Winter Prep Ford Explorer Day 1

Paint Decontamination

I decided to do a full-blown winter prep on my 2005 Ford Explorer with roughly 81,000 miles on the odometer. It’s in decent shape, not a beauty by any means; it has a few flaws, dings, scratches and nicks, even a gouge or two in the plastic trim, but it’s mechanically very sound and has no rust (any more). I spent a couple thousand fixing a slight rust problem in both rear door jambs (common on this model) and repainted the roof due to peeling clear coat (also common on this model – apparently 2005 wasn’t really a good year for the Ford Explorer). I also did  a full undercarriage rust treatment this spring (I actually did it myself).

From 10 feet or more away the car looks very nice. I’m not one of those guys that compensates for a small penis (not that mine is small, mind you) with a macho car; I’m quite happy driving around in a geezer-mobile so long as it looks halfway decent and is reliable. I am also quite comfortable not having car payments to worry about. The Ford Explorer is in my opinion one of the best buys for the money in its class.

Of course it needs to maintained. I’ve had my share of clunkers in my life time that just disintegrated beneath me from lack of basic upkeep. I don’t want that to happen to my current ride (in fact I have committed to keeping it until 2020 at which time I’ll reevaluate), so I do stuff like spring- and winter preps. Basically getting under the car evaluating the state of the union and do what needs to be done (thanks to Powdermilk Biscuits, Heaven, they’re tasty!); decontaminating the paint, taking care of scratches to the best of my ability and doing a general polish if needed, and also applying a fresh coat of some kind of durable sealant.

This is Day One of this years’ Winter Prep. I know the undercarriage is in good shape since I went full Macintosh in May with a full scrubdown/degrease/pressure wash followed by rust converter treatment for some light surface rust spots and sprayed everything (including cavities and internal frame) with Noxudol 300 Under Body Coating and Noxudol 700 Cavity Wax using an air compressor and a spray gun. I may, just for the heck of it, soak everything underneath with Fluid Film for some extra peace of mind once we get closer to snow-and-salt season—it’s a one-hour job.

So I started out with paint decontamination, which basically means cleaning the paint really, really well so that when time comes to apply a sealant, it sticks to bare-naked paint for best adhesion, protection and longevity. This is what the car looked like after the decon. (Sorry, I didn’t take any pictures during the process, will try to do better in the future). It looks pretty much the same as before because it was already clean and you can’t really tell the difference from pictures. But whereas the paint was slick before, there is now some drag to it, because all the waxes, sealants etc. that I in my OCDness have put on it since the last decon are now removed. The paint is completely unprotected at this stage.

I started off by doing the wheels and wheel wells. It’s just a best practices thing for me when I wash my car. Hot water (yeah, I have hot water in an outdoor spigot due to a lucky plumbing accident), Dawn dish soap, brushes and elbow grease.

I then rinsed off the entire car and foamed it up with a foam cannon attached to a pressure washer, again using Dawn dish soap (yeah, I know you normally shouldn’t use dish soap on your car because it can strip the wax, but that’s kind of what I want to achieve here). Rinsed it off and went at it with a traditional two-bucket method, a microfiber noodle mitt and, again, lots of Dawn in the bucket. After rinsing off there was amazingly still decent water beading on the paint.

Now I moved on to tar- and iron decontamination using TRIX from CarPro. This product is supposed to dissolve tar and embedded iron particles in the paint that normal wash doesn’t get. Either my paint didn’t have any tar and iron contaminants, or the product didn’t work very well. I couldn’t see any chemical reaction on the paint from dissolving particles (should be pretty easy to spot on light silver paint). I’m guessing my paint was so well maintained that this step was unnecessary. I just wasted $15 and added an hour to the job removing dirt that wasn’t there (I did see some iron dissolve on the rims, but there are other products that do it better). Well, better safe than sorry.

Next was a good “claying” using Nanoskin Autoscrub sponge fine grade, the next generation of above-surface decontamination technology. Used Chemical Guys Clay Lube (no free link to Chemical Guys since I don’t like them as a company, but they do have some decent products) as lubrication for this process. The Nanoskin sponge replaces the clay bar that would normally be used. It may have picked up some minor particles (I could feel the paint smoothen out slightly as I worked the surface), but not so much that I couldn’t have done without. Again, abundance of caution and whatnot. I’m not at all sure I like the new-school sponge better than the old-school clay. Sure, it’s faster and easier, but you can’t see if you actually lift any dirt off the paint like you can with clay. Whatevs.

Rinse off, towel dry, blow out any standing water from cracks and crevices, mirrors, emblems, wheels and door jambs with Marianne’s Metro Vac Master Blaster and call it a day. Tomorrow starts with taping off trim, inspecting paint to identify any areas that need extra attention, and formulate a plan of attack with regards to compound/polish, pad, and machine combinations.

