My PC is finally Gone With the Wind, and What an Epic it Was…

Frankly Bill Gates, I don’t give a damn.

My PC is finally Gone With the Wind, and what an epic it was…

Before I got my new iMAC, I spent a lot of time watching blue and green bars slowly crawl across my computer-screen, forever “monitoring” my monitor, trapped like an animal. Power-on — power-off – in hopes the fool contraption would eventually function for longer than 5 consecutive minutes. During my last and final PC crash, I sat somewhere between comatose and enchanted glaring-at tiny spinning hour-glasses, rotating magnifying-glasses, pulsing targets on sonar-screens — and my all time favorite — a growling cartoon Godzilla. Tirelessly I endured all manner of repetitive animations under the mistaken impression that one or more of these little dancing motherfuckers was actually hard at work cleaning and repairing my computer.
 

Oh how sorrowfully wrong I was…
 

I personally believe those fool animations are designed to mesmerize us during endless downloads as a ”front’ for doing nothing at all – in an effort to divert your attention while they’re doing additional damage to your PC.  
 
It’s times like this when the real conspiracy theorist in me comes-out: I’ve decided all computer viruses are covertly designed and released by none other than the virus software protection companies themselves in order to generate revenue. Their diabolical plot is carried-out through secret off-shore partners trafficking in online-constipation and a fire-in-their belly to part consumers from their money. The seductive little dancing icons perform endless gyrations world-wide to make us think that SOMETHING is actually going-on. Something’s going on alright — they’re gathering your personal information to analyze data during satanic focus-groups to figure-out how-best to fleece you and other future customers.
 

I have no scientific proof of this – nor have I looked into investigating the likelihood of my outlandish allegations – other than knowing from experience people will do anything they think they can get away with when customers are confused.
 

Meanwhile nothing was going-on with my own PC aside from wasting precious time slack-jawed staring at the monitor breathlessly waiting for prompts that never came hoping I’d be rewarded with a virus-free computer that was not meant to be. 

Owning a PC requires a commitment to evaporating time and wondering whether or not the idiotic machine is ever going to work ever again once your warranty expires. The CyberGods sit back laughing only to dash the your foolish hopes — luring an unwary public into the kind of madness that makes people do the same freakin’ thing over and over again — each-time expecting a different result.
 

When suddenly the blue screen of death is upon you…
 

…for the umpteenth millionith time…
 

Start/restart…
 
Repeat…
 

No, make that repeatedly…
 

…Then do it one more  time just for good measure to fully insure that madness is at hand…
 

Quickly - yet in slow-motion I hit the power-off button while frightening words fly past my eyes like: “Emergency Crash Memory-Dump…” Physically falling to my knees and crawling on the floor, I unplug the unholy machine from the outlet to silence it’s insults and recriminations.  Why? Because the manual on and off button longer responds and the power-off option is frozen.
 

My beleaguered soul is left riddled with recriminations thinking about how I should never have visited that one particular website, let alone gone back…  (again and again.) People are human, computers are not.  Nor is Microsoft (albeit a corporation) –  NO Mister Romney corporations are NOT people.
 

Hours, days and weeks of time can elapse without a spare moment for the exhausted PC owner to eat anything aside from chips washed-down with soda in dreaded fear of walking away from the computer when it’s about to freeze or requesting a ‘prompt’ completely outside of a normal person’s understanding.  Seriously now, as if being present at the time a computer crashes or freezes would really make all that much difference… A PC freezes when it freezes. They freeze-up when they’re new and they freeze-up when they’re old – browser be damned and buyer beware.
 

Desperate and sleepless with exhaustion in consternation one calls-in a flotilla of imperious tech-support people ranging from the well-meaning friend to the expensive computer charlatan… 

But get real – it’s hopeless. 

Humbled and dispirited a polite PC owner will make offerings of food and drink to sate the appetites of the all-knowing, all-mighty computer-tech, eating you out of house and home of whatever is left in your cupboard and refrigerator in a last ditch effort to appease the imperious Geek Gods of Hubris.

Even while the tortured PC owner baths their tech-support person’s feet and anoinith their heads with fragrant oils… and all prayers and incantations have been offered-up, the damned know in their heart of hearts it’s really about built-in obsolesce just to keep the industry rich and fat.
 

