Three Thing Friday

1. The MINI – She may be coming to an end. Tuesday night I had an electrical short that triggered almost every warning light in the car. Wednesday, the service engine light went on. The light went off on Thursday, so I thought that was a good thing.

However, today on the way to work, I lost all power and the car limited my ability to accelerate. I couldn’t get up enough speed to get out of second gear. I restart fixed the issue, except the service engine light was back on. Well, apparently accelerating fast trips all of the issues.

I have a feeling this is going to be an expensive repair…. So maybe a new car is on the horizon.

2. Milkshakes – I went to Burger King the other day, and instead of ordering some ice cream like my friend, I ordered a large milkshake. It’s been a while since I had one, and this one was Oreo flavored. For a BK shake, it wasn’t at all. In fact, I would recommend it almost as much as the Shamrock shakes from McDonalds.

So yes, I would recommend the shake from Burger King… but I felt like crap after it.

3. I picked a bad month to give up drinking – I am not falling off the wagon yet, this was a rough week. Class, while interesting and job related, was dry as hell. Granted, it was still better than work, but it sucked.

And then my first full day back to work wasn’t any better. I know I have a few bottles of wine calling my name, but I am going to pass. One month isn’t that long, I can easily do this. But week one was one heck of a test.

Three Thing Friday

1. A Day Off – I find myself writing this blog at 6 am on a Friday that I have off. What thought is running through my mind? What the heck am I doing up at 6 am on my day off? I blame my mother. She always had the mentality of “If I am up, everyone is up!” Well, now I am up. Even the cat has gone back to sleep. Me, I am sitting in my living room waiting for this day to get started.

I hate not being able to sleep in.

2. Pollen – I don’t remember having allergies when I was younger, but I guess this is another aspect of aging. Allergies are kicking my ass right now. The MINI has turned an ugly shade of yellow thanks to all of the pollen. It’s just that time of the year.

I understand that it is important for the birds and the bees. But come on, does it really have to kick my ass worse and worse each year? Well, at least I only have to deal with this for the rest of the pollen season (which seems to be nearly year round now) and I guess I have to deal with it for the rest of my life (which may not be all that long with all of the stupid shit I do).

3. Selfies – I realized two things recently. I was asked for a picture of myself from one of my cage diving trips. After being asked, I realized that I don’t really have any pictures except for the two pictures of my in my business suit with my friend T.J.. Actually, I don’t have that many pictures of me in general, but I really had to struggle to find pictures of myself from those trips. So, what did I realize?

Well, first, I was too busy taking pictures of sharks to take selfies. I was on these trips to see these amazing animals, not to take pictures of me. It’s not like I am going anywhere.

Secondly, I don’t like pictures of me. Pictures of other people I am fine with. Pictures of animals are all over my house (ok, mostly sharks). But pictures of myself? I just don’t like them. If I want to look at myself, which is what a mirror is for, and even those I will avoid as much as possible.

So, I had to dig up a picture, and it wasn’t even my picture.

Three Thing Friday

1. Stubbornness – I have my own personal parking spot at work. Now, when I say that it is “my” spot, what I mean is that I am at work so early that I can basically pick what ever spot I want, and I always park in the same spot.

Well, last weekend we got hit we a pretty powerful snowstorm (cough cough), and the people plowing the base pushed the snow into my spot. It is still mostly clear, but there is a large pile of snow still there. And I will be damned if I will let some snow prevent me from parking in my spot. All week the MINI Cooper has still been in its place, even if it was on some odd angle. I don’t mean that I parked diagonally; I mean that some snow jacked up the back end of the MINI. Also, I have to really try to get into and out of that car.

Dang it, it is “my” spot!

2. Leonard Nimoy – Spock died today. I have a lot of fond memories of watching Star Trek with my family, mostly my father. While Spock was not my favorite character in the show, it was the show itself that was important to me. I remember watching him appear in Star Trek TNG, the original series, and all of those movies including the reboot.

This man was with Star Trek from the beginning in their pilot episode and has been in more movies than William Shatner (passing him by appearing in that brief moment in the most recent film).

The man will be missed more than the role.

Live long and prosper.

3. Iran – This week video and pictures were shown of the Iranian navy blowing up a wooden replica of an American Aircraft carrier. And it really did resemble one of our carriers, if the lighting was perfect and you squinted a little bit.

But it was impressive that they managed to blow up a wooden boat that wasn’t shooting back. That didn’t have it air cover. That didn’t have its escort ships with it. Still, it was a little impressed. Am I scared of the Iranian navy? Not really, and I am not insulted by what they did.

This was not a blow to our pride; this was a navy showing their people that their navy is not entirely inept. This was a country posturing during some negotiations. This is a plot for a bad comedy movie.

So, lets sit back, grab some popcorn, and watch a bad replica of a carrier being blown up by and poor navy. It is still better than the movie Battleship.

Disbelief

Ok, so Last Thursday, leaving from work, I noticed that my car’s “Service Engine Soon” light was on. I did what any self respecting car owner would do, I made a note of it, promised myself that I would take the car to the dealership, and then I proceeded to ignore it.

