Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Mobile Molotov?

No longer! Thanks to this little piece of rubber, my car is not in any danger of sopntaneous combustion anymore. Probably. I mean, I don't know if there's anything else wrong with it.

That's it? Posted by Hello

Anyways, like I said, it's a little piece of rubber tubing. However, it is not just a piece of rubber tubing. Note the bend. The little ridges near the ends. Why, this thing must have been machined to the strictest tolerances! That said, I think it's about 1/2 cm too long.

To all those who helped out. Thanks. ;)

Oh yeah. Almost forgot to reveal the price of this beauty. Quote 1: $16.46, Quote 2: $18.35, Actual price on pickup: $13.20. Cheaper than I thought it would be. For that I am thankful. Multiple price quotes from different dealers? SNAFU.

update- ugh... how did so many typos slip through? I tried to fix em all, but I'm tired and I may have still missed a couple.

Monday, April 25, 2005

If it's in stock, they've got it

It's just a piece of rubber, but the Nissan dealer does not have the filler hose in stock. It's gonna be shipped in from the "West Coast" in about 2 days. In the meantime, I guess my car's gonna have to sit up on the proverbial cinder blocks until the part comes in. Now I have to hope that they ordered the right part for me (over the phone). I'm pretty sure I asked for the right thing, but then again, everything I know about cars I learned from Gran Turismo. Thanks Paul, for suggesting I call to check their stock.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A bad day for cars

What do you do when your car springs a leak? Get a whole bunch of boys together on the driveway, pull out some camp chairs, and pass the beer. Sounds like a bad joke? Sort of. Like every bad joke, there's a grain of truth in it. Well, more than a grain. That's exactly what happened today.

The Usual Suspects? (or a bad joke) Posted by Hello

Last Thursday or Friday, I filled up the tank for the first time in about a month. I did notice that my mileage seemed to suffer last tank, getting about 28 miles/gallon instead of somewhere between 30-32, but thought nothing of it. Someone (many someones apparently) noticed the smell of gasoline around our driveway. Strangely, many of those someones had also worked on their respective cars that same day and thought that they were the ones that smelled like gasoline instead. But, alas, upon further inspection, it turns out that I need a new fuel fill tube. The old one is cracking and gas is leaking out. I don't know how long I've had this problem, because I hardly use my car.

We were planning on going to play disc golf today. That started the gathering of guys. Stacy and Anuj came over (Stacy for the imitation fudge, Anuj for disc golf) and noticed the big puddle of gasoline under my car. Time to investigate! Sounds like a good time? Austin, Karl, and Daniel thought so, hence the gathering, camp chairs, and beer. Anyways, the solution is simple. I just need to get a little piece of rubber tubing to replace the old one. Off to Pep boys we go! Ryan drives us because my car was obviously in no shape to go anywhere. In the meantime, Karl and Austin set up my car on jack stands and remove the old tube. Lets see... hoses, tubes... There's a bunch of different ones, but nothing the right size for the fill tube. Guess what? It's a dealer part. What does that mean? That means I have to go to the dealer to get it. Strangely, the Nissan dealer is closed on Sundays. Anuj says that car dealerships (and dealers of all motorized vehicles) can only sell product on either Saturday or Sunday, but not both. What kind of crazy law is that? It's so absurd that I don't even know if I should bother trying to look it up to debunk it. Regardless, I was unable to get a replacement tube today, so will have to try again tomorrow. Any wagers on how much it's gonna cost me? (Guesses so far: Me $50, Daniel $20, Austin $40)

I guess I did my part for Earth Day.... bleh

update -- Paul $35

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Wildflowers of Texas

I finally got around to taking some pictures of wildflowers. I see them everywhere (usually along highways), but it's not always convenient to stop for pictures. It's a shame really, because these flowers are so much more photogenic than the catkins that I posted about previously.

Bluebonnets Posted by Hello

This picture was taken up at Old Settler's Park on a disc golfing expedition. What is disc golf? It's just like real golf but with frisbees. Well, not frisbees because that term is trademarked. With flying discs. How do you get a flying disc into a little hole in the ground? Well, ok... I guess there are a couple other differences between disc golf and real golf. If we start playing more disc golf, I'll blog about it again. Now back to the wildflowers. Here's a real beauty of a pic. It's not for the faint of heart, so I'm linking to it instead of forcing it in all of your faces.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Live Oak Catkins Revisited

In my last post, I described/complained about the flowers from the Live Oak trees. Yes, I have gotten confirmation that the trees in question are indeed Live Oaks. Judging from the looks of the trees, things are about to get a lot worse. I suspect that the previous shedding was caused by the wind and rain as a storm passed through. Now, it looks like the trees are in full bloom and about ready to cover everything up in pollen again. Ah, antihistamines.

Here's what the catkins look like while on the tree. It looks like about time for a second round of shedding! Posted by Hello

Not too shabby looking, eh? The problem is there isn't enough color contrast to make them really stand out.

On a side note, little green worms also fall from the trees at the same time as these catkins. Fall is maybe too strong a word for what they do, because they lower themselves wil thread. Due to their abundance, birds hang out for some feasting.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sakura Season?

My bro in japan posted that cherry blossoms are starting to bloom. Here in Texas, we have something similar, but not quite as nice. These trees (Live Oak maybe? I'm not much of a botanist) shed these little squiggly flowers ("catkins") and cover everything with a yellow layer of pollen. Like the cherry blossoms, these things fall from the trees and float around in the air before settling on everyone's cars, and blocking up everyone's gutters. Also, allergies are really bad around this time.

These are the "flowers" that fall down and cover everything Posted by Hello

On the other hand, the ground-based flora are much nicer. It's wildflower season, where the ground is covered in an array of colors as all the wildflowers bloom at the same time. I'll try to get a picture of that too!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Get Lost!

That's what I did today. Not really lost, because we had a map and a compass, but just enough to have a lot of fun walking around. NavTexas setup a race in Pace Bend Park. 15 checkpoints were distributed throughout the park and it was our job, given a topo map with the checkpoints marked, to find as many of them as we could in 3 hours. Basically, you use your compass with the map to figure out which direction to go, then count out paces to find the right distance, theoretically. In practice, things don't go quite so smoothly. First of all, there are trees in the way. If you want to walk in a straight line in one direction and a tree is in the way, you go around it. When 100 trees are in the way, well, it gets a little more complicated. Second, for all my disc golf practice, I still have a hard time seeing these plastic markers for the checkpoints (my partner either has much better eyes or much better luck). So... our pace counting was pretty far off and we relied mostly on terrain recognition according to the topo map. Overall, we found 10 checkpoints in about 2:55, which was enough to place 3rd in the male category, which sounds more impressive than it really is because there were only 4 teams entered in the male category. Overall it was really close at the end and we could have easily come in anywhere from 2nd to 4th (the 1st place team hit 14/15 checkpoints). A good time was had by all, but I think I need more practice before the next race, especially on the usage of pace counting to determine distance.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Yellow Bike?

I saw a yellow bike today over by the library. I wanted to ride it somewhere, but I was already where I wanted to be. Too bad it was gone when I left...