Monday 7 February 2011

My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song.

And so, after almost four years of faithful service, my PC decided to retire from this world in a concussive fireball that took out one side of my house.

Or so I imagine it would have dearly wished, but instead it only managed a feeble putter and then refused to produce any activity other than hard disk drives chuntering to life along with the case light and fans; as tools-down picket lines go, it was pretty comprehensive, however. Not even a series of blunt POST beeps greeted me when I pressed the power button, that PC equivalent of R2-D2 flicking two fingers at you in what should be unintelligible parps, boops and beeps, but which you categorically know would translate to certain objectionable four-letter words if you could run it through a Babel fish.

Simply silence, and the faint blue glow of the power LED, staring out at me like the eye of HAL 9000 – “I’m sorry, I can’t do that Dave”.

I went through the various stages of PC rejection: Confusion, Shock, Panic, Anger, Distress, Regret, Despair. Moved on to quietly pleading to various deities which I remembered reading about at school, then pressing the power button while I kept my eyes closed, and waiting a short while before popping one eye open and scanning around with it to see if a miracle had occurred. Strange thing about miracles: not many of them ever recorded against the resurrection of dead PC components. I reached the final stage of PC rejection fairly quickly – sulking, gave up on joining my friends on our once-per-week Lord of the Rings Online gathering, and instead finished reading a book.

I carried on with the book reading the next morning, all the while my mind settled into that melancholy state where it considered the time involved in diagnosing whether it was power supply, RAM, motherboard or processor that had failed, and the effort in trying to locate replacement parts for an aging four year old system; balanced it against the cost of purchasing the best part of a new system, which although not entirely an issue, was depressing when one considered that the carefully selected hand-rolled system that I’d put together four years ago was still able to run most modern games with the settings whacked right up. My mind, as it is wont to do, then flittered from despair to rage, with thoughts of “To hell with it all!” and “I’ll just stop gaming!” and the corridors of my cortex bloomed like a time-lapse flower with wild fantasies, where I fancied I could spend what time I used to dedicate to gaming instead doing exercises and weight training and reading, whereupon I would become some sort of intellectual iron man, surrounded by adoring nubile college girls, who would coo and marvel as I bench-pressed a car while breathlessly reciting Gerard Manley Hopkins at them. Each fantasy would break apart as soon as my eyes inevitably wandered back to the black monolith sitting silently in the corner of my living room however, a magnetic anomaly, a thumping pulse radiating from it, a regular beat, drumming at the primitive gamer in me, drawing me back with its promise of other worlds and dimensions to explore.

So the order for new components will be placed in the next few days, and then I’ll spend time performing surgery on my old faithful companion, carefully parting the neatly tied vascular system of cables, replacing vital organs with upgraded versions, singing Daisy Bell all the while; eventually sitting back and hoping that, when the thermal compound sets and electricity once again flows through its veins, I will find myself with a loyal servant once more ready to give me another four years of exploring strange new worlds and new player populations.

I guess the nubile college girls will have to wait, it turns out that I’m a gamer yet, through and through, all the way down to my quad core.

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