66 thoughts on “February 15, 2014: Love Hangover”

  1. I had four loading errors last night and it took me another 20 minutes this morning but I was finally able to cancel my mlb.tv subscription. Consider this your friendly reminder that your account will be automatically renewing.

  2. This week my younger daughter was involved in a property damage accident (vehicles only) in St. Paul. The good news is that the vehicle, our 2002 Chrysler Town and Country LXi, did just what it's designed to do and kept her safe, nobody was hurt and I'm thankful for that. The bad news is, the collision crumpled the front end like an empty beer can--bumper, grille, both quarter panels, hood, radiator and A/C condenser, a few other things. With a repair estimate north of six grand, she's a total loss. So of course the insurance company is trying to low-ball me on the value. I've been a customer of this company for 20 [redacted] years and this is only the second claim I've filed (the first was when a hail storm clobbered my Buick). I told them I'm disputing the value and I've found several comps at local dealers that are averaging $3500 and they're only appraising it at $3000. I don't expect to win, but I don't like to let that kind of shite slide unchallenged, either.

    1. Good on you Twayn. Not on the subject of accidents, but with regards to insurance in general, we bought a new home and moved last June. We'd had ice dams and water damage at the old place 2.5 years ago so couldn't switch to our preferred insurer until Jan 2014 (we'd left them when moving back to MN due to an unfathomable trebling of our auto policy due to the state...WTF!). Come Jan, we switched both home and auto back, saving ~$650 per year overall. Get a prorated refund check for the home owners insurance from the old insurer. Then another comes...with the address we'd left in June 2013. Seems they hadn't properly closed that account when we switched homes, even though they'd insured the new home. We weren't on the hook for the old house, but they'd neglected to send the check or roll it over to, in effect, reduce our mortgage payments. Nice to get an unexpected $1000. Not nice to know they didn't do their job for six months, and neither had I. Sure could have used that cash any number of times during that time.

      1. Just two months ago I doubled the deductible for the collision coverage on the Chrysler. You know, to save money.

      2. Worse than insurance companies, when we went to the closing for our refinance, the bank had managed to have both the a) address of our house, and b) the amounts on the mortgage wrong. It's not like those are, I don't know, the only two things that actually matter during a refinancing of property.

        1. The worst part is, when you mentioned this to me before, I didn't even bat an eye. It's become par for the course to just expect bad customer service when dealing with any number of institutions - see Boss's comments on Comcast, yours with banks, Twayn's with insurance...sad.

          1. Re: Comcast. I called them because they had been charging me rent ($8 a month) for a modem for years when I bought my own and sent theirs back long ago. So, did they take the $8 off? No, they sent me a new modem. WTF, people?

              1. It gets worse. The guy tried to tell me that the $8 was for my phone. I said, that's not true, it clearly says it's for the modem and the last guy I talked to told me that. He then backed off that lie. I pointed out that they made me take the phone hardware, which I will have to send back after a year because it was cheaper to add the phone and not activate it than not to have the phone. Can you believe the audacity of that guy to attempt to shove that $8 by lying about what it is for?

                I told this story to Moss the other day and guess what? He's fighting the same effing battle with them over the modem rent. It's like a company wide grift.

                  1. why deal with the amateurs when you can contract with the professionals?


    2. Small potatoes in comparison, but I'm fighting our mortgage company over a duplicate escrow check they sent us. First rep says to destroy one of them as it's been voided in their system, but can't say WHICH check it was (?!). Second rep said I have to send one of the checks back (at my expense). Sure, it's only the cost of a stamp and envelope, but wtf, it's their mistake! I'm escalating and waiting until they send an SASE if they really want it back.

  3. Anyone watching USA-RUS hockey?
    The US was gifted a no goal and why didnt we get a PutinSmash reaction after that?

    1. damned NBC thing that I'm not paying for. Trying to replay the hockey game, but it keeps loading, then kicking it over to the general day 8 coverage, but I can't actually watch anything that occurred previously...

    2. Results of Game Revealed Within SelectShow

      Watching SUI-CZE right now. SUI is awfully good defensively, I'd be worried about facing them in the next round.

  4. Today marks exactly a year since I started hanging around this place. I can't wait to see what you guys have planned for this momentous anniversary!!!!!!!!111

    1. Happy anniversary!

      I will celebrate by giving myself a sugar coma. I bought cupcakes for Valentines Day, my wife made brownies, and it is my daughter's birthday so we will be having cake.

    2. Looks like someone made you a special CoC header- I'd guess who, but I wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings if I was wrong.

      Anyhow, happy one-year anniversary!

    3. Your continued presence astounds and amazes me* - we love having you around!

      *said the same thing to my wife over Valentines Dinner last night.

