Monday, December 08, 2008

from the "Tesla would have been proud" dept.

Some of you may be familiar with a problem I have with electronic devices. I seem to have some sort of electrical aura that makes them go nutty. There is some quasi-science behind the phenomenon of Street Light Interference, about which you can read more here.

I am able to make street lamps flicker, mobile phones sputter, and computers up and die. It is an expensive curse and a bloody pain in the arse.

The latest example of my electronic hell occurred Sunday. I went to start my car after being away for some time. Not surprisingly, the battery was flat.

This has happened many times in the past and a quick jump is usually all it takes to get the car running again. But not this time.

After hooking up the booster cables to my pal Randy's van, I turned the key. After a few seconds of turning over, the car roared to life. Normally a short drive around North Vancouver is all that is needed to recharge the battery and have dependable transportation.

Suddenly the headlights came on, even though they were switched off. Then the door locks went crazy: up, down, up, down. The engine began revving. 1000 RPM. 2000. 3000. 4000.

She's gonna blow!

The lights on the dashboard started glowing. Bright then dim. The radio crackled. The engine dropped to 1000 RPM. The headlights switched to bright, then off. The turn signals began indicating on their own.

The engine revved again. At 4500 RPM I turned the key, praying that this would actually kill the engine before it exploded into a thousand parts.

The engine stopped but the door locks started up as the dome light flashed. Then the doors locked as the dashboard lights slowly flickered their last breath. Luckily I was able to open the door and escape the confines of my demon Dodge.

We decided to try again, but the results were the same. The engine and electrical systems went crazy. I managed to move the car about 5 meters before it sputtered and died on its own.

A third attempt to resuscitate the beast failed and we were forced to push the vehicle back into its parking spot.

My 1995 Stratus has apparently joined the heaps of electronic gear that my brainwaves have managed to fry.

So now the dilemma: Get it fixed or scrap it? I paid $1500 for the car three years ago, so my ROI is better than most mutual funds. And fixing it will likely equal the value of the car (if there is any).

I reckon I'll make that decision in a day or two, after I find out how much it will cost to bring my MacBook back from the dead, another victim of my curse.


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