30 August 2005

GM recall

You see why I bitch about General Motors products? This is just the latest for this line of vehicles:

Make / Models : Model/Build Years:
CHEVROLET / TAHOE - 1999-2002
GMC / SIERRA - 1999-2002
GMC / YUKON - 1999-2002
GMC / YUKON XL - 1999-2002

Potential Number Of Units Affected: 804000





If I were you, I'd put a 'For Sale' sign on it (or trade it in) after the recall is completed and buy a Ford or Dodge. If you're into Japanese, Honda and Toyota are your best bets.

And a note: If you're ever wondering about the recall status of your vehicle, you can check out the NHTSA website to find out. More good shit here.

24 August 2005

Another loser

(Tampa-AP, August 23, 2005) - Former baseball star Dwight Gooden was being sought by police Tuesday on a felony warrant after he allegedly drove away from an officer who stopped him on suspicion of drunken driving.

Gooden, 41, left the scene of the traffic stop early Monday after refusing to get out his 2004 BMW to take a field sobriety test, police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.

[. . .]

You have more talent than you deserve, you've had an outstanding career, and earned more money than God. Why the fuck do you have to throw it away for stupid shit? Been hanging around with Darryl Strawberry for too long, have ya? Idiot.

19 August 2005

Where I work

Harry's office.

Our cash register. Yes, that's all we use. Don't take credit cards neither.

Mmmmm . . . beer!

Only 2 bays. Quality over quantity. Looks like someplace you'd see in the desert, don't it?

The NYS inspection machines and dyno (sorry, I didn't sweep yet).

Ya think they could park 'em in a line when they drop 'em off?

16 August 2005

Saving on Gas: Use a little Sense.

Here's an article in the LATimes on what people are doing to stretch their gas money. It offers some solid tips and debunks some myths.

How about driving behind a big rig? That also can improve fuel economy.

"It's the same theory that Lance Armstrong exploits whenever he's riding in the Tour de France," Shames said. "He's taking advantage of the draft created by other riders to reduce the amount of effort he has to make."

However, experts don't recommend the technique for motorists because of the dangers of being in the trucker's blind spot.

I used to commute 70 miles a day in L.A. on a motorcycle whatever the weather, and I know a little about this. Drafting a truck, or "getting a tow", gets you out of the wind and it's warmer there, which is why I did it. You can hear your RPM increase when you hit the right place, which is a lot closer to the truck than is really comfortable, maybe ten feet, and you can maintain freeway speed with just a whiff of throttle. The air displaced by the truck's passage actually swirls in behind you and pushes you along. Some truckers don't like this and will do stuff to try and shake you. Take the hint. Most don't care, especially the ones who have helpers to wash you off the back of the rig if something goes awry. Your main wish is that the rig's brake lights work. Also, if there is some object on the roadway, you won't see it until you either run over it or the truck kicks it up in your face. I ran right over an entire car exhaust pipe and muffler once. A truck kicked it up and luckily it hit my front tire instead of my face. Thank God I was on a Triumph. It twitched once and went on. If I had been on a lesser-handling machine, they would have buried me with it as one lump. I absolutely recommend against this practice.

I think the best lines in the article are:

Even with the average price for a gallon of regular now at $2.71 and premium grades going for more than $3, most drivers aren't in a position to stop using their cars.

So they are responding in much the way they try to lose weight - with complex special diets, instead of by simply eating less and exercising more, Kloza said.

"It's like that scene in 'Goodfellas,' where one of the guys says, 'How come this food tastes so good?' 'Because it's stolen,'" Kloza quoted.

"When people save money on gasoline, it gives them an immediate sunny countenance. They think they pulled the wool on somebody."

I still keep a length of fuel hose in my handlebar. For emergencies only, you understand. It's an "Okie credit card".

Gas is still the cheapest thing you can buy for your car. Keep it all in perspective.

14 August 2005

The Ol' V & T R R

The last coupla Saturdays have been spent at Carson City Toyota & Scion finishing getting our new truck built. One more trip to Trimline Truck Caps & Accessories and we'll be done. Full report in a couple of weeks.

