Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Earlier this month, I took a spur-of-the-moment trip across the pond to Italy to visit a friend who just moved there and had a long weekend to explore Northern Italy. It started off with an email:
Sunday, May 27, 2007 4:10:30 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Travel#
Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Eye of Sauron
Originally uploaded by DocJelly.
This is what my back looks like right now. OK well it's right on the curve of my love handle. This must have been one of the impact points when I hit the road ten days ago, the other being my knee, elbow and shoulder with the shock being absorbed by my ribcage. If you look at the large version of the pic, you can actually see lines going through it like maybe from the uneven road or something... the white "pupil" in the middle is kinda hard, like a little lump in the middle of it. Other than this and a baby road rash on my knee, they're the only visible marks of the crash. My back and ribs are still killing me but there's nothing to see there :)
Tuesday, May 22, 2007 6:46:23 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | #
The problem arose when I tried to sysprep the machine. I ran Sysprep and got an error that said There is an incompatibility between this tool and the current operating system. WTF?!
Tuesday, May 22, 2007 8:20:21 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Tech | Microsoft | WWW#
Sunday, May 20, 2007
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Sunday, May 20, 2007 8:11:45 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | dasBlog#
Saturday, May 19, 2007

My jeep is not running at the moment. I took it in for service a few weeks ago before I left for Italy. I had them do an oil & filter change, lube the front end and the whole chassis, and asked them to degrease/power wash the engine compartment so I could maybe see where the oil leak was coming from. As it turned out, I was correct and it's just a valve cover gasket. No biggie. I can replace that one of these weekends.

When I picked it up, the engine started slower than usual. Mental note. The next day I drove the jeep to the supermarket and it started slower, and then slower on the way home. I drove around for awhile with my eye on the alternator gauge which showed it was putting out 14 volts. Normal.

That night I went to Legendz to watch the hockey game and it started slower and seemed to struggle to spin the flywheel. I stopped at the Esso to pump up the slow leak in the left rear tire and had to shut off the engine because it wouldn't stay still. In hindsight I could have just set the parking brake :) It was REALLY slow to start after that. Finally when the game was over and I left for home, it gave up the ghost and stopped turning over. I couldn't figure out what was going on, because the dome light and headlights were bright, the seat belt buzzer sounded normal and the radio played normally. When I turned the key, nothing. I was able to push-start it and get home where I parked it and where it's stayed since then.

I didn't think the battery was suspect, but after getting back from Italy, we put the load tester on the battery and it checked out OK. Because the alternator was putting out 14 volts, IT was ok, it had to have been the starter itself, and something electrical. We checked all the connections for corrosion, and everything SEEMED to be ok. The next thing to do was drop the starter out and see if it needed rebuilding or replacing, and hopefully not the wiring.

I was all set to do that last Saturday. I hadn't crawled around the engine compartment and gotten dirty in awhile and was looking forward to doing something constructive with my weekend. I thought I would drop the starter out, do some tests on it and then if I needed parts I could go down to Parker's on my scooter and get them, come back install the new parts and then have a beer or six.

Instead, I spent last saturday either in bed or on the couch. It had been less than 48 hours after my scooter accident and I was having trouble just moving around, never mind crawling underneath my jeep. I put it off and put it off, John helped out by doing a few tests on the battery and whatnot for me during the week while I was at work to narrow down what the problem was. Today I decided I was well enough to crawl under the Jeep and get the starter out. I wasn't sure if I could put it back in, what with my ribs as sore as they are still, but I was going to give it a try.

I went out there with some tools and disconnected the ground on the battery and then for good measure, disconnected the positive terminal as well, to check for corrosion. Then I layed down on the ground and tried to wriggle under the jeep... ow... not good... I managed to get the power and ground disconnected from the starter itself, but that was as far as I could push the pain threshold. I couldn't hold both arms up at the same time without causing gasps of pain, so I had to leave it like that.

As I was laying there under the jeep, breathing shallow so it didn't hurt and trying to figure out how I'm going to get this fixed as I'm in no condition to push start a Jeep Wrangler on my own at the moment. I had the morbid thoughts of 'this is how old people must feel when they try to do something they've always done and then realize they just can't do it anymore.. no wonder old people drink so much"

So I cleaned the tools I used, cleaned myself up, poured myself a drink (hey it's five o'clock in Europe already) and downed a couple Advils and laid down on the couch for awhile. I think it was the combination of being in pain and not being able to work on my Jeep ON my 34th birthday that brought on the old-age thoughts, but hey, it ended with a drink in my hand so it can't be that bad, can it?

