Friday, July 06, 2007

Up and Running x2

After quite a bit of time spent dealing with Broken Stuff, I'm happy to say that all the major conveniences in my life are working again:

I gots mobility. I was hoping not to have to post anything Kevmobile-related again after my recent adventures of a few weeks ago, but I pretty much had a Bad Car Week from Sunday until yesterday:
  • SUNDAY: The car does a weird thing on the way to my alumni meeting--the speedometer and tachometer suddenly went to zero while I was driving. There were no further issues until about five minutes after my meeting, when it sputtered to a halt at a four-way stop. Thanks to a helpful local police officer who "bumped" me out of the intersection into a less-busy lane, I was able to make enough space for a nearby friend to come give me a jump.

    Still, i was bewildered by all this, because the alternator was two weeks old and the battery maybe five weeks. But I limped along the service road to the local outpost of the chain which had sold me my battery. Sure enough, it was dead; the old alternator had probably killed it. Replaced it, went on my merry way in about 20 minutes.

  • MONDAY: No issues. Yay.

  • TUESDAY: Most of the day went fine, until I followed a friend home after dinner (so he wouldn't have to drive anymore that night after taking pain meds for his wisdom teeth). Upon leaving his house, the car made a rather sputtery noise while starting, and then it was Sunday all over again, on steroids: Speedometer zeroing out while in motion, dash lights and headlights browning out. Fortunately, another friend with a car was there to follow us back from dessert. Car dies again; we take it to the battery place and leave it for the morning.

  • WEDNESDAY: The Fourth. Battery place is open. They check it out, discover some sort of electrical problem. Electrical place is a small business that's not open on holidays. Bum rides off friends to fireworks.

  • YESTERDAY: Get car towed to electrical place in driving rainstorm. It takes an hour and a half of troubleshooting to find out that the new alternator from a few weeks ago was never completely tightened when it was installed. Cables that should have been taut were flapping around, etc. Wish I'd been able to take it to the original place to begin with, but the car never had the common decency to break down close to home this time. Hopefully, this saga is over for quite a while.
I also need to rant a bit about the experience with the wrecker, the driver of which was undoubtedly the least competent at his craft of anyone I'd ever employed for such a task. Besides an obvious language barrier (I think he may have been from Pakistan or India?), this guy (let's call him Genius) didn't seem to follow directions well and seemed unable to drive faster than 20 mph, even when my car was no longer attached to his truck. My friend and I were supposed to lead him from Point A to Point B, but--despite having given him what we thought was ample space to pull out on the service road, Genius was nowhere to be found; we had to pull over twice just so he could catch up with us. When we got to the garage (after he missed it and was about to drop the car off at the wrong place across the street), it took him a good ten minutes to back the car into the open bay (he tried to put it both in the occupied one and between the two bays at first). Even the garage owner, who's probably seen hundreds of wrecker drivers over the years, agreed that Genius was perhaps the worst he'd ever seen. I was glad to air my views when AAA called a bit later for feedback.

I gots cable. You may recall that I haven't had cable TV for two weeks, starting at the exact time that my new entertainment cabinets had been completed. This was the first day that someone could come out to look at the line (which originated at some unknown place in the wall as opposed to being screwed into the actual outlet).

The guy showed up five hours early (!) and was in and out in twenty minutes. It turns out that the outlet was attached to a line after all, but it was a poor-quality line that only fed basic cable (I have expanded). He made a new line come out of the outlet, hid the other line in the wall, and voilĂ --all my channels are back. The cabinets are finally in position, the mess off the floor is stowed away, and things are back to normal--all in time for the Tour this weekend.

That didn't iTake very long: Hackers are already close to unlocking the iPhone. Also, some consumers and advocates are mad about Apple's battery-replacement program for the phone.

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