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Well, I went and spoke with the owner of McDonald Mini’s today to get an idea of what some basic work on Mr. Ed would cost. One of the things I asked about was how much for an oil change. It’s a pretty basic maintenance item. Half hours labor and a filter he says, about 18 pounds if you supply the oil. Okay, I can run up to Halfords and get the oil, it’s 20-50 by the way because the mini engine and gear box share the oil. I need 5 Litres of Oil total, about 5 Quarts for my American friends.

Now, here’s where I almost blew a gasket. 46 pounds for 5 Quarts/Litres of oil. That’s $92 for my American friends, and NO that’s not a mistype. Can you believe that crap? $92 bucks for 5 quarts of oil, and for a Mini at that. I’m not talking 10 quarts of oil for some monster V8 engine, this is a piddly little 1275cc engine.

Who in their right bloody mind decided to tax oil to the point of absolute stupidity? Now instead of keeping my mini in proper condition by changing the oil every three months or so, and keeping the engine in better condition, I MIGHT change the oil once a year. There by causing the engine to run dirtier and polute MORE than if the oil was at a somewhat reasonable price.

I don’t understand why the British public puts up with such crap? I just don’t get it. There is absolutley no reason for these prices other than someone has snowed the public into thinking it’s a normal thing. It’s NOT. It’s a scam! You are being SCREWED! And you’re putting up with it. Oil in the US runs about $4 a quart. That’s 1/5th the cost of oil here in the UK.

  • Update: Parts America has 20W50 oil at $2.59 per 32 oz.
  • 34 oz per Litre, so to be the same, I need 5.3 units or $15.37 worth of oil.
  • 46 pounds at todays exchange rate equals $89.64.
  • So, in the US it’s $15.37 and in the UK the same thing is $89.64, or 5.8 times as much.

I’m shaking my head sadly. The Eco Zealots have the UK public once again snowed and suckered. Oil bad! Oil companies bad! Big business, Bad! Evil, they’re all evil!!!! Live like you’re in the Middle ages again! Save the planet!

Who needs such modern convieniences as clean water, warmth in the winter, basic medicines, not too mention enough food to survive on? Those are all caused by evil modernization! Not to mention everyone HAS to go organic! By god all those pestisides are bad, please ignore the fact that those same pesticides mean we get to actually eat most of the crops grown, that more crop per acre is now usable than at any other time in history. Pesticides and fertilizer are Bad bad bad! Just think how many of those Irish people would have survived if pesticides were used to stop the great potato famine. Just because it’s only been in the last 90 years that you had a better than 50% chance of going to the hospital and getting BETTER. That’s in the era of BAD. Modern medicine is the evils of Big Business.

Bunch of stupid wankers.

Can you tell I’m in a frustrated state again? Does it show?

For those who don’t know. Before deciding to turn our lives upside down and move to Scotland we were living the good life in Pacific Grove California. This just happened to be the closest I had ever been to a small festival held every year in the Black Rock desert called Burningman. I think last year burningman had about 30,000 attendees.

Burning man can be described in many ways. I’ve heard it called, just a bunch of naked bicycle riding hippies in the desert, to the biggest art, freedom, party, get together, experience in the world. My neighbor Chuck just shook his head and looked at me like a was a nutter to even contemplate going to such an event. A week sucking sand in the middle of the desert with 30,000 ex hippies and crazies.

Well, sadly, even after making all my plans to go, we decided to move 1/3 of the way across the world from the Black Rock Desert, and my goals of attending Burning man were crushed.

Then, on the television Sunday night they had a special on a music festival called the Glastonbury Festival.


Instead of an art themed festival, this is a music themed festival. Music! Alright!!! The Glastonbury festival is the closest thing to a bunch of half naked bicycle riding hippies partying in the desert that the UK can get to. It’s a bunch of half naked, crazed, music loving partying hippies in a remote area of southern England. A week long music, party, camp out, good time!

I won’t be able to make this years festival, the timing is just too tight. The festival is the end of the month and only 400 miles to the south of me. So, not this year, but next year, watch out!

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;

Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold:

Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from Mental Fight,

Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem,

In England’s green & pleasant Land.

A friend and co-worker of mine has come over to help solve some problems on our HECToR system, he’s become something of Crays batch scheduler expert. When you’re dealing with 11k+ processors you can get some interesting issues when trying to schedule work on the system.

What’s been interesting is that he’s never been to Scotland before and so I’ve been trying to show him around a bit after work and it’s been really an eye opener to get a new perspective on Edinburgh. We’ve only been here less than 5 months now, but we’ve already become so used to driving past stone walls, castle towers, cathedrals, stone tenement housing, etc, that I don’t even notice them most of the time now. It’s really sad.

Driving John around in my Mini, yes two full sized adults DO fit in it, and hearing him exclaim “Wow did you see that? Hold up a minute I want a picture of that.” over and over as I drive home from work. Well, it makes one stop and see the sights again and realize just how fascinating some of the things a stones throw from home can be.

Some of the sights on my drive home.

I leave work and drive through the Bush Estate

Bush Estate

to the Gowkley Moss roundabout, and then towards Roslin.

Roslin Village, Midlothian

Just before Roslin I cut down and go through Rosslyn Glen

Past both Rosslyn Chapel and Rosslyn Castle.

Rosslyn Chapel

Then up out of the Glen and past the village of Rosewell and through the village of Bonnyrigg. I then head over the river South Esk and past the Dalhousie Castle.

Dalhousie Castle

I then enter Newtongrange and past the Lady Victoria mine which is now the Scottish Mining Museum

and home.


Alright. I’ve been around cars almost my whole life. I truly know at least something about most vehicles. We’ve had a leased new Ford Focus for the last 3 months that Roberta drives. Every once in a while I’ll get gas in it for her and I think to myself, I need to check the oil some time, but in the few seconds while getting out of the car to fill it up I can never find the hood/bonnet release, so I say bag it, next time.

Well, today I had enough and searched and searched trying to find the dang release. I finally gave up and got the manual out. Yep, I had to get the damn manual out to figure out where the hood/bonnet release was. It’s a key hole UNDER the front Ford emblem. Yes you read that right, UNDER the front Ford emblem, and not just under it, but you have to twist the emblem in front of the radiator 180 degrees around the left hand side and then there it is, a fricken key hole. What bloody genius thought that crap up????

Couldn’t be a button, or a lever, or even a stupid switch somewhere inside the vehicle. OH NO, it had to be UNDER the hood emblem. No wonder Ford makes such crappy cars these days with geniuses coming up with things like this. You need the manual to figure out the hood release. Ridiculous.

Oh, and the oil is fine by the way.

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June 2008
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