    4. I guess this means I no longer have to do the *puts on pants, kicks beer cans under the couch* bit anymore.

  5. Thursday night I got bored with the Icecapades™ on NBC® and watched 42 on HBO. It was a good call, but it was like eating a potato chip, now I want more baseball movies.

  6. I just started bawling uncontrollably at my daughter's ice skating lesson. That's right, they were playing Dancing Queen.

    1. I went to a church-sponsored married-couples dinner-and-a-dance and they played it too. Ruined the whole mood. what a lame DJ.
      Also, EAR and I must have been the only people there in our age bracket, or at least the only ones confident enough to swing dance.

  7. The Issue: 2002 Honda Civic (with 195k miles) occasionally loses power and is unresponsive when the accelerator is pressed. Started last summer, when I think I put a couple of gallons of bad gas in it, topped with fresh. The rpm's drop off, the engine stutters and will sometimes stall. Always within the first 2-10 minutes of starting the car but seems to happens most often after car has been driven a distance, parked and then restarted. Car will always run normally after whatever this is works itself out. The check engine light comes on and stays on. Does not happen every time the car is driven, but often enough that I've had it looked at.

    BiL, the sometime mechanic though no longer practicing, suggested the Idle Air Control Valve. Made sense, but he lives too far away to diagnose or fix.

    Honda dealership (we've been doing all of the scheduled maintenance with various Honda dealerships since my wife bought it in 2002 - it's her car so I don't ask questions) pulled the codes and pronounced the catalytic converter needed replacement. They did not experience the issue when I left it for diagnosis. Cat replacement at the dealership was estimated at ~$1200. The car is worth maybe double that ... on a good day. No thanks.

    Took it to a local muffler shop who said that didn't sound like a catalytic converter. Gentleman indicated that when they go bad, due to clogging or corrosion or what-have-you, the car likely doesn't run at all due to lack of exhaust exiting the exhaust system (or something like that). Even so, they test drove the vehicle and experienced the problem (first time it had actually happened for anyone other than me or my wife), pulled the code which suggested exhaust/cat issues and then tested the converter. It's working fine! (Nice!! sez I) The problem, in their opinion, was that it was getting overloaded with unburned fuel. This is what sets off the sensors when it is unable to process said volume of unburned fuel. Seeing as how it wasn't exhaust, he gave me the name of local shop that he trusts so I took it over there.

    Told the guy what I knew so first things first, he tested the IAC and found it working fine. He then ran some tests and found that it could be the O2 sensor needed replacing. Made sense to him, he couldn't be 100% sure but thought it the least expensive thing to fix. He called and gave me the info, asking what I wanted to do. O2 sensor replacement would cost about $130, so I swallowed hard and rolled the dice. He replaced it and said that readings were much better now and I should pick it up.

    Drove it out of the lot (at closing time of course) to the grocery store. Grab some bread, milk and eggs, come out to the car and start her up...you guessed it. Symptoms reoccur and light comes on. Don't have time to get back to the shop the next day but we've been driving it since and it hasn't happened again.

    Now I just want to fix the thing, get that damn light off and sell it! But first, thoughts on what needs to be fixed?

    1. Wow, a Google search returns plenty of results. Everything from IAC, Engine Coolant Temp sensor, fuel pump, weak battery, throttle position sensor, spark plugs or wires, head gasket leak, even valve adjustment. I'd rule out a bunch of those (plugs and wires, fuel filter, battery) since you've been having regular maintenance done.

      Well, if the dealership says the code relates to the catalytic converter, it could be something in the exhaust system. I'd start looking at the vacuum hoses to the EGR valve(exhaust gas re-circulation valve- or the Honda equivalent), especially since warming up would maybe seal up any cracks in those hoses, then cooling off would expose them again.
      If it is a vacuum leak, it would probably be easiest to find while the car was stuttering and stalling. Next time it happens, pop the hood and see if you can hear anything hissing. Another trick is to spray the lines with some sort of aerosol- starter fluid or the like. If the hoses are cracked and sucking in air, you should hear it speed up as it sucks in the starter fluid.

    2. unburned fuel getting to the cat == bad news. I'm assuming Minnesota still doesn't have the emissions testing requirements I have to deal with out here. But my guys have told me that unburned fuel is the fast track to burning out the cat. SELL IT NOW!!!

    3. Diagnostics is often the hardest part of a repair job. Oxygen sensor and EGR valve were the most obvious things to check, and it sounds likely to be something in the emissions system. One low-cost thing I'd do to treat for any residual fuel issues is get a couple of cans of Sea Foam. Dump one in the tank and use the other with the engine running to clean the intake components (directions are on the can). Save what's left and mix it with your engine oil a few days before your next oil change. It doesn't cost much to replace vacuum hoses, you can buy the line in bulk, just do one at a time until they're all swapped out to rule out a cracked hose as the cause . You should probably have the engine control unit checked, too, it determines the air/fuel mixture based on the data it pulls from engine & exhaust sensors.

