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Last weekend I had the oil changed for the first time in the life of my car. It was a good experience; the folks at the Acura dealership were really nice and overall I loved the service.

The only problem I had was that, for the following week, every time I’d stop while driving around, I’d smell burning oil. I sort of expect this after an oil change; pending on how messy the guy changing the oil is, there may be some oil that’s splattered somewhere on the engine that’s burning off.

But the smell persisted. Today’s Friday, and I should not be smelling things. So I stopped in the parking lot at work and decided to open up the hood to see if there was something glaringly wrong.

Battery looks good… hoses are connected… things look - hey, wait. WHERE THE FUCK IS MY OIL CAP?!?!

Those bastards didn’t put my oil cap back on after changing the oil.

Now, I’m not a whiz with cars. I know a little bit about some stuff, but for the most part, I leave the car stuff to the trained professionals. But I do know enough to realize having no oil cap is not a good thing.

So I called the dealership back and they’re going to replace my oil cap, steam clean the engine, and check things out. I take it in later this morning for that one. I’m just hoping nothing is trashed. I’ve only driven the car 8000 miles. I’m going to get a receipt of some nature so that two weeks from now, when a rod blasts through my hood and kills a pedestrian or something, I’ve got documented proof that it was their fuckup, not mine.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Unbelieveable.

[Days Until Vegas: 4]

Well, for all intents and purposes, I’m off to Vegas. I won’t be adding to the blog over the weekend, I’m taking Monday to pack, rest up, etc., and Tuesday through Friday of next week, it’s Viva Las Vegas.

For those who care (on a whole different note):

I just got a call from the Acura dealership and they have my car ready, which is cool. It’ll be good to have it back, since they stuck me with this Enterprise Rent-A-Clown-Car. It’s a four-door Corolla that I have to fold myself into a contortionist position to get into. And the gas and brake pedals are so close together it’s hard to tell where one stops and the other starts.

Anyway, it’ll be nice to be able to drive again. Even if I was only without my car for a few hours.

And a final sidetrack before I sign off for a week: Today is Fred Meyer employee double-discount day so I get 20% off anything (except food and pharmacy) at Freddy’s via my mom. She had an extra coupon for 10% additional off any DVDs, so I picked up The Godfather trilogy for a bargain - normal price is $75, I got it for $54. Can’t complain about that - $21 extra dollars to spend in VEGAS!

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[Days Until Vegas: 5]

I love The Amazing Race. There’s something about a giant rally that I just sort of dig. I watched the first one and had a good time with it, and I’m having almost as good a time watching this latest installment.

The only problem I have is that every time I finally decide on a team to root for, they get eliminated. In the first Amazing Race, I liked Kevin and Drew (as did pretty much everyone else). They were entertaining, good guys and I hoped they won. They didn’t.

This time around, I also started liking the entertaining team (Gary and Dave), but they got eliminated. Then I didn’t know who I liked, but Team Cha Cha Cha (Danny and Oswald) really grew on me because they were good guys and they played the game smart, no backstabbing or weaselling, just good fun.

Well, as with every team I like, they got eliminated last night, and I think that sucks. How come Wil and Tara, “Team ASSHOLE,” can’t be eliminated? Maybe they should merge Survivor with The Amazing Race so the other teams can vote them off. I’d vote ‘em off.

I don’t think I could ever be on one of these shows, though. I don’t have the patience with other people the way you’d have to have in order to be successful. I think I’d have gotten into a fight with Wil already because I’m sure he’d have done some stupid weaselly shit to me and I’d be forced to beat him. It might make good TV but it’s terrible sportsmanship.

In Survivor I don’t know who I want to win right now. I like both Neleh and Paschal, but Kathy’s also got a lot going for her. I’m sure that saying that out loud has just jinxed all three of them, but I suppose we’ll see what happens when the latest episode runs tonight.

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[Days Until Vegas: 6]

Or, more accurately, can MTV save your mortal soul? I think not.

I was getting ready to watch The Osbournes last night and flipped on MTV a little early while waiting for it to come on and I was greeted with potentially the most hideous thing I’ve ever witnessed. Ever.

For there, glaring at me through my television screen, were the most pathetically shallow individuals ever conceived, putting on a show of emotion for the September 11 attacks.

The show was MTV’s The Real World, which, as most folks who know me know, I think is one of the lamest shows ever. Yeah, I’ve watched my share of it in late night “nothing’s on TV” times, but watching The Real World any more is like watching an extended Jerry Springer episode - you never think it can get any more convoluted or lame, but then, somehow, it does. The lesbian lover shows up; the Nazi boyfriend lights someone on fire; etc., etc.

Anyway, back to the point: For half an hour I watched a group of people presumably my age cry their hearts out, kiss each other, pray, and sing in mourning for the Sept. 11 incident. This, in and of itself, is not a problem. But the manner in which this mourning occurred felt, to me, to be the most inauthentic display of feeling witnessed on national television.

The amount of legitimate feeling there equated to a person you’ve never met coming up to you and kissing you on both cheeks. Yeah, you just got kissed, but did it mean anything? Nope. The way these people so… deliberately… feel their emotions… it’s almost frustrating. It was like watching someone tell them “Something terrible just happened. The country is in disarray. You should now feel bad,” and they then feel what they’re told.

What I’m even more worried about is that this might be actually how people are now. Maybe I’m an exception to the norm (which wouldn’t be the first time). Maybe I’m just inarticulate and my feelings overpower me. But when I feel grief, I can’t just sit there and say, “Well, I’m feeling grief right now, as evidenced by the tears you see rolling down my face.” It’s not a scientific, and rarely an easily communicatable, thing. The display I witnessed was… so robotic.

Is that how people are anymore? If so, that’d explain a lot about the world and why things that happen in the world get the reaction they do. I really hope folks aren’t as shallow as all that.

Or maybe it was just the way the show was cut together. Here’s hoping.

On another note…

The Osbournes was a great episode. “Dinner With Ozzy.” They interviewed him and showed highlights from the season. It was too funny, and it sort of put all the antics into perspective. As Ozzy says, “[he] doesn’t think the way [they] live is abnormal… that’s how [he’s] always lived.”

Went to lunch today and saw at the local KB Toy outlet that they had giant ReBoot figures for $5 each. Had to get the two they had left. More crap to cram into the apartment.

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[Days Until Vegas: 7]

LimoneOnly a week until Jenn & I hit the streets of Vegas, and I’m stoked. The only problem is, the closer I get to vacation, the longer the time seems to go. I’m afraid this week is going to last forever and next week will only be a heartbeat. Such is the way of the vacation.

It’s been a while since I’ve had one, but I have to say, Tré Limone is one of the greatest beverages ever. (Their web site takes forever to get past the intro, though, so you’ll want to jump right to the product section.) It’s difficult to find in the Portland area, but I found that the Haggen by my work stocks it, so yay, me! I bought one to nurse in today’s staff meeting at work. It’s the little things. (Flying Elephant’s Delicatessen in downtown Portland also has it, in case you wondered.)

I realized last night that I forgot to wear my Spider-Man “No. 1 Amazing Fantasy” watch when I went to the movie. I don’t wear it much because I don’t want it to get all dinged up (I’m pretty hard on my watch; it’s a good thing my regular watch is pretty durable). It’s really cool, though. My parents got it for my birthday a few years back.

Speaking of cool watches, I like the Dumbledore’s Pocket Watch that Fossil has out. (Hint, hint…)

Well, time for staff meeting. And donut eating.