There is three hours of my life I won’t get back. Not only that, it seemed like four. I love science fiction/fantasy stuff. But what I consider my biggest failures in the realm is my inability to read the Tolkien trilogy. I have made 3 or 4 attempts at reading them, but fail miserably each time. I always get bogged down with all the names and strange words for things. I figured the movie would be just the thing, visuals for me to hang my synapses on. Wrong. I never did get anybody’s name straight and the two humans were so similar looking I thought for a minute they were the same person. They did a remarkable job making the normal sized actors playing hobbits look small, but I never could fully buy in. I spent most of the time figuring in my head how they did instead of paying attention. And what was it with the subtitles in sections? The whole time they were speaking English and then just for a bit lapsed. And there is this one scene as they all race down a lot of steps in a narrow, high up staircase. Naturally a section is destroyed making our characters jump over the gap. As the gap widens it is obvious that the smaller characters can’t make the leap themselves, so the human tosses the hobbits over. Then he looks at the troll and the troll says, “No one tosses a dwarf.” Tolkien wrote that? To me, it seemed like an out of place bad joke.
The only reason the top went up today was because I washed it. It was very chilly 42 degrees this morning too. Today was our little membership drive at our sponsors, Rader Mazda. We had a real good turn out and had fun to boot. Lots of visitors, a couple of Miatas stopped by and looked us over and left, a couple of “Fast & Furious” types stopped and looked and left maybe a half dozen Miatas showed and hung around a bit and chatted. I figure maybe 3 new perspective members, one seemed sure catch. Some folks had fun talking a father and son into test driving a Miata, they didn’t buy, but hey. One of the members took pictures, see ‘em here. (That’s me in the red, white and blue rugby shirt.)
Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Today’s high temp was 54, which is approximately 20 degrees colder that the average high temperature for this date. To boot it rained on and off all day. Felt like a January day here in my fair city, Aiken, South Carolina although it is only early November.
Speaking of November, I finished up making November’s CD Mix of the Month. Burned the CDs last night, printed the labels and liner notes and packed for mailing at work today. Submitted for your approval this month is a Christmas music mix. Since the mixes have been showing up late in the month if I waited until December to do the Christmas thing folks would get it too late.
Wouldn’t you know that my latest Christmas CD came in the mail today, too late for any song to make it into the mix. Too bad, Dobby Dobson’s version of White Christmas from “Reggae Christmas from Studio One” is almost as good as The Drifters version I included. There is always next year.
Started down, went up, still up.
This is the time of year that even if it isn’t raining outside you may want to carry an umbrella with you when you go get the newspaper in the morning. The noise is also very interesting. Bang, bounce, bounce, BANG (as it hits the aluminum gutter) then silence for a minute or two and repeat. Later this month a hard hat will be required as the hickory nuts start falling.
December weather (with a twist of March) in November today. Progress. The sun came out and we hit the 60’s, but the wind came sweeping down the plain. Went out for the monthly Aiken Bicycle Club meeting at the Aiken Brewing Company in downtown Aiken. I had a hamburger that was OK and washed it down with a .… coke.
Started up, went down, still down.
Are these worth the price/hassle? I’m not to sure. We bought a small gas blower for like $75 a few weeks ago and really got out and tried on the ol’ driveway this evening. My picked up her rake and did the front yard and I did our 2-car wide driveway. She had about 2 as much square footage to do and still managed to finish slightly ahead of me. She got a nice little workout and I got a numb hand from the vibration, somehow I’m not to sure about this contraption.
Maybe it went so slow because I’m a novice. Wonder if there is a web page of leaf blowing tips? Nope!
Went to the Master’s Miata Club meeting in Augusta tonight. Nice turn out, 18 members and one guest. The Creer’s brought along a family friend, Lorraine Page. It was Lorraine’s birthday and we all sung happy birthday to her. Lorraine is famous for this hit song.
Today is also my 13th anniversary as a Miata owner. This is my second Miata, but if you added up the mileage from #1 and #2 I have been in a Miata for 225,000 miles.
Started down, went up, went back down, up again, still up.
