January 13th, 2008

#829: Rear brakes, huzzah

That was just about as bad a job as I expected it to be.

I started at 7 AM, and it took me an hour to get the drums off. The brake pads were not worn down to the steel, thankfully.

It looks like there may be a bit of a leak in the right rear wheel cylinder. I'll keep an eye on it and see what happens. Worst case, I have to get a new set of brake shoes again (limited lifetime warranty--gimme my free stuff!) and rebuild or replace the offending cylinder.

Before I put the drums back on I liberally slathered the axle flange with anti-seize compound. Getting the drums off should not take an hour next time. It took me at least 45 minutes to do the left side; it then took about half that for me to do the right side. I had to learn how to do it because the manual was just about useless, as usual.

Interesting point: unlike many vehicles, the Jeep Cherokee has asymmetrical brakes. The primary shoe has a smaller brake pad on it than the secondary shoe. (Which doesn't make sense to me, either.) Presumably they knew what they were doing when they built the thing, but it's not something I'm used to seeing. In any case, after a few minutes' confusion I got that issue figured out and was on my way to reassembling the left side.

My hands are exhausted from working on getting the drums off and then removing and installing return springs; I'm glad I don't work until Monday night.

As I said, I started at 7 AM, and it took me about an hour to get the drums off. I wanted to get them off first so that if they needed turning, I could take 'em with me to the store and have them turned. But they didn't need it, so that was fine. At 8 I came inside and fiddled with the computer until 9.

Including the time I spent going to get parts and eating breakfast, then, I estimate that I spent about 3.3 hours outside working on the brakes, and then on changing the oil. Can't complain too much about that.

Parts were $60; an oil change would run $25 and I probably couldn't get the rear brakes done for less than $80 these days. I rule.

#830: Very funny scene in Minami-ke.

It's not much of a spoiler, though, so I'm going to describe it in detail.

For a certain reason, Kana and Chiaki are playing a game that Kana has borrowed from a friend. We see the screen of the TV as they play the game. Chiaki is controlling "sensei" and Kana is controlling "Ninomiya-kun", a high school girl.

They walk into a room. The high school girl runs into a crate and stalls, running in place. A zombie comes out of the side door and starts attacking the girl. She screams ("kyaa!"), still running in place, and it attacks her again. She screams again, suddenly fires two rounds from a gun she hadn't had a moment before, and then dies. "Ninomiya-kun!" says sensei.

This is the funniest moment in the series so far, at least to me. Why? Because it was so real. The element of truth was what made it so funny: Kana is playing a game she's never played before, and she doesn't know how to play it. So her character fumbles around on the screen and gets killed in very short order: "Kyaa! Kyaa! blam blam Eeyaiggh! Ninomiya-kun!"

Back in 1984, Epyx released "Summer Games", which was an Olympic-themed game in which the goal was, obviously, to win the gold medal in various events. One was cliff diving.

The first time we played the game, a friend of mine decided to try the cliff diving game. He hit the button on the joystick; the character on the screen jumped off the top of the cliff and proceeded to fall into the water like a stick: stiff and straight as a board, rotating around his center of mass:







It was the funniest goddamned thing I'd ever seen on a computer up to that point in my life. I was completely helpless with laughter. And even now I laugh out loud at the memory of what that hapless diver looked like as he fell.

That's why the scene in Minami-ke is so funny to me; I remember trying to play computer games without reading the manuals, and the resulting stupidity.