January 7th, 2007

Night Run
By James Castwell

So there I was, part of the surging crowd of shoppers, ebbing and flowing with the tide of humanity down an aisle at Wally World... It was the Christmas season and I had to make a extremely urgent run, about three miles, to get some anti-freeze.

Eight o'clock in the evening and I was on a mission to find a small container of the cheapest I could find. Before long, "Ah ha, that's it." Not too bad either. I popped it into my cart and ventured forth. Stopping briefly, I took another look at the label. 'Do not use in gasoline engines.' What? Okay, this stuff was for winterizing. Putting into pipes in mobile homes and such. Rats, back on the shelf it went.

Earlier in the evening my wife's computer had quit. That's why I was now at the store. I only panic when it is really necessary, this was one such time. I had called my 'deep-techi' Ron. "Ron, it's me. Where are you? Aw, neat. Well, her comp shut down. Ya, the temperature thingie kept going up to 130 and it shut off. What the *&^% do I do now?" No, I haven't. Nope, not since you set it up. Hang on, I am supposed to do what?"

You may not believe this but he said I needed to put some coolant in it. Now, folks, my world, my reality is sometimes a bit fragile, but this was pushing the edge of it. It is late in the day, her PC is down, my techi is many miles away, and he says I am supposed to put coolant in it. Seriously, what would that do to your reality?

I have sometimes kidded that these things run on smoke, loaded at the factory and that if you see any of it escaping, you probably have trouble. But, this was over the edge. Secondly, Ron has a tendency to kid a lot and often will suggest things just to mess with my delicate gear works. I was sure he was not serious this time. Wrong. I was supposed to have been keeping it 'topped off' all along.

"Where the %*&^ am I supposed to get PC coolant at this time of night?" He said anyplace they sell antifreeze. "What kind does it need?" "Doesn't matter," he said. "It might be a good idea to dilute it about half too." Great, I'm thinking. This is all I need.

"And just exactly where in @*&^ do I put it?" He said to take the big box (pull out the plug first) apart and I should find a plastic container inside. The coolant should go in there somehow. He was not sure anymore, but said I should be able to figure it out when I got it opened. So, flashlight in hand, down on my knees I went and pulling the main unit out from under her desk, I started into it.

The side panel was not too difficult. Inside, on the bottom, was a clear plastic box about the size of a pack of cigarettes. It was about half full of something. What was left of the cooling stuff I figured. A big headed screw was in plain sight, the opening I supposed. A twist of my screwdriver verified that. It unscrewed and I did not spill any. So far, I'm doing great. So it was off to the store I went. Oh yes, it was raining like a cow weeweeing on a flat rock. Trying to turn into snow. Neat.

Shortly I did find a gallon of the right stuff at Wally's and raced for home with it. It claimed that it was already half diluted which sounded fine to me. I found a few funnels, sure one would be small enough to work and asked my wife to assist. At least hold the flashlight so I could see better. She did and after gluging out some into a plastic measuring cup, we managed to get it down the smallest funnel and into the little box without spilling a drop.

I buttoned the machine up and furtively stuck the plug back in and hit the power (on) button. There was a whirring and chugging of the water pump, but before long it fired up, lit up and came to life. I shoved the unit back under her desk where it resides at this moment. It still gluggs when I start it up, but seems happy now and the temp. stays around 99 degrees. And it stays on.

Life is good. And yes, she really does have a liquid cooled computer. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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