May 19th, 2012

#3374: For want of a f-ing 50-cent tool

Well, I went to see Og and borrowed his tire irons. I managed to get the tire off the rim without ruining it or myself. The inside of the tire was, as advertised, a complete mess, but there was a tube in there, so I pulled everything apart and brought it in to wash the Fix-a-Flat off/out/whatev.

There was exactly one hole in the inner tube, and it corresponded with the hole in the tire. Just one hole, nice and big, approximately the size of the nail that punctured the tire.

It was also covered with all manner of dirt, like whoever had last worked on this thing rolled the inner tube around in his mother's garden before he installed it. I washed it thoroughly, and could hear the Fix-a-Flat sloshing around inside the tube as I did, wondering how I might get it out since I couldn't find my valve stem core remover.

Finally I held it up with the hole down, squeezed, and laughed at the way the tube pissed Fix-a-Flat into the sink.

I dusted everything with corn starch to kill the leftover stickiness from the Fix-a-Flat, and then started reassembly. I had a brainstorm--half of one--when I realized that my extra-tiny needle nose pliers could unscrew the valve core so I could get all the air out.

Pity I didn't think to put the thing back in once the tube was empty.

I installed the tire on the rim.

Boy, doesn't that sound easy, when I put it that way? I struggled with that shit for half an hour, almost giving up on it...but I did finally manage to get the tire all the way onto the rim.

...still can't find the valve core removal tool, which I need to install the valve stem core since I didn't put it in before...and no, I can't use the needle-nose pliers this time. I tried that; all it did was fuck up the valve core because they're too f-ing long for me to get a straight shot at the stem.


So I spent another fruitless half an hour trying to find any of the approximately half-dozen of the f-ing things I own. All have vanished into the woodwork. The one that I used on the dirt bike, last summer, that one is supposed to be in my toolbox. Why isn't it? How the fuck should I know? I must've used it and failed to put it back, but it's not in any of the places it would be if I had done that. I went over the workbench, I went through the toolbox, I went through the tool chest (even to cleaning the top tray in the vain hope the damn thing was buried) and I went over and over and over all these places several times.

I've got a ziplock bag of all the tire-patching stuff that I accumulated when I was working on the dirt bike. It's not in there. It's not in the special compartments atop the tool box. It's not in the Jeep. It's not in the tool chest. It's not in the junk drawers in the kitchen. It's not on my desk anywhere.

And so because I can't find a tool that costs fifty cents, I can't finish the rear tire. It'd be one thing if it was something big and complex that I needed, you know, like a tire machine or something--but this is a pissy little thing that stores charge a dollar for--and at that they're making an obscene profit on each unit sold. Shit.

Argh etc.

#3375: Happy 45 to me!

...gave up trying to finish the bike last night (as blogged) and played D3. I've been running Owie, my female barbarian, because the barbarian hits stuff so hard it obliterates whatever it's fighting.

When you're pissed off and frustrated, it's very satisfying to hit a zombie and watch its again-lifeless corpse go flying bonelessly halfway across the screen. I awarded myself bonus points when the corpse would fall into a chasm or crevasse.

The physics engine for the game is pretty good. When you kill something, the body doesn't become part of the background, so if your attacks include air displacement that can be measured on the upper registers of the Beaufort scale, the body will move. I have "swept" bodies into holes in the ground this way.

So instead of taking a waypoint from New Tristram to where I was going, I took the long way and obliterated everything in my path. Then I kept going and defeated the Skeleton King before logging off and hitting the hay.

...which meant I was getting to bed about 3:30 AM. And I only slept for about four hours.

But! I got up and went to the hardware store, and bought a valve stem core tool for the princely sum of $2.66 with tax ($2.16 of which was pure profit for various entities) and then hit McDonald's for some quick and cheap eats. The eats are nearly et--and I'm not hungry any more--so I'm gonna go out to the garage and finish what I started.

At some point I need to bake a cake and frost it, too. *sigh*

#3376: That was warmer than usual.

You have to understand, this is the first time I've ridden my motorcycle when it was 90° outside.

I got the motorcycle on September 11, 2011, and except for that ten-day warm spell in March it has been consistently below 68°. So regardless of how warm it felt when I was stationary, once I got moving I'd be cool/chilly/cold/freezing, depending on the temperature in still air, the amount of clothing I was wearing, and my average velocity.

