Monday, 28 April 2008

Wanna buy a Monaro? - Cheap

The Monaro failed rego but I didn’t have the wade through the usual three pages of defects this time. The defects picked up have taken several days to fix though. A bit of rust had broken through around the wheel arches and bottom of the doors. Fairly straight forward cosmetic work, it just takes a while to do it properly. Shocking stuff I know but I occasionally I do try to make things better, not worse. The last few days have been sanding, rust proofing, bogging, painting, sanding, painting, sanding, etc.

Then there's the front left indicator. Didn’t wanna go. I knew we had it working the day before so I figured it’s just a dicky earth. I took the whole assembly out to clean it up a bit. See. Doing it properly.

Well I got it out and tested the wiring and now NONE of the indicators work. Oh, this is just fucked. I have so little knowledge of electrickry that I’m a freaking hazard but I started tracking the wiring back to the harness and ended up with about ten web pages open on the computer and Max Ellery's useless manual and then opened the PDF’s I’d scanned from workshop manuals. None of them helped.

I resort to sticking my big dumb fat head under the dash, (very uncomfortable), and I’m plucking at the wiring and the fuse box with no idea what the hell I’m doing and I spy a little round box full of copper wiring. I fiddle with it and it starts ticking like bomb might. I made a guess that it wasn't a bomb and could very well have something to do with the indicators. Sure enough they were working again. Then everything crapped out again. No amount of increasingly hard taps on the round ticking thing made any difference.

Instead of getting a hammer I searched the computer to find out what the fucking round thing was called and found out it’s a flasher can. Picked one up for $16 IN SARINA and replaced it. There’s different stuff inside the new one. My old stone-age one has been superseded by microchips.

Praise Jesus the bastard fit and didn’t mess me around like I thought it would. The indicators were all going but I couldn’t help noticing the globe was seized in the holder. I should fix that, I thought, before putting it back in. What a stupid idea. Smashed the globe and gouged into the holder to dig the base out then decided to abort the mission and use one I’d ripped off a HG a few years ago. Unfortunately that one is in worse condition on the outside but the spring loaded bulb holder was perfect. Spent around an hour changing every tiny bastard piece over then refit the globe and tested it. Not working again. Son of a bitch. Pushed all the connections together in total frustration and... it worked! Good enough, it’s getting close to beer o’clock so I don't care what the fault was.

Shoved everything back together and went and got the WHEELBARROW to load up all the crap I’d ended up bringing down to the carport to fix one lousy freaking globe.

I hope someone buys this pile of junk before I burn it. If you need help with your Chev wiring James, I’m busy that day. After reading this you probably would rather I stayed the hell away anyway.

(Like it? See - On the road again)

Monday, 14 April 2008

Parents and kids

Most people who know me are aware that I don’t have much time for kids. (I now include 25 year olds in this category. The age rises as I get older). I don’t hate kids, I’m just selfish. Kids are just so demanding. Mostly I can’t be bothered making time for those demands. If I ever waver in this mindset I have found that a visit to someone who is afflicted with children will quickly reinforce my desire not to be tempted to have any of my own. (Going to the shopping centre also works.)

It’s got to be a strange set of circumstances that leads people to breed these parasitical beings in the first place. Chuck on the blinkers and you can’t see those red-faced screamers chucking a tantrum for a Freddo Frog. Maybe it’s a survival instinct thing that kicks in causing an oversupply of parental hormones that floods their brains and ensures humanities continuing dominion of this planet. Whatever it is there’s far too many people breeding.

I’ve made time to think about this problem for the last five minutes. Here’s why I reckon people have kids. It all comes down to economics.

The most logical reason to continue to raise a child, despite its shortcomings, can be broken down to a percentage of positive return. These days we’re happy enough to get a 10% to 15% return on our investments, right? Well let’s be generous and say that your kid behaves, does something cute or show its love for you about 20% of the time. (There’s going to be a lot of arguing about this amount but I’m taking into account the teenage years when your kid hates you 100% of the time.)That’s a 20% positive and 80% negative or neutral return. And you are expected to be grateful for that amount? You’re stuck with this person for 16 years minimum. Seems to me that’s a long investment periods for very little payout. Must make a parent feel especially low when the self-centred little shit disappears on a year-long doped up holiday with their loser friends, only calling when he or she is out of cash or in gaol. I’ve got two words for this: steel caps, applied to the head.

I don’t know how many times a person has envied my childless freedom only to guiltily add “I wouldn’t swap them for the world though”. Yeah right, I’d trade mine for a bottle of rum as soon as the bugger didn’t do as he or she was told.

I also have the reasonable expectation when I visit someone with kids, I expect their children to use some of that positive 20% reserve for the entire period that I’m there. Bodily functions are to be withheld and maximum cuteness, quietness and general happiness shall be employed at all times. So far I’m not having much luck with these demands.

(Like it? See - Samael).

