I have a new computer now, thanks entirely to my dad. How shall I repay him? By making fun of him while telling the story on the internets. I can get away with this because I'm Dad's favorite by at least a few lengths. If you want to argue this, fine, but be aware that I was the only one to call or visit when he broke his back, and not only did I visit, I shoveled his driveway after the blizzard hit.
Anyway, the story. When my computer had a meltdown and refused to start-up, when ScanDisk assured me that my hard drive was irreparably destroyed by an Adobe Macromedia Flash Player update, I did the only thing I knew to do: go see my computer nerd dad for confirmation of this fact. Dad instinctively told me to bring it down into the basement, which is a veritable inner-sanctum of nerdosity.
After descending the stairs, the visitor is greeted by a gigantic table with a dungeon maze put together on it. Pewter miniatures may or may not be in the middle of roaming it, depending on whether my dad and his friends finished their previous game. On the bookshelves around the main room are about 35 years' worth of Dungeons and Dragons adventure packs and modules.
If D&D isn't your style of nerdness, then you can take a quick left and find my dad's giganto-huge collection of old war boardgames in their original shrink-wrap. As the frontrunner for the position of favorite, when dad finally keels over, I'll get first choice of the games. Those copies of "Broadsides and Boarding Parties" shall be mine, I tell you. Happily, there's a copy of "Hero Quest" for each of his 6 children.
Moving on, we come to the Lab. Dad has made himself a test lab, where he has spent the past week building his new computer from raw parts. He is quite proud of himself. The Lab is fully stocked with a static free placemat to put the computer on, a grounding bracelet which ensures no rogue static electricity will fry computer circuits, and a test monitor, mouse, and keyboard so the computer can be instantly tested for functionality.
Just beyond the Lab we find a whole lot of exercise equipment that probably never got used. That treadmill will be mine someday too.
Dad plugged my computer into the Lab and quickly confirmed that yes, my computer was dead and I hope there wasn't anything on your hard drive you wanted to keep. My hard drive was mostly filled with illegally downloaded MP3s from college that I kept telling myself I should just delete anyway, old Nintendo ROMs (which should really expose me as the hypocrite I am for making fun of my dad's nerdiness), and pictures. The pictures upset me a little bit, but most of them were pictures of me with my first ex-girlfriend AJ, and it's probably best to let those go anyway. So, no, outside of the odd document that I started and never finished, nothing of much value was lost.
So how did I end up with a computer so quickly? My dad has a computer network so he and his friends can take a break from slaying orcs in the basement by slaying each other over a LAN wargame of some kind. I mentioned my dad recently built a new computer from the ground up. This machine was to be added to the three computers already in his room, but that required a massive reorganization of the computer room, and when the dust cleared, it was obvious to all that three was the maximum number of computers that would fit in the room. As such, the fourth computer had no place, and was given to me. My new computer is my dad's fourth-stringer, and it's still over twice as powerful as my old one, which I got when I went to school in the fall of 2000. It is a 1.67 ghz Athlon machine, and I'm rather pleased with it thus far. I don't have sound yet, though, and I could use a DVD-ROM if I'm going to fulfill my genetic code and play nerdy computer games. Expect a return trip to the Lab in the near future to iron out these kinks.
Also, I leave the internets for three days, and when I return Molly Ivins and Barbaro are both dead. My old computer travels with a rather interesting karass.