Car Ownership Sucks

If you don't feel like reading a bitchfest about my car, feel free to skip this entry...

I like my car. I really do. I try to take good care of it. I don't drive it roughly, I give it a regular oil change, I fix things when they break. So why does it have to treat me this way?

The last little while it has been giving off a wonderful gasoline smell in the passenger compartment when it's idling or after I turn it off... lovely if you like that sort of buzz, but I'm not a big fan... also it has been a bit difficult to start every now and then for whatever reason.

So today I took it to Mazda to have a look and see if they could figure out where the smell is coming from (yes, I looked for leaks under the hood, and checked for puddles beneath the car - nada). Turns out the top of the gas tank where there's a little distribution thingy has been leaking. This is located directly beneath the rear passenger seat... the showed me what was happening and it wasn't pretty. Ok, fine... so we've gotta replace the gas tank and the distribution thingy ($1200ish).

Next he shows me a leak that's coming from up inside the engine... the water pump is leaking. Onto the timing belt. Oh good. So those need to be replaced... another $1200. The timing belt needed to be done about 10k ago anyways, so it's not that huge a deal... annoying nonetheless, but mostly just a catch-up repair.

Now he shows me an engine mount... it's cracked... needs replacing. Woo. More money.

Add on a few other things - a burned out running light, leaky oil cap, rear brakes needing a cleaning, front brake pads nearing their time for replacement, air filter replacement, exhaust pipe starting to corrode, oil pan rusting... my car is apparently a piece of crap... oh, and the bill? Nearly $5,000... I'm going to do the most pressing stuff right now, then get the other stuff done as I can afford it... Sometimes I really hate having a car.



Please Welcome...

A new addition to my family. Sexy McBasserson (still working on a name!):

Just chillin' to a funky bass...

(I bought it after returning from Europe - just got around to taking a picture today).
She sounds wonderful, and I'm going to be selling off my oldest bass - an Ibanez Roadstar II - if anyone's interested. Part of me hopes I won't find a buyer, though - I really like the Roadstar, but I rarely play it since I got my five string the summer before last, and I'm sure having the new addition it'll be neglected even more... :(


Shifting to Night

So I started training at my new job last night - I'm working at a distribution centre for a grocery store chain. My job is to go up and down the warehouse aisles and pick out stock to send to the grocery stores while driving this and using an audio system which tells me where to go and how much to pick up from each place. It's voice activated... pretty cool stuff.

Anyway, my first night was fun, I learned how to drive the "jigger" and got to know a bit of the routine for nightshifts. As long as I can get the rest I need, I think I'm going to enjoy this.

That's all for now! :)


EuroTrip 2008 Picture Roundup

Alright, here's a link to everything. I've put it all on Facebook simply because it's easy (and they have an unlimited space for pictures). I'm going to be posting my very very favourites onto my Flickr page as I have time as well. Enjoy!

Part 1: Pearson and Flight
Part 2: Paris
Part 3: Arras / Vimy
Part 4: More Paris
Part 5: Munich (Dachau)
Part 6: Salzburg
Part 7: Prague
Part 8: Dresden


Dresden - Frankfurt - Toronto - Kitchener

Now, I'm going to ruin the ending for anyone who has been reading along on my adventure, so prepare yourself. I'm home, safe and sound!

On Tuesday afternoon I caught a train from Dresden to Frankfurt. It was a highspeed ICE train, which travelled around 300 km/h... very cool stuff. It was an entirely uneventful journey, where I finished reading Fluke and started typing up a blog entry only to have my computer lock up after two pages, losing everything. I was not pleased, let me tell you!

Anyway, once I arrived in Frankfurt I made my way to the hotel I was staying at which was only a few steps from the station. The area was a bit sketchy, but I'm sure I've stayed in worse areas before. The hotel itself, on the other hand, was clean and comfortable. As it was about 7 PM by the time I arrived in Frankfurt, there wasn't much of anything still open as far as tourism goes, so I just stayed in the hotel and relaxed for the evening, until about 9:30 when I went back to the train station to get dinner. Usually I try to avoid train station food, but this place had a surprising variety, and I ended up getting fish and chips, so I was pleased! Also stopped at a bookstore that was there and didn't really see anything good in the English section, so I didn't end up getting anything. The last errand I needed to take care of was buying a ticket for the S-Bahn to get me to the airport first thing in the morning. After I bought that, I noted that it had the time and date that I had purchased it on it. Kind of strange, since every system we'd used in Europe (except Paris) had been a case of where you buy a ticket, and then you'd validate it either on the train or before getting on. Oh well...
I went to bed that night pretty late so that I could get a start on beating the jet lag from the trip home.

The next morning I was up at 6:30 (even though my alarm was set for 7) and I took my time packing up and was out of the hotel well before 8. My plan had been to catch the s-bahn at 8:17, but I managed to catch the one prior to it, and was at the airport just before 8 for my 10:45 flight. When I got on the train I noticed that they didn't have validators... soooo... I may have travelled on a ticket that was expired. Fortunately, there are only inspectors on the trains very rarely, and otherwise it's the 'honour system', so I didn't get checked, or fined!

Tim had told me that the airplane would probably be leaving from Pier B in Terminal 1, so I made my way to the set of ticket counters that were labelled as "B" and for the life of me I couldn't find the Air Canada counter... though I did find an automated check-in where I got my boarding pass... now I just needed to get rid of my bags. After a solid 10 minutes of walking up and down considering my options, I finally found a sign which indicated where I had to check in... the C counters! What the heck? Oh well, so I got over there, dropped my bag off, then made my way out towards the gates where my plane was waiting (B pier, as Tim had indicated). I was pretty early, but after clearing security and passport control, I only had about 45 minutes to kill before boarding. I bought a salad and some juice at a little store to finish off the last of my Euro cash (I paid cash for the hotel that morning as well to help get rid of most of them). I sat in a McDonalds on the second level which had a great view over the apron and runways... it's a shame I wasn't able to stay longer. Oh well!

Boarding the flight was a piece of cake, and I ended up seated next to a fellow from Ohio who was returning home with his wife (who sat in the row ahead of him) and a lady who lives in Edmonton and was originally from Poland, returning from a trip there. The flight took off about half an hour late, but managed to catch it up enroute. The three of us in my row had some interesting conversations regarding the role of the church in European and North American society, this being before I mentioned that I'm planning on becoming a minister... The man wasn't a fan of the church in the least, and the lady was Catholic, but didn't really agree with a lot of the teachings of the church. Made for interesting talks. Over the course of the nine-ish hours, I also managed to type out three blog posts, watch two movies - Charlie Bartlett and Charlie Wilson's War - the first of which I'd never heard of, and was extremely impressed with, the second I'd been wanting to see for a while, and was not disappointed in the least.
The flight was generally alright, though we ran through some pretty decent turbulence that I'll admit left me feeling a bit queasy (I hadn't been feeling well since I got up, anyways).
Customs was a breeze, and I had nothing to declare so I was through all that pretty quickly, and Tim met me at the exit. Then we drove home, and I spent the afternoon unpacking, doing laundry and trying to stay awake until 10 to beat the jet lag. I went to bed at 10, and woke up at 10 this morning, so I think I've done well so far! Now I've been working on uploading pictures and writing up this entry for three hours, so it's time for a break.
Have a wonderful day everyone!