Were you to promise all of your worldly possessions to the dark overlords of geekdom – face the music – your computer has death-rattle. Only the last rites remain yet to be performed — When suddenly without warning the PC is magically restored – up and running – the almighty geeks have saved the day – but by the time they’re are at home all snuggled their beds with visions of emoticons dancing in their heads…  YOU’RE left alone with your PC – THAT’S when
the goddamn muther-fucking son-of-a-bitch piece-of-foreign-slave-built-shit crashes again merely to twist your pantyhose and the knife with irt a little bit deeper.
 

And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the BLUE-SCREEN of DEATH and several empty six-packs of beer…
 

Alone, trembling and afraid, the defeated PC owner bravely hits the Stop/Restart commands over and over again frantically running malware and virus protection updates only to repeat these useless procedures until your fists fly through the nearest wall.  Take a deep breath – You’re back to where you started, and all the poorer for it – not to mention there’s nothing left in the house to eat.
 

I’m reminded of the dark and terrifying night when Rod Serling passed-away in the hospital room next to mine at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. TV cameras and news-reporters were not in my ward to get updates on how I was doing with my early experimental laser eye surgery.  I was merely in the room next door to the world’s eeriest celebrity.
 

Lurking on the other-side of the wall next to my bed, the Earwick-of-Madness  was escaping Rod Serling’s brain seeking shelter in the deep, dark recesses of my own unsuspecting kneaded-eraser of gray-matter. Yes, on that dark, stormy night when I was a mere youth of 27, a vaporous whisper from Rod Serling’s brain delivered a baby sporelette between my ears laying in wait only to multiply and become plenty decades later – morphing ever so slowly – driven with the mission of preparing the final groundwork to assault all my future expectations of sanity – awaiting my first Personal Computerdecades later to enter my life.


Do-dee-do-da – do-dee-do-da…
 

Glimpse at your own risk, the unsuspecting young man in the room next to legendary yet spooky story-telling icon, Rod Serling slipping from this veil of tears into his own nest Twilight Zone as dusky-germs of dementia aimed toward my psyche zeroed-in on a place where they could settle, fester and be plenty. The last element of madness was provided by Satan himself courtesy of the flying monkeys at MicroSoft in bold association with the gentle yet incoherent voices of the good people working tech-support in Ceylon and Calcutta.
 

My PC nightmare began when I downloaded a virus protector-update which turned-out to be an imposter – impregnating my computer with a classic boot-up trojan virus. At my wit’s end, I bought numerous malware online fix-it programs once installed served only to try and resell me the same malware update products I’d just purchased and installed. Over and over again. This kind of round-robin insanity could only be perpetrated by Microsoft.

 

A decade and a half ago Apple was going into Chapter 11 – On bad advise I purchased my first PC – an unholy thing born of the feted loins of Hewlett Packard – the evil company once run by corporate nitwit, Carley Farina, who recently had  political aspirations as a Tea Party freak.  I had no way of knowing the very first computer I’d ever bought was the “Earnest Borgnine, Marty” of ALL smacked-upside-the-head-traumatic-brain-injured personal computers with one oar in the River Stix. 

I bought my first computer, “Marty” boxed right off the shelf from a major chain of technological-superstores not knowing it contained a damaged motherboard. Astute as I try to be, you might have thought I’d have been suspicious that it was the last one left on the shelves.  I suspect it had been a demonstration model. 

When I complained to WorstBuy and Hewlett-Packard while still under warranty, they sent me a very nice young woman with English as a second language.  She conveniently reported to my home to replace the offending motherboard. We communicated with each-other via tableau-vivant so she could grasp how my PC was “sickie in the headie.” She dutifully dissembled my computer carefully laying pieces across several tables. She then opened a new package containing a presumably ‘virgin’ motherboard and absently mindedly, put the very same brain-dead muther-fuckin’-board back into my computer and went merrily on her way. 

What did I know? I didn’t know anything about computers nor did I speak Portuguese. She visited my house several times to put-in and take-out various and sundry things beyond my understanding, while we danced and froze-posed our efforts to communicate. Eventually I came to suspect, judging from her gyrations she was secretly trying to get me to marry her in order to gain legal status.

I declined.
 

Hewlett Packard acquiesced to my anger by having me send the “special-needs” computer back to the main diagnostics lab where it “wintered” in sunny Palo Alto, California on a loading-dock only to be returned to me un-repaired and unopened with all my original tape and markings still intact. 

