atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1825: It's again White Wednesday, and I'm sick.

Longtime readers of the Fungus will remember that--several years ago--I dubbed the day before Thanksgiving "White Wednesday".

...damn gut.

For the past few days I've been suffering from "the usual malady", ie whatever the sinister combination of irritable bowel syndrome and symptomatic diverticulosis can think of to throw at me. It's led to fatigue, headache, nausea, and a near-complete loss of the will to live.

This morning, after waking up at 3 and utterly unable to go back to sleep, I had a big farm breakfast (bacon, hash browns fried in bacon grease, and 3 scrambled eggs)...and suddenly I felt better. Much better: headache and nausea went away, leaving me with a pleasantly full stomach and zero GI symptoms. Even the perennial discomfort/pain in my lower left quadrant subsided.


...but I wasn't about to complain about it; instead I watched anime until I was sleepy and fell asleep around 6:30.

So I'm still having GI symptoms--they were mollified by the good food but came back--and I still feel like crud, but at least I feel better than I did yesterday. This evening I woke up wanting fettucini alfredo; and when I got up Mom was just about to start cooking chicken for dinner but expressed a desire for food from the local Aurelio's franchise. I jumped on that.

So I got my fettucini, and we had antipasto, cheese sticks, and a calabrese. It was a wonderful pre-Thanksgiving meal neither of us had to cook. Awesome.

Actually, with my gut being how it is right now, I limited myself to a(n un)healthy serving of fettucini alfredo (that stuff is a heart attack on a plate) and salad, and a couple of cheese sticks. I have no desire to aggravate my gut by stuffing myself to the gills; I'll be hungry again later and the food isn't going to disappear, so when I get hungry again I'll go eat some more.

And the GI symptoms have again subsided. Again, WTF. That's probably a symptom of something serious.

* * *

So, have you heard that Congress wants a "War in Afghanistan Tax"? Got to love how Democrats think: it's perfectly fine to spend $1,400 billion more than the government takes in on "stimulus" and other Democrat ideas, but when it comes to protecting America and its interests, well, we have to find a way to make that "revenue-neutral" or we'll really be in trouble!


Boortz opines on this nonsense.

And I'm not kidding about that deficit stuff: Under Obama the deficit has exploded.

Spent: $3,520 billion
Income: $2,120 billion
Deficit: $1,400 billion

Previous highest deficit ever: $455 billion, in 2008.

Any plans the Democrats promulgate for deficit reduction will include token cuts in spending and huge increases in taxation. Count on it.

And they don't really give a rat's ass about the inevitable consequences of high taxation. In fact, they prefer it that way: Democrats don't care about employment; what they care about is making sure people need government, and high unemployment drives people to seek help from the government.

* * *

Dick: "Hide the Decline". LOL.

Dick: "You can go ahead and throw up now." Oprah's going to have a Christmas Day special where she goes and visits with Obama in the White House.

...he's right, that is nauseating.

* * *

So tomorrow is Thanksgiving; and the day after that is the official start of Christmas Season. Blurk.

Last night while I was trying to avoid suffering too many symptoms by sitting in the dark, I was thinking about what I saw in Best Buy's "pre-season sale" circular from the Sunday paper: a Seagate 1 TB drive for $75.

In 1999, hard drives were just breaking through the single digits of gigabytes. You could get a 16 GB hard drive for around $400. Ten years later, 1,024 GB will run you $75. (Depending on how they count them, of course. In fact the guys who market these things use base 10, not base 2, so it's actually 1,000,000,000,000 bytes, not 240 bytes.)

In 1989, a 1 GB drive was the size of a dorm fridge, weighed 70 kg, and probably cost at least $10,000.

In 1979, 1 TB was probably more on-line storage than existed in the world; before 1969 it certainly was.

...and I was mulling over the fact that I could acutally stand to install two of them in my computer, had I the disposable income. In 2009 one can balance 1 GB of storage on a fingertip, and seriously have to worry about losing it should one drop it onto a dark surface.

