Monday, November 17, 2003

Party Like It's My Birthday


Sippin' Bacardi like it's my... Er. I'm a dork, but yeah, it is my birthday. The big ole 2-7, which I think means, officially, that I am just cresting the hill now, and soon enough I will be passing over it.

God, how did I get so old??? I see 30 coming up, and I'll tell you what, boy -- I do not feel 30.

I went out with Kit and Mikey last Saturday for my birthday. I didn't think I had that much to drink, but I ended up pretty fucked up anyhow. Kit left relatively early, with the 'friend' I was sort of set up with a week or whatever ago, but those of us who remained were all starving when the bar closed, so it was decided we'd go to Mountaineer Family Restaurant.

Now, I had never actually been to the Mountaineer, although I have heard all about it -- it's the diner people go to at like 3:00am. Jan had mentioned it to me, actually pretty fondly, but I had a really difficult time picturing her there. Well, not just picturing her there, but there and liking it, too.

The first thing you notice after you get out of your car is a certain greasy stench that permeates the air. When you go inside, you realize that the stench can and does get worse, then top that off with the restaurant (if you can call it that) being filled with some of the scariest, most unsavory types you can imagine -- and that is the Mountaineer.

I have been craving pancakes for months, but haven't felt like actually making them for myself, so I was really looking forward to having some along with a big glass of milk. We sat down and the service was so slow and crappy that the time I spent sitting in the booth breathing in the grease stench and getting eyeballed by a really big, scary biker-type woman across from us.. well, I started to get nauseous.

I went outside for some fresh air, but of course you can't escape the grease-laden air, not for a good few hundred yards or so away from the Mountaineer, so it wasn't much help. I went back inside and told Mikey and Aaron that the place was making me sick, and since our waitress was a total bitch, and we'd been sitting there for like 20-30 minutes, everyone decided to bail. Thank god, because I knew I was going to puke, and soon.

Me and alcohol, we don't really get along; especially now that I'm older, I definitely find that I cannot handle my alcohol nearly as well as I used to. There's a very fine line for me between nicely buzzed or drunk and plastered, and when the line gets crossed, it usually bodes really badly for me. It means that if I'm going to be sick, or if there's any chance whatsoever that I might be sick, I will be. Because once that line is crossed and I'm too fucked up for my own good, it only takes something like being inside with the heat cranked to push me to worshiping the porcelain god.

So yeah.. Mikey and Aaron rushed me out of there, and we drove all the way back to my house -- me with the window wide open and my head resting on the door and halfway outside. I knew I was going to puke but for some reason I decided I would hold it until I got home so I could at least be in my own bathroom.

Then I was supposed to work a split shift the next day -- ha! I barely made it to my morning shift; Mikey called me just after 11 -- thank god, because he woke my dumb ass up -- knowing that I was still in bed. Thankfully someone picked up my night shift, because I don't know if I could have made it. I was on the verge of hurling again, when I first walked into work. But it was kind of funny because everyone was teasing me and giving me shit about the whole Mountaineer escapade; even Bill, our GM who can be extremely pissy (especially when you're late), was teasing me and giving me shit when I came in 15 minutes late.

And then I do have some good news, finally! I got my motherboard combo kit and the RAM last Friday. Chris came over during my break from work, we smoked a bowl, and then I was so anxious to get my computer up, I attempted to install the motherboard myself. Well, the motherboard I got is a micro, so it's about a third smaller than my old one, leaving several screw holes empty because there isn't a screw riser beneath them. Chris helped me by screwing in some of the screws, pointing out where I needed to plug stuff in, yadda yadda.

But the computer would not turn on. I knew the power cable was fine, and I was almost positive the power supply was fine, too.. but plugged in and the switch in the back on, the power supply was making this really weird clicking noise, but that was all. The computer wouldn't turn on, no fans, nada. It was pretty freaky, especially that clicking noise. I figured I must have royally screwed up the installation, maybe broke the motherboard, or that I did break the video card (which I'd tried hard to wrest from its housing, bent pins doing so, and then realized it was screwed onto the case), or that it was some other fucking issue I had to deal with.

Well, thank god for Paul, he's my computer guru! He told me he'd take a look at it, so I went over there last night. He was just as stumped as I was, since everything was plugged in and the parts should have been getting power, but nothing we tried worked. We looked it up on the web, but found nothing conclusive that would explain the problem.

We were both getting to the limit of our ideas as to how to fix it, when Paul decided he would take all the cables and junk out, reseat some things, and go over putting everything together step-by-step. When he'd taken all the cables out, I looked into the case and noticed something odd; the motherboard looked like it was bent down in one corner, and I pointed it out to Paul. What had gotten me is that I didn't like seeing my motherboard bent like that, and then Paul asked me if the motherboard was touching metal.

It sure was -- Chris had screwed the motherboard into a screw hole that was not one of the riser variety, meaning he had grounded the motherboard. Paul and I quickly unscrewed the offending piece of metal, and sure enough, the fans all came on. Fucking A, I'm telling you.. something as simple and as dumb as a screw grounding the motherboard!

My computer had some other issues, such as a floppy drive failure message, and a corrupt driver or something that was causing it to restart during boot-up. I ran home to get my XP disk while Paul solved the floppy error. And voila, I now have a working PC at home again! Once I deal with all my car issues, maybe I can actually afford internet again...

The thing is that this new processor should be something like 1.4GHz - 1.5GHz, an upgrade from my 975mHz, yet the computer doesn't seem faster at all; in fact, if anything, it seems slower. So I don't know, maybe it needs some tweaking or something. But I am so totally, totally happy to have my good computer back, all my music, games, etc. Hurrah!

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