Sunday, March 20, 2005

The radio story

Pseudo live-blogging yesterday's radio installation (with pictures)...

3:42 PM - I arrive at Dad's. I go there because it looks like it might rain and there's no sheltered place to park my truck at my apartment. Well, not legally anyway.

3:44 PM - Dad is out back in the utility shed. He rattles off several instructions, tips, and helpful hints that I need to keep in mind while installing my radio.

3:45 PM - I can't remember any of Dad's instructions, tips, or helpful hints.

3:50 PM - Surrounded by instructions, screwdrivers, and hex wrenches. There's something very comforting about being surrounded by tools.

3:51 PM - Dad walks up and volunteers to help. Whew.

4:01 PM - I wonder to myself what is the worst possible thing that can happen, sort of a worst-case scenario. Could something catch fire? Could I seriously injure myself or anyone else? Could I be electrocuted? Is there anyway my truck won't be running when I get done? Do I smell something burning?

4:27 PM - We have the main dash panel and the old radio removed. It looks like this:

4:28 PM - I think to myself, that wasn't too bad. I should be done by 5:00 or 5:30, at latest. (Edit: Reading back over this on Sunday afternoon, this is really funny. Really, really funny.)

4:29 PM - I randomly remember one time in 9th grade, this nerdy kid brought these vials to school and said they contained the HIV virus, and that we better not open them. We opened them and he told us he was no longer responsible for what happened. We laughed at him. Then later, we secretely wondered if he had been telling the truth. By the way, he's married now. Something is wrong with this picture.

4:31 PM - Dad informs me he has to shower and leave around 5:00. He briefs me on how I should do the wiring.

4:33 PM - I sorta feel like MacGyver, defusing a bomb or something. Of course, he wouldn't need a kit to install a radio, only dental floss, some duct tape, and an old watch battery.

4:45 PM - I have the wiring done. It looks a lot like this, or exactly like this:

4:47 PM - We plug in the radio and test it. It appears to work correctly. For the first time, I notice this statement in the instruction manual: "CAUTION: Before proceeding with the installation, disconnect your vehicle's negative battery cable to prevent any possible electrical system damage." Oops.

4:59 PM - I have a little trouble operating the radio. There's lots of buttons. Dad asks, "Haven't you read the manual?" Well, of course I have... not.

5:07 PM - With me assuring him I can finish up, Dad leaves.

5:08 PM - I think to myself there is no way I'm getting this done tonight and cry aloud, "Why?! Why?! Why?!" That was a recurring theme throughout the afternoon and evening.

5:09 PM - I start to work on the installation kit. It looks a lot like a model car (see picture below). I try and remember if I ever completely and correctly put together a model car. I come to the conclusion that I probably did not, at least not without having some parts left over. Here is the kit:

5:28 PM - It's still pretty early in the going, and I can't find a piece that I need. Piece B1 appears to be missing. Why?! Why?! Why?!?! I figure I must have misplaced it, but it's nowhere to be found. None of the other pieces will fit in its place. For the forty-seventh time this afternoon, I wonder what in the world was I thinking when I decided to do this.

6:05 PM - After looking for B1 without success for over half an hour, I ponder going inside, lying down, and going to sleep for a long, long time. Again I think, there is no way I'm finishing this before morning. But no, I can't give up now. So I make the executive decision to go back to Wal-Mart and see if I can exchange the kit. If not, I figure I'll just buy another.

6:14 PM - After putting up the tools, and with the dash of my truck basically in my lap, I drive to Wal-Mart. Customer service tells me I have to go to the automotive department and get them to OK my exchange. I ask the girl in the automotive department if I can open the new kit to make sure all the pieces are there. They are.

6:30 PM - I have the new kit and I'm on my way. It is now very dark here in Nowhere, USA.

6:31 PM - Note to self: Wal-Mart has hired a high number of attractive female workers. It's no wonder some companies are so successful.

6:35 PM - I sorta feel like Batman. This has nothing to do with the radio thing. I just always sorta feel like Batman.

6:49 PM - Back at "the shop" and now having surpassed the three-hour mark, I think about all the NCAA tournament games I am missing right now.

6:53 PM - The thought crosses my mind that half the population of Kenya could have already run a marathon in less time than it has already taken me to install this radio.

7:01 PM - While still working on the kit, I get a call from my sister. She asks if I want her husband to come over and help me. No thanks, I say. I think I've got it. For the first time in a long time, things are looking up. Seriously. Perhaps my plans for the night won't be shot after all. Oh, that's right, I had no plans for the night.

7:05 PM - The entire time I'm working on the kit, I'm thinking to myself, "This isn't right. This isn't going to fit."

7:24 PM - The kit is finished. At least, I think it is. I discard all the unused parts and pieces. Now it's time to mount this baby in the truck and see if I can reattach the dash panel.

7:35 PM - The radio is installed and appears to be working. I start on the dash panel.

7:50 PM - Success!! The dash panel is back in place, and the radio still appears to be working:

7:51 PM - This must be how Edison felt when he invented the... whatever it was he invented.

7:52 PM - Huh, turns out I didn't need the hex wrench set after all... or a bunch of these parts. Watch for my next instructional feature, "Crossword Puzzles Made Easy." It's OK to have spaces left over.

7:58 PM - I leave and drive home with my new Sony radio/CD player blasting the Spin Doctors. Later I decide to head to Decatur and hang out so that I can listen to my CD player some more. Life is good.

"If you want to call me baby, just go ahead now..."


  1. Well, I enjoyed your brief...or long...detail of how you enstalled your radio. Jeff, I always feel weird after reading your blog, because I always find funny things that I could write off or copy excatly onto my blog, since I don't always have funny things to say. You give me inspiration or maybe just an opportunity to plagerize! Anyway, I always feel like I want to go blog after reading your blog...I just dont want to use exactly what you say....well, i need to go

  2. Thanks.... I think.

    I just write what happens, then go back over it and try to make it a little more interesting.

  3. Thought this was hysterical--so, uh, you--even fits "False Messiah"