Recent Acquisitions and Car Problems

Today’s post is actually a series of posts, and while each could probably deserve their own post in one way or another, I don’t want to write that many posts over such a short time.

If you havin’ car problems, I feel bad for you son…

… I’ve got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one. Wow what a poor intro, I don’t even like rap music and that’s what came to mind?

The day is December 31st, 2009, New Years Eve, the end of a decade! What a day! My day was all planned out, visit friends for lunch, catch a nap then party it up. I drove to Toronto to meet up with a few friends I really only see once a year on new years to catch up on the past year, a good time and meal was had by all and we all went our separate ways.

However, immediately upon hitting the highway it was apparent there was a problem with my car. I press the pedal, and sure the car still accelerates, but not in it’s normal ‘overclocked’ fashion, in fact rather slow, very slow, also does it sound funny? All sorts of bad things come to mind, did I screw up the last oil change? did the turbo seize? did some moron kid at the mall shove something into my exhaust? I pull off the highway at the nearest exit to check it all out.

I check the exhaust, nope nothing wrong with it, seems unclogged. I for some reason check to see if my catalytic converter is still there as they’re a popular thing to steal for their rare metals, it of course is still there. Finally I decide to open the hood and take a look around. Ah ha! The wastegate arm has come off the wastegate! I almost celebrated it was such a simple fix. However since I didn’t have a new clip to put it on and hold it in place, I decided to drive to the nearest dealer and see if they could give me one. Ah.. right, it’s New Years Eve so they’re of course closed.

After waiting a while at the dealer thinking, I decided to try and put the arm back on and see how long it lasts before it pops off again. Turns out not long, 3 minutes, enough time to accelerate nicely onto the highway and then stick at 100 km/h. When it pops off again, a thought of mine from above was confirmed, it DID sound different. However knowing what the problem was I knew that I could still drive home without damaging the engine.

A friend did some googling to find the exact part I’d require at the part store and found out the likely solution from dealer would have been to sell me a whole new turbo, instead of the clip. So if I were a moron, this could have cost me a lot of money to fix. But in the end the part was 20 cents, a 5 1/16″ E-clip is all I required. Car runs great now that I have it all fixed, it’s amazing what such a small seemingly insignificant part can cost you in terms of power. My car went from a claimed 285 hp to probably something approximating the horsepower of a potato.

The reason for this is quite simple, a turbo-charged car has to have a lower compression ratio inside the engine than a Naturally Aspirated car. This works great when the turbo is working, but when it’s not it means you lose tremendous amounts of power because the fuel cannot be burned correctly or efficiently. But that’s not the only issue, when the turbo isn’t working to produce power it’s actually working against your engine. The exhaust can’t flow as freely through a turbo as it can a plain pipe like a naturally aspirated car would have, thus the car can’t evacuate the exhaust as efficiently and quickly as it requires, draining you of yet more power. Add the two together and you get an extremely inefficient engine wasting gas and producing very little power.

Recent Acquisitions

Rule of Acquisitions #3: Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to. Well shit, I think I’ve done that a few too many times. I really should read up on the Rules of Acquisitions and set my mind straight.

Recently I’ve gotten my grubby little hands on a Bluray copy of Wall-E by Pixar/Disney, as well as Spice & Wolf as licensed by Funimation in North America.

Wall-E is a great little movie with very little talking for the first half, and I just adore it for that. Wall-E is a cute little compactor robot, seemingly the last left working on earth. He cannibalizes other robots like him for parts as he needs as well as collects various objects he finds while doing his daily work. One day another robot appears on earth, a much sleaker robot named Eve. She arrives to look for signs of life on Earth so that humanity can return. I’ll stop there though and you can just watch the rest of the movie yourself. I’ve gotten mixed reviews from friends, some like it a lot, some don’t like it at all, but I think it was a very enjoyable movie.

Spice & Wolf, well this I’d already seen in fansub form, and regulars will know my love for the series, so it’s only right that I purchase the DVDs.  Not being a fan of dubs at all I debated on whether I should even bother trying out the DVDs in English. Eventually I gave in and decided that I was going to be a masochist and just watch the entire series in English. Turns out it wasn’t that bad, don’t get me wrong, it had it’s painful moments. But overall it wasn’t terrible, I was surprised. Horo still seemed like Horo, though perhaps her speech was a bit odd at first, almost more like she was Data and couldn’t use contractions more than an odd or older way of speaking like I thought the Japanese had. I got over this real quick though and Brina Palencia gave the right impression for Horo in most of the key moments, so overall was convincing. Lawrence I thought sounded off more than Horo did but also eventually grew on me. So overall I guess I give the dub a passing grade, I surprise myself with that grade.

