They say you can never go home again.

So last night I went home.

Yesterday I decided, completely on a whim, that I couldn’t be arsed with going back to Reading, trudging through a wet and windy night to a dark and cold house where I would warm a tin of beans over a bunsen burner and spoon them into my mouth before chuging a bottle of whiskey and collapsing where I lay, reveling in sleep’s sweet blanket until the sharp fingers of dawn sliced my eyelids announced the morrow.

Um.

Instead of going back to Catrion Towers in Reading, where there are no people, I went back to the Fictional Town of Paddock Wood to visit my parents, and was convinced to stay the night. I discussed DIY with my dad, watched X-Men 2, and generally caught up, decided to stay the night, and wandered into work again this morning. Yay randomness.

In the meantime, I apparently have had a delivery at home. I do hope they didn’t leave it on the doorstep.

Monday, you see, was fun. Sunday night was also fun. Sunday night LoneCat escaped to the wilds of Letchworth, which was depressing, and Monday…

It was a dark and stormy morning.
I awoke, rose, showered and broke fast. Repaired it, and had breakfast.
Then I started the days tasks, which included changing the router so that mail flowed to the right place.

Routers are one place where my geekdom fails me. Every time I go near the router when not armed with a shiny GUI interface, I manage to completely screw up the config in such a way that I’m no longer online, and can’t fix it.

So this time, just for a change, I screwed up the config in such a way that I was no longer online, and couldn’t fix it.

Right. Dialup.

I own two modems. a 56k that served me very well for three years, and a 33k Pace modem that I was given for free by the squatters in the flat above. One of these had a power supply, the other didn’t. Guess which was which?

Second, When LC had left, she took the phone extension cord with her so she could get online. It was time to go talk to Maplins.

Maplins wasn’t busy. The person behind the counter was banging his head against it, and after a short while I realised why. Chistmas has come early to Reading. Every shop in the town centre is now in full festive swing, with trees and lights and joy and bells and gifts and toys and carols. The carol CD they had wasn’t bad, but was on a half-hour loop. I felt sorry for the people behind the counter, bought my extension, and left.

a little while later, I came back for a lead to plug the modem to the phone line.

I plugged the 33k in, found my old Freeserve account and dialed in. I was able to log into IRC and say “Dialup sucks” before I was disconnected.

I redialed.

It didn’t work.

Windows didn’t recognise the modem. It scanned COM1. Nothing. COM2. Nothing. COM3 apparently had a modem, but since I only have two COM ports, and plugging the phone line into the modem whilst trying COM3 failed.

I found the power supply for the 56k and tried that. Nothing. Tried it on both servers. Nothing. No combination of modem and computer worked.

I unplugged all modems, uninstalled all drivers, and reset my computer.

It found a modem.

When I was putting my computer back together last month, I had found my brothers old internal modem and thinking it could do no harm, had installed it. This was the fictional COM3.

After a while, I also discovered that my Freeserve settings were out of date (I was using the Surftime (Unmetered) number which I don’t pay for anymore) which hadn’t been helping.

Eventually I got online, and with ccooke’s help, rescued the router.

I hate hardware.