I knew something was up when the indicator on my A/V receiver reported that it was receiving an analog signal from the input to which my PC is connected. Since the input is attached to the coaxial digital output on my soundcard, an "analog" signal generally means there is no signal at all. I wasn't worried, the cable had probably been unplugged accidentally last night when I had Rachel (my acoustic guitar) plugged into the computer through my mixer.
My anxiety went up a notch after taking a peek behind the desk to discover the cable was securely plugged in at both ends. Right, so maybe something was wrong with ALSA (no, that's not the Alpaca and Lama Show Association). Back at my keyboard, I did a little digging only to find all was as it should be as far as ALSA was concerned. Unfortunately, the output from lspci told another story. The sound card and all its related devices (e.g. MIDI/game port) were completely absent from the listing. Odd. I had to reboot anyway, so I told Daisy (yes, I named my PC too) to go ahead and reboot, thinking something may have gone wrong when the system was detecting my hardware during the last boot.
Several reboots later, my anxiety level was near critical. It was quickly becoming apparent that the problem was hardware related. I hate hardware problems! Really. Hardware isn't free and I almost always have to shell out some money to resolve the issue. More evidence for a hardware problem: Daisy wouldn't boot without first shutting down completely. Reluctantly, I unplugged Daisy and prepped for emergency surgery.
It turns out the sound card was not seated properly in the PCI slot. After seeing the output from lspci, I had a hunch this was the problem. When I had first re-installed the sound card after buying a new case, it hadn't seemed to fit quite right. I moved the card to another slot and the fit was much better. I don't know if the motherboard tray in this case is slightly warped or if there's something wrong with that particular PCI slot, but everything is working again.
Oh, and if anyone's interested, Perpetual Never will be playing at Union Street Station Friday and Saturday at 2200. Kelly and I are going to get some people together and go watch the Saturday show. Give me a holler if you'd like to join us.