Snapshot of a writers mind

(Skip to - Chilli and Curry - the same thing!?)

Now that my inner writer has been made public, there’s an expectation/fear that I might be chronicling everyone’s perceived faults in some sort of doomsday book. I hear a lot of worried comments like, “this is going in your book, isn’t it?”, while perusing the goings-on at friends/family functions. And there’s always the old standby, “am I in your book?”, by those who maybe think they should be.

There is no ‘book’ as such. I write many things. Articles, short stories, reviews and novels. They are fiction and don't necessarily reflect upon anyone I know. Of course I draw on my past experiences and everything that goes on around me through my own distorted perceptions.

I may answer the questions above with “only in the broadest sense of your personality”, or, “hell yeah, the shit you do!” Mainly I’m just screwing with your head. I can handle the sidelong looks where there were none before. Some people are a bit more subdued around me and less likely to confide their secrets. That’s okay. I’ll just make up stuff about you.

I’ve had to revise some of my posts. Self-censorship sucks but I wouldn’t want to be misconstrued (sued). I must remember the freedom to speak my mind here is constrained by certain legalities. There are also certain weirdo’s strange sensitivities to consider.

The temptation to divulge private thoughts and beliefs without considering the ramifications is great at times. Exposing myself on such a public forum for the dissemination and judgement of anyone who might stumble upon it makes me add disclaimers. Really, I'd rather not bother. I'd prefer those of you who don't like what I write just accept my right to free speech and move on.

I like to be honest. If that honesty can be amusing at the same time so much the better. I do realise that merely applying my opinion to a subject doesn’t automatically make what I say correct; I’m not that arrogant yet. For my own reasons most of my entries are kneejerk reactions, and as such, the words can only really encapsulate a snapshot of my immediate feelings and thoughts at any given time.

It is interesting that someone might think they know me purely by what I write. Something I need to remind myself when I receive comments from the truly supercilious.

(Like it? See - Insurance Quote)

Friday, 11 April 2008

The oldest can of peas and carrots in the world

The wife and I were standing in the canned goods aisle of IGA doing the shopping when I said loudly, “who the hell buys all this canned food?” An older bloke shuffles by me with his head down and grabs a few tins. That’s why you should think before you speak isn’t it?

So I trundled the trolley away to make unnecessary judgments on other customers in another part of the shop when I said to the wife, “We should use up that can of peas and carrots in the pantry.”

“What can of peas and carrots?”

“You know, that can we’ve had for years, probably part of our hopelessly inadequate cyclone preparedness stock.”

Blank look. Never mind. We get home and forget all about it. Later that week I was rooting around in the pantry for something and remembered the fabled can. It was pushed right to the back under a can of coconut milk and a tin of apricots almost as though we were ashamed of it and had hidden it away. Like you would do to an ugly child. (Well I would anyway). I pulled it out and noticed the rust covering the joins and the ominous way the top and bottom bulged. It was sort of like holding an old hand grenade. I turned the tin over, (and shook it a bit, thinking how cool it would be if it did explode), and deciphered the date on the bottom. 12/03/98. Man, that’s an old tin of veggies.

I kept it to show the wife. She didn’t see its historical value. We must have moved that tin to six different houses in three states in the last 10 years starting in Kalgoorlie. It was almost a family heirloom. I threatened to put it in the stew and insisted she’d never notice but the look I got probably made this course of action unwise.

It’s in the bin now and I regret it’s wasted life.

(Like it? See - Coffee).

Friday, 4 April 2008

Bloody Monaro

I’m lucky to have relatives who are willing to help me track down parts for the never-ending, ongoing saga of the Monaro build. Let me explain just how time consuming the whole process can be by describing the fitment of a very minor, essential part.

I had an auto sparky work on the car recently and he found one of the tail lights wasn’t working properly, (amongst a thousand other weird things the wiring was doing but we’re not interested in that here).

A clip on the globe holder had rusted away leaving a poor connection when the brakes were applied. Simple enough problem. OK, I’ll just get a new one. No way. No bastard makes them or sells old ones that I could find. (I’ll probably be bombarded with places that stock them now).

Since we were going to Kingaroy for a party (nice one Leanne), we recruited our reliable parts procurer (Errol) to find us a few spare parts from the wrecks we’ve taken parts off recently. He kindly strips a set of wiring and globe holders for the rear lights out of a HK he’s got. Luckily he avoided the snakes and spiders while he worked on the car in the dark or I’d never hear the end of it. All for a lousy tiny part I couldn’t do without. Much appreciated.

