Partay and a Recap

Errr . . . what happened? Last week tunneled around in astounding ways. Sitting on my Powerbook is a blog post I wrote Wednesday afternoon while sitting in a park. I had some pictures for Pic_A_Day and everything seemed straightforward. Then Chuji called me and I signed on for dinner in San Fran with the GDC-ians. Pleased with myself I set out.

Partway there the battery light lit on my dashboard. "Hmmm", thought I. "How can their be a battery problem - we aren't using the battery here on 280." I figured it was probably some odd misdiagnosis and the light would go off soon. My oil light occasionally clicks on for 30 seconds and disappears and never seems to mean anything. But the light didn't go out. In fact, the electrical systems in the car started getting funky. The dashboard dimmed, the CD player started stuttering, etc. By this point I was much closer to my destination in SF than I was home. After some spur of the moment thought I decided to press on. Killed the radio, closed the sunroof (in case electrical failed totally) and started willing the car to hold together. I made it to the garage at Fifth and Mission and parked it. Now I'm thinking that if I turn the engine off it's likely to not restart. And the last couple of turns the turn signal light and clicker hadn't even activated. So I put it in neutral, turn on a turn blinker and get out of the car - no turn signals visible externally. OK that tears it - I'm not driving this back to San Jose. So I turn the car off and sure enough it won't restart. After some quick thought (easier when I'm not navigating a car that might lose its headlights at any moment) I figure that what has probably happened is the alternator died and I drained the battery after that. What to do? Well, I'm meeting people who will be driving back to SJ so I'll just meet them, have dinner and bum a ride home.

So I did that - I had a great time, got to see Chuji (too bad he didn't feel 100%) and Bwana. Jungle Porthos kindly gave me a ride home.

Thursday morning I drove Karin to school so I had her car. After some calling around I determined I needed to go back to SF that AAA can have the car towed out of the garage no problem. So I drive up to SF (I looked at trying to use public transit but I was too worried about not knowing where the car would end up ultimately and whether public transit would get me there.) I scheduled an appointment at the nearest Saturn dealer (in Colma) and drove up to SF. The tow driver asked why I was taking it to the dealer - since it would cost more than a local shop. I explained it was basically an "out of town" problem and he recommended a local shop (just on Harrison - like three blocks from the garage). So I dropped the car there, and they said I could get it around four PM. Great - just enough time to hop in Karin's car, drive back to San Jose, get her and have her drive back to SF so I could get my car before the shop closed. Which I did. Turned out it was the alternator, and the battery was still solid once recharged - total repairs were less than $400 and the alternator has a solid warranty so I scored there I think. $20 for leaving the car in the garage all night but it was safe so I'm happy on that account. Now its dinnertime and bad traffic to leave the city so Karin and decided to hook up with the city/GDC crowd again. We had to kill an hour so we had milkshakes at Mel's Diner (espresso milkshakes are becoming one of my favorite aspects of SF ever since I was turned on to them during NaNoWriMo), saw the "Walk of Game" at the Metreon (lame), and kicked around Yerba Buena for a bit. Had huge amounts of sushi and a great time with Rachel, Lee, Caroline and Lance (from DoubleFine). Kept Karin out way past her bedtime for a school night, but she was a good sport. Drove home - tired but reasonably pleased with the day. I'd blown the task list for Thursday - I had planned on cleaning up my office and cooking some foor for my birthday party. I figured that was fixable on Friday, so no big deal.

I was still a little wired so I decided to play some games. I got my copy of Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich but I want to replay the first game (which I never finished first) so I dig it out, install it and start playing. Partway through the second mission my power supply goes "Bamph!" and emits nasty smelling smoke. Murphy seems to be on the electrical train with me this evening. Poor Schrodinger was sitting right next to the power supply in question (my linux box is a slightly shorter case and she likes to sit on it when I work at the computer.) So she got quite a scare and I have to confess I thought she had done something so I yelled at her a bit (which I feel pretty guilty about). So Friday I have to do some of the Thursday work plus get a power supply. Hopefully nothing else fried and resurrecting Jester (my Windows box) will be simple.

It turned out to be simple, but I slept in late recovering from all the SF fun and then I had to buy groceries and the power supply, etc, etc. and I didn't really get anything done on Friday until late.

All day Saturday was party preparation and then the actual party, and today was mostly recovery, cleaning the kitchen and playing some Magic Online.

The party rocked, I had a lot of fun and I think all the attendees did as well. We had too much food (people: RSVP means let us know whether you'll be coming or not! I know too many unreliable folks!) but it was fun and I won't have to cook until Wednesday or Thursday now :-)

So yeah, next week should be calmer. And I'll post my pictures and text from calm and tranquil Wednesday soon. Unless Murphy blows up some other bit of electronics anyway . . . (Note to Murphy - try something OTHER than electrical next time, OK? Thanks!)