gearheads

Most alarm clock sounds are unpleasant by definition

Ugh. Mondays suck.

So i have my radio set to C89.5, right. For you distant types, they play techno and house pretty much all the time, no commercials, it’s a great station. Perfect to wake up to. Except on monday mornings. Monday morning at 6am they have a 10 minute segment on current news, or some such rubbish. Only monday mornings, only at 6am. Otherwise, no talking, just wake-up-and-get-out-of-bed music. So guess what time my alarm goes off – you guessed it, 6am. Works great every other day, but monday morning, the day of the week i most need a good beat to get me on my feet (hmmm… that rhyme wasn’t intentional) i wake up to news. I don’t know about you, but the last thing i want to hear first thing in the morning is current events. It’s enough to make me want to stay in bed forever…

Speaking of current events, John S and his navy dispatch are underway starting this week until sometime in april. Sucks for him and his new wife (as of saturday) as they didn’t even get a honeymoon yet. Best of luck and safe travels to him, hopefully i’ll have something cool done to my car to show him when he returns. (So far most of the cool stuff is thanx to him). I’m sure he’ll get tired of playing ps2 in the radar room and be ready to get back on dry land by the time their tour is over. 😉

Weekend was good, tho, at least there’s that. Friday afternoon Mrs. Benjamin and i sorted thru my finances a bit, and she thinks she can help me make more sense out of it all. As if i don’t talk fast enough already, talking about my $ situation makes me stressed and i start to talk even faster, so i pretty much blabbed her ear off. Next time maybe i’ll take a sedative before we get into the discussion. Friday nite was Hillary M’s bday shindig. Ceces birthday was only a day away, too, so our gig was actually a double-party event. Being the hostess-with-the-mostess that she is, we all joined Hilly at her apt in Queen Anne for drinks and whatnot, then headed to Kell’s, an irish pub in Post Alley. After rollicking to some traditional and not-so-traditional irish tunes, and a few birthday spankings from the band, we closed the place up and headed back to Queen Anne. As super-hostess one more time, Hilly treated us to late nite grilled cheese (Hilly makes the best ones ever – and Molly says her tuna melts are to die for, as well, although i personally find tuna melts a little creepy. If Hilly’s making it, tho, i might give one a try, as i was most impressed with her grill cheese prowess). I crawled home a bit before 4, and then was up again at 8 so i could jet down to the storage locker in Renton with a few odds and ends, but not without a few advil and some unpleasant thoughts directed at my alarm clock. Then it was back in Ian’s garage for another Maxima session, this time with the correct springs – and not ford focus ones – thanx a bunch shox.com! :p It looks great now, and the ride is much improved. And no more scraping holes in the tranny pan going over manholes. You think i’m kidding? We had that to fix saturday, too… While i was over there, Ian assisted me with swapping out my car’s serpentine belt – it was about due – and i finally fixed the bloody taillights that have been driving me crazy – the turn signals were a different shade of red than the brakes. I know that sounds picky, but on my current budget that’s the kind of stuff i can afford to fix, so i’m gonna do it right! Anyway, got those things done along with a few other stray items. Also helped Patrick put his new Warpspeed Ypipe on, which i think sounds sweet but he thinks is too loud… whatever! It was a long day and i’m sore again, but Ian’s always appreciative of the help, and i learn a ton, so as Martha Stewart would say, “it’s a good thing.” Course that doesn’t have quite the same charm when she’s wearing an orange jumpsuit… 🙂

Sunday i installed a wireless network at the Benjamins’ house (thanx again you guys – you’re the best!) and Colleen, Josh, Kim and i tried out a new Thai place in the neighborhood – which turned out to be great. Josh brought home a takeout menu. 🙂 And then i made Kim and Colleen watch Zoolander, which i think is a really funny movie. Colleen thinks i’m a big dork for thinking so, but she lost a game of paper-rock-scissors and so now is officially the bigger dork. That movie just cracks me up – “i feel like i’m taking crazy pills!”. I’m still laughing today… on the inside.

