Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Saturday, August 1, 2009

1982-1984 Dodge Rampage 1/2 Ton Trucklet

In the early 1980's, Subaru, VW and eventually Chrysler released El-Camino like variants of their compact cars. In Chrysler's case, that effort yielded the Dodge Rampage and it's cousin the Plymouth Scamp. The answer to a question nobody asked, namely -

Q: "Wouldn't an Omni GLH Make a Great Truck?
A: "WTF? Did You Fall and Bang Your Head"?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ace Hotel Staff Uniforms - Maybe it's just me

The Ace Hotel in NYC is apparently trying to inject a little fashion into the otherwise fusty hotel staff uniform (W Hotel Style). In general I am favorably disposed towards efforts to eliminate the polyester tyranny that is the typical corporate uniform (I once worked for Hertz and though theirs were better than most, it was still a bit de-humanizing wearing the uniform on the train). That being said, the primary benefits of an official looking uniform is when it is done correctly, it is easy for the customer to identify the person as an employee and generally to discern their role. If uniform is designed well and worn right, it reflects positively on the organization and the person wearing it, think U.S. Navy officers and hospital lab coats. Personally I don't want a faux hipster hailing me a cab, plus, what taxi driver worth their salt will pay any attention to someone dressed like that.
Via Cool Hunting : http://www.coolhunting.com/

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Felo E-Pro Screwdriver Set Review

After getting tired of the flimsy Chinese computer screwdriver set I had been using which was slowly stripping itself and every screw in site, I broke down and purchased one of these Felo E-Pro screwdriver sets. While not directly intended for computer work, the set contains a sensible assortment of bits which work well enough on a PC. I have to say, these are hands down the highest quality tools I have ever used and they are worth the small fortune they cost. The tool box alone is a revelation in this day and age of cheap junk. I also end up doing a lot of electrical work around the house, and being insulated, these are perfect for that as well. I can recommend these with no reservations whatsoever. Also, for those of you in the Boston area, I can also recommend You-Do-It Electronics in Needham, MA. You-Do-It has nearly everything you need to fix anything electronic and an extremely knowledgeable staff.

Monday, July 27, 2009

MGB GT - YACFMP (Yet Another Car From My Past)

When I was in college, I had a grey 1969 MG BGT that I had purchased off an acquaintance for somewhere on the order of a few hundred $US that had a bad clutch. In a nutshell, here is what happened; I acquire said imported British sports car at some point in the summer, and get everything apart to replace the clutch and then have to return to college. Meanwhile the garage space occupied by the B and it's transmission is required by my brother (not in school at the time) who needed to perform some similar mechanical transplantation. So, he rolls the B out of the garage and boots the tranny and other assorted pieces parts off to the side to make room for his car, and here is where things begin to go pear shaped (as they say). More...I had put all the bolts, nuts washers, pins etc. into a bowl pilfered from the kitchen. My Brother, upon finding said nuts and bolts, dumps the whole kit and kaboodle into what we referred to as the "Bolt Box". The Bolt Box was wooden box about half as big as an US Army footlocker that was filled with about three generations of nuts and bolts left over from various mechanical endeavours. The total population of nuts and bolts must have numbered in the tens of thousand. The Bolt Box was a priceless source of ass saving spares for the inevitable stripped, lost, broken or tapped out nut or bolt that would otherwise derail any mechanical project. Suffice it to say that after my Father and Brother had spent a winter digging through the Bolt Box for spares, my British nuts and bolts were thoroughly mingled with thousands of similarly sized U.S. bolts and nuts. The problem of course being that British Whitworth and American SAE threads are extremely similar and sometimes interchangeable to a point, but fundamentally different. The US bolt might screw in a 1/2 inch or so and bind ever so slightly, leaving the wretched wrencher to have to decide, is it seated and ready to torque down or about just about to strip. How much this sucked cannot be sufficiently conveyed. To add to the issues, the BMC Corp used a real mish mash of fasteners to fit any single component. While an American transmission might be attached with 1 or possibly two bolt types and sizes, the MG might mix fine and course threads of differing lengths. Needless to say, it took me the better part of the summer to locate all the needed fasteners to put the old B together again. I loved to drive that car, and not because it was a great car, it wasn't, but rather, simply because it was fun in a way that transcended the mundane act of driving. It reminded me of nothing so much as a WWI biplane. Between it's Sopwith Camel like, loping idle (accompanied by the lively motion of the Smiths dash gauges) and it's unique odor of hot oily metal, moldering wool and leather, the whole vehicle was unmistakeably a human "contraption" in the best sense. A contraption in that every moment that it ran was like a minor miracle brought forth by human sweat and toil, both of which the car required more regularly than it did gas or oil. Driving that MG was like discovering that the cable company left HBO on from the previous tenants, you felt lucky and a little giddy knowing that at any moment it might come to an abrupt and possibly unpleasant end. And so it did, all over my future mother in laws pristine suburban driveway.