Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Weapon Of Choice - Grand AM

Unsightly 'hood-crack'

Jimmy Dillnuts has not been in the news lately, which meant, for a brief moment, we all had a bright future. However, that future abruptly ended when Jimmy's mom, Darla Dillnuts, rear-ended some pour soul who was stopped at a red light on Tuesday.

Rear-ending. The family trademark.

I snapped a shot on my way to work. Darla was just emerging from her Pontiac and surveying the damage when I sped by with my camera in hand. Only Darla's Grand AM is visible here, so you'll have to take my word for it that the victim's Hyundai suffered approximately in the same way the Grand AM did.

The last accident caused by the Dillnuts family was much worse, and resulted in a few victims being taken to hospital. Jimmy was charged by the police, and Suz, as a witness to the carnage, was summoned to court to make a statement.

I can't help but wonder if the Dillnuts family finds some sort of pleasure in their rear-ending actions, or if they are just a family of brain-dead inbred Canucks who simply get lost en route to the beer store. Somehow they find their way into the city, panic, and in their terror-induced frenzy begin rear-ending anything in sight.

Kind of like a cornered bull.

However, I am just hypothesizing, as I've never had a conversation with any of the Dillnuts clan. I've only watched from a safe distance as they work out their frustrations on the city's denizens.

I believe that every time a Dillnuts is born, insurance rates go up. Raised in muddy tracts of land, each generation is taught the fine art of smash-up derbys, and presume every car on the road is an appropriate target.

Let's say goodbye to the Dillnuts family. Let's put a stop to high insurance rates... the same way the government puts a stop to mad cow disease.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

My Movie Blog

A misleading title. The plot doesn't involve much pie, but a different 'P' word.I love pie. It's true. For my birthday I prefer pies to cakes. Blueberry is best, then Cherry and Apple. But I digress...

Today's post has nothing to do with pie, despite the pic. What it does have to do with, however, is my other blog 'The Last Word'.

It has been a while since Jodster and I updated this blog and I felt that it needed a boost. Jodster devotes most of his time to Useless Advice From Useless Men (where web-traffic has recently exploded!), while I've been spending much of my spare time on DMC & ME (where web-traffic has recently imploded).

But I've got good news about The Last Word! In the past couple of weeks, Jodster and I have been posting updates. Each post consists of 3 movies, and there is always a common thread between them, no matter how obvious, insignificant, or lame.

See if you can figure out that common bond. Sometimes it's the theme of the movies. Sometimes it's a particular actor. Sometimes it's hidden in the title of each movie.

And if you want a real challenge, try to guess the last word of each movie before you see what it is. Some are actually guessable, if that's a word.

American Pie is one of today's movies. Do you know what that last word is? I'll give you a hint. It's not pie, or pie-related, but is a 'love' word. So just pick one - or pick a few. I don't care. There are no rules.

I have more movies in the Martini Vault, ready to post. Stay tuned for updates, or feel free to make a request and I'll see what I can do!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

David Suzuki

Suz and Suzuk.

On the weekend Suz and I attended the first of a series of new lectures by environmentalist, scientist, TV-show dude, and all-around cool guy, Dr. David Suzuki.

The sold-out, standing room only event was held in a large conference room inside the RBG, which was the subject of an earlier post. Part of the ticket price we paid went towards the rental of the facilities, while the remainder (around $2,500) went towards the David Suzuki Foundation. For saving the world and stuff.

Suzuki is cool because he speaks his mind without caring what others think, and he does so without any hint of arrogance which makes you want to smack other scientists. He is the kind of guy that you wouldn't necessarily want as your dad, but maybe an uncle, or really close friend.

As a result of his brain being so big and juicy, he is often defending himself from famished Zombies, usually around Halloween.

That's likely one of the reasons he travels to other countries, such as Brazil, and befriends native tribal leaders. He offers them protection from devastating modern progress in exchange for potions and trinkets that repel the undead. He stays for a while to ensure he has prevented the looming tragedy which drew him there in the first place, then once the Zombies have caught his scent, he disappears to another country.

