Chapter 39

The parts order from hell

Fri Mar 26, 2004 at 09:23:17 PM EST

So, I'm sitting at my kitchen table happily typing away when the damned computer locks up.
It's not supposed to do that, I was using Mandrake 8.2 and KDE!
So I cuss and rant and threaten it and call it names and try to think of a way to blame Ashcroft and Rumsfield who, being absolutely evil, makes an excellent head for the Defense Department. Can't think of any. Shit.
I hit the three fingers, and KDE sits there frozen like Evil-X's soul. Damn. I hit the reset button, and it goes black.
And stays there. So I cold boot it and... nothing.
So, I open it up. The CPU fan isn't moving.




Of course, like the way that any cigarette smoking Hanford employee who dies of cancer at age 97 was killed by the tobacco company, my CPU was fried by overclocking.
Yeah, read that sentence again...
Anyway, this is the second Celeron this box has had in it, and both died the same way - their fans stopped.
In over twenty years of computing, I have never once had a power supply fan go bad. In fact, in all my life I've only seen one fan of any kind stop, and it was a forty five year old window fan with a blown capacitor.
So here's the second chip fan offing my CPU in only a couple of years. It's a conspiracy, dammit!!
Being around Christmas, and having just bought a thousand dollar television, I just let the computer gather dust for a while. I mean, that CPU frying was surely God's way of telling me to set it aside for a while.
Speaking of which, I read that Pat Robertson said that God told him that Bush would win again.
So, when Kerry [insert appropriate sports term here] him in a fucking landslide, does that make God a liar? Right wing Christians rejoice, you don't have to go to the polls this year! Bush has God on his side and doesn't need your vote.
I forgot what I was talking about.
Oh yeah, the computer. Anyway, After paying for a thousand dollar TV, a Playstation for my oldest daughter and a nice Jenson car stereo for my youngest daughter and an $800 repair three weeks after I bought the $500 car, I was a little short for computer parts.
Finally I catch up a little, and decide that dammit, I'm not going to replace that fan and chip again. They're Jurrassic age PC parts; an old 400 mz Celeron.
Nope, I'm going to buy a whole new motherboard!
Of course, I'll need memory for the new board. And hell, it would be nice if I could watch these AVI music videos they put on some CDs on that bigassed TV set. So I want a video card with TV out, too.
So, I call my supplier. I'm not going to name names, because this is the first time I've ever had a bit of trouble with them. Their order takers are more knowledgeable than a lot of places' tech support people.
Until this time. What's worse, the guy didn't sound like he should have been saying I am. We told it, I am. Sofa king, we told it.
Have someone read that sentence to you out loud.
At any rate, I tell the guy about my dead Celeron and how I want to upgrade the motherboard, and get some memory, and get a video card so I can plug it into the TV. He tries to sell me a supercomputer cluster, and I say no, I'm not much into computer gaming any more so a pretty low end one would do.
He figures the cost, tax, shipping. Of course, the God damned UPS won't ship to a residential address on Saturday. Dumbasses. That's when people can be home! One of you rich guys should start a competing company that fills this niche, you could get rich. Uh, richER.
So he tells me it will be there Friday. I take Friday afternoon off to wait for the new computer.
No computer. I call the supplier. Oh, it was back ordered . Nice. They had my phone number, they could have called me, but I wasted half a vacation day because they couldn't be bothered.
Seems like the last time something was back ordered, they called me and apologized, and kept me from wasting half a vacation day.
OK, I say, so far being nice and not admonishing them about the call. How about delivering it to my work?
So Monday I tell the guard I'm expecting a UPS delivery and make sure he knows where I sit. It's a big building, and I was only there for a temporary assignment.
No package.
Oh yeah, the almost obligatory Paxil twist to a mcgrew story ( -1, no tripping with Paxil and beer mentioned! )...
I should edit that last sentence, it's really ugly, isn't it? But anyway, quitting serotonin reuptake inhibitors is quite like giving up what the Brits call fags .
Yes, son, when you hear that guy with a British accent in that pub talking about how much he hates fags, he's not trying to pick a fight with your limp wristed ass. Nope, he's bitching about the cigarette smoke.
Oops, my apologies. I should be more sensitive. That should be limp wristed arse.
I know how hard it is for an Englishman to give up faggery (is that correctly stated?) as I used to smoke cigarettes myself.
Oops... er, SHIT; I was going to post a link! Does anybody have a link to that smoking story? The K5ARP portrait was priceless, I can't lose that!
So unlike Rusty, I've been on a very short fuse lately. You guys are lucky I'm not him, or K5 would have been a sheet of radioactive glass. I mean, some things skirt the line, but some things dance yards past it and do little victory dances while flipping you the bird and flinging boogers at you.
Ur, shit, I'm OT again. I was talking about Paxil... and I stopped taking them about two weeks ago.
Some people cry. Some people commit suicide.
Like cigarettes, whose nicotine affects serotonin reuptake, withdrawal symptoms can be blind rage, as in my case.