It was our half day off Friday, so after work we dropped the top and did a nice long drive on a perfect fall day. While out driving we noticed a slew of convertibles out too. Three Mustangs, a Sebring, a Z3, a Miata and an Audi TT. Only the TT had their top down besides us. WTF? it was 70 and sunny with low humidity, if the top wasn’t down today I doubt it ever goes down. Shame on you people.
Started up, went down, still down.
I just finished listening to Beth Orton’s CD, Central Reservation. There are 12 songs and I’m not to sure they weren’t all the same tune, I don’t think she changed pitch the entire 58:50. I wonder what happened? Her first CD, Trailer Park, was so darn good. She has a new CD out now called, Daybreaker, that I probably won’t buy now because of this listening experience.…though I might download from the net and give it a listen, if I remember to.
Blogging early because it is baby-sitting night. We still call it that even thought the boys are no longer babies. Ten years ago Donna gave as a Christmas gift to another couple in the Bike Club our services as babysitters for one weekend evening a month for the next year. At that time their one son was 2 years old. This gave them to opportunity to go out on a “date,” have dinner out, see a movie, whatever. Four years later we got a year off after their second son was born and he got old enough to leave alone with us. The boys have gone from not wanting to leave our sides and go to their bedrooms until their parents came home to going immediately to their rooms to play Nintendo. One thing that hasn’t changed it they still don’t want to go to sleep.
In January when it is 35 and raining I’ll look back with sadness of today’s missed opportunity. Another perfectly beautiful fall day and the Miata traveled whopping 5 miles today. A morning trip to the grocery store and a lunch time trip to retrieve sandwiches…
Started down, still down.
Back earlier this year I signed up for a CD Mix of the Month Club . Cool idea. This guy in Texas creates a mix CD and mails it to you once you have mailed him one. As a bonus, if you mailed 2 CDs he would sent you his and one from somebody else who sent two. All it cost me was some time, a couple of blank CDRs and $2 to mail them off. Well poor Josh on the other end had a few more bucks wrapped up into this as he was mailing out a couple dozen, then 50, then 100 and now the last 2 months nearly 400 CDs. Yikes, that’s a lot of postage! Well today, I got in my email, a note from Josh that if you want to continue to play along in the CD MotM Club you will have to kick in 3 or 4 dollars. I think this may be the end of my ride. I just have this thing for somebody offering me something for free and then latter charging for it. Its a principle thing. You have to stop agreeing to give it away, once you have reached the point where you are no longer comfortable with the total monetary outgo. If you don’t mind spending $100 a month and it costs $1 per, don’t sign up 200 people and then go gee, I’d better charge money to make up the shortfall. Stop at 100.
What’s with the spoilers on cars these days. Everybody’s got to have one. Spoiler = Sporty? My neighbor’s new Toyota Camry’s got a little wing spoiler, even the “sport” edition Camry is not sporty. Wolf’s clothing will not make a sheep a carnivore. I’ve seen wing spoilers on the newer Ford Tauruses as well. Come on people, I’ve rented a Taurus SES and trust me neither of those esses stands for sporty. Today’s 4-door sedan spoiler sighting was even more out of place, a current body-style Mercury Sable. WTF? To make it even more oxymoronic, if that is possible, was the vinyl roof treatment.
…fatback is listed as a vegetable on the menu.
Donna wanted to go someplace different for lunch, so she picked a restaurant out of the coupon book that offered a buy one — get one free deal. She really wanted seafood so she decided we should try Crabby Abby’s. There was a good review in the local paper, so off we went to Augusta. If you don’t do the buffet and order off the menu, you get a choice of two vegetables with each entree. Your choices are: Fresh Shucked Corn-on-the-Cob, Green Beans, Early Peas, Fried Rice, Tater Tots, Fresh Fried Green Tomatoes, Fried Onion Rings, Fried FatBack, Mashed Potatoes (gravy upon request). FatBack? Fried Rice?
