'Chapter 2'

Reverend Android Mark's driving experience

Chapter 2

From tango.rahul.net!rahul.net!android Thu May 25 16:36:32 1995
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Date: Thu, 25 May 1995 16:36:03 -0700
From: Robert Spackleheim Nonstraflarbenstamus <android@rahul.net>
Message-Id: <199505252336.AA18075@bolero.rahul.net>
To: garrett@armory.com
Subject: Re: Well,


Well, she [the screaming lady from the first accident] seems to be realising her situation (giving in) a bit better. She says that she'll leave me alone if I just get her a car that runs. I'm thinking about getting Rico to make the VegasMobile run a little smoother and then giving it to her, thus freeing myself from a car that I can't take to MI, anyway. The only problem is that I need a car in the meantime. I can't just walk to work, you know?

I'm thinking about actually getting a reliable (crowd gasps) car with with with *aack* good gas mileage. Some putzy little Honda or something. GOD, I hate dinky cars.. I LOOOOOVE the ROAR of a V-8!! But, alas, I need something that is both reliable and that will drive to MI and back in one piece. THAT means that I need to get some stupid car from the late 80's with a 4-cylinder (well.. Maybe a slant-6..) engine, not too much mileage, and worth about $3,000. I WOULD have to make payments to afford that (That's 4-5 months worth of pay! I've only been at my job for 7 months!) and there's no telling if I even CAN afford it once I get to Michigan.

Then again.. I could always do like Sal did with the Jeep; pay about half of the payments, and then stop cold. Hide the vehicle at some strange location that nobody can associate with you. Leave it there for about 3 months, just check on it every now and then. File Bankruptcy (It costs about $45 to tell the federal government that you're bankrupt. Isn't that a GREAT system?!) and then move twice so that the collection agency will NEVER find you. Of course, leave your phone number unlisted, etc. etc. After about 5 or 6 years, according to federal law, it will be illegal for them to take the vehicle back. Good rip off, but too much of a pain in the ass. *mMmm.. Good coffee..*

Wow. Well, if I give the VegasMobile to her, I can have her sign a Release of Liability form, which makes it so that SHE has to pay that stupid $326.00 to register that car, and I'm no longer liable for it. I'll go get it "smogged" for her, since I don't know if she'll be able to. I got 'friends'. I need to get it running a lot better before she would accept it, though. See, the thing is, I could just change my number and leave without ever contacting her again, because she will lose her license (and so will I) if she ever contacts the police over this matter. We were both driving and got into an accident without insurance; that's an instant suspended license for 6 months for both of us. Also, neither of us told the DMV about it within 5 days of it happening, so it's possible that we could even go to jail for 30 days over this if she decides to call the coppers. As you can see, I have leverage.

Then again, she seems like a pretty nice lady (if not one who freaks out WAAAY too easily) and she needs her car to get to work, and to pick up her kids from their dad's once a week in Santa Cruz. I do feel a little obligated, but not much. I think she realises that which is why she said she'd be happy to settle for a $500.00 car, so long as it ran.

Jeez.. It BROKE THE GODDAMNED AXLE. I hit the thing almost dead-on from the side and it snapped the axle.. The friggin' axle is a one-and-a-half-inch diameter tensile steel bar! I broke that hitting it from the end!! FUckin'-A, I LOOOOVVE them big ol' heavy American CARS that the 60's put out! SHOVE OFF with your pingy wheeled energy-saving light-as-hell-in-a-zeppelin 60 MPH and don't-you-push-it gizmos from JAPAN!! Hell, even american cars are from Japan these days! Who the hell SAYS that the Japanese make better cars?! I'd like to see the HEAVIEST DAMN PASSENGER CAR EVER MADE in Japan versus a 1963 DODGE POLARA!! HAHAHAHAHAHAQHAHAH!!! It's FASTER, CHEAPER, WAAAAAAYY FUCKIN' STURDIER, and uses enough gas for TEN of those stupid Japanese pieces of crap. HELL, that car could even stand up to most of those Japanese TRUCKS. EVEN THE DIESEL ones that say "MITSUBISHI FUSO" on the front!! AAAAAAAAACCK!! (Gunshots fired. Tape runs out.)