I'm proud of myself. So far I've managed to stay out of jail, despite a couple of almost bar fights. Actually, there was one bar fight but I managed to stay out of it. I'll have to fill you all in on that in another diary, I guess, this one's getting really long and the story's nowhere near finished yet.
So I'm really starting to get pissed by now. I mean, pissed like a Palestinian. No, even madder, because those bomb-strappers ain't going through Paxil withdrawal.
And they never met Evil-X, either. Is proof of Satan also proof of God?
So I call the supplier, and give the lady a hard time just because she works the same place as the asshole that took my order, and she says she'll call me back.
She calls me right back, and says that UPS tried to ship it but the building I was in didn't exist. So I get the UPS number and harass them.
She says that the driver said that he tried to deliver it, but they didn't know me. I politely called bullshit.
Your driver's just plain lying. I then explained how I had alerted the guard first thing in the morning. And I told them that they could get my parts to me by 6:30 at my house or they could ship the God damned thing back to the supplier and I'll go to the store in town and just buy a new damned computer. I mean, it just isn't worth the hassle.
To their credit, they had it there by 6:00, and the driver was apologizing profusely and making excuses.
So, I open it up, and go to install the motherboard...
And there's no way in hell it's going to work in this case! No mounting holes line up, and all the i/o ports are soldered on, so that it obviously needs a proprietary case.
I call them back, catalog in hand. And while on hold (they didn't use to have me on hold like this either) I notice a combo: a motherboard just like the one I paid $125 for, with a case, for $125.
The movie Airplane kept popping into my head ( sure picked a lousy day to quit taking Paxil ).
So she'll have a case sent to my work.
This time it was actually delivered. I got back from lunch and it was sitting on my chair.
Once home I decide that there just wasn't any challenge in building a computer, so I decide to get drunk first.
It still wasn't a challenge.
However, when I went to boot the thing, neither Windows nor Linux liked the new hardware. Linux just took forever booting, and Windows refused to boot at all.
So I started it with a DOS floppy, and DOS happily displayed all the files on the C: (or as Linux sees it, hdb) drive.
I try to reload Windows, and get a cryptic error message. Something about the boot record... of course, the boot record must have gotten corrupted somehow.
And we all know the answer to a corrupt master boot record is FDISK /MBR.
Oops. Shouldn'ta drunked that last beer. Shit. Windows is on the second drive, Linux is on the primary drive. I had killed LILO, the Linux bootloader. There was no way this drive would live again in its present incarnation. I would have to find the Mandrake CDs and reinstall LILO.
The Mandrake CDs are nowhere to be found.
Now I had to get Windows going. I unplugged both drives and plugged the Windows drive in as the primary disk. This time, after another floppy boot, I was able to reinstall Windows.
Then I found out why the phone company sent me a new DSL modem and cables and filters when I already had them. The old stuff wouldn't work with their new stuff.
No problem, as the new stuff was on the table in an unopened box. I was soon zooming around the internet on my fast new computer, and of course the first place I went was...
Hell no, not K5. I went to get some Mandrake ISOs. As soon as I get Linux running, I tell myself, I'll put the video card in.
As Mandrake is downloading, I set out to delete spam. Spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam and yet even more spam.
It took longer to clean out all the spam than it did to download three CDs! But after the electronic pigshit was cleaned off of the virtual carpet, there was an email from the supplier telling me about the back order.
Yeah, geniuses, it's really easy to check my email with a broken computer.
I do the upgrade install, and it's hosed. I can't get KDE to come up. So I reinstall as a new installation. Wallah! Can't get the DSL to work but WTF, that'll come.
Time to put in that new video card and plug it in to the TV. I've got Reefer Madness on the computer and want to see it on the movie-like TV screen.
The card is an AGP card. The motherboard has no AGP port.
Of course.
So I called the supplier - and got the same clown that sold me the shit. And I gave him a hard time in spades. I told him I didn't say I want part number x and part number y, I said I wanted a motherboard to replace a 400 celeron and a video card to watch it on the TV; he picked the parts and I paid for them, and he didn't deliver what he sold me.
He started arguing, and I just said OK, I've had it. Now you're rudely interrupting me. That's it, I want to talk to your supervisor.
But I...
Look, I've been buying your stuff for fifteen years and never had this kind of God damned clusterfuck. And then been argued with. Now put your supervisor on the phone!
Well, we surely can come up with some sort of solution...
You're goddamned right you can! You can send me what I paid for; what I asked for and paid for. Send me a PCI video card or an AGP motherboard. And I don't expect to pay for shipping or anything else, either.
But we can't...
Put your supervisor on!
Well, maybe I can...
So a new motherboard, with AGP port and slightly faster processor, was supposed to come today.
It didn't. It's backordered; It's supposed to be here Saturday, overnighted.
So if you folks will excuse me, I'm going down to the bar and drink and listen to music and ogle at women.
And try to stay out of jail.


Chapter 38
Chapter 40

mcgrew publishing