These are not things he readily discloses, but when he tells of his foreign adventures, I know how to read between the lines.

His lecture, which ended in a standing ovation, was followed by an autograph signing. Everybody queued up before Dr. Suzuki and his table. Suz brought her copy of Dr. Suzuki's most recent book: The Autobiography, and quickly jumped in line. I sat back and waited.

After he autographed her book with his caligraphy-type pen, we climbed into our car and drove home, polluting all the way.

If you think saving the environment is totally awesome, visit David Suzuki's website, www.davidsuzuki.org

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Green Bin Goodness

Green is good.

A few weeks ago my recycling blues were turned upside down with the arrival of a new Green Bin. Constructed of recycled plastic, the green bin itself is environmentally friendly, as long as its not set on fire.

This new plastic bin is manufactured much in the style of high-class Rubbermaid garbage bins, with wheels, and a handle, but without a locking lid.

Inside this bin was a mini-bin, which is relegated to the kitchen to catch scraps and such. Well-placed beside the garbage can, it serves as a constant reminder that almost everything can be recycled.

Nail clippings, both clean and fungus-infested, are accepted, as well as dryer lint. Yes, items allowed into the green bin are diverse in nature.

Stuff that can be placed in our new green bins include bones, such as femurs, jawbones and entire skulls. All sorts of meats are also accepted, such as hot dogs, and rotting zombie-flesh, so long as there is no blood. Sauce, grease, jam and mayonnaise are also allowed into the green bin, making a tempting meal for mice and hobos alike.

Stuff that cannot be placed in the green bins include plastic bags, excrement, and plutonium, because those things are dangerous.

I've been excitedly placing all sorts of common household waste into our mini-bin, then dumping it into our larger outdoor bin. I am happy to report that the only living creature seen diving into my refuse has been the waste disposal dude. But my sunroom is up for rent to the first family of raccoons that contacts me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Lawn-Boy Update

My backyard, looking kinda ghetto.

Sittin' in the backyard all alone, I decided to dig a hole, then fill it up with stones. When I was done, it didn't look too fab, so I covered it up with a white concrete slab.

The patio slab looked dumb, and I wasn't sure what to do, so I covered it up with the BBQ! The BBQ is sweet for cooking food and stuff, but all that pointless work was really really tough.

Yesterday I sent another email to Lawn-Boy Customer Service, which read:

Thanks for your reply. I would appreciate being added to your TOPS list. However, I don't know what parts my Lawn-Boy needs. The shop informed me that they could not get parts for it any longer, but they didn't indicate which parts they needed. (They told me the spark plug itself has not been available for over 12 years, so I had to clean it myself in order to get another season out of the mower.)

How can I be added to your TOPS list without knowing the parts I need?

You may notice some similarities between their first letter, and their newest response:

April 20, 2006
Dear Mr. Martini,

Thank you for taking the time to contact Lawn-Boy regarding your Lawn-Boy product.

If there is a certain part that you require that is no longer available, we can place you on our obsolete parts list to see if any dealer may have the part in their shop and they will in turn contact you. Currently, we are not producing any aluminum deck mowers. Please check back early in 2007 to see what our upcoming products are.

We value you as a Lawn-Boy customer. Please know that you have an open invitation to contact us at any time.


Chris S.
Customer Care Representative


I really respect the companies that hire the mentally challenged.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Lawn-Boy Customer Service

Father-in-law lazing it up while I prepare the mower for action.

I bought a new lawnmower. I didn't like it. I wrote a letter.

Re: Insight push-mower model 10671

Dear Corporate Lawn-Boy dudes;
Being a very happy, long-time Lawn-Boy owner, I decided to purchase another of your excellent products when I couldn't get parts for my 19 year old 2-stroke Lawn-Boy '19' with the offset wheel. I am extremely disappointed in the new mowers, due to their ridiculous weight. It seems that your designers spent more time focusing on their looks than anything else. Damn, they look good. (The mowers, not your designers.)

Question: Can you please tell me why Lawn-Boy doesn't make an aluminum deck any longer? And can you please tell me why someone at Lawn-Boy thought that a 70 lb. push mower was a good idea? Because it's not.

