December 2, 2005

 inside the bubble

car_interior.JPGblackbird, for show & tell this week, wanted to see our cars.

well, i blogged a photo of that last year when my CRX turned 200,000 miles, so rather than bore you with another exterior shot i thought i'd blog a photo of the interior.

i really like this photo for some reason. i took it while i was driving (ooh! danger!) so i didn't have the opportunity to properly focus the shot. i just held the camera up by my head and pushed the button.

i rely on that digital clock. i have it set to the exact minute and i probably look at it 10 times during my 40-minute commute. i don't wear a watch, so given how much time i spend in my car this is really one of my principal timekeeping devices.

as for the temperature controls, the A/C button was neglected for about 7 years but since i got the entire system fixed it has now become my favorite button on that panel. driving home from the beach in the rain, it made life so much easier acting as a defogger. A/C rocks!

the stereo is piece of crap. it worked well for about 4 years, then the tape player got fubared. it constantly thinks it is playing a tape, and when i press eject (though there is no tape inside) it goes through this spastic mechanical process that doesn't stop unless you jam a pen into it.

the radio works fine, though i rarely use it to listen to AM or FM broadcasts. instead i transmit my ipod's audio through an FM channel with an itrip. the ipod rests perfectly upon the open ashtray. i've got a charger in the car constantly, both for my ipod and for my cell phone.

i drive a manual transmission. i love manual transmissions. i will always choose manual transmissions in every car i purchase. vroom vroom.

and finally, i try to maintain a relatively clean car interior, though some trash does accumulate in that weird slot below the radio. (it currently contains a hair barrette, instructions on how to change the itrip station, one pen, and a wadded-up straw wrapper.) my floor is always fairly covered with dirt and leaves, too.

updated to add: the encouraging view out the window

Posted by xta at 1:50 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 13, 2005

 the dialogue is even funnier when you know that christy is a transsexual mechanic

me, after my trusted mechanic has worked on my car for the last time: "i'm not sure where i'm going to take my car now that you're moving away. i guess i can continue taking it to your old shop if you can tell me there's another mechanic there who will treat me as well as you did."

bradley, the mechanic: "nah... but christy has a new pair of fake boobs... you might want to take your car back there anyway to check those out."

all names have been changed to protect the innocent. and the newly buxom.

Posted by xta at 12:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 16, 2004

 the car party


some guests thought i was a little nuts to have made a party hat for my car. but i thought it was cute!

i was happy to have my mechanic, parker, in attendance and i presented him with a gold grown for his help in keeping my little CRX alive all these years.

in addition to the always-fun "usual suspects" i was also happy to meet for the first time bw ventril and his lovely wife, lady mcventril. a neighborhood rock star stopped by for a while as well, which i guess attracted the paparazzi:


Posted by xta at 3:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 15, 2004

 happy birthday, little car!


it happened on my way to work this morning. i was on the phone with charo, discussing magnetic fields tickets, when i started shrieking in her ear.

from the looks of that photo, i've really gotta do a little cleaning before the party tonight! (7pm, btw. i've made a giant party hat for the car. you should come just to see that.)

Posted by xta at 11:12 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 8, 2004


at parker's suggestion i wrote to honda to tell them about my CRX turning 200,000 miles. he thought they'd send me a big pile of stuff for my celebration. (as a mechanic, he has apparently learned how to get the most out of the car companies.)

well, i heard back from honda today. they're sending me a keychain. ("retail value is $30!" the agent said, trying to apologize for not being able to send more.)

i'm not sure how much the keychain will contribute to the festivities, but i AM sure that i will be hitting the 200,000 mark in about a week and a half... so i'm thinking about a party on either the friday the 15th or friday the 22nd.

preferences? opinions? (other than "parker rocks!"?)

Posted by xta at 2:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 4, 2004

 another day, another $350

last month it was the brake rotors. they were too far gone to machine any further. i had to get new ones.

this month it's the front axles.

next month it's going to be my brake lines. they are apparently beginning to crack, which does not really promote a healthy outcome for my person.

it's starting to pile up, the costs of keeping this CRX alive.

look at this, though:


how could i possibly abandon this car?! it's taken me through thick & thin. it's more reliable than anything i know.

(in fact, i'm going to have a 200,000 mile party for this car in a couple of weeks. i'm going to write to honda and tell them so. maybe they'll send party favors.)

anyway, i was commiserating with my mechanic over this recent slew of expenses. he looked at me and said, "do you ever play poker?"

um, yeah. i guess.

"you know how with each round you keep throwing more money in the kitty just to stay in the game? the money piles up there in the middle of the table and you start getting nervous, right? you're thinking, 'uh, maybe i'd better fold...'"

i nodded.