Today was a big day. We went to Warner Robins to participate in the MidGA Miata Club’s annual Toys for Tots Poker Run. we left the house at 7:45 AM to meet the rest of our Club members at the GA Welcome Center. There were only 2 others who showed up, Tony Cappucci and Karl Johnson and Tony wasn’t making the trip, his wife was home sick so he was going to go back home and play nurse. We had to pick up the Rushtons (Scott and Lisa) in Thompson, GA about 30 miles down the road on the way to our destination. After a meeting in the McDonald’s lot our 3 car caravan headed out. The poker run was scheduled to start at 1:00 PM and as it turned out with one missed turn in Macon and a slow Pizza Hut lunch we got there about 10 minutes after 1. Our 3 cars were almost the last to sign up. The MidGa folks had arranged for some media attention, one of the Macon TV stations had sent a camera man down to shoot some footage (I wonder if we made the news?) They also had a photographer and reporter from the Macon newspaper. The reporter was looking for an empty seat to join in the fun and Karl volunteered, so I’m sure we’ll get in the paper. The loop for the run was 60 miles and nicely laid out, with for some reason, easy to follow directions. The only down side was the fact that it never made it out of the 40’s so we kept the tops up for almost all of the drive. After picking our last card we made a potty stop at a McDonalds. We realized that we only had a couple miles to go so we put our tops down to trick the crowd at the finish into thinking we did the drive that way. We let them stare and point a bit before we admitted we just put them down recently. They had prizes for the top 6 hands, cash for the top three and other items for the other 3. Donna and I ended up with 4th place with a pair of 9s and a pair of 5s. We traded the turkey frying kit that wouldn’t have fit into the trunk, nor did we want, for a gift certificate to the Atlanta Bread Company. Also cleaned up on door prizes too. We all did, they only had 22 cars show, I’m sure due to the weather, but had prizes for like 50.
Another thing big thing was the total mileage. Turns out it is 165 miles from our door to the old Wal-Mart parking lot in Warner Robins. So with the round trip and miles involved with the poker run we ended up driving 390 miles today. We got home almost exactly 12 hours after we left. I took my hat off about halfway home, but as I sit here typing this it still feels like I have it on. When this is finished I’m showering and going to bed.
Started up, went down, went back up, still up.
When Donna and I sat in the car seats this morning we both kinda squirmed. It had been way too short a time out of them after way too long in them. But the feeling soon passed and because we were a little early we went right on past the usual turn off for work and extended the drive by a few miles to some kill time. After work, we put the top down even tough it was chilly and cooling fast (still warmer than yesterday.)
Started up, went down, still down.
At yesterday’s poker run one of the door prizes I won was a $25 gift to certificate to M M Marketing. I looked in the catalog they gave me and I was going to use that money as a big chunk of the cost for some nice driving gloves at $39.95. They use symbols to signify S & H costs and when I saw that they wanted $5.95 to get the gloves to me I was stunned. Must be a mistake, so I went online to see what the shipping and handling should really be. Added the gloves to my cart, filled out the billing information, the shipping information and on page 4 I selected ground UPS. Page 5 informed me that my total cost would be $48.90! Online they wanted 8.95 for S & H. I could drive up to NC (where they are located) for less in gas money. I think I’ll get my gloves somewhere else and just pick something for $20 out of the catalog and hope I can get something that they only want $4.95 for shipping.…
Up for the early morning frosty drive to work. We did go out at lunch and just drive around for 45 minutes in the mid 60 degree sunshine. After work it went up as the temps were falling fast and the clouds, although no rain was predicted, looked like they could sprinkle on us at any minute.
Today was haircut day for both of us. Every 4 weeks we go to a salon run by a friend of ours from the ol’ Aiken Bicycle Club days. Donna likes getting her haircut every month, so at the beginning of the year we sign up for appointments on a Tuesday evening at 5:00 PM every 4th week. While my hair has basically stopped growing on top (and in several patches is actually regressing) the sides are still thick and shaggy after a month, so the trim is welcome for me as well.
Started down, went up, went down, went back up, still up.
