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Mpls, MN, United States

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Melting down

So, my computer appears to be dying.

It has had the decency to work well and consistently for somewhere on the order of five years, and to be dying slowly enough to allow me to back up not only my most critical files, but ones like random video clips of Grant licking cigarettes and chat logs from 2004.

The wheezing (which, you may recall, was an issue last fall) had recommenced last week after a long and pleasant hiatus, but far more disturbing, as though the former has subsided in order to allow me to focus on more perplexing issues, is that my display is munched. White backgrounds are fine (which are thankfully the norm in the compose screens for Google products like Blogger and Gmail), but any dark graphics are now overlayed with what looks like a flickering fuchsia screen. You may imagine how this bothers me. In fact, when it first began on Sunday evening, I couldn't look at my screen without feeling nauseous.

The amazing Teed & Hathor Despair-Fighting Duo talked me through some diagnostics and options last night (including a download and boot-up of Ubuntu), but the sad news is that it's not just a Windows issue--this is hardware trouble. It remains unclear whether it's my motherboard/video card or screen cables, but what is almost certain is that although the parts aren't all that expensive, the labor to make the repairs would be intense.

It's also unclear whether the repairs would make sense on a five-year old, 20-pound computer that was essentially designed for a three-year lifespan anyway, with rubbed spots on the screen and keys so worn many of the letters are illegible. (I don't know if you can see this in the picture or not (as I mentioned, I'm having a hard time looking at graphics right now), but I've worn veritable divots in my space bar and vowels--and apparently only space with my right thumb and shift with my left pinky.) The battery is totally shot and the fan could irreversibly croak at any time. Actually... it's becoming clear, isn't it? The only problem is that I really can't afford a new laptop right now.


Yesterday Herman from Honeytown came to visit on his way to Wisconsin. He picked me up at school and got the quick tours of my corner of campus, my neighborhood, and my apartment before we brunched at the Bad Waitress. We had a lovely chat and he got to hear my Mangopeño Pistachio Parfait! dream in person before he dropped me back at school on his way east. I managed not to take any pictures, but I promise it still actually happened.

It is warming up here (it's cloudy and 24° at the moment), and I'm thinking about starting to run again. Apparently my dad thinks he wants to do a third San Diego Rock'n'Roll Marathon, and for some reason it's striking me as a good idea in advance of the October TCM. Three months should be plenty of time, but I am a bit nervous about the cold. All my driving this winter is making me soft.


Ern said...

I know student loans bite the big one, but my school has a program where you can take out an extra $2000 on your student loan for a computer (just one time during your student tenure). I happily used mine. When your computer dies, it dies, right?

Ellen said...

It sucks that your computer is dying. It should at least have the dignity to go out all at once in a spectacular manner, like in a ball of fire.

bryant said...

I thought your keyboard had melted too.

I Hope So said...

yeah, i agree with ern. take out extra loans and get yourself a new one. not having a functional computer is waaaaay too stressful.

Curly Sue said...

Yeah, mine had a meltdown last spring and I basically had to buy a new one. I'm not registered, though, so I had to use my credit card. Sucks!

Everyone has to buy a new one sometime. And it always happens when we can least afford it. It's the way of things.

But that picture of your desktop...that's really cool. It looks like a sunset crossed with toxic radiation.

strovska said...

that fuschia thing is very ominous-looking.

depending on how soon you end up buying a new one, you might check on freecycle to see if anyone is offering one to hold you over until then. i see computers on the list here with more frequency than i would have thought.