And in 2009 one can buy a terabyte of storage for $75, which is bargain basement pricing for a brand new hard drive anyway. Especially since that $75 won't buy as much gasoline or bread or gold or meat as it did in any of the prior decades.

I would like to replace the #1 and #2 drives (160 and 500 GB, respectively) with 1 TB drives. The system is getting short on storage; I'm still DLing anime. OTOH what I would really like to do is to get an NAS box and fill it with 1 TB drives, but at the moment that's prohibitively expensive. (Unless I win the Powerball or something.)

So I'll have to think about what I need to do and what I want to do, and figure out if there is any way at all that I can make those two things connect.

* * *

Yesterday, while running all the pre-holiday errands, I stopped in at Harbor Freight and picked up a leakdown tester. They're on sale this month and I've wanted one since--well, a damned long time--and they had them in stock, so I snagged one. Now I'm waiting for a few days of decent weather in which to check the Escort engine.

I realized that I don't have to take the timing cover off again; the crank pulley has that reluctor ring on it, and one can use that to determine when a cylinder is at TDC merely by removing the valve cover and checking which valves are open and which are closed. With the reluctor ring in the correct position, either the #1 or the #4 piston will be at TDC and that cylinder can be checked for leaks. Then rotate the crank 180° and either #2 and #3 will be at TDC. Check. Rotate 180°. Check. Repeat once more and you've got the leakdown figures for all four cylinders.

I was going to try to make one of my own--it's not hard to manage--but my welding skills are not what you would call "advanced"; getting the thing air-tight would have been a cast-iron bitch. (And it really takes skill to weld cast iron, let me tell you. And a welder which is slightly more powerful than a 110v flux-core welder.)

The leakdown check shouldn't even take that much time, really, and it'll tell me what I have to worry about.

My greatest fear is that it will turn out to be the piston rings. If I did something wrong and the #1 cylinder is beyond spec--but that doesn't make sense, as the engine ran on 3 from the get-go. Even so, if it's because of something in the engine block, the whole schmeer has to come out again.

It's possible a ring could have broken, I suppose. Then I'd just have to replace that ring--maybe the piston, too, depending on whether it's damaged or not--and maybe run a bottle brush hone down that cylinder. That would suck, but I wouldn't have to remove the engine to do that.

I'm also thinking about the valves, though: when I disassembled the cylinder head, the exhaust valves were pitted. I tried lapping them, and judged the result to be acceptable; but perhaps it wasn't; maybe they need more than that to seal correctly. Still, the thing ought to run right because the lapped valves should have sealed about as well as the pitted ones, even if the seal wasn't perfect. Something may be wrong with this.

I can't help but think that I did something really bone-headed, though: when I wire-wheeled the intake manifold flange, I put paper towels in the bores to keep crud out of them. What if I forgot to remove the paper towel from one of them?

A wad of paper towel in the intake port would keep a cylinder from running. But the spark plug had some carbon on it, indicating that it had been sort-of working. So, maybe not. Anyway, I did check to make sure the ports were clear before I put the manifold on.

Gadzooks, what if there's a mouse in there?

I am both hoping and fearing that the leakdown test will reveal that the engine is tight; because if it's tight, it means I don't have to R&R the engine again. But if it's tight, it means I will again have no firkin' clue what's wrong with it, and it'll be time for me to start digging into the engine bay wiring harness.

My last desperate hope is that it's something in the engine harness itself--an intermittent connection to a fuel injector or something--because if it's in the harness which connects the engine harness to the rest of the car...o God, fixing that will suck.

I can replace the engine harness--hell, I've got a complete known-good one on the other engine, and I'd just replace the intake manifold with everything connected--but since I have apparently used up my supply of "easy" and "simple" with the entire rest of this project, it's not the way to bet. Argh etc.

* * *

Well, everyone have a good T-day. I'll try to do the same.

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