Latest and lamest of the BMW Films. It got a write-up in yesterday’s paper because the Godfather of Soul who stars in the movie with Clive Owen was born and still lives around here. I don’t remember what the fellow said about the film because he was mostly commenting on JB’s performance. I thought the film stunk, especially when compared to “The Hostage” the first of the new Z4 series films. The best part is at the end when the Devil’s neighbor comes knock to complain about the noise. The Devil, played by Gary Oldman says, “Tell him I’m not here. He gives me the creeps.” The neighbor is.…ooh, go download it and watch.
This afternoon was the reason for my bitching and moaning all week about being at work an extra hour every day, we were FREE! At 11:30 Donna and I got in the car and pointed it away from 1561 Columbia Highway vowing not to return until 7:30 AM on Monday, November 25th.
Went home and changed into what is known as week-end wear and headed out for lunch at the Boll Weevil Cafe. I had a Jose and she had a Curious George, mmmm. After the vittles we went out and planned the route for the Master’s Miata Club’s Christmas Light Tour I’m leading on December 7th. It is a pared down version of the one from last year in the Augusta Chronicle.
Started down, still down.
Just got through watching the movie Outside Providence and it really hit home in a lot of ways. The movie is set in Rhode Island in 1974 and involves a lot of beer drinking and pot smoking and just hanging out with the rest of your friends lamenting your sorry station in life. One year earlier and 100 miles west and it could have been my life they were filming. Not the lead character mind you, but one of his stoner pals.
Ordered my driving gloves from Moss Motors. I get a nice glossy catalog from them every couple of months and mostly it goes into the nightstand for bedtime reading and dreaming, but every once and a while I buy something from them. Moss had the same gloves as M M Marketing for $7 cheaper so I ordered them. But there must be special S & H precautions for deerskin driving gloves as Moss wants $7.95 to ship them me. Oh, well it still worked out a couple buck cheaper that any other option.
Today was a really nice day so we went for country back road cruise. Nice little 40 mile drive in he mid 60 degree sunshine. When we got home I went back in the garage to get a load of clothes out of the dryer I smelt something out of the ordinary, took a moment before I realized it was the sweat smell of anti-freeze. Looked under the Miata and sure enough there was puddle near the back of the engine area. Back the car out of the garage and wiped up the mess. I then mixed up a cocktail of water and anti-freeze to top off the radiator. While I ran the car for like 3 minutes topping off the radiator in the driveway I must have dripped out a half a cup on the driveway. And of course when I pulled back into the garage and shut it off I made another puddle… After some research on Miata.net I feel that I have either a bad water pump or a bad hose. Gonna have it towed to the dealer for the work as I don’t have the tools, time or talent for car fixin’.
Started down, still down.
Decided to drive it work and see where I could go from there about my coolant leak. My wife followed me in her Mom’s car in case something happened. I’ll spare some of the other weird happening of the morning except to include the fact that a huge cloud of white vapor engulfed the car upon parking in the lot at work. At morning break the IE, Chris, and I went out and started the car and looked to see if we could actually see where it was leaking. Sure enough you could see a little drop — drop –drop coming from the lower heater hose. I called the two “local” Mazda dealers and neither had the hose in stock. I called Advance Auto and they said we have one of the 2. I ran there at lunch and picked up the hose for $10. When I got back to work Chris asked if I had any luck finding the hose I told him yes and that I was going to call the shop right across the street to see what he’d charge me to put it in.
He said, “Don’t do that, get me a pair of pliers and I’ll change it in 5 minutes.” 50 minutes later the hose was changed. To be fair he probably would have been done in less than 10 minutes if I had the stock hose. The Advance Auto hose was just a generic 90 degree bend thing and was too long requiring trimming and retrimming and retrimming to fit. And because it was in such an inaccessible spot forcing it on and twisting it only to have to remove it as a big PITA. Thanks Chris.
Started down, went up, went down, still down.
