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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I ditched work early yesterday because I was having a bit of car trouble. Two mornings in a row, I get out of the car and smell something burning. I suspected that it was my clutch. Maybe I didn't have it fully engaged when I climb the hill up to my office in the morning?

After meeting up with Russ and the Austin Convention Center and buying a SXSW wristband with his presenter badge (thanks Russ!) I drove straight to the dealership and asked them what the issue could be.

The technician said he would take a look at it so, I signed a work order and sat down in the lobby with my work laptop. Just after I finished a spreadsheet for work, the person who got me to sign the work order came in and told me I needed a brake job. I asked how much. She said $900. I politely said "OK, I'll be doing that one myself". I could see out into the work bay and saw my car on the lift with the wheels removed, which made me suspect that "looking" at my car was a pay-for service. So, I asked if I owed anything. Once she finished up the paperwork, I was told that it would be $90 (over $100 after tax) for the labor to "look" at the problem.

I went ahead and purchased the brake pads from the parts department for over $300.00, intent on going home and installing them. I was still concerned with the $90 "look at" fee when I went to the register and asked the lady at the register why I was charged. The lady at the register was very sympathetic. She asked the service person again who once again re-assured me that it was a labor cost and I had to pay.

So, $400+ later, I make it home with two small boxes and a diagnosis. I have all the equipment to do the brake job, so I got home, changed clothes and set to work. The first thing I realized was, my jack doesn't fit under the 350Z. So, I went to pick up a low profile floor jack (more mile on a rotor that sticks). I went to look for the key to my wheel locks and could not find it. I couldn't think of a time from when I first got the car that I took the wheels off so, I can't imagine where it would be if it wasn't in the car. I called the dealership and they assured me that they didn't even use it. So, I was stuck.

Amy and Lauren already went down to Woodrow's, and I was planning on meeting Melissa and seeing a show at New Guild Co-Op organized by my friend Todd Patrick (aka todd p) so, I decided to take the bus. I got down to the venue just in time to get a text from Melissa saying she was going to stay in for the night. I did get to see Branch Davidians and Air Waves but, Todd must have been over at Ms Bea's finishing up the show there.

Branch Davidians was intense and raw and Air Waves had some really infectious baselines. Both were really loud because the room was so small (bring earplugs people). I bought a 6 pack of Bud Light but, could only get through 3 of them so, I gave the last three to some college kids who were debating who would have to go on a beer run before the next band showed up.

I got on the bus again and met up with Lauren and Amy coming back from Opal Divine's on their way to Fadó. The door was only letting people in as people left and they were charging $10 cover. So we went next door to Péché hoping they had food. The kitchen was closed, so we made due with a gin and tonic and some kind of Effin vodka drink that Lauren recommended and went home after.

Will my SXSW week get better? I hope so.

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