June 15th, 2021

#7689: YOU RIP-STINKIN'-CRACKLE-PACK

At work in the middle of a teleconference, I get a call from Mrs. Fungus: her car stopped working.

Tore out of there at 11 hoping that I could get her and her car home safely and go back to work this afternoon.

No.

First off: Verizon's roadside assistance? NOT worth the money. They used to cover tows up to 75 miles. Now they cover ten, so it cost me $100 to get her car towed home. Time to go with AAA.

Second: Their app? Total shit. Had to specify where I was and the thing would not point to where the car actually was, oh no! It has to use the nearest address! And it doesn't even give you status updates the way it's supposed to.

Third: we got ourselves off the highway and had lunch at a sushi place--Kitaro--and the service was terrible. Mrs. Fungus didn't like the food; I thought it was all right.

I got to her car at 11:50; the tow truck got to her car at 1 PM. We got home at 2:15. I told my boss I wouldn't make it back and then took the alternator out of her car. Put the battery on the charger while I did.

O'Reilly's tested it. Desired voltage output: about 14V. Actual output: 11.47V. Bad regulator. That explains the behavior we were getting from it, anyway, and it explains why she was able to get from home to where her car started acting weird--it wasn't just running off the battery, but the alternator was providing some power. The battery made up the difference, until it couldn't at which point the voltage dropped to 11.47 and everything started going wonky.

Anyway, I put in the new alternator (limited lifetime warranty!). Everything works fine again.

That happened after my morning commute in, which was an exercise in frustration.

Union Pacific is still working on the tracks, and just as I got past the first light, the crossing gates came down. For nothing. They were just testing them.

And they stayed down. Immobile. Traffic backing up.

Finally I had enough and decided I'd go to the other major east-west road, about a mile and half south of there. And when I got to that road? A whole long line of cars and a tractor, which had been waiting for the gates to go up, only there was absolutely nothing on the tracks for a mile in either direction.

Why the hell was UP testing all the crossing gates at once? Why are all the other grade crossings in town closed off? Is someone trying to piss me off?

Anyway, left home with enough time to get to work on time, but because of UP's fuckery, got there ten minutes late, fit to be tied.

*sigh*

So today has been an unmitigated shitfest, and I'm pretty pissed off, but at least my wife's car is fixed.

#7690: That took everything,

Doing the alternator in the wife's car did for my day, though. I had originally intended to work on a motorcycle or motorized bicycle tonight, after work. There had been some discussion of getting started on setting up the pool. But my wife needs her car.

Nice thing: replaced the alternator last in June of 2017, when it started making bad noises. "So, I put the alternator in, and it's a lifetime warranty part, so if it does this again, it's two hours and a trip to the parts store. No problem." So, the replacement part today did not cost me anything. And it was actually less than two hours; it took me half an hour to get the alternator out of the car and maybe an hour to get it back in, just because I had to grind a bushing a bit so it would fit over the mount on the engine, and then I had to get a nut off the battery hold-down. Oh, and all the bolts are fine-thread bolts, and getting the belt back on was an exercise in frustration.

The car now has twice the mileage on it than it did when I last replaced the alternator. If we keep it much longer I'm going to want to replace the serpentine belt.

* * *

Getting the nut off that hold-down: I wire-wheeled the rust off, hit the nut with a propane torch, and--to my surprise--it came off nicely, the way they're supposed to. Once I got it hot, it unscrewed very easily, just making a bit of noise as it did. Almost as if I knew what I was doing.

It'd be awfully nice if they all came off like that.

* * *

Anyway, it was a day of low humidity, and now it's getting very cool outside. Of course the tow truck had left the car in the driveway with its front end facing out, so I got to bake in the sun while working on the thing; naturally I was sweating like a pig even though it was actually a very comfortable day.

But once everything was back together it started right up, thanks to being on the battery charger the entire time I was working on it; the belt squealed a bit so I tightened it a bit more, and it was nice and quiet thereafter.

* * *

While I'm waiting for MangaDex to work the kinks out of their new site, I've been reading Horimiya, which is really really good.

* * *

Anyway, that's Tuesday. I really hope Wednesday is better.

#7691: Hana Yori Dango

This evening, I decided I was going to make another omnibus disk, of the later Kansas albums, the four three Styx albums I own, and some anime music. Specifically, the music for Hana Yori Dango.

The HYD anime was amazing. First off, the backgrounds look like they were done in watercolor. The character designs were a bit off-putting at first but they grew on me. The story was engaging and entertaining. But the music--

The basic story is that Tsukushi Makino is a first-year student at an extremely exclusive private high school. I mean, it's where the scions of the rich and powerful of Japan go to high school. And the school is essentially run by the four richest kids in Japan, and their ringleader is Tsukasa Doumyouji. They call themselves the "F4". When someone pisses off F4, he'll get a red tag in his locker, and that's the sign for all the other students to haze and harass--mercilessly--the victim of F4's ire.

Until Tsukushi gets a red tag.

Tsukushi is not your average high school girl; she's tough and resilient and tenacious, and she fights back against F4 and beats them. Mainly because Doumyouji falls in love with her. Before that happens, Tsukushi is seen going to a specific fire escape to decompress; it's her secret hideout. And one day she hears Hanazawa Rui (one of F4) playing his violin, and she's enchanted by it.

...and they picked the worst part of the piece to have him play. Literally twenty seconds after the part of the piece they used (and used and overused) is some of the most sublime violin playing I've ever heard. It ends with the violinist playing this ascending arpeggio which just seems to go higher and higher, impossibly high, before hitting its high note and then falling off a few steps.

There are so many good pieces of music in this series, I could write 50,000 words describing them.

I should find my tapes and watch it again.