I bore my trophy home, confident I had the right part until I compared it to the globe holder I needed to replace. Different. Bloody son of bitch. Unwilling to be thwarted I ripped the holder apart and tried to work out how to make an offset pin globe work in a parallel pin holder. OK it’s not rocket science but I tend to break shit about now so I went at it nice and slow. I filed down the ledge that captures the pin very carefully. Goody it fits. Then I had to pull the entire rear light assemble out of the Monaro to work out how the bastard went back in. (Can’t see shit behind the panel in the boot.) The joy of one man testing the lights won’t be discussed. Finding most of the nuts missing from the light assembly wasn’t surprising. I couldn’t bring myself to jam the assembly back in using a handful of silicone like the person who owned the crap heap before me so I spent another half an hour finding replacements nuts and fitting them.

All up a simple globe replacement took two weeks to finish, hours of discussions and caused the maximum amount of inconvenience to people who probably had better things to do.

No wonder working on cars has been proven to make otherwise normal people insane.

(Like it? See - Wanna buy a Monaro? - Cheap)

Thursday, 3 April 2008

New computer

I had great hopes for the new computer. A new age of crashless use, speedy downloads, exemplary file retrieval and no more grinding hard drive.

Well I didn’t get all those things. Bloody Word crashed in the middle of a long edit. One of those long blacked out periods where I just sit here and work. Brand new computer, crashed. Word not responding. &%^#*$#^&%. I have now changed the setting to save every minute. Don’t bother telling me that I should have done that earlier.

Bit of a steep learning curve to get used to the new programmes after using the previous one for 5 years. I don’t want to go back though.

The salesman talked me into getting a set of very nice speakers with the package. They are the Logitech Z-10 if you’re interested. They have great sound and, with judicious use of Heavy Metal CD’s, they manage to cover the sound of 5 fans whizzing around at high speed in the new Nine Hundred Advanced Gaming Case. I think the salesman wanted it more than I did. Mind you, the promo for the case showed a mini-gun extending from the front and mine doesn’t have that. Bit of a disappointment. And it’s got cup holders for crying out loud. Yes it is a cup holder and that’s what I’m going to use it for. Nothing could possibly tip over and pour through the 200mm fan opening next to it.

I have been loading my CD’s onto the hard drive and I find the recognition software quite astounding. (I’m so stone age.) It tells me what’s on the disc automatically then calls up information from the Internet so I can buy the album or get a review and background on the band amongst other stuff. You probably know all this but to me it’s all new.

The 24 inch screen is awesome. I think I’m wasting it at the moment but will work out how to make full use of it soon.

I think I’ll buy some of that sound proofing foam from Clark Rubber and make a front for the tower cavity. The case is so big I had to take the top drawer out but I can live with that.

I even like my new keyboard and mouse. They were ‘free’ and they still have the analogue connections instead of the USB but no matter. There are about 10 USB ports in the case allowing me to plug in all my toys without screwing around unplugging other stuff. Hooray.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008


‘Secrets’ are troublesome animals, primarily of the species ‘Hurtus Maximus” with a few belonging to the offshoot ‘Suprisus Partius’.

Keep this rampant animal to yourself. It’s the only way to weaken it. If you get it right, the Secret dies when you die, unless you were stupid enough to write it down.

Bringing in another keeper to look after your Secret strengthens the animal and causes it to grow too large for both keepers to handle. They then feel the need to bring in yet another keeper to handle the sheer mass. The result is the loss of the Secret every time. Promising not to tell gives the Secret food and energy, inflating it to massive proportions inside the keeper. ‘Hints’ and ‘Analogies’ ooze from the keeper at an increasing rate until the Secret is out in ‘Confused Pieces’.

Secrets don't like being kept. They insist that other people be aware of them. They long to be sought out until they are common knowledge. Once public, they may even transform into the stronger life form called a ‘Scandal’.

The more common ‘Rumour’ can become a Secret by the keeper releasing a ‘Titbit’ then withholding further information. It may gain strength and mass through ‘Conjecture’ by Titbit keepers. At some stage management will try to kill Conjecture with a ‘Memo’ bomb, with varying success. Conjecture is a short lived ever changing creature useful as a shit-stir or to create unrest.

The ‘Blabber Mouth’ keeper regretfully let their Secrets run free at every opportunity. Since putting the Secret back in its cage involves the death of many keepers the Blabber Mouth merely finds another Secret to take its place. A ‘Vicious Cycle’ will eagerly take up residence in the Blabber Mouth.

The ‘Life-Story Spewer’ targets perfect strangers and must be handled with care. They are highly practiced at releasing ‘Family Secrets’ without hesitation. Like the Blabber Mouth they are unable to keep Secrets very long before they explode but can’t share them with people close to them. They use the go slow tactic while printing out your receipt to release truly monstrous Secrets such as, “their son/daughter who might be gay but lives alone and can’t eat meat because it gives them gas and has a boil in the middle of their back that they can’t get rid of and used to wet the bed until they were eleven”.

Don't make eye contact; forgo your receipt and edge for the door. Retain your new unwanted Secret to release it later at a suitable gathering. Start the story with “I got bailed up by this weirdo at the shop the other day..."

(Like it? See - The cult of Amway)