Apple Stole My Music. No, Seriously.


Repairs and Buddy Deals PT I

This will be the first in a (likely non-sequential) series on fixing things for friends, and what to expect out of a “buddy deal”

First and foremost, I like to fix things. ALL THE TIME. This is a blessing to others and curse to myself (kinda). The curse part is my own fault; over time as a keen DIYer I’ve learned how to do a lot of things, and end up offering to help any time I hear of something. As a result I have to balance my own projects and needs with those of others who are now depending on me. Sometimes is sucks, sometimes it’s awesome, but there’s almost always this lingering factor: time.

“Free time” is as out-to-lunch as “spare change”
Lemme break it down for you….
Some years ago, a friend/colleague of mine opened my eyes to the value of time. It’s quite simple, but I hadn’t put it in this perspective before.

Let’s say for example you make $50,000/year. Most people would probably value their time as such:
[assuming biweekly pay, 40 hour work week]
50,000 / 26 = ~1,923 for 80 hours work
1923 / 80 = 23

So my time is worth $23 an hour, right?

In the eyes of your employer, yes; however, the true value of your time, in life, is as follows:
[assuming same rate of pay, amount of pay, but different hours…all of them, approximately 8766 hours in a year]
50,000 / 8766 = 5.70

This means that for every hour of every day, asleep or awake, your time is worth $5.70 an hour. Doesn’t look quite as nice, huh? This is a calculation I feel everybody should do for themselves. It makes it a little easier to navigate life and negotiations if you have a baseline to work off of.

More hypothetical: If you’re going to ask a friend to help you move, that is saving you a lot of time, but costing them the same time. In my mind you should be investing at least “$5.70” per hour of time saved – whether you do that via food, beverage or whatever deal you work out, just keep in mind that a savings for you is a cost for them.

But we’re friends, why does there have to be a dollar value?
There doesn’t have to be, but it’s always better to offer something and have them refuse. Don’t appear ungrateful. Also don’t bank on the friendly refusal of your offering. That’s no good either. They may be the type of person who always says “don’t worry about it” or “you’re my friend! you’d do the same for me” but maybe this time they DO need some bucks for fuel, or are in a tight spot. Whatever the case may be, always have something lined up.


since we last spoke…

Not a whole lot has been done on ze diesel other than driving in, and dealing with, the winter. Having a fully functional, brand new handbrake made for more than a few entertaining moments, but this being my first winter with a diesel I found out:

1. My car needs a coat
Yeah, it’s kinda wack, but diesel engines don’t run as hot as petrol engines. When the outside air is cold enough, the (diesel) engine won’t actually reach operating temperature. In order to work around this you need to have something strapped to the front of the radiator to control the amount of cold air. Turns out cardboard and some zip-ties gets the job done for next to nothing. +1

2. Conditioner isn’t just for hair
That’s right. Conditioner. But not the same stuff you put in hair. No Vidal Sassoon here, it’s for diesel. It helps in a buncha ways, mostly by lowering viscosity in the cold. As with anything, I went through a trial and error with different products until I found one that does what I need at a price I’m (sort of )willing to pay.

3. I don’t live in California
This should be obvious since I’m literally nowhere near CA, but what I mean is that I’d seen too many episodes of any car show – where it’s always sunny, and the temperature feels just like my living room. When I got this car, I had to replace large sections of the floor. In order to get at the floor, one must remove the carpet. As this car(pet) had a buncha years on it, I decided that it had a one-way ticket to the dumpster. When I finished repairing the floor, I didn’t put new carpet back in either. I thought “it just adds weight!” Except that it also adds insulation. A fair lot of it. I never noticed driving in the warm temperatures, but once the cold set in it was surprising how cold the floor (and my feet) got.


I managed to get the diesel safetied – if that’s a real word – but it’s on the road now! Goal accomplished.

It was a bit of a bitch though. As it turns out, the garage I took the car to for safety doesn’t do emission tests as well. Woulda been handy to know this before I went to the ministry office to get my sticker.

After getting denied there, I went back to the garage thinking that they didn’t give me the emission slip. But no. They just didn’t do the test or tell me that. From there I got the car to an e-test facility across town, but close to the ministry. Bit of a trade off I guess.

Here’s where things are a bit dumb on the part of the guv’ment. Diesel engines are inherently cleaner running. They don’t pollute the way gasoline engines do. So much so that the emission test for my diesel was literally visual. There’s no probes or measuring, just a 5 minute timer. If it looks okay, it is. If it doesn’t? There’s probably a real problem you would have fixed anyway. It’s kinda, a load of bollocks for diesel drivers. But whatever, there’s no real way around it so… test on? I guess?

