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    Entries in jeepster (9)

    Monday
    May092011

    Another Good Use Of Bandwidth

    Friends,

    It seemed like a good idea when my hours at The Festival of Dirt were cut in half to go out and get a new job. The job numbers are looking up, I hear. Plus, the Great Recession (as we're calling it now) is finally over. Good news! Nifty! Should be a piece of cake to find new employment!

    Well dear readers, this has not been the case. I've submitted resumes for positions that are essentially what I do now and for jobs that I would love to do, but I haven't heard from anybody except spammers who will rewrite my resume for a fee or provide me with a sure-fire job finding toolkit, also for a fee. I find this infuriating on two levels, as I'm sure you do. The end goal of my job search isn't actually to give other people money (which seems intuitive, but when you're busy being evil, maybe you miss the simple stuff) nor is it to provide personal information to a mailing list instead of an employer. This country's economy has gone through a very rough patch, but that's no excuse to prey on the desperate.

    Speaking of desperate though, if I'm going to embark on Plan B, to get some freelance work to make up the other half of my salary, my poor website would need a refresh. You remember the old, tired, iWeb template site, don't you? No?

     

    It was pretty simple and I didn't update it very often, so nobody showed up. The hit count was low and very few people gave it a second thought, but that's about to change!

    The new site, pictured at the top, is better in every way. It has pages and links, which makes it a proper website. A picture of the Mighty Jeepster is now on every page to lend some much-needed dynamism. The webcam is still there, plus there are now colored rectangles, which make it more modern. Also, the web development software I'm now using has some settings that make the thing render differently depending on the browser you're using, which I hadn't intended.

    Overall, it's really great and you should visit!

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Wednesday
    Apr202011

    A Jaunty Little Trip Planner - Pennsylvania in August Edition

    Friends,

    Let's go to Butler, PA this summer to celebrate the 71st birthday of the jeep at the home of Bantam Motors. Parades! Trail rides!

     

    Maybe we'll have jobs by then that'll give us the time off.

    Mark your calendars!

    - bob

    Monday
    Jan102011

    Sunday In The Park

    Four-low might be a good idea.Friends,

    Governor Moonbeam II has released his first/next budget for this here golden state and he has laid down some painful cuts extending over the next few years. Here in America's Very Finest (and cleanest!) Forest, we've lived with a lack of services for quite a long time, so this is really nothing new to us. This is the street in front of my friend's house and her neighbors, who live there full time, managed to get somebody in a truck with a plow to run down the middle of the street once a week ago. Not the county, just some guy.

    And now it's all ice.

    She'll not be driving down there into the Fern Valley holler anytime soon.

    The fog! It's coming! I continued into town and took a shot of the fire station. Oh look, some fog...

    Then I turned around and shot the other way.

    It's here! The fog is here!

    Visibility could be slightly diminished! Good gravy! Noooo!

    - bob

    Wednesday
    Dec082010

    This Product Doesn't Work: A Love Story

    Clutch linkage

    Friends,

    As you may know, the Mighty Jeepster is fast approaching her fourth decade trundling over this great land, and for the most part the old girl's held up well. Some of the design decisions made by Kaiser Jeep Corporation and later American Motors have proved to be flawed, like turning the edges of fenders up to catch the most water and snow, directly stamping some body panels from sheets of rust, and eschewing central fuse boxes in favor of tangled bundles of wire made accessible by reaching past sharp metal edges and self-tapping screws; but on the whole the Jeepster is a brilliant, if impractical, mode of transportation. On a personal note, yes, I have had a tetanus shot lately.

    Another bad idea manifesting its flaws over the last few months, though, has been the way they decided to channel the force exerted by your left foot into decoupling the engine from the transmission. As far as clutch linkages go, the solid metal rods were a huge improvement over the seizure-prone cable used previously, but this improvement only counts in the vacuum that Jeep engineers seemed to live in at the time as everyone else had moved to hydraulic clutch actuation by then.

