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Sunday 30th March 2003
Turned really cold again today. We had a bit of snow last night. This afternoon it has become sunny, windy and cold. A sky of pretty cumulus cloud underlined with shadow and topped with pale yellow sunlight. Just one or two giving off shades of palest green and purple. That's what an art class will do for you .. observation.
This afternoon I thought about going to see "The Hours". On consideration I didn't really want to watch a movie about angry and depressed people. It did win a lot of prizes. Decided instead on "The Core". I usually enjoy science fiction, flying, heroism, problem solving, computer geeks and other hi-iq folk. So, I did enjoy this movie. It was quite a "cliff-hanger". Lots of excellent FXs too.
Last week I saw "Boat Trip". The goofy pair of friends were tricked into going on a "gay" cruise. The movie was one corny old gay joke after another. It was alright I suppose, but not really my kind of thing.
Friday 28th March 2003
Today I'm ticked off about my car and will have a grumble about that: A week or so ago, when it was very cold, I had driven over a railway line bump and heard a sharp crack .. thought it was a stone. It was the rear coil spring. I thought no more of it. Yesterday I took the car for an oil change. The engineer did a walk around and found behind the break in the spring away behind the back wheel. Also, driving with the springs out of balance had made strain and loosening of the front steering joints (tie-end rods). So - $633. for repairs. Nasty surprise. In this climate you can't let anything go. My relative thinks cars should be changed every three years. That's good - for those who can afford. Ford have had poor results from the coils on the Escorts. The front coil springs are particularly troublesome as they break and jab into the tires. This can cause a blowout - quite dangerous, wouldn't you say?
Just this morning I received an email from the Canadian Auto Association. They have spring bumper-to-bumper checkover places. They also gives an opinion as to whether the car should be sold. It's $119. I generally don't like these checkovers. In my experience garages tend to make something wrong if they can't find something. I just wish cars were higher up (like planes), so we could see underneath and do a proper walk-around before taking off.
On one occasion I had the oil changed - and that same night after evening classes - the warning light came on (the goof light, as engineers call it). I was stranded in Guelph at night, needing oil and could not get back to Elora. They had emptied the oil and forgotten to refill it! This, of course, did permanent damage to the engine. Since then I always check the levels and anything else I can get at.
On another occasion they did a service and reversed the wiring of the traffic indication lights, so that left turn indicated right etc.
Again, the garage did a service and interfered with the radio, so that no longer worked.
In passing, I decided this time to put the car up on a hoist and take a look at it generally. It is about six years old and may have other things wrong with it. I could see the mechanic had replaced the coil spring. I think the steering joints look new. However, the engineer did forget to put a cotter split-pin in the fastening of the steering joint (tie-rod ends). This type of fastening has a set of nuts and bolts called castellated. The bolt has a hole in the end. A split- pin is placed through the hole, the pin is split and the ends turned up, so that (one hopes) the nut cannot come undone and let the steering rods fly apart. An alternative would be a self-fastening nut .. which is more expensive? difficult to work with? why wouldn't they use that? .. I don't know, but on airoplanes sometimes they use self-fastening and sometimes split-pinned. You just have to be aware and check.
Needless to say .. I am very cynical and nervous about getting my car serviced.
Just the same, nobody is perfect. After a long day working under cars the engineers must be exhausted. I couldn't do it. Even aircraft engineers get spaced out after a tiring job. One day a few years ago I was going for a fly round with my friend. He had just had his aircraft engine overhauled. We did the run-up and everything seemed ok. Then we taxied to the runway and did a last rev-up before take-off. There was a really violent vibration .. The engine had not been properly fastened down at all! On another occasion I had a similar problem with a car. There was a terrible noise from the engine. It stopped (way out in the country, of course). The cam-shaft had not been installed and fastened correctly.
Saturday 22nd March 2003
Spring in this part of Canada is not nice at all .. everything squashed flat and brown. Very ugly. Old dead leaves and rubbish strewn everywhere, revealed by the dirty melting snow and ice banks. Then, when the snow and ice have gone and drying begins, there's dust, grit and rubbish blowing everywhere.
I'm feeling a bit grouchy. The final TwinRix hepatitis vaccination has had a bad reaction. The doctor didn't swab the injection site afterwards and didn't apply a band-aid. He merely flicked the blood away with his finger and left it at that. Now I have a big swelling and an infection. This has cost me another trip to the surgery - 30 miles, plus another $34.00. prescription for antibiotics and sleepless night due to the irritation. I don't know where he did his training, but they could have given him another course on the hygiene part.
Well, guess I better get on with some books and housework.
Sunday 16th March 2003
Another lovely day today ... wow, second day of spring according to mother nature! Went to see my relatives this afternoon. It seemed strange to be driving along in warmth and sun - but everywhere there was thick snow. It is all melting, of course. The streets are streaming with water. The sun-deck at my relatives' place is like a waterfall at the front of the building.
On the way back I went to the Belgium Nurseries. This is such a pleasant place to visit at this time of year. The greenhouses are filled with tropical and spring plants. There was a hawaiian theme this weekend. They had a man playing hawaiian music on "oil drums". They were quite busy with people just enjoying the scents and a sale of primula and baby tropical plants. I bought a primula and a "snake plant". This is about the only way I shall see and scent primroses for about another month.
Here are a couple of pictures I took during the storm last week, from my friends' place. I think the lighting is really pretty.
Sunday 9th March 2003
My goodness, will this appalling weather never end. On the night of the 4th March, there was a snowstorm. Yesterday there had been a slight thaw, but then it was followed by rain, a flash freeze, snow. The snowbanks are up to twelve or fifteen feet high in the car parks. Pavements are really treacherous. The wind is fierce. There's no doubt in my mind, nature did not intend that this country should be inhabited. We only live here by use of vast amounts of energy, whether in the winter or the summer. Did I say "live" .. correction, I should say "exist". One can certainly see why many of the first people sent here were criminals. This was a favourite place for Judge Jeffries (The Hanging Judge) to send people he thought were guilty. If they didn't die on the way over, they would die of the cold, the heat, or the fly-borne diseases.
My movie last week was "Chicago". I had not expected to like this show, because I really do not like jazz, for one thing. Also, I had not thought that a murder trial would make a good musical. However, it was excellent. I enjoyed it immensely. The dancers were phenominal. I appreciated the really sarcastic songs and dry wit.
This week I saw "Daredevil". I think the titles said this movie had been arranged by the makers of "Crouching Tiger - Hidden Dragon". It was somewhat similar. It was also very sad - and I would have preferred to see something humorous. As always, the actors were brilliant and the fights beautifully choreographed. If you want to see overviews of the stories, go to frontrowcentre.com
Visit a site for many photographs of North American Birds and animals.
Rhona Raskin Home Page at http://www.rhona.com.