22 August, 2008

I Now Know What Boiling Urine Smells Like

One more wonderful thing I can cross off my bucket list.

All jokes aside, I had a rather interesting experience this morning that introduced me to the unique aroma. I have four small kittens you see, and this morning one of them took it upon themselves to pee directly into the surge protector powerboard that my computer was using. I was sitting at the keyboard at the time and I didn't know at first what the gradually louder noise was.

There were a few stages involved: firstly, confusion. What is that? Something outside? The kids are playing the playstation... wait, no, it's a hissing. My speakers? Damn, nope, that's a definite "electronics gone wrong" sound that I've probably heard a dozen times as components enter their death throes. You know the sound - it happens moments before your hard drive dies, or the motherboard fries, or your pc repeatedly gives you useful messages involving three short pips and "Unspecified Hardware Failure. Press F2 to continue, F6 to abort." Yeah, those. Anyway.

I stood up in a massive hurry, worried about being so close to a computer that sounded like it was shorting out. As I looked around the edge of the desk, I realised the sound was coming from behind the computer. What the? Then, OMIGOD, smoke coming from the powerboard... and the glisten of moisture being cooked. I'm trying to remember a time I felt this scared, but nothing quite comes to mind.

Fortunately I was also scared of the house blowing up, so I looked around for some way to turn it off... but I sure as hell weren't touching anything. I grabbed a nearby wooden ruler and flipped off the wall switch with a sigh of relief. Then I ran outside like a chicken and turned off the mains.

The whole room stunk. The powerboard was charred and still dripping with ghastly brown liquid. My son was staring at me and all I could think was, thank Dog I wasn't asleep, or out, or whatever.*

Incidenally, the surge protector did not trip. Its merry red light stared at me while I was trying to identify the cooking sound. (Perhaps it wasn't supposed to, since the power hadn't strictly surged... in any case, I have an Electrical Safety Switch on the mains in case I had been electrocuted.) The powerboard is now hanging (disgraced) in my laundry and will be exhiled to the rubbish. A similar fate awaits my monitor's power cord, the one which was sizzling. I had a great deal of trouble pulling it out of the board, and the appearance once I got a look at it made me never want to use it again. This decision started a manic search for replacement cords.

I've sacrificed having the heater plugged in, as I didn't have another board, and I now lack powerpoints in the vicinity. I found every other kind of cord in my search and was cursing at my lack of a spare power cord... however, it turned up during a second search of random cables and I wasn't forced to steal the cord from my kettle, as I first feared.

For anyone interested, boiling urine seems to have smelled like dirt combined with burning electrics. I'm not sure about the burning electrics part though, since there were burning electrics involved.

~ Elisa

* Dog is not a typo.

09 August, 2008

Blog Trekking

No... this is not a Star Trek post. (Sorry.)

I've been traversing the wonderful world that is "Next Blog", otherwise known as That Button At The Top Of The Screen That Takes You To Another Random Blog. It has been an interesting, and at times disturbing, journey.

By far the most common blogs I've stumbled upon are "news about my family" type blogs. The second most common theme is how wonderful God is (often overlapping with news about their family). But blah de blah, these bore me. I'm looking for something that has interest to those who don't know Darling Danny, Sweet Jemima and Jeepers the Dog.

Among those that grabbed my interest was one that demonstrates the sheer lack of foresight among homeowners. Or more accurately, people who are selling their home. There is, apparently, a great army of people out there who don't stop to consider how bad their ads appear. Amongst the gems are photos of holes in walls, floors and ceilings; photos of rubbish and graffiti; photos of bathrooms so undescribably filthy one has to wonder how that kind of mess even happens. Crooked walls, collections of broken furniture, upended toilets, there is no limit to the stupid things that have been highlighted in an "attempt" to sell a home - and a glance at some of these pictures indicates the attempt is likely to fail. Way to emphasise the low points of a property! And not just the photos but the descriptions! I've laughed many a time at the snafus of confused adjectives reported to Column8 by its reader sleuths, but really, some of these agents have left those for dead... and done things like helpfully advise the buyer that homes are condemned... that walls are missing... that the area is terrible... you get the idea. I've linked it to the right. Go investigate.

Enough for today's post. I may tell you about another gem when I next update.

~ Elisa

01 August, 2008

And Preservative-Free

So, welcome. Today seemed like a good day to start blogging. I am a complete beginner at this of course, so I fired up the trusty Google in all its glory and lo and behold landed at Blogger. I have to confess, I'm a big fan of non-commercial software, but there's a catch: my love only extends to something so easy that any idiot can drive it. (I'm the idiot.)

I think the fact you're able to read this blog is ample evidence it's simple to use.

Speaking of simple, someone simple (me again) tried another first today. After spending seemingly eons deathly afraid of the scary acronym RSS, I managed to finangle some news feeds into another one of Google's nifty little doovies - Google Reader. RSS (or, Really Simple Syndication) is a fancy way of saying "Hey, intarweb, bring me the updates on the stuffz I like reading, and shove it all together on one page for me, toot sweet!"

~ Elisa

EDIT: My weird news stories are now on my other blog, Crazy Odd http://crazyodd.blogspot.com/