Friday, August 19, 2011

Spider Slayer

This was originally posted to a mailing list in 6/17/04.  The original was thought to be lost (a bunch of my friends and I all looked for it in our email archives), but versions of it showed up on some message boards since.  A couple of weeks ago I found some what I thought were long lost email archives and found it.  Here it is in its original form with a few minor edits for readability:

Last night Jill, a friend of mine who is really creeped out by spiders stopped by and by coincidence when she was about to leave there was a spider about 3" across hunting on the top stoop in front of my front door.  I went after it but it ran off.

If any of my neighbors saw what happened later they probably thought I lost it.

After Jill left it was back on the steps, same spot, taunting me, insulting me, laughing at me. 

I'm not sure spider could see me but it was reacting to my shadow being cast by the lights on either side of the front door, running over the side of the concrete landing every time I blocked the light. I kept trying to get the thing but it was FAST. I even had the million candlepower spot light out, you know, the one that everyone keeps by the front door in case you need to flag down a low flying aircraft, to make sure that I could follow it over the side of the steps.

After a few minutes of this my feeble little brain came up with a bright idea "hey, carb cleaner kills most bugs” (they breath through their "skin" and the stuff coats them and suffocates them. Even if you don't get them well enough usually it will kill them later on). Spiders are bugs, well, sort of bugs, well not really, they aren't bugs, but it should work, right?

Well, what is one step better?  Think like a Mark, this is easy, or think like a great big retarded monkey.  Either will get you to the same place.

BURNING carb cleaner... huh, problem… I can't hold the million candle power light if I've got a lighter in one hand and can of liquid death in the second.  I won’t really be able to see the thing as it hides over the side of the steps. But wait, no problem.  If I light the carb cleaner I'll see the pesky beast, right?

Ahh, I love it when a plan comes together.…

Obviously, this kind of reasoning has put me among the great thinkers of our times. I have all my problems solved: this is the pure, glowing, brilliant fireball of genius. I grabbed the BIG can of B12 Chemtool (think super, extra heavy duty carb cleaner, it even has the word “super” on the label, you know that makes it better, if only the big can also had the word magnum on it all would be right with the world).

Well, I got up on the steps, looking down I thought I could see the shadow of a lump that was the spider on the side of the landing, and knowing from previous empirical data based on YEARS of CAREFUL testing that carb cleaner will shoot a 4-5' jet of flame… I took careful aim from a safe (always remember, safety first) distance back where the SPIDER couldn't hurt me, well not easily.

I lit the lighter... steadied my aim… and hit the nozzle…

At that instant I learned, I absolutely understood, exactly what was SUPER HEAVY DUTY about this B12 stuff. Instead of the normal and quite effective 4 foot jet of flames that carb cleaner gives you I got about an 8' long, 3' wide cone of flame which stuck to everything in it's path setting it on fire.

When this moment of sublime enlightenment happened I was standing with the thing at about shoulder level on the top step and the first thing I noticed was the wet ground around the bushes was on fire.
I was so surprised that I didn't even see if I actually got the spider.

Crap.  I need light, is the thing still alive? IT MIGHT BE STILL ALIVE, AND PISSED OFF... SHIT... I instinctively pull the trigger again... wait, dumb idea, that is what got me into this mess.

Too late... instinct and training took over. My fingers, being the efficient killing machines that they are overrode every reasonable thought that I ever had in my little walnut of a brain. FIRE!  That sucker was going to roast.

Burn in hell!!!

At that point it all caught up to me. I can't do this, not in the front yard, this just isn't smart.

(I actually ran this around in my head from a few different angles trying to figure out how to make it smart, in the mean time the flames were getting bigger, I was still spraying burning death all over the front yard)

I finally let go of the trigger... boxwoods... on fire. Front steps... they look like the entrance to hell, there were flames shooing up and framing every landing... wait, my wife’s cute little raccoon boot scraper/mud brush things on the steps, I HAVE TO SAVE THEM! I try put them out with my feet... um, now that's a real problem... that actually made them worse since my shoes are on fire.

After what was probably a minute of doing what probably looked like the funky chicken with flames shooting from my toes I finally got most of the flames extinguished.  The raccoons somehow kept bursting into flames which was impressive considering it was raining and they were soaked. When I finally got them out they were scattered in little bits around the steps.  Upside down.  Dead.