I need to find a way to convert those old V-8s to run on some other really cheap fuel that I could make at home. Then, I could have the car that I want and drive it too. Pure wood alcohol (methanol) has 110 octane. If I could just increase the compression in the cylinders, modify the carburetor a little bit, and always mix cylinder lubricant with it, that would not only work, but it would be a FAR SUPERIOR fuel to gasoline.. On top of that, it wouldn't pollute at all. Nothin' but water vapor and carbon would come out of the tail-pipe, with about the same amount of lead as gasoline puts out now (yes, even unleaded gasoline has just a little bit of lead in it. Without any lead, you engine would turn into a really nice paperweight.) from the cylinder lubricant. Damn, that would be awesome, but expensive. I would need to modify the hell out of the engine to make it increase the compression.. Actually, that much compression might just make the engine crack..

The carburetor mod would be simple and cheap. The engine mod would cost at least $300 and would probably take me weeks, and since it would be experimental, I'm not even sure it would work.. Beef.. Maybe I should work on finding a way to get that kind of fuel for cheap, first.. Wow.. That would be an incredibly fun project, but I can see it getting frustrating when, after months of work and about $1,000, I try to start the thing and it just sits there.. I would have to put it in a '65 or older car, too, so it would be smog exempt. The smog laws are stupid. If you hack your own equipment onto an engine in a car that is newer than 30 years old, it will not be allowed to pass the smog exam unless you take it off. Of course, this also assumes that you will not put it back on. This holds EVEN if your special equipment makes the car run FAR cleaner than a normal engine.

The first half of the exam is just a checklist of the engine. You are required my law to have certain systems (most of which just choke power from the engine, thus making it burn less gas.. ;/ ) and they MAY NOT be modified in ANY way, or augmented in ANY way. Why the hell they don' t go ONLY by how much crap is coming out of your tailpipe, I don't know. What if I invented some really cool mod for my engine that made it so that it could burn the fuel over and over until it was broken down into its component Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen, thus putting out completely harmless exhaust (a system does exist that will do this) but it required that all the rest of the smog equipment be removed in order to work completely? I COULD NOT legally do that. The only option would be for me to claim it as an industrial vehicle (this is why big rigs and forklifts are allowed to stink so much) and pay a fee equal to 25% of the worth of the vehicle, with a MINIMUM of $1000, and I would have to pay it EVERY YEAR when I re-register my car.

Fuckin' congressmen voted all this crap in like 15 or 20 years ago. It's friggin' federal smog law. Even if a state decided that it was bullshit and didn't want to do it, TOO BAD, because you gotta listen to Uncle Sam. Fortunately, there IS a loophole. It's legal in some states to just register your car without a smog check, but this sucks because THEN you have NO IDEA what kind of crap is driving around. Just THINK about how much cheaper it would be to get a smog check if all they had to do was stick that thing in the tailpipe and tell you "pass" or "no pass" instead of having to examine all of these little systems to make sure they are both installed and working correctly (I'll have to show you the "emissions" section of one of my car manuals. there are a LOT of bloody parts involved JUST with draining power from your engine to make it burn less fuel.) and THEN stick that thing in the tailpipe. The only way to get a new, efficient system that differs from the usual system is to get it approved by this friggin' DMV board of dickheads, and pay a LOT of money. You sure as HELL better believe that they ain't gonna lift a finger for one single driver or car. You better be a car manufacturer to bother them. A car manufacturer making the latest in no-power engines to make a shit-laden hexane based, WAY too complex fuel like gasoline "more efficient" (no, the engine has less power, but the car is also MUCH lighter, so it just feels the same at the cost of SAFETY) instead of just using a BETTER GODDAMN FUEL. (Think about F-1 race cars like they have at Indy 500. Those cars have open-well wheels. They are far more aerodynamic, AND have a wide wheel base, so they corner PERFECTLY. They are pretty light for the amount of power they have, but they still weigh a lot more than your average passenger car. They have a top speed of around 275 MPH, and they can get from 0-100 in less than 5 seconds. They STILL have to get pretty good gas mileage, because every time that they stop for gas, that sets them behind in the race. They get like 200 miles to a tank of gas.

