out of water.

"Have you backed everything up? she replied with the tone of a kindly teacher talking to some confused kid in primary school.

"Er no," I admitted while feeling like a real idiot. "I always meant to. But just never got around to it."

"Oh s#*&! " I heard her say, if only in my mind. And I knew right there and that to quote Tom Hanks in the movie, Apollo 13, Houston, we've got a problem!

Short of panicking and rushing out to buy a new 'puter with all that it entailed - me being a Luddite who doesn't even have a Facebook page, a Twitter or whatever it is account, and can barely plug in a toaster - I figured that there had to be a Mac expert somewhere in Hudson - or at least close by - who might be able to save the day. If not my dear old blue iMac that - believe it or not - I had bought brand new back in 1999 and which had always served me well. Perhaps able, miraculously, to resurrect my clunker. Or at least salvage some of the irreplaceable files and photos that were somewhere out there in the stratosphere.

Compounding the problem, of course, was the fact that it was an Apple Mac. Something of a rarity these days with PC/Laptops of different brands being the major sellers it seems and for a fraction of the price. And so on Friday I turned to the Professional Directory at the back of our very own paper, YLJ. And, lo and behold, there was indeed such a guy. The aforementioned Terry Sneller, in the business evidently since 1983, and living just near the Hudson-Oka Ferry.

"Can't promise anything," he told me quite candidly over the phone minutes later. "But let's have a look with no commitment whatsoever. Sounds like the hard drive to me. Sometimes it's possible to get it up going again. Sometimes it isn't. Won't know, however, until I see it and check it out."

And so he arrived the next morning with his trouble-shooting arsenal of tools and myriad discs and, with all the coolness and dexterity of a brain surgeon, got to work. Alas, all to no avail. "Sorry James," said Terry. "I've tried everything and it's just not responding." Sheesh, I almost felt that he was describing me on life support. It was truly dead. Demised. Passed on. Kaput! And not even Bill Gates himself could have brought it back to life!

So it's time for Plan B, I told myself. Self-dillusional really, as I didn't have a Plan B!

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SHOPPING LOCALLY - Fortunately, Terry did. And while not selling Macs himself, nor affiliated with any retail outlet, he offered to go on line - on his own computer, of course - and see if there were any for sale by private individuals close by that were in excellent condition, would fit my needs, and going for a realistic price. On Monday, we headed over to Île Perrot for an unbelievable buy that he had discovered and by Tuesday noon it was up and running just in time for me to meet this week's deadline.

Ooof! For his services and professionalism, I hasten to add, I paid Terry his requested fee which was more than fair and worth every dollar. Nor does he know that he is being mentioned in this column, just in case you were wondering. What's more, I have now found my very own Big Mac consultant right on my doorstep to help and advise me should I wish to upgrade or have any questions pertaining to my new 'puter in the future. One of the benefits folks of shopping locally, for sure. And, oh yes, he is also going to show me how to do a backup on a regular basis!

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A BIG BRAVO - And now in other news, delighted to report that critically-acclaimed Sainte-Anne Singers, founded in 1987 by director, Margo Keenan, with the aim of exploring a wide range of a cappella repertoire, have just been awarded second place in the chamber choir category of a prestigious national competition while some 24 auditioned members - mostly from the West Island and Vaudreuil-Soulanges area - are currently in rehearsal for their upcoming performances of Nuits d'hiver in early December. Namely, the 2015 National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs sponsored by Choral Canada, in collaboration with the Canada Council for the Arts and CBC Music and judged by a national jury of five choral directors including the late Christopher Jackson of Montreal.

The president of Choral Canada, Dr. Marta McCarthy, herself one of the jury, remarked that the Sainte-Anne Singers excelled, "because of their commitment to the unique character and style differences in their repertoire, which was well chosen for its range and quality." She also added that the group's French-language selection demonstrated an, "effective case of ensemble and natural rubato." Fascinated to learn that this is, in fact, the second time the group has distinguished itself in the same competition, having been awarded second place in 2010.

Also that they have won multiple awards with the former Montreal Choral Festival and have previously reached the quarter- and semi-finals of the CBC Radio Competition for Amateur Choirs.

If you would personally like to experience their highly entertaining repertoire, then make a note of the dates December 5 and 6 when, respectively, they will be performing Nuits d'hiver - a celebration of Christmas, Hanukkah, and snow - at 8 p.m. at Union Church, 24 Maple Avenue in Sainte Anne de Bellevue and at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mark's Church, 865 Lakeshore in Dorval. For more info and program highlights, go to the group's new website at www.sainteannesingers.org. And enjoy the show!

And that's a wrap!

E-mail: creation@videotron.ca

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