Thursday, September 01, 2005

God Killed My Computer - The Full Story

Anyone who visits here regularly will know that I’ve been out of action internet wise for the past couple weeks. Basically, my old computer got struck by lightning. For those of you who care, or have nothing better to do, here is the whole story.

It was a dark and stormy morning. Paulius and Sunny are sitting on their couch, watching a really bad movie. Padme the kitten is curled up in Paulius’ lap, purring contentedly. The fish are in the tank, plotting Paulius’ death.

Suddenly, a peal of thunder fills the air.

“Hmm, that sounded close!” Said Paulius to Sunny.
“A little…too close.” Replied Sunny.

Padme raises his head, scowls at the disturbance, and goes back to sleep.

Now Paulius, being from a country with fairly mild weather, usually underestimates the sheer destructive power of the weather. Sunny, who missed being struck by lightning by a matter of feet last year, tends to overestimate their destructive power.

However, all in the house of Paulius is quiet. As usual, Paulius is trying to implant the idea of a cup of coffee into Sunny’s head, meaning she will think it’s her idea, and actually go turn the coffee maker on.

A louder peal of thunder fills the air. Sunny flinches, Padme buries his head in Paulius’ lap, Paulius just continues watching ‘Teen Wolf Too’.

A sense of calm fills the air, all is at peace with the world.


The world suddenly becomes one loud noise. Nothing like Paulius has ever heard. It’s like having your head sandwiched between two cannons, pressed against your ears, and them being fired simultaneously. It doesn’t even sound like your normal peal of thunder. There’s the usual explosion-like roar, but it’s accompanied by a sound eerily similar to whacking a length of steel pipe against an anvil as hard as you can while standing in an empty echoey cavern.

The house shakes.

Sunny somehow seems to collapse in on herself, taking up about 1/10th the space she usually occupies.

Paulius turns his head and shouts “Fuuuuuuuckin’ HELLLL!”

Padme literally levitates about 8 feet into the air, still curled up in the s fetal position. However, as he reaches the apex of his jump, he twists in the air and starts running hell for leather…long before hitting the ground. When he finally does reach the ground, his whole body seems to stretch, and his front half is in the kitchen before his back half even moves.

He leaves a trail like the flaming tire tracks from ‘Back to the Future’.

“Great Scott!” Says Paulius.

After a while things calm down. Sunny unfolds herself to were she is obeying the laws of physics again. A little broom-work gets the cat down from the ceiling in the kitchen, where he’s clamped into the artex with a death like kitty-grip.

“That was the loudest noise I’ve ever heard, ever!” Says Paulius. “It didn’t even sound like lightning, more like a metallic ping noise!”

“No shit!” Say’s Sunny.

Thanks to Paulius’ two hours of subliminal suggestion, plus the fact that she actually would like a cup, Sunny goes to make coffee.

2 minutes later, she reappears, ashen faced.

“The coffee maker…” She sputters. “It’s DEAD!”

It was amazing that the word ‘dead’ inspired another flash of lighning. The flash illuminates her face. Somewhere, someone with access to a gothic organ plays:


“No way!” Paulius says. Losing the coffee maker is like being told your rent of the life support machine is over due, and the repo men are outside with a van.

Paulius stomps to the kitchen and presses the on button.


“I tried that.” Said Sunny.

“Now wait!” Says Paulius. “DON’T PANIC! DON’T PANIC!!!!”

A few sharp slaps calms him down.

He unplugs the coffee maker, muttering “It’s just a fuse, just a fuse, just a fuse.”

Unfortunately, thanks to Corporate America, it is just a fuse, a fuse that is inaccessible, and non-replaceable. Paulius finds the coffee maker documentation, and finds that in order to get it up and running, it means sending it back. The cost will be roughly what he paid for the thing in the first place.

He emits a Darth Vader-like “Nooooooooooooo!”

The worst was yet to come. The phonelines were out…for a week.

No internet, no coffee. For the next week, Paulius and Sunny acted like two addicts coming off crack. It didn’t help that every time we called the phone company from Sunny’s work, they stated that the phones would definitely, most certainly be working tomorrow.

One week later, the phonelines are repaired. Sunny attempts to check the email.

“Sweetie?” She says to Paulius. “I can’t dial up!”

Paulius tries…and fails.

He turns the modem speaker way up, he knows that listening to the dial-up negotiation might help.

There’s a dial tone. The computer dials, but each digit sounds more like an electric fart than a phone ‘beep’.

“Uh-oh”. He says.

He tries everything, including waiting for the computer to fail to dial, picking up the phone handset and dialing manually. The negotiation starts, and goes on, and on, and on. Quite simply, the modem isn’t sending anything.

He panics until Sunny slaps him about a bit. She carries on for a little longer than necessary. She appears to be enjoying herself.

We get to the rub. The modem is broken. It’s also an onboard modem. The computer is also ex-rental and locked. Any installed hardware that wasn’t originally installed will cause the computer to fail to boot.

In other words, Paulius and Sunny were up shit creek. It’s not that they didn’t have a paddle…they didn’t even have a canoe.

Paulius tries everything. Configurig the modem manually, stripping the entire system down and starting over. Nothing, absolutely nothing worked.

Fortunately, Paulius remembered he knew two perfect guardian angels. Known universally by their heavenly name of Mum and Dad. After much soul searching he gives them a call.

Like the two perfect examples of sainthood they are, they agree to send some money. That added to our life savings (about a buck fifty) paid for the new computer.

It was a day of celebration and much merriment. The cash arrived, and a trip to the Whore of Computing, CompUSA herself, landed a brand new system on the desktop. One that doesn’t take 2 and a half hours to boot up.

And all was well in the House of Paulius.

(except for the way he pounces on the computer and unplugs everything at the first hint of a storm).


MC Etcher said...

What a horrible and well told story.

I hope the pounce-and-unplug works in the future, I'll be doing the same thing soon - once we move to FL.

Paulius said...

Yup, I'm also considering leaving it unplugged unless I'm actually using it. In case I'm out.

I'm just pleased I wasn't actually on it at the time!

Vicarious Living said...

Ah, the days of power surges, power outages, power trips. I remember them well.

OzzyC said...

I had that happen once. Lightning struck right outside... I was living in a house built in 1899. when the lightning struck, sparks flew out of every socket in the room. The computer lived, but need its modem amputated and replaced with a newer bionic modem. The TV made it. The VCR didnt. I was amazed that anything made it though, after seeing sparks fly out of all of those wall sockets.

Welcome back.

Kato said...

I can't rememember if I mentioned it when the story of your computer's demise first broke, but I had a similar experience a couple years ago. In my case, though, it was either an electrical surge or a prolonged brownout. Either way, numerous components on my PC got friend, most importantly and sadly my hard drive. I was a very, very distraught Kato.

Welcome back to the Information Superhighway (does anyone use that term anymore??)

Paulius said...

Maybe 'the information super traffic jam'