Tuesday, December 13, 2005

never doubt your sifu

Sunday I was the first one to class. Sit was already in there, and the first thing he said to me was, not, "Hello," or "Hi-how-you-doing?" but "How's your car?"

I kind of blinked, because the car was no better or worse than it had been, but I had missed Wednesday class because of the snowstorm and I thought perhaps he assumed I had car trouble. I said, "It's fine. It's just old."

He said, "Maybe time to get a new car."

I chuckled, but it stuck with me. He alarms me sometimes, when he gets all pointed and specific. He can be as vague as Cliff Huxtable about things. Tony said, "He's predicted the future before, you know." I did know. I had been told stories, and I can name a half-dozen times that Sit has read my mind or anticipated questions I had. Admittedly he's been teaching a long time and has seen students go through the same blocks again and again, but I've had my own precognitive moments over the years and I was inclined to take the warning seriously, if for no other reason than because the car is 17 years old.

Monday night I was driving home, trying to get home early because Scott needed to borrow my car, and two miles from work the Check Engine light comes on. Now, the thing had been running rough for a while, Scott insisted it was the fuel line, but I suspected an electrical cause. At any rate, I wasn't taking any chances on the interstate. I turned off Metcalf into the Pontiac dealership. Not wild about those guys, but they once changed a flat for me for free, so I figured the least I could get was a diagnostic.

The service tech called me an hour ago. Spark plug wires are shorting, ignition coils are shorting, idle motor is only working sporadically. Of course, being a dealership garage they want to replace everything with OEM parts and charge me three times cost, so I told them just to clean the motor and I'd do the rest of it myself.

But the moral of this story is, when your Sifu tells you it's going to rain, for Pete's sake pack an umbrella.


Anonymous said...

My dad turned out a fine pan of baked beans. This treat was usually saved for special occasions such as family reunions. I saw what went into them, but never paid attention to how long or at what temperature the mixture should be baked. So when it came time for me to conglomerate the ingredients, I prepared them on the range top.

Fry a pound of bacon, in its own grease, if you don't mind-no butter. Do so until crisp. Pour off the drippings and set the bacon on a paper towel. Into the skillet, empty a couple cans of pork and beans. Heat slowly. Slice and dice a fair size onion into the beans. Add a cup of dark brown sugar, then enough ketchup to fill the pan just short of slopping over. Watch like hawk, stirring occasionally. I reckon the drained bacon should be put back into the mix just before the onion. When everything is bubbly warm, you're set for some fine eatin.'

I've had varying results with this, all of them good. Usually, this dish is properly fluid, as baked beans should be, but one one occasion it was quite viscous. Upon cooling it had the consistency of chocolate fudge. Still tasted good, though.

I've prepared this for math department picnics. If I had any hopes of subsisting on leftovers the following week, such hopes were forlorn, to the forlorn power. Maybe one or two vagrant legumes would be stuck to the pan. They were cooked, so there was no use in pitching them out a window in the hope of growing a beanstalk I could climb to pilfer some giant's horde. To be brief, folks liked the beans and ate them with gusto.

Heat, eat, and enjoy(cribbed from the lable of the Van Camp's can).
Scott Garten

C8H10N4HO2O2 said...

No butter?!


Sorry to hear about your car. Pain in the butt, those things.

Holly said...

Oh, I put butter in the car, don't worry. Strange the mechanic didn't say anything.