    In the world of today, a mechanical clutch linkage is archaic, almost quaint. A near-as-dammit direct connection between you and the drivetrain, without any pesky fluid (or cables) to dampen the feeling of control. Unless it breaks.

    Which is exactly what happened.

    Actually, it's been a problem for years. The previous owner, who happens to have been the singular Stinko himself, and I have both enjoyed pulling over on busy highways to retrieve bits of linkage that had fallen off of the car. We've thrilled oncoming drivers by darting in front of them to recover one irreplaceable and indispensable bit of automotive arcana or another from the street after one highly worn ball had separated from its ill-fitting socket. The final insult came two weeks ago, during a prayer service I was holding to encourage the Jeepster's safe exit from the steep slope of my upper driveway, the clutch pedal flopped to the floor. We've been through this before, but as I inspected the rods laying on the ground, I noticed that the connecting sockets had shattered, leaving nothing more than dimples where deep holes had been decades ago. These pieces were done.

    What to do? I could just replace all the metal articulating parts with modern reproductions made in China out of soap and particleboard. I could retrofit pieces of hydraulic clutch from a more current Jeep, or even from a Datsun B210, but that means cutting big holes in the firewall, which I oppose since it's easy to assume that the firewall is the only thing holding the body together. I could try one of the many aftermarket "better ideas" including chain drives or electric solenoids. Fitting these would require a fairly large checkbook in addition to my faith that gentlemen named Buckshot and Big Al have thought through all of the engineering problems that might arise. Instead, the obvious choice was a near replacement with modern, proven parts and technology that didn't cost too much more than Chinese soap.

    This story doesn't really become interesting, to be honest. Nobody (and I mean nobody) makes aftermarket upgrade parts specifically for the Jeepster, so you hope that CJ-5, 6, 7, or Wagoneer parts will work. The parts I ordered are certainly an upgrade, but as shipped, was half a foot too long. And also too short. And too stiff. And the wrong angle.

    So I fixed it.

    I can't quite pinpoint it, but there's something very relaxing about discovering a solution to a problem and resolving that problem and I would've enjoyed it a lot more if resolving this problem didn't involve laying on my back in the wet, heavy, leftover snow from a couple weeks ago. Modifications made, fine tuning complete, I set off on a test drive that went just a few more blocks, and a few more, because it was such a joy. Again, it's a terrible car with a horrid driving experience that will terrify the weak-willed (or those tepid souls who must have some manner of directional control, shock absorption, climate control or safety belts draped over their narrow shoulders), but once it was back on the road is was the finest motorcar ever produced. And I, the most discriminating motoring aficionado, was able to take in the ambience of piloting this triumph of technology as I headed downtown to pick up my celebratory pizza.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Wednesday
    Aug182010

    Silky, Smooth and Sporty

    Friends,

    Once again, the internet provides. Here's a dealer video from 1973 extolling the genius of the Jeep Commando. Is it brilliant? Yes! Are there many drivetrain combinations? Of course! Stylish? Rugged? Amazing ground clearance? You bet!

    You could be led to think that you're a dope for not buying one. What a pity.

    Sorry.

    - bob

    Thursday
    Nov052009

    I'm The CEO! What Did We Buy?

    Friends,

    You may remember back a few hundred days ago when we bought a ten percent stake in the Chrysler Corporation, then gave the company to the quality mavens at Fiat. The day before yesterday, the new bosses unveiled their plans for new products. If the company lives long enough, it appears that they're looking to build some real crap. I'm really only interested in Jeep though, and there was a presentation for that (warning: PDF link). Let's take a look at how little they understand the American market!

    What first caught my eye was their discussion of the history of the brand...

    Was that their logo in the 60s? AMC is notably absent.
    First crossover? (it's not hyphenated, by the way. and what the hell is with the greengrocer's apostrophe? -ed That's my gig, isn't it?) Are they talking about this, perhaps?

    That's right. The mighty Jeepster (Commando).
    Elegance WITH capability is clearly evident here, so we can't quibble there. Just look!

