But if I don’t post for more than 2 days I get angry letters…
The above picture is from last Sunday’s Georgia geocaching adventure and tonight after the MMC monthly meeting we walked a block over to find a newish cache and drop off the Travel Bug we grabbed near where that picture was taken, all we took from the cache was a plastic coin that looks a little like pirate treasure, which reminded me that last night I watched the middle two thirds of TDPM, commercials and all, on the ABC Family Channel and the day before, Tuesday, my manager told me he had seen the fourth installment, On Stranger Tides, over the weekend and it was the best of all the Pirates of the Caribbean flicks, but I can’t really trust his judgement because he is a New York Yankee fan and because the FRS have lost the last three games in a row after taking over first place in the American League East Division the MFY are now back in first by two games.
Started up, went down, back up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1025
Some sort of alligator/dinosaur thing from the same guy who gave us Romy — Tetsuya Watabe
This morning we did our monthly 1/8 Century Ride (12.5 miles) on the tandem around Aiken to pay our bills. It would be more like a Sixteenth Century if we did it in the shortest way possible, but we added a few miles by looping around to the east and coming into downtown on Park Avenue passing right by the Aiken Railroad Depot.
No, we haven’t decided to drive to all the South Carolina Post Offices and take their picture with a Sonata in front…
On our way to work Friday morning we stopped off at DD for our breakfast and a free doughnut* on National Doughnut Day. We got up early to account for the time we would waste reading the Wall Street Journal, but for whatever reason there wasn’t a copy there, so we finished eating earlier than anticipated. The only thing to do was to take a the long way to work. We drove what used to be Loop 1 of the Aiken Bicycle Club’s 4 Loop Century backwards and when we passed by Vacluse’s tiny Post Office we noticed that across the street was a big parking area and a patch of woods, causing both of us to think, “That would be a neat place for a cache.”
So late yesterday evening that is just what we did.
Today, instead of an email notification that the cache was published, we got an email from the South Carolina reviewer, “Thank you for your cache page submission. The maps we use show a railroad track within about 120 feet of your cache location. Railroads typically have a right of way that extends 150 feet to either side, and trespassing onto the right of way is a federal offense. Please relocate your cache so that it is not within 150 feet of a railroad track.”
So late this evening that is just what we did.
*with drink purchase
Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1026
We started out heading for the Augusta Canal Tow Path for a walk and to maybe find a cache or two, but a senior moment on the part of the driver led to ending up at Phinizy Swamp for a long walk and three geocache finds.
Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1027
Part of the land donated for the Phinizy Swamp was an old dairy farm, these silos are all that remain.
On the drive home from work today the Emperor notched past 121,000 miles. Up until that fateful day in late April when the Emperor got a new brother we had been racking up a thousand miles on him at the pretty regular rate of 1 a month, but this last one took seven weeks. Could there be some behind the scenes palace intrigue brewing? Does the new Prince have it’s eye on taking the throne as the most favored vehicle of the Kingdom of Bogardus? Stay tuned.
Started up, went down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1029
The FRS and the MFY are playing a three game series in the House That George Steinbrenner Built. Tonight’s middle game of the set is being shown on ESPN. Usually I like to watch with the game muted and listen to the hometown WEEI radio broadcast off the net, but tonight one half of the usual Red Sox announcing team, Dave O’Brien, is doing the play by play, so I’m keeping the TV sound on (even though I can’t stand the color guy, X-Sawx player, Nomar Garciaparra.)
Like last night, the FRS started out with 3 runs in the first inning and then built on it. Last night they won the game 6–3 and it was interesting to the end. Tonight they built a 7–0 lead, but then gave up 4 in the sixth. To quote an ex-Yankee, Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”.
