Here we go again (computer rant)

Ugh, here we go again with computer problems. Everything has been going ok on thedesktop6 computer front over the last several weeks, so I suppose its high time for a computer problem to rear its ugly head again. I came downstairs Wednesday morning and tried to rouse my computer from its slumber (I’ve been putting it in ‘Sleep Mode’ instead of shutting it off when I’m done with it each time. I didn’t think this was going to cause a problem) and it started like it normally does, only to shut down after about 15 seconds. Upon rebooting, it did the same thing. “Oh great” I’m thinking to myself, “now what“? After letting it do this for a few minutes, I shut it down completely and let it sit for about 10 minutes, thinking that perhaps it needed to ‘cool off’ and I’d try it again. Welp, no difference, same result. It doesn’t even get to the point where I can actively access the BIOS, it reboots endlessly. I am working from my laptop again, trying to troubleshoot the problem remotely.

So far, according to various sources, it could be a number of things. Bad RAM (memory), although I think this highly unlikely because the memory has been in the tower since I built it. A bad or overworked power supply. Again, I don’t think this is the problem, simply because the power supply is a replacement, still practically new, and if anything it’s OVER powered, not under. Someone else with a similar problem suggested it might be a lack of thermal grease on the CPU, but since I purchased a new cooling fan for the CPU/motherboard, it came with its own thermal grease smeared on the underside of the heat sink. The other possibility is that the motherboard itself is shot. This might be possible, since it’s at least 5 years old, and it was present when the original power supply blew.

In the last 24 hours, I’ve tried several fixes, but nothing seems to work. I’ve gone so far as to disconnect all of the components that draw power, but when I go to turn on the computer, the same result. I really have a hard time believing that this is due to the power supply failing. I’d really rather not go to the expense of buying another PS, only to discover it was the motherboard all along.

Update: After a couple of frustrating days, I finally fixed the damn thing.  I was about to the point where I was going to purchase a new power supply, and hold onto the ‘old’ one when I found an obscure post from 2005 on a board that I frequent.  The person had the same exact problem that I did, and explained how he managed to fix it.  He removed the memory DIMMs (sticks) from their sockets and replaced them.  Just to be certain they were stuck in.  Once I did that and powered on the tower, it stayed running.  Crossing my fingers, I shut it off at the power button, put everything back together and carted it back to where my computer desk was.  Re-connected all the peripherals and voila!  It works.

Once I had it running, I made sure to back up the hard drive again, since it hasn’t been backing itself up over the last several days.  Made sure my email downloaded so it’s not cluttering up either the cloud or the mail server, and reveled in the wonder of being able to see on my 27″ monitor again.  Definitely not certain how long this is going to work, but it’s working for NOW.  A fact to which I’m grateful.  Now, on to other problems.

Poly Schmoly

Polyamorous relationships are not for the timid.  I think that should be understood right from the beginning.  Secondly, one needs to have a good understanding of what they all entail before getting themselves immersed in one.  The reason I’m writing about this is; my girl is presently dealing with issues involved with the couple that she’s been seeing for the last month or so.  Honestly, I wasn’t completely on board with her desire to enter into a poly relationship with the couple, but she felt she needed outside companionship since we’re unable to get together for long stretches of time.  The couple claimed to have a fairly good understanding of what poly is, how it affects the core relationship, and that they were well suited for bringing in another into said relationship.

Well, apparently they oversold that last one.  Without going into too much detail, soon after my girl was ‘officially’ incorporated into the couple’s dynamic, problems began to crop up.  (Or perhaps the problems were already there, but they now had the opening to come out) Jealousy flared from one side, even though apparently the other partner was either unaware of it, or was too timid to get involved.  Which to me sounds a bit childish, more than a little bit irresponsible, and finally downright mean.  In the last day or so it got to the point where the aggrieved partner faked a heart episode and demanded to be taken to the ER.  Once there, it fell upon my girl to ‘be the adult’ and be responsible, even though she was clearly being played.

In the meantime, I’m up north here, hearing about it, watching it play out and feeling my stomach be pulled into knots knowing I don’t really have much say in how all of this plays out.  Naturally, when there’s a problem, I get a text message, a call, or some other form of communication from my girl letting me know about it.  At this point, if I had the funds, I’d drive down there and start knocking heads together.  If for no other reason, than just to feel like I’m able to DO something.