What fuel do they use, you may ask? That's RIGHT. The fuel they use is about 10% REALLY PURE gasoline with 90% ALCOHOL (Methanol/Ethanol) Those are some truly AWESOME cars. On top of all THAT, those guys make mistakes and crash those cars all the time. There's at least two major wrecks in every one of those races, yet they VERY RARELY EVER GET HURT. I've seen those cars flip over 10 times, tears the thing all to hell, sparks flying all over the place, most of the car spewed all over the track, and those guys just open the door (or if they can't, someone else uses a hydraulic device to do it for them from the outside) and walk away, a little shaken. They don't use bloody airbags in those cars! No airbags, no "crumple zones", no "side impact beams", not even PADDING. They save weight everywhere they can, so it's all bare metal in there except for the steering wheel, the shift lever, and the seat.

The secret? FOUR POINT SAFETY HARNESSES. No stupid flimsy little shoulder strap that you slip right out of.. You may say "Auugh! Four point harnesses would be SO UNCOMFORTABLE!" But not really! Those guys use rigid harnesses, but there's no reason why you couldn't use those little spool-catch thingys like a normal seatbelt uses, except four of them. It would basically be like wearing two shoulder straps, one on each side, but they wouldn't attach to the ceiling and floor, they attach to the seat, and then the seat is VERY SECURELY fastened to the FRAME of the car. Oh, yeah, I forgot, they quit making cars with frames, because it's cheaper to just stamp the whole damn thing out of tinfoil. Well, you would pull the thing down over your head and then, at the same time, click in two connectors, one on each side of your hips. It would look kind of like you're wearing a backpack, except there's another couple straps that go across your chest, and across your stomach with a square patch of safety cloth on your chest. You WOULD NOT leave that seat in an accident, no matter WHERE the other person hits you. In fact, the whole thing could be made nearly automatic with only one connector to your (the driver's) left. The two shoulder straps could attach to the ceiling of the car with tracks. If you open the door, the tracks slide the top of the belts forward, up by the windshield. You get in, attach the connector to your left (right for the passenger) and then the two belts slide back again, about 1 foot behind the front seat, still attached to the ceiling. Maybe not the most stylish, but it could be pretty comfortable if it were padded, and all the belts would be loose with just a little springback to them, like a normal shoulder strap, so it wouldn't restrict movement too much; besides, you WANT the driver to be restricted to looking forwerd most of the time, looking at the road and not anything else!

The only vulnerable part, then, would be your neck. A good supportive, side-padded headrest (like in an Indy car) would nearly eliminate that, as far FAAR mor damage is done to the neck when snapping back than when bending forward. People in car wrecks don't usually damage their necks beyond a little swelling when hit from the front or sides. It's rear-enders that snap people's necks back and kill them. That's the whole reason why the law makes it almost instantly the rear-person's fault in a rear-end accident, regardless of how fast the person in front stopped, or whether they were sitting in the middle of the freeway with their lights off or what-have-you.

Unfortunately, they made it illegal to have four point harnesses in a passenger car about 20 years ago, because they thought that it would invite people to speed too much. That's as ass-backwards as the car companies, which didn't put seatbelts in their cars until the 60's - a full 40 years after they were invented - because they didn't want consumers to think that cars are unsafe. Would YOU buy a car that advertised this: "Buy the new Haisnotsu because it's so safe it doesn't even NEED seatbelts. That's why we don't include them!"

