Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Guest post by Son Number One

Now that I’ve waited entirely too long, here it goes.

The move had me behind on work by at least a week. I woke up and noticed that my computer was off. No big surprise there, it probably had a nice blue screen for no reason in the middle of the night. I turn it on and just as it’s pulling up windows, it turns off in a blink.

For the next hour or so, I try to get windows to boot.. Trying safe mode, different settings etc. No avail.

Then I try booting and just going into the bios (without even touching windows) sure enough, it shuts off on its own.
I busted out the timer and started timing it.. Seems to turn off at around 2 minutes whether I boot windows or not.

Guh.. It must be a faulty piece of hardware. It’s probably past lunch time by now..what a productive day!

I start pulling out the pci cards one at a time and booting the system to see what the problem is. All the while, doing research on my laptop, trying to find a clue. The only thing I could find about a time delay power-off like this was the processor overheating. This means that it could be the cpu or the gpu (the processor on the video card). Well, I’ll try the gpu first.. Oh crap, this dumb computer doesn’t have another video out.

By this time I have all the pci cards out and I’m convinced that it must be the processor overheating.. So I just have to re-seat it. That means I just need my tiny tube of thermal paste.. Yeah right.. I’m going to find a <1 oz. tube of metal paste in this post-move catastrophe of a halfway unpacked house!

I searched and searched.. Through boxes, drawers, boxes, drawers... (there are a lot of them) ...nothing.

By this time, I have an appointment for the comcast (cable) guy to come by. (On a side-note, I was using the neighbor’s wireless to do my research.)
Since the cable jerk is supposed to be here ANY TIME IN THIS 2 HOUR WINDOW, I’m stuck and can’t run to the store for thermal paste!!!!

I called Klam and asked him to pick some up for me on his way home from work.

Now, we wait. This computer, my only computer set up to work on is dead in the water. I tried to get a little bit of unpacking done. I tried not to think about how this was the second time this computer had left me high and dry in less than a month!

The cable guy finally arrives... An hour late!! I could have easily slipped out to the store for the paste.... Go figure.

I still have my computer’s guts all over the floor, and naturally the comcast guy has to offer his “expert” opinion on what the problem is. I don’t remember what he said, but I know he was wrong. He’s annoying and is taking forever!

He had to dig a trench, drill a hole under the sidewalk and run a new wire! It took the bastard like 3 hours!

Klam finally gets home with the thermal paste and I go to work. While I have the processor off, I pull out all but a single stick of ram. (I should have done this sooner).

After re-applying the paste and re-seating the processor, the computer actually boots up and stays on!!
Amazing. Nobody breathe in the general direction of this shitty computer please.

I put the hardware in a bit at a time.. Careful not to upset the delicate balance that this entire day’s been wasted on achieving.
The cable guy is finally gone, it’s about 10pm and I can finally take care of a little bit of work shit.. Cute.

The next day, I was livid about having wasted the second day in a matter of weeks to computer problems. I had priced out a nice new pc build for less than $800. However, the thought of dealing with windows disgusted me. I was telling edward about my computer woes and once again, he brought up the mac and how solid it is. I looked on ebay for s&g’s (which I had done before) and found one that was exactly what I was looking for.

I showed it to edward and scott (both mac users) and they agreed that it’s a great deal. I decided to go ahead and buy it with the company credit card. I couldn’t afford to keep losing days like this. My initial plan was to pay cash for 50% of the new machine and finance the other half, but this couldn’t wait any longer.

I messaged the guy on ebay and asked him how much it would be for adding shipping insurance. He said it’s $50 and that he would throw in an extra 2 gb of ram if I bought it today. Woohoo!! It was already a good deal, now it was a great one!

I bid on the item using “buy it now” and went to paypal to make payment. I ensured that my business credit card was set to the default card and submitted the payment. It would not allow me to add the $50 manually, so I clicked “send money” and proceeded to send the $50 in another pmt. When I selected the item number, little did I know that it populated the price field with the full price of the auction, erasing the $50 that I typed in. After submitting the payment, I realized that I had double paid for a $2,000 computer. Crap.

I sent the guy a message explaining that I had double-paid and asked for a refund. A couple nervous hours later, he issued the refund so then I sent him the $50. After that, I realized that he had issued the refund MINUS the $50.. So I had to ask for a second refund! DUH!!!

Whew! Finally that debacle is over. The computer is ordered and my days of being chained to this lousy pc are numbered!

The next day was Friday and I was hoping to have my new mac by Tuesday. I picked away at some work and then had a nice weekend.

Monday morning rolls around and I jump online to check out my finances. Much to my shock and horror, my business account balance is -$1,500!!! Upon further inspection, BOTH computer payments were taken from my bank account and NOT MY CREDIT CARD.

