Saturday, April 26, 2008

Let's Never Argue Again

It's true you never really appreciate something until it's gone. I saw my car more as a tool to get me from A to B, not recognising how much I took it for granted. On a buzz from a 2 and half hour epic Wilco gig at the refurbished Metro the previous night, I'd pulled into the office entrance being confronted by a garbage truck. I'd stopped about 5 metres behind and had another car follow me into the entrance. It began reversing at which point the car behind me pulled out and turned right into another carpark. By the time I checked my mirrors and commenced to reverse back, the truck pummeled into my bonnet. I didn't get a chance to sound my horn... A crude "paint" drawing illustrates scenario. It loses some of the impact in a drawing, however I can re-create the impact with some matchbox cars and lego buildings. The end result was not pretty.

How am I meant to know what car I drive when the badge is lost?

Driving the car off to the repairer, steam began to waft from the bonnet, fortunately I was spared the indignity of breaking down on a major road and made it in one piece. Not all repairers offer a replacement vehicle, and rather than attempt to claim a hire car through insurance (which I could envision to be a pain), I managed to find a place that offered a car free of charge. Reviewing the options of public transport to work, I approximated at least an hour which required traversing towards the city before being able to head back out by train and bus, so there really wasn't an option. My temporary wheels, a '90 Nissian Pintara, was interesting to say the least. I'm certainly wiser after experiencing the intricacies of the older vehicle:
  • 1 key to open door, another to start the engine
  • A button that releases the key from the ignition. (Found after 5 minutes of yanking at the key)
  • An indicator that doesn't click back off after a turn
  • A broken side mirror adjuster, which then required prodding and pushing outside the vehicle
  • An inoperable radio and tape player (What are they again?)
  • Windscreen wipers that moved the water around the windscreen as opposed to off it.
Closing in on the first week of driving, down in the work carpark I decided to find out how to open the fuel cap which had eluded me in a brief search. Searching the vehicle high and low, a good 15 minutes was spent looking for leavers and buttons that may perform this operation. A colleague even assisted and we were none the wiser. The only leaver we found popped the boot, which we then couldn't re-close! Inspecting the latch, it appeared that the spring was loose and was no longer catching and suddenly this outweighed the issue of having limited fuel in the tank. With a vehicle devoid of any tools or rope and drawing upon MacGyver episodes of my youth, I peered down at my shoelaces and crudely tied down the boot to enable me to travel home, however, the mystery of the fuel latch remained.

Getting home and with a full set of tools at my disposal, the latch was beyond my limited skills. A reel of duct tape made an appearance and managed to secure the boot along with some actual string. Finally the puzzle of the fuel cap was also solved, where pulling the only leaver up resulted in popping the boot, pushing it down released the fuel cap!
Duct tape is surprisingly strong and durable

Fortunately insurance covers all the damage, which totaled in excess of $5000. There wasn't any engine damage, however the 2 weeks without my car helped me grow as a man. Or so I tell myself. My car is now back and I appreciate it more than ever.

Review - New Buffalo @ The Toff 20/03

The Toff is tucked away above Cookie on Swanston st in the city and it's amazing the space that's available above the busy shops below. When the trek up the stairs surrounding the elevator shaft is complete, you're presented with a heavy door to your right where the bands play. Greeted by a friendly staff member, there are no funny stamps once your ticket is surrendered, but a rather nice little touch being the symbol of the venue. It's a little disappointing there aren't more photos on their site, as it's a pretty classy place.

Once the heavy door is opened and you take in your surroundings, a quaint little room is revealed. Tonight was predominately seated, although other times it's been accompanied with tables or standing room only. Directly opposite the band room at the entrance is the main bar where you can order food from the unique little train booths which we didn't get a chance to experience but are detailed in this review.

Interestingly enough, the support act didn't mention their name, however they mentioned their new lead singer so we figured they were in a transition phase. Despite a shaky first song without the main vocalist, the rest of the set was excellent.

New Buffalo is one of those artists that's perfect for a sleepy Sunday arvo and this didn't bode well for me given it was the end of a busy week and I'd run earlier in the day. Luckily I'd loaded up on caffeine early and thoroughly enjoyed the night. The intimate venue was perfect for the artist and all the songs from the latest offering: "Somewhere, Anywhere" were played. Accompanied by cello, piano, drums with a recorder and trumpet making brief appearances, rich sounds mirrored the album's sound. The set was short and sharp and included a song without any accompanying instruments. Certainly something not heard regularly, and you could hear a pin drop for the duration.