What’s this strange beverage …

A summer’s worth of rain, all at once.

… falling down from the sky?

The weather wizards were calling for rain yesterday but we got only a wee dribble, just enough to leave visible craters in the dust coating everything.

Whatever, I thought, and scheduled an oil change at the nearby Brakes Plus for bright and early in the morning. Drop off the rice rocket, stroll home, enjoy a leisurely breakfast.

Or not. I awoke to a pissing-down rain, gutters running like creeks, sidewalks like rivers. A full summer’s worth of rain in one day, is what.

Mind you, I’m not complaining. There’s free wifi at the Brakes Plus, and as breakfasts go coffee and yogurt isn’t so bad.

Besides, now I can look forward to lunch.

26 Responses to “What’s this strange beverage …”

  1. Derek Says:

    Um, not to be negative but if that is the brakes plus on 8th street, I might do things like check the wheel lug nuts before too long. I won’t bore with the details but we would not have made it to Vegas for last years interbike if I wasn’t kind of a fanatic about tire rotation and such. Luckily my wife had just driven it home.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Naw, this is the one at Fillmore and Nevada. They’ve been wrenching on Herself’s car for years and she drives a ton more than I do. They seem like reliable sorts.

      I had my own bad experience on 8th Street, at the Grease Monkey. Had ’em do an oil change on one of my ’83 Toyotas and shortly after driving away the oil light comes on. Say what? sez I. Pop the hood and there’s oil all over the engine compartment, on the underside of the hood, everywhere. Bozos forgot to put the filler cap back on.

  2. Larry T. Says:

    Ya gotta watch those franchised quick lube joints – they’re all about maximizing profits by selling stuff you don’t need (like oil changes every 3000 miles) while hiring the lowest cost “techs” they can find. We’re getting a bit of the rain now – while Iowa certainly needs it, it’s pretty much too late to help the farmers. But of course the whole climate change idea is just a hoax…otherwise I’d be worried.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Larry, these guys are good about not pushing the upsell. I notice they have a lot of repeat customers, too, folks they know on a first-name basis (like Herself). I saw several encounters with customers like that while waiting, along with one longish bit of advice given gratis to a do-it-yourselfer who was noticing a bit of shudder after replacing his own brake pads.

      Of course, now that I’ve said that my Forester will implode like a Spielbergian house atop a graveyard.

      • Derek Says:

        Glad to hear it. I would avoid the jiffy lube on Garden of the Gods, same reasons. Last trip there cost me a windshield and the required doctor visits to get the wife some Valium. Fillmore & Nevada you say…. I will have to look them up the next time I don’t want to touch the internal combustion engine powered vehicle. That brake thing scared the snot out of me and made me even more paranoid about the vehicles I am in, or next to, or below.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    I am terrified of those quick lube joints. A car represents a pretty big investment.

    I think of oil changes as a chance to get under the car myself and check for things the bozos we pay to do big jobs might have missed. Besides, other than the possibility of being hit while riding my bike, its the only time I see the underside of a car.

    Speaking of selling shit you don’t need, even Auto Zone has forced its employees to do the old “would you like fries with that, sir?”. I find that annoying (like, if I wanted injector cleaner, I’d have grabbed some…) but I hate to crap on the guy who is doing what he has to do to keep his job. And final foaming rant: is anyone besides me ready to put a 357 slug into the next gas pump you pull up to when it starts huckstering shit at you?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      K, all the pumps around here ask for is money. The price per gallon hopped up several cents in the past 24 hours. We still have some of the cheapest gas in the state, though, at $3.62 per gallon for regular. Even so, I drive the Vespa a ton.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Almost all the pumps around here are set up to pimp various products sold in the service station. At this point, its nice that there is a “mute” button on them. Unfortunately, many of my fellow countryment are so inured to the constant background noise of advertising and other propaganda that most don’t turn them off, so turning off one’s own pump noise has limited utility. Aagh! Good reason to minimize the use of the cars. The BMW, amazing for its size, gets 50 honest mpg.

  5. Libby Says:

    Talking gas pumps – new to me.
    Twice now a log nut has been stripped and my wheel coming off while I was driving – grrr.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Libby, I don’t recall where I first endured talking pumps — New Mexico, Arizona or California — but I didn’t care for it. I mostly quit going to movies for the same reason. If you have to watch 20 minutes of ads, why not wait for the DVD, save yourself the jabbering arseholes, texters and cellphone addicts in the cinema?

      I saw a guy in a beater pickup lose his left front wheel at 75 mph on I-25 a while back. Oh, my, did that ever look like fun. He lurched into the median and plowed quite the furrow before coming to a three-point landing.