My old aluminum Lawn-Boy weighs 36 lbs with a full tank, while my new one weighs 70 lbs. Due to its heavy weight, I am having a rotten time trying to push this mower. Yes, I tried it out in the store and it moved well. But my yard is made of lumpy dirt & grass, not smooth concrete. Looking forward to your reply. Thanks in advance for your attention.

I got a reply.

April 19, 2006
Dear Mr. Martini,

Thank you for contacting Lawn-Boy. Lawn-Boy prides itself in its reputation for producing products of high quality and reliability. We appreciate your taking the time to inform us of the difficulties you have experienced with your mower and to provide us the opportunity to resolve the matter to your satisfaction.

Radical off-set wheel style! Totally dope.If you are looking for parts for your older Lawn-Boy and the parts have been discontinued, we can add you to our TOPS list. This list is sent to all the dealers across the country, and if the part is in their inventory they will contact you.

If you wish to be added to the list, please reply to this email or phone us at 1-800-526-6937, with the part number and quantity needed.

Regarding your inquiry on the weight of the 2006 Lawn-Boy models, they are made with the steel decks, as the aluminum decks were not ready for the 2006 market. The increase of engine horsepower and motor size will increase the weight of the machine, as well with the added safety devises.

We value you as a Lawn-Boy customer. Please know that you have an open invitation to contact us at any time.


Kathy H.
Customer Care Representative

Thanks Kathy. Steel you say? Gosh.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Electro Acupuncture

When the lights dim, the generator kicks in.

Every day is a special day at the Needle Hut. Today was "Chopin Day", so I had the privilege of listening to the soothing melodies of Nocturne in C Sharp Minor Op.27 No. 1 while the acupuncture needles did their thing.

Acupuncture is a regular thing for me now, after I successfully passed the acupuncture test. If you missed my first experience, read about it here.

Since February things have progressed with the adding of electricity: Electro Acupuncture. Basically, more power. Something Tim Taylor would appreciate.

In true Doctor Frankenstein fashion, wires clamped to various needles in my feet ran back to the device, which sent out electric impulses via a 9-volt battery. It sounds painful, and it can be. But I get to control the output of the device, so I tend to go easy on myself.

To help distract me from the throbbing electric impulses and my twitching, spasming toes, I focused on the serene sounds of Chopin's classic Sonata in G Minor (for Cello and Piano) Op.65.

Ahhhhh. You know what I'm talkin' about.

And if that wasn't bliss enough, the Doc removed the needles and wiped up the blood to the tranquilizing measure of Nocturne in A Flat Major Op.32 No.2.

Talk about relaxation.

All this classical music brought images of Mr. Dressup to mind, which is not meant to insult the wrinkled, liver-spotted talent known as Chopin, who died at the ripe old age of 39. Instead, it's a compliment to those dudes who blasted Casey and Finnegan with Piano-action every day, making me appreciate a broader style of music.

Can you believe there are some people who think that getting stabbed with needles and being forced to listen to classical music is torture? Weird eh?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Fuel Of The Future

Monthly car payments are cheaper than a full tank.

Gas prices have been fluxuating recently, but are generally on the rise. This Esso station was in the process of lowering its prices from 595.5 to 495.5 cents per litre.

Talk about gouging.

At $4.95 and a half cents per litre, it would cost you $247.75 to fill the 50 litre tank in your 2003 Cavalier. My old 1987 Jeep YJ, with its 75 litre tank, would take $371.62 worth of gas. And, at 16 mpg highway, that would only be good for a trip to Toronto and back.

Okay, so the sign was just a little bit wrong.

But imagine what it would cost to fill your car with anything else. Mustard? Ketchup? BBQ sauce? Olive Oil? Milk? Wine? Coffee? Melted ice cream? You're talking hundreds of dollars.

Considering these prices, we are lucky gas is so cheap. Bottled water from a vending machine is around $1 or $1.25 per 500 mL bottle. That's around $2 per litre. A 355 mL can of pop from the same machine is about $1, therefore filling your tank with Coke would cost about $3 per litre.