On the way to work this morning we stopped at the ATM to get out a twenty because Donna was going out at lunch with her co-workers. When we were walking into the building at work she asked me to give her the receipt from the withdrawal. She likes to put them inside the checkbook right away because I have a tendency to forget about them and have nearly caused some checks to bounce in the past. When I opened my wallet the $20 bill was there, but no receipt. For that matter, no ATM card either! Left them in the ATM. Hopped back in the car and hightailed it the 3 miles back to the bank. The receipt was still there in the slot, but no card. When I got back to work I called the 1–800 customer service where the fellow explained to me that after a minute or so of the card being left in the slot the machine sucks it in. If I was lucky that would be the case. I called the bank an hour later when they opened and sure enough they had my card. When you are old and senile it helps to be lucky.
Almost forgot. Back on the 17th one of the door prizes I won in the Poker Run was a $25 gift certificate from MM Miata On the 19th I mailed in the certificate along with an order for some leather seatbelt stalk covers. I already have the leather shift and hand brake boots and this would complete the ensemble. They came in today, pretty good service. The first 4 years Miatas were produced the seatbelts were fastened to the floor. Starting in my year they were fastened to the side of the seat for I’m sure government mandated safety reasons. The sleeves fit all year Miatas, but for mine, about 3 inches had to be trimmed off the length. Now that they are installed they really are nothing special, glad they were essentially free to me. I would have been disappointed to have shelled out $25 for that lackluster enhancement.
Went out for bagels for breakfast. When we sat down in the restaurant to wait for our order I noticed that the newspaper print was slightly out-of-focus. It wasn’t the paper, it was me, I had left my glasses on the nightstand. I got tired of hunting down where I put my reading glasses about a year ago, so I went and had no-line bifocals made up of clear glass on top and +1.00 reading glasses on the bottom. Now I just wear them all the time. Trouble comes in the morning, because I don’t really need them to see, unlike my wife, I can get ready for work without putting them, so sometimes I get all the way to trying to read the paper before I realize that I need to get my glasses. Today was the first time I left home with out them though.
Last Friday while out scouting the Christmas Light Tour route we stopped at friends from the Miata Club’s house (they are the end of the line because they are hosting this year’s Holiday Party.) It was getting chilly as daylight faded and we considered putting the top up for the ride home. That’s when John said here try this. He had another member’s old windblocker to copy to make a pattern so he can make one up for himself. John is our Club’s closet seamstress, he has made a bunch of stuff up including bags for the boot and our Club’s Loaner Trunk Bag. We have had to windblocker on quite a bit and it has definitely extended the lower temperature limit for top down driving. Using just the blocker it keeps the cold wind off your back. With the blocker and windows up it is very cozy inside. Still get some cold air in, but hey it is a convertible. I think we are going to get John to sew us one up too.
Upper 30’s on the way to work — no problem, the top was down.
Started down, still down.
…always seem so long. By Tuesday it seemed like I’d been there long enough for it to be Thursday. Which if you look at it, was just about right because today was Wednesday, but really Friday because it was the last day of the work week.
It’s Thanksgiving, which means family, friends, football and food. It also means we must make a good impression on company, so I blew the leaves off the roof and cleaned up the front yard in the morning chill. It was work, but I don’t think it was enough to offset the caloric intake of my traditional 2 helpings of turkey and all the fixin’s.
Started down, still down.
Watched about half of an NFL football game on TV this afternoon. It’s Thanksgiving, so I felt it was expected of me. Saw the latest loser version of a Dr. Pepper commercial with some sort of Buddy Holly/early rock ‘n’ roll thing that was absolutely without any redeeming qualities. Who were they expecting to appeal to with that? They ought to take a cue from the beer ads, those are funny as well as populated with young, hip twenty-somethings we all wish we were.
Washed the car today, that is why the top went up. It was fairly filthy. Not only did I was the outside, but the engine compartment got a washing too. Found some quick and easy instructions in a Miata.net forum post and decided that 7 years of road grime needed to go. I really need to wash off the coolant residue left behind by my leaky heater hose incident, I could still smell it and it made me think that the leak was re-occurring. The engine compartment looks a whole heck of a lot better now, won’t win any car shows, but looks good. As a bonus the coolant smell is totally gone, it has been replaced by the scent of Simple Green.
Started down, went up, still up.
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