The best for last… the last item, rather items on my list of acquisitions is Good Smile Company’s World is Mine Hatsune Miku, as well as Orchid Seed’s Seena Kanon. A strange SAL phenominon occured with these two figures. Both were shipped via SAL, both were shipped from Hobby Link Japan. However they were shipped 5 days apart! Yet both arrived at my door on the same exact day. Now to add to the story, I had another figure shipped the same day as one of these figures, but from AmiAmi and SAL Registered post, yet it hasn’t arrived yet. Strange!

When I went to get these figures out of the ‘big’ box in our post boxes one of the keys they gave me didn’t seem to want to work. I tried and tried and it wouldn’t turn, so I went back inside and youtubed how to pick locks. Looking to use my new found lock picking knowledge I set out to try again to get my parcel out of the mailbox. But before I tried my skills at lock picking, I tried the key once more and notice that it did in fact turn, slightly. Just enough for the key to get stuck and not want to come out. Jiggling it around some more I got it to move further and further till eventually it opened. Turns out the box WIM came in was actually too big for the mailbox and the post lady had sorta jammed it in there. For her it was easy because she opened the entire wall of doors, but for me, the lock had been jammed into the box and the box pushing the door out making it quite difficult to turn the key.

So thankfully, my WIM figure was not locked in the mailbox forever, yay!



  1. Tier says:

    Car problems suck. I had to get my alternator replaced on New Year’s Eve, I had to get the rear struts replaced about a month ago, and I had to get a new window motor about four months ago.

    Yay for Seena! I’ve had some packages ship by SAL arrive in three or four days (almost as fast as EMS), and I’ve had some take over two weeks to ship. Curious, that. I also currently have one EMS package that has mysteriously vanished from the face of the planet, as the last update on the USPS’s webpage simply suggests it got loaded onto an airplane ten days ago.

    • Aka says:

      Could be the package is being held up in customs. I found USPS to be pretty low on their details whenever I shipped with them. Once they crossed into Canada it was crazy detailed in comparison, but the trip through the US was terrible, no details at all other than pick up and thrown on a plane.

      Ouch, how’d you get your alternator replaced on New Years Eve? I couldn’t find anywhere open. As far as car troubles, my old car was a lot more trouble than this newer one. Old car I had to replace oil pans, replace the entire motor, replace the alternator among other things. That was a costly car. New one is both better and cheaper, I’m really happy.

      I haven’t opened Seena or WIM Miku yet, I can’t wait to do so though and finally get to see them in person.

      • Tier says:

        Yeah, I’m hoping that’s all it is, since it was an expensive order >.< I guess since it was shipped via EMS it should be insured, but I'd much rather have my figures than the money.

        I dropped off my car at a local garage which was miraculously still open on Dec. 31. It's a good thing that my car got messed up while I was on vacation rather than driving to work. I've done almost no maintenance to my car for eight years besides the usual stuff, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that parts are failing now.

        • Aka says:

          I’ve only owned my current car a year and 8 months or so. But I’ve tried to do whatever preventative maintainence I can hoping all goes well so long as I own the car. But I drive it hard, and I’ve upped the power by 30% or so, so it’s definitely going to have a reduced life span. But as they say, gotta pay to play.

          Still surprised they were open, I’m sure I could have found somewhere, but I was in a rush.

  2. Quazacolt says:

    horo (or rather ami koshimizu) is using an accented different dialect japanese, also the reason that even if you do understand perfect japanese, you may not even fully understand spice and wolf series. as for lawrence (jun fukuyama), hes a damn profilic and talented seiyuu, and the bar is definitely set high for dubbers to put up with that standards. probably why you felt it being more off than horo.

    as for SAL, its called standard air lift in case you didnt know. and it basically “hitch hike” air planes to its destination, so it can really be a hit or miss. for example: your 2x HLJ shipment, thats 5 days apart, chances are the first one, didnt got any plane to hop on, then ur 2nd shipment came, and a plane was made available, and both got onto the same plane.

    • Aka says:

      Yeah, I knew SAL was essentially hitchhiking for packages, it just seems odd that things would ship out of order. One would think that there’d still be an order to the chaos. Regardless I don’t mind so long as they arrive safely.

      That was one of my problems with Horo’s translation though, she used a different dialect in Japanese, but in English all they really did was make her speak like Data from Star Trek the Next Generation, and not use contractions. At least that’s how I felt anyway, I suppose it just sounded more formal than dialect or old English.

      Lawrence on the other hand, I felt his voice just wasn’t quite there, I don’t think I had any issues with his speech.

  3. Miette-chan says:

    I’m still undecided on whether to get Spicy Wolf DVD since I ended with KAA’s DVD rips.

