Monday, August 4 2014
Every Monday I have a meeting with the Lightroom/Webapp client, and today was no exception. At this point we're mercifully down to bug fixes, although it's not uncommon for me to create a new bug in the process of fixing an old one.
After the meeting, I went to check the mailbox and found that a new brake hose had arrived to replace the one that I'd somehow managed to literally blow up. Unfortunately, though, it was not the hose I needed. That threw me into a rage (which is an easy thing to be thrown into when you're being attacked by mosquitoes). But then I decided to check to see if perhaps one of the old brake hoses from the totalled Honda Civic would work as a replacement. In amid some leftover clutter from that long-dissected car, I managed to find one of its those hoses and, its connectors appeared to be exactly what I needed. At one end of the hose was a female flange connector, while the other ended in a donut-like disk (or toroid) designed to be bolted onto the brake calipers (providing brake fluid through a tiny hole connecting the donut hole to the hose, which attaches to the toroid disk at its equator). I figured that even if this hose didn't work, it was worth trying, since it would not be a difficult thing to replace if it failed.
Next I turned my attention to replacing the rotten brakeline running to the rear passenger-side wheel. Since I'd been unable to detach the old line from a junction block near the gas tank, I'd decided to cut the line slightly closer to the front, where it entered the cabin of the car under the back seat. I snipped it off with diagonal cutters (which was difficult, since the line is made of steel) and, once I had it losened, I made a proper cut with a pipe cutter. Next, I attempted to flange it with my flanging tools, but I made a complete mess of it and the flange was torn. I'd also reversed two of the flanging steps (it needed a so-called "double flange" and I'd only performed the second flanging). So I went up to the laboratory and watched a quick Youtube video, which really helped. I didn't follow those instructions perfectly; my chamfer was much less extreme than the Youtube guy's was, and I didn't bother to square the line's end with a file (I assumed the pipe cutter had done a competent job of that). But I did lubricate the line before attacking it with the flanging tool, and that seemed to help a lot. After watching that video, the three flanges I had to make (one on the car's existing line and two on the ends of the replacement segment) were perfect, and I made them surprisingly quickly. Before long, I had a functioning line reaching all the way to the calipers. Then I removed the little piece of wood (made from a barbecue skewer) that had plugged the line at the manifold since the old brakeline failed back in September (it was jammed in there so tight I had to burn it out with a torch). The old Honda Civic hose seemed to fit its new Subaru application almost perfectly, though the attachment hardware along its length was not perfectly located and I had to resort to zip ties to tie it down.
Part of the reason I'd made such a push on this project today was that Gretchen wanted me to drive to Woodstock to have dinner at the Garden Café with her, David, and Susan. But once I was done, I was dirty and covered with mosquito bites and I didn't want to get into a car and go somewhere. Also, I'm not a big fan of that particular restaurant (even though the navy bean soup sounded appealing). So I took a shower to get the grime off me and then took a very long nap.
That nap screwed up my sleeping pattern, and I ended up staying up until about 2:30am. At around that time, I went out into the garage for some reason and Clarence the Cat initially seemed like he was going to come with me. But we both her an unusual rustling out there, and it skeeved both of us out. For Clarence, that was enough to cause him to abandon the plan of going out into the garage. As for me, I gingerly made my way into the cluttered space. The first thing of note was a neat four-inch-wide hole in the side of a bag of dog food. Clearly this had been created by a creature wishing to eat the dog food, but it had a neatness to it that suggested that the thief had opened it not with claws or teeth but with hands. The Raccoons I'd seen last night were raiding our dog food! As I walked out to the front of the garage, I was a little worried that one of those masked bandits would leap out at me from a hiding place and try to drive me from their treasure. But no, I didn't see a Raccoon until I had gone out through the garage doors and stood in the driveway. That was when I saw a greyish-brown being scampering around the north end of the house. After closing the garage door (thereby cutting off access to the dog food), I pursued the Raccoon on foot. He hadn't gone far. When he saw me approach, he got up on his hind feet and stood there looking at me like a little coon-headed man in a fur coat. He had the posture of a humanoid. "I see you!" I shouted, and he got down on all four, turned around, and scampered away.
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