There are few things which cost less than gasoline. Maybe some cheap perfume? Maybe not. But urine is free. If only Japan could invent an engine that ran on #1. The world's gas stations would be replaced by massive bathrooms, with pee-hoses running out to your car.

Pulling over at the side of the road for an emergency pee break would look a whole lot different, too. And writing your name in the snow would be a terrible waste of fuel.

We can only hope, and dream. And when Mr. Fusion finally arrives, I'll be the first to slap it on my DeLorean.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

DeLorean Debut


The DeLorean has made its 2006 debut. The weekend was all about preparing my cars for spring, with various activities taking place to ensure maximum enjoyment from them.

I had some battery-charging action going on in the DeLorean, which is a monstrous hassle. The battery is located behind the passenger seat in a small compartment under a wooden shelf, sealed by a thick plastic door, which is then covered with a flap of interior carpet. Under the carpet, three screws which hold the door in place must be removed. It's a tough job, but the hard work is worth it because the rewards are totally great.

After the battery came the tires. Inflation Station was put to the test as I filled the front left tire with 32 psi of fresh spring air.

The front wheels are 14'' while the rears are 15''.When everything was ready, I prepared for awesomeness.

I fired the beastly D up and watched as the exhaust spewed brown shit all over my bike, my hydraulic jack, and other bits of garage paraphernalia. The air filled with the scent of gasoline.

The engine rumbled as I slowly pulled out onto the driveway. Birds scattered into the air from their tree and rooftop perches. Children's street hockey games paused while they listened in fear. Elderly neighbours closed their blinds and turned off their hearing aids.

But once the sleeping beast woke from its winter slumber, it became less and less cranky. As I drove down the street, people pointed and smiled. The D wasn't so scary any more.

And so, with hibernation ended, I took it for a fairly long drive. It felt good to be behind the wheel again, and I will take it for another drive this weekend.

So have a happy Easter everyone! I know I will.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Good Insight On Fuel Savings

People who drive the SmartCar aren't always very bright. Read below to see why.

It amazes me that I had better foresight than all of the white-collars at Mercedes.

Mercedes has announced that it is cutting back their line of SmartCars. Apparently they have been losing money on the tiny car since they launched the two-seater in Canada. This is no surprise to me, since I have always questioned the Smart's introduction to Canada.

It seems Mercedes overestimated North American sales due to its popularity in Europe. But like I said, it's great for tiny countries with tiny streets and other tiny vehicles. Canada is not such a country.

For 2006, Carguide Magazine rates the SmartCar at 61 mpg city and 74 mpg highway. In the same issue, the fabulous car with technology of the future, the hybrid Honda Insight is rated at a whopping 72 mpg city and 86 mpg highway, which almost makes the Smart seem like a guzzler in comparison.

Well, not quite.

But, considering that the Insight shuts off automatically at stop lights, cutting its already phenomenally low emissions output to zero, it seems that this is truly the car that will lead us into the future..... of environmental friendliness anyway.

But you'll have to pay for the better technology.

The Insight, whose 73 horsepower and 91 lb-ft. of torque blows the Smart's 40 hp and 74 lb-ft. out of the water, lists for about $6,000 more than the "Passion", the most expensive version of the SmartCar.

The SmartCar runs on Diesel fuel here in the great white north, which is no longer the bargain it used to be. Diesel fuel is usually on par with regular grade 87 octane gasoline, however, sometimes it's even more expensive.

Which might explain why I saw a girl fill up this SmartCar with gasoline instead of Diesel last week. Oops!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Spring Brake(s)

Removal of cinder blocks turns 'ghetto' to 'glam'.

Spring is here. It is a time when flowers break through the soil after a long winter's nap, when people are outside enjoying the sun once again, and birds are totally doin' it.

Spring is also a time for cars. It's when corrosive salt-covered winter wheels come off and are replaced with sparkling summer wheels. Resembling a redneck's property, my yard was temporarily piled high with stacks of tires, tools, nuts and other car-related stuff.

