Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bad News, Good News, Bad News, Good News!

The Bad News: Yesterday morning my iMac G5, which has operated flawlessly since I got it three years ago, suddenly froze solid for the first time ever. I could only turn it off with the power button, and when I started it up again I got a black screen, no start-up chime and the fan was on overdrive. Using one of the laptops in the house I did some research online and discovered that my Mac had all the symptoms of a catastrophic logic board failure. Even worse, after much frantic scrambling through mountains of old files and folders, trying to locate my warranty info, I discovered that my Apple Care had expired two months ago. Very Bad News.

Outside of the warranty, the repair to my Mac was going to cost almost as much as a new computer! Even worse, all my jobs, past and current from the last three years - plus all the the scanned images and written research I've done for Today's Inspiration - EVERYTHING! - was locked up on my dead machine. After a day of much weeping and gnashing of teeth I was little more than a pathetic ball of nerves, curled up in the fetal position on the kitchen floor. That's how my darling wife found me when she got home from work.

There are many reasons why I married this girl, but here's one of the main ones: without a moment's hesitation, she took the bull by the horns, said, "go get your computer. I'm going to get it fixed and I'm getting it fixed for free." - and in a flash she was off to our local Apple reseller/repair shop to kick some ass and take names. I love it when she does that!

The Good News: after an hour at the shop and another hour on the phone, she managed to get Apple to agree to completely cover the cost of the repair, despite the computer being two months past the warranty!

The Bad News: All of this year's remaining 'Countdown to Christmas' material is now sitting in the shop on that ailing machine, and I don't have the time or energy to rescan everything, or re-research all the accompanying text. That means this year's Countdown has come to an unscheduled, abbreviated conclusion a week ahead of time. Sorry gang.

The Good News: After a hiatus for the rest of this year, Today's Inspiration will resume on January 5th, 2009. I already have several weeks of new material planned, and no doubt the new year will bring all sorts of interesting surprises.

So as much as I hate to say it, this is good bye... for now. Here's hoping everyone has a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a wonderful holiday break! Many thanks to everyone who has shared their art, information, comments, suggestions and words of encouragement - and to all of you who have simply dropped by to look and read. You all make the effort of putting this blog together a huge pleasure.

See you next year!

* And meanwhile, be sure to drop by Charlie Allen's Blog for the Christmas installment of the CAWS.


  1. My logic board did a similar death. Started with the mouse not working, then keyboard then screen then fan. Wheee! You deserve a break, we all love what you are doing and eagerly await the return.

  2. Hi. I just wanted to let you know I really appreciate all the work you put into this blog. I am a graphic designer and information designer and I just love what you've been doing. I send people to read your stuff all the time. I hope you're able to mediate your memory losses and be back online soon, and I hope your holidays are wonderful. Keep up the good work.

  3. Good luck, and have good holidays in spite of this.

  4. i look forward to your post every day, but i hope you have a great holiday off.
    please please please tell santa to buy you an external hard drive and back that gold up with time machine !!!

  5. Wow - is there any chance you could loan your wife to one of your kind readers, should anything happen to my precious three-year-old Power Mac? She is an unstoppable force!

    See you in '09 and thanks for all the glorious posts.


  6. Oh, Leif! You just described my worst nightmare. :(

    All the best to you (and your wonderful wife!) and see you in the New Year!

  7. Anonymous2:27 PM

    This is EXACTLY why I have TWO back up hard drives. I keep one in my studio and one at a friend's house. I switch them out once a month. This way if my computer crashes or the (God forbid) house burns down I still have almost everything in a safe location.

    On another note, THANK YOU so much for another incredible year of classic illustration! This is one of my favorite stops on all the internet!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

  8. Anonymous2:39 PM

    Hi Leif,

    Yikes! I'm getting very nervous about my 2002 Mac G4 Quicksilver tower! I obsessively back everything up on extra hard drives, DVDs, etc. so it wouldn't be that bad anyway, I guess.

    I'm glad it sounds like things worked out okay for you. You deserve a break!

    Thanks for all your work over the last year. It is appreciated. "Today's Inspiration" remains the only online posting I subscribe to.

    Merry Christmas and all the best in 2009!

    Huw Evans
    EYECATCHER Graphics

  9. Lovely thing about Apple, they helped me out the same way when my iPod died and was out of warranty by a month. Still replaced it none-the-less.

    I'll be in withdrawal without "Inspiration" till the new year!

  10. Whew, glad that worked out in the end! Thanks for all of your hard work, looking forward to the new year!

  11. I know I'll come here many times on the next weeks, even though the site is on hiatus - It'll be a good chance to dig into the archives of TI! Thanks for running this great website Leif!

