It never rains, but it…

… pours.

What a day I have had.

First, I have felt dreadful all day long. I forced myself out (into the rain – and I don’t do rain well) to get something to eat. I ate about a third of it, gave up, and crawled home.

I figured that, being a prisoner of my room and illness, I would try to polish and cut down the talk I am to give at the LMS conference on Saturday. Thus, I opened my files and got to work and, in my medicated stupor, promptly deleted everything.

I couldn’t even recover temp files or auto backups. Nihil. Strange. Even the autosave directory: zippo. Even the temp directories: nada.

But wait! I had a back up!

I can remotely access things at home. That was when my connection to the internet failed. No problem, quoth I. I used my phone to get into the files back home in order to send a copy by email. That is when the app failed. I wasn’t daunted. I used my other phone, and found that the computer back home, thinking it was being attacked by different sources, locked our all access for a time. Never fear. I have a backup drive with me with enough notes on it that I could use for the talk.

The backup drive wouldn’t let me in.

At this point I nearly put my 300-pound head on the table and wept.

I took a nap, instead.

Rising, I said, “I don’t think I am supposed to give that talk in that way.”

I have therefore spent a few hours putting together with substantially the same thrust but with a couple different angles.

Now, of course, all my apps work again, the internet is back, the computer at home is allowing access, and I have emailed myself a copies of what I worked up.

Today was a classic example of Zuhlsdorf’s Law which in its broadest terms states that “Murphy was an optimist.” In application, however, Zuhlsdorf’s Law states that, in the very moment you need technology, that technology will fail you. And the extent of the failure is directly proportioned to the urgency. I am therefore glad that I wasn’t doing this tomorrow! Anyway, I am sure you have all had the experience of wanting to show someone the great new thing you have. It is precisely then that it won’t work.

Otherwise, perhaps it is that Titivillus knows that you are at low ebb and, therefore, throws spanners into your stuff.

You might have heard that medieval scribes thought that a devil named Titivillus made them introduce copying errors in manuscripts. With all these new gadgets we have today, there are endless ways for us to make mistakes, Titivillus or none.

That was today for me. All day. From top to bottom.

I now, however, am looking out the window and seeing a little blue sky. I am also sensing something akin to hunger rumbling away.

Time for more decongestants and a walk.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. CatholicCaliGirl says:

    Oh no! I hope you feel better soon! I’ll be prayin’ for ya. :)

  2. BaedaBenedictus says:

    I feel for you, Father! I once spent 3 miserable days sick as a dog in cold, waterlogged Dover. I was alternating hot cups of Tetley with cold medicine, but you know what really helped perk me up? Nice refreshing cans of Lilt! Live that stuff and wish I could find it in the States.

  3. yatzer says:

    I had no idea there were that many ways for technology to fail. It does sound like a fiendish attack; glad your connections are back up. Hopefully sleep and a bit of sunshine will help you feel better.

  4. Burke says:

    A hot port with a slice of lemon spiked with cloves … medicinal and delicious … if the hotel bar can’t manage it, the local pub should be able to if it’s any good …

  5. OrthodoxChick says:

    Wow! With all of that to offer up, your talk will probably end up being one of the best that the LMS has ever been treated to! Wish I was in London to hear it. I’ll continue praying for your speedy recuperation and a reprieve from Zuhlsdorf’s law. Hunger is a good signal that you’re starting on the road to recovery. Feel better, Father!

  6. APX says:

    I can empathize. I’m pretty sure the Department IT tech guy hates me. As I type this, I am re-writing a violation that never saved. I now do up hand written rough drafts of everything “just in case”.

  7. Sandy says:

    “Murphy was an optimist.” LOL But I hope you are feeling better, Father. I have heard that we should ask the Archangel Raphael for his healing balm (remember healing of the blindness?) and I use that prayer often. Let’s ask him to heal you, Father.

  8. acardnal says:

    Where have u been? Check out Soukup’s comment and photos under “My Idea of Concelebration” post. Beautiful TLM/EF.

    Also, if you are not aware, often posts photos of TLM Masses from all over the world.

