Monday, August 22, 2005



I'm trying to roll my own blog. This will help me consolidate my musings with my photos and videos, etc. So far, it seems to be working. You can find me at my new address. If things don't work out, I'll be back. Wish me luck!

you can also hit me at

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

On the road again

So the good news is that my car is fixed. It was a clogged EGR (exhaust gas re-circulation) something or other. Apparently, the engine mixes some exhaust with air to control the o2 level for combustion efficiency. When the thing gets clogged, you get too much exhaust and not enough o2, leading to not enough combustion to keep the idle going.

Now, I can no longer say that everything I know about cars I learned from Gran Turismo. (ok. Gran Turismo 2 if you want to be exact...)

My legs are tired.

And away it goes

Had my car towed to the service station today.

So, the problem wasn't the fuel filter. I still suspect that it's something clogged up in the fuel line, but my ability to diagnose/fix anything more complicated than what I've already done is nil. Another likely candidate is the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation system). As Paul says, "time was, every red-blooded american could fix their own car." Unfortunately, those times are long gone. Cars are just super-complicated nowadays, with gadgetery to improve efficiency, reduce emmissions, and of course add more POWER. I'm all for efficiency and reducing emmissions (I like breathing), but it seems that (almost) every red-blooded american is interested only in more power. For example, the "hybrid" Lexus RX400 which gets the same mileage (in real life) as the non-hybrid Lexus RX330, but accelerates faster. Why is it that fuel economy has been going DOWN since the 1980s (I read that somewhere but don't have a ref. Don't quote me on that, ok?)? Well, I don't really want this to be a diatribe against the car since I still own and operate one, however sparingly.

Hope it's not too serious or too expensive.

Monday, August 15, 2005

In for a penny

In for a farthing?

Today, on my way home, I saw someone riding a penny-farthing bike. How cool is that? Wish I had my camera on me.

For all y'all who don't know, a penny-farthing bike is the result of man's ingenuity, also known as "the need for speed". Back in the day, bikes didn't have gears. Someone had the bright idea that if you increased the size of the wheel to which the pedals were attached, you could increase the drive ratio, increasing the speed for the same rpms of pedalling. The size of the wheel was, of course, limited by the length of you inseam (ouch!). Anyways, we were going uphill, and I toasted him with my modern multi-geared bike. I would love to say that he looked like he was having more fun than me, but frankly, he looked a little tired and I got to see a penny-farthing bike today.

Ride on dude! Keep Austin weird.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sputter Sputter Putt Putt...

The less successful, not as well know sister model to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. That's what my car is like. Based on a few choice words from Ryan (who had suffered similar symptoms previously), perusal of my Haynes Repair Manual, and of course asking the Internet, I believe that my fuel filter is clogged. I looked into how to replace it, and it'll be really easy. Well, if I was Mr. Fantastic, Plasticman, or even Stretch Armstrong it would be really easy. Instead, it's only sorta easy. The only difficulty I foresee is the need to apply force while in a position where I have no leverage, and maybe not even any balance. Well, the other difficulty is getting a replacement fuel filter w/o the use of my car to go to the auto shops. My legs should be well rested for any cycling I'll need to do tomorrow.

Of course, the smart thing to do would be to extract the current filter and blow in it to see if it is indeed clogged... Maybe I'll do that tomorrow morning before I try anything else.