I feverishly pulled up paypal’s contact information and got them on the phone. I explained what had happened and demanded to know why the money had come from the wrong place. The hag explained to me that unless specified for the transaction itself, the default funding source is the bank account. Regardless of which credit card is set to primary. My blood was boiling and I had nobody’s face to spit it in! I called compass bank to explain what had happened. This was totally my fault, but it was an honest mistake.. Bah. I have never allowed my business account to get under $200... Much less $1,500 below zero! Compass told me that there was a 6 day period in which they don’t charge overdraft charges. This was pretty amazing since they are usually disappointing me with their shitty methods of doing everything.

All I needed now was a couple thousand dollars to tide me over while I wait for the paypal refund to process (7-10 days) and then the transfer into my bank account (3-5 days) to take place. Jeez!

I realized that I had recently opened up a line of credit on my personal bank account for use as overdraft protection. Thank goodness!
I called them up too check on what kind of fees might be incurred. They only charge for interest. Nice.

I borrowed $2,500 and put $2k into my business account. WHEW!! Talk about a freaking aneurysm.

So Tuesday night I check my business account (into which I deposited $2k) and what do you know? It’s back in the negative because a $700 check that I wrote had just cleared. Crap.

Moving, coupled with these computer problems had knocked me out of my accounting routine and I overlooked that check.

I got up extra early again and ran to pull more cash out to add buoyancy to my business account. This time, I went into the bank to see about opening up a line of credit with them so this crap doesn’t happen again. Aaah.. Now here’s the old, crappy, archaic method of doing things that compass is famous for!!

It took over an hour to get the line of credit PAPERWORK filled out, then she had to fax it to the branch in which I opened my account blah blah blah..


Anyways after that I tried to have some semblance of a normal day. Reaching for my inner zen master and trying to be as patient as possible while awaiting my computer salvation to arrive.

Wednesday went by and I was starting to lose said patience. Thursday morning I checked ups’ website and they said the package was delivered ON TUESDAY!!!!!!!! I called them up and demanded an explanation. The person on the phone, naturally a condescending jerk, explained to me that the package WAS in fact, delivered.. Delivered to 746 Hamilton St. on Tuesday... Nearly 2 days earlier... Whoa.

“THAT’S THE WRONG ADDRESS!!!” I growled into the phone. The foreign weirdo on the other end said “Sir, you will have to contact blah blah blah, inc.”
“wha... Blah blah inc...!? Who the hell is that!? You people just left a package that size on the porch of an empty house!? Nobody had to sign for it!?!?” “No sir, we do not require a signature. It is our policy blah blah... You need to contact blah blah, inc.” “WHO IS BLAH BLAH, INC!?” “The people who sent the package...” [CLICK!!!]

It was clear that this was my own damn fault... I must not have fully changed my address. Just like everything else that’s happened in the past week. It was also pretty clear that despite my having paid for insurance, I would likely have absolutely no recourse in the event that the computer is gone.

I hurried out the door.. My mine racing.. The blood drained from my face. It was a 12 minute drive to the old house with no traffic. There was traffic. It took everything I had not to peel around every corner. I had to constantly remind myself that this could, in fact, get worse.

As I approached the half way point, I felt a sinking in my stomach. I thought about how I would react when I pull up and see that empty porch. I had to start coming to terms with the fact that this entire hellish week was nothing but a waste of over $2,000. I had to think about how I might somehow have learned a lesson out of all of this.

I got closer to the house.. I was gripping the wheel... Trembling. Stomach felt like it was ready to heave up any contents it may contain. I get a view of most of the porch and it’s empty. I thought that the neighbors may have picked it up (it had been raining.. Plus it’s clearly an empty house).
I pull into the driveway and there on the left side of the porch.. Crammed into the little enclave (is that the right word) is a big box.

I poured myself out of the car onto legs of jelly. I wrapped my arms around the heavy package.. Almost dropping it as I ushered it to the backseat of my car. HOLY SHIT!!! This computer had sat here on my ghetto ass front-porch for one and a half days.. And nobody ran off with it!!! This house, this whole part of town, being known for its scavengers. No sooner than you put something on the curb, do the vultures pick it clean... And this $2,000 piece of gear had survived!

I can barely contain my joy, but I also pessimistically assume that maybe it’s broken and the saga will continue.

I get it home and IT WORKS!! Hot damn, now I just have to work for 3+ weeks straight configuring and learning to use it.
The End.

The moral of this story: NEVER MOVE!!!!

Kindest Regards,
Wesley Black
Fuel Multimedia


Anonymous said...

Nice couple of weeks there Weis.

Glad it worked out for you in the long run...

Thanks for the read.

Later Punkle

myomyohi said...

Darn, I was getting worried for you toward the end there.... rough week, but glad you got your new machine.

myomyohi said...

SOUL: said...

update hawg

simonsays said...


I don't mean to laugh at your predicament(s), but it seriously IS funny. I hope things are better now. :)

Golden To Silver Val said... could write a thriller novel...this had me on the edge of my seat when you went to get your puter. Good post #1 son. Seems like everything that could go wrong...did...except for your puter being right there. Wow! Will look forward to seeing another one.

Anonymous said...

dang i do iknow what you mean bye don't move i just did.. and don't plan on doing so again.. for years to come...