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 Hewlett had simply become outdated.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.. .. .. .. ..