holiday spirit

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well, the knocking hasn't disappeared from my car. since i had the day friday free last week, i decided i'd take care of the edelbrock warranty stuff then. unfortunately, when i was getting together the documents, i noticed the edelbrock crate warranty card said you needed to send it in within 30 days of when the engine was purchased. uh...hrmh. i ordered it and had it shipped straight to the shop, so i hadn't even seen this paperwork at all until i got the car back. that was over two months by itself. i was somewhat worried they would balk on me. friday i called them and was sent to voicemail. i left a message. after a couple hours of no return call, i called the technical line. they answered. i explained the knock and the guy said they'd probably have to send out new lifters -- but it needed to go through warranty. he tried to transfer me but no one was answering, so he took my info. no call back that day. monday i called and had to leave another voicemail. no call back that day. tuesday i called again and finally spoke to a person. he told me the warranty is valid anyway, you just need to have a receipt. i explained what was going on and he told me what info i needed to provide. i told him i'd get it to him. he also verified if it was just lifter noise it wouldn't hurt the engine and i could drive it as much as i wanted. (so maybe i can use it to drive home for the holidays even if it doesn't get fixed by then.) that evening i collected the data, then called and left a message asking to verify the fax number and see if maybe i could email it. i called back wednesday and he answered, so i verified the fax number. he also mentioned a place they liked to work with in houston, and he asked me to see if it was reasonable for me to go there. they're about 25 miles from me on the northwest side, but i checked out their site and they specialize in performance mods to cars...so that made me interested in using them. that evening i faxed all the relevant info and mentioned i should be able to take the car there. i called today and had to leave a message seeking to verify they got my fax. i didn't get a call back. but for right now, i feel better about things than i did over the last couple of weeks. at least as regards the engine knocking.

yesterday i called the mechanic i'd used to install the engine and do other work, to verify the weight of the oil he used in the car. while talking to him i also mentioned that the heat isn't working, that sometimes when hitting the gas after shifting into second the car hesitates and loses power instead of jumping up and going, and that the clutch doesn't seem to always disengage reverse/first from the flywheel. he said all that could be looked at and adjusted or whatever when i brought the car in. the thing is, i'm not excited about spending more money on anything right now. i'm not sure he'll want to charge, but i already spent enough. i just want it to work right.

a couple of nights ago i rented the daytrippers on itunes (99 cents). it was pretty good, not great. but the story was fairly interesting and the acting was okay. the general story is a married woman finds what appears to probably be a love note to her husband, so she and her family (parents, sister, sister's boyfriend) drive from where ever they live into new york where he works so she can try to find out about it and/or confront him. hilarity ensues. it's labeled a comedy, and it is, but a lot of the humour is kind of muted and/or about sad subject matter/situations.

a while back i ordered a zippo lighter butane insert and a couple of meerschaum pipes. after a month or so they let me know they didn't have the pipes. so i ended up changing my order to just two zippo butane inserts. i got them maybe a week ago. they're called thunderbird american vintage and are made by vector. they are regular flame, not jet, and the casing looks/acts/sounds like a normal zippo insert. except of course it's butane. the butane starts flowing when you open the zippo lid, and shuts off when you close it. this is done via a lever under the spring-loaded bit that moves with the hinge (like on a normal zippo insert). like a normal zippo, it uses a striker wheel and a flint, and has the same wind-resistant chimney design. i like the idea of the normal zippo inserts, but since i don't smoke regularly, a lot of times i fill it and it evaporates and i've never used it, and i forget about it and when i need to use the thing there is no fluid. so this still allows me to have a zippo look/sound, but not have to refill it for no reason all the time because the fluid all evaporated.

my new 1 terabyte usb drive hooked up to my airport extreme has been functioning nominally as a time machine drive for my desktop and laptop. soon i will convert my desktop to using the external hard drive i had previously been using as a time machine drive (320gb). i have recently run into two programs i wanted to use that only come in mac for intel (one being the google chrome browser), so at some point soon i may start getting an itchy trigger finger for upgrading my desktop. unfortunately, other than starting to find things that won't be made to run on my powerpc box, the box itself is fine and still has plenty of power for what i use it for. so that's setting up an internal struggle.

saturday morning i got up at the crack of 10am and decided to go on a motorcycle ride with brad and some of his friends. since i worked late friday night (until around 2am), i had originally decided that and the cold would make me skip the ride. but i woke up and decided to do it. it ended up just being 4 total, and weather wasn't too nice. it was chilly and foggy and/or misting the whole time. although it did provide an opportunity for me to wear the new skull half-mask and full-face balaclava. we ended up not going as far as we'd planned. i was out from around 10am until around 2pm.

sunday afternoon i went over to the potts for simcha's birthday party. i ended up staying over there and in the evening we watched a christmas story.

speaking of xmas, i haven't started my xmas shopping. in fact, i haven't even really thought about xmas. on monday someone said it was next week and i was totally unaware of that fact. i haven't decorated anything at all. i'm not in a mindset to feel festive or happy or excited. i'll probably give the xmas tree away that i've had boxed up since the move from 9023. last year i put lights on the big tall multi-arm floor lamp i have in my living room, as well as some around the windows in there. last xmas there was a reason to care, to have some kind of hope (even if it was a lie, like my marriage). now what's the point, really? who would i be doing it for? (that's rhetorical.)

and on that festive note, i'll finish this entry.

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Dude, that is a festive note... As you probably remember, I'm like you with holidays (or more likely, I'm worse). I usually don't know it's a holiday until I go to the store to buy something, only to find all the stores closed. As such, I'm not all that big on holidays. Bah! But here in Taiwan, Christmas isn't a holiday (their closest equivalent is Chinese new year -- which is also when we have our semester break. Taipei is a ghost town during that time as everyone goes down South to visit their parents). Last year or the year before, I was in class on Christmas day. That was an odd feeling.

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