atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#3027: Better, and worse!

The better part:

I rode the motorcycle today. A lot. Hehhheh.

This morning around 11 I rode the bike to the bank and Walgreen's, to cash a check and buy some "thank you" cards. On the way home I stopped at McDonald's and bought a couple McRibs. Since breakfast had been a bagel with cream cheese at 7-iah--and since it was nearing 12 when I got home--I was starving.

After eating, I hit the driveway, and I'll tell that story in a bit because I'm telling the "better" part first.

One of the things I accomplished today was to finally build a fog cooler. It consists of a watertight box of some kind--I'm using a styrofoam cooler--with a pipe running through it. The pipe is actually supposed to be made of chicken wire, because you then fill the cooler with ice and aim the fog machine into one end of the pipe. With the cooler full of ice, when the fog flows through the pipe it is cooled--you see?

...and then the fog will hug the ground instead of billowing up. It was too windy outside for the thing to work well, so I brought it inside; despite not having it full of ice (only about halfway, not quite enough to cover the top of the chicken wire) it worked well enough that the fog drifted down the stairs instead of filling the entire entry hall. It works!

I don't know WTF I'll do with it. Hopefully it won't be windy on Halloween and I can have it propped up in the front window, spewing fog into the front yard. That would be fun.

The damn street here is lined with cars. I was wondering what the hell was going on, and I gradually twigged to last Saturday before Halloween and Crete's Trick or Treat Trail is in the woods near here. Yeah. So once done in the driveway I put my windbreaker over my hoodie, put on the 3/4 helmet, and rode down to see if I was right.

I was.

I'd kind of like to go see what it's like, but as a single man I know what people would be thinking: Eeew! It's a PEDOPHILE! That can be the ONLY reason he's coming to a family event by himself! That's right; being a single male at a family-oriented event is now proof that you're a pervert. *sigh*

...so I rode home, and adjusted the bike's idle a bit. I had turned it down a few weeks ago, but now it idles too slow, so I bumped it up a couple hundred RPM. I like where it idles now.

Once that was done, I put on the full face helmet and went out for another ride. I didn't really have any particular plan; and as I rode south on Route 1 I decided, Let's go to Beecher!

So I got to Beecher, and then thought, Let's go to Grant Park! I rode down to Grant Park, and idled around a little bit--and looked at the big grain elevator they've got there. I think that's probably the only remaining spur off the former MoPac main line (now UP) between Chicago Heights and Kankakee.

My cheeks hurt from smiling. There were a few asshats, but it wasn't too bad.

The windbreaker did a yeoman's job of keeping me from freezing. My legs are uncomfortably cold now, and I could have stood to be warmer than I was, but it wasn't bad; I was "cool but not cold". I think that windbreaker kept me warmer than the suede jacket does. Huh.

So I feel pretty chipper, since I had a good time. That's the "better".

Now for the "worse".

As I said, after eating lunch I hit the driveway. First up: get out the Fiero and see what's what.

...it wouldn't stay running. When I finally got it running, it was obviously not firing on all cylinders.

WTF? It was running fine when I parked it on the 12th of Aug! It started right up every other time it's sat for a while, so why is it doing this? Argh! I tried reseating the plug wires and checked under the distributor cap, but while that improved the situation it did not fix it. Argh etc.

So I resolved to fix the brakes first and then worry about the engine. WTF, the brakes went wrong first, and I can't drive the thing at all if the f-ing brakes will catch on fire, so I might as well--

Got the LF wheel off and had a gander at the brakes. I couldn't open the bleeder, so I sprayed PB Blaster on it and then went to do the thing with the fog cooler. When I finished building it, I was able to get the bleeder open and let some juice out.

Still hard to turn, with pads dragging badly. Hmm.

I unscrewed the caliper bolts and C-clamped the piston back into its bore, then pulled the caliper off. It looks as if the caliper jammed on the slides; I don't think the brake hose went bad, or at least not as bad as I thought. When the pads are loose, the thing should slide back and forth, and I had to use a hammer to get it to move. Hmm.

I can't remember if the caliper slides are removable on the front calipers, and the manual doesn't say one way or another, so I've got to go to the Fiero Forum and ask there. While I'm at it I'm going to ask for suggestions about the f-ing misfiring problem. *sigh*

So I put everything back together and tabled the matter for now. Zarg-barg-a-ding-dong.

To make things even more entertaining, it looks like I'm missing a vacuum hose from the cruise control. The vacuum servo is shot, so it needs replacing, but there's a vacumm fitting with nothing on it. I can't find a diagram of how it's supposed to be hooked up, though I have yet to check the Factory Service Manual. This can't be the cause of my misfiring problem because that hose has obviously been missing for a while; I'm just wondering how in the f-ing hell I didn't notice that before. I've only had the car for nine years!

...which is why I can't remember how the front calipers are put together: it's been nine years since I last worked on the front brakes. *sigh*

The only thing I can think of is maybe the fuel in the tank is shitty. I'll probably have to check my fuel pressure and find a way to drain the tank, so I can put in fresh fuel. That might do it, and it might be a complete waste of time.

I need to find a computer that has a serial port, or I've got to buy a serial-to-USB convertor; I've got a program and a hardware interface that will let me use a PC as a scantool. It reads the diagnostic data from the car's computer--all the engine control parameters and stuff--and presents it in an easy-to-understand format so you can instantly see WTF is going on with the car.

But it requires an RS-232 connection, something that's no longer a sine qua non on computers. My nifty Inspiron 1525 doesn't have one. *sigh*

Worst case: I still have the crappy Compaq laptop I bought in 1998; it has a serial port and while it can't run very much it can run WinALDL. Assuming the computer still works, of course.

* * *

Anyway, I'm going to have Chinese food for dinner tonight, because I can and because I haven't had it for a while.

So I guess we're moving back to "better" again.

On the "worse" side it looks like there's no room in the Og Expedition to the Napanee Gun Show for the ol' Fungus, so I'm staying home tomorrow. It's just as well, though, since what normally happens is I end up wandering around the gun show by myself anyway, and the social aspect only extends to the trip "to" and "from" and whatever other socializing might go on. (Such as blogmeets or what-have-you.) That's good enough, but--shit. Even if I had the money to spare for firearms and related gewgaws I don't have my FOID card yet so why bother looking?

It's better for everyone without a fifth (or eighth or whatever) wheel.

Back to "better": I'm trying to figure out what I can do to make the front yard a little spooky for Monday without spending a lot of money (like less than $10) or having to do a lot of work. The fog machine(s) will help; I could go buy a couple colored light bulbs for atmosphere and dig the fake skeleton out of the basement. (I'll tell that story later.)

...so I'm not going to be totally bereft of decor this Monday.

Right now, I need to go get my food. Later!
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