As it stands right now, my girl is pretty fed up with these people and is distancing herself from them.  How much distance remains to be seen, but as usual I’m attempting to be as supportive as I can from a distance.  

Even now, I’m a bit hesitant in posting about this.  But this is my forum, this is what’s going on in my life, it’s MY damn journey, so I’m writing about it.  There.  I feel better.  Now off to rake some leaves, to get some of this pent-up energy expended.

Death in the ‘family’


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Yesterday was not a good day. For either my girl or myself. I was at work, and checked my messages at lunch, since I don’t carry my phone with me (probably one of the few employees that doesn’t since we’re not supposed to, we signed an agreement not to, and I can be a stickler for that sort of thing). My girl had messaged me around 9 am and it seemed quite urgent (‘Call me please, ASAP’). I called and the first thing I understood was, there’d been a death in her family. Sudden. Unexpected. Tragic. And to make matters worse, it was one of her children.

Everything sort of came to a standstill at that point. What to do? Death sometimes is unexpected, and it creates big problems, especially if you’re in a precarious financial situation. I’m reminded of the time my adoptive mother died, how the funeral home director, (quite callously mind you) directed my grieving father to the ‘high-end’ caskets, figuring he’d make a good sale.

There’s only so much one can do from a distance. If I could, I’d be there already. I’m providing what support I can, but I want to do more. Everything is still very much up in the air, and I don’t want her falling apart in this time of grief and need. Thankfully, she is not alone, she’s staying for the moment with her poly family.

It’s not going to be easy, but as I reassured her last night, we’re going to get through it together.


It’s all about the numbers

I’ve mentioned before that I work in retail.  I’ve been doing that for the last 32 years give or take.  Now that I have less time ahead of me than behind me, I have to give serious thought about what I’m going to do about the time when I’m no longer working.  IE: how to pay for retirement and attempt to live comfortably, at the very least.  

I have an important decision coming up next week.  It involves my future, my retirement and some other issues that will be happening in the months and years to come.  Specifically, I have to vote on a referendum that’s occurring at work. 

At my work, the business is going through its own transition.  The company is in the midst of a bankruptcy, and they’re attempting to find ways to get rid of debt, and attempt to keep old debts from staining their ability to go forward.  One of the major sticking points is the agreement they made with the union that I’m a member of, when they last negotiated a contract in 2017.  They stated at that time, they were obligated to continue to fund the pension plan they’d been supporting for the last 20 some odd years.  Now, they want to do away with that (as so many companies are doing these days), and instead invest in a 401k plan to ‘benefit’ their workers.  Unfortunately, that means screwing over their employees in the long run, since pensions are guaranteed, and something that’s based on investments is not.  Drastic changes in markets, in investments and badly managed portfolios can be disastrous to 401k’s over time, but though the company is aware of that, they’d rather save money in this way and continue to plow it into risky management issues that they’ve been doing for too many years already.

The union hierarchy at this point knows they’re in a bind.  The judge that is overseeing the bankruptcy this past week ok’d a plan by the company to reward executives for essentially staying at their desks, by giving them incentive bonuses.  At the same time, this 401k plan is being floated to the union rank and file, and there’s a vote coming up next week to decide whether or not to accept it.  If the vote goes against the proposal, the company has a few options open to it.  They can go one of two ways.  Ask the judge to throw out the contract that was enacted last year (forcing the union to strike) or attempt to re-negotiate with the union for a lesser payment on the pension plan they’re already unwilling to support as of March of this year.

I’ve been going back and forth about this since I learned about it early last week.  I have a 401k with the union that I’ve been a member of for a while now.  From an information video that was published this afternoon, the union is saying that the new money coming from the company would be folded into the present union 401k, not a new one set up by the company, which was sort of presented last week.  Up to now, the 401k through the union was funded by yourself alone, the company did NOT do anything in the way of matching funds or kick in money of their own.  This seems to be the thing that’s going to change.  The pension that I’d been counting on is more than likely not going to be there when I reach retirement age around 2032.

I’m really not sure whether or not to support this initiative.  I honestly don’t think it’s going to matter one way or another, since there’s not likely to be a lot of people at the meeting that I go to next Tuesday.  At the ratification meetings for contracts, generally attendance is abysmal.  A lot of people who are members of the union don’t bother to vote, even though there are things they then complain about, but if you don’t show up to support things, in my mind you lose your right to bitch about it afterward.

Both the wife and my girl have noted I’ve been more melancholy lately.  I’m fairly sure this has a lot to do with it.