Thursday, November 07, 2013

Back in the breakership saddle!

Yesterday, as is my wont, i broke the car out of its cocoon and took it to the East Bay for a very important business lunch. This is a fortnightly (i wrote bi-weekly, but it seems its definition has become corrupted) occurrence, usually accompanied by band practice. No, the band is not getting back together. Yes, we might be playing a reunion show.

Anyway, basically I never drive, and after 16 years of my negligent ownership, the last 7 of which have basically comprised abandonment, I am staggered that my car still puts up with me. I think it wants me to sell it, but I don't really want to, because (1) it's a 3rd generation Mazda RX-7, so it's way rare and cool, (2) it's been a reliable servant and i still occasionally need it, (3) it has issues and selling it would potentially be problematic and/or costly, and finally (4) Robin likes it and thinks I should keep it. She's a keeper, too.

So on the way home, about 30 yards from said cocoon, on the steep part of Masonic just before Frederick, in a line of traffic, I managed to stall the car. Embarrassing eh? When the RX gets warm it gets a little irked, and sometimes this happens. So I turn the key… nothing. Not a sausage. No attempt to do anything whatsoever. Aha, thinks I, the computer is saying no, as things are a little toasty under the hood.

I remember another instance of this, after a 3-way mildly drunk car chase across LA from the pool at the Figueroa downtown to the bar at Spaceland in Silverlake where friends Dealership were about to take the stage. Halfway into the parking space, clonk. It took me, the bouncer, and half the band to push it fully into the space. The computer simply wouldn't play.

And here we zoom out. Literally everything I have ever owned has had an intermittent catastrophic undiagnosable problem. My Peugeot 205 would occasionally refuse to start, but bump start easy and then start flawlessly minutes later. My VW Corrado, the original Red Fish, same exact thing. My Atari 1040STF would scramble its video signal after a while, but only when connected to *my* monitor. My Apple Cinema Display occasionally refuses to talk to the MacBook Air, but it's fine talking to other computers, and fine even talking to the Air when it's anywhere else but the office. My Nova would occasionally act like it was out of fuel, even when it wasn't. The music Mac acted like it had bad RAM, even through RAM checks and RAM and motherboard swaps, and only when running music apps. My Express Modem claimed it could only do 2400 baud. The castle's Airport Express farm will occasionally only stay up for 20 minutes at a time. The list goes on. Of course, nothing is ever diagnosed, and eventually inconvenient breakage due to malignant spirits inevitably leads to Total Carnage blog entries.

Lately this virus has spread to things I don't even own. Robin's Prius is the exact opposite of the RX-7, and in many ways a computer with wheels rather than a car, but it is an impressive piece of engineering and well thought out. So naturally, it has begun losing its mind if left in an airport car park for more than 2 nights. Return to car park after miraculously surviving flight, car is dead as doornail. Once a little power arrives, courtesy of AAA or whoever, the car springs to life and behaves normally. Even claims the battery is almost fully charged. WTF?

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