Archive for September, 2011

It’s Not a Moh-tah

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

This title should be read in a deep Arnold Schwarzenegger voice with the cadence of “It’s not a too-mah.” (Well, it’s funny to me.)

Recently my partition stopped working (the solid privacy shade that separates me from my passengers) and I’ve been running around the greater Seattle area trying to find someone who is even willing to look at it, let alone fix it. My regular body shop doesn’t do after-market electrical work, and the several other places I called weren’t interested in messing with it either.

I took it to Car Toys over the weekend, and they said it wasn’t a power issue and I would probably have to replace the motor. The friend I was with offered to look at it if it were a brush motor, but of course it was something more complicated. Making matters worse, there was no brand or descriptive text written on it so I couldn’t start the task of tracking down the part.

One of my awesome facebook fans recommended Brody’s in Lynnwood, so I trucked it up there taking 99 the whole way, which was sort of interesting. They were really nice there, and they seem to have more business than they could handle. They couldn’t take the motor out right then and there (and I learned later that was actually a good thing), so I made an appointment to have that done next month and continued on my merry way.

Since I went to work late that day, I had told my boss and some other folks in passing what I was doing. So of course it was anticlimactic and a little embarrassing when everyone asked me if I got the motor fixed and I had to tell them I couldn’t even get someone to take it out. My boss suggested I ask one of the engineers I work with. He spends half the day on the phone looking for parts, and he’s very much into electronics, so it was a sensible suggestion. I didn’t want to put him out, but when I asked he seemed intersted in the challenge. He told me to pull into the manufacturing area after 3:30 when most of the guys leave and he’d have a look at it.

The first thing he did was connect it to a power supply. I told him the people who have already looked at it said it wasn’t a power issue, and he replied, “I have very little faith in most people’s troubleshooting skills.”

It’s a fair and understandable statement. Plus, I didn’t watch anyone test the power, I just went by what they told me. I shouldn’t have done that, as it wasn’t entirely true. Connecting the power supply to the wires nearest the motor enabled my coworker to put the divider down, which was great, but then we still had to find the faulty connection between the motor and the switches. Even without that information though, we learned the problem wasn’t the motor. Removing and replacing it would have been time-consuming and expensive, so I’m glad my coworker took the time to manually power it to be sure and I wish the car shops had done the same. It literally took two minutes.

He then removed the switch box. No loose connections there. Tracing back the wires got kind of tricky, and we ended up having to pull back a good portion of the carpet, where he found a poorly grounded connection. Depending on the rattle and hum of the car at any given moment, a loose screw could break the circuitry or close it again, which explains why the divider was going up and down sometimes but not others. He reconnected the wiring and it works now, but I may need to revisit this issue again and find something to stabilize that screw.

At any rate, I learned a lot that day. I learned a little more about my car’s electrical wiring, the aptitude of my continuously kind and talented coworkers, and the places I should avoid taking my car. I’m not surprised the average body shop wouldn’t take on this project, but it’s pretty crazy that somewhere like Car Toys, who specializes in electronics couldn’t be bothered to troubleshoot a wiring issue. Oh well, I’m just happy it’s fixed, and Barbie will live to drive another day.

Detached switch box:

Wires under the carpet:

BDH after hours on the manufacturing floor:

Busy Busy Busy

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

…is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is. The last few weeks’ activities seem simple enough in retrospect (photo shoots, gigs, and events), but the complicated machinery of life added to the complicated machinery of the BDH is enough to make my cranial engine spin sometimes. Here are some highlights:

A Bajillion Photo Shoots
It started off with an evening of firsts: Last month, I did my first bathing suit shoot, which was also my first shoot with another model. To be honest, it was kind of nerve-racking, but everyone was great. We went to Volunteer Park at sunset, one of my all-time favorite places (and times!) to shoot. I pulled some of my favorite photos, but have many more to be filed away as lessons learned for next time!

The majority of my recent shoots have been with Stewart from the Life Aquatic themed kickball team I drove awhile back. We visited at least two dozen locations around Seattle for a video reel he’s making for my website, which will look something like this with more pictures. While he was shooting stuff for the reel, I took a few pictures too, if only because I wasn’t sure how long I’d be in some of these places before I was asked to leave.

Our first shoot was at Golden Gardens, which is no easy feat when the weather is nice. We tried a few areas, but my favorite was by the marina. Although I’m not really into boats (other than my own land yacht, of course), I like the high availability of boats. Just in case some real-life Miami Vice action occurs, it’s nice to know I could easily find a boat to commadeer and finish the scene if I had to.

The following Saturday and Sunday mornings were a blur of backroads and backgrounds. I actually drove inside Gasworks Park and set up several several shots… and no one told me to leave. The most difficult place to get a picture was at the Olympic Sculpture Park by the waterfront. Some poor security guard actually stands there day and night to make sure hoodlums like me don’t drive on the sidewalk trying to get a shot of my car with the fountain. Yes, the creepy fountain.

We had a considerably easier time setting up shots back in Volunteer Park, and then we stayed in Capitol Hill to take a few pictures in front of my favorite piece of art, which will probably go away in 2045 when the monorail is finished being built. Here’s my car getting screamed at by a mural:

We also got a good night shot of downtown from Capitol Hill on Melrose Avenue, and I appreciate all the nice people who maneuvered around us while we set it up. That said, we only ran into one true asshole in the two dozen or so places we visited. A middle-aged man in an Infiniti SUV nearly hit Stewart and me while we were trying to get our Kerry Park shot. Wherever he was going, it’s not worth hitting two people with his car. Insert rich asshole cliche here.

Someone Hit My Car!
I noticed my driver’s side rear panel looking a little black and dented right before the final leg of my series of photo shoots with Stewart. That’s the angle we’re shooting the pictures from! Grr! I don’t know who did it, since I wasn’t in the car at the time. I’m guessing someone poorly estimated the turning radius on their own car and nicked it in a parking lot or something. Although it’s always nice to see the guys at L-M Body Shop in Kirkland, I really could have done without the extra expense this month.

Bedlam Bedlam Grand Opening
Score one for the Gothic community! Last weekend, Capitol Hill added Bedlam Bedlam to its roster offbeat shopping spots. I attempted to help draw some attention by parking outside for a few hours. Despite my lack of interest in shopping, I couldn’t resist trying on this killer piece:

I also did an airport run and celebrated the Day of the Dead a couple months early with my “Katarina” skeleton from my friend, Luis.

Ladies’ Evening Out

After spending a hot minute at Car Toys, only to be told I’d have to go elsewhere to fix the motor in my partition (d’oh!), I picked up some lovely ladies downtown and took them to some scenic Seattle spots. I now feel like I have been to Kerry Park in Queen Anne enough times to warrant a commemorative BDH parking space, which may or may not have a big cement block in it right now. We also hit Capitol Hill, Olympic Sculpture Park, and a special super-secret park in Alki with a fantastic view. Too bad it was a school night… these girls were a pleasure to drive!

View All the Pictures!