Thursday, October 26, 2006

Halloween is Upon Us

And Parade of Lost Souls is this Saturday, 6-10 pm, at Grandview Park!! Be there or be a scare!

Cool video

I love this video! About logging.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Oh boy.

Cars are great.. when they work. The past few weeks I've learned a lot about the ignition systems of cars- because as soon as the rainy season started, the Volvo's ignition system started to self-destruct. This resulted in the car completely shutting down in the middle of the highway, intersection, left-handturn lane, or wherever happened to be the busiest place it could find.

At one point I stalled in the left-hand turn lane of a busy intersection, rolled back into the car behind me, and a police officer who witnessed the whole thing pulled up beside me and gave me a tongue lashing about the use of brakes. Thankfully the guy behind me laughed it off and drove away, citing 'no damage.'

Anyway, $700+ later (haven't seen the total wallet damage yet.. my brother has the receipts), and many hours spent by my brother installing parts (for which I am very grateful for), it now runs fine, save for a small 'hiccup' when idling. When I first brought it home, my bro repaired the rust on the door, welded the door on more solidly, and I washed and waxed it. I bought a club and thought that was a lot of work already.

Enter the mysterious ignition conundrum! The first thing to go in was a new battery.

Next was an oil change and powersteering fluid. Then I bought some car mats just to stroke the car's ego a bit (or bribe it to stop shutting down).

But it was still crapping out, worse than ever before. So my brother came to test it, and brought a very neat flashing strobelight that clamps on to the ignition. When it misses a flash, it means the ignition is missing a spark. I was also very surprised to see that the car can 'talk' to you and tell you what's wrong (in an eerie ouiji-board manner). Under the hood, there is a little black box with a flashing red light on it. Push the button, and it flashes a series of codes, which correspond with a list of problems in the manual.

The code indicated 'camshaft position sensor.' The camshaft position sensor senses when the pistons are up or down, and lets the ignition know when to fire a spark. So in went this new part.....a part so tiny, lightweight and simple-looking, I am tempted to start manufacturing them myself, since they are worth $260.

And that did it! The car stopped shutting down completely! But it was still stuttering between gears, and at one point refused to go past 80 km/h. So in went a new distributor cap

Disributor rotor

Ignition wire set

and Spark Plugs.

The car runs fine now, save for the mysterious hiccup. A main ignition wire will be going in soon as well, as the original one is corroded. Hopefully that will be the cause.

It has been a harrowing week, what with being stranded on the highway, angry officer action, cancelling appointments, and lots of commuting between Delta and Burnaby.

The front left-turn signal light cover also fell off somewhere while driving today and I have just been informed it needs a new thermostat too. I already have a list of future things that need to be done (aka 'things I will mostly bug my brother to do someday'):

-Recharge A/C
-Repair wiring so that I can see whether I'm in Park, Reverse, Neutral, or Drive at night
-Fix door so it doesn't make gunshot noise
-Fully paint over door that had the rust patched up
-Lower headlights so ppl stop highbeaming me
-Figure out what makes the scraping noise when it starts
-Add a chrome tip on the rusted exhaust pipe
-Test the cd player and see if it really is skipping

Dear friends: I now have a car so that I may visit you, and we can do sociable, fun things. But now I have no more money to do sociable, fun things. So how about you come over, and we sit on the curb and gaze at my newly fixed car? It'll be rad.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fry that Chicken.

"I got a pan, I got a plan. I'm gonna fry this chicken in my hand!"

A number of things have been occupying my time lately, preventing frequent blog updates. First, I decided I needed a car, so I spent the past month eating, breathing, sleeping cars, and learning some interesting things about the car hunting process. Most important thing I learned is to always check out the car's VIN # on CARFAX.

The first car I looked at ran great, and I was going to return the next day to get it, but then I saw it had been reported stolen on CARFAX. The second interesting thing I learned is that age and mileage aren't nearly as important as make and model. If it's a reliable car, it can be 20 years older and have fewer problems then a brand new crappy car.

Anyway, thanks to my brother, who has taken apart and rebuilt many cars and was happy to provide some much-needed expertise, I ended up with a '93 Volvo 850 GLT. It's fully loaded, with leather heated seats and power everything, which is ridiculously awesome, considering I was going to get a '97 Honda Civic, base model, for twice as much cash.

Next, I started working at.... drumroll.... a Korean school, teaching English! The pros are good, intelligent students who are at a much higher level of English than the ones I taught in Korea. The cons are, it's only part-time, and a 45 minute commute by car (formerly an hour and a half by bus). So I'm still looking for fulltime work. Or at least another part-time job.

Third, I started sewing class last night! We're making pants from a McCall's pattern. I'm using a cranberry-coloured tweed. So far, we've cut out the fronts and backs, and are in the process of stitching the inside and outside seams together. Our teacher is this old lady with coke-bottle glasses who cancelled last week's class and showed up half an hour late for this week's class. So I'm not really impressed with that, but at least she's a pretty good teacher. Plus the class size is relatively small, the facilities are nice and it totally reminds me of grade 8 home-ec.

Fourth, a bunch of us went to Bodyworld's 3 last weekend, which is an exhibition showcasing dozens of preserved human bodies. They are preserved using a new process called 'plastination.' Photography wasn't allowed, but a friend managed to snap a few shots anyway. Below is a man doing the splits, and holding all his internal organs in one hand. I don't know how they managed to balance, let alone transport the bodies.

And this is a body sporadically dissected to show the density and compactness of the human body. Pretty grotesque eh?

There is also a smoker's vs. non-smoker's lung that would convince anyone not to start smoking, and a head-to-toe cross section of a 300 lb overweight body. The exhibition will remain in Vancouver till November.