I wish I could quote a couple of stats that were mentioned earlier in the game by the announcers, but they went something like this: In the last 500 games these two teams have played the wins stand at Red Sox, 250; Yankees, 250. Total runs, Red Sox, 840; Yankees, 841. Another hallmark of this rivalry is the length of the game in time and I bet there is somebody in the ESPN TV that knows the figure, but tonight we have played 6 inning (2/3rds of the game) and it has been 2–1/2 hours since the first pitch.
Started up, went down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1031
It was a sunny day here, but it is a rainy night in New York, so the baseball game is in a rain delay. I just checked the radar and it looks like it will clear up enough to play ball starting after 10:00 PM. That means the game should get over around 2:30 AM. Guess I’ll be reading about it in the morning.
Ever since, like the end of the first two weeks of the season, whenever you visit the home page of your favorite Major League Baseball® team there has been a section dedicated for voting for the All Star Game. This is long before you know if anyone is going to have a good year or not, but anyway it might shake out, great, good, average or sucky, they want you to vote a straight ticket of hometown players.
About 2 weeks ago they added this little image to the background of the home page. So not only do they want you to vote for everyone on your favorite team, whether they suck or not, they now want you to vote for everyone on some other team in the other league no matter their worth too. And how did they determine the pairings? Red Sox & Giants? I checked about another half dozen teams homepages and no others have this banner aligning them with an opposite league team. Is this an experiment to see if has any appreciable difference in the voting for either team’s players?
Well, for the first time in recent memory, I decided to vote for the players to go to the All Star game. I did not vote the straight Red Sox ticket (although 3 FRS players did make the cut), nor did I vote the straight Giants ticket (I voted the No Giant ticket.)
For the first time in quite a while we took a walk in the woods and were not looking for an ammo can or 35mm film canister well integrated into the environment, we were just going for a walk. To beat the heat we stayed close to home and enjoyed Hitchcock Woods virtually to ourselves early this morning. I am not a botanist and I’ve never played one on TV (nor have I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express lately), so I have no idea what those two different yellow flowers are, but patches of them were blooming within feet of each other along the west side of the Ridge Mile Track.
Started up, went down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1033
Yesterday morning the lawnmower wouldn’t start. As we were staring at the mower looking for where the spark plug might be, Donna said, “Maybe it is under here?” She proceeded to back out a thumbscrew on the side which opened up a 2″ x 4″ panel. No spark plug, but there was a paper air filter. Wow, this thing has a paper filter. I removed it, fanned the folds to loosen the dirt and smacked on the driveway a couple times to clean it. It wasn’t too dirty which was not too bad considering we bought the mower a little over two years ago. As I went to put it back in I noticed a foam filter that resided under it. It was no wonder the paper filter was so clean, the foam filter was totally blocked and there was a 1/32″ thick layer of dirt covering it.
Figuring I found the problem, I washed the foam real good and placed it all back together, but it still wouldn’t start. Because the yard really didn’t look to bad I wheeled the mower back into the shed. Now almost absolutely sure it was the spark plug I went inside to check the owner’s manual for location and type of plug. Well, as is the custom now a days, the manual was a a generic one covering all 68,000 models of Yard Machine mower, so none of the pictures actually matched our mower and there were plenty of paragraphs talking about the spark plug and how to replace it, but there was no actual mention of the proper number to use. In the same bag as the mower manual was one for the Brigs and Stratton engine. It too was extremely vague, but I did find mention of a spark plug number near the back of the book, 5062. That number was for the resistor plug to reduce electric interference. Under that were two other numbers, 802592 & 492167. Now we are in business.
Or so I thought. This morning we checked an auto parts store and the Home Depot where we had bought the mower, where we found all kinds of plugs and all kinds of cross reference guides, but they all were sorted by manufacturer, plug manufacturer (NGK, Champion, etc.) not engine maker, and nowhere were the three numbers I had mentioned. My only resort now was to find the elusive plug, remove it and hope it was marked with something that I could cross-reference. So I came home and removed the plastic engine cover and the plug location was immediately identifiable. Not only that, I was easily seen and removed without having to remove the 4 screws and cover. I, in typical male fashion, didn’t see it, because it wasn’t where I first looked.
