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Preview: Tribulations of the Toadroller

Tribulations of the Toadroller

Updated: 2017-12-14T18:14:23.881-05:00


Don't call us, we'll call you


Well, it had to happen at some point.  It's been sixteen years after all. I spoke with customer service at Amazon.  This, it turns out, is not something easily accomplished.  Go ahead, go to their web site and find a number to call.  I'll give you five minutes. See you back here. Did you find a number?  I'm impressed.  The most bleeding edge, innovative, pervasive consumer-focused business in

Captured thoughts


Many a thought has congealed in my brain over the last few months.  And any conclusive insight is worthy of an essay, explaining the context, the new information, the logic, and therefore the conclusion, all packaged in an analogy to act as the sugar which helps the medicine go down. But I've not felt prolific enough to sit down at the keyboard and develop these records of progress and instead,

Good for Another Year


First I brought Scarlet, Mrs. Toadroller's monstrous S4, down to the local all-purpose fix-it shop for an inspection.  I noticed the other day that the sticker had expired in December.  Whoops! Mutt and Jeff* admired my handy-work strapping the mid-exhaust to its hangar which had un-welded itself.  They also admired the car - "they crammed a V8 in there?  Must go like stink!  Ooh, it's a stick?"

Man, the Tool Maker


I came across this drawing:   .. and asked Henry Toadroller (hey, his initials are HTR) what it was.  In his usual precise conversational mode, imparting all that I need to know in the fewest words possible, he said, "something I'm making," and that was that.* I came back from a business trip to find this on the workbench:   Dang!  I like that! And so you see the tool holder along with a

$15.86 Worth of Doom in the Post


For lo, the Thousand Dollar Car is showing low oil pressure again. Given the recently replaced oil pressure sensor, all of two months ago, and yet another (this time I bought the $10 sensor, big spender that I am) lighting up the dashboard animations after a few minutes of running time, I figured it was time to buy a genuine oil pressure gauge (and assorted adapters, $15.86, free shipping) to do



I'm forty-eight years old. I've never listened to (or purchased) a Rolling Stones album in my life. Why? Many reasons.  They're not my thing.  Beatles or Stones?  Beatles. Pride. Ignorance. Just don't care. Life is too short.  Which is strange, because I've purchased albums of other artists who I've never cared for to see what, if anything, I might be missing.  Bruce Springsteen comes to mind

Quadratus Lumborum! Quadratus Lumborum!

2017-02-15T11:46:23.239-05:00 Latin for "root cause." Well, maybe not.  But I do think it has been the root cause of much of my back pain. Over the last few weeks I've been at it again, trying to strengthen my core and stretch anything I can think of to stretch, getting to know various yoga propositions (they're not positions, as there's no way I'll ever reach them).  And while noticing strength improvements, I've not

I find your lack of pressure disturbing


What does it say about about me (or about Audi) that my gut reaction to red low oil pressure warnings animating themselves in  glaring red on the instrument panel is to blame and replace the sensor? Surely the sensor is bad.  It's old.  It's like a fuse.  If the engine hasn't given up the ghost after twenty years and 257,000 miles, why would something go wrong now?  A replacement sensor was five

Mental anguish


Have you taught yourself to ride a bicycle lately?  Tie your shoes?  Worked to improve your penmanship? Nor have I.  But I did receive an electronic drum set for Christmas, and it's much the same experience.  My brain (and I suspect yours as well), on trying to learn a new coordination, simply hurts.  There's a wall, a humming, a pressure, a blocking obstacle, an insidiously spawned anxiety

It's a Raymond Chandler Evening


Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep starts with: It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.  I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't

One's Rogue Thoughts


I took the Toadrollers to see "Rogue 1, a Star Wars Movie" last night.  I've since had a million thoughts popping into my head from as if from hyper-space and thought I'd jot them down while they're still fresh. Spoilers The Empire should really look into better passcode verification algorithms on their shuttles.  I can't believe how many times in these films Rebels have made it past the



It was my freshman year in college when, forced to do laundry on my own for the first time, I started making change for quarters.  What good will two dimes and a few pennies do when your weekly budget is somewhere around eight dollars and your bank balance is just under forty?  You need quarters and so you make change for them.  Fast forward a few years to living on my own in Denver and the

Charging ahead


If one were optimistic, they'd look at the third alternator in 256,000 miles and 19 years and say, "wow, 123,000 miles per alternator, not bad!"  or "wow, 9.5 years per alternator, not bad!"  The sad truth is I got 252,000 miles and 19 years on the first alternator and 4000 miles and 6 months on the second. Regardless, it's in.  I may have tweaked my back.  Tomorrow and the weekend will tell.  I

Here we go again


When last I drove the Thousand Dollar Car, I noted that it was shifting... reluctantly... and ...confusedly... Well. There are two possibilities.  Firstly, the transmission could be going.  If so, so be it.  The second, and easy to rectify, is that its adaptive learning software has worked itself into a frazzled state.  I searched the internet for the definitive manual reset process, which

Chrome Wheels, Fuel Injected


...and stepping out over the line! So says Bruce Springsteen in Born to Run. I swerved down into Harpswell, ME, on the way home from Boston Logan airport and another business trip, and checked out a 2010 Audi S5.  As sexy as coupes come, and pretty much as quick as they do as well.  350 horse, same with torque, and all wheel drive combine to get you to 60 in 4.9.  After driving it, I don't

Thousand Dollar Car! Thousand Dollar Car! Thousand Dollar Car!


I am a fool.  I know this; I understand this; I admit this; I share this. For I own not one but four German cars.  Three of the four-ringed variety and one of the one-ringed, tri-starred variant.  It is a given that, at best, three will be road-worthy at any given time.  There are days like yesterday when that number is reduced to one, and that one not the newest and shiniest of the collection.



I haven't read newspapers for about a decade. I turned off the television news many years before that. Earlier this year, I unplugged from Twitter, my main news feed, because it had become ridiculous.  I knew more about what was going on than most, but the alarming descent from argument with a hint of debate to simply positional propaganda, regardless of topic, was too steep and too much. A

Nanny, Nanny


At the checkout counter in the grocery store yesterday, the clerk told the customer in front of me that she could no longer sell the customer the bottle of wine in her cart because her child had touched it.   "Really?  Why not?"  "It's the law." A list of business articles from LinkedIn found its way into my email inbox.  One had the headline "Natural Resource Management: The Great Public Land

Well Struck


The well struck golf ball provides a glimpse of perfection. I can tell on impact what the shot will do and how closely its flight will match my intentions. When I strike it pretty well, I can finish my swing then look to a spot the sky where I know it will be.  I tapped it a little to the left, but cutting right.  It's on a high trajectory.  Yup, there it is. But when I strike it really well;

Slowly, Centered


My back, in this past month, has demanded that I slow down. While this takes me away from my routines, forces me to abandon interests, and causes discomfort... there are lessons to be learned. Proceed slowly. I'm destination oriented.  I want to get to that destination as quickly and efficiently as possible, be the destination achieved by walking or working or thinking.  The simplest of these,



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