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Bad Battery

Tuesday
April 30, 2002

"No, it didn't turn out the way we thought it would"
-Ben Folds Five "Alice Childress"

When I arrived back in Tampa on Sunday afternoon from my trip to Huntington, I rode the shuttle bus to the long term parking lot. For reasons unbeknowst to me, the pick-up point for the long term parking bus is very poorly marked. It's hard to tell just from looking which side is the pickup side; you have to refer to a small information box on the directory listing to find out that -- guess what -- you need to walk all the way to the other side of the airport to find the bus. Someone needs to put up a huge sign that says "Long Term Parking Pickup" by the correct door. Is that too much to ask?

Anyway, when I arrived to my car, I was pleased to see that it hadn't been stolen and wasn't broken into or vandalized. Not that I expected that, but still the paranoid side of me says it could happen. But luckily, all appeared well.

I put the key in, turned the ignition, and heard grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Bad news. Quick flashback to the last time I parked in long term (returning from Nashville and Christmas 2001), I managed to be an idiot and leave my lights on. Had to pay to get the security people to jump-start me. But I checked and that wasn't the case this time -- in fact, the dome light turned on just fine. I turned the key down to the "listen to the radio" mode, then tried again. It chugged and chugged and then miraculously turned over.

Once I made it back home, I turned off my car. I tried starting it again -- no problem.

That Sunday night going into work, I noticed a little hesitation on the start. Not good. Similar problems crept up last night and this morning.

I decided that it would be better safe than sorry, so after work I went to the Pep Boys down on Florida Avenue. They checked my car out... and determined that my battery was dying. Not a fun expense, but it sure beats buying a new alternator. The guy behind the counter gave me a "oh so you think you know something about cars" look when I speculated that it might be the battery or the alternator having problems. Like the "Oh, you think so, doctor?" line from Colonel James in Boogie Nights. But it turns out I was right. And better to have it fixed now than to be leaving for work and have my car not start at all.

Westlake is playing tonight at the WAMX 5th Anniversary Show at the Huntington Civic Center. If you're in Huntington, you have to go see them. Good luck to Scott and Jeff and Nik and Robzilla. Also, the Huntington Herald-Dispatch ran an article mentioning Westlake earlier this month. It's great to see them get the publicity.

Also, I was remiss in not mentioning the excellent performance of Romeo and Juliet I saw at Marshall this past Saturday night. It was especially cool in that Mike ("the other Doc") Murdock and his girlfriend Jessica (both of whom I knew from Sharkey's back in the day) both had roles (and both did an excellent job). The older I get, the more I appreciate William Shakespeare's work.

Finally, how about the first round of the NBA playoffs stretching on and on into oblivion. Enough's enough already. Charlotte played at Orlando on Saturday (in an excellent game -- Baron Davis hit what looked like the game-winner for the Hornets at the end of regulation, only to have it waved off... but then Charlotte won anyway in overtime to cover the ref's error). They play again in Orlando TONIGHT. Why a three day delay? There's no travel involved -- Game 4 takes place in Orlando as well. Crazy NBA...


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