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Year View| Summary| Highlights| Month View| Monday 2 February 2004 (Day View) – Lightning kills Modem

02.02.2004Monday 2 February – Lightning

Joe phoned up and left a message for me to call the uni dentist, which I did. I now have an appointment to see the oral surgeon – something I’m not looking forward to.
Mum woke me up to see if I wanted to go to town with her, but I was too sleepy and the only reason I had for going was to buy chocolate – something I haven’t eaten in ages now – so I went online instead, and I’m still here.
The usual evening storm began to brew and move across towards us, so I shut down and unplugged the computer, and went inside. The lightning got closer and closer, thundering all around us, before it passed over towards Home Rule and the rain began. Then, just when we thought the worst was over, there was a loud hiss and a bright flash, followed immediately by a huge, rolling thunderclap and then an ominous silence – no thunder, no lightning, not even any rain. This lack of ferocity was scarier than the lightning, but not for long – a huge spark, with its own huge spark noise, hit down just outside somewhere, which was the worst. Another closer raging thunderstorm followed, the highlight of which was when we had a spark from within our inside meter box, and the smell of burning plastic.
  Once the storm had passed, the power tried to come back on. The lights were a dim orange for a while, then some fellas from Ergon turned up at the power pole up the road and did their magic, and the power worked. Surprisingly, after resetting the core balance breaker, everything seemed to work again, so whatever plastic melted obviously wasn’t too vital.
  Once the power had been on a while and seemed to be staying on, I reconnected the computer and went to go online – but there was no modem found. After a bit of fiddling around, it became evident that the modem was fried. The phone would work when the computer was off, but turn it on and the phone stopped working. Now that I think about it, it was pretty stupid – but I used to unplug the phone line from the wall jack inside, but leave the other end connected to the modem, so it had fifty metres of buried extension lead joined to the modem. I would probably have been better off leaving it plugged into the wall, where at least it would have been connected to some lightning protection.
  I walked up to Shan’s to ask if I could borrow his modem. They were about to go over to Home Rule for dinner, and said they’d pick up the modem while they were there.
Mum and I watched “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” – which is very stupid, but so stupid it’s almost funny. Not long after we’d finished watching the DVD, Shan arrived with the modem, and I tried installing it. The computer won’t even boot with it in the same PCI slot that the old modem used. Sometimes it will initialise the graphics card and fail on memory test, other times it won’t even initialise the graphics. I’m guessing that means either that slot is dead, or, probably less likely, the BIOS still thinks the old card is there. I couldn’t be bothered resetting the BIOS or ESCD. The borrowed modem will detect and seem to work properly if I put it in another PCI slot. It will even pick up the phone, but won’t dial. It simply fails to dial, saying no dial tone is present until I told it to ignore dial tones, and now it just dials for a while, and after a few attempts gives a generic 777 hardware failure error.
  After a while, I got sick of it, and plugged in a trusty external modem and used that instead, but storm circled around and came back, so I had to shutdown, unplug and go to bed anyway. I’ll try to borrow another internal modem tomorrow and test using that.
  I slept hoping the tree above me doesn’t get hit by lightning and fall on me.

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