Thursday, February 24, 2011

Turbo! The 80's gift to locomotion. Prego! some tomcat's gift to me!

Ladies and gentlemen... Bad news. The Buick is not doing so good. She needs either a new engine or to have her engine rebuilt. I will eventually get to that, but in the mean time, I need a dang way to get to work.

I know what you are thinking, "Nick! You have so many awesome vehicles! Can't you just take a different one to work?"

The answer, "Yes I can... but most of the reasonable and practical ways I have to get to work are also disassembled with all their nubile bits all over the shop in boxes." (it happens) None of them are a weekend a way from drivable to work.

Obviously the answer lays on Craig's list! Maybe there is another cheap boat that I can roll. They are in every back yard around here!

Well, indeed there were many cheap boats that I could roll... unfortunately I got distracted by a car that I had never in my life considered actually driving myself. Actually I had mostly considered the drivers of such cars total asshats.

But before we get into that, let me tell you about my past relationship with turbos. When I was five years old, my mom got a 1986 Subaru XT Coupe Turbo. I remember this car because as far as my little five year old brain could tell, my mom drove a goddamn space ship! It was tiny, it had 4 wheel drive, it was gloss black like Darth Vader's face, and it had a TURBO! Now as a five year old, I didn't get to actually drive that car but I do remember being in the back seat with my brother going to school. I also remember begging my mom to punch the turbo so that I would get flung back in my seat and feel the G's of speed! (The 30 year old version of my mother didn't take much encouragement from my brother and I to max perform that car.)

A drawing I did of my mom's Subaru XT Coupe Turbo. Notice the pop up headlights!

This is how every morning went until I turned 8 and started walking to school.

"Mom! Hit the TURBO!!!!!!"


"HUACKEEEUUUGGHGH" <----this all="" back="" br="" brother="" him.="" in="" is="" me="" my="" next="" of="" over="" seat="" sound="" strapped="" the="" throwing="" tightly="" to="" up="" with="">
Imagine puke visible in the back windows... I am surprised I didn't draw it that way originally.

Either way, my 5-8 year old mornings were filled with the awesomeness of Turbos and the smell of freshly upchucked cheerios, still AWESOME!

Fast forward 10 years. My mom still had the same car and was teaching me to drive with it. By then the turbo was long seized and the little four cylinder was very tired. Very unimpressive as far as a driving experience. I pretty much didn't think anything of turbos. Sort of an ancient oddity but no real value in a car.

Oddly enough, I have realized that I hadn't ever driven a turbo car since the XT Coupe... until just this last weekend.

HOLY MOTHERFUCK! I don't see why everything on the planet doesn't come turbocharged to include underpants and asparagus! Turbos are awesome!

So... this brings us back to modern day Craig's list. The car that I had previously poo-pooed as for asshats was the Porsche 944. Porsches in general, but especially that model. Anyways, I was looking around and I saw a few for sale. For some reason I started reading more and more about them. I really was in the mood for something reasonable in the automotive department. Nothing like driving to work each day across the great plains in sub freezing temperatures on a motorcycle to have you looking at 1995 Sedan DeVilles and 1997 Lincoln Towncars! I started thinking less about 60's cars and started thinking about things like heaters, radios, water tightness... etc. Weak sauce shit I know. As I started thinking about the Porsches I started thinking I could have it all! "It all" being warmth, reliability, speed, and fuel efficiency. Obviously a late eighties Porsche (please pronounce the silent E on the end) was the answer!

I test drove one from craig's list. Holy Christfuck it is fast. I have no doubt it is the fastest car I have ever driven in my life.  (It had some upgrades as it turned out... chips and other go fast items.)

Now I have a 88 Porsche 944 Turbo as my reliable car.

The turbo is insane. The way it works is you drive it around town and it feels pretty much like an 88 ford Escort. (Conveniently I drew one of these in my sketch book when I was 6 as well.) The four cylinders power it around like you are propelled by rabbit farts. Then you put the peddle down and it is like you are being smacked in the back of the head by a cricket bat!