Gripes aside, she passed and I got my sticker. I’m really pleased with myself for the work that I’ve done, and am enjoying the fruits of my labour; but I gotta say that at the same time there was a touch of excitement that left the moment I put the sticker on the plate. I suppose one could call it an immediate anticlimax. I just need to remember that this is really only the end of the first chapter. Phase 1: complete.

Now is probably a good time to review my plan. I have it all broken down into I think 4 phases so far. And with that, back to the lab.

In the meantime, peep this, the first song I played after getting her on the road. Bit of an obvious pick, but still a banger!!


and away we go!

Just dropped the car off at the garage for safety, e-test and alignment.

I’ll hear back in a few days, would be nice to have it for the weekend – wish me luck!

Aberlour A’bunadh


This post is for Opinionated Man and any one else who enjoys Single Malt Scotch.

My introduction to Single Malt scotch occurred perhaps twenty plus years ago with Glen Morangie. I found that I would buy one bottle of scotch and nurse it for months before getting (sorry, trying to type around Sir Edmund Hillary, my cat beard) another, different bottle. I then found that I liked the smokier malts from Islay, Laphroaig and Lagavulin. On one of my business trips in the ’90s, I discovered The Macallan. It was my benchmark for Single Malt scotch for many years.

Perhaps four years ago a nice young lady was handing out samples of Famous Grouse at my local spirits superstore. I was a Single Malt snob, but it was a free sample. It was quite good and very reasonably priced. The 12 year old was called a “vatted malt” and I…

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maybe this?

thinking I might start posting car projects on here.

currently working on a 1997 Volkswagen Golf TDI.

This car was offered to me as a 98 Jetta TDI with which I could swap the engine into my current daily driver and reap the benefits of diesel. Lo and behold when it arrived it was a Golf! I’ve always preferred hatchbacks [almost exclusively Golfs] for some reason. I like the idea of a quick, nimble, tiny car that has style. For the sake of this post I’ll say that style is inherently present in the Golf platform; I could probably write for a week about terrible style on cars. Also, if you haven’t already figured it out, I’m a Volkswagen fanboy. I’d like to use a different term to describe it, but I’m afraid it’s actually that bad.

Back to the main story, or whatever…

So I dun got me anuther Golf! I currently drive a Mark4 [MKIV], 2.0 gasoline Golf that’s been going strong for some 7 or 8 years. I’ve put about 300K [that’s 300,000 kilometres, not miles] on it driving across Canada and into the America. This ‘new’ one is a MKIII, has about the same distance on the engine, but is ze diesel.

This car came to me incredibly cheap because the floor had rusted out. Fortunately for me, I have some phenomenal people in my life who let me use their fabrication shop. Henceforth known as the shoppe. Why do I spell it all olde tymey? Because fuck you, that’s why.

I think mostly all it needed was the floor, but then I happened to it.

So far I have:
    replaced the floor
    replaced accessory belts
    changed 4×100 to 5×100 hubs
    replaced all wheel bearings
    rear drum to disc brake conversion with mk4 calipers
    front big brake kit with g54 calipers
    new brake flex lines
    new handbrake cables/lines
    replaced 2 steel brake lines so far [the rest in time]
    fixed an exhaust leak
    replaced accessory belt tensioner
    interior bulbs replaced with LEDs
    sand and prime the exterior
    replace driver’s front fender
    replaced upper strut mounts and bearings
    replaced front ball joint and tie rod ends
    replaced front coil springs
    replaced rear spring insulator
    replaced driver’s door lock cylinder
    replaced camber bolts
    removed stupid rotten steel coolant tube and replaced with rubber flex line
    new tires
    installed wheel spacers f15 r25

I think that’s it. So far.

You’d think that after all that I wouldn’t have any problems with safety. Vehicle safety that is. Except that I’m coming up on my third attempt. In my mind a third attempt shouldn’t exist. The first time I took it in, the garage fellas wrote out what to fix, so I did that and took it back. A few days later I received a phone call stating that there were different things to fix now which didn’t meet the whatever. Are you fucking with me? Why didn’t you tell me all this the first time???

Either way. I’m just about done everything they listed, plus more. My head will likely asplode if they give me something else to fix.

I’m currently flying across my beloved country and sadly can’t do anything with the car.

I’ll be going back for safety attempt number 3 in a week, I’ll post the outcome.