Saturday, May 19, 2007 10:06:11 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Jeep#
Sunday, May 13, 2007

I'm not sure what prompted it... maybe it was Freddie Mercury's birthday, or the anniversary of his death, I'm not sure. Everywhere I turned, the whole time I was in Italy there were references to Queen everywhere.

We first noticed it when we were in Rome. I heard Radio Ga-Ga coming out of a storefront and I mentioned to Tina that it was a good song, but there was this "band" called the Kleptones who did a Queen/Beastie Boys mashup that was one of my favorite songs at the moment.

A couple days later we were in Venice and walked past a little glass shop and the proprietor was sitting at his laptop and he had a Queen song blasting out the little speakers. I pointed it out, but Tina at this point didn't remember hearing it in Rome. Five minutes later ANOTHER shop had Radio Ga-Ga playing loud enough to hear in the street. I laughed and said that was the third time we'd heard Queen and the second time we heard Radio Ga-Ga.

As we were walking back to the bus station in Venice, we came across a poster that had Freddie Mercury's face on it! I don't know if it was a cover/tribute band or what. I should have taken a picture of it. We moved along and shared a little giggle about it.

  The next day we were sitting in a piazza cafe in Verona with my cousin Rafaella when all of a sudden... this guy walks by with a Queen t-shirt on! Tina pointed it out and I was quick enough to get a photo of it. Raffaella looked at me like I was crazy, until we explained what was going on what with all the Queen references, she laughed and said "well I dunno about Queen, they're kind of old aren't they?" We finished lunch and were walking around Verona looking at the sites and a Queen song came on the radio and we all laughed.

A few days later, when I was back in Florence I decided against the line to climb to the lantern of the duomo and instead went for the belltower. Just as high, less crowded and actually gives you a view of the dome itself rather than being on top of it. As I was climbing the stairs (and that really kicked my ass, it was a tougher climb that the cupola of St Peters in Rome) I came across this scene and had to snap a picture of it.   What are the chances??? We heard Queen once more before I left Frankfurt, but by then it was giggle and move on and I can't remember if it was Radio Ga-Ga or what.

Update!: I nearly forgot the icing on this particular cake! The night before I flew back to Miami, I was staying in a hotel just outside of Frankfurt and had a terrible headache so I stayed in rather than see any of Frankfurt. I was flipping channels on the tv in the hotel room and it was the FINAL of the German version of Pop/American/Canadian/Whatever Idol, I think it was Deutschland Superstar or something. It was down to the LAST TWO contestants and they were really giving it their all fr the crowd and for the judges. The first guy comes out and... belts out "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by none other than-- QUEEN. I had a hysterical fit of laughter all by myself and then wrote in my moleskine to remember it when I made this post. Of course then I forgot until just now. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2007 2:08:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Pictures | Travel#
"You pick 'em up, rub their belly, scratch 'em, hug them, you might as well give 'em a smooch while you're out there." This was Dave's approach with the ladies at the bar, so why not with the nurse sharks in the sea?
Sunday, May 13, 2007 7:02:10 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | WWW#
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I remember hearing the scooter scraping along the pavement then I landed square on my side. Shortly after that I heard and then felt my helmet hit the ground and then I rolled over, sliding on my back a little before ending up on my belly
Thursday, May 10, 2007 9:36:43 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Jeep | Scooter#
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Yeah, well that's more of a sight gag... try to imagine me making swimming motions with my arms. Anyway. Im back in Florence this afternoon after spending two days in Venice, a day in Verona and then heading up to Valdagno to spend a day and a half with my family. I'm in the process of downloading the pics from my memory card and posting them (I threw them up on Flickr as part of the Italy Trip set, but they arent really tagged or described yet) before doing a walking recon of Florence before I hit it tomorrow with the camera.

I was worried that I wasn't going to get any lunch today as the train was delayed and I didn't arrive til 1500, when everything shuts down for a few hours. Fortunately the butcher and bakery around the corner were still open so I picked up some Proscuitto di Parma and some Friulano Salami and a hunk of bread (it's like focaccia, but it's made without any salt so it has another name that I can't remember). Now that that's in me, Im ready to hit the road running.

Last night we all got together for a "family dinner"... reservations for 30, please! Lots of pictures there, too but I haven't posted them yet.

Two more days in Florence, then Pisa on the way to Frankfurt and then Sunday morning back on a plane for 9 hours to Miami and then Cayman just in time to unpack, have a shower and try to grab a few hours sleep before work Monday morning!

I promised to post something in Italian, but I'll leave that for next week when I'm home and have collected my thoughts (and looked up the words I don't know) :)

Thursday, May 3, 2007 7:05:08 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Pictures | Travel#
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