Wednesday, August 05, 2009


I was in the middle of another romantic epiphany blog when it happened again. Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” suddenly went into an impromptu techno remix that only played one note, my mouse no longer worked… and then.. there it was.

The Blue Screen of Death.

I first saw the Blue Screen of Death last November. I didn’t really think too much about it. Just figured it was one of those buggy things that PC’s got every once in a while. So I upgraded my firewalls, upgraded my virus protection, and went about my own business. But then it happened again sometime mid February. And again in April. The Blue Screen of Death was becoming far too regular a visitor to my beloved laptop.

Ordinarily, I would just take Hewlett (my computer), to my buddy Erick and let him tinker with him until he was back in working order. But, I wasn’t in Tampa, and had no plans to travel in the immediate future. So I took Hewlett to the boys over at the Geek Squad to see if they could figure out what was wrong with him.

The diagnosis was bleak.

Hewlett was simply running out of memory and running out of time. Sure, I could buy an external hard drive and milk him a little while longer, but there was no telling when he would surf his final web page or simply give out on me. Here I was, a girl born and raised from the grassroots of internet message boards, and I could barely keep a solid WIFI connection, let alone multitask without sending Hewlett into an electronic seizure. And with all the craziness I had coming up in my schedule, I couldn’t afford to be caught on the road with no access to cyberspace. It was time to face a harsh reality. Hewlett had simply become outdated.

Hewlett and I have seen a lot of adventures (and misadventures) over the past few years. I got him as a Christmas gift from my parents the year I started writing for Sports Illustrated, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. He has seen me through the good times, the bad times, and all the ones in between.

How was I supposed to part with something that had been such a huge part of not only my professional success, but my personal life over the past four years?? Sure his “G” key was a little busted, his speakers were a little rusted, and his memory was at times a little fuzzy, but he always got the job done. We knew the airport security drill like the back of our hard drives, and had become masters of pirating our way through random WIFI connections. But what now?

Hewlett wasn’t the only one feeling the strain the past few years had put on our lives. Between my shooting schedules, upcoming projects, charity work, and meetings, I barely have enough time to sleep let alone take care of myself. And that’s while I was single. My relationships over the past few years had been even more draining, some of course far more than others. I dunno, maybe Hewlett was trying to tell me something. MALFUNCTION: NEED INPUT. Maybe I needed something else in my life. A change, a fresh… something. Maybe it was time.. to say goodbye.

I’m proud of the things I have accomplished in the short four years since that fateful Monday night. People can say I haven’t accomplished much, or downplay the victories I have had, or better yet attribute all my success to cleverly crafted cleavage… but I think they’d be shortchanging me if they did. As some of my colleagues have pointed out on numerous occasions, I wasn’t born into this industry. Nor did I have any real formal training. People work their entire lives to do a fraction of what I have done merely a few years. I was thrust into it overnight, by luck. Ran with it, by chance. And never looked back, with hard work and dedication.

That’s not to say I haven’t had a few missteps along the way. After all, with no fancy publicists, agents, or managers until recently.. I’ve done most of it by myself and the help of a few trusted friends and family. Sure, I will put my foot in my mouth a time or too but I’ve always said I am so much more eloquent on paper. Hewlett has spell check.. grammar check. And a backspace key. Really, what more could a girl ask for?

My parents arrived this week to help me get things in order and make final preparations for the big things ahead of me. After I coerced my dad into reprising his role as Tim the Tool Man Taylor and installing a new air conditioner in my future apartment.. I gave him an even bigger task: One last ditch effort to save Hewlett. My dad is pretty nifty with computers, but something in the back of my mind said this job was just too big for any of us to handle.

As we backed up all of Hewlett’s memories, part of me couldn’t help but get a little nostalgic. There I was…. meeting Brent Musberger in Eugene, Oregon. Shaking & Baking with Tony Stewart and the boys of NASCAR. Falling in love and touching the Ivy on the Walls of Wrigley. There were pictures intermixed of boyfriends past. The ones that were better off friends, the ones that got away, and the ones I couldn’t seem to get .. to just go away. Then, there they were. The infamous screen captures that started it all: The birth of “The Cowgirl.” I couldn’t help but laugh at how things had changed in the past four years. From short shorts and cowboy hats, to power suits and couture dresses. The ‘lil Cowgirl was all grown up. I guess we all have to at some point, right?..

While perusing through the photos I stumbled upon a folder name I didn’t recognize. GHSMB2002. Hm.. that’s weird. I opened the folder.

Sure enough, it was the old me. The one before the plastic surgery, the one before all the heartbreak. The girl who was a hopeless romantic, a prolific piano player, and had one of the biggest cheese grins you have ever seen.

Then it dawned on me.

WTF was I thinking?!?!?!?! I couldn’t disassemble Hewlett. He had served me well, and I was just willing to throw in the towel.. just like that. I don’t think so!!!


So, countless hours later, with a new partitioned hard drive and lord knows what other miracles my dad had worked on the operating table, we managed to buy Hewlett a second lease on life. It wasn’t quite starting over per se, because we’d always have our memories and the occasional glitch here or there. But at least we had a fresh blank screen to work on.. a new hard drive. External hard drive for the old memories.. but a place to start anew and keep the good times coming. Then I thought, maybe it was time to shut down my own operating systems for a little while, and reboot myself too.

