Sunday, February 10, 2008

How to save no money at all by blowing yourself up!

The internet is 90% porn, sure. It's also 9% videos of people with dicks in a box and dancing on treadmills. And .9% people blathering on and on in their blogs. (Ahem.) But here's the cool thing. The internet is also .1% information on how to do anything and everything. Seriously, it's like the cheat codes to the real world. Want to know how to fix your brakes? No problem. Want to know how to hack your phone to work with another phone company? Easy peasy. Want to know how to make a rail gun out of two magnets and a few ball bearings? Go here.

So, when my laptop battery died and wouldn't hold a charge, I was excited to find this video, which explains how to open up the battery and simply replace the lithium-ion batteries inside for much less than the overpriced laptop battery. In the video, the narrator replaced a $100 battery for only $37. Woo-hoo! Especially since Dell wanted over $150 for my laptop battery. Ha! I'll show the bastards!

I'm not an idiot, though. I ordered a new, normal battery first, just in case things went wrong, and managed to get it for about $90 from a discount site. Dell really is a bastard selling those things for $150, especially as they only last for a couple of years.

First thing was to carefully take the battery apart. You're not meant to, and they don't make it easy, but voila!

That's nine lithium-ion batteries inside. Now to figure out what voltage and amps they are. Aaaannndddd... the markings on the batteries themselves are absolutely no help to me at all, it turns out. But it's actually kind of cool, because over the next few hours, I get to reacquaint myself with all the science and math of electricity I had once known.

Like, for instance, if you connect batteries in parallel, they keep the same voltage as each battery, but you add their amps together.

And, I also learned some new stuff. Like, lithium-ion batteries explode if you hook them up wrong.

And when I finally calculated what voltage and amps the individual batteries were and priced them, they were about $9 a pop. Times 9 batteries, and that $81 plus shipping. Versus the $90 I spent on a perfectly good, pre-assembled, non-exploding battery.

So, I was forced to do a little risk/reward calculus. How much money would I have to save in order to risk blowing myself up? After some deliberation, I decided the answer was $35.

So if those batteries drop to $6 each, well, this might just be one hell of an exciting blog.


Annals of Animal Antagonism 3!!!


Molly and I were driving home from a movie Thursday night...

"Pull over," I said.


"Because I've never petted a pig before."

She hadn't, as yet, seen the pig being walked on the side of the road, and I have to admit that without that vital piece of information, it must have seemed like one hell of a non-sequitor.

Once we pulled over, I got out to say hi to the woman walking her pig. Molly elected to stay inside the car and play with her new iPhone, choosing cold technology over the experience of bonding with a living creature. She always was wiser than I.

This is Bacon. Bacon is very cute, in a very, very ugly sort of way. I introduced myself to his owner and asked if Bacon was friendly. "Yes, absolutely," she lied.

Drawing on my all my dog experience, I offered the back of my hand to the pig to smell. Bacon waddled over like Marlon Brando after Thanksgiving dinner, and pressed his adorable little snout flat up against my hand, snuffling gently.

"Aawww," I thought, "What a sweet little OW!! MOTHER FUCKER BIT ME!"

Seriously, Bacon chomped the ever loving bejeezus out of my hand. Thank Bob for dull, grinding herbivore teeth or I'd be two-fingered hunt-and-peck typing right now, and not even the right two fingers.

"Oh, gosh," said Cujo's owner, "He's never done that before." Uh huh, I thought to myself, nursing my throbbing hand, sure. Bitch probably gets a kick out of sicking her vicious pig on unsuspecting saps.

But, hey, maybe I was being unfair. I had approached Bacon with the same caution and body language I would with an unknown dog, true, but he rather obviously wasn't a dog. Maybe in pig-speak, a lowered hand is how you say, "I am covered in slop and shit. Dig in!" And I didn't want to just give up - I'm no pansy. If you fall off the killer pig, you've gotta right back on, know what I'm sayin'?

"How should I say hi?" I asked.

"I don't know. Just scratch him on the head, that's what I do," she shrugged.

Moving back in warily, I reached down and start scritching Bacon on his bony, wirey head. All the while, Bacon's just staredat me, unmoving, unblinking, with those little porcine eyes of his.

"Give him a break," I said to myself, "He can't help it if his eyes are porcine. He is a pig after JESUS CHRIST HE'S CHARGING ME! GET BACK! GET BACK OR I WILL FIELD KICK YOU LIKE THE FOOTBALL YOU DESERVE TO BE!"

(By the way, Molly missed almost all of this while inside the car, looking up only at this last moment to see me in some sort of martial arts pose ready to take on Bacon in a mano-a-porkchop bloodsport.)

Gathering up my dignity (hahaha), I said goodbye, got in the car, and drove away. That night, I gave up my two-year long self-denial of pork and had myself one hell of a bacon cheeseburger. What's that, Bucky? You have something to say?

Darn tootin'.