Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Metapost - An Apology

I really had intended to give you a review of Standofftonight but circumstances conspired against me, to the point where Tuesday was not one of my better days. Here's something of a timeline.

10:20 a.m.: Computer is on, I'm getting ready to sign up for a poker tournament.
10:25 a.m.: Computer suddenly goes into reboot mode then refuses to do anything at all including turn off. I immediately suspect the Hard Drive so attempt to boot from an Ubuntu (Linux) Live CD. Nothing.
10:30 a.m.: I now think it's either the CPU or the cooling fan. Open up the side of the computer. Turn on the computer. Fan not spinning, but is CPU gone too? Let CPU cool down.
11:30 a.m.: Turn on computer first with Ubuntu then with Windows. No problem but I turn the computer off - better safe than sorry.
11:45 a.m.: Proceed to do a number of unimportant things, including having lunch and watching my tape of most of the premier episode of Deadwood (cable company got some of the times wrong). It's showing on History Channel here and is basically one of the best things on TV and why people get to stand up at awards shows and proclaim that this is the "New Golden Age Of Television." Too bad it got cancelled after three seasons.
1:45 p.m.: Off to get a new cooling fan for my Athlon 2200+ processor. Set out on my bike for the nearest computer store. It's a ways away but the last time I was there they had just about everything.
2:10 p.m.: Arrive at Compusmart and after several minutes of waiting for the employees of the store to notice me I finally accost the two people standing at the single cash register talking and going over some papers. They can help me so the call for one of their sales staff. The first guy can't help me because he's got a guy looking at TVs. He goes in the back and gets a second salesman without even asking what it is I need. The second sales man is older but so utterly clueless that he literally takes me to the opposite side of the store from where I know the CPU fans to be (they're behind a counter which is why I couldn't help myself. He instructs me to try a place about 8 blocks up on Faithful Avenue.
2:23 p.m.: I begin to realise that the salesman's knowledge of the area and of retailers in his business is about as weak as his knowledge of the stock in his own store. I can't find the place he mentioned and certainly not in the area he mentioned.
2:45 p.m.: Head for the Staples store in the area. I recall in the past seeing computer equipment including parts like CPU fans there. They have tons of ink cartridges, no CPU fans.
3:10 p.m.: Heading home hot and frustrated I remember another store in the vicinity. Divert there. They've been out of business since August 15th.
3:30 p.m.: Arrive home. Down a can of iced tea without actually tasting it. I just need something cold and wet. Decide to do what I should have done in the first place and call until I find a place that has what I need.
4:02 p.m.: Having found a place that has what I need I decide to take the bus. It stops about four blocks from where I live and in an amazing bit of serendipity also stops four blocks from the store with my part.
4:15 p.m.: Discover several things. All of the busses in the city are running late. 25th Street is a parking lot from 3rd Avenue to the top of the University Bridge, and since virtually all of the busses in the city use 25th Street and the University Bridge this could be the explanation.
4:40 p.m.: Manage to complete my trip without strangling anyone although the temptation is great. Get my part and a bit more - they don't sell the fans without a heat sink, but fortunately you can take the fans off.
5:00 p.m.: Catch a DART bus a block away from the store. It's air conditioned and on a day like this I need it. My only regret is that the trip is too short. 25th Street is still a parking lot but only the eastbound lanes.
5:34 p.m.: Drag my sad and sorry butt home. Decide to have pot noodle for supper.
6:00 p.m.: Watch season debut of House. Good.
7:00 p.m.: Watch series premiere of Standoff. Will write about it next week but suffice it to say that this is not a show that will have people standing up at awards shows and saying "this is the New Golden Age Of Television."
8:00 p.m.: Install new cooling fan. This also included a series vacuuming of the interior of the computer and in particular the heat sink which is so disgusting that it makes me wish I was also installing the new heat sink.
9:00 p.m.: My God, the damned thing works.
10:30 p.m.: Discover that the poker tournament I've been looking forward to all day has been cancelled - They're doing system maintenance.
2:15 a.m.: The computer stops functioning again. Turns out that the power bar switch that I turned off and on repeatedly in the morning finally decided that it was in the "off" position... fourteen hours later!

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