The plug removed was all back and icky and still smelled of all the gas it was drenched in yesterday in my failed fifteen or so pulls to start the mower. I wiped the dirt off the ceramic insulator and read, “TORCH F6RTC.” After a little Google searching yielded substitutes of RN9YC (Champion) and BPR6ES (NGK.) Tomorrow after work we try Home Depot again and hopefully come home with a spiffy new plug that will lead to a running lawn mower.
When Donna went to set the oven temp to make Oven Fries for dinner it just annoying beeped at her and displayed –F4-. I dug around in the draw that holds all the owner’s manuals (including some for things we no longer own) and picked the one for the Maytag electric range. The only mention of error codes was that if the display read F whatever, unplug the unit and call an authorized repair person. Now that kind of stern warning might have worked on a housewife in the 50’s, but I have the internet.
F4 means a shorted oven temperature sensor. Now all I need is the oven model number so I can order a new sensor. The owner’s manual, of course, covers several models, so it is no help. We check out the stickers on the door and sure enough they have numbers, but it turns out they are the part numbers for the sticker. We pull the oven out from the wall but there is no sticker on the back either. Because the easy way to pull out the hopefully bad sensor failed, I had to remove the back panel to get at the connector and I was hopeful to find something there, but no luck. Back to the net we go and on a forum that was the third or fourth place we looked we found a hint that led us to the units nameplate. Pulling out the pot and pan storage door reveals the holy grail, including a serial number in case it happens to be required.
Feeling lucky we drove over to Home Depot to pick up a lawn mower spark plug and an oven temperature sensor. We found a spark plug, but struck out on the sensor. Because Lowes is just down the street a mile or so we decided to turn over that stone too while we were out. Under the Lowes stone was the same as under the Home Depot stone, new ovens.…
Started up, went down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1035
Forty-three bucks. That is how much they want for an oven temperature sensor or more than twice what I thought they should be. So I went back to the net for some more information and I found out how to check and see if the sensor is actually shorted or not. Take an ohm meter and measure across the two terminals. Zero is a short, with infinity being open and normal being 1,000 to 1,100. Well wouldn’t you know it, my “bad” one read 1,000 ohms. Maybe it is not bad?
The next option is to see if the wires from the sensor to the control board have been shorted. I tried to trace the wires, but they disappeared into the top of the oven and it was unclear how to get at that area, so I gave up and put everything back together. At least the top burners still work. And more importantly, the clock.
From what I read on a couple of forums is that sometimes the sensors are bad even if they ohm out good, so tomorrow I’ll call the appliance parts place and see what their return policy is on the sensor. If it is in any way returnable I’ll buy one and try it out.
If that doesn’t fix it, it may be time to replace the 15-year old electric stove with a spiffy new gas unit.
Started up, went down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1037
Have you heard of the Tweeter thing? Apparently all the hep cats are using it, so I thought I would try it out with the least techno savvy group of folks I know, the MMC. I opened an account for the Club and emailed every member the log in details and instructed them to tweet away.
In the intervening 24 hours there have been two tweets, both mine and both 24 hours ago. I do subscribe to a Google alert for the word Miata, maybe I should pick one of those links each day to tweet about. For now I’ve got a widget for the Master’s Miata Club tweets in my left outside sidebar.
Maybe I will create my own account for over there. That way when I can’t produce a whole entertaining post (like this one for instance) I can probably come up 140 characters.
The other weekend we had dinner at the local Fatz Cafe. We have been eating there probably every couple of weeks for a while now. Donna likes their Chicken & Rice Soup and the menu is varied in the usual casual dining manner to keep the entree choice fresh at each visit.
The food quality has been mostly pretty good, but this time the C&R Soup looked and tasted like it came from the bottom of the pot and to make matters worse the crab cakes she ordered as her entree was mostly tasteless bread crumbs. When we got home Donna went to the restaurant’s website and filled out the survey that has become standard on any receipt for anything you buy.
