Friday, September 25, 2009


Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, MARTA bus.

Things have not been good for the Daytona lately. I replaced the fuel pump. It is the "in tank" style (dumbest design EVER). The o-ring around the pump is leaking. After recovering from the flu, I decided to try to fix the issue. I jacked the car up, pulled the pump, and found that the o-ring and various mating surfaces looked fine. I reinstalled the pump and tapped the lock ring on just a little tighter this time (beyond where it should actually be tight). I dropped the car to the ground and decided I would fill it up with gas to see if all of the nothing I'd done had made a difference. Went to take off and noticed the voltmeter said 8v (aka. very low and not not good). Checking the codes on an '80s Dodge is easy. We call it the key dance. You go from off to accessory position with the key, then back to off and you do this 3 times. Then the "check engine light" (CEL) will flash. Kind of like Morse code. You count the flashes, record them, then go look them up on the internets. I got what I would call a death code. The car ain't moving until I replace one of the computers.

I'd already been waiting for weeks on one of these computers from a parts supplier without success and decided I'd go to the junk yard today and find one. There's always one at the junk yard (note: there were none at any of the 3 junk yards I went to today). I was driving the truck and on my way to the first yard I hear the exhaust ticking like I've got a leak at the header/collector. I've been expecting this since one side went out not too many months before because I used the cheap gasket (never again!). They come in packs of 2 so I had a spare and it is a quick fix but I was still annoyed since it was another thing I needed to fix. Well, after getting to the first junk yard and verifying it was a header/collector leak I shut the hood and took my wedding ring off. I nearly always take my ring off before I go to the junk yard to keep from snagging it on stuff (and potentially losing a finger) and to keep funk out of it. I put it on the turn signal stock just like I always do (and answered the question "what year's yer truck" for a guy because that happens every 20 seconds when you own a '68 pickup).

I never expected what happened when I left the junk yard. As I was leaving I made a right turn onto a 4 lane highway. I felt something hit my left knee. Then I heard a "tink" sound of metal on metal. Whatever it was that had hit my knee fell into the step well of the truck between the cab and the door (old skool trucks have step wells...something the bigger 4X4 trucks of today could desperately use). Then, I hear "tink" "tink" "tink" of metal on the road next to the truck. The door seals on the truck are mostly gone. What ever had fallen into the step well had fallen out of the truck between the door and the step well and onto the road. Oh, wait, I finally know what metal that was. That was my wedding ring!

I stopped.

I got out.

I started walking back up the road.

I'm thinking I'm likely dead.

I don't know how I'm going to find a little ring on a 4 line highway.

I see a dead snake.

Well, if I can see a dead snake, maybe I can see my ring.

I keep waling.

A MARTA bus goes from the lane nearest me to the other lane to stay clear of me (MARTA buses never go that, must have had some other reason for changing lanes).

I keep walking and scanning the lanes.

I feel almost dizzy because I'm trying to widen my vision out to see as much as possible but I also thing I'm likely a dead man for losing my wedding ring.

Then I see it.

It is in the middle of the road.

I look up, no cars, I go get it.

It is still perfectly round but it has some dings. The MARTA bus ran over it (explains why it really changed lanes).

So, that's basically how my day started. How was yours?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


An R&R!!!!

When most people hear "R&R" they think relax and rejuvenate. In academia, we get revise and resubmit. Journals these days in my field rarely accept on the first go. So an R&R is about the best it gets on a first round.

I got my first R&R today from a high level journal. This is a very very very good thing. A very good thing.

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