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Archive for April, 2012

Cars and white shirts

I had a real “American” day today, meaning that I worked on my car while also working on a cheap American beer (Coors Light, just 102 cal for 12 oz).  If only I were buff, I could star in a TV commercial.

While recently driving to work one morning before the sun had risen, I realized that my driver-side low-bean headlight was out.  I inquired with Honda about having the bulbs replaced, and they recommended to replace both low-beam headlights at the same time, and for US $50 each with labor included.  Nice idea on doing both lights at the same time, but not so nice on the price.  Instead I went to an auto parts store a picked up a set of bulbs for US $30, supposedly brighter than the default factory installed lights.  We shall see…

Before starting, I checked the manual that Honda included with the car.  It took about 15 minutes in the end to replace the bulbs, and I had to add an extra step that Honda did not mention:

  1. Rotate the tires so that you have access to the front part of the wheel area
  2. Remove the two plastic tabs holding the plastic boot to the body of the car
  3. Pull back the plastic boot, and the headlight bulb and connector should be visible
  4. Loosen the screws surrounding the connector (two out of three will do) — Honda did not mention this!  Simply trying to turn the connector in the socket will not work
  5. Turn the bulb and connecter counter-clockwise until it pops out
  6. Replace the dead bulb with a new bulb, being careful not to touch the bulb with your hands (I pair of non-slip rubber cloves can be obtained for $5 or less)
  7. Put the connector back into the socket, turn it clockwise until it fits snugly, and then tighten the screws loosened earlier
  8. Push the boot back into the body and attach the plastics tabs removed earlier
All in all, an easy enough task.  I have to remember to do a general check-up on the car this summer.  I bought it last June, and for the simple things I can replace, I really should…it is tough sticking to a budget.  Having left South Carolina back in February, I also got around to attaching a front bumper license plate holder.  Like many states in the Southeast, South Carolina only requires a license plate on the rear of the car.  When I re-title the car here, I’ll need both front and rear license plates.

Of relative non-importantness, I am in a job now where I should–in other words, must–where a necktie, so Sundays are usually when I make time to iron my work shirts.  Yes, I know, I probably should enlist the services of a dry cleaner.  I may do so one day.  I need to do a cost-analysis of time versus expense, and I also need a larger wardrobe so that I have enough shirts to cover the outage time.  For now though, I am my own launderer.  I hate to say it, but I do kind of miss the 作業着 (sagyogi – work clothes) that I wore at that very first job just out of college in Sakado…so much more comfortable than a tie around the neck.  Oh well though, moving up in life I suppose.

To get to the point though, I was astonished today when I went to the market to try to purchase some starch.  I have two shirts that I really like, but even after damp ironing they still wrinkle.  I need the power of starch to keep them looking sharp.  Unfortunately, there was no liquid starch, and I was left with only spray-on starch.  I suppose it will work, but I have read about staining with the sprays.  Will report back on how that spray starch works.

End of the day.  I’ve got some pork belly in a sweet and sour sauce in the pressure cooker that I am looking forward to.  Mad Men is on TV tonight too, that would be a nice way to finish off the weekend.  I should be listening to some Chinese recordings or reading some Chinese, but I’m not much in the mood for anything that requires thought.  It looks like the pleasant, cool spring weather will be replaced with 30*C weather.  As long as the humidity does not accompany it, I will be happy.

I need to get back into the blogging routine…

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