One Saturday Morning


8:02 A.M.  Sleeping.

8:03 A.M.  Still sleeping.

8:04 A.M.  Gigantic explosion, no longer sleeping.  No more power. 

My UPS Backup power unit cries loudly, "BEEEEEEEP! BEEEEEEP!" I get up and turn it off, trying to go back to sleep.  I figure the power will be on shortly, as Gainesville Regional Utilities is notorious for providing shitty power.  To give you an idea, we have about 6 or 7 surge protectors, and 2 UPS systems, because the power is so dirty and unpredictable here.

Unfortunately, the power did not come back on.  In fact, some sweetly acrid smoke was pouring out of one of our many computers.  Great!  Immediately we disconnect the burning computer, and dash for the circuit breakers to flip the switch.  Power is cut.  Trying to turn it back on again gives us no luck; the power is down and out.  We then tried to call GRU, but don't know the number off-hand, so we call 411.  They give us some information alright--the 800 number used to determine if you are permitted to dig and lay lines in the ground.  Thanks a lot!  We attempt to find the number on some bills, but can't see a damn thing because it's pitch black indoors, so we have to tear down some window blackers to get some light.  Finally we call GRU, and they assure us they are "aware of the problem, and working quickly to resolve it."

9:00 A.M.  GRU finally decides to show up, obviously they know something really bad happened, because it's one of those big-ass trucks that are reserved for issues that require more serious attention.  The technician steps out of his truck, and proceeds to expertly feel up the transformer, petting it gently.  Once he's done being affectionate, he goes to examine the local street pole, but doesn't find anything there, either.  So he walks to the end of the road, and must have found the main fuse that blew for the area, because he was gone about 45 minutes there. 

He returned, walking across the street to the Research Laboratory for the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.  Oops?

Interestingly enough, here we find where the problem originated, and the culprit.

Yes, grabbing these two lines is NOT advisable.  The culprit?  Him.

Not a pretty sight anymore, are you, Mr. Squirrel?  If only you could learn to keep your damn hands off of our power lines, none of us would have any problems, and you'd probably be still alive.  Ah, natural selection at its best!

We also find that this bastard was not alone.  Here you can see his partner-in-crime, refusing to go anywhere in a hurry.

So, what did this guy:

end up causing us in damages, besides lost sleep?  Power is restored to the area, but for some reason our apartment building is still in the dark.  We go outside to the main breaker for the building and reset it, which seems to help.  However, we still don't have power!  Whenever we throw the switch in our apartment, it's nothing but a harsh buzzing sound.  Now it is time to localize the damage.  One by one, we flip through the breakers, and find out it's two rooms that pop and sizzle when we flip the switch, until we realize it's probably some of those cheap-o surge protectors we had for incidents just like this.

Digging them out, we found this lovely sight:

Yeah, not only does it look bad, but it smells worse.  Nothing quite as aromatic as burning silicon.  What about the computer, you ask?  Well, I know you wouldn't expect me to not come back to the subject of fried computers, since I've always had great luck with them in the past.  In fact, the damage was much less than I had anticipated.  Nothing was destroyed, except for a single power supply, which we have already replaced.  You wanna see what was smoking though, don't you?  Well, so did we.

Looks like one of those capacitors got so hot, its dielectric material actually liquefied and exploded.  Pretty nifty..that's not something you see every day.  We plug everything back in, and all seems to be in perfect working order, except we can't access the internet.  Noooo!  Is it the cable modem?  Our network cards?  Nothing so dramatic, but it is time to lay Blinky Jr. to rest.

<moment of respectful silence>

Now, what was the death toll of this bastard?  I'll show you one more pic of him, since I know you love looking at that nasty, charred carcass being devoured by hundreds of ants:

well, he got all this:

The graveyard includes:  1 power supply, 1 router, 3 surge protectors, 1 squirrel.

Here I thought I was going to get to sleep in, like any other day...