The holiday always keep me busy, but this one has been particularly active. I was under a deadline to incorporate my new functionality in Serendipity (I'll tell you more about that when it's through).

The day before the deadline, as I worked between family obligations -- and with three kids, there are lots of family activities -- my hard drive failed. We had left to visit family, and when we got back all the computers had rebooted except mine. Possibly a lightning strike, who knows?

My new task was to get all my important data off the hard drive. Years of email, bookmarks, development files, photos, music... everything would be lost if I couldn't restore it. I was getting the dreaded "interrupt lost" error, but I had high hopes that the problem was the motherboard: the DVD drive, also on the secondary bus, was having intermittent problems, too.

Before dealing with my odd setup -- the relic of multiple installs and operating systems, including a stint as a dual-boot Windows/Linux machine -- I cleaned the machine with a vacuum.

That was obviously a mistake. A few hours later, just as I was finally detecting the light at the end of the tunnel, there was a giant spark and "ZORCH!" noise.

The computer shut down in mid-boot. The smell of burning electronics filled the air. My heart sank into my shoes.

All is not lost. I have another power supply; if that's the only problem, I'm good. I also have an old computer that I could shuffle the drives into; Linux is pretty flexible, so I might manage to get things running there. I have a few spare motherboards lying around, too, and they might come in handy as deplorably slow replacements.

The big problem is time. I just don't know if I'll have the time to try stuff out. Until I manage to get a handle on the problem, I'm stuck using the kids' computer for everything... and it's only available during the late-night hours.

Well, I'm off to bed. If I manage to destroy any more equipment, I'll let everybody know.

I hope your New Year is a lot less zorchy than mine!