    I think I will take advantage of Miku’s availability and pick her up.

    • Aka says:

      I think you should pick them up for sure. At $35 USD for the entire season it’s pretty darn reasonable, and additionally by purchasing the DVDs you support the industry which isn’t doing so well.

      I always think it’s good to support a series you enjoy.

      Miku looks pretty good, though I’ve read on many blogs that she does suffer from some quality check issues. Paint specks and some mold defects. None of that has stopped me though I think she’s wonderful so far, but mine’s still in her box at the moment.

  4. Rico-sama says:

    That was a quarky reference there, Aka. 😉

    When I first read that you were having car troubles I thought “Oh no, this won’t end well.” Thankfully though the story had a great ending. I laughed hard when the dealer tried to sucker you into a new turbo where a small, cheap part would fix the problem. If it were me I probably would’ve been suckered into it, knowing nothing about cars.

    Now that I think about it, I still haven’t cracked open my copy of Spice and Wolf.

    WiM Miku and Seena? Now I’m totally jealous (though your line about WiM Miku suffering from quality issues has me a little worried). Nice to see GSC finally got here out too! 😀

    • Aka says:

      I blame listening to a friends iPod for that reference. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

      Thankfully it wasn’t an expensive fix, I really didn’t want to have to pay out the ars for a new turbo. And honestly if I had to, I would have looked into upgrading it. And that’s a never ending story in itself…

      Watch Spice and Wolf, and watch it now! (in Japanese)

      As for quality issues, I’ve heard anywhere from text being left off entirely to just minor paint specks here and there that are hard to notice. So there seems to be some variety in WiM Miku’s quality issues.

  5. lovelyduckie says:

    “I have 2 personal rules when collecting figures, they must not be from a series I haven’t seen, and I must be able to feel comfortable displaying them.” [BROKEN]

    LOL, you won me with that. I entered the figure world with those exact two rules, and within months they were crushed as I justified each figure that didn’t fall under those categories. I had a 3rd rule…that I wouldn’t spend over $20 on a figure, then it went to $50, and now…well lets just say I own quite a few 1/4 Scale FREEing figures.

    Sorry I didn’t post on your most recent review, it’s just Queen’s Blade reviews tend to be NSFW and I do most of my blogging from work.

    I still need to see Spice and Wolf 2, but I enjoyed the first series. It started out slow…actually it felt REALLY slow. But somehow the characters wormed their way into my heart. I love the way Horo speaks. For figures I only own the Volks Horo. I used to own the Cospa one, but I made a deal with myself. If I sold the Cospa Horo then I would let myself buy the Volks one that I wanted more. Both had their merits so it was a difficult decision to reach, but I’m happy with the results.

    • Aka says:

      I had to break those rules, sticking to them was so hard and I didn’t want to let good figures pass me by. The first rule was broken with the purchase of Good Smile Company’s Corticarte Apa Lagranges, and the 2nd was probably broken with the purchase of Megahouse’s Aludra, so the 2nd rule lasted much longer than the first.

      I entered the figure world with the purchase of a $102 CAD TAKI Corp Horo. What a waste of money, though now-a-days I’m thinking the Cospa Horo was the bigger waste of money, and she cost me $72 CAD.

      Volks’ Horo is so much better than Cospa’s it’s not funny. I look at Cospa Horo and don’t see Horo, I see some terrible faced cosplayer cosplaying as Horo. But that’s after owning her for a year and a half.

      No prob @ the no comment on Aludra, she’s definitely not work safe, and I’ve added additional not work safeness to that review. It’s best to stay away.

      • lovelyduckie says:

        I bought that Corti too, she was on sale and just looked so cute! I don’t regret it, I still like her a lot. I have a soft spot for pink hair.

        Luckily I was able to sell my Cospa Horo for what I paid. There are so few Horo figures out there that fans seem to scramble for what’s there. My BIGGEST complaint on the Cospa Horo is that the base was a completely different color from the prototype image. I really wasn’t that fond of the color they chose, I think it stood out more than the figure (keep in mind I had her on white shelves).

        I’m still sticking to the 2nd rule fairly close, my figures that can cast off usually only go down to their underwear. BUT I have a Lot of figures of Yoko, and her regular outfit is just like underwear. I think I keep the sexiness of my collection at a low level, but that’s only in the figure world. In the real world people are a bit shocked over all my scantily clad women.

        • Aka says:

          Thus far no one’s been too shocked with anything I’ve bought. Even Aludra they mostly just laugh at and think is absurd but funny.

          Really? the base? that’s the least of my complaints with Cospa’s Horo. Nice you managed to sell her for what you paid though.

          Corti’s adorable, I couldn’t pass her up, I think she was $40 CAD.