not duct tape alone
Wednesday, April 4 2012
When I was out on poopy patrol in the driveway (where Sally likes to drop her "flavor packets"), I happened to noticed that our Honda Civic Hybrid now had a nasty crack in the passenger side of its rear bumper. The crack was shaped like a lower-case lambda (λ) or an upside-down Y and was about 20 inches in length. The bumper plastic on a modern car is very thin and cracks easily if there is even a small impact on the part of it not supported by a steel mumper beam. Still, this damage was a bit extreme considering Gretchen had made no mention of it. Had some douchebag backed into her in a parking lot and she hadn't noticed? Whatever had cause it, it was my problem now. I'm the guy who fixes things when they break. So I mixed up my JB Weld (the most reliable brand of epoxy) and used spackled it into the cracks. In some places I added small pieces of fibreglass mesh, both on the outside of the car and (where I could reach it) on the inside as well. To hold the bumper together while the epoxy set, I covered that part of the bumper with white duct tape, which stood out dramatically from the dark grey of the car itself. The signal it sent was unmistakable: behold, this is a ghetto ride, and I don't give a fuck. Duct tape alone is a fairly effective way to repair cracked automotive plastic, so the infrequency with which it is observed suggests the presence of a strong social aversion among Americans to being seen in cars manifesting such unprofessional repair.
Last night I'd begun yet another batch of tempeh, this time using black-eyed peas as my bean. Since black-eyed peas are small beans with soft skins, I'd treated them like soy beans, lightly cracking them in a burr mill before letting them soak overnight. Unfortunately, though, black-eyed peas are an unusually soft bean, and after the requisite half hour of boiling, my pot was full of mush. Tempeh requires voids among the beans where the Rhizopus oligosporus can grow and propagate, but those voids were mostly absent in this black-eyed pea glurp. Still, I'd tried black-eyed peas with the understanding that it was to be an experiment, so I bagged it up and put it in my makeshift incubator (above the hot water pot in the laboratory) just like any other tempeh.
Weather has been seasonable lately, which means a bit too cold for comfort outdoors (and too cold to throw open the doors and windows, even in the afternoon). But today temperatures reached up into the mid-60s and Gretchen spent some hours in a chaise lounge in the driveway reading a book.
Later we thawed out a vegan frozen pizza and ate it in front of Jeopardy. Still later I took a bath in piping-hot solar-heated water.
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