Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: June 11th

I'm lucky to still have a car today.

Yesterday, I made a last second decision to go to the Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium.   Got the tickets from Barry's Tickets, which is a ticket re-seller across from Staples Center within the Luxe Hotel downtown.  I took the bus home in great time.  I even had time to fill up the tank.   Getting onto the freeway was a breeze.

My ETA to get downtown was 6pm... I was just about ready to get onto the 110 freeway from the 10, but naturally, traffic slowed down dramatically near the interchange.  It was about 5:45pm, or rush hour.

By the way, how can you call it "Rush Hour" when that's when traffic is the *slowest?*   What joker would have come up with that phrase?  Call it sludge hour or something... ok moving on...

As we got to the onramp, the cars started to move like a line at Disneyland.  I was chilling, listening to 100.3 FM the Sound, and then I heard the fans go haywire.  Then I looked at the dash, and the temperature meter was climbing towards the H!   It was climbing towards the H and I was on an onramp... and this was one of those *long* onramps where you make this giant swooping arch onto the Downtown Harbor Freeway (110).   So I was surrounded by cars, no off ramp for another mile and a half, and traffic at 3mph.

I was yelling every obscenity in the book!  All while some "Bad Company" song was playing or something like that.   Every curse word out there I used it... "EFF THIS!  MOTHER EFFER that!   GOD, JESUS, MOTHER OF GOD, etc etc"

I thought, "This is how it ends... my cars engine will blow up in the middle of the 10/110 interchange, I'm going to lock down half of Los Angeles."

While all this was going on, I opened the vent and fired on the heater... and my Dad taught me about this many years ago when his car was overheating.  Using the heater at full blast removes heat from the engine block.   Thankfully that kept the needle from the top, but it was still much higher than normal.

I kept yelling more and more until *finally* I hit the 9th Street offramp.   Then I used the phone to locate a nearby gas station and I tried to find the 76 station all while the car was as hot as coals.   On my way I found a Chevron station at Union St... I passed on it and went to the 76... it was jammed... didn't look like they had any service shop or anything so I left the 76 and went back to the Chevron station at Union.   It was a huge gas station, thankfully, so plenty of room to park.  I parked the car and went to the window.

I asked the lady, "I have an emergency, my car is overheating, can I get some water?"

She points to the area behind her, which happens to be a huge garage.  I thought "Great!  I can get some service mechanic to help me."  So I went over there and found nobody.   All I saw was the garage and some boxes inside.

I went back, and tried to ask her where to look and she just pointed at the same area without talking to me.

I went back, and then I put it together... she was pointing at the stupid air and water machines.  The garage was discontinued and used for storage.  Really?!   My car's engine block is about to explode and you're making me PAY a bunch of quarters for a water hose?   In my mind I said "She can get bent!  I'm not wasting !#&*$%@ quarters on their (#$*!$&  water!"   What kind of a gas station is this??    Instead of helping they're trying to plug their bogus water machine.   I was like @$@% this, I'm going to a Jiffy Lube, so I looked up the nearest Jiffy Lube on the phone and left.

It looked like that gas station was not the answer, so I went down to Pico Blvd and headed back westward towards the Jiffy Lube, which was in Mid-Town.   The traffic could not be any slower... it was just stop and go for a good while.  Then I stopped at a signal, looked over, and found...  an AUTO ZONE!

I said, "This is even better than a Jiffy Lube!" so I pulled over and parked at the Auto Zone store.  Once I went in, the guys there were *extremely* helpful, generous even setting me up with replacement coolant.  In fact they said "ooh, don't use regular water it'll just evaporate.  You want this 50/50 prestone fluid."   I was desperate by then, so I went for it, prepared to be fleeced.  They even went over and helped to put it into the radiator and had me turn on the engine to let it run through the system.  We checked the cap and he checked the radiator as the engine ran and he didn't see any leaks.

I was shocked!   The radiator wasn't shot, I was just out of coolant.   Now this is bound to happen, becuase well fluid evaporates eventually, but as far as we knew the engine was staying cool.  Surely enough the needle was right where it should be, at 40% between C and F.  

I could not thank the Auto Zone guy enough, his name was Jordan, and the dude was as clutch as I've ever seen MJ in a big spot.   My effing goodness was I relieved.  I was so scared in those sixty minutes.  I thought my engine was done.  I thought the radiator was destroyed.    Neither was the case.  It was just out of coolant.

In fact, once all this was patched up, it was about 6:50 pm... I still had plenty of time to get to the game, although I knew I'd be late.  So even after all that, I decided to go through with the trip.  I went back downtown, only a mile away, picked up the ticket at Barry's and went to Dodger Stadium.

I got to my seat and so ended a very frightening moment, easily the scariest moment of the year.   First I thought my radiator was cracked.  Then I thought my car would explode and lock me inside one of America's most traveled onramps with no shoulder.     I'm just glad to still have a car.  The fact I made the Dodgers game was secondary.

Great game last night, though!   Dodgers really had a good game against the Diamondbacks.   They won the game, even though it shows up as a loss on the scoreboard.  Honestly, is there a bigger joke in baseball this side of Jonathan Broxton than Brandon League?   The Dodgers played a *great* game, and League literally gives the game away.  If I was managing, he not only wouldn't pitch the 9th again, he'd be relegated to 6th inning duty and like it.

Anyway, aside from that, the Dodgers did really well against the first place D'Backs.  I don't think anyone in the West finds the D'Backs to be a credible threat.  In fact, I didn't even know they were in first place until this weekend!   Their offense is tremendous and Goldschmidt is nearly unstoppable, but the pitching is not going to answer for them long term.  Their bullpen does *not* look that good.   Heath Bell was nearly as bad as League last night.

At the game I had the Super Dodger Dog and the deluxe nachos.  Yes, Dodger Stadium has two types of Nachos, it's very weird.  They have the regular nachos with the "El Sabroso" round tortilla chips from the factory.  Then, there's the deluxe nachos, only available at one station way down the third base line with the cafeteria line.  These use freshly fried triangle chips, the nachos and a good helping of jalapenos.  I rather liked the nachos, actually.  The Super Dog was pretty good as always.  It turned out to be a good good night.

Do you ever go to the baseball park and not order any beverages?  Not only no beers, but no soft drinks either?   You wouldn't believe how much you can save by not ordering a soda.   At Dodger Stadium, they have drinking fountains throughout the concourse which do the job for me.   I used similar strategy for Spring Training games in Arizona.

It's not ideal... after all I was craving a Diet Coke the entire drive home, but I don't regret the move.

Game 3 of the NBA Finals tonight.  When a series is tied at 1-1, the winner of Game 3 wins the NBA Finals 12 out of 13 times, going back to the start of 2-3-2 in 1985.    Without a doubt, both teams want those numbers on *their* side.

I said, haphazardly, that "San Antonio will win game 3," but I really didn't think it through.   I can't automatically assume that the home team wins Game 3 in a Finals series tied at 1-1.   This is a regrettable comment.   I'm not that convinced that the Spurs win Game 3, but I dare say we'll have a very competitive game.

I like triangular chips more than round chips anyway.   Even at the store... Mission Sells tortilla chips both ways, and the round chips always evoke the image of something cheaper, even if they're pretty good.  I just don't like round chips... I can't figure out any particular rhyme or reason for it... I think I just like the triangles more... they're easier to dip into things and work around toppings.

Pretty long entry today, and I have more quickies to share, but I'll get into those later this afternoon.  For now, enjoy your Tuesday!

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