  9. pbewig says:

    Most modern electronic devices are fitted with an ingenious piece of kit called a CND (critical need detector). The CND is able to read the degree of need of the user and adjust the functioning of the electronic device; the more critical the need, the less functionality the electronic device will deliver.

    Though some users prefer to apply a shotgun to the infernal device, the best remedy when faced with an overactive CND is chicken soup.

  10. I can commiserate dear Bro in Christ. The rectory basement flooded for no apparent reason as we await the arrival of His Grace the Bishop. I wonder how he would look in waders?

  11. acardinal: TLM photos? Nothing but the best:

    Well, not from all over the world, but from a southern river city in the country’s most sparsely Catholic-populated diocese, where this past Saturday we had our first solemn high nuptial Mass–the first of three this year–the daughters of 8-child families, each of which has a seminarian in the family, and one a nun. I.e., just “typical” TLM families!

  12. acardnal says:

    @Henry Edwards:
    Beautiful. Thanks for the link. I appreciate the modesty displayed in the gowns worn by the bride and bridesmaids, too.

  13. ktfaith says:

    @Henry Edwards
    Those pics of the nuptual Latin Mass are just beautiful. If I was aware of TLM at the time of my own wedding I would have gone in that direction.

    It’s so lovely and refreshing to see a bride in a dress with sleeves instead of the ever-boring and worn out trend of the strapless dress. Ugh! It’s great to see reverence and respect come back into the Church.

  14. OrthodoxChick says:

    Nice to have been missed – thank you! I’ve been touring area Catholic elementary/middle schools all week hoping to enroll one of my kids for the Fall. It’s not as easy as it sounds, either. I knew I had no shot of finding one in my area that teaches Latin or celebrates EF Masses. But I had no idea before embarking on my search that it would be a needle-in-a-haystack situation to find one that is at least traditionally Catholic in English. And I was educated by the Sisters of Mercy for all but three years of my K-12 education, so if I walk into a school today and it is more liberal than even what I experienced when I was in school, um, that’s not good!

    THANK GOD for Franciscans! I found a Franciscan-run school where they actually do more than just say an Our Father over the P.A. system before and after school (and no whacky, made-up prayers in between). This school has the kids saying Grace before they eat their lunch and at noon, the whole student body recites the Angelus!

    I’m going over to the “My Idea of Concelebration” post now. See you there!

  15. Bea says:

    Take care of yourself , Father. Warm dry socks. Get those damp clothes off when you get back.
    and take some hot tea.
    I’m sure, your mother would tell you so.

    “the same thrust but with a couple different angles.” Fr. Z.

    Maybe God made these things go haywire so you could add these “different angles”

    Thank God for His setbacks. He knows better than us what to do.

    Prayers for your feeling A-1 on the day for your talk.

    Yours in Christ

  16. benedetta says:

    Hope that you are feeling much better very soon, Father.

  17. tioedong says:

    I suspect that the sleepiness is from the antihistamine in the cold pill, or maybe from the cough suppressing ingredient.

    Try cutting the pill in half, or getting the liquid form and using the dosage for a six year old child. Then drink a strong cup of coffee to counteract the sedation…

  18. lh says:

    Feel better soon. So good to read you persevere. God bless you.

  19. pm125 says:

    Uh oh, he went out …

  20. It must be a really great talk, because clearly somebody doesn’t want you to give it.

  21. UncleBlobb says:


  22. Tonia says:

    If you’re looking for a good UK decongestant try Night Nurse and Day Nurse. Capsules are handy but the liquid form of Night Nurse really helps you sleep (take the max dose and don’t drive).

  23. irishgirl says:

    Oh, my goodness, ‘Zuhlsdorf’s Law’ really went into overdrive for you, Father Z!
    All your technology going ‘zap’ at the same time! Yikes!
    Well, I hope you’re starting to feel better, and that you will ‘look ’em in the eye and knock ’em dead’ at the conference!
    No fun getting sick abroad!

  24. Laura98 says:

    Oh Father, I’m so sorry about your tech problems… those are even worse when you don’t feel well. Prayers for your health and for your presentation too! I’m sure everything will go brilliantly!

  25. rodin says:

    Surely you will be cured very swiftly with so many of us praying for you.

    Cheers and sunshine on you walk to the pub.

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