"listen, christa," he says, "we've put too much into this car. you can't fold now."

i love my mechanic.

Posted by xta at 11:36 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 22, 2004

 anything that can go 195,368 miles deserves a new, cool start.

the mechanics worked on my air conditioning for more than 5 hours yesterday... and they're still not done. my car now has a little bit of A/C (!!!), and they let me drive it home (without paying, i might add), but they're not fully happy with the amount of cold air coming out of the vents, so i'm taking the car back tomorrow so they can tweak it to perfection.

so far my bill is $465. i think they'll have to add a condenser to the tally, but thankfully the compressor looks a-ok.

i have to say... even though they're not fully satisfied with the repair thus far I AM THRILLED to get even a weak little gurgle of cool air. i drove around last night with a big-ass smile on my face. this is what it's like NOT to sweat!!

i went shopping last night with mary. (i insisted that i would drive, so as to force my cool air upon her... i've got lots of friends to whom i owe countless summertime rides.) neither of us really needed to go shopping, but we both bought new skirts anyway. i now own at least 4 skirts. (ok, a couple of those are skorts.) i don't know what's come over me lately with the skirts... i think it's that my ass looks better in a skirt than in pants. (not that anyone but me is really looking.)

after shopping we decided we were hungry and stopped in this new place at briar creek called moe's southwest grill. we were hollered at when we walked in the door: "WELCOME TO MOE'S!!!" everyone behind the counter shouted it at once. they shout it at everybody. it's quite irritating.

we found a table outside (away from the shouting) and sucked down frozen margaritas like they were going out of style. we also enjoyed heaping mounds of nachos.

here's something i wish i had read before drinking that pitcher of margaritas... if i had only known, i could have put my pee to work for me and skipped the nachos. ewwww.

Posted by xta at 12:50 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 19, 2004

 i'm a soon-to-be-cool winner!

i've made the appointment. i'm getting my car's air conditioning fixed on wednesday.

as i was finishing up the conversation with my friendly mechanic this morning, he thanked me for referring customers to his shop. there's one customer in particular he thanked me for... one woman who, i suspect, he may have eyes for.

he said he always gives discounts to people like me who give good referrals. but he said that, because of this woman, i'll be getting an 'extra big discount' on my A/C repair.

hmm. that's good news for me. but i know this woman isn't really romantically interested in the mechanic. i feel kinda weird about this.

i suppose i should just take the discount and let the two of them work out whatever needs to be worked out, and not worry about it.

but enough about that... look! at the bottom of the page! i'm a winner!! i'll have a new hairdo soon! i've never ever won anything before, and now i've won a hair makeover!! i'm so excited i could just pee.

Posted by xta at 2:33 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

June 3, 2004

 to sweat or not to sweat... a sticky question

for the last umpteen years the A/C in my car has been broken. back then, after it stopped working, i had a mechanic speculate about repairing it. he estimated it would cost $1,500.

$1,500 is, to me, a lot of money. especially given that the car is so old (it was born in 1990). during those first few sweaty weeks i figured, "how long is this car gonna last, anyway? i can sweat out a summer or two without air conditioning!"

well, i'm here to tell you... hondas last for FRIGGIN' EVER.

i mean, jezus.

i estimate i've put about 100,000 miles on the car since the A/C pooped out. that's 4 times around the earth. (measuring, of course, at the equator... the hottest part!!) and this damned car is showing absolutely no signs of dying, either.

normally, this would be good news. i'm proud of my car's longevity. but i'm at a crossroads now, trying to figure out how much more time, money and sweat i should give it. i was willing to put in a new clutch in a couple of years ago ($500). i'm willing to do new brakes, or tires, or even an alternator or something.

because things break. a $500 repair is still less than 2 or 3 car payments. i still come out ahead in the end.

well, i took the car to get a big tune up last week and my mechanic casually mentioned the A/C. he said he can run a test on it for $68 that would tell him exactly what's wrong.

i said, "i know what's wrong... several years ago another mechanic told me that the inside of the compressor was flaking off and was clogging up the works... and that it would cost $1500 to fix it."

looking at him, you could tell that he was having a hard time stifling his laughter.

"flaking off??!?"

"yes, flaking off. at least that's what he said at the time..."

suffice to say, i had the $68 test run today. it took my sweet, loving mechanics more than 3 hours to figure out what the problem was, and i'm happy to report that nothing whatsoever is flaking off.

here's the report of what is wrong:

evaporator ($338.36)
expansion valve ($57.02)
a/c thermostat ($112.27)
receiver/dryer ($44.12)
labor ($206.00)

Posted by xta at 9:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack