How to replace a radiator in 49 steps (and counting)

Author: Canoncowgirl // Category: , , , ,

Old truck repair is a never ending process. You might think that something such as replacing a radiator would be as simple as removing the broken radiator and replacing it with a new one, but you would be wrong. You would be wrong because its never JUST about repairing the broken part, it's a law of physics (or possibly Murphey). I think the best way to explain it is to take you through the process so here are steps one through 49 of what may be a never ending process:

1) Receive the radiator in the mail. It sure is shiney and pretty.
2) Begin removing hoses and unbolting the old radiator. Easy!
3) Realize that there are only three bolts to remove from the radiator and there should be four. Decide to worry about that later.
4) Don't consider that once you finish unbolting radiator it will not be attached to the truck & watch as radiator falls into engine compartment and gets stuck in the frame.
5) Use herculean strength to unstick and remove the radiator. Shewoman grrrr!
6) Realize that more hands are neccecary and get help mounting the new radiator. So much easier with help!
7) Realize that there are still only three bolts while bolting in new radiator...decide to worry about that later.
8) The last step is to replace the hoses, tighten the hose clamps and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.


9) Realize that the old hoses do not fit on the new radiator (too streached out)
10) Go to the autoparts store for a new hose.
11) They don't have the correct hose.
12) Have them special order the correct hose.
13) Pick up the hose you orderd only to take it home and realize that it is actually NOT the correct hose.
14) Hack off the end of the old hose and MAKE it work.
15) Step back and proudly observe your new radiator fully attached and ready to go.
16) Start to fill radiator with anti-freeze...

and watch as it empties out of your engine block like there's an enormous hole in it.

17) Panic.
18) Run and find a flashlight
19) Observe that there actually IS an enormous hole in your engine.
20) Run inside screaming that you're missing some integral part of your engine.
21) Continue running in circles as Dad calmly asks if you blew a freeze plug.
22) Your engine has blown a freeze plug (a $2 part)
23) Call auto parts store and tell them you need a new freeze plug
24) Auto Parts store clerk is confused by what you mean my "freeze plug" wants to sell you an engine heater
25) Explain that it is not an engine heater, its a little brass disc that falls out of your engine when it gets freezing cold and then scares the shit out of you when you go to put anti-freeze in your new radiator
26) This somehow generates more confusion and clerk asks if you mean spark plugs.
27) Ask the clerk if he has had a problem with spark plugs leaping out of his engine block recently.
28) Clerk FINALLY figures out what a freeze plug is. They dont have one in stock.
29) Find another auto parts store that not only knows what a freeze plug is, but has one in stock.
30) Go to buy it and get it for free (most likely because you're cute)
31) Go home and do a crappy job at hammering the freeze plug back into your engine block. 32)Blame the bad angle and cramped space for your crappy hammering, but realize that its probably just your shitty hammering skills.
33) Dont trust your crappy freeze plug hammering enough to put anti-freeze in the radiator
34) Wait several days
35) Finally ask for hammering assistance from dad.
36) Dads hammering skills far outweigh yours and after a couple of wacks he announces "DONE!" your truck is ready to drive!

Which is when you notice that you've lost the freeze plug on the OTHER side of the engine.

37) Repeat steps 22-30 then do a better job at hammering it in yourself.
38) Victory is yours! Fill the new radiator with anti-freeze, no leaks to be seen!
39) Hop in the cab to start the engine
40) realize one of two things:

1) Your keys are not on the dash where they should be and 2) somewhere between step 22 and step 39 your truck interior has been covered in mildew.

41) Lose. Your. Shit. Everything in the cab gets thrown out and/or torn out
42) Take out anger for mold on the cheap seat cover and the shitty, torn up origional floor mats. You were going to tear them out eventually anyway right?
43) Be shocked that the seat under the seat cover is green vinyl...what?
44) Use bleach cleaner on EVERYTHING.
45) Go crazy from the fumes and acutally start to think that the truck had planned all this just so you two would spend some quality time together.
46) Imagine truck singing "Precious and few are the moments we two can share"
47) Yell at the truck to stop singing and get caught by the neighbors.
48) Step back, panting, from your cleaning frenzy and realize that as ugly as the truck's interior is right now, it's probably cleaner than it's been in years.
49) Congratulations, the radiator is attached, the engine block is properly plugged, and the interior is habitable! You're ready to drive except for one. minor. detail...

where the hell did I put my keys?

Editors Note: Step 49 ended earlier today and I still haven't found my keys. I've decided that eating valentines day peanut m&ms while rocking back and forth in fetal position is a better use of my time. And besides, I'm not going to let the fact that I can't currently drive my truck take away from my victory...whatever that was...

EDIT: 50) Find keys in a bag filled with almond roca. Of course they're in a bag with almond roca, why wouldn't they be.
51) Climb into your bleach smelling (but not mildew-y!), multi-colored vinyl cab, and turn the key.
52) Discover that the battery is dead. Ooooof course it is....

The Worst

Author: Canoncowgirl // Category: , , ,

I was looking through my archives and stumbled on something I'd written back in photography school when I was forced to use 4x5 film cameras and take pictures of buildings. For some reason this never got posted and I think it has to do with me loosing the photos of the 4x5 camera I used. I found a replacement so enjoy ;-)

I was going to start this post by saying "I think I'll stick to equine photography beccause, hey, whats the worst that could happen?" but I'm not going to say that. I'm not going to say that because God seems to have an irritatingly ironic sense of humor, so the moment I say "whats the worst that could happen?" I'll find out.

I bring all this up because I had an architecture shoot this weekend. I am not usually an architecture photographer, but, thanks to a required class at the Art Institute of Seattle, I am this quarter. Along with the class you're required to use a school owned view camera. If your not familiar with view cameras, they are an old, but still valuable design, a film camera that takes 4"x5" film. Heres what one looks like:

This one is actually almost identical to the one I used except this is camera #1
(not really) and I used camera #7. You can tell the difference between cameras 1 and 7 because camera 1 has a "1" painted on the side and camera 7 has its ground glass completely shattered. You see where I'm going with this?

I had all of Saturday reserved to make the hour and a half trip to Seattle to get the camera and then go on to Bellevue to photograph some of the beautiful new skyscrapers that have gone up. As I was walking out the door I had a nagging thought "Maybe I should bring the 20D, just in case" I scoffed at my own fears (or was it common sense?) thinking "Nah, besides-" say the fateful words with me "whats the worst that could happen?"

It was past 3 by the time I had my tripod set up in front of a building and was almost ready to shoot. The first two buildings I had wanted to photograph were a bust because of construction. The sky had been high overcast all day, which is great for portraits but awful for architecture because it results in an empty white sky. I was praying for a break in the clouds for a little blue sky and good light.

Shooting architecture requires a different lens and bellows than the camera is stored with and in order to swap them out you have to carefully take the camera apart. As I was attempting to do this the worst that could happen...happened.

The back of the camera includes the ground glass, the viewfinder for the camera. Ground glass is absolutely essential for composition, focusing and straitening the image. While I focused on dismantling the bellows the back came loose, tumbling from the camera and landing squarely on the rail- shattering the ground glass into a dozen pieces.

I imagine that someday when I am a ridiculously wealthy world famous photographer and someone is inspired to write a book about me the passage will go something like this:

"She stared forlornly at the glass, shattered like her dreams of photographing the beautiful buildings that day. As she looked up she saw the skies clear over the subject building, creating a perfect shot of cloud studded blue sky and soft glowing light. A shot that no camera, not 4x5 or 20D, would catch. In that moment she realized something deep within her. It was a burning never touch another view camera again."
My writer is a tad melodramatic apparently, but surprisingly accurate.

The real fun comes Monday when I get to return the camera and explain to Jeff, who is in charge of renting them, why the camera is broken. I suppose I shouldn't be nervous, Jeff is a reasonable guy and besides....whats the worst that could happen?


A great cat name, or the best cat name of all time?

Author: Canoncowgirl // Category: , ,

We don't sell animals at The Pet Food Store which is cool because my view of puppy stores is about the same as puppy mills, which is about the same as cancerous sores. What we do do is adopt out kittens and cats through a local rescue which is way more awesome because the kitties come fixed & with all their shots. And also because we can decide not to give you a cat if you say "supposedly" "supposably". Just kidding, we would never turn someone down for saying "supposably", but drop an "irregardless" and you are right out.

All of our kitties also come with names that are usually picked by the rescue. The rescue sucks at naming cats. The kitty we currently have is named (100% serious about this)... Catcat. I want someone cool to adopt Catcat just so that she can get the dignity of a decent name.

Not long ago I said something along those lines to a cat loving customer. "Well," he said "Its better than Clamidia." which is a difficult point to argue since MOST things are better than a venereal disease but begs the question ...WHAATT??!?!

Apparently he had been at a shelter and came upon a cat that the rescue had named (you guessed it) Clamidia. And they could NOT figure out what he found so funny. We, on the other hand, thought it was hilarious and fantastically awkward. Imagine the awesomeness/terrible misunderstandings a name like that would lead to:

I went to the cat rescue and got Clamidia.

My wife was lonely so I got Clamidia for her.

I paid $100 to get Clamidia.

Now that we have Clamidia our house feels like a home.

My best guess was that someone thought they were naming her after a flower and were terribly, terribly wrong. Either that or they totally got it and were in the back making jokes like we were:

That last couple looked like they were interested in getting Clamidia.

We could give Clamidia to that old woman!

We finally got rid of our Clamidia.
I would totally adopt that cat and keep her name. I'd call her Clap for short.

As for having the best cat name of all time, Clamidia only has one contender that I've heard of, and its tough competition: Joie's former cat, Poonani.

I could go there, I really could, but I wont.

You're welcome.