The Write Way
25 July 2008
The Plot Thickens ...
I mentioned our Killer Car last week, so may as well get the horror tale out of the way now; they do say that a trouble shared is a trouble halved ...
It all started when the Love of My Life and I were returning from one of our regular driving trips down to Melbourne to visit our daughter, and as luck would have it, it was my turn at the wheel. We were driving on a good stretch of open road, with good vision, so I decided I'd overtake the tourist bus that had been belching exhaust fumes over us for the past few kilometres.
The villain of this piece, remember from last week, is the Cruise Control fitted on our car. We both love CC ... it's so relaxing to simply set your speed on these open roads and know you won't be tempted to nudge the car over the limit.
For those of you who've been off-planet recently, Cruise Control lets you set your maximum speed; when you want to overtake, you simply accelerate as normal and the car responds (as normal). When you take your foot off the accelerator, the speed drops gently back to the set speed and you resume your merry way. To deactivate CC, you either switch it off or put your foot on the brake.
Sounds like a perfect system, doesn't it?
And it is ... usually. Until that fateful moment when I'd accelerated to a tad over 120 kph (I blush to confess that the speed limit was 110 kph, but in my defence I was overtaking), then pulled back into the line of traffic and eased off the pedal ... and the car kept accelerating. And accelerating. And accelerating.
You know those nightmares you have when you're driving some huge vehicle and you put your foot on the brake and it's rock hard and nothing happens?
I lived my nightmare that day.
I had my foot on the brake as hard as I could manage, and it didn't move.
I flicked the switch to manually turn off CC, and nothing happened except that our speed was increasing more terrifyingly.
Because we were on an open stretch of road, we searched desperately for a wide section off-road where I could pull over without killing us and all the cars following. Finally we settled on a spot up ahead and with the motor screaming, I flicked on the blinker to let cars behind us know I was getting off the road and to watch out for the gravel we'd send flying.
With both my feet on the brake pedal by now, it was up to my husband to hold the hand brake; then we threw the car into neutral, (which made the motor scream even louder) switched off the engine and both looked at each other to make sure we were still alive.
Once the motor had cooled down, the LoML set out to discover what had gone so (nearly) fatally wrong. And it seems, dear reader, that the culprit was the CC cable that had looped itself around the accelerator throttle when I'd overtaken that bus.
Since it had happened once, we weren't taking any chances, so diving into his bag of tricks, my husband emerged with his nifty pair of pliers, cut off the CC cable and removed it completely.
This is not the sort of driving you'd want to experience everyday.
Or even every day.
Because, as we all know, everyday is an adjective that means: 'found in the ordinary course of events; commonplace and ordinary; suited for normal use.'
Every is also an adjective, and it means: 'being one of a group or series taken collectively; each; all possible; the greatest possible degree of; constituting each and all members of a group without exception.'
I wish I had a dollar for every time I've seen 'everyday' used when 'every day' was meant, don't you?
Have you been through an experience like this? Then this week's Little Something Extra has a number of articles for those of you who are ready to start writing. There are suggested topics, a simple plan, some useful resources and more ...
And if only our problem had been as simple to resolve as this ...
An auto mechanic received a
repair order that said to check for a clunking noise when going around corners.
This week's quiz:
Here are some terms you need to know to keep your car in tip-top shape ...
gasket, differential, flywheel, ammeter, caliper, actuator, governor, camber, injector, clutch
1. inward or outward tilt of a wheel assembly
2. device that performs an action or outputs a signal in response to a signal from a computer
3. assembly of gears used to provide power to the rear axles and allow them to rotate at different speeds as necessary
4. an instrument, calibrated in amperes, used to measure the flow of an electrical current in a circuit
5. device used to control an engine's speed
6. soft, flexible material placed between two parts to prevent leaks; common materials used include cork, polyurethane and sometimes asbestos
7. spring-loaded valve that meters fuel into the pre-combustion chamber of a diesel engine
8. component that houses disc brake pads on both sides of the brake rotor and are forced together through applied brake fluid pressure to stop the rotor from turning, thus stopping the car; also the name of a tool to measure small inside and outside diameters
9. device that allows the driver to engage or disengage the engine and transmission
10. large, heavy wheel mounted on the rear end of the crankshaft; usually includes a ring gear that is engaged by the starter pinion
Q: How many car salesmen
does it take to change a light bulb?