There was smoke everywhere. It looked like the aftermath scene in a war movie where they show the ruins of a town after getting firebombed, nothing but rubble, ashes and smoke.

Crap, the neighbors! I ran inside turned out the lights.  Lets pretend that didn't happen.

Do you think I got the spider?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Harwood 3” Cowl for “The Project”

It turned up yesterday. 

I’m not impressed with Old Dominion shipping.  The driver was pretty cool, I just backed my truck to the back of the tractor trailer and he just slid it in (yea, my Cummins Dodge is BIG, it was only a few inches below the deck of the trailer) but the guys at the dock sucked, didn’t seem to want to do their jobs- they couldn’t seem to figure out how to call and arrange a delivery, after a few days of trying I finally got the dock number from one of the main centers and called the guy that was supposed to call me.  For that matter, it was getting delivered to a business so they should have been able to delver anytime instead of letting it sit on a dock for a few days.


The back corners were banged up (actually poked through the box) and the space behind the passenger side headlight got smacked by something but otherwise it’s in good shape.  Nothing that I can’t fix.  I was surprised, I weighed it and it was 26-27#, where the stock ‘bird hood that I had on the car was 57-58#, and I know that a formula style hood is in the low 70’s.

I decided to test fit it on the project car around 3am last night, actually Christina helped me get it on the hinges around 10 when I ran out to the gym, I finished bolting it on later.  I’m betting the neighbors appreciated the impact driver.  I had about ½” gap in places, more at the front.  It also sat about almost 1” high at the back and more than that in the front: DSC_4208


When I got home tonight I spent a few minutes moving stuff around while grilling some ribs and ended up with it pretty well aligned.  I still need to move the headlights around, and the passenger side has roughly 1/32-1/16” more gap and sits slightly higher than the driver’s, the front bumper is crooked/needs to be fixed (the steel bumper support was partially crushed and twisted when I bought it, I have a nice aluminum one from my ’83 to replace it eventually), this is what I ended up with (need to find some weak struts for it).  I’m pretty happy with how it looks:


The dinged up spots need a little body work, but the back corners have slightly the wrong angle anyway, so I would have had to sand most of the banged up areas off when I finish it. I’ve also aligned the headlights a little better but didn’t bother taking any additional pictures.

BTW, I think that these are the only real pictures I’ve posted of this one anywhere… My wife has named her Cherry, but I don’t know if she’s going to stay “Cherry Red,” we’ll see…

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What’s Up With PowerBlockTV???

Am I the only one that has a problem with this?

I know that most of the people visiting the garage are gearheads of some sort: how many of you TRY to watch some of PowerblockTV* on weekends?  It’s one of the few things on TV that I at all go out of my way to watch.  I won’t argue the accuracy of the information (I’ve sent them multiple emails about “issues” and never seen a response), but I do try to check them out, if for no other reason because there is some decent fabrication work on 3 of the shows.

So why do I say TRY? 

Well, the middle of every week I get an update email from them: it lists what is on the shows, if it’s a new episode or a re-run, a bunch of sponsor stuff… great, right?  Well, not really. 

It tends to be accurate about the episodes but if I tune in that weekend, sometimes they’re on, sometimes they’re not.  Sometimes they’re on but a 23minutes off of their normal time.  Sometimes they’re showing Star Wars episodes instead.  Sometimes they’re on on Sunday but not Saturday, sometimes they’re on Saturday but not Sunday… ARRGGG.

Come on guys, this is not that hard.  I don’t care if it’s Spike, PowerblockTV or Comcast, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER.  It’s not that hard, you say what you’re going to do, and then guess what, YOU DO IT.  I suppose that there might rarely be some last minute change that might happen, but this is not 99.9% of the cases I’m talking about.  I don’t know why re-running Star Wars would be an emergency last minute change.

Of course, Comcast (don’t get me started there, but they’re the only good choice here, and we waited something >6 years from when we built the house till we even had that choice) can’t show us listings for anything but the current day.

* - If you don’t know what the Powerblock is, check out their web page: Basically, 2 hours of car/truck/engine modification related shows played Saturday and Sunday mornings on SpikeTV.