atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#670: Argh.

The PlayStation 2 is still being sold for $129.99. What I thought was a PS2 bundle was in fact Guitar Hero III with two controllers, for the PS2, for $109.99.

Well, with the PS3 still running in the $YEECH! territory, I guess that's how it is. But I don't want a PS3, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that if I don't want or need "BluRay" and I don't play video games enough to make it worth the investment in any other way.

* * *

I notice that Toshiba has an HD-DVD player in the $200 range now. I don't need that, either.

* * *

When I got home from work on Saturday morning I had a moment of panic.

I shut the engine off, then realized that the headlights were still on. "Dang," thought I, and pushed in the headlight switch.

Headlights stayed on.

"WTF?" Pulled switch out, shoved it back in, headlights didn't change. Finally they went out when I put the key in and turned the ignition to "RUN".

Aha, a new feature! One that I didn't notice during my perusal of the owner's manual. It turns out that if you turn the headlights on with the ignition switch in any "off" position, then turn them off, they'll stay on for about forty seconds. This is, I would suppose, to let you get into your house when it's utter dark outside. Also, it gets the heavy current required to drive the headlights out of the headlight switch and into a relay, where it belongs.

It had me going for a bit, though. If you've ever owned a used car I think you know what I'm talking about.

* * *

Fiero mods: a guy on the Fiero forum is doing an engine swap for someone; he's putting the 5.4 transverse V8 from a Pontiac Grand Prix into a Fiero.

Now, here's the interesting thing: that 5.4 liter V8 is a displacement-on-demand (DOD) engine, which can shut off up to half the cylinders to save fuel. The cars with that engine average around 25-30 MPG, which is damn good for a moderately heavy car with a V8, and it happens because you only need about 15 HP to maintain 55-60 MPH on the highway. Any engine will tend to be highly inefficient at the far ends of its performance envelope; trying to get 15 HP out of a 300 HP engine is bound to be inefficient.

DOD isn't new. GM tried it in the early 1980s with their stinkinous "8-6-4" engine, which was a dismal failure for a variety of reasons--almost all of them technological. The difference here is that with a highly computer-controlled engine, it becomes a lot more viable. In 1980 we didn't have the technology to make a complex computer controller small and cheap and complex and reliable, and the modern OBDII engine computer would have been about the size of a medium-sized cooler, and required its own dedicated battery and alternator.

As for this swap, it's exciting for a variety of reasons. The engine in question is essentially a small block Chevy V8 with the GM front-wheel-drive bellhousing pattern, which makes it that much easier to mount to various FWD transmissions. (The Fiero's rear end is essentially the front end of a Chevrolet Citation, you see.) This guy is--wisely, IMHO--going with the automatic transmission it was packaged with; but there's no reason it couldn't be mated to a variety of other transmissions.

The wiring is going to be a bit of a pisser, though.

* * *

Order of the Stick explained how Roy could lose 3 months in "heaven"--and it wasn't any surprise at all--but I'm still waiting to see whether that time has elapsed in the mortal world, or what. (That's what I meant when I talked about "temporal disparity" before.)

And if it has, it means the action should back up to "where we left off".

Oh well.

* * *

Today is the 29th; it's going to be Halloween in two days. And I found a tape in the garage yesterday labeled "Vampire Princess Miyu TV 1-3".

I don't know exactly what it means.

When I moved back here from Iowa, in a harrowing two-day move, I specifically stated that no videotapes should be stored in the garage. No books, either. Well, of course, a couple boxes got past that filter, and this box was one of them.

In this box--besides the VPM tape--is my "Christmas in Connecticut" tape, which I tried to find several times and couldn't. This is why: it was where it should not have been!

Few of the tapes are labeled and none have any indication of what's on them, so I spent some time yesterday going through a few of them and making out "playlists".

I'm thinking, and hoping, that "VPM-TV 1-3" means volumes 1-3, but it's probably safer to assume it means episodes 1-3. Either way, I'll watch it on Halloween.

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