A few months ago I installed a car stereo in my old Honda Civic. It plays MP3s. MP3s weren't even invented when that car was made.
I felt a sense of manly accomplishment that was, frankly, intoxicating. I, Derek Powazek, had actually removed a car stereo and installed a new one, my ass hanging out of the passenger side door, grunting and crimping all those wires in all the right places, without any bleeding or setting anything on fire or anything.
When I was done I brought Heather out and we sat in the car listening to the thing boom. The people in the hair salon watched us, leaning into their window, wondering why we were sitting in a parked car, and one of us was pumping his fist in the air.
I guess that's what made me think I had the chops to replace the hard drive in my laptop.
When Heather and I were on our honeymoon, my Powerbook finally gave up the ghost. Its predecessor, the black G3 that weighed 10 pounds, was dragged all over Europe in a backpack for months and never even hiccupped. My newfangled 12-inch Powerbook was barely out of warranty when it died, the fucker.
I had only brought it with us so we could dump our digital photos onto it. Using a combination of cleverness and luck, I nursed it back to health long enough to burn our photos to CDs (CDs I bought from a snotty Parisian behind the counter of a Virgin Megastore who said "merciaurevoir!" as if it was one word) and then it died.
I knew it was the hard drive. Not because I'm a computer genius or anything. The screeching and beeping coming from the part of the computer that usually whirs like a hard drive kind of gave it away.
So I found some instructions, bought a tiny screwdriver, and got busy. So many tiny screws were removed, and with each one I came up with a new way to remember it. The tiny screw that came out from behind the f11 key is under the 11th bill on my desk. The three screws from the battery compartment are in the toothbrush holder. The itty bitty hex screws that came out of the top are above the refrigerator.
And finally, when the infernal thing I had paid so much money for so little time ago was in pieces scattered across my desk, I realized the hard drive I'd bought to replace the one I'd just removed was entirely the wrong size.
Score one for the infernal thing, zero for studly mister stereo man.
I quickly ordered another drive, the right one, online. But when it arrived today, days later, I feared I'd never remember where all those screws went. Did the two screws I left in my lens cap go on the front or on the side? Why doesn't this screw fit in this hole anymore? Oh, right, that's the CD slot.
Amazingly (and when I say that I mean Be Really Fucking Amazed Because I Can Hardly Believe It Myself), I attached the hard drive and put the whole thing back together tonight and pretty much remembered where everything went. And now, as I type this, the little Powerbook is whirring away, installing OSX, its new drive filling up with the latest and greatest. And I don't even have any little screws loose.
This section is called Just a Thought. It's a blog where I post little pieces of what I'm thinking about at the moment. This page is an individual entry called “Manly” that I wrote on 3 August 2004.
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Working the web since 1995, Derek Powazek is the creator of many award-winning websites, a couple of which still exist. Derek is the cofounder of JPG Magazine and the CCO of 8020 Publishing. Derek lives in San Francisco with his wife, two nutty Chihuahuas, a grumpy cat, and a house full of plants named Fred. More »
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