Thursday, 7 August 2008

"Let's Talk About Cars" - Butthole Surfers, 1996

I've always been a geek-girl when it comes to my interest in things mechanical. I would have loved to have become an engineer; sadly, I'm horrid at advanced mathematics. So, that made the idea of an engineering degree a big no-go.

When I was a kid, my mother would try to lure me into the kitchen to learn how to cook and bake. I wasn't interested. I preferred getting up onto a step stool and peering under the hood of the car with my father. He and I talked about cars all the time.

So I know quite a bit about automotive stuff, but I don't know as much as I'd like to. That reminds me of something a car-enthusiast buddy of mine said to me in Houston years ago. He said that I was the only woman he'd ever met who could accurately use the term "normally-aspirated engine" in a sentence!

I use my automotive interest in one phase of my current job. You see, I get to discuss the differences between gasoline engines and diesel engines when I teach courses involving petroleum products. The students need to understand the chemical differences between gasoline and diesel fuel, so comparing and contrasting the two types of engines can speed up their understanding of the hydrocarbon chemistry. I enjoy watching some of the male students sit with their mouths hanging open, because I know more about engines than many of them do.

So it was a happy day when I recently discovered that I could get National Public Radio's "Car Talk" as a weekly podcast! For those of you who don't know about this program, you can go see their website via the link in the previous sentence. I was a regularly listener on Saturdays when I still lived in the States.

Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers - real names Tom and Ray Magliozzi - dole out loads of common sense and humor along with their automotive advice. Sometimes I have to stifle my laughter, as I'm sitting on a bus full of people as I listen. And these guys speak using plain English, too...albeit with strong accents from their native Massachusetts.

In this past weekend's edition (a best-of), which I was listening to during this morning's commute, they discussed brake fluid levels. I learned something new - that the more brake pads become worn, the lower the fluid level in the reservoir. That's because more fluid is being retained in the brakes to fill in the space created by the shrinking pads. Interesting.

Well, at least it's interesting to me. That - and many other things (just ask John) - is what makes me a geek-girl! And here in the UK, I've gained the additional title of "petrol head".


Janet

What am I listening to? Go see at: Auditory Cortex.

5 Comments:

At 07 August, 2008 13:05 , Anonymous KathyF said...

I was always a car geek too. I figured out if I wanted to talk to my dad I had to talk car talk. Fortunately I married a man who is car crazy too. While other moms were buying mini vans, I was looking for muscle cars that fit two kids in the back!

 
At 07 August, 2008 19:14 , Anonymous mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

There's nothing like voices from home to give one a soothing sense of the familiar in a foreign land. When I lived in Japan, my son's father used to send us videotapes of "Siskel and Ebert". It didn't matter that none of the movies were playing. It was just somehow comforting to keep our routine of knowing what was out there. (This was years before the internet).

I love Car Talk. I'm haven't worked on my cars in years, but I did work a lot on my first one: a Triumph Spitfire.

 
At 08 August, 2008 04:05 , Anonymous Alli said...

Click & Clack, the brothers from Boston! I used to listen to them all the time(I work every Sat AM now)They were hysterical & I love their accents!
I know alot about cars. Not a gear-head, much prefer the finished product(dream car - black '74 Chevy Impala)

btw, love the header song "Let's Talk About Cars" from the superb album "Electriclarryland"

 
At 08 August, 2008 23:51 , Blogger Milky Bar Kid said...

I like it! We could talk all night just about internal combustion engines and the make up of cars. Sounds good to me. A bit sad that you never knew about where all that brake fluid went to when the level goes down in the reservoir until recently. BUT keep on trucking. You will become a nerd like me soon enough.

 
At 11 August, 2008 13:31 , Blogger Gnightgirl said...

I'm a big Car Talk fan also, those guys just kill me. Interesting about the brake pads, I learned something new as a result of your listening to them. My father was a mechanic and a drag racer, so I have a working knowledge of engines & stuff also.

 

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