After faxing several receipts with cover letters cc’d to an attorney, apologies were made, and retributions were promised by Hewlett-Packard and WorstBuy who THIS time around sent functional illiterates to pack-up my computer and resend to the elephant burial ground of smacked-ass-PC’s.  My “Marty” was replaced with a computer of equal or worse brain damage this time sporting a physical crack in the casing. Foolishly I purchased 6 PC’s over a 15 year period –  because the devil you know is preferably to the one you don’t.
 

Now my long personal nightmare is over and I have a brand-spanking new iMac through the generosity of my friend, Ruth. So far – so good. It might not be particularly “PC” of me to say, but once you go MAC, you never go back.

World without death, Amen

2 thoughts on “My PC is finally Gone With the Wind, and What an Epic it Was…

  1. The moral of the story, sadly, boils down to this: An artist needs to have a truly competent techie for a friend. Well meaning neophytes compound the problems and untrained brain-dead "feriners" that cannot recognize a cracked motherboard are the bane of the trained. I hate what computer companies consider "tech support"
    Two or three years ago, before I began the secret ninja training of the A+ Certified technician, I bought my wife a purple Dell laptop. Within 2 months, the screen became an unreadable, blank blackness. I tried what I knew, no changes, I connected a desktop monitor to it, which worked wonders, and now I could see to try changing some settings. No dice. I called Dell, and they very happily mailed me (free of charge) a new LCD screen for the laptop. No change. I called back, talked to a supervisor, because I was getting irritated, and, had done "research" into the illnesses laptops can get that cause the symptoms we were having. He said he'd send ANOTHER LDC, and a video card, and if that failed, he'd send a mother board. I asked (because I'd done "research") if it could be the inverter (a light generating tube that makes LCD screens visible) He said he doubted it, but if he found one lying around he'd send it along too, just in case. Two days later the large box of sundry parts arrived, I took out the inverter, swapped it for the existing one, and TA-DA!! magic. I had succeeded where the "trained" tech had not. I packaged up the dead inverter, the old, probably still good LCD, and the sundry useless parts they sent me, and mailed them back, with a three page letter detailing how little regard I now held their tech people in.
    Then I called ITT and enrolled. I am now a certified, diploma'd computer geek, with the knowledge that I should NOT play with charcoal or paint, but I should assist those experts in that media with their techie needs.
    That being said, here is some good news, and some bad news for you Bill.

    The good, first. Because Mac computers make up less than 3% of the home computer market, they have something like 1 virus for every 60,000 targeted at PC's so you are less susceptible than PC owners as a Mac owner. You are NOT, however, immune. That, sadly, is just not possible.
    Now, the bad news. Macs and PC's use the same hardware made in China and Taiwan. Identical, same brands even. These are both subject to similar failures. And hardware failures are more common that a virus "killing" a computer. In fact, now, there are Macs on the market that come with BOTH OSX and Windows installed.
    From the symptoms you described, I think that you got a boot hijacker virus. These are tricky, but not impossible to treat, but the PC tech that was helping you apparently did not know the tricks. I do, but unfortunately, I am too far away, and it is nearly impossible to talk an artist through teching a computer. Just as you cannot, by words alone, tell me how to paint a sunset. They are, in their own ways, both an art.
    The other thing is, it sounds almost like you had several anti-virus programs running together, and that can freeze your computer, give the infamous "BSOD" (blue-scree-of-death)(best ever version: http://tizona.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/bsod1.jpg)
    There is such a thing as "too protected" and virus scan software will see other antivirus software as a virus and in trying to "quarantine" each other, crash.
    I hope that, as you enjoy your Mac that you also will make sure to find a good friend in your area who truly does "know computers" and help you avoid the pitfalls of the interwebs thingy, and that you always practice safe computing.

  2. Hey Mark – All my friends are Mac users, so none of them could help me with the old PC. The guys across the street teaches computer graphics for MAC, another friend is the IT director for a major chemical company where they're Mac-based – and my best friend from my last job is a Mac wizard. I was like the cheese standing alone with my freakin' diseased PC's.

    I did later learn a had a boot-up virus and a motherboard problem. So far my new Mac feels like dad is letting me drive the Cadillac.

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