August 31st, 2011

#2901: Denis Leary says this won't work.

"You could make a brand of cigarettes that were called the warning. A black pack with a skull and a crossbone on it, called 'Tumors'...there'd be smokers lined up to try it: 'I bet you get a tumor as soon as you light up!'"

"It's a drug; we're addicted. We'll break into your houses."

I'll tell you what this kind of packaging would do: it would end up making smoking more attractive to young people--the people who think they're invincible and who are aching to be "edgy" and "cool" and whose brains are hard-wired to take risks.

Okay? Generally, people do not start smoking in their thirties. If they don't start in their teens they start in their early twenties. Go ahead and put grotesque images on the packs. It's not going to make a damn bit of difference.

* * *

I don't care whether an animal is "protected" or "endangered". If it's threatening me or my family I'm going to shoot the son of a bitch.

* * *

Well, they were nice while they lasted, but we might as well say goodbye to the ruins of ancient Egypt.

* * *

"What is 'green science'?" The folks at DPUD link to a meta-study of eco-nazi predictions which concludes that most of them were wrong.

* * *

On the list for today: go get brake hoses for the Fiero; change the points on the Suzuki and set the carb's metering needle one notch leaner. Somewhere around all this, HOPEFULLY, go get the "M" added to my driver's license so I can ride the Suzuki. *sigh*

Well, all that shit isn't going to do itself. I'd better move.

#2902: Well, I was wrong!

I said "Wednesday" and I was pretty sure I was being pessimistic. I wasn't; I was being optimistic.

I mean, WTF: Champaign is less than two hours' drive from here. Based on past performance I assumed that three days was plenty of time, and it even assumed pickup of the mail there on Monday, not Sunday, because the post office doesn't operate on Sundays.

Yet they've managed, somehow, to fail to meet even this level of performance.

UPS can get a laptop from Ohio to my door in a day, which is some seven times farther and three times faster than USPS can move a letter.

Definitely time for us to privatise the mail service.

* * *

Pissed off and frustrated at this--more than I ought to be--I went and ordered the brake hoses for the Fiero. It ended up running me $92 and change for a complete set thanks to the "$20 off a $100 purchase" coupon I happened to have from them. The closer you get to the master cylinder, the more expensive they get; so the RR hose is $15 and the LF hose is $30. WTF.

Anyway, I was thinking of replacing the brake hoses when I got the car in 2002; I figured since one is bad I ought to do them all, and F it. That way I only have to bleed the brake system once.

* * *

Anyway I was sitting at the computer and trying to decide what to do; and finally I just decided I'd lay down. But after laying in bed a while I realized I had a hankering for some General Tao's I got up, ordered it, and went off to pick it up.

As I was leaving there, a guy was coming out of the tattoo shop there, and he looked kind of like "King Tut" from the 1960s Batman TV show, but he had one of those "punch handle" beards--you know, the straggly, spanish-moss like growth from the chin, which is usually long enough that you could grab it and hang onto it while you punched him in the face until candy came out.

But why would you want to grab that thing? At least, without gloves on? Ick. I guess in a fight you wouldn't have time to be squeamish.

* * *

After it cools off a bit outside I'm going to go fiddle with the Suzuki a bit. Right now, WoW.

#2903: One of the major advantages of living alone.

If it's too fucking hot outside for you to work on your motorcycle, and it's getting dark, and you want the fucking bitch to be running for when you can finally get your license, but it's bleeding hot outside and getting dark and it's too much of a pain in the ass to rig lights outside, to say nothing of the fact that the damn fan you have blowing on you isn't doing any damned good at all, and the motherfucking mosquitos--

Well, when all that happens, you can bring it inside:

...where it's cool and where there is plenty of light.

I, you see, had the brilliant f-ing idea to replace the points today, and to attend to a couple of other minor bits and pieces. In the process I took a running motorcycle and converted it into a non-running motorcycle.


I know it's because I can't get the damn timing set right without the right fucking tool, because motorcycle magnetos were designed by assholes.

Okay: the typical Briggs and Stratton engine, it's f-ing simple to set the points gap. You make sure the crankshaft is in a position where the points would be open; you loosen the screw, insert the correct size feeler gauge between the points, tighten the screw, and you're done. Period. END OF PROCEDURE.

None of this horseshit about making sure the piston is a certain number of millimeters BTDC and using a special tool to indicate when the points open--none of that. Just a fucking feeler gauge and a screwdriver. And it's all done with the flywheel off the engine, so you don't have to do all this intricate work through a window that's a bare half-inch wide.

I mean, fuck.

* * * I decided I'd pull the exhaust system off to check on the muffler; and sure enough, there isn't a single shred of fiberglas in that thing. It's gone.

Here's what it should look like:

Here's what mine looks like:

So what do I get to do? What do you think? This one's a different design; I think it's made to have fiberglas packed into the chamber rather than wrapped around it. I'm going to have to check on this before I do anything, but worst case I'll look for a new baffle on Ebay.

...even better? EVEN BETTER? You know what I found when I decided I'd take the cylinder off to clean it?

THE DAMN THING'S GOT ONE FUCKING PISTON RING. It should have two. Whatever happened to the top piston ring? Who knows? What the fuck.

Parts list:

Speedometer cable
Oh piss, the damn power's failed. I'll finish this later.

UPDATE: Okay, the power came back on after being off for an hour, so here we go:

Parts list:

Piston rings (for the love of...)
Speedometer cable
Set of new seals and gaskets
Turn signals
New taillight bracket
Helmet rack
...or whatever the thing that goes behind the seat is called.

I believe the muffler can be repaired, and I can either paint it with heat-resistant paint, or I can ship it off to be re-chromed for a nontrivial amount of money. (On the plus side, I could get it done in green! "Look, my exhaust pipe matches the gas tank! I'm awesome!)

* * *

I don't know what the cause of the power failure was; but it sure helped me calm down. I was pissed off and frustrated; but after being unable to work on the bike for an hour and talking to Sailor V (via cell phone) for about 42 minutes, now I'm back to my more-or-less normal self.

I was pissed off and frustrated when I saw that the mail had come and my completion card wasn't in it; and that persisted for quite some time. I went to order the brake lines for the Fiero, and was pleasant to the clerk at the store, but got home really pissed off nonetheless. So I went to bed; and after a while I felt better, and had the Chinese food and such.


...but now that I've had a chance to cool off and relax, I can approach the whole thing with a bit more cheerful optimism.