Upon removal of my wheels I saw my brakes and remembered how sweet they are. Powerslot rotors, eleven inches in diameter, and vented for added comfort.

The slots allow the brake pads to dig in and grip more ferociously. The rotors, combined with larger aftermarket Mitsubishi calipers, allow my 3200 lb. pig of a car to stop faster than a fat guy on a tricycle.

My Talon can stop on a dime, a quarter, a nickel, and most pennies. But its stopping ability is not limited to money. I can also stop on plastic products such as grocery bags, Tim Horton's cups, and various Dollar Store items. Tires play an important role in stopping as well. Due to their connection to the road surface, tires are really great for helping me slow my momentum.

The best places to stop are in parking spaces, driveways, at red lights, stop signs and in front of children & animals that run into the street.

Brakes are cool. Apply yours today!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Punks And Pumps

Airman, you suck.

To finish Home Improvement week, today's post was supposed to be about my doorbell and the punk-ass punks who broke it, but a funny thing happened. In an effort to eliminate all evidence of their wrongdoing, those punks apparently crept into my house, found the photo of my broken doorbell on my computer, and deleted it.

Which leaves me with the story of how those same punks, or their genetically challenged cousins, snuck up my driveway and let all the air out of one of my tires on the weekend. I'm going to assume it was an April Fool's day prank, and not an attempt to kill me.

But their little prank resulted in my first question: Why is it that NOBODY, not one single company, can make a functioning portable air inflation device? If you've got one that works, it's most likely a 12V unit that plugs into your car lighter.

The problem is my car doesn't have a cigarette lighter, which seems to surprise everyone. As such, I need a rechargeable air inflation device. Suz bought me a great one for Christmas 2004. But 3 months later, it broke. For the next six months we searched high and low for the Crappy Tire receipt, but came up empty-handed. We couldn't return it, and I remained pumpless throughout the 2005 year.

When my Talon tire went flat, I needed a new air pump. I looked for the one I had previously owned, but it isn't manufactured any longer, which is really no surprise. Every single one was probably returned in some sort of non-functioning state.

Currently, Crappy Tire carries approximately 15 different air pumps. Thirteen were 12V lighter-dependant. One was the manual foot-activated kind, leaving only 1 rechargeable kind.

I bought it.

When I got the Active Products Airman "Inflation Station" home I discovered that the recharging station was totally damaged, and the batteries would not charge.

I returned it.

On Crappy Tire's shelves were 2 "Inflation Station" boxes. I took everything out of the 1st one to make sure it too, wasn't damaged. But it was. It was in even worse shape than the one I had bought.

I grabbed the 2nd box and tore into it. Much to my surprise, everything was intact. When I brought it up to the counter I told the cashier that the other unit was severely damaged, and perhaps they should take it off their shelves.

She replied with a shrug and an underwhelming "oh."

Which leads me to my second question: why doesn't anybody give a sh*t? Instead of taking it off their shelves, they would rather sell it, then have an angry customer return it, causing more work for themselves?

What is the world coming to?
And what is your opinion on home improvement stores? Take my poll.
(It will open in a new window)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

New Light In My Life

With the invention of the light came the invention of the ceiling.

You know you're getting old when you find yourself saying such cliche things like "They don't make 'em like they used to. " The sad part is, it's true. They really don't make 'em like they used to.

Cheaper, thinner plastics result in cheaper, crappier products, which is the reason that the newest light fixture in our house was the one to break, while the older, sturdier fixtures remain strong and unbroken.

Originally I thought that one of the bulbs in our purpley kitchen light simply burned out. But once I replaced it with a brand new one, I discovered the actual socket was broken. Jiggling the bulb made it light up for a second, but without constant pressure, it didn't work.

Off to Home Depot to buy a new halogen light fixture.

We picked out an 'Ice Cube' halogen light which looks quite neat-o. And it was a pretty good price since I didn't have to buy any expensive halogen bulbs for it. I transferred our existing bulbs to the new light once it was mounted to the ceiling.

Our first house, built in 1941, had most of its original fixtures when we moved in, so I gained a lot of electrical experience replacing 11 of them. When faced with the challenge of replacing our new kitchen light, I actually got a little excited, despite my past light-related horrors.

