Sunday, February 14, 2010

I checked, I have an engine...

So yesterday I was driving back from an electronics swap meet when I noticed the "check engine" light was on in the "Danger Ranger", my '06 Ford Ranger pickup. I checked, and I do have an engine, so I don't know what that's about.

The gas cap seemed snug. The owner's manual doesn't make it sound like a big deal - says it could just be a loose gas cap or bad gas, and that it could take a few fill-ups and quite a bit of driving before it resets. It doesn't seem like it's running any worse than normal, or making any more noise than normal, so I guess I'll just ignore it for now. A coworker is going to let me borrow his OBDII meter, so at least I'll have a starting point. But at some point, I'll probably need to take it to the dealer - which means spending money I'd rather spend on brightly-colored shoes and deeply discounted beef jerky, and spending time waiting at the dealership that I'd rather be spending time doing something else.

I hate the check-engine light - it's silly to have one light that tells you "there is something wrong with your vehicle, and it could be anything from a loose gas cap to your engine is about to fall out". At least most computer error messages give you some info of what you need to do.

Friday, February 12, 2010

C is for cookie....

So since I was bored, and hungry, I decided to bake some cookies. They are the same m&m cookies I made at Christmastime, only with non-holiday colored M&M's. I picked up the M&M's during my Tuesday Target run between snowstorms. Alas, I only had enough butter for one batch. Actually, given that I haven't been to the gym in over a week, maybe it's just as well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

i can haz snowstorm?

Nibbler seems fascinated by the snow - she's been in my basement perching on the sofa looking out my french doors at the snow, or up in the living room peeking her fuzzy little head between the blinds to watch it fall and blow.

Easy for her to do. She doesn't have to worry about shoveling it tomorrow.

And yes, the pic with the blinds open is staged - they are normally closed, but I thought it would be a cool pic.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Evidently, the key to surviving the snowpocalypse is frozen pizza...

I stopped by Target this morning - there were a few things I was running low on, but mostly I wanted to get out of the house. I really hadn't left the house since Friday afternoon, and it's supposed to start snowing this afternoon, so I figured it would be my window to get out and get some stuff done.

Predictably, they were low on milk and bread - I managed to snag the last loaf of Archer Farms bread in the store. Oddly enough, they were also pretty much out of frozen pizza. Evidently, that's up there on the list of things that people can't live without in a snow storm.

The roads weren't too bad, although the ones I was on are pretty main ones. Still, there were a lot of places where only one lane in each direction of a 4 lane road was passable, and corners/intersections were treacherous because you couldn't see around the snow piles.

Monday, February 8, 2010

So that's what the cat does all day...

I've always wondered what Nibbler, my adorable yet evil cat, does while I'm off at work, slaving away over computers to pay for her kibble and Tidy Cat. I even set up a webcam in my basement to try to see what she does, but except for the occasional nibble and poop I rarely see her.

Well, since I'm home due to the snowpocalyse, I found out what she does all day - nap on my Poang chair. I think it must be in sunbeam range...

The chair, like the cat, is kind of special (and like the cat, was free). I got it back in 2003 when Ikea opened their store in College Park, MD - they had a promo where the first 100 people in line at either Maryland store got a free chair. I got their around 10:30pm, driving straight from work - I worked nights at the time - and camped out overnight to get it.

Can I get a cup of cake, please?

Since I'm snowed in, bored, and running critically low on my cookie stockpile, I decided to make a batch of cupcakes - I had a box of mix and a can of frosting that I bought over the summer with the intention of making a birthday cake for a friend as a joke. I never got around to it.

If you are wondering why they have a patriotic theme, well, it's because I love this country and the freedom and opportunities that it's citizens enjoy. Well, that and because I bought the frosting on clearance at Target after the 4th of July - it was cheaper than the normal frosting, and I figured I could throw out the sprinkles and still be ahead financially.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ranger extraction..

Spent a couple hours today getting the Ranger from out of it's blanket of snow. Took a few hours - got a little help from some neigbors who shoveled around my truck and my neigbor's van - the spot they plow all the snow into is right next to our spots, so we had a ton of snow to get out from.

The biggest problem was finding a place to put all the snow - I ended up carrying a bunch of it pretty much halfway accross the parking lot to an snow-filled spot. My arms are sore from carrying it all...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I thought I had a walkway somewhere...

Well, since it finally stopped snowing I decided to at least get the walkway shoveled today. I figure I'll deal with the truck tomorrow. There was so much snow I couldn't tell where the walkway was - a few times I thought I was shoveling sidewalk, only to discover I was actually shoveling a patch of my front lawn.

The first pic is what greeted me when I opened my front door...

Do you know the muffin man?

On Wednesday I looked at weather.com and realized that I was probably going to be spending the weekend snowed in. I'd been wanting to make muffins for a while - ever since my fairly successful Christmas cookies - so I bought the ingredients for this strudel-topped muffin recipe. I made them last night and had a couple this morning for breakfast. They are pretty good.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I bet the flames add like 10 hp...

I spotted this early-90's Ford Explorer in the parking lot of a diner where I was grabbing dinner with a friend. Nice flame job!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good, if slightly out-of-date, stuff cheap

Thanks to my night class getting preemptively canceled due to impending snow, and assuming the gym would also be closed, I actually drove home at 5pm tonight - which meant taking the back way to avoid Beltway traffic. Since my route brought me near Good Stuff Cheap, an odd-lot closeout store in Parkville, MD, I decided to stop by.

They sell a bunch of stuff - everything from expired food to dollar-store type items to logo merchandise from defunct businesses. I usually buy food items, which are hit or miss - sometimes they are good, which sucks because they usually aren't there the next time, sometimes not so much. They have a sign reminding people that it's safe to eat stuff after it's sell-by date.

I spent a grand total of $12.77 . I walked away with a fancy shopping bag (probably also from a defunct retailer) containing:
-4 small packs of peanut butter sandwich cookies
-3 cups of stove top instant stuffing
-4 small bottles of Starbucks syrups (labeled "not for individual sale")
-a 1 pound package of Target Honey Smoked turkey breast, frozen
-a package of frozen cream cheese filled pumpkin rolls
-a box of herbal tea
-a bottle of oriental mustard
-a Starbucks logo travel mug (14 oz, red, sadly not dishwasher safe)