Today, I was hot when stationary and warm/comfortable when moving.

Especially since I was wearing the usual kit: suede jacket, gloves, helmet, long pants. I only have one skin, and I like it, so I dress to protect it.

So as planned last night I rode over to Og's place, expecting him to be home, but two e-mails before I left here and a phone call while I was having a concrete at Culver's failed to elicit any response from him. I rode by when I was done at Culver's (and after a side trip to Harbor Freight for a tire gauge and a flashlight to leave in the bike trunk) and still there was absolutely no signs of life at Og's cave, so I figured he was still out cleaning the highway his gun club sponsors, or else he was doing something else fun.

And, hey, more power to him. The guy works really hard.

...but it's now almost 4 PM and I haven't baked my birthday cake yet. I stopped at the grocery store on my way home and bought salad fixings and a big-ass potato for baking, but I just put that stuff in the fridge because I'm still working on digesting the concrete...and I am in fact pondering a nap, too, because I did (after all) only get 4 hours of sleep last night.

Whee! I can be like Louis Wu, only without the teleporter booth trip around the world!, I can't. Not even in miniature. I just don't have that kind of energy.

But the motorcycle rode fine, and I had fun.

* * *

I tried to put the front shock dust boots on, really I did...but in the process of trying to loosen the bolt on the right side, one of only two decent-length 14 mm combo wrenches that I have broke. (I have a "stubby" 14mm but it doesn't help when Gilgamesh tightened the damn bolt. There isn't enough leverage.)

I got the left side loosened up just fine, but the right side was put in stupidly--backwards, I think, so that the nut is in a tight spot; and when I applied the wrench to the nut, the open-end part spontaneously became even more open. I tried with the other wrench, but I couldn't get it on the nut in such a way that I could apply enough force to break the nut free.

"Why," I asked myself, "do I have only one 14mm wrench that can do this?" But the space where the nut is has too little room for any other wrench in my toolbox. I went to the tool chest to look for another one, and after looking for a few minutes I decided not to bother. I'll be taking the rear wheel off again when it's time to get the rear tire replaced. I am not going to do that job myself again; I'll pay someone to do it for me. That was excruciating. But when I've got the rear wheel off I can tilt the front end up like I did today and replace the dust boots then. (The front wheel will likely also be off so I can get its tire replaced.)

Other thing: the new rear brake shoes work great and they don't make a sound. They work so well I'm now considering replacing the front pads so I'm not tempted to stop the bike with just the rear brake.

The brake rotor on the front wheel needs turning, but I'll have to check the one on the spare--if it's not groovy like the one on the bike, I'll use it and save myself the cost of machining it. But replacing the brake rotor means removing the front wheel, blah blah blah etcetera, where just replacing the pads is a two-bolt operation. *sigh*

Oh well. Nap time!

#3377: OMG what a STEAK!!!

So for dinner tonight I cooked one of the sirloins from the 1/4 beef I picked up on Monday.

O. M. G.

I seasoned it with salt and pepper and cooked it to medium rare out on the grill, which is how I like my steaks. It was tender enough to cut with a fork. I may have gotten around as much as 40% of it, but I'm not sure how much confidence I have in that number.

I got out the A-1 not expecting to need it. I didn't need it, but that was fine, because I was able to sneer at it for the entire meal.

I don't remember the last time I had a steak like this at home. The last time I had a steak like this at all was in 2005 or 2007 or when-the-hell-ever it was, and that was at an Outback.

Tender and tasty and grilled to perfection--wow!

Add a big salad and a big baked potato, and a slice of birthday cake--I am stuffed. I forgot the ice cream, but it's just as well, because if I ate so much as one more calorie right now I'd go all Mr. Creosote-y. (The Pepsi I'm drinking is diet. Lucky for me.)

This birthday definitely beats last year's, which consisted of me sitting on my assigned bed in the hospital, after dinner, and opening a card from my aunt and uncle...and otherwise nothing special going on.

And so what will I do now, that I've finished dinner?

If you guessed "ride the motorcycle some more", have a cookie! (You'll have to provide your own, though. I am done cooking for today.)