First it was the monitor. Then it was the printer. The rear speakers in the 5.1 stopped working. The War Horse was showing its age - performing gallantly, but erratically. Registry gunk was building up despite the best efforts of Norton Utilities. I began to get unrepairable problems. Finally, after months of intermittent crashes, the home system has failed completely.
I can't complain, since it was a refurbished system that was at least a year old when I first got it. Now it is a $450 cinder block. Even my savvier wizard friends (three of whom have home-assembled their own systems component by component) are stumped. It is so fubar that I can't even reinstall the OS. It will boot up, but only in safe mode. It will not run any program at all without complaining about missing DLL files and general protection faults. It's almost as if someone microwaved the CPU while I was at work yesterday.
By the kind permission of the Greatest Boss in the Known World, I get to post this from work. Naturally it's a kindness I can't abuse, so expect reduced content for a couple of weeks. Luckily the code was on the wall for a while and I was already saving up for a new rig, hopefully with such advanced features as extra RAM, a video card, and working peripherals - the delay shouldn't be too long.
RIP, War Horse (August 2000 - June 2005). You were a good little PC.