Anyway, while they were installing a few accessories, (among them: running boards for better footing during high-speed shootouts with the Feds), we had some time to kill so we went a little ways up the street toward downtown and paid a visit to the Nevada State Railroad Museum which is basically the resting place for the remains of the Virginia & Truckee Rail Road. We go by this place all the time and have always wanted to stop in and see it.

It's a comprehensive, but fairly small museum. The staff is pretty much volunteer retired gentlemen who are eager to have you see their baby, and are in no hurry. The two websites in the paragraph above were stamped on the back of my admission ticket by Casey Jones himself, who made sure I knew about it. $4 each, and well worth it.

The V.& T. R.R. was not a huge line, running mainly from the Transcontinental Railroad line in Reno south about 50 miles to Minden, with an east-west spur from Carson City to Virginia City. There are a couple of restored locomotives, with photos and placards on the history of each one. There are models of the ones that no longer exist, again with photos and histories.

There is quite a display, and some dioramas, on the history of the Chinese laborers who built the railroad. I didn't expect that, and it was pretty cool. At the diorama depicting the "Chinese Woodcutters", I came around a corner to find myself staring at the south end of a northbound mule. Good thing I'm used to that.

Out back of the museum proper is an old train shed, full of restored and unrestored rolling stock, including a French "40 et 8", for 40 men or 8 horses, which was donated by the French people in appreciation of Americans saving their asses in two world wars by riding in them. The barn was again staffed by cool old farts with all the time in the world to share stuff with you. One of 'em was wearing a 6thMarDiv cap. They were only in one little fight, at Okinawa. We spotted each others' Marine caps and got along swell.

There is a small, but well-stocked, gift shop. Translation: the joint is jam-packed. If there's more than three people in it, you do the "suck it in" dance to proceed. They have everything you would think they would, and more besides.

Probably the crown jewel of the joint is their running steam train and its one mile of track that you can ride on. We didn't, but we will. I want to see what happens: the locomotive and its two cars and caboose pulled out of the depot just like a regular train, but after it got out of sight, something happened. When it returned, the locomotive was backing up, pulling the caboose. I wanta watch the switch! I guess the track doesn't run in a complete circle, but I don't know.

It was fun and we'll pay it a return visit, I am sure.

Since I just know my review of this joint is going to have you making plans to visit, while you're there take the time to go a few blocks to the Nevada State Museum. I first went there when I was about ten years old and it still dazzles me. If the walk-through recreation of a silver mine doesn't get you, the extensive display of 19th century surgeon's tools sure will.

10 August 2005

Free Advice

Please, please, please, I can't say this enough, please bring a used car to me (or other reputable mechanic) to look at before you buy it.

I got these customers, a couple, hard as hell on cars. This past winter, they blew the transfer case and front differential out of their Jeep Grand Cherokee. Paid me a lot of money to fix it and they don't have much. Fine.

The male half of the couple gets a wild hair a couple months ago and buys this Mercedes S-something from a guy he works with who's moving to California. It's 15 years old. Ya think he would have had the guy bring it to me, or he'd get it and bring it to me, before he bought the fucking thing. It's a Mercedes, it's gotta be good, right? Yeah, right.

He drops it off this morning. He tried to drop it off before I got there to open up, but I beat him in. "When'd ya get that?" I ask.

"Couple months ago," he replies, sheepishly. "I made an appointment with Harry, it runs a little funny."

"Funny how?" I ask as I take his keys.

"You'll see," he says as he heads off towards his wife's Jeep. "Can't miss it."

Six hours later, I call him to tell him about the $1500 bucks for the exhaust he's gonna need and another $500 for the complete tuneup (I gave him the fuel filter and my labor to put it in, just to keep it idling so I could figure out what the fuck else was wrong. I could stall it by misting water on the sparkplug wires.), and the $250 for new driveshaft couplers (the vibration at 30 mph shook two of my fillings loose). I swear I heard him shit himself over the phone.