Cash bribes are totally acceptable

So, did anyone pay attention yesterday to see whether the groundhog saw his shadow, or whatever? I’m totally clueless, but looking out the window i’m thinking 6 more weeks of winter is pretty likely. The one thing i did hear about, current-events-wise, is the loss of the shuttle Columbia on re-entry early saturday morning. A terrible loss for our country and for the families of the astronauts aboard. I know they assume those kinds of risks when taking the job, and it’s only the second shuttle losts in 204 shuttle missions to date, and it’s the first American craft ever lost during re-entry, but statistics don’t make the shock any easier to digest. I just hope this doesn’t discourage our country from continuing our efforts in space exploration, or provide the politicians with an excuse to screw up the program. Cause we know the reason NASA is working is because the politicians have pretty much left it alone… Unlike the conflict in Iraq, which is a whole other story…

Felt like a really short weekend, as i spent the better part of saturday in Ian’s basement garage. I changed my oil myself (sweet) with his help, and helped Patrick troubleshoot his sub. Then Ian and i dove into his suspension system, swapping out his Sprint springs for some stiffer (and a little taller) B&Gs. The Sprints were just riding too low, and combined with the supercharger his front axles were taking too much stress and warping pretty regularly. Also, he was getting tired of making everyone get out of the car just to clear the parking garage ramp. 😉 It’s still lowered quite a bit, the new springs look good – it looks a lot more sleek than my off-road-edition Maxima. The shocks are a bit bouncy after being compressed so far on the old springs, but after 12 hours in the garage before we had it all back together, i think it will be awhile before we even consider replacing any more suspension parts. The garage has no windows, and i usually don’t wear a watch or anything when i’m working on a car (obviously – there’s a reason why Grampa is missing a finger, i’m not looking to make that a family tradition. 😉 So by the time we finished up and were ready for a test drive, it was almost midnight, and i’d been in that garage since before noon. We had no idea that much time had passed, and i basically went home when we were done and crawled thru the shower into bed. I’m still sore today. 😮 But as Mr. Silver Lining, i’d have to point out that i learned a ton about the suspension system and feel more comfortable tearing into my car. And i discovered a few more tools i need to buy… which may not be totally a good thing. 🙂

My tax return came thru friday afternoon (yeeesss!) so i’m good to go $-wise for awhile, i have a nice buffer in my account so i can be less scared of paying bills. I blew a bit of it on a new alarm clock that actually works (finally) and a couple sets of Mariners tickets, for my birthday weekend and for the last series of the regular season, as tickets went on sale saturday and i wanted to get those two sets before they sold out. I hope to hit quite a few games this season, but i’ll just be doing the $6-get-in-the-door tickets whenever i can. I bought two for the 26th of april, so whoever’s my best friend between now and then gets to join me for the birthday game. 😉 And the bidding starts…. now

She cares about my safety

Aren’t Moms the best? Mine sure is… Long story short, she’s a magician and has helped me figure out a way to pay off the set of tires that’s been on layaway for two months now. And she’s crazy generous… My old tires have been getting scarily bald, but it was going to be a few months yet before i could afford to take the new ones home, without her help. Thanx, Mom, you rock!

Otherwise this week, i’ve basically been concentrating on moving. Which means, i’ve been thinking about it alot while i procrastinate and do other things. I have a few things packed… but i have until thursday, right? 😉 Spent sunday in Ian’s garage, helping him (okay, watching him) change out his front axle. Also, EB showed me which belt was making noise in my car and helped me figure how what i need to change it. Now i just need to buy a new belt, but that’s only $20, i can afford that kind of repair. Patrick is the bomb and brought us lunch, and we all took a few test rides in Ian’s supercharged Max – for which one really needs a helmet. It’s FAST.

Mercifully short

It’s cold today! Not sure how cold it really is out there, but enough that i really want to stay inside until at least mid april. Spent the day in puyallup with Jason, Patrick and Forrest – always a wild time. Our official mission was automotive in nature, as usual – some small repairs and things we’d been meaning to finish – and, as usual, we spent more time hanging than working. In the end, it’s all good, we always have some good laughs and leave with some new ideas. Between Jason’s true tales of tacoma, Forrest’s rediscovery of reverse gear, and Patrick’s creative use of his horn, we had a lot to laugh about… Meeting again next saturday to install a tranny cooler in my car (yeees! John rocks!) and do some other random junk. Hopefully it won’t be so hideously cold next weekend! Okay, so i just looked it up, and it’s only 39 degrees out there. Granted, the humidity is 93%, and there’s a fog coating the area that would make Count Dracula feel at home, but still, 39’s a balmy, shorts-wearing spring day in Montana. Obviously i’ve adjusted to Seattle’s climate, as i was wearing 2 shirts, a sweater and a fleece jacket, and wool socks, and not even running around working on my car kept me warm at 4 in the afternoon.

