removing the key in the conventional way
Thursday, May 22 2003
During the wedding, Gretchen and I were lucky to have a few photographers present. Nathan and Janine's camera had a 128 Meg Compact Flash card which I could read immediately, and those were the photographs I used to illustrate the entries from those days. For another perspective, you can look at the photographs taken by Gretchen's childhood friend Dina (which I uploaded today). Or you can look at the web photogallery compiled by Bathtubgirl's boyfriend Drew. Dina had given us all her photos as undeveloped rolls of film, and it only cost ten dollars extra per roll to get CDs with digitized images of the photos. Oddly, though, some of these CDs contained images in TIFFs and others contained JPEGs.
I remember driving down the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway with some of Ray and Nancy's friends and one of them kept obsessing - in the way I frequently obsess - about a ridiculous retro-grunge band called Staind. I'd heard their big song "It's Been Awhile" on the radio and I could understand the fascination. Staind was like some sort of non-Christian Creed. That's about as empty as rock and roll gets these days, since the only thing Creed has going for it is the Christian thing, repulsive though it might be. But then tonight I found myself watching the obscure Red Star cable network and I saw the Staind video for the song "Price to Play." Hard as it is to admit, I found myself thinking, hey, these guys are kind of deep. How could I possibly reach such a conclusion? Two reasons: I'd drunk a lot of leftover wedding wine, and the singer is really ugly. Any band with a singer that ugly must have something non-superficial going for it. I couldn't really tell what exactly that thing might be, but I felt oddly warmed by the heat of the wall-of-sound guitar chords, but only when they were very lightly-distorted.
In a series of multimeter tests today, I confirmed that the resistance of my truck's circuitry is greatly increased (and thus battery drain is greatly decreased) when I remove the key in the conventional way, that is, by rotating it all the way counterclockwise and depressing the little black button nearby on the steering column. For some reason the key is unusual and I can remove it at any point in its rotation - even when the truck is idling. When I park it, I usually rotate it as far as I can counterclockwise without depressing the button, but the resistance of the truck's circuitry when I do that is about 280 ohms. (When I then switch on the headlights, the resistance falls to 50 ohms.) When I rotate it all the way, the resistance reaches up into the thousands of ohms. I can understand why my battery drains away when I leave it in the not-fully-counterclockwise position, but I'm still puzzled why this hasn't been a problem up until now. I figure I can train myself to rotate it fully counterclockwise from now on, but if I prove incapable of developing this habit, I can always make a copy of Gretchen's key. It's more conventional and cannot be removed from the ignition unless the little button is depressed. (Or in a bad mood.)
I'm curious why the engineers at Toyota bothered to make it possible to manufacture a special key that can be removed while the engine is idling. I suspect that the characteristic of the key that gives it this feature is the simple absence of a bump. It allows for a rather convenient hack, but one that manifests (as I'm beginning to discover) a downside. At least a key is still required to start my truck. I happen to know that on some old models of Jeep, all you have to do to start the thing up is to turn the metal thing into which the key gets inserted.
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