Thursday, February 21, 2008

February Randomness

Converting the Suburban to run on vegetable oil is turning out to be harder than i thought. Lovecraft told me last year that it could do the conversion, but since then they have changed owners and GMCs aren't in their current repertoire. I need to have some discussions with their head mechanic and see what he recommends we do - we may still be able to work something out. I really, really don't want to do the conversion myself, mostly because i have a two little kids that get in the way of big projects like engine conversions. Plus we have had an electrical screw-up in the 'burb - we plugged in the cell phone charger and created quite a spark. Since then the dome lights don't work and the radio stopped receiving any signals. Now i have to get intimate with the wiring system, so i ordered an old Haynes manual on Suburbans. Hope it covers diesel 4x4's. Grrr.

My super-cool cousin Don (remember him from our 23-hour AZ escapade?) and his family are officially moving to China. He and his equally cool wife got jobs at the Suzhou Singapore International School, in Suzhou (pronounced "Soo-jo."). I am thrilled for them, very impressed by their bravery, and shamelessly excited about crashing at their place - because if you had the chance to visit China in the company of beloved family members, wouldn't you? Good gosh, we'll have to go in summer. how could i visit Asia and not spend at least a month there? I've always wanted Paul to learn Mandarin, as i think it's a language that offers better opportunities than Spanish, but there's kind of a dearth of Mandarin schools around here. Back to my cousins - they'll be selling their super-cool house (anybody want to buy a stylish, colorful house in Mesa, AZ?) and most of their possessions. the job comes with free furnished housing, so they are going to leave their best pieces in storage here and get rid of everything else. Wow. There is some talk of their oldest daughter coming out to stay with us for part of the summer, which I am excited about because she is a good kid and also a Japanophile like me.

our seeds have sprouted nicely and are now "hardening" in the office window. I have been lazy about getting anything in the ground but really need to do it soon. Now we are off to the park. I need to get a bike trailer so i can haul the boys behind me - we live right on the Aliso Creek trail and the park is less than a mile away on the trail as well.


Stephanie said...

I am so terribly jealous about the whole China thing. I agree that if you have the chance to be with family - make the most of it and spend a summer there!

I wish you luck on the conversion. John's always wanted to do something like that himself. You'll have to take pictures and document the process here!

cyn the win said...

You yourself can convert a car to veggie oil? Not that you aren't smart, but wow, it sounds difficult. I can chage the oil if I have to. Oh and pump gas.

colleeeen said...

i am firmly of the belief that i can do an awful lot of things, given the right instructions. however, i have DIY-ed enough to know that my children get in the way of EVERYTHING, and the idea of working under a large, heavy vehicle with them makes me very nervous.

the conversion isn't as difficult as it sounds - it's mainly replacing tubing (vegetable oil is a solvent for rubber or some kind of plastic, whatever most engine tubes are made of), installing a different fuel filter, and a few other little custom parts. but i alwasy tend to underestimate the difficulty of any activity i go into, so be sure to take me with many grains of salt.

cyn the win said...

does it run on used oil? will it smell like french fries everwhere you go?

colleeeen said...

yeah, used oil is referred to as WVO (waste vegetable oil). the smell will depend on where you got your oil from. i kind of like the idea of driving a tempuramobile. maybe i'll spray-paint sushi all over it. ;)

Robb, Rhonda, Kristana & Kaylah said...

Hey, I don't know if this will help but I heard about doing the diesel conversion from a cable show called "Adventure Highway." this guy did it and traveled across the country for the show. I don't know if it's still on the air but there's surely a website for it and maybe there's some info on it regarding this. He said diesel's were originally meant to run on vegetable oil. He also said all they had to do is put a device in the engine that thinned the oil, a kind of heater I think. I think it cost him like a grand or something. Maybe you already knew all this but I thought it might help.