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Life is WEIRD

I reported in my last blog article that the Aixam dealer wasn't able to come and pick up my car for repair. So on Tuesday, while on break at work, I ordered two bearings for each of the front wheels, as I really wasn't happy with the sound it was making.

About half an hour later, I got a call from the dealership in Mordelles. I called back when I got home, and the man said "I'm coming to pick up the car tomorrow morning". No, I said, I am working tomorrow. But I'm on chômage partiel so is Thursday or Friday good? He immediately volunteered 10am on Thursday morning. I'm not sure what the people in the branch in Mezières were on about.

I was prepared to take a loss of thirty euros on the bearings that I ordered just in order to get the thing fixed.

Guess what was in the letterbox when I got home yesterday? Yup. Two bearings. Thank you NessyCar (aka Small Car France) for fulfilling the order quickly, and thank you TNT for getting it here in such a short time. Literally 26 hours from placing the order. Even Amazon isn't that quick!

So I showed the mechanic the bits (odometer cable and the widget that the cable connects to) and he said he'll take a look at that too. I'm happy that the car is going to be seen to by somebody who is practiced in these sorts of cars.

Felicity left just after 10.50 for a journey back to the other side of Rennes. She may return today, but most likely tomorrow. That's fine, it's not as if I'll be going anywhere...

My car, Felicity, on a trailer ready for her journey to the mechanic's workshop.

 

And here are the bits I left for the mechanic. What is worth mentioning is that the odometer cable (apparently the correct type for an Aixam 400SL) and the gearbox adaptor (salvaged from an Aixam 400SL) do not match. The cable is narrower, and has an adaptor at the dashboard end. I wonder if this might be part of the problem? I looks as if something changed along the way.
Now, me? I'd use a real gentle application of PVA glue, let it harden, job done. ☺

Two bearings, an odometer cable, and gearbox adaptor on the passenger seat of my car.

Just phoned the local garage to cancel the appointment next Thursday. "Pas de souci" she said to me. You got that right...

 

Mower belt

So I bought a mower belt from Amazon like three weeks ago and fitted it to replace the broken one.
Well, um...
Failing mower belt.

There is a part further along where the rubber has cracked right through. Thankfully there is metal banding in the belt (as can be seen in the photo) so the belt held together for me to do the grass today. But still... it was in that state after a service life of about four hours. It's now done about five and a half to six. That's a bit ridiculous.

I searched Amazon for other belts (apparently it is a type 144200 for Husquevarna (probably spelled that wrongly)) and found a few for around €15 that will arrive in late June or July, or a French belt for around €40,19 plus another €6,50 postage, which might be here by May. Nothing was marked as Amazon Prime, but than Amazon France just got slapped down by the government.
That too was ridiculous.

So I threw the belt type into Google and the first match was a company called Autoportée Discount which was offering AYP belts for €12,50. I ordered two (if they're as good as the last one, better have a backup!), paid a fiver for DPD Predict delivery (they'll make an appointment with me for delivery at a convenient time) and it'll be here maybe next week.
Sorry Amazon, but...

Oh, I voted one star for the belt. Let's see if Amazon accepts the review (two pictures supplied, written in French and English). I find Amazon rejects several of my reviews, pointing me to "the rules for reviewing" without actually saying what's wrong. Maybe they don't like negative reviews? Ever seen a review of something on Amazon that says it has, like, 12% 1 star, but when you try to see what people didn't like, you're told there were no reviews matching the (one star) criteria? It just seems like the whole thing is too easily gamed - not just by people getting fake reviews, but perhaps by the platform itself.
Talking of gaming, the belt I ordered was sold by a user called Wingsmotor. The belt I ordered is no longer available. An identical one (more or less the same price) is listed under the same user, actually sold by "Wei Yi Si" based in Laioning, China. Both claim a 180 day money back guarantee. I rather imagine claiming that would be more trouble than it's worth...

 

And other mower parts

Looking at the Autoportée site, I had hoped that I might be able to find the parts to fix the wobbly front wheel. Bearings again? Nope. It's just a rod that is the axle, the hole in the wheel slides onto that, and there's a load of grease to keep it moving. And, yeah, many years of turning and many years without grease have worn the wheel so the hole is a fair bit larger than it ought to be. I suppose the upside here is that the wheel is what wore, not the axle.
The mower's wheel, after years of use and years of wanting grease.

