So Much For Smooth Sailing

, , , , | Friendly | February 8, 2021

I’m sailing with my dad and his friend on his friend’s boat. We’ve spent the night on his boat in a nice little bay and are now sailing back up the channel toward where he docks the boat. I’m at the helm and he’s telling us entertaining stories from when Hobart was a penal colony. We’re currently sailing directly toward a beach.

Me: “So… are we going to turn around soon?”

Friend: “Wait… what? This isn’t right. Where’s the channel?!”

He disappears below deck to check the GPS while I wait anxiously. He comes back up laughing.

Friend: “So, you know how I told you I don’t need the GPS to navigate the channel because I know it like the back of my hand? Yeah, I got too cocky.”

Turns out there are two islands in the channel: one parallel to it and one perpendicular to it. Both have the exact same profile, and we came in at just the right angle for him to confuse the perpendicular island for the parallel one and throw us wildly off course. Dad still mocks his friend for the mistake.

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This Is An Ex-Computer!

, , , , , | Friendly | February 3, 2021

My friend asks me to visit her one weekend to help with some household tasks, including diagnosing and repairing a tower computer that will not boot. When I arrive, I try turning on her computer and it indeed appears grim. It cannot successfully pass POST and nothing is displayed on the screen, an amber light flashes on the front, and it gives a loud diagnostic beep code. My friend is not very technically educated but she has taken the initiative to read the troubleshooting manual and says that the beep code and flashing indicate that the issue is with the power supply or motherboard. I agree and remove the casing and immediately spot the problem; many of the capacitors on the motherboard are obviously swollen and domed up on the top.

Me: “Bad news: your computer is damaged beyond repair. See all these capacitors? They are all puffed up. Either oxygen somehow leaked inside of them or, more likely, the computer was subjected to a power surge. I recommend getting a surge protector and keeping your computer plugged into it instead of plugging it directly into the wall.”

Friend: “Can you fix it?”

The computer is a lower-range computer for basic needs and it still uses IDE cables during the time when SETA has become the new standard and IDE is on its way out.

Me: “I could order a new motherboard and put it in, but it would cost more than the computer is worth. You’re better off getting a new one.”

Friend: “Aww, but I like this computer; it’s really good. Isn’t there anything you could do? I think it might be the power supply; the manual says that a bad power supply could be the problem.”

Me: “It could, but it isn’t. See these capacitors around the processor and RAM? They are blown.”

I take her hand and rub her fingers over the domed capacitors.

Me: “Feel that? Compare that to these ones that are still good.”

I move her hand over some good capacitors.

Me: “It is definitely the motherboard.”

Friend: “Can you try replacing the power supply and see if it still works?”

I try to convince her that whether or not something happens to also be wrong with the power supply is irrelevant because the computer will not function without those capacitors on the motherboard, but she insists on seeing if her computer will work with a new power supply. I relent and drive out to pick up a power supply. I return and plug it in without installing it because I know it will be pointless. As predicted, the computer behaves no differently, so I box the power supply up to return later.

Friend: “Can you fix the motherboard?”

Me: “Theoretically, it would be possible to solder replacement capacitors into the board, but it would be a lot of difficult work, and I’d be highly likely to accidentally damage other components and create shorts because those solder points are really tiny.”

Friend: “How much do those capacitors cost?”

Me: “[Friend], I’m not going to do that. This is a disposable computer; it is meant to be kept for a few years to do basic things and then thrown out when a major component inevitably fails. You got your money’s worth out of this machine and it is time to get a new one.”

Friend: “But I really like this one!”

Me: “I know, but it really was not a great computer and there’s nothing that can be done to repair it. I have a PATA enclosure I can use to recover data from your hard drive; is there anything in it you want to save?”

She confirms and I promise to bring my enclosure with me when I stop over tomorrow to help with other things. I go to the living room to rest while her mother prepares us dinner, and I see my friend holding the manual for her computer and softly reading out loud from the troubleshooting section.

Me: “[Friend]! Stop troubleshooting! Your computer is dead! It’s over! You lost!”

Friend: *Laughing* “Shut up.”

I did recover her data the next day, and she had accepted that there was nothing practical that could be done to restore her computer, but even after she had a new one, it took her months before she finally recycled its corpse. She now keeps her computer insulated with a surge protector.

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Not Even Remotely A Good Idea

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 31, 2021

Years ago, when I was still in college, the guys and I would occasionally sneak off-site to go to the pub at lunchtime — drink a few beers, play a game of pool, etc. It was normally empty at lunch as the regulars went to another less youth-orientated pub.

We arrived one day and found the place full; some sporting event was on. We weren’t that interested, so we found a corner and had something to eat and drink.

It was stupid noisy in there. One of my friends ran to his car and grabbed a remote. Being immature teens as we were, it was funny when he secretly turned down the volume, still funny when changed the channel, and a little funny when he turned it off altogether.

The problem was that our friend didn’t know when to stop, and no-one could tell him what to do.

I finished my drink and left with most of the other guys; the prospect of thirty pissed-off blokes angry at us was enough, especially now that he wasn’t even hiding the remote anymore.

We got back to college on time, but our friend was nearly an hour late.

He luckily didn’t come to any harm, but after the pub called the college, every student was banned for the rest of the year. Our friend couldn’t understand why everyone was fed up with him, or what he did wrong. Safe to say, he wasn’t invited along with us next year on lunch.

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You’d Butter Forget Those Old Wives’ Tales

, , , , , , | Healthy | January 31, 2021

One Christmas Eve, when I was eleven, I decided to make myself some tea. I put a pan of water on the stove and tried to turn on the burner on our gas stove. The burner wasn’t igniting and so I moved the pan and bent over to check if the pilot went out. Just as I bent over, the burner flared to life and caught my hair and my ear on fire.

I panicked and ran screaming into our front room where my mom was visiting with a friend. My mom stood up and literally smacked the fire out with her hand.

Mom’s Friend: “Put butter on it!”

My mom ignored her and got a wet, cool washcloth for me to put on it.

Mom’s Friend: “[Mom], you should put butter on it.”

After about a minute, my mom took a look at my ear and made the decision to take me to the hospital.

Mom’s Friend: “She doesn’t need a hospital, just butter.”

No butter was used and we went to the hospital. I was seen fairly quickly and it turned out that I had second- and third-degree burns on my ear. Normally, they would want to admit someone with the burns I had, just to be safe, but since it was a holiday and I was a kid, they let me go home with some special burn cream and painkillers. 

Before we left, my mom mentioned to the doctor how her friend kept telling her to put butter on the burn. He was aghast. He wrote a note on the paper they used for sick notes for my mom’s friend detailing why not to put butter on a burn. I was kind of out of it when I got home, so I don’t know if my mom ever gave her friend that note, but I don’t remember her ever saying to put butter on a burn again.

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A Bloody Brilliant Response

, , , , , | Friendly | January 29, 2021

I am at a hangout with about half a dozen friends. There is one new guy to our group, and a female friend who tends to recycle Internet humor. The new guy decides to ask her out.

Friend: “Sorry, I’m taken.”

New Guy: “C’mon, give me a chance!”

Friend: “No, I already have plans, anyway.”

New Guy: “Please?”

Friend: “Shut up.”

New Guy: *Exasperated* “You must be on your period.”

Friend: “I started this day in a pool of my own blood. Is that how you want to end yours?”

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