* * *
Well, replacing the drive in the DVD recorder seems to have fixed all its issues, including the annoying "I'm going to prepare this disk you already recorded on, and ruin it" issue that kept me from setting it to time-record things. And the newer mechanism lets me play video CDs that don't auto-play!
* * *
I bought my copy of Firefly on January 8th of this year and I still haven't broken the shrinkwrap. 1/8/07 was when my Dad took a serious turn for the worse and stopped being able to breathe on his own, which set off his downward spiral. *sigh*
I also haven't broken the shrinkwrap on WKRP in Cincinnati, but for a more prosaic reason: I'm afraid of what I'll find when I watch it.
I waited and waited for it, and now I'm afraid to watch it because I don't want to get pissed off at the crappy editing I expect will be there. I've heard reports that song titles have been "snipped" and the music replaced with generic "house music". That's going to ruin some scenes almost entirely, like the one where Les Nessman is getting ready to go to some kind of award dinner with Jennifer Marlowe and he puts on that ridiculous wig. It won't be the same without Foreigner's "Hot Blooded" playing in the background.
But more worrisome are the cuts that were made to the episodes when they were syndicated. This or that gets cut because they want to make more room for commercials, and the 21-odd minutes of show gets reduced a bit here and there--but the end result is that some of the funniest moments of the show are utterly ruined.
This is why I haven't opened it yet.
I also haven't broken the shrinkwrap on Howl's Moving Castle.
A couple of years ago I was corresponding with a Japanese woman named Satomi. I remember expressing much jealousy at her that she got to go see it in the theater in first release; and in response she sent me the program booklet and some other stuff she'd gotten at the theater.
I really liked Satomi; of course I wrote in an earlier entry about a bit of emotional cruelty that she inflicted on me. I'm pretty sure she didn't intend it to be salt in an open wound. (Even though I don't really know one way or another what her intentions were, I still don't regret writing that entry.)
But for some reason I just haven't had the gumption to open the thing up and watch it, even though I virtually bought it the instant it was released here. I don't know what it is.
* * *
Interesting Philippines trivia: they make ketchup there with bananas. They're a local crop and cheap; they add food coloring and such so that it approximates tomato ketchup.
But it's not. It is EMPHATICALLY not ketchup. They can't make it taste like tomato ketchup; bananas are sweeter than tomatos are. They compensate by adding more vinegar and some other stuff besides, but still--it. is. NOT. ketchup.
* * *
Four months since the emotional death coaster of travel, engagement, separation, and breakup--I've gotten to the stage where I think about past relationships with far too much nostalgia, forgetting all the bad shit that happened in them and just remembering the good stuff, and thinking, "I had it so good then!"
...but of course then I think about it, and realize, no, I did not have it "good" then. Things were different than they are now but not necessarily better.
Of course, with Satomi, it was over before it really had a chance to work. With Marlene (the Filipina) the rug was jerked out from under my feet at about Mach 9.
I'm starting to think that female companionship may actually be desirable, but I'm still not to the point of thinking it's a good idea. And so I expect yet another Christmas to roll past with me not having a girlfriend or any kind of significant other.
* * *
On the plus side, listening to XM's "Classical Christmas" channel--it's #866 on DirecTV--really helps get me into the holiday mood. It's a nice mix of carols and none of them are by pop "artists".
* * *
Friday night I grabbed a gift card at work--it's a Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium-themed gift card and it's basically a little one-octave piano with no black keys. You can play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" on it.
Yeah. It's four freaking notes and the keyboard has all four of them. I'm half-tempted to record a bit of me playing it and putting a link to it here, so you can enjoy it.
That's how simple the keyboard lead for that song is--I can play it on a fucking gift card.
* * *
I'll probably bring the CHristmas tree in this weekend and set up the little tree in my room. It's a 24" fiber-optic tree which revolves; I have ornaments, garland, and battery-operated LED lights for it. (The lights add something that the fiber optics fail to bring to the party.)
Mom and I discussed buying a new tree. It wouldn't take much to transfer the ornaments from the old one to the new one, and it would be nice to have a newer pre-lit tree. Maybe next year.
We keep our tree, all decorated and ready to go, in the garage. It saves a lot of effort, let me tell you.
* * *
Still, I've been pretty depressed for the past several days. I can't put my finger on why; maybe it's just because the holidays are coming and I'm starting to feel lonely. Or else I'm just being stupid, which wouldn't be all that surprising.
* * *
I keep looking at winches in the Harbor Freight ads. I have a Jeep; a winch seems almost necessary at this point.
Besides that, I saw--on Trucks!--a system made by some company which is designed to bolt onto the engine of a 1997-2004 Jeep with the 4.0 liter inline 6...the very engine in my Cherokee, of course.
It's got a bigger throttle body and a tuner box; it adds about 20 horsepower to the engine and improves the thing's fuel economy by 2-4 MPG, depending on how you drive it. I keep thinking that would be a nice upgrade...although it would take a long time to amortize the cost of that modification--I expect it doesn't cost less than $500, and at that I expect that to be an optimistic figure. Still, the stock motor makes 190 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque; 20 HP would be a good upgrade. (IIRC it gains about 25 lb-ft of torque. 250 lb-ft from a 6-cyl would be awesome.)
I taped the show that featured this, so I can look it up at my liesure.
* * *
It's already Thursday the 29th. November was short.
* * *
I pretty much judge automotive performance by the 1980s Mustang GT. The 5-liter V8 in that car made 215-225 horsepower--depending on how you rated it--and about 300 lb-ft of torque. It's a pushrod V8 and its redline was somewhere near 6,000 RPM; people these days would call that a "tractor motor" and scoff at such a low redline.
But those numbers are highly similar to the performance numbers of the Cadillac 4.9 that I still think about putting into my 1986 Fiero; it generates about 200 HP and 275 lb-ft...and the Fiero is a lighter car than the Mustang of the same era. And if you make a few modifications to the engine, Mustang-like numbers are easily possible.
The Cadillac motor is not highly sophisticated but neither was the Mustang's, and at the time the Mustang was the fastest sports car you could buy for the money--only a Corvette or a Buick Grand National could beat it, and it handled very well for a car with a 1970s suspension.
(BTW, "sophisticated" my butt--there is nothing new about multiple overhead cams; they were doing that in the 1930s.)
So I like the idea of having a Fiero with a V8 that pumps out as much power as a Mustang of the same year. Unfortunately, with gas sitting around $3 per gallon I don't think I'm going to end up doing that.
* * *
The funniest "Chuck Norris Fact" I've seen in a long time: "Chuck Norris can blow bubbles with beef jerky."