Sure, it bothered me. And yes, I was trying to hear if the car sounded or handled differently, but I didn’t have the time to go to the dealership, so my life went on.

Well, today I went to go shopping for food to get me through the week, and the light was no longer on. Whatever the problem was, it went away all on its own. And, of course, I didn’t believe it. I was waiting for the light to come back on. This is odd since I trusted the light as soon as it went on, but when it turned off, I would not believe it. I still don’t. I expect it to turn back on any moment now.

But, for now, I am going to continue driving as if nothing is wrong. Which is what I was doing when the light was on.

Three Thing Friday

1. Holiday Weekend – I’ve been on the compressed work schedule since I moved down to Maryland, almost four years ago. I made the schedule change because I end up being out of the house for the same amount of time that I was when I lived in New Jersey. The difference is, in Jersey, most of my time was spent commuting, where now my commute is about 12 minutes. The schedule is eight 9-hour days, an 8-hour day, and one day off every other week.

I was originally afraid that having every other weekend off would ruin the enjoyment of holiday weekends. I was wrong. I am still really happy that I have an extra three-day weekend.

2. Shooting Ranges – So, as some of us probably know, a nine year old was brought to a shooting range by her parents, and while shooting an Uzi, she killed the instructor. Now, some would argue that the Uzi was too powerful and the instructor should not have allowed her to shoot the gun. I say, and this is odd coming from me, that we shouldn’t increase the laws on gun ranges; I think we should institute a parental test. If you fail it, you cannot be a parent. Some people are just stupid to be parents. These parents should have not have allowed their daughter to shoot that powerful of a gun.

And sadly, this nine-year-old will probably be scarred for life…. Or maybe I am overestimating the memory of a nine-year-old.

3. Engine Light – On the way home from work yesterday, the “Service Engine Soon” light came on. So, the MINI looks like it will be returning to the shop again soon. It is a good thing that I still like this car. I have no idea what is wrong with it, but it is an 11-year old car (the car is older than that girl in the second thing this Friday), and old cars have issues.

So, will the evil woman who is doing her voodoo on my car, I ask you to please stop. The car has taken enough abuse this year.

Comfort Zone

I have left my comfort zone. I have driven the MINI for the last 11 years, and I got used to the small car. In fact, excluding the Ford Thunderbird, I have only driven small cars. I’m comfortable in small cars; they drive like giant go-karts. Of course, I drive the MINI like it is a go-kart. I have a lot of fun in that car.

Well, the Cooper is getting some work done on it’s suspension. It’s going cost just shy of an arm and half a leg, but I still like the car. Plus, dropping a few grand on the car is still cheaper than a new car payment. So yes, I am having my suspension rebuilt.

And I will say this for MINI; they do give nice loaners out. I had my choice of cars. Last time I opted for the MINI coup. The two-seat “sports-car” was a blast to drive, but I didn’t really love it. This time I asked if I could have the MINI Paceman. The Paceman is massive! Well, it is massive relatively speaking. I am not used to driving a normal sized vehicle. It really did feel like a massive car, till I pulled up next to my friend’s Mazda, that’s when I realized a massive MINI is the size of a normal small vehicle.

And I like it! And that is the worst part; I actually like the Paceman. Heck, if it was turbo charged, a manual transmission, and any other color other than white, I might have kept this one for myself. But it is a little out of my normal comfort zone. It is much larger than my cooper, but it seems to be just as much fun.

The ride is smoother than the Cooper. It is more spacious than the Cooper. It doesn’t handle as well as the cooper, but it isn’t bad.

I better get my car back soon or this could be even more expensive than I thought.

Three Thing Friday

1. The MINI – I both love and hate my MINI Cooper. It is a fun car to drive (like a giant go-kart), for it’s age it still runs very well, and I am really comfortable driving the small car. But it is also expensive to maintain, has a rough ride, and I really could use a little bit more room. Of course, the more room would also mean a bigger car, and I am not comfortable driving a bigger car.

It’s that time of year again, when I have to get something fixed. I will give the MINI credit; it is fairly consistent when it comes to part breaking. It was this time last year when I had the breaks fixed. This year, I may need new rims, and I definitely need new tires. The bigger issue is that I will be the MINI dealership. This means I will be looking at new MINIs, and wondering if I can afford a new one.

The worst part is that I know I can. But do I really want more debt?

2. Self-defense – There is a man on trial for killing a teenage girl who shouted, “I’m pregnant.” Now, I actually believe in the right to self-defense. This man had two teenagers in his home and broke out his gun. Of course the teenagers ran, and this is where I have a problem. They left his home, and he followed them. Yes, the girl lied. She was not actually pregnant. Yes, she was breaking and entering, obviously a pillar of the community. I hate to say it, but if the man shot her in his own home, there would be no trial, or a very short one.

Here is where I have a problem. He followed her into an alley and shot her in the back as she ran away. He ran her down and murdered her. He crossed a line when he chased them off of his property and shot her. It was no longer self-defense. He was no longer defending his property. He was out for revenge.