  8. Getting a lot of simple joy from my backyard today.
    Looks like a sole Tree Sparrow has joined my local flock of Juncos, but kindof hides on the edge. I enjoy it due to its novelty, if I had flocks of them, meh.
    I also had my ivory-billed woodpecker back to the suet feeder. I like her just because she's the only individual bird I can identify.

    Field Notes SelectShow
      1. What are you bitter about?
        They're the official records-keepers: what do you expect? Validate, then trust.

        1. You're right - I had a bird at the feeder during the holidays, and between my bird book, the Internet, and sending a photo to another birding dude we couldn't figure out what it was (top candidate was European Starling).

    1. Hey AMR, any idea what this is? Photo'd it at the Southernmost Bakery in the US on the big island when we were there:

      I wish I could find good (convenient) instructions for the new camera at the time; tried to take a couple macro shots of a couple beautiful big Golden Orb Weaver while there, but fial. 🙁

      1. No idea. Hawaiian birds get their own field guides. If I ever get to Hawaii, I'll buy a field guide before I leave.
        The only book I have that has extensive coverage of Hawaii is a book of extinct species.
        This is not one of those birds.
        Its coloration is similar to a cardinal species from tropical climates that is occasionally found as an escapee in the lowermost of the lower 48, but it doesn't have the crest, and the bill's too pointy.

        Shore is purty tho. How big was it?

        1. (in best Monty Python voice) That's a rather personal question!

          I was your standard size - slightly smaller than a cardinal. I'd seen photos also of a similar one with a crest, but no sign of a crest on this one. Only other birds that stuck out to me were some pale yellowish sparrows and some variation of a mockingbird.

          The orb weavers I saw looked to be this one.

          1. I was your standard size - slightly smaller than a cardinal. I'd seen photos also of a similar one with a crest, but no sign of a crest on this one.

            Hey, this is a family magazine!

          2. It is a Yellow-Billed Cardinal, an introduced South American species.
            Congeneric with the Red-Crested Cardinal, which is what I was thinking of.
            This is a pretty cool illo of five of the six species in the genus:

            (Center-Right and Bottom-right are two conspecific subspecies.)

            Not related to the US's Northern Cardinal, nor that bird's relative the Pyrrhuloxia (of the Southwest US).

  9. Ideas for Winter Olympic Demonstration Sports (lunch conversation with NBBW):

    Carry a polar bear cub while you ski down a challenging ski slope. Somewhere on the hill below is the cub’s mother.

    Slalom with Balloons
    Same as regular slalom, but on each of the poles is a balloon that you have to pop as you pass by using a knife that you have clenched in your teeth.

    Ice Cursive
    Just before you get onto the freshly Zambonied ice rink, you are given a phrase by the judges. Your job is to ‘skate’ the phrase onto the ice. Countries with diacritical marks in their language are allowed to use hand skates.

    Snowshoe Drawing
    Your countries’ team of snowshoers has 10 minutes to make the image of the Olympic mascot on a freshly made field of snow.

    Recycling Down the Mountain
    Your team of four gets a randomly assigned non-EnergyStar appliance, and your job is to get it down the hill to the recycling center as quickly as possible, using your choice of a Vespa, a shopping cart, or the help of two unionized workers of the host country.

    Olympic Pranks
    Assign a medal to the athlete, trainer, or coach who pulls off the best prank during the Olympics (fish left in locker, message taped to someone’s back, soap in water bottle, making it so one of the Olympic 0’s doesn’t transform, etc.).

    No-see-um Skeleton
    Same as regular skeleton, but the rider has a blind-fold on. There is a net at the end to catch them.

    Egg Sports
    Enhance existing events by requiring the athlete to carry an egg (on a spoon in their mouth for downhill skiing, on the luge-ers chest, on the skeletor’s back, etc.). You win by best time, and the egg not being broken at the end.

    Slalom-skiers (but could also be applied to gymnastics) have to wear a belt that contains two liters of a sloshy-liquid whilst doing their event.

    1. fwiw, the dreadlocked dude with the triple-extra baggy pants from Switzerland(??) in Slope Style skied with a raw egg in his pants pocket. dude was odd. Also, he had an epic wipeout soon after the squawkers mentioned that odd fact. They immediately opined that the egg was no longer intact.

      1. I know his first name was Henrik. Wasn't he Swedish?
        HPR was not a fan. I think he thought the snowboarder sullied their nearly-shared first name.
        HPR called out "I hope he wipes out" and less than a second later, Henrik did.

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