  12. Anonymous6:00 PM

    Hi Leif, I've never posted here before but I follow the blog pretty regularly and this seems as good a time as ever to thank you for all the amazing work you've put into it over the last few years! I'm an illustrator myself with a love of mid century styles and this site has been an absolute treasure trove of daily ... uh ... inspiration:) Enjoy your well deserved holiday break and I look forward to seeing what goes up in the new year!

  13. Anonymous8:04 PM

    Sorry to hear the bad news. Thanks for your many diligent hours of hard work putting this great blog together for us all to enjoy.

    The truth is, the reason men marry has little to do with our young man's lust fueled fantasies: We marry for to save ourselves from the certain disaster of the manly life. For all of the attendant grief--and what's any relationship without grief!--wives, at the bottom of it all, make our lives better. For better and worse: That's life!

    Happy Holidays!

  14. Hi Leif -- I love your blog and visit it daily. I look forward to the new year and being able to read your wonderful posts again.

  15. Anonymous9:17 PM

    Having suffered two data-loss scares in the past, I know how it feels! Do yourself a favour, and start backing up in the new year.

    Your Mac is probably too old for OS X Leopard with Time Machine for backups, but Time Machine is a godsend. I went from never backing anything up to worrying when Time Machine misses even one hourly backup.

    Good luck with your data, and I'll see you in 2009!

  16. Sorry to hear about your computer trouble, and I await your return to blogging.

    I gotta know what your wife said to get the thing repaired for free, though!

  17. Anonymous11:25 PM

    Well, this is horrible, but it's great that your wife is such a force. I guess Apple really doesn't want customers going away mad after such a bad event.

    Your ordeal has scared me. I haven't backed my mac up for months. I'm going to get right on it!

    I will be looking eagerly towards the new year. Thank you for all of the hard work and passion that you've put into this project so far. The word "blog" doesn't seem good enough.

  18. Anonymous1:26 AM

    My G4 iMac (the one with a round base and swivel head) has been running for 6 years now and never had to take it to get it repair [knocks on wood].

    Sorry to hear what happened. Thank you for all the reference material and inspiration to make me happy we get to draw, paint, wacom, scan, draft, scribble, sketch, spray, and doodle for a living!

  19. Anonymous2:11 AM

    Hi - I'm one of those anonymous readers that shows up every day but never comments. It seems like the perfect time to let you know that I also really appreciate all the work you put into your blog, pretty much every day starts with a visit to it. Have a great holiday (and a well deserved break). See you in the New Year.

    And I agree with some of the others - ask Santa for a Time Capsule, and go for the 1TB model.

  20. This place is an invaluable resource for me. I'm thankful for your tireless efforts and very glad they'll be able to recover your files for the new year. This is exactly why I have a tenacious, ass-kicker wife of my own! :)

    To the tough wives!

    Happy holidays to you and yours!

  21. Naughty boy! Backup,backup and then backup again!Pull out the hard drive, get an external enclosure and plug into another Mac and you'll be up and running. My G4 went down after 10 years of use (costs work out at .5 euro per day so a pretty good bargain from Apple I think) so found a G5 on French ebay for 250 euros that will stand in in until Santa brings me a new shiny Mac. Great blog as it reminds me of working for various ad agencies in London from the end of the sixties. Anyway, Happy Christmas from sunny southwest France to you and yours.

  22. Wow, I'm overwhelmed by all your best wishes - thank you everyone! :-) And not to worry - there's a shiny new external HD sitting on the shelf here , waiting for my G5 to come home from the hospital. I think I will take Joe's advice, get a second one, and keep switching them out at a second location.

    Not sure if my iMac is able to support Time Machine... its the last gen before the pentium chips so maybe not... but I'll ask my IT guys (also known as my two teenage sons!)

  23. Sorry about your computer problems. Your blog gets better each year. I enjoy seeing the work you post and I learn something about artists that are hard to find info on. Thank you
    and have a well deserved holiday.

  24. Sorry about your computer problems. Your blog gets better each year. I enjoy seeing the work you post and I learn something about artists that are hard to find info on. Thank you
    and have a well deserved holiday.exessesi

  25. Hi Leif, Another backup option—for a few dollars a month—is cloud storage. A couple examples are mozy and iDrive. All backing up is done during off hours and provides the security of a completely separate, secure location for crucial data.

    Enjoy your time off!


  26. That you are apologizing further illustrates your year-long good will and generosity.
    Since I have logged on with you, I have saved your scans, and should you need any back-up, just say the word.
    I know that you have made the lives and eyes of me and my students that much richer-
    Happy Holidays and good luck!

