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Friday, March 17, 2006

Last Weekend

Saturday Johnny took Ross's computer apart. Ross's computer had been frequently resetting itself. Johnny investigated and discovered that it was running very hot. We suspected there was a large accumulation of dust inside the case, so John was going to open it up clean out the dust. Well, when he opened it up he found a heat sink lying loose on the bottom of the case. This prompted him to disassemble the entire computer, including removing the heat sink that was on the CPU chip. All would have been fine, except he decided to clean off the heat transfer compound from the CPU chip and its' heatsink. Well, now we can't put the computer back together because we don't have any heat transfer compound. If we did put it back together and tried to run it, there is a good chance that the CPU chip would overheat and fail catastrophically. This annoys Ross to no end, but he really does not have any room to complain, as he did not have to pay for this computer in the first place, and he has been negligent in caring for it, as you shall see.

In addition to the heat sink lying in the bottom of the case, John discovered that the fan on the video card was unplugged. Turns out one of the fan blades had broken off, which had caused the fan to start vibrating and making a terrible racket. Ross's solution was to unplug the fan. Lucky that the video card has not cooked itself.

But what about that heat sink in the bottom of the case? It was cooling a chip on the mother board. The heat sink was held in place by a clip that hooked into a couple of U shaped wires on the motherboard (like croquet wickets, but very small). One of these U shaped wires had come out. Normally I would expect such brackets to be soldered to the motherboard, but in this case they were apparently just pressed in. I took the one that had fallen out and pushed it back in. We shall see if it stays. I got a dollop of heat transfer compound from work today. Johnny and I will be reassembling Ross's computer this evening. Hopefully, everything will work out all right. I plan on cutting off every third blade of the fan on the video card, it had nine blades to start with. That might be good enough to let it keep working. Obtaining a replacement will be difficult.

Saturday morning I dealt with our van. Anne had reported that it was steaming on Thursday, so I took a look under the hood. I did not see any obvious problems, but the coolant was low, so I filled it up. It took about a gallon. Well, something is definitely wrong. I drove the van to the library. I had to take a long detour because the police had blocked some roads. I think there was a St. Patrick's Day Parade going on. When I got to the library, the van was steaming. I looked under the hood. Right off I could see the area where the steam was coming from, but it looked like there was water dripping from a fuel line. Well, that didn't make any sense. So I looked some more, and some more, and some more, and finally I spotted a needle thin stream of water coming from a rubber hose on top of the engine. Okay, now I know where the problem is.

I went in the library and used my usual technique of walking down the science fiction aisle and just picking out books at random. I don't bother screening them, I just grab a bunch and take them home. I figure there will be at least one good one in the lot. I checked out six science fiction novels and paid a $9 fine that had been outstanding for quite a while. I did not like the check out lady. She used her formal voice at me and I did not appreciate it.

Next I drove to the auto parts store and picked up a couple of items for the silver car. I inquired about a hose for the van, but they told me it will be a dealer item. Now I have a dilemma. Do I get the part from the dealer and spend all day Saturday fixing it myself? Or do I let the dealer do it and pay the two or three hundred dollars they are going to charge? And if this hose fails, can the other hoses be far behind? Maybe I should replace them all. And if I do it myself, how am I going to handle draining the antifreeze ? I can't just wash if down the street, that would be bad. I have to collect it and recycle it. The dealer is looking more attractive.

Saturday afternoon Kathryn and I watched "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" down in our basement.

Sunday Kathryn had dance practice all day long. The State Finals are Wednesday and Thursday this week.

Sunday morning I took Johnny to the Zoo for his interview for the "Zoo Teens" program. The had a bunch of stuff posted on bulletin boards there. I found three articles of interest. One was about imitative behavior in chimpanzees versus small children. Another was about an imbalance in the the ratio of male to female flightless parrots in New Zealand. The third was about the huge amount of work going into the Florida Everglades. They had some glass display cases there with some skeletons of small animals and some skulls of larger ones. They had a skeleton of a fish that was about five or six inches long that must of contained at least a hundred bones. Johnny observed that it must have been very difficult to assemble. They also had a skeleton of a turtle, which I do not think I have ever seen. Very unusual, hardly any bones, just some leg bones, and very unusual leg bones at that. They had a couple of giraffe skulls. As you may recall, giraffes have a couple of horn like things on top of their head. Well, they are not horns, and they are not antlers. They are bone, and they are part of their skull. I wonder if there are any other animals that are like this.

After we left the zoo, John and I went looking for a place to eat breakfast. John did not want fast food, or donuts, so we looked for a restaurant. It took quite a while to find one, and when we did we had to wait for a table. Still we were lucky. When we got there, there was one person waiting in front of us. When we got our table, there were about eight people waiting behind us. We ended up going to O'Connor's in Multnomah Village. It is funky little restaurant with an adjacent bar in an old building. Much more comfortable than any of the flashy new places that get put up in shopping centers.

Sunday afternoon I walked to the video store for exercise. Sometime later I drove there and rented "Magnolia" for Ross and bought a bunch of groceries at the grocery store, which is right next door to the video store.

Late Sunday afternoon Anne and I drove over to Dad's house in Cornelius to pick up the mail and check on the house. We stopped for coffee for Anne, and gas for the truck on the way.

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