Monday, 28 May 2012

Adventure

So this was the big weekend.  The weekend Jen's been prepping and stressing over for approximately 6 months.  The weekend that would forever convince Jen never to agree to being a bridesmaid again.  The plan was Jen would take off Wednesday night for Ottawa and then spend the next 4 days worrying about schedules and flowers and how she was going to manage to breathe in her bridesmaid dress. 

A key part of this plan was the ole CeR-Vix.  We had gotten the trooper out of storage, put insurance on it, and made sure no rodents had gotten into the wiring.  Yup, it all seemed good to go.  One weekend was all we needed out of the greying soldier.  Surely it could give us just this one weekend?

Of course not.  Jen called me Thursday night from a restaurant to say she was pretty sure the transmission was going to blow up.  I made a skilled diagnosis of "low transmission fluid" over the phone and Jen limped back to my parents. 

Friday, I took the day off and headed up towards Ottawa.  Jen called as she and my dad tried figuring out where the tranny dipstick was and how exactly to get more fluid into the tranny.  They confirmed that there was definitely some fluid that had gone missing and they topped it up.  A test drive confirmed the problem had been resolved.

So, on I drove.  Happy that everything had been put right again.  For two hours.  Then Jen called again and said that the transmission was acting up again and this time there was a big puddle of transmission fluid in front of the bride's sister's house where she was parked.  Back she limped to my parent's house to trade for my mom's car and then off to her rehearsal.

Finally I make it to Ottawa.  I give the CeR-Vix a dirty look and head straight inside for a beer.  Further automotive work would have to wait for Saturday.  In the meantime I pondered all the possible leak points in an all-wheel drive, automatic transmission and the potential repair costs associated with each location.  More often than not, I came up with an imaginary repair bill that exceeded the projected resale value of the car itself.  I then started looking into automotive recycling options.  500 bucks was the limit.  Anything that was going to cost more than that, meant the end of the line for my faithful old CeR-Vix.

Saturday morning, I grimly set about the task of determining the source of the transmission leak and, ultimately, the fate of my once trusty sidekick.

A quick peak around the underside showed fluid had managed to cover quite a large area of the lower surfaces.  Thankfully, though, the areas around the drive shafts and flywheel joint were dry as could be.  The leak might actually be in a location I could fix myself!

More snooping around and I found some external fluid lines running to a tranny cooler I didn't even know the car came with.  And a filter.  An old, rusted out, in-line filter between the cooler and the transmission.  Son of a bitch.  I could just pop that filter out and join the lines and I'd be done!

Now, I want to take a moment from this, already too long, story to point out that I am an engineer.  And I am familiar with the design process and how critical compromise is when developing a new design.  But this familiarity does little to appease the rage that consumes me when my knuckles run smack dab into one of those compromises.

When placing a filter in a fluid circuit, you have to think whether this is going to be a serviceable item or an item that will perform it's function capably over the projected life of the vehicle.  If it's option 1, then the fucking thing should be accessible.  If it's option 2, then the fucking thing should be shielded from road and salt spray.  Honda made the curious decision to make this item both inaccessible for removal by any adult sized hands or tools and yet completely exposed to the road below.

Up until this point I have always spoken highly of Honda's vehicles.  Even though their disc brakes are shit, I had always found everything else in the two Honda's I've owned to be clean and simple and well thought out.  Until Saturday.  Oh, how I fucking cursed the Honda name.  I left litres of blood and yards of skin in and around the engine compartment of that fucking CR-V.  No more clever name for this pile of crap.  I spent almost the entire day getting that old filter out of there and had to go to Canadian Tire TWICE on the same Saturday that all of Ottawa decided to visit the Kanata Canadian Tire location.

I was pissed.

But I got it fixed.  For a total of $30 in parts and fluid.  Yes, the CR-V would live to see another day.  And that day would be Sunday. 

The original plan was that Jen was staying until Monday and I was driving back Sunday.  With the CR-V fixed the plan could continue but, obviously, I would be driving back the Honda.  This incident had painted the car with suspicion.  What else had corroded under that hood?

Apparently, the A/C lines.  No air conditioning.  Brutal.  And then a tractor trailer caught on fire and closed down the 401.  Awesome.

By the time I got home, I was one grumpy critter.  But, mechanically, the CR-V held together.  Things definitely could have gone worse.  Jen could have been stranded on the 401 on the way up to Ottawa.  I eventually calmed down and was able to see these silver linings.

So, if anybody is curious, the CR-V is still kicking but I think it might connect with a bucket sooner rather than later.

Monday, 21 May 2012

What's TBone Watching?

I seem to be caught in a Victoria Day marathon of a show called My House Your Money.  Probably the worst real estate related show on TV.  And I can't seem to turn it off.  The whole concept seems to be well off parents going house hunting with their privileged offspring and trying to agree on whether the parents will buy the $350,000 house in the suburbs or the $400,000 downtown condo for their precious children.  It's a good dose of rage to hear some simpering little shit demand that his/her parents must buy them a house with granite countertops.  I better stop watching soon or I'll be into the scotch before noon.

AVENGERS!

Awesome movie.  Awesome, awesome, awesome.  The ultimate summer popcorn movie.  Didn't have high expectations for it at all.  With all the build up and the teasers in the previous Marvel movies, I didn't think it could be anything but a mess trying to jam all those action stars into one movie. 

But I was wrong.  I don't think all the "explanation" scenes will hold up on a second viewing but the action and humour more than make up for it.  Iron Man gets most of the good one-liners, which makes up for Iron Man 2, and the Hulk pretty much steals the movie, which makes up for that Ed Norton mess.  I was a big fan of the Eric Bana/Ang Lee Hulk, but I think this is now the best Hulk movie ever made.  He's not on screen a lot but when he is, he owns the movie.  Fantastic.

