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Big engines...1968 vs 2012 [Jun. 13th, 2012|01:30 pm]
When I was 16 or 17, a classmate's family had a 1958 black hearse for sale for $50. It was a faded black, with a bubble gum machine painted on the tailgate; it had been used by a family member with a vending machine business.

The vehicle--hard to call it a car, and it wasn't a truck--had been sitting behind their house for quite some time; weeds had grown up around it. My classmate popped the hood and The engine was more or less intact, missing only the carburetor and a few other incidentals. He told me the engine was a "flat head" whatever that means. I didn't know then, and I don't really know now, though I suspect that I'll be hitting Google when I finish this excursion into nostalgia.

I thought it was a great bargain--it was a hearse, it had a head start on a funky paint job, and I would finally have a project to learn about cars & engines.

I actually had $65 dollars in the bank.  I went to my parents. The old man said it was fine if I bought it, but he wasn't going to help get it running, and I'd better figure out a way to pay for insurance as well as gas & oil and everything else.

So much for father/son bonding projects.

Anyhow, I swallowed some reality pills.  None of my friends really knew much about cars either, nor had they expressed any interest in taking on a rehab project that would probably take every spare minute of the next year without looking up to see what might be happening in the part of the world with girls in it. (When it came down to it, I felt there was a cost/benefit analysis to be undertaken by me too--one reason for having a cool ride is to get the chicks; if getting the cool ride to actually run takes a year, do you gain with your macabre chick magnet what you lost in opportunities during the repair year? A hard question to answer, because both possile time lines had healthy--opr at least large--doses of fantasy in them.)

So I didn't buy the hearse. Probably a good decision, but one that I have regretted more than a few times in the intervening years.

"So," you ask, "other than being evidence that you are in fact turning into a garrulous old crock who will spin boring yarns about his mythic childhood without even a good excuse any more, what is the point of rambling stroll down memory lane?"

Simple. I'm thinking about getting a new desktop computer for the house.

"Of course," you say. "Everyone who goes computer shopping starts by remembering projects from his youth that never actually happened. What's next? The year you didn't climb Everest?"

No. There are too many Everest-free years to get into right now. But there is a connection.

Because, you see, almost every home computer I've ever had I assembled myself from parts. Yes, I never tore down a car engine and rebuilt it to purr like a kitten and then roar like a lion when called on...but I have put chips into sockets, matched components, plugged in all the little connectors and turned it on and had it work.

Nice feeling. You can't cruise around Nicky's Drive-In and have everyone go "Cool!" but a nice feeling nevertheless.

So I'm thinking about a new computer... and some place in the back of my head and heart, the frustrated kid who really wanted that cool ride is pushing fora big, bad, way cool machine. Liquid cooling so I can overclock it. SSD cache buffer for the terabyte 6Gb/s SATA drives configured in RAID 10. 32 gigs of RAM. 750 watt power supply, clear case with black light interior lighting and fluorescent cables and cable ties. LED hub variable fans that change blink patterns when the fan changes speed--fan speeds controlled by motherboard heat sensors (of course). Intel i7 Extreme 6 core processor. Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 graphics card & Asus PA238Q monitor.

(I know--geek talk. I know how it feels to hear it and wonder; I still don't really know what stroked and bored is, or what a hemi is, or... but you get the idea. Take my word for it, this is high end speed racer stuff.)

Uh huh. That frustrated kid in the back of my head needs to focus on picking wining lotto numbers, becasue that's the only I'm going to be able to afford *that* rig.

And kid? As cool as it would be to have this hardware, it still won't make us chick magnets.

From: (Anonymous)
2012-06-13 09:55 pm (UTC)
Sweetheart, you will ALWAYS be a chick magnet, for a certain population of chicks. (Think cougars, incognito tsarinas, and future matriarchs) There is great pleasure in looking at something you've built with your own hands. However, there is also pleasure to be gained from letting somebody else do it for you. I personally have never cared whether an artifact is powered by Intel, Pratt&Whitney, prana or hamster spit -- I just wanna have it take me places.
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[User Picture]From: aitchmark
2012-06-13 10:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I've got a mild case of tinglies!
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