November 12th, 2009

#1809: Welcome to the new banana republic.

The Obama administration wants to purge all republicans from civil service.
Under [Obama's] new rules, made retroactive for five years, the Office of Personnel Management will examine civil service employees who got their start as political appointees in the Bush administration and terminate those employees. The order is retroactive to 2004, that moment when a number of Republican congressional staffers and others sought to embed into the second Bush administration right after the election.
That's right: they are being fired for their political affiliation.

Remember how upset the media and the liberals were when Bush fired some US attorneys who are political appointments, who serve at the pleasure of the President? This isn't like that; these are not political appointees but salaried professional positions.

It's like the mayor of your town firing the guys driving the snowplow trucks. And they want to do this based solely on political affiliation.

This is Stalinist.

* * *

"...[T]he Earth has continued to absorb more than half of the carbon dioxide pumped out by humans over the last 160 years." Carbon dioxide is fertilizer: plants thrive when carbon dioxide concentrations increase.

We're told that Earth's ability to absorb carbon dioxide may "collapse", but how the hell is that supposed to happen? Will all the plants in the world say, "WAIT! WHOA! LOOK AT ALL THE WEIGHT I GAINED! NO MORE CARBON DIOXIDE FOR ME!" Come on.

* * *

"Monopsony Recapitulates Monopoly". The Curmudgeon Emeritus discusses the economic reality of "single payer" systems.

* * *

I have to go get a valve lifter and put it in, and I don't feel like doing squat.

#1810: Stumped and depressed.

New lifter into the engine; it runs exactly the same.

I have no freaking clue what's wrong. So much for me being a good mechanic.

I guess I'm going to have to enlist some help. *sigh*

* * *

...trying to find a CD-ROM copy of the 1995 Escort factory service manual I have stashed around here somewhere I came across a complete backup of all the personal data from my computer at Rockwell, done 5 months before I was laid off.

It includes a complete e-mail archive, so I am now reading e-mails from 11 years ago.

In one e-mail I am expressing incredulousness that one can (in November of 1998) buy a 17 gigabyte hard drive "for less than $400!"

And it has my wonderful and never-exceeded rant on the vagaries of Word:
"No, do NOT put that there...hey! If I wanted that symbol I'd put it in myself...why the HELL can't I put a tab there? No! Do NOT superscript that--GOD DAMN IT, WHY THE HELL ARE YOU PUTTING IT WAY DOWN *THERE*??? AND WHERE THE HELL DID MY TABS GO? WHY ARE YOU DOUBLE-SPACING THIS? I JUST SET THIS UP FOR SINGLE-SPACING! NO! I WANT *EIGHT* POINT HELVETICA, NOT TEN! YOU HUNK OF JUNK! I'M PISSED OFF NOW!"
And people wonder why I'm losing my hair....

I also found this, the single entry in a file which was to compile all the stupidly bleeding obvious things I found during my career as a technical writer:
1. The radio receiver﷓-transmitter contains a radio frequency transmitter which, when operated into an antenna, may produce electromagnetic fields in close proximity to the antenna that are in excess of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommended maximum limits.
I bolded the part which was stupid-obvious. I guess I forgot about this after I started it.

The backup disks also contained an archive of all the temporary revisions I did up to 2001, and there was also a copy of the GPS detailed theory of operations I wrote in four days from a standing start, which I had thought was lost.

* * *

Last night I started Yet Another Alt on Aggramar: Chenal, a draenei shaman. She'll probably have mining and jewelcrafting as her professions; I've already taken mining.

I'm tempted to have Gunbunnysmit run around and mine copper and tin by the ton and mail it all to Chenal, thus letting me "twink" Chenal's jewelcrafting skill. Gunbunny has the advantage of being 55th level; none of the critters in zones with copper and tin will bother her much, and she's got an epic mount so she can move fast.

Amaleni sent Chenal 32 gold, so I've already got extra-good (nonmagical) equipment. I may further twink her by buying stuff at the AH, or maybe have Gunbunnysmit kill some Defias jerks in Westfall and send the good stuff to Chenal.

In fact, doing that sounds like a lot more fun than moping about the car. Later.

#1811: I cannot catch a break damn it.

Okay, so let's look at the big Escort project and see where we stand.

I've refreshed the engine with new bearings and rings; and put in a new clutch. Everything has been disassembled, inspected, cleaned, and reassembled to spec.

The engine ran on three cylinders from the moment it started.

I have eliminated fuel, spark, timing, and a bad lifter as causes. I don't know what's wrong.

So the next task will be to do a compression check; I have to know if the damn pistons are making any compression or not. Once I know that--and assuming that I find bad compression on one or more cylinders--I can do a leakdown test (as I originally intended) and try to get some idea of where the air is leaking.

Either way, it sounds like I'm going to be removing the cylinder head at least.

*sigh*

And what if the compression is good on all four, and consistent? What do I do then? Well, then I get to start troubleshooting the engine wiring harness, because if the mechanical side of things is good, I'm going to have to check the electrical side.

I keep thinking, "What if that new crank position sensor I bought is bad?" But if any sensor on the engine was bad--or dis- or misconnected--it would throw a code and the "check engine" light would be on. And the "check engine" light ain't on when the engine's running even while it's running on three cylinders, so obviously the ECM thinks the engine is running just fine.

If it's electrical, I think I'm going to call up the guy I worked for in 2005 and enlist his help. It'll cost me a bit, but he's got a very nice Snap-On engine scanner which ought to find the problem lickety-split.

* * *

You know, you'd think that after all the shit I've been through in the past three months I would at least be able to count on my mechanical skills to see me through a bit of car trouble.

But no; I had to talk about my mechanical skills, and so the universe has decided to take me down a peg.

Go ahead; call me paranoid.

I don't care.

I know how things are.

* * *

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. I've got a busy weekend ahead of me so it's likely I'm not going to do anything to the car before Sunday afternoon at the earliest. That'll have to do, I guess.