It’s actually december 8th now, the clock just rolled over to midnight. Well, it’s digital, so it doesn’t really do that, but… anyway. I’m not gonna change the date, i’m too lazy. C89.5 is playing a techno remix of the Beatles’ strawberry fields. It’s really interesting. This post is not. At least since i started talking about the date… I’ll stop making you read it now.

What flavor do you want for Christmas? Mild, Medium or Hot?

I’m surprised i can actually still type today, although it is getting better since yesterday. What with all the bruises and scratches, and several bandaids, i keep missing keys or hitting two, which can be pretty difficult in my profession. Thankfully, most of my coworkers are one-finger typers, so i’m still doing ok at work, even with my battered digits. What exactly have i been doing? Well, although it feels like i slammed my hands in a car door, i actually spent wednesday night helping Patrick finish his leather seat install. He had the rear bench done; i helped with the front seats and the headrests. It involved a great deal of hogrings, pliers, and sharp edges. Those seats were wicked! They look super cool, tho, and for the extra cost of a pro install… well, i’m not sure if either of us would do it ourselves again, now that we know how much work it was! Someday i might do that myself, when i have the $$, but there’s a lot of other things i’d like to do more (like get a recalibration of the transmission valve body – man, oh, man, do i wanna do that!).

I’m sitting up late watching blind date. I can’t decide if it’s encouraging, because of the really pitiful people that still manage to find someone… or wait, if they can do it, but i’m single… or is it depressing, that the people on blind date are doing better than me… on the other hand, on my current budget a dinner date would have to involve maruchan noodles… so not sure if it matters that i have no social life, cause i can’t really afford to have one. Just another thing on the list of stuff i can’t afford. Ugh. Only like 40 days until Christmas. Tomorrow’s payday, but i spent it last month, so i guess i’m not going to start shopping just yet. And by shopping, i mean collecting condiment packets from fast food restaurants. 🙂 Hope that was on your Christmas list…

In site news, you might notice the news page loads a bit faster. that’s cause it’s not loading a whole year at a time anymore. 🙂 I’ve moved the news into the mysql database with the quotes and the music list (databases are neat!), so now i can filter it to just the most recent few. Don’t worry, it’s all still there, and you can browse away to your little heart’s content with the navigation links at the bottom. Hope that works better for ya.

Back in the Black (Maxima)

Boy, that last post was a little loopy, wasn’t it? I was smoking something cheap that day… Actually, i suppose it was the nitrous wearing off. The kind you breathe, that is, not the kind you have a tank of in the car. 🙂

Had a great weekend, spend saturday working on my car with Jason, Patrick, Forrest and John down at Jason’s parents’ house in northern oregon. Okay, it’s just the extreme south end of puyallup, but still pretty far down there. I didn’t have a lot of work to do on my car, since i don’t have a lot of extra parts money right now (okay, none. zip. zero. zilch.) so i just painted some brackets, and rewired some lights, and misc stuff like that. I kinda ran around and watched Patrick and John paint their brake calipers, but mostly just carried tools around and cracked jokes. Go with what you’re good at, right? Oh, and i finally figured out how to get to my other three spark plugs 🙂 (thanks, Jason!) and pulled them, and they look just as ok as the first 3. Which is good, cause that means my engine is ok, too. To match my more-than-ok new rear bumper, which looks great! And the guy even finally broke down and actually paid for the repair, since his son was at fault and everything, i didn’t think that was such an incredible demand. Long story short, it’s fixed, i’m happy, and it didn’t cost me a dime. And Cameron at sonic collision is a hero on the scale of Spiderman. Okay, maybe not Spiderman (cause i think Cameron still has to walk to get places) but at least maybe the Green Lantern. Um, yeah. So anyway, finishing out the weekend… sunday Patrick and i cruised the seattle auto show downtown, drooling over all the beautiful new four-wheeled things and laughing at some of the really hideous ones (like the pt cruiser with woodgrain panels – augh!). Btw, if you’ve been looking for car pics in the photos section and can’t find them, it’s cause i moved them. Yes, just to confuse you (bwah ha ha ha!). Check out http://maxima.schuss.net for any maxima-related stuff. For now, it’s just a separate photo gallery, but eventually i’ll get a full-blown maxima site up there. I already have the soundtrack picked out, but that’s about as far as i’ve gotten on the design work… 😀 It is still linked off the site, but look under “features” for the link.