"The guy I bought it from said it was in good shape," he says.

"What did we say when we looked at it?" I asked knowing damn well what the answer would be.

"Uh, I didn't bring it to you."

Idiot. Pay up, sucka. We would have told you not to buy the fucking thing to begin with.

Note to potential used car buyers: Just because you can afford a luxury car at a good price, make sure you can afford to fix it. Before you buy that S-Class, find out what parts cost and then compare 'em to parts for less luxurious cars. It'll open your eyes.

04 August 2005


WASHINGTON -- Adriann Nelson remembers reading about the tragedy that took 2-year-old Cameron Gulbransen's life in October 2002 when his father accidentally ran him over while backing up his BMW X5 sport utility vehicle in the driveway of his Woodbury home.

"That poor family," Nelson of Dix Hills, recalls thinking at the time. A year and half later a similar tragedy would befall the Nelson family when an elderly relative backed over her 16-month-old son Alec when he was momentarily placed on the ground.

"You think this can't happen to you . . . you always read in the papers it's someone else," Nelson said Tuesday on Capitol Hill, where she, her husband and three surviving children traveled to push for auto safety legislation sponsored by Rep. Peter King.

[. . .]

How the fuck do you back over your kid? How the fuck do you put your infant on the ground when there are cars moving around? This is why I bitch at people about taking driving seriously. The shop is a madhouse, we have customers, their kids, their dogs all running loose in the morning as people are dropping off their shit. WTF? In 35 years, nobody has gotten backed over. Well . . . I almost backed over Harry once, but that was sorta intentional too.

You know how many times on my 30 mile drive to work every morning I see people reading the fucking paper as they're driving on the Long Island Expressway? Yeah, I drive fast, but the most I have in the way of distractions is when I light a cigarette. Jesus H. Christ, your car is not your fucking living room or your breakfast table. It's a couple tons of guided (sometimes barely) missile. You can fuck people (innocent people) up for a long time, maybe permanently. If you can't get your morning constitutional done before you get in your fucking car, get up earlier. What the fuck is so hard about that?

Driving is about getting you from Point A to Point B in relative comfort and haste. It is not a prick-waving contest. As I said, I drive fast. Don't bust your ass to get your little rice burner to pass me and then die. I drive 90 mph so long as I have open road. If you've gotta prove your car can reach 100, more power to ya, just keep it up, I'll let you go. If you get it up to 100 to pass me, because you don't like people driving faster than you, and then back off to 70, we're gonna have a problem.

This also goes to the left lane. THE LEFT LANE IS FOR PEOPLE WHO TAKE DRIVING SERIOUSLY! Rule of thumb: If people in the lane to the right are going faster then you, keep moving right until they're not. Jesus fucking Christ, there are a million other assholes out here with you, don't do 45 in the left lane, talking on your phone, playing with yourself, whatever. You're the same people who say, 'look at all the crazy people on this road'. Know why they're driving crazy? They're trying to get around YOU, shithead.

Don't weave through traffic, dickheads. You're not gonna get there any faster and you're gonna fuck somebody up. If there's bumper to bumper traffic moving at 65, be happy about it and stay in line.

Watch when you open your door. Christ Almighty, at least twice a month, somebody gets a door taken off in front of the shop. The post office is next door and the locals come up to check their mailboxes. Look in the mirror before you fling your fucking door open into traffic. You could lose an arm or a leg in the process.

Do not drive fast on side streets. What the fuck is wrong with you people? There are peoples' kids, pets, all sorts of shit. Do you think you're gonna ever have a good night's sleep again if you kill somebody's kid? How would you feel if somebody ran over your kid or dog or cat?

All I'm saying is driving requires your full attention and common sense. The stupid shit you do could ruin a lot of lives besides yours.

03 August 2005


If you're driving a sporty little Lexus and your vanity plate has some convolution of numbers and letters that spell 'attitude', don't be going 50 mph in the left lane when I'm trying to get home. I will show you attitude. Idiot.