atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1068: Rambles

I haven't seen anything on-line today which prompted any real commentary or even the need for wisecracks. I'm not going to repeat yesterday's silly ATA-mandated blank page notation, either.

I've had quite a few influences from my time as a technical writer, though. I have a tendency to abbreviate months using the ATA "first three letters" standard.

--"ATA" means "Air Transport Association", by the way--

So January is "Jan", June is "Jun" and July is "Jul", and so on. (May, strangely enough, remains "May".) It's been seven years since I worked as a technical writer, yet some habits persist.

Thanks to my time as a tech writer I still know how to work Word better than most people, too. In the log that I keep which follows the progress of my 1986 Fiero project, I have charts of measurements and things all over the place, because it's so easy to do if you know how to do it.

I miss being a tech writer, but I don't miss the environment I worked in. When I started as a tech writer it was my dream job, and it was blissful. But by the time I was laid off, it had become a hellish parody of Dilbert. But that was later. I started there in November of 1998 as a tech writer, and it was wonderful until early 2000. It was "okay" until early 2001, which was when it started to suck; and I was out of there a month after 9/11.

Oh well.

* * *

As for the '86 Fiero, I think I now know how I have to build the gear selector mechanism. I don't know if I can use OEM shift cables or if I have to buy aftermarket-style. The latter type will have Heim joints on the ends, which will be easier to attach reliably to the mechanism I need to make. But the shifter end will be the same way, and the Fiero shifter isn't made for those, so I'll have to modify it to accept them.

On the other hand, I could just build my shift mechanism to accept the Fiero cables...but I'm not sure if they'll be long enough, and reliability will be a concern.

But I'm pretty sure that once everything is said and done, the car will be fun to drive.

I'm glad I got the Escort street-legal again, because gas is now $4.16 at most gas stations in the immediate area, and I saw one that's at $4.30! So that 33+ mpg is welcome...and I've been enjoying driving the car, too, because it feels like a sports car after that Jeep.

So I really want to get into something approximating motion with this project, because having a Fiero that gets 33+ mpg would be awesome.

* * *

Hard to believe it's already almost June. It's been unseasonably cool over the past couple of weeks, not that I'm complaining. In fact, it could stay like this all damn summer and I wouldn't complain at all!

Of course, it won't. It'll get warmer soon, and then it'll get hot, and I'll have to put the AC in my bedroom window in order to be able to sleep.

Still, it's a solar minimum, and we're still having cycle 23 sunspots when we're well past the time that cycle 24 should have started. (I mean its, what, nine months late now?) So maybe this summer will be milder than usual. One can hope, but it's probably not the way to bet.

* * *

The "CHECK COOLANT" light on the Escort came on, which reminded me that the Escort needs a new radiator.

The Escort's radiator has an aluminum core, but the side tanks are plastic. Most of the time this isn't an issue, unless something hits the radiator--when that happens, the side tanks are prone to cracking, and you can't repair the damn thing. All you can do is replace the entire radiator.

So I'm going to have to do that; and a new radiator will run about $90. Of course I'll replace the hoses at the same time.

At the same time, the stereo has inexplicably decided it will no longer play CD-Rs. This stereo was perfectly happy doing so before the car had its long vacation (starting in August of last year, after I got the Jeep). Now, suddenly, it won't.

So I'm probably going to replace the stereo, too, and I'm expecting it'll be a Pioneer unit that'll play MP3s. Ha! There's one at work which retails for $99 which ought to do the trick.

And when I replace the stereo, I'll also repair the heater controls so they work correctly.

This is how it is with old cars: if you know how to fix them, you can do stuff like this. If you're the kind of person who doesn't know a tie rod from a piston rod, an old car ends up being a money pit.

But all of this will probably end up delaying (again) my quest for a new DVD recorder. That's how life is, though, and I don't really mind all that much.

It'll leave me with a spare CD player. I could probably sell it for maybe $20, which isn't even worth bothering with. I suppose I'll just box it up and store it somewhere, because in all probability it'll be useful for something, someday.

Maybe put it back into the Escort when the '86 is roadworthy--put the Pioneer in the '86...?

* * *

See, that's why this post is called "Rambles". Because I'm just rambling.

But I'm going to go to bed now. Good night. Morning. WTF-ever.

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