A couple of days ago when we got home from work, a regional representative from Fatz Cafe had left a phone message that he had read her complaints and wanted to talk to her, so he left his phone number. She called the number and of course got his answering machine where she left a message back. We then went out to dinner (because of the ongoing dead oven issue.) Well, you know what happened next, Mr. Fatz Representative called while we were away and left a long apologetic message and saying that to try and win our business back he was going to mail us a gift certificate to the restaurant.
In today’s mail there was an envelope from Fatz and sure enough there was a gift certificate inside. It was for the amazing sum of five dollars. $5!!! What a slap in the face. Five bucks is like a large soft drink and the tip…Donna shredded the gift certificate.
We won’t be going back there anytime soon.
The Miata got a sponge bath in the garage last night in preparation for the MMC’s participation in the Ridge Peach Festival in Trenton today. I send out an email to the Club stating that Donna and I wouldn’t do the parade without at least 6 cars and that is exactly how many showed up at the meeting spot for our drive to Edgefield for breakfast.
After breakfast we lost a car that wasn’t doing the parade thing, but fortunately there was one car waiting at the intermediate meeting point to bring it back to the required minimum. Donna had originally planned to walk up to the main viewing area and be a spectator because creeping along at 3 miles an hour in the hot sun is not something she cares to do, but the weather was unseasonably cool enough (upper 80’s) that she ended up riding along and throwing candy to the crowds.
The picture above is my favorite of the dozen or so photos I snapped today on the event. I captured a float behind us setting up before the start of the parade in the outside rearview mirror of the Emperor. I could tell they were a church group because the shirts the adults were wearing said on the front “Do you know Jesus?” The back read in big letters, “R U SUR”. I couldn’t make out the fine print, but hopefully it explained the missing E at the end of SUR or maybe the Bible book or passage demonstrated by the Wizard of Oz. It was an off the hip shot and I didn’t realize that I had captured the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion checking the Miatas out until I got home and downloaded the pictures. You can see the all the photos taken over on the MMC Website.
Started up, went down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1039
On the way to Columbia today the Purple Whale passed through the 3,000 mile mark. We were going there to do a little geocaching and we ended up finding 3 caches and not finding three caches. And as expected one of the ones we didn’t find was the reason for the whole trip (this might be a blog post of the future.) This evening I washed the Sonata, so it would stop being jealous of the Miata which got a bath on Friday.
The other day I posted my favorite picture I took at Saturday’s MMC event, but here is my favorite one taken by someone else: The Turkeys of Edgefield
(left to right) John, Stacey, Denny, Tom, Me & Rudy.
I had an idea for a blog post and if I was in the mood I know I could have stretched it into a couple hundred words, but I wasn’t, so I turned into a tweet for the MMC.
I have come to the conclusion, from swapping between the Sonata & Miata, that the Miata’s steering wheel is too big for the size of the car.
Exactly 140 characters.
I have never been happy with the recommendations that Netflix suggest for me. I know I’m partly to blame because my tastes in movies is very eclectic so pinning down my taste is difficult. They still are not too accurate even after they have split up the recommendations by genre. This last set of recommendations struck me as so far off base that it was comical.
On occasion I will sit on one end of the couch and Watch Instantly while Donna sits on the other end and watches TV. This past weekend as I perused the available titles I noticed one that stirred something in the deep recesses of my pea-sized male brain — Naked Ambition. It is a documentary about a photographer that wants to shoot a coffee table book about the porn industry. He travels to the AVN Awards (Porn’s version of the Academy Awards) and photographs actors, producers, fans and sex toy makers. The name of the book is “An R-Rated Look at an X-Rated Industry” and the movie, like the book, feature nudity, but no actual pornography and turned out to be quite interesting.