Although I prefer quality stuff, sometimes cheap plastic has its place - like when you can't afford anything else. Our new light doesn't contain any plastic parts, so I'll make the bold assumption that it will last forever, or at least until the sun explodes.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Home Depot Update

I'm going to be the grumpiest old man ever. I can't wait.

It's Home Improvment week at DMC & ME, but today's regularly-scheduled blog had to be post-poned in order to bring you this special report on Home Depot. If you missed yesterday's post, be sure to check it out.

Yesterday afternoon I received quite a rotten surprise in the form a phone call from one of the managers of the Home Depot.

Like the greedy box store that they are, the Home Depot reneged on their offer to exchange our incorrect toilet seat, claiming they made no mistake when ordering it from their distributor's book.

So who made the mistake?

Was it me, for ordering a toilet seat for a Kohler Rialto? Was it me, for asking if the French Curve was the only seat available? Was it Home Depot for telling me "yes"? Was it the company that printed the ordering books for Home Depot? Or was it Kohler, for not providing a list of the 4 seat options available for the Rialto?

I don't know. But I do know that a mistake was made, and not by me.

When I visited my local home improvement box store last night, I presented the problem to the assistant manager in a delicious, chocolatey fashion. Thankfully she was a sensible, intelligent, hungry woman who realized I should not have to pay for the mistake. Her customer service skills were second to none.

Not only did she refund us the hefty sum we forked out for the French Curve seat, but she did not charge us the restocking fee either. And the icing on the cake was the free Brevia seat she gave us.

Which was in stock!

It turns out the kitchen & bath rep we spoke to last week was wrong. Really wrong. We didn't even need to special-order the seat for our Kohler toilet.

When the nasty, egotistical manager called me at work to tell me I was wrong, and they would not exchange the seat, I was ready to boycott the Home Depot for good. But thanks to a wonderful assistant manager with some common sense, I will be happy to continue shopping at their store.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

New Bum-Rest For The Crapper

This seat is really crappy. How appropriate

Welcome to Home Improvement week at DMC & ME. Today we're going to learn about Kohler, specifically their line of toilet seats, and some of Home Depot's policies.

When we moved into our house in July 2005, the 1939 bathroom had been tastefully renovated, however, the toilet seat on our Kohler Rialto was damaged. The finish was peeling, leaving behind strange yellow stains.

Insert pee joke here.

After months of our guests wondering about our urination habits, Suz and I finally decided to replace the offending seat. Picking up an entirely new Rialto toilet at the Home Depot was no problem, but the seat itself was another story.

The seat turned out to be a "special order", which has some stipulations. If returned, the item is subject to a 15% restocking fee, which doesn't make sense because it was never stocked in the first place. However, we knew the toilet model, and were confident we would not be returning this seat.

The 3-week order arrived 18 days early, much to our surprise. We picked it up and I set about installing it right away. While installing the seat I noticed it didn't quite match the previous seat. In fact, it didn't match at all.

During the test drive I realized just how different this new seat was. The "French Curve" model tried to suck me into the water below with its powerful vortex. The downward curve was so severe (and perhaps my behind was so miniscule) that my life flashed before my eyes.

I struggled to climb out of the toilet and instantly cursed it. Suz agreed with me. The Kohler Rialto French Curve seat was the most uncomfortable seat we have ever had the misfortune of sitting on.

Adding insult to injury, we paid nearly $70 for this simple piece of molded plastic, approximately $50 more than most other seats. I called Kohler's 1-800 #. A really nice girl named Amy indicated to me that there are four spiffy seats that fit the Rialto.

The French Curve
The Lustra
The Cachet
The Brevia

Annoyed that I was not offered any of these seats, I called Home Depot. After speaking to three representatives, including one manager, they decided to help me. They called Kohler themselves to verify what Amy said. Ten minutes later they agreed to exchange my used toilet seat.

So if you see a French Curve seat offered at a discount, ask them if they bleached it.


This many people accidentally stumbled upon my site
...while searching for porn.