People may disagree with me. I am sure even some of my friends will disagree with me.

3. Warped – Thankfully, I have my mom’s sense of humor. As an example, the other day my mom sent me a message that said “you are going to miss me when I am gone.” This is a repeated statement she makes, and I replied, “There is only one way to know for sure.” She knows I am joking, because I will miss her when she is gone. She is my mother after all.

And the greatest thing she gave me was my warped sense of humor. Now, if she only gave me better control of it, if I only knew that sometimes a joke is really not appropriate.

Nice Rack

I decided to take today off, not to see the Godzilla movie (that’s tomorrow), but in order to get some minor things done around the house. Yes, I did take some time to work on my warhammer models. Not much time, but a little bit. No, my main objectives for the day all had to do with the car.

First, the car was in desperate need of a bath. I don’t think I really washed the car since before the start of winter. I may be forgetting one wash on some random warm day, but overall the car has not been washed in months. I know I did not take it to a car wash during the winter, and I know I am not crazy enough to wash the car myself in the middle of the cold snowy winter. So I can safely conclude that the car has not been cleaned in months. As of today though, this is no longer true, as I took the time to give it a good scrub down. And even with the rainstorms giving it a rinse, it was filthy.

But the real reason for washing the car was so that I can put my roof racks back onto the car. With the weather getting warmer I plan on kayaking sometime soon. So, I made sure to wash the roof and then took an hour to put the racks on. They do seem a little loose, but I hope that once I put some weight on the racks I will be able to tighten them up fully.

Last summer I did not go out in the kayak that often. It was one of my let downs of the last kayaking season. I hope to go more often this year. Going once a week would be nice, but I don’t expect to actually be able to do that.

I really do need to go out though, I really need the exercise. Especially after the calzone I had for lunch today.

Weird Fear

I don’t know if it would actually be a fear, but I avoid doing something like it is the plague. I have gone diving with sharks, and was calm and comfortable with them. Sure, I was in a cage, but I think I would have been fine outside of the cage as well. I have gone sky diving, jumping out of a “perfectly good” airplane. The free fall was one heck of an adrenaline rush, and I would highly recommend everyone to give it a try. I want to try mountain climbing, roller coasters, and if I could, I would take a flight into space.

And yes, I admit I do have some weird fears. I have an odd fear of anything with more than 4 legs. I am fine with mice, bats, iguanas, and even snakes (no legs, I am good).  But when it comes to insects and spiders and the like, I am totally phobic. And yes, I am a little afraid of talking to attractive women; I am the real life version of Raj from The Big Bang Theory. Ladybugs render me catatonic. (Cue the Bill Laugh)

However, one of the stranger fears I have is that of driving big vehicles. The largest car I ever owned was a Ford Thunderbird. The door of that car was the size of the MINI cooper. My unwillingness to drive bigger vehicles is so bad that I will actively avoid driving the Government vehicle if it is one of the vans. If it is the smaller sedan, I am fine driving, but I will make others drive if it is the official van, going so far as making a boss drive in my place. Even when I have the opportunity drive new SUVs or even my sister’s SUV, I actually get nervous.

You can’t drive most vehicles the way I drive the MINI. Ask my mom; she won’t even let me drive her anywhere. I enjoy the small cars. The VW Golfs I had were a blast and even the Thunderbird was fun to drive. Rear wheel drive is something I miss. I had that car sideways more often than I should admit. Get me in a van or an SUV and I may have to break down and cry.

Ends

A friend of mine once told me a story. His paychecks used to come with “inspiring” quotes on them. One of the quotes was something to the effect of “Once you think you can make ends meet, someone moves the ends.” Obviously I have never forgotten that quote, I think it is very fitting to life in general.

After paying my student loan for years, and over paying it for a good portion of that time, I am now within months of paying it off. I am so close, and very excited. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  And then the train hit me.

On Sunday, I was changing the MINI’s oil. Not a big deal, and it is something that I have come to enjoy in my older years. Sure, it would be easier to pay someone to do it for me, but there is a relaxing aspect to doing it myself. After draining the oil into the pan, and removing the used oil filter and replacing with a nice clean one, I poured the new oil into the car. The MINI needs less than 5 quarts of oil to be full. And once I was done, I poured the old oil into the now empty oil container. And only two quarts came out of the pan. I am now seriously concerned.

Skipping the fact that I should have been checking my oil much more frequently, these three quarts managed to disappear. If I was burning oil, I would think I would have smelled it, especially with the amount of oil we are talking about. If the MINI was leaking oil, I think there would be a puddle in my garage, since I always park there. I guess I could have forgotten to put oil into the car last time, but that doesn’t seem very like me. There is also the possibility that it is the MINI dealership’s fault, but I have no idea how.

The car is old, and I fear that I may have to buy a new car. I definitely have to shift to oil for high mileage cars. And I don’t know why I just thought of this now, but I should name my car “MINI the moocher.”

Someone may have moved the ends on me.