The Saddest Song

So share with me, Loyal Reader. What’s the Saddest Song you know? What song has the tear ducts gushing every time you hear it? Even before you hear it; if you know you’re going to hear it, your eyes start leaking like a cheaply waterproofed basement. If you as much as think about it, you get all choked up. Everybody has one. What’s  yours?

(I should mention that I’m talking about songs that affect you emotionally, not songs that make you cry because they should have never been made, like Ringo Starr’s album of old standards, or anything by Michael Bolton.)

There’s a few that get me going. Just about anything from Les Miserables. I’ve seen this musical four times, and heard several versions of the soundtrack. I usually start tearing up at “I Dreamed A Dream” (I’ve never seen Susan Boyle’s performance, but Ruthie Henshall’s isn’t too shabby):

Is there any more tragic figure in literature than Fantine?

And “On My Own” is the ultimate Unrequited Love Song, particularly as sung by Lea Salonga:

But, even with all that angst, the song that always reduces me to a blubbering fool is from…The Little Mermaid??

Back at the end of the last century, we visited Walt Disney World (my favorite place in the world, by the way. Just sayin’.). This particular trip was my third, and it was the first with my son Cameron, who was 5 at the time. He had a huge crush (as huge as a 5-year-old can have, I guess) on Ariel, so one day I found myself standing in line at Ariel’s Grotto, waiting for an audience with the Mermaid Princess while Cam was jumping around in the play area, getting wet and having a good time running around with the other kids.  In the background, cleverly hidden speakers subliminally played songs from the movie.

At one point, they were playing “Part Of That World”, which is, as you know, a song about Ariel wishing she were a human, so she could have legs and jump and dance and walk around like all humans:

“I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see them dancin’
Walking around on those – what do you call ’em?
Oh – feet!”

I was having a good time, standing in line, watching Cameron cavort.

“Legs are required for jumping, dancing”

I happened to look ahead at the line of waiting people to get an idea of how long the wait would be. I happened to spy an Asian kid, 10, maybe 12 years old, waiting in line, sitting in a wheelchair. The look on his face as he watched the other kids play broke my heart.

“Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin’ free – wish I could be
Part of that world”

Every time I hear that song, even now as I write about it, I think about that kid and kids like him, and, well, you know. They flow freely. Every time.

So what about you? What song never fails to turn on your waterworks?

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Is There A Computer Doctor In the House?

Alrighty then, here’s my predicament:

Last week I started getting little messages from my computer that one of the hard drives in my RAID array was failing (I have 2 250GB drives in a RAID 0 array). It didn’t look like I would be able to save it, so since I’m running Vista Ultimate, I used their Complete PC Backup and Restore feature to back up my entire hard drive onto an external USB drive; programs, settings, files – the whole shebang. I ended up with a .vhd file of almost 180 GB.

I settled the issue with my hard drive, built another RAID array, reinstalled Vista, yada, yada, yada, and went to restore the whole shebang. But Vista said, “Backup file? What backup file? I don’t see no backup file.”

Now, you gotta understand what’s in the backup file that I stand to lose. Not just your typical personal stuff like irreplaceable documents, photos, videos, my iTunes library (including the applications I bought for my iTouch), financial info, several GBs of Disney park music I’ve collected over the past year and was in the process of burning to CD, but also hundreds of buckaroonies worth of downloaded software that I don’t have physical disks for. “Well, why didn’t you back that stuff up?” you may ask. “Shut up,” I may answer. “I did back that stuff up, but now I can’t access it.”

I did some research on the problem, and found scads of people saying how wonderful Complete PC Backup and Restore is, and how easy it is to use, and I began feeling like an abject failure because I couldn’t do it. Then I started reading comments by people who were having the same problem as I was, so I perked up.

A couple of the options suggested:

Download and install Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, which has a feature called “Vhdmount” which, when coupled with a certain registry hack written by a MS engineer, allows you to mount the .vhd file as a virtual drive, from which you can access whatever files you want. I couldn’t make it work.

Use a program called WinImage, which also allows you to access and extract individual files with a .vhd file. It crashes on me every time I try to use it. There’s also an option for restoring a virtual hard drive to a physical drive; I get an unexplained error when I attempt this.

Download and install Microsoft Virtual PC, install a virtual machine, and mount the .vhd file as a secondary drive, from which you can extract whatever files you may want. Unless I’m doing something wrong (which is very probable), the maximum secondary drive capacity is 127 GB, and as I mentioned, mine is larger than that.

So that’s my need for a CD. Best-case scenario is a complete restoration from the backup file, but if that’s not going to be possible, I’d like to be able to pull certain files and folders out and salvage as much of my shit as I can.

So, Loyal Reader…any suggestions?

Mouse Bits

I lurrrvvvvvv Walt Disney World!  I could probably do a whole blog about various aspects of the parks…and maybe someday I’ll take on that challenge.

But today I’m just going to steer you to a site that helps give me a WDW fix when I need it.

Mouse Bits is a fan site filled with hundreds of user-donated torrents of  audio and video files of park music, ride-throughs, promo material and the like. They don’t allow files with commercially available material, so you won’t find the latest official Disney releases, but it’s a great source of high quality fan recordings of hard-to-find goodies.  If you love the parks as much as I do, check this out. You won’t be disappointed.