June 15, 2005
The New American Dream
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It’s hard to follow the ridiculousness of the last couple posts, so I didn’t for awhile. Unfortunately that’s cause for a recap.
I made up a new game. It was called “try to drive my car without dying.” Having lived in Massachusetts for awhile now, I’ve actually gotten pretty used to this (worst… drivers… ever), but about a month ago, after work, my car decided to mix things up a bit. It decided I didn’t really need brakes to play. Well, technically just all the brake fluid and lines. Really it was pretty sweet trying to stop by hitting the brake peddle to get the lights to go on while simultaneously hauling on the e-brake to actually try to stop and screaming for effect. Of course, the rear brakes, the only ones that the e-brake uses, have never been replaced in 14 years and 92,000 miles, meaning they have hardly any stopping power and cause the car to pull hard to the right when they eventually do grip. Hey, at least it doesn’t pull into oncoming traffic.
By the time I found out I was the proud new owner of 2,000 pounds of unstoppable american steel, it was too late to visit the mechanic, but it wasn’t too late to do the laundry I needed to do. I’m proud to be one of the few CS majors willing to risk my life to visit the laundromat. The good news? I got the brakes fixed the very next day for less money than it costs to upgrade the armor on a military Hummer ($58,000 if my memory serves), and now they almost work.
The fun doesn’t stop there. A couple weeks ago, my car sprouted a glorious new set of noises. At the time, I was driving 3 passengers, and it sounded like something rubbing the tire whenever I turned. I hoped it was some sort of freak grounding out, but the next morning I could hear metal dragging on the ground when I accelerated. It didn’t take long to figure out the muffler hanger was gone. All that remained was a ring of rust to prove it existed. Luckily for my wallet, I was feeling handy, so I picked up two dollars worth of strapping metal and some nuts and bolts and ghetto-rigged my muffler up… beautifully if I do say so myself (I trimmed down the excess later, lay off).
We’re not done yet though! Earlier this week, my battery died. The car refused to even jump. Of course, the one bolt holding the battery in is buried far deeper in my car than my ratchet is made to go, and snugged against a hunk of rubber that kept pressure on the bold for far too long as I hung inside the hood trying to make the best of the 3 inches of room I had to turn the ratchet in. I got it taken care of though, with many thanks to Ashley for carting my ass to and from work and Wal Mart. This car is going to nickel and dime me to death.
Jon, his wife Tacha, and the venerable Rex came ludicrously long distances from upstate NY to visit. I played tour guide to Boston, a city which I myself am tragically clueless about. Somehow, we left having found everything I’d looked for specifically, and a few things I hadn’t. We left with a box of Men’s Pocky! That’s not to be confused with Women’s Pocky, which of course doesn’t exist. In the exciting world of Pocky, what separates the men from the boys? The answer should be obvious:
- Men’s Pocky comes with a single sticker of a middle-aged fully clad relatively unattractive woman in an un-enticing pose, complete with some Chinese characters and a year far too far in the past to be associating with a food product (ours said 1995 I believe), and
- Coating the crisp Pocky goodness is extra fatty dark chocolate, the kind that puts hair on your chest. Clearly, it’s not meant for the faint of heart or testosterone.
It didn’t take long at all for the rockin’ sticker to find it’s way onto Rex’s sun visor.
Mike and Shannon both left. I’ve had the apartment to myself for the last week. I’d have though I’d be going out of my mind with boredom, but if anything, I’ve been busier than ever, and it’s been glorious, or as glorious as is possible considering it’s been pushing 90 degrees and 90% humidity for the last week, my apartment has no AC or fans, my car has no AC, and the building I work in is ventilated like a nuclear submarine. Really though, a few of the new summer co-ops have far exceeded my expectations. It only took a couple weeks to really make some good friends. This should end up being a good summer.
Speaking of Mike leaving, on his 2nd to last day of work, we made him a present, or at least ‘gift wrapped’ something he already had.
We led several guerrilla teams out to the car during the day, and we used untold man hours to place no less than 2000 of the happy paper squares on his car. It took him over an hour to get them all off. The real credit goes to Vandya for coming up with the idea in the first place… BRILLIANT! Of course, Mike paid back my kindness by bringing over lots of food and 2/3rds of a handle of Baileys. Way to make me look like a douche, Mike.
I’ve decided I’m living The New American Dream: I often hate my job, but with better living through chemistry, luxury, decently-sized paychecks, carelessness, blatant disregard for the law, and most importantly copious amounts of time spent with people cooler than I am, I manage to still be happy (at least when I manage to ignore the Midwest drama-fest).