Thursday, October 25, 2007

What is going on?

Just as I was finishing cancer treatment, my grandpa found out that he has cancer. Then my cousin Russ was diagnosed with Hodgkin's, and he's just started treatment. Now another cousin has been diagnosed with leukemia. What gives?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sleeping on a Sidewalk

The bums don't have it that bad. At least they wouldn't if they had the proper equipment for sleeping on sidewalks. All they need is a modern bivy sack. To test out the feasibility of bumming it, I decided to head down to a city 20 minutes south of Portland, OR to sleep on the sidewalk in front of REI in the pouring rain. For supplies I had only four things: a Thermarest camping mattress to keep me off the cold ground and out of the 1cm of standing water, a three season -9°c(15°f) mummy style sleeping bag, and a bivy sack. The bivy had a single pole that arched across the head area, keeping the material off your face while you sleep. The zipper is of the weatherproof variety, keeping out most of the wind and water. The problem with this design for bum applications however is that a drunk bum crawling into it may accidentally close the zipper completely, suffocating himself. I recommend 6 inches of the zipper to conform with the manufacturer's recommendations for the prevention of suffocation.

I wore a thick wool sweater, stardard issue to most North West bums, and my jeans to bed. The only time I was cold during the night, it was my toes, which has slipped off the insulating Thermarest pad, and weren't covered by wool socks, another standard issue bum supply. I remained out of the wind and rain all night, and completely dry. This bivy was made from a material that was both waterproof and breathable, so water falling on the outside simply rolled off, and vapor did not condense on the inside. It was so comfy in fact, that I didn't even want to leave my protective cocoon-like bed in the morning, a trait that is also in keeping with life as a bum.

I recommend that all bums go out immediately and get themselves these three items. To protect yourselves from the upcoming winter cold, you may want a four season bag. Although it rarely if ever gets below -9°c, it may start to get cold when approaching this bone chilling temperature. The Thermarest, mummy bag, bivy combo sure beats sleeping under a bridge.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Core of Evil™

I have the Focus all put back together now. It took me three days to get to the heater core, now know as The Core of Evil™, but I had to wait a couple days for the new one. On Wednesday, I got a call from Shucks telling me that it wasn't going to be in Friday as promised, so I canceled that order and called the Ford dealership in Kent. They were able to get the part in the next day, but quoted me the MSRP price, not the price that they had listed on their site. I got them to sell it to me for their web price, and picked it up the next day.

I got the new core in easily enough, and filled the car back up with water. As I started to put things together, I noticed a puddle forming on the floor. I looked under the car and found a new leak coming from a different part of the car. This time it was the plastic thermostat housing. A crack that was already there must have worsened when I was pulling on the heater core hoses. I got that part off in a few minutes and headed back to the dealership for a replacement. It was back on in short time, and refilled with water. No leaks this time. I spent the rest of the night reassembling everything. I had to buy a cool new tool to get the passenger airbag back in, and by late morning on Friday, I was able to take the car for a test drive. No leaks now, and just had to add a little water as air pockets left the system.

But the strangest thing happened. That bearing noise that prompted dad to propose me doing all this work moved from the rear left, to the front right. I also rotated the tires, moving the rear left tire to the front left. Strange... Upon closer examination, I noticed a large flat spot on that tire. The rear bearing was bad when I got to it, but they tend to self destruct sometimes when you take them off anyway, so I don't know if it was bad to begin with, or just after I removed it. But that rear-now-front tire is really bad. Really all of them were bad. There is one that is thread-bare in one spot. So I'm not going to touch it until it has new tires. Then maybe dad will sell it. And the Toyota. And get a VW Bus.