Thursday, December 8, 2011

Plaid Nightmare

A kid asked me, "Why are you wearing pajamas?" and I foolishly tried to explain that there was an era when these pants were worn commonly. But I really sounded like an asshole.

Darkness on The Edge on Night

When I work on cars I like to listen to The Boss. He puts it all in perspective, that I'm part of a long line of historical nobodies who find quiet contentment in replacing worn rotors and plugs and piston rings and ignition coils and swapping out parts only to find that the parts weren't broken to begin with or else they were the wrong parts to replace. It's paying dues and since I don't trust mechanics to work on my vehicle and not charge me to jerk off or buy premium parts when there is no reason to do so, then I have no alternative as long as I own a car or van. I'm not an overpaid flim flam stock analyst; I value my money. Overcharge someone else!

The 1974 Vespa Ciao moped I ride is a different story because there is hardly anyone else but me who can work on it. I own the only flywheel puller on this side of the Mississippi. And after a long day of starving and racing around like a madman fixing cars and vans in the rain then I like to listen to Bruce sing his highway song to the wrench monkeys of the world, the men who have small dreams and broken egos. We are the mechanics and we are lonely but our sadness lubricates the rusted bolts of our mendacity.

Shoe Soup

Last night was a hard one. Despite the triumphs over the Grand Marquis ignition problems I forgot to eat or gather wood so I was fucked until I remembered the great Labrador shoe soup recipe that I learned. Gather old shoes. Fortunately, I have two pairs that spent 5-7 years on Oggy Feet before succumbing to the wear of Mexican dirt roads. I've been using the leather to repair my wounded ego and seats and guitar case. But, there is a little bit of flesh in the leather and if you boil the leather and  season to taste....

...then you get a delicious soup. I had a nice meal before playing Honeysuckle Rose and then closing all the windows because the storm shook the van like a Labrador Nor'easter.

Ignition Coil

Left one misfired at 1000rpm. Right one saved the day
This is what an ignition coil looks like. It's $20 from rockauto...not $86 from ripoff mechanics. And my spark plug cost $1 and not $9. The labor was tricky because I didn't have the pleasure of a warm garage and good lighting and it was pouring freezing rain on my plaid pants and I'd never seen an ignition coil before this but I still got it done in less time than a mechanic would charge. My feeling is that it costs time and money to learn how to do these things yourself but it costs time and money to get ripped off by mechanics. Old mom's advice applies: "Education is expensive, but ignorance is more expensive."
The hardest part was getting the spark plug out of the hole without letting the acorn bits and mouse nest shavings fall into the cylinder and clog the valves. I used a non-magnetic socket so the plug kept falling out. I didn't have any rubber hose to use so I stuck a piece of packing tape off the box into the socket and it was enough to wedge the plug in there so I could take it out.
Then it was off to Autozone where I cleared the misfire code on their diagnostic machine and the Grand Marquis is now running like a champ. I had three people come up to me to buy crack and they were baffled that I would be driving such a pimped out car and not sell crack.
"Don't you got no whores, neither?" they asked as they scratched their pock-marked faces.
"What the fuck that shit on the radio?"
"Burt Bacharach. The Look of Love box set. Want me to turn it up?"
"You fucking queer?"
"Naw. You know how long it took me to fix the ignition coil in this car?"
"Get away!"
And I was off into the rainy night to look for wood at Motorbikes plus but their pallets had all been disposed of and I had no wood and ended up under the railroad bridge digging up railroad ties to burn with creosote coating my lungs. So, you can add that to the list of "Only Homeless Person I know who..." wears Ray Ban sunglasses, shops at Philbricks, Drives a Grand Marquis, Quibbles over Steak Sauce brands, idolizes Hermann Hesse and builds semiconductor cable harnesses...and plays Honeysuckle Rose on the piano at the old folks home. I'm raising the bar on homelessness.

Air Compressor

Running low on air in my tires so instead of spending a quarter to pay for air I attempted to rebuild the air compressor that was hanging out in the trunk of the Grand Marquis.

 IT turns out that the motor is burned out. The bearing work and the pison compresses air and the compressor holds air but the motor itself will not activate the drive shaft. Chinese crap wins again and Oggy has no air in his tires still.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.