      All I could think of was the scene in “Life of Brian” in which the bystander — having seen Brian crash to Earth in an alien spacecraft without injury — says, “Ooo, you lucky bastard.” That he was.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Maybe its silly, but I keep taking our Subarus back to the dealer, Premier, in Santa Fe to be worked on for major stuff that is beyond my ability or interest (or warranty work), since they have done a really good job over the years and have been under the same management team. Still, I keep a good torque wrench at home and periodically check the lug nuts myself, along with the oil, air filter, and various other things that are prone to dumb mistakes. Been doing my own wrenching on all sorts of vehicles since college (when I could afford tools but not mechanics) and I still get a good deal of satisfaction out of working on my own stuff, including the new/old K-bike. Read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and you will get the picture. You don’t truly understand something until you take it apart, whether a motorcycle, bicycle, or mass spectrometer.

      • Derek Says:

        Robert Pirsig was insane, according to a VERY intelligent uncle of mine who used to be the technical director for the FAA, so why is it the only useful manual for living I have ever read?. So sorry for the loss of Chris. QUALITY.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I like to do some light mechanical work, generally on bicycles or computers. Apple has been slowly driving me witless in this regard, gradually making their machinery impossible for the customer to work on.

        I’ve been under the hood of every Mac I’ve ever owned, hot-rodding the mortal shit out of ’em to keep the pricey bastards functional long past their usual end-of-life dates. My main work ‘puter for years was a used G4 AGP Graphics tower that I scored for the cost of shipping it to the DogHaus from the BRAIN offices ($50). Upgraded the RAM and processor, added a variety of internal drives, Airport and peripheral cards, you name it. Easy sleazy. Just pull the ring, drop the side and start plugging stuff in.

        And now you can’t even swap out a goddamned battery in their laptops. In the MacBook Air, you can’t add RAM as necessary — what you order is what you’re stuck with. WTF?

      • Steve O Says:

        I hate sounding all conspiracy theory, chicken Little, sky is falling … But since Steve Jobs passed, there’s a serious level of “I don’t give a shit” at Apple.

        I’ve been having a lot of problems with the iLife suite, the stuff designed by Apple to run on Apple products that’s just supposed to work.

        When was the last time the iMac got an update? If it’s not an iPhone or an iPad, it’s way back burner for them.

        They put a lot of work into their iCloud, and it’s a ton better than MobileMe, but it doesn’t work if you share a computer with multiple users, who each have their own phone. I mean, you can make it work, but you’re stuck with your wife’s reminders and calendars. It’s all or nothing

        And memory is so cheap these days… I’m not going to pay $200 to double my RAM when I can buy the same chip for $20 and put it in myself

  6. Richard Long Says:

    As recall, Robert Pirsig was also an intructor of Rhetoric at University of Chicago: a recipe for insanity (or redundancy), if ever there was one. Having said that, I would agree that “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” ranks right up there in the ranks of the under-appreciated. Close to “Bored of the Rings” and “Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book”, but not as funny..


    • Steve O Says:

      E stands for Ernie, the genie that lives in the ceiling. Bernie loves eggs, so throw him a couple

    • Khal Spencer Says:

      Pirsig was a rhetoric instructor at the U of Montana at Bozeman (my wife spent a semester there, as it happens) and if I remember the book correctly, he went back to the U of Chicago and there had a nervous breakdown and, I think, ended up being given electroshock therapy. Somewhere I read that he had an IQ up around 180, which probably helped drive him mad.

      I’m too dumb by comparison to ever think so deeply about anything so as to drive me mad whereas Pirsig tried to redefine science, reality and its perception, and quality. Following his logic of Quality in Zen was the closest thing I ever did to going mad and then I found out he was a genius. Well…that figures.

      One of the post docs at Stony Brook gave me that book when I was starting my Ph.D., saying it was the best definition of the scientific method he had ever read. The personal story was incredibly compelling as well, especially as I was going through my own personal overhaul from darkness at the time. I devoured the book and highly recommend it.

      • Khal Spencer Says:

        Along those lines, in the earlier post I should have said “…You don’t truly understand something until you take it apart, whether a motorcycle, bicycle, or mass spectrometer…or yourself”

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “Bored of the Rings” was a major howler. I discovered it long after I did Tolkien and The National Lampoon, more’s the pity. Worse, I’ve lost my copy.

      Happily, it can be read online.

  7. Larry T. Says:

    “hot-rodding the mortal shit out of ‘em to keep the pricey bastards functional long past their usual end-of-life” – you answered the question as to why they make sure these things now “contain no user serviceable components” as they say. Same idea used to irritate me with bike parts from the big S. Planned obsolescence is the name of the game. We send our Toshiba laptops out (I will NEVER buy another new one!) to some folks in San Diego who hot-rod and fix ’em up every few years

  8. Steve O Says:

    Speaking of beverages:


  9. Apple of my eye « Mad Blog Media Says:

    […] shit. After railing against Apple in comments for relentlessly driving us toward machines we can’t repair, upgrade or otherwise alter […]

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