Oh, and this is the 5th week in a row that i haven’t won the mega millions lottery, although i did fail to purchase a ticket one of those weeks. So far, my investment strategy isn’t paying off. But i do get a fleeting moment of hope every week when i get that text message on my phone with the winning numbers in it. Cause one of these times, it could be me. And that brief ray of hope, no matter how ridiculous it may be, is worth the buck.

Just a quick late-nite update. I finished uploading the photos of the car show. They’re ready for your viewing pleasure. I was kind of goofy when i wrote some of the captions…

Photos in a cupboard and a farmhouse barbecue

New stuff for ya in the photo gallery! Homecoming weekend pics, mostly. Some of you might be in there! Other than that, what else did i do this weekend, you ask? Well, i worked at thriftway saturday nite. It’s not too bad working two jobs; my coworkers are fun, and seriously only about 1 in 200 customers is crabby; most of them are super nice.

Annie and i also headed up to Queen Anne to hang with Libby. We took a coffee walk (drive, get coffee, walk around with it, drive home) and Annie climbed into Libby’s cupboard for a roll of photos. You’ll recall, i did this too – i’m really happy with how the series came out. It’s a very big cupboard, and Annie and i actually crawled in there for a couple shots together. And of course we walked down the hall to harass Hillary and Lexie, who were right in the middle of watching teen movies and using the new swiffer on the kitchen floor. As they were still wearing their slippers, they opted not to join us for coffee…

Today (sunday) after sleeping in until 11 (yeess!) i hung out with some fellow Maxima-heads, installed a free-gift FSTB (thanx, John, you ROCK!) and helped Terry play with his new aero kit (okay, mostly watched and chuckled and took pix). He wasn’t ready to drill holes and mount it today, just wanted to get the idea, so he opted to use black duct tape instead. I’m not kidding. The pics are in the photo gallery. Super fun(ny?). Oh, for those who didn’t catch it, an FSTB is a front strut tower brace – it stiffens up the front end of my car, helps it to corner less like a school bus… 🙂 So that was super cool, and i’m now convinced i need a transmission cooler and a Y-pipe, so those bumped up the want list, right below CAI and clear corners. (Translation for non-motor-heads: blah blah blah i want toys for my car blah blah blah). I work tomorrow nite again at t-way, but i’m glad i’m doing it, cause my budget projections show me being slightly less broke by the end of the month, instead of being continually more broke every month like i have been. So that’s a super good thing.

And so it’s been like a week, but i just wanted to share that i had a great time in MT for homecoming weekend. It was excellent to see all 3 of my grandparents, and to spend an evening with Mom and Dad, and to hang out all weekend with Danielle and my friends in Bozeman. It was nice to go back, if not a little weird, and i managed to not spend much money and still enjoy myself. I think the highlight was probably the bbq at Tim’s farmhouse, where Danielle, Michelle, Sasha and i laughed the nite away and ate the largest hamburgers i’ve ever seen in my life (they had to be over a pound each). It was genuine, friendly and relaxing, the type of gathering that is bozeman’s trademark and the one thing i do miss about that town. So thanks, Tim, you throw a fantastic party! The drive home sunday was a bit long – Annie and i just about went crazy by the end, and if it hadn’t been for the celebrity alphabet game i think we would have given up and just stayed in Moses Lake. But we made it back to our sparkling city intact, vowing to fly the next time no matter what we have to sell on ebay to afford it.

Oh, and i didn’t win the lottery friday nite. But there’s always next week!