    But what about the children? Jeep appeals to everyone, after all. But how on earth can we indoctrinate the children? It's already happening, people...

    Unmentioned is the use of Jeep in sex ed...
    Oh, James.

    Jeep has also inspired people to join together all over the world to chase oil leaks and replace broken axles. Even in Hemet...

    No shout-outs to the Anza Jeepers?
    But moving forward, how will Jeep keep the hardcore fans involved while appealing to new buyers? The lifestyle set, if you will...

    She wants a Compass, clearly. No spring in her neck though.
    Um, holy crap? Is this the new face of Jeep? The clip art lady with a cheap hat? I'm sure we'll see her at the next Jamboree in her Compass. Along with this guy...

    Welcome to the Rubicon. Are you from around here?
    He might be from Hemet. Or somewhere else...

    Oh, you young aspirationals. So furry. Maybe you're not interested in rockcrawling after all. We can help...

    You don't need all that stuff.
    Can we talk about genetic mutations for a moment? Perhaps you'd like a Fiat Panda with a seven-slot grille in 2013.

    WTF.

    - bob

    UPDATE: Oops! Forgot to credit The Truth About Cars and Allpar. Thanks guys!

    UPDATE II: It turns out that Chrysler Corp. dealers hate the new ads too. Kinda like saying that leeches are sick and tired of the whole vampire meme, but we'll take it where we can get it.

    Monday
    Jul282008

    Stopping On A Dime And Giving Change

    Well my dear friends,

    The transition of the fleet is complete, with the Mighty Dakota now parked in front of one of the local Mexican restaurants, and the first dump run in the Jeepster under my belt. I've learned some things. First, that when you see a vehicle you used to own sitting in a place other than your driveway, it'll take a long time to remember it's not stolen. Second, what is the etiquette for delivering bits found while cleaning the garage from said not-stolen pickup to the new owners? Will a quick phone call do or should I just pop in? By the way, does just popping in make me a stalker?

    Lastly (for now), should all four of the Jeepster's brakes work, or is the one okay?

    - bob

    Thursday
    May032007

    It Really Does Take Two: Part Two

    (a two part post on a two-themed post? how adorable. -ed It's a literary device!)

    Friends,

    I'm headed to the desert this weekend to help Dad install new vinyl windows. Sure, I hold the idea in high disdain, in theory, but the folks can use the insulation from the oppressive summer heat. I would have loved to see some sort of solution to keep the creaky aluminum crank windows on their mid-century vernacular ranch home, but what can you do? They were tired of the problems, and the air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard. Dad said that he could take care of the installation, but changed his mind. Besides, I offered (imposed) my help.

    Oh, here's something you can help me with. Apparently, I'm too dim to figure out how to work a one-man brake bleeder. I bought two, one's just a bottle with a check valve, the other has a vacuum pump. Neither can get the air out of the brakes on the Jeepster. Back in the old days, I'd have somebody in the driver's seat pumping the brake pedal while I opened the bleeder screws under the car. There was a clear hose running into, invariably, a beer bottle. Push slowly, open the bleeder, watch for bubbles, close the bleeder. Repeat until the air bubbles were gone. That's how we've always done it. Am I getting too uppity with the bleeder gizmos?

    Your pal,

    bob

    Sunday
    Dec102006

    OMFG! - Winter Storm Watch 2006

    Okay, not really. We got a half an inch last night and some of it stuck throughout the day. Bad news: the temps stayed in the upper twenties. Good news: hey! it's our first snow of the season! (awfully late, don't you think? - ed Well, yeah. I blame Global Drying. After all, it's not like it hasn't been cold.)

    So, we're not going to die. The puddles aren't even deep enough to get your shoes wet (speak for yourself, hiking boot boy. my ballet slippers are soaked. - ed). It's just dreary and gray. Sounds like somebody should be settling in for an afternoon of football, eh?

    Your pal,

    bob