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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   metal failures
Tuesday, December 8 2009
At some point today I went to fetch another load of wood using my newly-augmented woodcart, whose long side-poles tempted me to overload it. When I went to pull it I knew it was dangerously overtaxed because the pole extensions I'd added were bending precariously near what must have been the threshold of folding. But once I had the weight balanced correctly over the single axle, the cart seemed to move nicely over the ground, proving that the weight of the load, though heavy, was not an unreasonable one for a single human to pull. But then I got into rough terrain and it became harder to keep the weight balanced over the axle. Inevitably the weight pitched either forward or backwards and the thin pole extensions, both of them, folded over like cheap neckties. Not only that, but a crucial part of the cart's metal skeleton also broke. Several years ago, this would have meant that my cart had become scrap, but I'm good enough at redneck welding to fix and reinforce cracks in mild steel.
I thought maybe I'd do two welding projects at once, since part of the barrier to welding is getting into the proper psychological state, one that doesn't mind spending time squinting at a spark through a Darth Vader mask.
The other project was the Honda Civic's exhaust system, which I initially thought I be using a welder to set right. But after I pulled the old intermediate pipe off, I found that it was a close enough match to a brand new intermediate pipe I'd installed on the ill-fated Honda Civic hatchback only weeks before it was totalled (Spring, 2008). So I just installed that one. I kept the other one though, imagining I could patch it four years from now when this brand new one is corroded piece of shit. That's about the amount of time these OEM emissions parts seem to last; they must be made of some corrosion-encouraging alloy. (Evidently they're designed for the person who wants to fix his rotten tailpipe long enough to sell his car.) The specific failure in the removed pipe had been a disk of the pipe's surface immediately around one of the hooks that had allowed the pipe to hang from the car's underside. Evidently the metal fatigue around the edges of this disk, combined with corrosion, had caused it to pull loose, leaving a hole about the size of bottle cap.
After I had the car fixed, I left it up on its ramps. I was so confident I'd fixed it that I didn't even bother to start it or give it a test drive. Lacking proper exhaust gaskets, I'd used furnace cement at the junctions at either end of the intermediate pipe. Those will have to be fired by reasonably-long test drive, such as out to Home Depot.
This evening Gretchen and I watched a quirky comedy called The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard. It seemed really promising at first, based as it was around the zany idea of a crack team of salespeople who fly in to floundering car dealerships to pump them up again. And there were bits and pieces here and there that were refreshlingly hilarious, like the 10 year old kid with pituitary problems played by Rob Riggle. Or the boy band populated entirely by middle-aged guys (including the reliably hilarious Ed Helms). But the laughportunities tended to be weak and spaced too far apart, while the went on for too long and tended to lose focus. It's the kind of movie that could probably be greatly improved with a complete re-edit.

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