There's one scene with the Hulk and the main bad guy.  I knew it was coming, I knew what was going to happen, but when it happened I still laughed my ass off.  Joss Whedon did an amazing job, as he usually does, in weaving the comic moments throughout the action.

Highly recommended for a rare movie theatre visit.  It's a big movie and it should be viewed on as big a screen as possible.  If you do go to see it, stay past the star credits for the obligatory Marvel "surprise" bonus scene but then stay through the entire main credits for a scene that is entirely Whedon.  Seriously, it is worth the wait.  Jen and I were two of only 6 people who stayed right to the end.

It is such a fun movie, that I'm worried it may have ruined The Dark Knight Rises for me.  It's going to be a bit of a downer after this thrill ride.  We shall see.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

TBone's Movie of the Week

I'm pretty sure my reaction was the same as everybody else's when they heard that there was going to be a modern day movie remake of 21 Jump Street.  Complete and total disgust.  Another remake?  Please.  And am I wrong or was 21 Jump Street really not that popular when it was on TV.  I knew that it was a show that existed at the time but I don't recall anybody ever saying "Holy shit, I have to get home.  21 Jump Street is on in 20 minutes!"

Then I heard that it was going to star Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.  Seriously?  Yah, I was going to take a serious pass on this one.  The trailers only confirmed my suspicions that this was going to be a bomb of epic proportions.

And then the reviews came out.  And they were glowing?!?  How could I have totally misread this film?  I had to see it to gauge how out of step I might be with my current sources of criticality.  Perhaps I would need to change up the movie podcast selection.

But they were right.  Against all odds, this is a frigging hilarious movie.  And even more surprising was the fact that Channing Tatum is an extremely good comedic actor.  I never expected the star of Step Up and Step Up 2: The Streets, to amount to anything but hard body eye candy for the ladies that watch shite like Dear John and The Vow.  I was shocked at how many more laughs he delivered than anybody else in a solid comedy where everybody was stepping up with some great lines.

Definitely recommend this movie.  I think it's the hardest I've laughed since the Hangover.  Heads up for an awesome cameo and, if at all possible, drop some acid before the ending credits role.

What's TBone Watching?

Right now, I'm watching a computer monitor at work.  Stupid work.  But I thought I'd recap what's been going on, tv-wise, since we finished The Good Wife.  After The Good Wife, we moved on to Breakout Kings.  I mentioned this before, solid, entertaining show.  It can be a bit contrived and more than a bit violent but a surprisingly fun way to kill an hour.  There's only been 2 seasons and I was really worried they were falling into the lazy writing trope of giving the show a Moriarty-like arch nemesis.  This has ruined shows like Criminal Minds and Castle and Mentalist.  The arch villain who is capable of anything and has taken a personal interest in our protagonist(s) but always seems to elude capture.  I don't need this.  Just shut up and do the weekly bit that made me like your show to begin with.  But I was relieved to see how Breakout Kings resolved the nemesis situation.  Very well done.  I recommend it.

So, after Breakout Kings we started combing Netflix for other shows.  On Netflix's recommendation, we then started watching Kidnapped.  One season, 13 episodes, and apparently it aired on NBC in 2007.  I don't remember even hearing about the show when it aired.  It's no wonder it didn't get renewed.  A terrible show.  Terrible.  It stars Jeremy Sisto and Delroy Lindo as the anti-hero and hero, respectively, who go about trying to recover a kidnapped boy, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!  I like these two though.  They gave me hope early on.  But any hope they offered was crushed by the presence of one Dana Delany.  I seriously don't know how she keeps getting work.  She has the worst screen presence.  I've hated her since China Beach.  Admittedly, the writing doesn't help her out in this go around.  And the kids, my god I wanted to punch each of these three whiny little shits.  The middle kid is the one who gets kidnapped but I really wished they'd all been taken and set adrift in an air-tight sea container.  There's some fun in spotting all the character actors in this show and figuring out where you'd seen them before without resorting to imdb.  But overall, skip this one.

And now we're on Leverage.  Timothy Hutton stars in this one (as well as Kidnapped) and that made me wary.  But it seems to be a goofy fun kind of show.  More along the lines of Burn Notice but, tragically, without any Bruce Campbell.  Kind of rough around the edges but there's 4 seasons of episodes and a 5th season starting this summer, so hopefully things smooth out as we progress.

Season finales have been going off all over the place, so hopefully Netflix gets some deals worked out soon so there's something to watch this summer besides the friggin summer olympics.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Blech

Days like this, just fill me with regret.  Why?  Why did I never get that professional minesweeper league up and running?

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

R.I.P. Junior Seau

Stunned.  Apparently Junior Seau took his own life this morning.  A legendary linebacker and only 43 years old.  So much more he could have done with his life.  So sad he felt it needed to end now.

BREAKING NEWS!

I could absolutely murder a Monster right now.  Trapped in this stupid building that has no Monster in the stupid vending machine.  And I'm pretty sure ALL the coffee is decaf, not just the stuff labelled decaf.  Dang it.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

What's TBone Not Watching?

The apocalyptic mash-up of Hawaii Five-O and NCIS: Los Angeles.  I only know that this is happening because I was a little slow on the DVR's fast forward button and got a full on blast of Global jizzing about this cross over "event" like it was Montana's 49'ers taking on Bradshaw's Steelers.

I can only hope this is one last desperate attempt to revive the ratings of two of the worst atrocities that can be found on television this side of Toddlers & Tiaras.