Have you ever plucked a booger out of your nose, and flicked it across the room? Well drive this and you will know what that booger feels like is like in person! ZAPP!



Put it this way, I will now scavenge every turbo out of ever car I find with one in a junkyard ever for life!

I am planning to turbocharge my hot water heater this weekend...

In other news, that cool cat is getting fat really fast. Like, Really FAT! I know that mice are probably very nutritious, but I am starting to think that that hippy dude gave me a pregnant cat!

I am in the midst of teaching Artemis the Cat to use the toilet, because lets face it, litter boxes are basically a gross box of shit. If I spend 2 weeks teaching this cat to shit in the toilet I will have gotten rid of the biggest problem of pet ownership. (Fecal matter for those of you not following well enough to guess what I meant as the biggest problem.)

Anyways... I hope those kittens will be nimble on toilet seats or good swimmers because fuck litter boxes!

Fuck, new personal low! I am blogging about a cat.

I'll redeem myself by demonstrating how cool I was when I was five! Check out this bitch'n bobtail semi tractor! (Must have been on a road trip.)

This is what my six year old self thought driving would be like! Don't mind the backwards nines, look at the smile! I am pretty sure I am driving a Subaru XT Coupe with a missile launcher on the front.

What my parent's house looked like when I was ten years old.

This was actually on the adjacent page about to bomb my house... pictured previously.

A ship passing behind a tree.

Also, I seem to have had a Statue of Liberty fetish when I was 5... I have pages and pages of drawing of her.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Buick trama brings felion manifestation of Artemis: I now have a roommate.

"So there I was," driving back from Albuquerque last weekend in the trusty blue Buick. I had had some overheating problems, but they seemed to be fixed so I didn't think twice about the trip home. Unfortunately the Buick did...

I was just past Morriarty, New Mexico when the shit totally hit the fan. And by shit, I mean all my coolant. The weather that day was basically wind swept tundra blizzard. Not appealing to be stuck on the side of the road in any way shape of form. Instead of becoming a damsel in distress, I decided I should nurse it to the next exit and do some motor surgery in a gas station parking lot there. The engine continued to overheat but still was moving so I kept going. I got to an exit ramp and rolled off it. The engine was starting to lug and make clattery noises. Just as I got to the stop sign at the top of the exit ramp, it clattered and then everything was totally silent... except for the snow filled wind blowing across the plains.

Well at least I made it to the exit right? Unfortunately I looked around an there seemed to be nothing but an abandoned Route 66 motel and bar. I was just as fucked here as I would have been on the freeway. I monkeyed around with the car trying to get it back in running order... but I wasn't able to effect anything. I did manage to nicely drain my battery. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I was fucked and needed to call for help.

Cell phones are magical!

A friend of mine agreed to come pick me up so that at least I would get to work the next day on time. It was still almost 3 hours away so I would have to abandon the car where it was. The Buick right now was beyond repair in that location in that weather. Knowing he was on his way I did the only sensible thing and curled up on the bench seat to take a nap. I did for about 2 hours... when I got a phone call. Basically he said that the free way was closed for snow and he couldn't get to me. Well shit... He had talked to the state patrol and asked them to come check on me. Shortly after he hung up, the state patrol did indeed come and knock on my window.

I talked to him for a while... mostly about weather. As I was talking to him I turned and saw that the abandoned old bar was now totally filled with big rig trucks. I had checked earlier, but it had been closed so I asked what was going on? He said, "well that there is a titty bar! Maybe you should just go hang out there..."

Always one to follow advice from a figure of authority, I did just what the cop suggested.

Holy shit! I happened to break down next to a strip club? I am a lucky SOB!

So I find the door and go in!

