Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Saga of the Subaru

Huzzah! I have new head gaskets. Yes, plural. I have a ’98 Subaru Outback that has a 2.5L “Boxer” engine. The boxer engine is flat, with opposing cylinders, two to the east and two to the west as you’re looking under the hood. That means it has two heads. And that, my friends, means it requires two head gaskets. It’s a lovely engine when it works properly.

However, if one ever needs to replace the head gasket, say, because of the well-documented Boxer 2.5L phase I engine internal head gasket leak (Google Subaru head gasket and you’ll find out exactly what I’m talking about), it’s double the fun.

But wait, there’s more, as if that already wasn’t more than any sane human being would want to know about my car.

After three and a half days and >$2,000 paid, the car wouldn’t start at the garage. I had to go back into the office, stifle my hysterical giggling (I laugh when I’m stressed, it’s one of my mutant talents) and explain to the service writer that the car wouldn’t start.

It turned out to be a loose screw and took maybe fifteen minutes to find and fix. Well, specifically, it was the bolt holding the main block ground wire.

If the ground wire doesn’t have a good connection to the block, the starter can’t get spark to the coil and the engine will sit there waiting until maybe you taser its metallic behind.

After the bolt was fixed, Subie and I went to the store, got a latte, waited in the construction zone traffic and went home, all without the temperature gauge even considering doing anything warmish.

So. At last I’ve recovered the “worrying about the car” coping beans and I can get back to Open Mike Night at the Bebop and figure out what happens to Glitch and Travertine.

How many dead computers make a geek?

I live in a seven-computer household. Four of them are dead, one has a consumption-type cough, one is my husband’s main computer, and I’m typing this on the last one. Why so many dead computers?

Basically, sloth. A computer dies, Spooky Man shoves it in a corner and I try to ignore it because that’s his room, his toys. Ahhh, make that tools. Same thing, really.

But please, when I can’t print pages for my critique group because the PC that was the file server for our venerable LJ4000 choked a hard drive (possibly on fur; I had no idea how much discarded fur was hiding in that dark corner next to the fan intakes, euw)…that’s enough dead computers, thank you very much.

I foresee a trip to the hazardous waste recycling drop off in my not-too-distant future, after the hard drives are removed and beaten to death. Binary code never really dies, but it can be dismembered.

Then I’m buying a fastish bare-bones system for print serving and VOIP only, right after I shave the cats.

Okay, I’m not serious about shaving my fur babies, but any recommendations for a really, really good vacuum that gets into tight places would be appreciated.

Other Fascinations

Chemistry thing: Graphene – a new form of carbon, 1 millimeter thick, stronger than steel, transparent, like a giant plane of benzene, except better. Oh my, but I want something made of this. Perhaps a starship windshield? No wonder they won a Nobel prize for it.

Astronomy thing: Asteroid 2010 TD54, the size of a Winnebago (~33 feet across) passes between Earth and the moon’s orbit, October 12, 2010. Today. Didn’t know you almost died today, did you? Everybody do the Dinosaur….

Cover art thing: Ken McConnell has the rough cover for his next book, Tyrmia. It’s very cool. Come to think of it, so is Ken.

Historical Costuming thing: I belong to this listserv for historical costuming. It has SCA people on it, it has serious historical researchers on it, it has film and theater people, and they all have one thing in common–absolute fascination with the stuff people wear at any given time from the first fig leaf to tomorrow afternoon.

And they have the most interesting conversations (sometimes spirited arguments) about things like whether a raglan sleeve on a chemise would have existed in 16th century Italy or if printing a museum website photo for a workshop handout is fair use under international copyright law. I don’t always have time to give this digest the attention it deserves, but the people are absolutely lovely and generous, and they know about everything–or they have friends who they can ask.

Odd medical thing: I was researching Tamoxifen side effects recently, and I came across an abstract from the Lancet Neurology journal, March 2010. Basically, it says that the new European standard for diagnosing MS requires that celiac disease must be eliminated because it can cause MS-like symptoms. Hello. That would be me. Now I have medical-journal vindication for my decision not to go back onto my immunosuppressant after completing radiation therapy last spring. I knew I was right. Now I have proof.


Finishing up critiques

for an RWA unpublished manuscript contest, On The Far Side. And I’d just like to say that I like reading futuristic romance, even when it’s in relatively rough, early draft stage. For me, it’s just fun!

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