I can’t believe I started this. Why can’t I be one of those guys who runs his car through an automated car wash twice a month and be happy with it? I also promised I’d do the whole thing for Marianne’s car as well. At no cost to her, I might add. My back hurts. And my head.

All in all I put six hours into it today and I’m pretty confident that nobody could have done it better. Faster? Sure.  Better? Nope. The main ingredients of my efforts of Day 1 are pictured below.

A houswife's and a auto detailer's best friend.

The housewife’s and the auto detailer’s best friend.

muscle-anatomy

While heavily muscled, this guy doesn’t have a dick at all. He probably drives a Hummer.

I Think I’m Going Bald (The Ballad Of Lars Dahl’s Bald Spot)

I’m developing a distinct, but not severe (yet), bald spot aka alopecia areata (AA). I never knew since I’ve shaved my head regularly (2-3 times/week) for the past 10 years or so. While performing that task today I checked the stubble on my noggin closely in the mirror and the truth is in the picture. Undeniable. Truth.

Lars Dahl's Bald Spot

The proof is in the pudding. A picture speaks more than a thousand words. Lars Dahl is going bald.

What hurts most is that my wife kept it a secret for all these years. I was thinking of letting it grow out again some day, but clearly that’s not gonna happen. Better bald than a combover. Oh well. If you have the opportunity please link to this post using the search term “Lars Dahl’s Bald Spot“. Being #1 on Google would be a consolation for me in my hour of distress. Go Rush, they know what I’m talking about!

Bald Man’s Creed (An Homage to the Bald Spot)

This is my bald spot. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My bald spot is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My bald spot without me, is useless. Without my bald spot, I am useless. I must polish my bald spot true. I must polish shinier than my fellow baldie who is trying to out-bald me. I must lose more hair than him. I will…

My bald spot and I know that what counts in life is not the follicles we lose, the futile scratch of our combs, nor the clogged bathtub drains. We know that it is the flakiness of the scalp that counts. Scalps will flake…

My bald spot is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its gloss, its softness, its smoothness, like a baby’s butt. I will keep my bald spot clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…

Before The Celestial Tea Pot, I swear this creed. My bald spot and I are the defenders of my dignity. We are the masters of our domain. We are the defenders of my noggin.

So be it, until the science of medicine discovers an actual cure for male pattern baldness, there is no ally but Rogain!

The Geezer Hits Fifty-Four — Group Thanks To All Well-Wishers

Yesterday I was fifty-three years old. Today I am fifty-four. It is a reasonable guesstimate that I have roughly thirty-or-so years left in me before I kick the bucket and return to a state of non-being.

Generic thanks to all well-wishers whether you mean it or not. Special thanks to my mother who ejected me from her womb that fateful day in 1959 so I could enjoy this wonderful life, and also to my wife Marianne who continues to stick it out with me. She could have done much better.

Fun fact: For the next 10 months I’ll be fifty-four and she’ll be forty-five. That probably is interesting only to those who subscribe to the not-even-pseudo-science of numerology, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

Enjoy the rest of your day. I will.

Reading Fatigue

Adapted from “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” by Pete Seeger with later additions by Joe Hickerson.

Where have all the good books gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the good books gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the good books gone?
Lars read them every one.
When will he ever learn?
When will he eeever learn?

Is it possible that I have read all the good books ever written and I’m left with the garbage?

There is also the remote chance that I’m suffering from EOD (Early Onset Dementia).

I enjoy history, both fiction and non-fiction. Favorite periods are Roman Imperial and the Middle Ages. If non-fiction I don’t like my reading material to be overly scholarly, but don’t dumb it down too much either. Assume I have a brain.

I’m also a big fan of science fiction. Favorite authors include Peter F Hamilton and Stephen Baxter.

I thought I enjoyed philosophy, but it tends to be way over my head (Wittgenstein, Kant, Kierkegaard (besides, most people seem to derive their knowledge of the “heavy” philosophers from secondary and even tertiary commentaries of their works and the opinions of their professors)) or just opinion (no finger pointing for now), or they blather on about stuff I already intuitively know or don’t care about. Still open for suggestions, though.

Introductory Post

Hey, I’m Lars. Who the fuck are you?

I’ve been meaning to get this blog up and running for ages, but between having nothing better to do and only twenty-four hours a day to not do it, I couldn’t find the time. Yet, here it is. I first tried Joomla, but it was just too complicated, so I went with WordPress.

OGNDY.com resides on my wife’s web hosting account (thank you, sweetheart). I guess that makes her legally responsible for everything I write. Please instruct your lawyers to address any complaints to her.

OGNDY is an acronym for Old Geezer Not Dead Yet. That would be me. It’s my mission to tell you the truth about everything, so you can just go ahead and delete all of your bookmarks; OGNDY is all you need.

The next several posts (everything in the category Getting Started) will be old stuff used as filler posts just to get shit going.

I know I do not own and have no right to use the header image. I’ll take it down shortly, as soon as I find a decent replacement.