Monday, June 01, 2009
Ugh! Good to have that cross-country move out of the way! My wife's dad and I logged nearly 2000 miles in four days of driving and we somehow managed to get almost everything into our new apartment and a 10'x10' storage unit. That wouldn't have happened nearly so quickly or easily without the help of the in-laws, who are very seasoned cross-country movers.
I'll be slowly recovering from a near-total news and blogging blackout over the next few days. That move took up nearly all of my time and Internet access was not yet available at the new place, anyway.
So here's a mixture of moving memories and a couple of things that struck me as interesting on my first morning back...
Wife: Honey, with your assistance, I could move this stack of boxes.
Me: Okay. What do I need to do?
Wife: Move those boxes.
"Diesel" is NOT German for "Gasoline"
Somehow when picking up the truck, my wife's dad got the impression that it ran on gasoline. That seemed odd to me, given the size of the truck, but I'd used one that was one size smaller from the same company for a previous move, and it did use gasoline. I was primed, so to speak, to believe him. I remember saying at one point, "It sounds a little like a diesel engine." But so did the other one.
So we took turns putting gasoline into the tank the first day, and noticed very sluggish performance as the day wore on and especially on the morning of the second day. I filled first. I'll plead "warning label fatigue", but wish I'd had the presence of mind to pursue my earlier uncertainty further. Yes, flooring it to get 15 miles per hour is somewhat like "driving a turtle." We took it to a truck stop to get it looked at, but everyone was off.
Luckily, we managed to find just the right guy to solve our predicament. We learned, while on the horn with him, that the truck was diesel when we went to check its year of manufacture per his instructions and saw a poorly-placed warning sign about which fuel to use. The cap was not green or otherwise marked regarding proper fuel.
So the mechanic drove out to meet us, dumped the fuel filter, and employed a few tricks to get the engine to start again -- and we very quickly refueled with the engine running. We were out about 300 bucks, but we were back on the road.
The truck almost immediately started running well again. We decided not to turn it off at all until our last stop of the day. The truck started and ran perfectly well the next day. Except for a little iffy-ness just after the mechanic got it re-started, we had no further trouble at all from the truck.
I certainly wouldn't recommend doing this, but it looks like The Straight Dope got the question of what happens when you use the wrong fuel partially wrong.
Those Swedes think of everything. Almost.
In the process of going through the parts list and instructions for a wardrobe from IKEA, I noted a very important deficiency, which I quickly rectified with a five-minute walk to the grocer across the street.
Specifically, there was no mention of a crucial tool (pictured at right) necessary for the performance of any such task.
Otherwise, I was happy. All the parts were there and the instructions were very clear. This was in marked contrast to a bathroom storage unit whose unclear pictograms caused me to make three assembly mistakes before I decided to ignore them and just go by the illustration on the box.
Tara Smith on Judical Appointments
I thought Tara Smith made several excellent points in an editorial (HT: HBL) that recently appeared in The Houston Chronicle. I especially liked this:
The rhetoric of "activism" notwithstanding, the proper interpretation and application of our law cannot be reduced to a purely mechanical process. If it could, we would be replacing Justice Souter with a computer.I'll remember this analogy the next time I find myself in a conversation with someone who carelessly bandies about the term "qualified" pertaining to any public office and see where things go after that.
Keith Lockitch of ARI notes that the silly "green" shopping bags I keep seeing in Boston really are green. Here is a part of his excerpt from Canada's National Post:
... 64% of the reusable bags tested were contaminated with some level of bacteria and close to 30% had elevated bacterial counts higher than what’s considered safe for drinking water.And yes, the environmentalists probably will object to the detergents necessary to clean them.
Further, 40% of the bags had yeast or mold, and some of the bags had an unacceptable presence of coliforms, faecal intestinal bacteria, when there should have been 0.