When I was done watching I rated the movie 3 Stars meaning I liked it and this is what the screen flipped to:
Thomas the Tank Engine? Blues Clues? To the left of them it is asking how often I watched Steamy and/or Social & Cultural Docs. Is that what they consider Thomas the Tank Engine, Steamy? Blues Clues is a Social Documentary?
Since we last had a working stove. Well, it took us a week to finally order a new one and then there was an aborted delivery attempt, so I guess I really can.
We ordered an oven temperature sensor from the local parts house, but when I picked it up, the conversation with the guy behind the counter (who has been in the business a long time) said he’d sell it to me, but told me I was wasting my money as he had never seen one that ohm’d out good be the problem. He said that it probably was going to be the clock board, AKA brain, and if I had one version of my model of the stove I could get a new board for $305 and if I had the other version, well, they didn’t make that part anymore.
We thought about buying a new stove from the new appliance part of their business, but never did get around there to do it. We ended up at the Home Depot around the corner from our house for 2 reasons. 1) It is just around the corner from us and 2) if we went to Kroger (right next door to the Home Depot that is right around the corner from us) we could buy a $500 gift card and get double points to use to knock a buck off a gallon of gas at the Kroger filling station (that is just around the corner from the Kroger store that is right next door to the Home Depot that is right around the corner from us.) By some fluke they were offering quadruple points, so now we have two separate fill-ups where we will get a buck off a gallon of the price of gas.
We were supposed to have it delivered on Wednesday, but when they called they said that delivery would occur between 1:30 and 5:30, so I called to re-schedule because we had a haircut appointment right after work and we couldn’t take a chance on missing it. The time frame could not be adjusted, but I could change the day. The next available delivery was Friday (today) between 5 and 9 PM.
Funny thing happened on that Wednesday after work. We showed up at the hairdresser’s place and the door was locked, the lights were out and there were 2nd and final delivery notices from FedEx stuck to the door. Huh? When we got back in the car to drive home Donna checked her calendar and discovered that we weren’t supposed to be there until the next day, Thursday. Then it came back to us, Sheri had asked us to change the day at our last appointment back in May because she was going to be on vacation. Crap, could have had the stove yesterday.
Inaugural meal prepared on our new range — pizza.
We went on a Georgia Geocaching run today. We needed to check on our cache in Santa Claus because of a recent DNF and while we were out, take a route to capture 4 nearby counties of Georgia’s 159 total.
Neither one of us could figure out how we had hid a cache in Toombs county (Santa Claus) without having a find there. So our first stop of the day was to change that. We found LIFE’S A GAME, HAVE FUN! in a park in the town of Lyons. Next stop was to check on the DNF’d cache. Usually one person not finding a cache is not a concern, but the folks who couldn’t find it had over 1,600 finds, so they probably should have found it. The cache was right where we put it last December. That’s the thing with geocaching, no matter how many you have found, you can still get stumped by an occasional easy one.
In some of these small rural counties pickings can be slim, so we only had a total of 11 caches on our list along the route through all 4 counties. One county only has two caches total and we really started sweating badly after we DNF’d the first one we attempted. It was all I could do to talk Donna into looking for the second one because in is #2 on our Most Hated Style Hide List, the guardrail magnetic (the lamp post skirt hide is #1.) We had kind of a rough day, 4 finds and 3 DNFs, but we made the four count, one in each of the counties we wanted.
I don’t know exactly how many miles we traveled today, because I didn’t reset an odometer, but the Google Maps loop I did last night said 268 miles. When we got in the Purple Whale this morning the nifty miles to empty meter read just over 250 miles and the gas gauge was reading one segment over half a tank. We figured we might have to buy a gallon or two of gas in Georgia so we could make it back to the Kroger in Aiken to take advantage of the $1 a gallon off we earned by buying a stove. As the day wore on it looked more and more like we might make it home without having to pay the higher price for gas in Georgia.
