...the brake fluid was down so far it only barely covered the top of the intake on the master cylinder. Shit.
It's been 207 miles since I checked it last and topped it up. Yeah. I ended up dumping about 8 oz of fluid into the reservoir to bring it up past full, so I'd have a buffer.
In 207 miles, it's dropped from that level to just over the master cylinder intake port. NOT GOOD.
It means I have a pretty nasty leak somewhere, and it means that said leak has only gotten bad in the last couple months or so.
Oh: it seems I did not, in fact, blog about this niftiness; I only thought I had.
Okay. The day I went to get the CPU fan that wouldn't fit Cephiro I found that the windshield washer nozzle (just on the driver's side, of course!) was frozen. I added washer fluid to the Jeep's washer tank, then noticed that my brake fluid was low. It was below the "low" mark but not dangerously so; I decided I could risk driving to the nearest gas station for brake fluid. No problem.
I got a 16 oz jar of brake fluid for $4.19 (highway robbery) and topped the thing up. Then I wrote down the mileage and vowed to check it the next time I filled the gas tank; this was clearly not an emergency but might be due to any number of factors. I'd had a stroke of very good luck discovering this when I did, so I counted myself fortunate that I learned it was low before suddenly found myself with spongy (or no) brakes.
Well, I forgot to check it when I filled it last; but today when I checked the oil--as I said above--I saw how f-ing low it was and topped it up again.
By the way: the oil was a quart short. Well, I did the last oil change in April, after all. And after I topped it up? The weird rattle went away. So I guess I don't need to change the spark plugs.
Could the noise have been valve lifters starved for oil? Hydraulic lifters with low oil pressure will tick and rattle like that--but the damn oil pressure gauge reported good oil pressure. Generally the oil pressure is read at the lifter galley, because that's the high point of the oil system; but who knows? Anyway it sounded like engine pinging, not lifter noise, but there's simply no excuse whatsoever for me not checking my oil more frequently.
Anyway: it seems I've got a significant leak in the brake system, which means I get to try to find the leak this weekend.
I could do it whenever I want, except that I'm hoping that the pathetic plea I just e-mailed to Og will garner me the use of his garage.
...I think the Jeep is occasionally pulling to the left. I caught myself countersteering to the right a couple of times when I hit the brakes on my way over to Orland Park, and again on the way back; if this is so, I'd wager it's probably the right rear wheel cylinder that's leaking. I seem to recall seeing some evidence of a leak on the right side, back when I replaced the rear brake shoes, so that's what I'll check first.
If it were the front it would do it all the time. 70% of braking is done by the front wheels, and a leaky caliper would be bleeding obvious in how the braking system performed. But I'll check the right front, too, before I check the left side.
Man, what a pain.
* * *
At the oriental grocery, all the stuff I needed for sushi was in one spot, on an endcap right by the door to the place. Nori, wasabi, ginger--all there! I also picked up a bottle of rice vinegar and a bag of "nori maki" crackers. They're cylindrical rice crackers wrapped with nori, and they taste kinda-sorta like sushi with no filling, just rice.
And I got a box of curry. Japanese-style curry, which is pretty mild stuff. So I can take carrots and potatos and some meat, and make a batch of this stuff, and serve it over rice--just like in anime! Whee!
...pity I don't have a bunch of chicks in swimsuits to make it for me. Well, we can't have everything.
* * *
I came across this Fungus post about motorcycle morons from November 2010.
* * *
Karl Denninger fisks the Fed meeting minutes.
I especially liked this comment: "It's called demand collapse Ben. You can find it [in] gasoline (and food) right now. Incidentally, those are not usually considered discretionary purchases, which is a rather ominous sign."
If demand for food and energy are falling--you really don't want to be a part of that economy. Not that we have any choice. Shit.
* * *
Bluesun notices something I figured out when I had a long commute. When you're only going 30, 40, 50 miles, an extra 5 MPH on the highway doesn't do you a lick of good. If you're going 300 or 400 miles, then it helps some.
Problem is, the first time you stop for anything you lose all the time you made up by going faster.
