Category Archives: General

3rd Rock

TV Land has been running reruns of 3rd Rock from the Sun lately.  For those who don’t remember, the show was based around a team of 4 aliens sent to Earth to study us.  They are in human form and attempt to live human lives.

The plots and jokes are usally completely nuts and almost always a laugh riot.  On of the subjects of tonight’s episode was tipping.  Dick, the head alien also called the Supreme High Commander, is trying to figure out the concept of tipping.  He just can’t quite understand why he needs to pay someone for doing something that he already paid them to do.  At one point he puts a stack of dollar bills on the table and starts adding and subtracting from the stack when the waitress makes mistakes.

The aliens are always making ridiculous statements and getting into crazy circumstances.  Certain episodes are graced by guest stars such as William Shatner, who plays the over-the-top leader of the alien planet, the Big Giant Head.   Good harmless fun show.

Mmmmm…. toasty

Gotta love it when the heater works right in the truck.  So much heat that I had to run with the windows down for awhile to cool things back off.

Next task: change the oil and filter before it gets so cold that I’m miserable doing it.

Winter is on the way

Getting a little nippy outside the last couple days, finally had to break down and do something about the lackluster heating in my truck.  It wasn’t anything to write home about last winter, but I didn’t freeze, so I put up with it.  This winter, however, it was noticeably worse, so it had to be dealt with.

For those who are less than mechanically inclined, there are many simple things that can go wrong with a car or truck that you can fix yourself, if you take your time and don’t get intimidated.  Even if you don’t actually do the repairs yourself, you should at least understand and be conversant on the subject in general to keep from getting screwed by the repair shop.

Take this heater issue.  Perfect example.  I’d say 95% of the time I’ve dealt with low heat in a vehicle, it’s been the same thing – plugged heater core.  The heater core is basically a little mini-radiator that sits inside your dash.  The engine circulates hot coolant through it and the fan inside the dash blows air through it, generating nice hot air.

Heater cores are little things.  They have lots of small passages.  There isn’t a lot of direct pressure to force the coolant through the heater core.  Eventually, dirt, corrosion and deteriorating antifreeze contribute to a plugged core.

To diagnose, run the engine with the heater turned on until it warms up nicely.  Pop the hood, and you’ll see 2 hoses about 1 inch diameter each going into the firewall (engine side of the dash).  Feel the hoses.  If one is hot and the other is lukewarm or cold, your heater core is plugged.  If you’re the handy sort, you should be able to round up a garden hose and rig up a connection to the cold hose, unhook the hot, and force clean water backwards through the core.  I did mine in about 5 minutes.  Run it until it’s clean and flowing nicely, hook it back up, and test again.

If you don’t like getting dirty or you don’t have time to fix it yourself, at least you’ll know enough to make the mechanic nervous.  As sad as it may be, if you talk to a mechanic and tell them you have no idea what can be wrong, you’re very likely to end up with a higher repair bill than if you tell them you’d like a radiator and heater core flush.

Grand Theft Parsons

Grand Theft Parsons was on IFC over the weekend.  Good movie, I highly recommend it.  Johnny Knoxville does a good job as Phil Kaufman, Gram Parson’s friend.  The other characters are all excellent as far as I’m concerned, from the hippie with the hearse to Christina Applegate as the ex-girlfriend.  One of my favorite lines is when the airport cop says “Wherever there’s a hippie, there’s a crime, even if that crime hasn’t happened yet. That’s what I always say.”

So, catch it on IFC or rent it, it’s a good time.

Walk Hard – The Dewey Cox Story

I had to go back and re-watch the last half of this movie this morning before work, as I couldn’t stay awake last night watching it.  I know that sounds bad, but it takes a really good movie to keep me awake past 10pm, so take it for what it’s worth.

To me, Walk Hard is a combination parody of a lot of other past movies about musicians’ lives.  I saw hints of Ray, Coal Miner’s Daughter, The Doors…  A lot of the scenes were basically taken from those documentaries, dumbed down, and jokes added.  It’s not so much that the jokes are making fun of the real-live musicians, just that they exaggerate the situations of the time.

Still, there are some fairly touching moments, like when Dewey realizes that he’s never been a father to any of his many kids, and tries to make up for it, at least a little.

Overall, a decent movie.  Kinda refreshing to get away from the typical comedy where everything is a sex or fart joke.  Strip out a few f-bombs and a hotel room full of nudes, and you could even watch this with kids.

Corner Gas

If you get WGN on your cable or satellite, try out Corner Gas.  It’s one of those rare comedies that are fun, interesting, different, and NOT packed full of sexual innuendo or toilet humor.  It’s a show you can watch without worrying about what the kids are hearing or seeing.

Most of the episodes revolve around things like the local misfit trying to fake crop circles, filling up of the one town pothole – good clean fun.

Fringe

I’ve seen a few episodes of Fringe now, and I’m not sure if I’m a fan – jury’s still out.  I haven’t figured out yet why Walter seems to alternate between brilliant scientist and child-like loon.

It’s kind of got an X-files thing going, which I like, and sci-fi mystery, which is good, but the acting of the female agent seems a little dead to me.  Yeah, she’s kinda hot, but it’s hard to beat Scully.