We figured we were home free when the miles to empty read 80 miles and the sign said Augusta 41 because Aiken is only, at most 25 miles from Augusta. When the low fuel light came on as we entered the southern part of Augusta I was unconcerned as I figured that meant we had a couple gallons left which was more than enough to make it back. At about 5 miles from Kroger, the Miles To Empty display flat-lined. The last number I remember seeing was 38 a few miles back. We were right near a gas station, briefly considered pulling in, but didn’t. Let’s summarize: the low fuel light has been one awhile, the Miles to Empty display is blank and now the last LCD segment of the gas gauge has started blinking. Visions of the car stalling at the very last light before Kroger were taking form in my mind.
Well, we did make it the Kroger, even waited for a pump to free up with the car still running. I filled the tank with 17.5 gallons of gas and it cost $38.38 or $2.19 per. We had traveled 502.5 miles on that 17.5 gallons so since the last fill up the Sonata got 28.7 MPG. While I was outside filling the tank Donna was inside trying to see exactly how much the car’s tank would hold, turns out it is 18.49 gallons. All that worry about running out of gas and I could have traveled over 28 more miles. As long as all 18–1/2 gallons are usable…
Last Friday when I posted about the stove, the last line “Inaugural meal prepared on our new range — pizza.” was going to have a link to the Home Depot page of the range. But when I went to the page for it I came away shocked, we had bought the stove on Sunday the 19th and on Tuesday the 21st it went on sale for $101 less.
Donna called the store and spoke to someone in appliances who told her that all we had to do was bring in the receipt within 30 days and they would refund the difference. Saturday morning we headed into HD with our paperwork and a print out of the web page showing the new price. The first person we spoke to at the service desk was unsure of what to do, but a person who seemed to be in charge or at least more knowledgeable arrived, heard our story, said so & so will take care of you and disappeared into the office. So & so got part way through the process and then stopped stumped. She hailed over person number 4. This person said, “Oh we aren’t supposed to do that.” We planted our heels and Donna said, “Well, the person I spoke to in the Appliance Department last night said we could.” “Who?”, she asked. “Didn’t get a name,” Donna countered.
She chewed her cheek for a while with her fingers hovering above the keyboard, before saying, “Follow me.” We went over to the Returns Desk where she refunded us the cost of what we paid, then sold us the stove again at the sale price and gave us the difference back on a store gift card (a different one from what we used to buy the thing, so now we have two.)
If we had been turned down for getting the sale price, we were going to borrow a pickup from a friend and return the darn thing, telling them it didn’t work or something. Then take the money and go buy a new one at the sales price, even if we would have to wait another week for the 2nd stove to be delivered.
Our good buddy Greg decided that his special mid-life crisis car needed one more little special touch, a sort of cherry on top if you will. A personalized license plate. The South Carolina DMV doesn’t have anyway to check and see if a particular plate is available, so you have to pick three options, pay your money (only $30) and take a chance. Greg got his first choice, GETOPLES.
The first day he drove the car to work with his new plate on, one of The Valve Store’s™ many Robs came back and asked him what “gee-tōp-els” meant in Greek. He was of course kidding, but Greg missed it and tried to explain that it meant Get Topless because it was on a convertible, topless top-down. Yeah, we got it Greg.
In my quest to prevent door dings by parking way out or way to one side of the parking lot has its downside, like the sacrificial anodes used to protect deep sea oil rigs from corroding away, the poor wheels of the Sonata forfeit their beauty. I curbed a wheel parking yesterday. Not just any old wheel either, but the same one I scraped the day after we bought the car. Was I lucky enough to hit the wheel in the same spot? No, of course not, I blemished a different 3 to 4 inches of the edge.
I guess the only thing left to do now to even things out is to keep hitting that same wheel until I have scraped the entire circumference of the rim.
If when you read the title of this post, the first thing you thought of was Britney Spears, shame on you, Louie Armstrong did it first way back in 1932 — Oops I Did It Again!.