John Walker's Electronic House

by on Jan.16, 2005, under The Rest

Perhaps the curse has been lifted.

Anyone who has ever had the misfortune to be near me during a time of computer crisis (these times are indicated by the computer’s being switched to “on”) will know that I am particularly plagued by the most peculiar and perplexing problems. And I still maintain that it’s not through any fault of my own.

I find it particularly unfair, for instance, when I’m installing a new graphics card and the plastic of my monitor starts melting, or upgrading my soundcard drivers and a volcano erupts on my motherboard getting lava in the memory card slots, and the response from the individual to whom I turn for help is to say, “That would only happen to you, John.” And then laugh.

People on tech support lines, after realising that I’m reasonably aux fait with the insides of the machine (and hence am not using my PC as a hostess trolley for dinner parties, or desperately confused about why my floppy discs keep breaking the DVD drive) then take on a strange tone of sad confusion when I explain the error.

“I’m sorry sir, but it’s not possible for the screen to turn red and start bleeding from the front.”

Today was spent building a new PC from harvested parts, giving me something more up-to-date for this modern games reviewing lark (3200+ Athlon 64, 1GB RAM, GF FX 5900, DVDR/W, geek readers). Well, it was spent by my lovely housemate Jonty building it, while I drew on the case with permanent black marker pen. My PC now has a large, smoking explosion on the side. By my work, not Jonty’s.

However, the entire time he was at the machine (containing only the memory of the previous, and nothing else the same), he was alternating between chuckling at the impossible things that were going wrong, and swearing at the impossible things that were going wrong. Heroically, he saw it through, and I’ve spent the rest of the day (apart from jaunts in town with the ever lovely Hannah and Jo) emptying small hard drives onto large, and installing PCI card drivers. What a treat.

But. But but but. It all seems to be working fine. Maybe it was enough. Maybe it was writing “THIS CASE IS CURSED” in large block letters on the top of the case that humiliated it into trying harder. Maybe it was just my turn for happiness.

Of course, such positive thoughts mean I fear the inevitable explosive loss of life and damage deposit. But I write “but” too often in the face of fear, and claim it anyway. The curse is lifted! My machine is new and good! Tonight. But there was something a bit weird with Winamp earlier. And this green smoke probably isn’t meant to make me feel this dizzy.

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