Back in my commuting days, I'd drive at 70 MPH and be passed by some guy going 75...only to catch up with him at the next toll booth. (Long before Ipass and open road tolling....) It happened again and again and again, all the time, because there's perhaps 15, 20 miles between toll booths on I-294.
Time per mile, in minutes, is essentially 60/speed in MPH. So when you're going 30 it's 2 minutes per mile; at 45 it's 1.5 minutes per mile, and so on.
It's an asymptotic curve. It starts out somewhere near infinity and drops precipitously to a knee, where then the rate of change slows drastically. Guess where that knee is?
About 25 MPH.
So when you're going 30 MPH and decide to go 35, how much time per mile do you actually save?
Well: 30 MPH is a mile in 120 seconds; 35 MPH is a mile in 103 seconds. You save all of 17 seconds per mile.
If you have to get to work at 8:00 and it's 7:55, and it's a 5-minute drive at the speed limit of 30 MPH, you'll get to work at 7:59:43 if you drive at 35. If you miss so much as ONE stop light, you'll be late. (If you leave home at 7:56 you can't make it to work on time at 35 MPH.)
If you go 40 MPH you'd better hope there are no police around since most jurisdictions will pull your ass over for being 10 over the limt. But at 40 you have a better chance of getting to work on time: it takes you 3.75 minutes, so you get to work at 7:58:45. Again, one stop light and you're done.
Now: if you have to drive 25 miles (ten times as far as the example above) and the speed limit is 60--for round numbers--it takes you 25 minutes to drive that distance if you don't have to stop for anything.
But go 80. How much time do you save?
If there are stop lights on the way? 6.25 minutes is approximately four stop lights hit wrong. If there's a traffic jam? An accident? A cop who doesn't take kindly to you racing along at 20 over?
If everything goes exactly right--you make it there without getting stopped for speeding, and you manage to avoid all the other obstacles--it means you can leave 6 minutes and 15 seconds later than you would if you were just going to go the speed limit and still arrive on time.
This is why I stopped trying to keep up with traffic, and instead began to hang in the right lane and go my own speed. You don't save enough time for it to be worth it.
* * *
Something really irritating I just discovered the hard way: if you have the bookmarks sidebar open in Firefox, and the cursor focus is in there, hitting the delete key wipes out links without asking permission.
THAT IS INEXCUSABLE.
If you notice it before you do anything else, CTRL-Z will get them back--but just now I wiped out my Blogroll, my Comicroll, and three other links before I realized my cursor was in the wrong damned window.
There doesn't seem to be a way to fix it, either, so that doesn't happen. Argh etc.
* * *
I had these once in 2005 and they were awesome. They're very popular in Japan, so why don't oriental grocery stores around here have them? Wahh.
NO I don't want to pay $59 for 12 4-oz bags. What is that--48 oz, that's three pounds, so that makes it--$20 per pound? SHIT!
No. NO. They're good but they ain't that good.
* * *
I feel a heck of a lot better after my little excursion, though. I didn't end up stopping at Best Buy to look for Kindle thingies; I decided just to come home because I was tired of stupid people.
The drive there and back was surprisingly free of frustration, though. There were a couple of idiots but only one of them was an egregious idiot.
The egregious idiot--he zipped past me on the right, then got on his brakes, he rear tires locked up and sliding to a stop in the center lane. He ejected a passenger, waited until I'd gone past, then peeled out and zipped around me again. Then he got stopped by every stop light--despite pulling away from me at better than 5 over the limit. He had no smoothness to his driving; it was all jerky and even his turns were abrupt. When he made his left turn, he went as far as he could in the left turn lane, going straight, barely slowing, and then yanked the wheel around. I think he made his turn at about 25 MPH. I'd hate to have to ride in the car with him. Worst case of testosterone poisoning I've seen in a good while.
This guy didn't really have any effect on me, though. His idiotic maneuvers were carried out at a sufficient distance to me that I didn't have to do anything to avoid him. I just thought he was driving like a retard.
* * *
Yeah, a nap sounds like a pretty good idea. I'd better get going on that before my face hits the keyboard and I get qwertyitis.