Last week's quiz:
If you work in an office, deal with people who work in an office or live with someone who does, you'll have come across some of these terms. Match 'em up:
deja moo, administrivia, deceptionist, meanderthal, acluistic, duck shuffler, adhocracy, smirting, anecgloat, rolling the tortoise
1. person who has difficulty expressing himself succinctly; often gives long, unfocused presentations - MEANDERTHAL
2. receptionist whose job is actually to delay or block potential visitors; ruthless with a polite, perfect smile - DECEPTIONIST
3. the state of being completely 'without a clue' - ACLUISTIC
4. taking the opportunity to flirt with co-workers while huddled together for an outdoor cigarette break - SMIRTING
5. story of one's exploits that is intended to impress; may be partly fictional - ANECGLOAT
6. excessively increasing resources to accelerate an otherwise slow-moving project - ROLLING THE TORTOISE
7. minimally structured business where teams are formed as they are needed to address specific problems - ADHOCRACY
8. nagging feeling that you've heard this B.S. before - DEJA MOO
9. someone who disrupts your affairs after you've finally gotten all your 'ducks in a row' - DUCK SHUFFLER
10. encompasses all the trivial tasks that management is far too qualified to suffer through - ADMINISTRIVIA
A Little Something Extra
If you've had a near-death experience or a close call with the Dark Side, why not tell others abut it? That's how we carbon-based bipeds have progressed, because we don't each have to invent the wheel ... we share our knowledge and experiences.
So share away and write about your experiences. You never know, you might find there's a market for your tales.
Here are some resources to get you writing and publishing ...
If you can't think of anything to write about, here are some ideas
Discover how best-selling author Nick Daws wrote 30 best-sellers in JUST 3 years!
Once you've written about your experiences, you'll want to make sure you've dotted your i's and crossed your t's ... literally, so you'll need to edit your work carefully before launching it on the world: Click now to edit your work like a professional.
And when you have your article or book as perfect as you can make it, you need to write a query letter. Next week, we'll look at how to write a query letter that gets results!
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An Ape that wants to play Hamlet after being type-cast as King Kong, a talking anvil and that rottweiller ... Dr Morgenes is still caught in the nightmare that is the casting couch. Help him find a plot! Just click on the Comments button at the end of the entry to add your contribution. If you have friends who fancy themselves as writers, invite them to contribute (just forward this newsletter in its entirety to them).
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Word of the week: Azeotrope (n) a blend of two or more refrigerants (that will not separate, fractionate) and have different temperature and pressure characteristics from any of the separate ingredients; any liquid mixture having constant minimum and maximum boiling points and distilling off without decomposition and in a fixed ratio, as isopropyl alcohol and water; liquid mixture of two or more substances that retains the same composition in the vapour state as in the liquid state when distilled or partially evaporated under a certain pressure
I'm led to believe this is a Good Thing for motor vehicles (but you could tell me anything about motor maintenance, and I'd believe you.)
Oxymoron of the week: simple repair job
And a Latin phrase you may hear when you take your car to the garage for a service ...
Postatem obscuri lateris nescitis
[pohs-TAH-taym ohb-SKOO-ree lah-TAY-rees nays-KEE-tees]
(You do not know the power of the dark side)
Did you know that you can have your very own Latin reminders? How about undies proclaiming, Bene est rex esse? (It's good to be king) Or a shopping bag that warns, Emptrix nata sum (Born to shop)?
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Copyright Jennifer Stewart 2008
Individual articles copyrighted by their authors.