Bureaucracy really pisses me off. It succeeds in ruining all of the good things in life. Maybe democracy isn't the answer. Maybe people really don't know a damn thing, don't WANT to know a damn thing, and therefore shouldn't be trusted with any decisions. Nah.. Scratch that. People can decide for themselves, it's just this representation thing that sucks. It's like going to court. Poor man has $3000. Rich man has $300,000. Rich man sues poor man for his $3000, and spends $2,500 himself for a lawyer. Poor man can't afford to lose all his money, even if he wins, so poor man spends $250 on a lawyer. Poor man loses for sure because he can't afford the "in" represen-tation. Poor man loses his $3000, starves to death and his family soon follows, rich man recieves $3000, gives $2,500 to lawyer and makes $500. Lawyer makes out like bandit and makes down payment on car. Rich man now has $300,500. Talk about an investment. Same thing goes in government. When was the last time a dirt-poor person, or even a blue-collar middle class person, made it into Senate or the House of Reps? It's only the RICH guys who can afford to go get the credentials to flash around and get voted in. So? Who benefits from this? THE OTHER RICH PEOPLE. If you can afford to pay that zillion bux to make your car exempt every year, or, what the hell, just buy a goddamned Lamborghini, then who gives a shit if "regular joe" can't use the new system he just invented for his car and spent 75% of his income on building a prototype? "Richie Rich" sure as hell can. Did you know that the police in different municipalities have cards that they can give to their family and friends that you can show a police officer if you get pulled over and the cop will just say "Oh. Okay, great. Sorry to bother you." and drive away? My mom got one of those from a police officer in Scotts Valley just after the '89 quake because he felt sorry for her after hearing about our house. It's just like a business card with the cop's name on it, a gold logo, and a signature from the cop with a date. They're good for two years. Any person who has some bux and has the connections to know the chief of police in ANY city can philander one of those (you know, invite the dude over for dinner, talk a lot, tell him you're gonna make sure he stays in his position) and not have to deal with police ever again. THIS is just human nature. Protect yourself, and protect anyone who you think can and will protect you. Unfortunately, politically, even on a small scale, poor and middle class people are only barely able to protect themselves. When senator X is wondering how he should decide on a bill, who do you think he's going to listen to more, a dozen letters from scraggly bums, or the one C.E.O. who has a "business meeting" with him and says over a $300 meal that his company will contribute 5 million bucks to senator X's campaign next time around, but he REALLY NEEDS this bill to fail... THUS, the reason why cars still burn gas. There are too many people in Texas and Alaska that want to be able to suck every last cent they can out of their wells before any other fuels be considered. Look at this stupid bill that passed a couple years ago. It said that 10% of ALL CARS produced in the United States MUST be zero-emissions vehicles (electric cars) by 1998. Yeah, right. The car companies would want that to pass because they know that it's completely unrealistic, that the cars they will put out will be total pieces of shit, just because there aren't any good enough types of batteries, and that by 1999, people will refuse to buy them, and the bill will be removed. Notice, the bill said ZERO EMISSIONS. It did NOT say "alternative fuel" or "non-harmful emissions" vehicles. The gas companies would never allow that, because they KNOW that a lot of alternative fuel vehicles would sell. How long do you think gas companies would stay in business if it suddenly became possible and very cost-effective for people to just have a small tool-shed sized still in the back yard that they could toss grass clippings, wood, garbage, shit, etc. etc. into and get a very excellent fuel for their car out of it? Not too long. People would be converting their cars to methanol all over the place, nobody would buy a new gasoline car anymore, and the only gasoline customers left would be people with really REALLY old cars that they didn't want hacked, or people who couldn't afford the conversion or the space for a still (even then, people might have community stills). The cool thing about a methanol still, as opposed to a water still, is that it would only need to be heated to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so a lot of the time, focused sun would be enough to run it, and the rest of the time it would only take a small heater. Such a still is simple enough that anyone with a welder could build one for very cheap, or commercial models are available that look a little snazzier. The technology IS already here, because farmers have been running farm equipment on Methanol and Methane stilled from animal shit and waste for more than 35 years. Sometimes they even heat their houses, cook their food, and even run generators for electricity like this. It's kind of expensive for them to get it all set up, but once they do, it's virtually FREE with just a little maintenence on it once and a while.

I'm done spouting for now.

I have no idea how many pages that just was.

My hands are getting tired.

Please send me your correspondence on all this crap.

Rev. DrivinMan

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