Sunday was a lazy, lazy day. Ra insisted that I should wake up sometime around 0730 to feed him, since he's gotten used to having food in his bowl around the time I leave for work every morning. I have nobody to blame but myself for this, because I'm the person who set him on that schedule. I shouldn't expect the poor little critter to know the difference between a weekday morning and a weekend morning -- although he does seem to know not to be too annoying on the mornings when I wake up feeling unwell or am suffering from a migraine. I'm glad he's got that level of sensitivity, at least. I suppose -- given how little patience I have when it feels like the state of Iowa is doing a giant polka-fest behind my eyes -- it might just be a self-preservation instinct taking effect on those days. But I'm not going to complain.
Most of the day had few plans. roho and enveri were going to spend part of the afternoon down in the Woodfield area to attend the MFF staff meeting that was going on. We decided that since the hour was growing late and none of us felt particularly motivated to cook that was should go up to BD's again for lunch. Since this is such a favorite dining place for us there was no dissension in the decision to have lunch there for a second day in the row. It's hard to get tired of food that you help create, and which always turns out a little different each time you make it!
An added bonus to having BD's for lunch is that we could stop by the Best Buy that's near the restaurant and perform an exchange on Roho's PS2. The poor thing's disk loader had just utterly given up the ghost, which caused extended game load times -- when they did load -- and plenty of jerky animations and crashes. It's hard to play Vice City when you can't get the darn thing to load or stay stable. Fortunately Roho had purchased an extended warranty when he bought his system, which promised to exchange it should it suffer from any major component failures. Roho and I discussed the warranty a bit on our way there, commenting how the Gord had once written that consoles were in fact not a hedge against inflation. We figured that since the PS2 had been bought at it's original release price of $299 and not its revised retail price of $199 and change that we'd be lucky just to get a replacement console unit without somehow owing the store money. Imagine the dazed look on our faces when we were told they would honor the warranty for the purchase price, and that because the units now sold for $100 less than what our exchange was "worth" they'd give us $100 in credit. This hardly seems like the Best Buy I used to work for. Did they somehow grow a soul in the four years since I've worked for them? It hardly seems likely, but I am hard-pressed for another answer that would explain this behavior. So... before too long we were out the door with a new console, two controllers, two extension cables and a couple of DVDs (Heavy Metal, Grave of the Fireflies and 5th Element).
After we escaped the gravitational well that seems to surround any mall with a Best Buy or Circuit City in it we made tracks for BD's and the promised lunch goodness. At the restaurant we were chastised by Sara for not requesting a table in her area. I hadn't even seen her on the map! Joe wasn't working the grill but Obie and Nate were, so there was little fear that the food would be done wrong. I only had one bowl of stir-fry, but I coupled it with a small bowl of soup and a lot of tortillas. When I rolled out of the restaurant -- I couldn't help but think of chebutykin as I contemplated my state -- I was quite pleasantly drifting towards a food coma. Our drive home was uneventful but a tad hurried because of the meeting that Roho and Kes had to attend. I shoved the box of goodies from kristenq into the back of their car, making sure that the boots I'd bought for jenwolf's Christmas present were still included and sent them on their way. I killed some time hooking the new console up to the sound system and ran it through some paces to make sure everything was working, then waited for my roommates to return.
The evening had progressed fairly well for the most part. Roho was enjoying the non-suckiness of the new PS2, and I was chatting idly online with some folks. The plan was to drop in one of the new DVDs and spend a few hours watching that. As we were getting settled in for an evening of movies I did something remarkably stupid: I spilled a brand-new can of Diet Coke on my keyboard! I believe my initial reaction was to simply spew a long string of crude invective as I searched for a napkin to try and blot up the fluid with. My litany of curses took a turn for the worse when I noticed the behavior of the keyboard taking on a decidedly broken feel... the keyboard was no longer responding to any input from me and had instead started spitting random characters into whatever window happened to be in focus on the moment. Worse yet it was sending character sequences, like ctrl-a and others that were causing my programs to go insane. Monty chose that particular moment to reappear, sensing that I wasn't exactly at my best. Way to go, idiot. They don't even make that model of keyboard anymore. I hope you can fix it! You know, I don't know why I feel the need to chastise myself over stupid things like this, but I do. So... shut down the PC, tear the KB loose, disconnect all the various accessories from the USB ports and drag it into the living room for disassembly. I only managed to get the shell loose after twenty minutes of work, however. There seemed to be a sort of latch or hook that I couldn't quite disengage, which was the only thing holding the top of the shell on. Yet if I couldn't remove the shell I'd not be able to get between the keys and start cleaning up the mess! Five to ten more minutes of fighting with the keyboard ensued before I put the whole thing aside. At the rate I was going I was getting more and more angry and I'd only end up exerting too much force on the plastic and causing it to snap open like an overripe melon.
I tossed the keyboard aside and settled in to watch a bit more Vice City action before we selected Heavy Metal for our evening's entertainment. The movie by no mean compares with today's American animation, and it sure doesn't come close to touching Anime like Cowboy Bebop or Spirited Away... but it's still pretty good in its own right. Hey, if nothing else it has lots of bare breasts and one of the best heavy metal compilation soundtracks known to man. Those two features alone can go a long way towards calming you down when you're pissed at yourself for spilling soda in your ergo keyboard and when you're pissed at an inanimate piece of plastic for somehow thwarting you. After the movie was over I took my toolkit and the keyboard over to the dining room table to sit down under some direct light and resume my battle. Around fifteen minutes after I started I came to a realization and probably terrified Roho in the process.... I took my screwdriver, slid it back and forth over the bottom of the keyboard, then plunged it into a socket that had been concealed by a warning sticker. A few twists later the screw was removed and the shell was popped off! Roho commented that it looked like something out of "Indiana Jones" when I performed my little Zen attack.
I made relatively quick work of the remaining parts of the keyboard, quickly disassembling it to get at the heart of the problem. I know it was the soda that made it break down, but the sixteen pounds of cat hair that were laying inside surely weren't helping things. I ended up tearing the keyboard down even farther than I had planned so I could extract the thousands of hairs Ra has left in my keyboard over the duration I've owned it. That probably was the second most disturbing thing about this job -- getting all the hair out. The utmost in disturbing, though, was yet to come. After I got the keys off and the copious volume of cat hair removed I started hunting down and removing the various spots of congealed soda that remained within. During my expedition I found the main site of damage from the spill, and what damage it was. The traces had actually carbonized, they'd burned within their plastic from the short that had been caused by the soda. When I saw that I wasn't entirely sure I'd be able to use this keyboard again, but I decided I had to try anyway. Fifteen more minutes elapsed as I set about cleaning each trace with a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol. I had to turn down my opportunity to talk to points on the telephone because I was too focused on my work to give up at that juncture, and I was still in a pretty bad mood because of the potential for this keyboard to still be ruined. Once I'd removed as much of the carbon from the traces as I could I put everything back together (realizing in the process how amazingly stupid I was to just randomly pop the key caps off the board without organizing them) and then hooked everything back together. I felt like quoting the line from Jurassic Park ("Hold on to yer butts!") when I through the switch, but thought better of it. The character that used that line in the movie ended up being raptor food, and my day had already gone badly enough at that point. Incredibly, it worked. There didn't seem to be any lingering problems from the incident, and apparently the added resistance on the traces from the carbon I couldn't clean away isn't causing any problems. I lucked out on this one. Maybe I'll be a bit more careful next time.
Ain't no use in complainin'