Sometimes you just have to start life over with a blank screen and leave the past right where it belongs… behind you, whatever hardships it may entail. Otherwise, you could look around one day and find yourself.. well, extremely outdated. I wasn’t about to tear apart all the hard work I had done in the past five years, only tweak it so I could build upon it to start a new chapter. The road ahead wasn’t going to be an easy one.. but I was prepared to do just that.

Please Stand By Ladies and Gentlemen…..

Jenn 2.0 is LOADING.. .. .. .. ..


Alex said...

buy an apple - you'll never have such an issue ever again.

Anonymous said...

in my opinion your best blog ever!

Chris said...

if HP laptops only last 4 years then im about to have the same blog post shortly...=(

Shannon said...

Awesome! Miss ya!

Doug said...

Wow....a Short Circuit reference... You indeed have an endless supply of movie quotes and references.

You should be proud of your accomplishments. You have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. I think you've only scratched the surface on your potential.

Safe travels on the path ahead!! I have a feeling many things will start falling into place for you in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Damn you are fine. When are we going to see you on ESPN?

Joey said...

It's funny how old pictures can bring us to an almost Zen type of place. A place of smiles and tears, heartache and those oh so great warm fuzzy feelings! Only too close the Laptop, and BAM!, as the song go's " Back to life,... Back to reality "

Don't forget Sterg, this journey of your's all started with a picture! A picture I'll never forget, b/c I was there when they flashed you and the crew on the Jumbotron!

Do yourself a favor, and make a CD with all your memories. I'd hate for O'le Hewlett to Packard on you!


Fern said...

I was about to say that you might be a bit over-sentimental with your computer, it *is* just a piece of hardware, what's inside is what should matter. Then I looked to the immediate right of my current monitor, and sitting there is my old, original bondi-blue iMac, which will be 10 years old this christmas... and I refuse to toss it out.

I understand your need to 'reboot' and restart fresh, a v2.0 like you said, and it makes sense to want to be able to hold unto something that's familiar, even if its a box with fancy circuitry inside it.

My old coach used to say there is no such thing as "luck", its just when preparation meets opportunity. You were given an opportunity to be in the spotlight, and you were prepared enough to roll along with the sudden media attention even if it meant using your body at first to even be given a second glance. I believe you have matured enough that- while yes, you will always be the "sexy cowgirl"- you are starting to be promoted on your talents and abilities and not just your perfect 11 grand boob job.

Best of "luck" to you in the future.

luxury link mchoe said...

definitely buy a macbook - i converted 2 years ago and very happy about the decision

John said...


Just discovered you. So I'm a little slow. :) While I do remember seeing your photos from several years ago I didn't get caught up i nthe hoopla. Don't get me wrong, you are a beautiful young lady. But hey, the internet is full of 'em. What I find surprising is your ability to write.

I have spent the past few hour reading many of your blog posts. Aside from the occasional homophone misuse, absolutely great stuff. The English language literally flows through you. I guess that makes it your "Force".

In any case, you will figure out life, or it might be the other way around. Not sure how it happened to me. But I do know that I didn't hit my stride until I was in my early thirties.

Looking forward to more good reading. Take care!


ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joey said...


I sure hope your ass is coming home for the game Monday!!!

Get to typing girl, your slacking!!


Take Care!!

Veritas said...

Loved the title.
You know that with technology the life expectance of any hardware or software is getting more and more out-of-date; simply putting it there is no crying over what can’t keep up with today’s standards.
I agree that throwing Hewlett away isn’t the right answer, you can always use it to store your must important files, and the things that are personal or at least use it has a diary.
But without any doubt you should buy a new computer, more updated, one that can last you at least 3 or 4 more years until you have to update to another one.
I know it sounds silly but for people like me on my line of work out-of-date material simply doesn’t cut it, how on hell I could have a 24 MB internet service with my old computers, the moment I started to turn on some software’s the computer would have a fit, and having to worry every minute when one’s computer is going to crash doesn’t help with smoothing the environment either.
So give yourself a gift and buy a new computer if you want the specifications for a computer that will last you at least 6 to 8 years, just ask and I will answer.
Now there was one part that caught my attention “…it was the old me. The one before the plastic surgery, the one before all the heartbreak. The girl who was a hopeless romantic, a prolific piano player, and had one of the biggest cheese grins you have ever seen.”
And I say it caught my attention because you speak of some things like they where in the past and we both know that that isn’t true.
The “Hopeless Romantic” part isn’t in the past, sure you have mature along the years and you are more prepared for certain situations, but let us not forget recent past events that showed that you are still a hopeless romantic, I’m sure you aren’t has much has you were in the past but there’s still a spark of hopeless romantic in you.
And “Before all the heartbreak” well…I guess I don’t even have to explain this part, you know the answer better then anyone.
But back to the theme of this blog, I believe we all need a little reboot ourselves once in a while and constant upgrades also doesn’t hurt anyone.
That’s how my life has been ever since I remember constant upgrades and sometimes a reboot, of forgotten or even lost friendships and relationships.
You know that things have to change, not necessarily disappear, but change is inevitable and that is sometimes a bad thing but most of the times is a great thing; new friends, new jobs, new hobbies, new objectives; a constant upgrade of who we are and what defines us.
My worries with upgrades will end soon but hey at least you have your all life ahead of you, and you never know when a upgrade will come and change your world completely and everything that troubles you now will be gone and you will find full happiness.
At least that is what I wish for you.
Be safe and continue upgrading your blogs.