  27. So sorry to hear this Leif, but I'm glad it wasn't worse. Having recently gotten some experience in managining a dinky blog by comparison, I would venture that this mishap may be a blessing in disguise. You really deserve a break from all your hard (but obviously well appreciated work).
    Happy holidays and I look forward to seeing TI in 2009.

  28. Just wanting to tell you how much I'm enjoying your blog - what a pleasure! Thousand thanks to you!

    Wishing you the very best and looking forward to your come-back in 2009 !!!!!

    mille gracie, Karl

  29. That's really bad / good news! with a happy ending of course of which I'm glad for you and for this fantastic blog you share with us!
    I had the same happen to my mac about 2 or 3 years ago now. It's really frustrating. An external hard drive would certainly ease the pain, since at least you put your concerns about the contents aside.
    Anyway, all the Best for this Christmas Season and a Happy 2009!

  30. Bless your wife, the ideal illustrator's partner! If she can get Apple and get you uncurled from the fetal position she walks on water!
    As observed, you deserve a break, and maybe the machine was forcing the issue! We are all in your debt for what you contribute back to us through your blog, Leif. The imagery, the writing, the links to many voices long thought gone ( and the ones who are now gone) , the creation of community, we should all pitch in and BUY you a new machine.
    But Last, Sing this song to Santa Claus is coming to town:
    Oh, you'd better back up
    You'd better back up
    You'd better back up
    I'm telling you why
    Even Apples finally die!

  31. Merry Christmas to you too! And loads and loads of love for all the inspiration given this year!

  32. Anonymous9:32 PM

    I'm sorry to hear you lost last your scannned images. I agree, 2 hard drives would be ideal.

    And they're getting cheaper by the month. I just bought a 1.5 terrabite for $199.

    Anyway, I'm greteful your blog exisits. It's inspiring to see so much 'solid' work (and yet a bit frustating when I'm reminded they don't teach this kind of stuff at art schools anymore)

    Happy holidays, best of everything.

  33. Wow...tough break! My G5, also purchased 3 years ago, has been having erratic fan noise issues after it's been on for a while. Fortunately I reported the issue on the very last day of my AppleCare agreement. Not my usual luck, to say the least, but I'll take it! Anyway, they replaced the logic board and one of the processors. I got it home and the drive bay was still overheating, causing the fans to pick up again. It still works, though, so since I'm in the middle of a big project I'm going to take it in when I'm done. They're going to replace the entire housing this time, I'm told because some of the wiring related to the problem is part of the housing assembly. By the time they're done I'll practically have a new machine.
    I really enjoy your blog, thanks for all the work you put into it. Good luck getting back on your feet!

    Steve D'Amico

  34. Hey Bruno, They do teach that stuff at my art school! The Academy of Art in SF

  35. Hi Leif,

    Sorry to hear about all of your computer troubles. I had some problems with my iMac over this past summer that resulted in them giving me a brand new 20" one in exchange, only to be found to have an inferior screen to my previous one and not at all acceptable to my needs as an illustrator. Anyway, I was able to pay a small bit more to upgrade to a nice 24" screen which seems to be working very well.

    I think this may be the first time I've actually posted on your blog, but I want you to know how much I enjoy your very informative articles along with the accompanying artwork. I check in here at least a couple times a week and really appreciate all of your tremendous effort in creating such a valuable resource. Merry Christmas to you, Leif, and I look forward to what you've got lined up for us in the New Year!


  36. Anonymous5:58 AM

    Just the first time i post a comment here, i am coming very often to see all these incredible pictures, and it seems to be the ggod moment to say : thank you for this blog.

  37. Anonymous8:33 AM

    Never has a blog been more aptly named, not just for the beautiful illustration that you post and your obvious passion for the subject, but for your tireless dedication to blogging. Sorry to hear of your troubles but relieved to know that you'll be back in the new year.


  38. Anonymous2:45 PM

    Sometimes one just has to let go...

    I've also become an addict of Today's Inspiration, but...

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to loose"...
    these words from time to time keep on ringin in my ears.

    Looking forward to the continuation,
    Thanks and God bless

  39. Hope all is well now - Merry Christmas and thanks for a wonderful blog! :D

  40. Merry X Mas Mr. Leif--

    When my logic board froze (this was on a G4 tower which I had for 5 years and finally killed due to the huge files I was working in photoshop), I had the same problem-- I found a place here in NYC which could retrieve the old info, thank god...

    I back everything up on an external now and my assistant has a copy of that at a different location...just incase!

    Your wife sounds like a great partner, cheers! See you in 2009.

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