So, recently I got ADSL through SpeakEasy. It's a fairly good deal: $90 for 1.5M down, and 384k up. That's not the cheapest, but the service has been first rate, and their upstream connections seem plentiful and reliable. And they are way way way cheaper than my last ISP.
And since the free computer I recently acquired had gained a 'net connection, it was now useful. I started using it, but wanted my mp3s. While I have the bandwidth to stream mp3s from work, I thought I'd grab stumpy's mp3 hard drive and play them more efficiently, and economically, on my local machine.
So, one fine evening I came after stumpy with a screw driver to pull the disk. Of course I powered down first, but as I found that one of the screws was located inconveniently behind the power button switch thingy, I cramed that screwdriver down in there to extract it, nudging the power connector thing aside, and before long some big blue sparks jumped out. I jumped too. Michael chuckled and declared that I was "all right".
Stumpy doesn't turn on any more. Fried power supply. RIP, oh stumpy! I've pulled two of her three drives, and 64M of RAM, and now my new home workstation, dell.dannyland.org, has taken stumpy's place.
So, some time back, Dan Sachs volunteered to be my summer roommate, as he spent the sunny months working for Intel. The other day when I'm expecting him to show up, I get a call. He drove from Illinois and ironically enough, his car had overheated and he had stopped at Milpitas, a twenty minute drive away. So I biked home and pulled out the Volvo, and headed away on a rescue mission.
I found the service station, and we transferred his possessions from his Neon to my 240 DL, and we set off for Mountain View. About a mile down the road, the Volvo, for the first time I've known her, started hesitating. And wouldn't you know it, a moment later she died on me!
The hypothesis was that she'd run out of gas. I wasn't too keen on this idea, for while the gas guage was at the lowest point I ever seen, it was nowhere near the bottom! Well, I called AAA, and a guy came out and stuck a few gallons in the tank, and I hit the ignition ... and ... she ... wouldn't start.
The tow truck guy had to do another brief rescue mission, leaving us to commune with the owner of a '72 Beetle who had pulled over behind us on account of a loose ground on his coil. We didn't have any tools to help him relocate the ground, so he called his friend, and we passed the stranded car time with some company. Eventually our tow truck returned and we bungied the rear hatch shut, for it stopped latching not long after the hydraulics failed, causing it to slam shut hard too many times.
Anyways, he got the car in the towing position, and we were off, and he got a call about the guy who he had left us to try to help earlier but who had been a no-show. After stopping at the Hyatt to get a guy's keys out of his car, we were back on the road to Mountain View, and dropped the car off at a service station conveniently next to the apartment complex. Thanks to AAA, the whole incident has only set me back $5 for the gas.
The tow truck guy also told us a story about how the other day he'd been eating lunch at Togos when a guy asked if he could open his car for him. He explained that, without AAA, the normal charge was $40, and the guy agreed. He set out to the car with his tool kit, and saw a woman inside.
"That's my wife. She won't open the door."
"Well, there's nothing I can do ..."
"Can't you talk to her?"
"I'm a tow truck driver, not a marriage counselor."
The guy ended up having to wait her out. The tow truck driver ended up with a story to tell. These small human tragedies tell well.
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