To call it a strip club is quite an exaggeration. It is really a bar where some old ladies stand around mostly naked... except that it was not a very well heated building, so they wore tennis shoes, panties, gloves, a coat, and knit hat. I sat down at the bar and ordered a beer and the guy next to me asked if I was Bulgarian.

Not that I know of.

Turns out this guy was Ukrainian! After taking about 30 seconds to expend all the conversational Russian I remember (Mostly How to order beer and "don't hitting tree") we talked about Ukraine, women, beer, women, cars, women, pool, women... etc. It turns out that just that day that guy had defleshed his finger with his wedding ring. As he was jumping down from his truck, he caught the ring on his mirror and it pulled the finger flesh right off like he was taking off a sock. He stuffed it back onto his naked bones and then drove himself 50 miles to the hospital. They sewed it back together... but he decided to take it easy the rest of the day and just drove to this bar to park in the lot here.

Very reasonable.

About this time we found out that the high way was opening back up and that one of the dudes from work would be driving buy soon and I could catch a ride back with him.

So I did. Very anti-climactic given where the evening had the potential to end up. Here I was in a bar full of truckers and ladies of the night completely trapped from the rest of civilization. I was one twist of supernatural away from "Dusk Till Dawn" and instead I got a long ride home to a cold dark garage where it turns out my hot water heater had shit it self.


No hot water, it was well below zero in here, my best car was dead on the side of the road becoming a lump in the snow bank, and I had missed out on a night of fighting vampires. On top of all that I had work in the morning and no reasonable way to get there. Damn it. And I was going to have to go to bed and work smelling like smoky trucker titty bar.

There are worse things.

In the morning I decided to take my most reasonable method of my unreasonable methods of transportation to work, (my 1954 Chevy 2 Ton flat bed truck) only to find that someone had stolen the gas out of it while I had been gone.

This was all very un-Dude!

Anyways, over the course of the week i manage to learn all about water heaters by disassembling and rebuilding mine, which was kind of fun. On Saturday my buddy from work that had attempted to come get me in the snow and I went up with a trailer to drag home the corpse of the Buick. Success on that front.

Today, I was attempting to resurrect the Buick out in my front gravel area. Things were going well enough... still no final prognosis but things are looking good for at least a few thousand more miles on this engine.

So while I was out working on the Buick, my hippy neighbor dude rolls in to say hi. (He also drives a 76 Buick Electra just like mine so there was some automatic grandfalooning from the start.) Obviously he was sad to hear about mine, but offered a lot of advice anyways. As we were standing here in the shop, he noticed that there were quite a few mice running around.

(Yea... while I was gone the last few weeks mice moved in and took the place over. There were empty beer cans and pizza boxes everywhere from one of their parties and they didn't clean up at all. The little bastards even ate all my spaghetti right out of the box!) I liked the mice when there was only two of them and I only saw them if I was really quiet and watched for them. Then they were cool. It got to the point they were ordering pay-per-view on my credit card. Things were out of hand.

So my hippy neighbor says. "Hey man... I got this cool cat man. I didn't want it but my lady friend brought it over cause she knows I am like a cat whisperer or something and she didn't want it to get hit in the road. I don't know if she mouses, but you can have her if you want."

Why not. I would rather have one cat roommate than on hundred billion mice roommates. Worst case: I am cleaning one more animal's poop out of my living area... best case: I am only cleaning one animal's poop out of my living area!

So it turns out the cat is awesome and cuddly. Still I don't know if she is a mouser cat. I let her go in the shop and then went back to working on the Buick. When I came back in a few minutes later I went to say hi and make sure she wasn't to spazed out by the move. I couldn't find her.

Suddely I hear a fight going on in the wall!


This little barely more than a kitten had crawled into the mouse hole after them and was fighting them all inside the wall.

To say that she mouses would be like saying Babe Ruth played baseball.

After HOUR five of continuous prowling of my shop, I asked her her name... Turns out it is Artemis.