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Another chance to let my mind wander free…
This week has been dull. I keep telling myself I’m going to get motivated to get out and get active on the weekends, but I always end up staying inside. I think I’m going to have to do something about it if I’m going to get anywhere.
However, I guess that’s not entirely true. I went to work on the iFixit LeMons car again this past Saturday and then went out with friends later that night. So I suppose I am getting out. It just feels like I don’t for some reason…
Next weekend we’ll be taking the car to Button Willow Raceway so I and the other newbie drivers can learn how to drive on a real race track. It’ll be the first test of the car’s integrity as we’ll be driving it both Saturday and Sunday. I’m excited and nervous to get out on an open track. The only experience I’ve had going fast was on the 55 freeway going 120 mph in my ’88 Supra during mid-morning traffic when I was 16. But don’t tell anyone.
Now I get a chance to do it the right way. Not the way I have to feel bad about for the rest of my life, but the right way. Big difference.
In fact, much of my experience in SLO has been just that. Doing things the right way as opposed to the wrong, stupid, or irresponsible way. I feel more in control of my life in a lot of ways. Other ways, not so much, but those are mostly leftovers from having done things the wrong way for so long. I’ll turn it around. I just have to keep my head up and put one foot in front of the other.
I work at iFixit, the online repair manual creator and parts/tool retailer in San Luis Obispo, California. It’s a pretty sweet gig; the people are cool, the atmosphere is relaxed, and we get a lot of flexibility in our lives. One of the projects we’re working on is building a race car for the 24 Hours of LeMons competition in March at Infineon Raceway.
It’s pretty exciting for someone who doesn’t really have much hands-on experience with the mechanics of cars. I’ve installed a few car stereos, speakers, and subwoofers myself, but never had the confidence to touch any of the engine components.
A couple of Saturdays ago, I replaced the clutch on the 1992 Volvo 240 wagon. Well, the team did it as a group, but I still took all the bolts off of the engine connecting the transmission, separated them, and hooked it all back up when we were finished servicing the clutch.
Typically, I wouldn’t have known how to do it, but the racing team captain, Scott Dingle, has done repairs on quite a few Volvos before, so I had a good mentor.
We’ve been filming around the repairs, and are going to be featuring episodes of each of the repairs on iFixit.org as we make a push to introduce automotive repair into the iFixit realm of possibility. I wrote the first blog post which will come out around the same time as our first episode. Basically, I touch on the concept of how similar cars and computers are. Look for it coming out in a week or two.
So last night my wife and I went to a coworker’s house for drinks and to play Mexican train dominoes. It was fun, we both had a great time. I sat facing the east part of the room for most of the evening, and it wasn’t until we were waiting for our taxi in the same spot at the end of the evening that I happened to look up and see a giant, big-screen TV.
The television had been there the entire time. Until then, I saw everything around it, including the steering wheel for the PS3, the receiver, the router and modem on top, the stereo – literally EVERYthing in that room except for the TV.
After a bout of heavy laughter over this enlightening discovery, I started really wondering why it was that I had missed the elephant in the room. Was it that I was unobservant? Definitely not, I make a point of knowing my surroundings. Besides, I had been there before, so I knew it wasn’t because of the drinks. This was, I deduced, a subconscious effort to ignore the television – which almost worked, had we not been searching for something to talk about near the end of the night while we waited for the taxi. I looked around the room and saw it.
We stopped receiving cable some time in 2010 because of our lack of interest at watching a box of mindless chatter and superfluous information. Since then, I have used a projector on a wall or bed sheet to watch 96-inch movies or television series without commercial interruption. I am happy with my decision to forego the idiot box and don’t typically like watching it, even at someone else’s house. My loathing for commercials ties in with this; I don’t like being tricked into what to buy by clever Madison Ave. advertising executives, and that’s what inevitably happens when one allows his or her house to be dominated by such a large presence.
For now, we have a 21.5″ monitor that is the largest screen in the house, and we use it to watch Netflix. I have no problem paying for entertainment; I do have a problem with it being delivered for “free” via standard broadcast with commercials, being the source of brainwashing techniques for the public, and for taking our dollars away without our having much to say about it.
FREE YOURSELF FROM THE BOX!
I’ve had two massages in my life… soon to be three.
The first was in India in Agra. It was an hour long and felt so great in contrast to the dirty city we were in. Seriously, Agra was the dirtiest place in India. It’s a shame because the Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
The second was a first anniversary gift for my wife – we got massages at the same time. I called and asked for a couples’ massage, and the nice asian lady told me, “yeah sure no problem” in the typical way that asian women do when they don’t understand your request fully but want to make the sale and please.
This time, I will be in my new hometown, after three months of working straight with minimal breaks. I took a personal day off today to get my head back on straight, do some make-up homework, and relax.
Off I go!