While I was there I had a look at the loose steering. I think something is loose in the rack and pinion arrangement, but it's more complicated than I can deal with using the tools that I have (basically a flat head screwdriver and an adjustable wrench). When I first came out here I had a reasonable set of spanners and sockets (in a toolbox from motor mechanics class at school). Now... I don't.
I rather suspect the person that used to be involved in my mother's life claimed them for himself. Maybe even tried saying that they were his. It's annoying, but, hey - he's the man who had a Volvo (760? a big boxy thing) that wasn't working, so he bought another second hand to take apart for fixing his.
Yeah, you read that right. He took a working Volvo and stripped it down to repair a non-working Volvo.
End result? Two non-working Volvos.

Me? I'd have just kept the working one. And if it was so important to pretend it's the same car, then just change the damn seats and call it job done.

At least I have the sense to understand that brakes and wheel bearings are kind of important parts (even in a speed restricted vehicle) and to leave that sort of stuff to people who (are supposed to) know what they are doing.

 

Ghost In The Shell - SAC_2045

Anyway, mowing is done, car is being looked at, and NetFlix has just announced a CGI incarnation of Ghost In The Shell is available. Twelve 24 minute episodes. At the moment, Japanese audio with subtitles. And an on-screen announcement saying that they are prioritising the safety of their voice actors so some language options may be pending. Well, I've watched the entire rest of GitS (three movies and two SAC series) in Japanese, why stop now?
Oh god, it starts with a song that's an odd mix between rap and jazz. Five seconds into this and I miss the creepy chanting children. The opening introduction... Sustainable war, is that an accurate translation? Sustainable? The rest... well... the way things are going...
A few minutes in and this reminds me a lot of the recent CGI Appleseed film (not the series). The colours, the motion.
As for The Major, she's driving an armoured Jeep like thing with a Tachikoma in the back, stopping for a Budweiser (conspicuous product placement!) but he rendering makes her look like a teenager! In fact, I would say barely a teenager. And, yes, she just tossed an empty bottle onto the road. Hope that comes to bite her tyres in the ass.

Well, having watched the episode, there's quite a lot that won't make much sense if you aren't aware of the premise from the films or series. Such as the talking without talking part.
The scenery is amazing, and the level of detail and textures of things is incredible. The truck is well worn, and you can see practically every dent and scratch. What is lacking is, as usual, the people. They vary - the Major looks like you might imagine a 13 year old robot girlfriend would (which given her synthetic nature mightn't be too far from the truth). The Chief, on the other hand, is comical. His iconic hair looks plastic, and to be honest if Playmobil made a set of Ghost in the Shell figures, they'd have the Chief absolutely spot on.
I'll give it my usual three episode rule, but there's nothing particularly annoying or dislikable, so I can imagine I'll probably see this one through. Additionally, episodes being about twenty minutes each (if you omit the titles and credits), ought to mean it'll be a four hour marathon. Or, in other words, four hours to enjoy the Tachikomas, with some exposition and story along the way. As always with GitS, it won't be a "boy meets girl" or "girl meets boy and kicks his ass". No, it'll be some deep-ass philosophical questions like "what's the purpose of being human if your body can be replaced with a synthetic one?" or "what differentiates humans from machines when the two are practically symbiotic" or "treatment of refugees and governmental corruption", not to mention throwing in some thought experiments such as the ancient Greek "Ship of Theseus", and artificial intelligence and how it applies to evolution. And that is barely even scratching the surface...
Indeed, the title "Stand Alone Complex" refers to the accidental collectivism that is the result of unrelated individuals doing their own various actions that gets mistaken for a larger organised conspiracy (consider: Anonymous).
So, yeah. Four hours to watch, and ten times that to let it all sink in. ☺

 

 

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David Pilling, 24th April 2020, 16:15
Daily post delivery here is now back to once a day - they must have sorted out a safe way to do it. Used to be two postmen in one van. 
I remember when reviews on Amazon were useful. I tend to look at the three star reviews - no point reading the ones who like everything and the ones who like nothing.  
Reviews are near useless - even if they are genuine. People don't always have exactly the item you are buying, very often different suppliers, or don't know what they're talking about. 
To answer, yes I see 1* reviews, and often have to buy things in the face of criticism that is incorrect. I've also written 1* reviews which they have published. UK Amazon, although they now give you reviews from rest of Europe as well as USA. 
Nice they could put your car on a trailer - much easier. 
Can never have too many tools - spanners cheap and often used. 

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Last read at 07:46 on 2020/06/07.

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