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sometimes a little suburbia is exactly what you need

This is the fuckin' life.

I'm sitting in a chaise lounge, in a backyard, with a laptop and a beer and a dog and a view of my car. The weather is perfect, and the rapacious mosquitos of Wakefield, MA, famed in legend and song, have yet to swarm. There's a soft breeze, the smell of grass, and only the occasional waft of emissions-uncontrolled motorcycle exhaust from the (unmuffled) hogs and rice rockets heading to the Honey Dew biker bar donut shop. Simone is on the Cape and asked if I could come out to her place to spend some time with Rocky during the day. So here I am, after a day of Veloce projects, kicking back as if this were my natural habitat.

I've come up with about a dozen more things I want to tweak and add to my car, but today I finally got around to doing one of the the most significant fixes. I finally installed the little circuit board I bought last winter that provides an auxilliary line-in jack to the stereo, so that I can plug my iPod directly into the system. No more FM modulator nonsense. The difference is like night and day. And it only took me 9 months to get around to doing it.

While I was in there, I disconnected the silly interlock between the front defroster and the AC switch. See, on most (all?) new cars, when you turn the vent control to defrost, the air conditioning automatically comes on. I know why they do this; because most people don't understand how to keep windows from fogging up; and one of the best ways is to turn on the AC. So these days it happens automatically. Blow dried air on the windshield and it won't fog up.

But that irks me, because sometimes a little warm (rather than "conditioned") air is all that's required. So I wanted to be able to choose weather to turn on the AC at the same time or not. Fortunately (and perhaps surprisingly), someone else agreed, and discovered how to do it.

[As an aside, it is not true, as the above link claims, that you have to remove the center console as well as the radio to get at the connector. You really only need to remove the radio.]

I also did some whimsical stuff. I polished up the turn signal stalks, getting rid of the weird not-quite-black paint on them, and making them look a little sharper. And I went after the aluminum plate in front of the radiator, making it gleam.

I guess I don't know which is the icing, and which is the cake: dirtying and bloodying my hands with some automotive tinkering, followed by the sounds of maximum rock and roll, or kicking back with a cold one and the sound of nothing but the chirping locusts and jingling tags.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on 2006-08-26 at 17:04.

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