What movie was this?

I remember some movie from the late ’80s or early ’90s that was about a ventriloquist and his dummy. I don’t remember the plot well, but there may have been a conflict between the dummy and the ventriloquist. I recall it being very family safe.

The final scene was the ventriloquist walking off from the performance hall with Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up playing in the background. It may have been a made for TV movie.

What movie was this?

EDIT (1-21-09): The song may have been Together Forever, not Never Gonna Give You Up. Either way, a commenter has the answer: Ron Lucas’s Who’s in Charge Here? from 1983.

A/C Fun, Part 4

(This is continuing from where I left off.)

I got a replacement high side port valve and compressor oil. Here is the valve:

The old one came right out:

Once installed, the new port one looks like the old one, so I won’t bother you with another picture.

After flushing and adding new oil to the vacuum pump, I ran into another hiccup: the pump had a 1/4″ male flare fitting, but my R-134a gauge and hose set appears to have a 5/16″ female flare fitting. Argh! A last minute trip to Home Depot taught me that 5/16″ flare fittings are unusual.

Coming home defeated, I remembered that I had an extra high side service port for a R-134a retrofit. This was left over from my Nova. Luckily, it fit the vacuum pump!
This is a weird arrangement, but it works. I pump through the red hose instead of the yellow hose. The yellow hose was hooked up to a can tap on a R-134a can.

That vacuum pump is awesome. It sucked down to an indicated 31 in/Hg in a hurry:

I doubt that was really 31 in/Hg. I’ll bet the gauge set is actually off a bit.

Here was the whole setup:

I closed off the gauges for the leak down test. In about 15 minutes, the needle crept to around 27 in/Hg. Normally that is a bad sign; if your system is properly sealed, the vacuum won’t budge a bit. However, I didn’t have a high side port cap installed, and I wasn’t totally confident in the low side hose’s attachment to the low side port. Plus, it was getting late, I had a 9:00 AM meeting the next morning, and I needed to make something happen. So I just let that small loss be a passing grade, figuring I could check it later and hoping the leak was because of the auxiliary issues and not an actual system leak.

Factory spec for my car is 30 oz of R-134a. I sucked down two 12 oz cans, bringing me to 24 oz. But what do I do about the remaining 6 ounces?

Professional refrigerant charging equipment uses a large gas cylinder, similar to propane grill cylinders, that’s on a scale. As the car’s A/C sucks in refrigerant, the scale measures the change in weight of the cylinder.

I realized I could do the same at home:
That’s a can of R-134a sitting on a kitchen ounce scale! It worked great.

I checked my pressures over the next few weeks, and they held fine, strongly suggesting the new high side port solved the entire refrigerant leak.

But here’s the problem: the A/C didn’t feel as cool as before, especially when at a stop. The vent temperatures “felt” OK, but the car’s interior just didn’t feel the same. And it wasn’t that humid, system undercharge feeling, either.

Each time I checked the pressures, the ambient temperature was in the mid-80s. The low side pressure was just below 30, and the high side pressure was around 250. Those seem like OK pressures, so what gives?

Consulting with a guy who does a lot of A/C work, he suggested I shoot a few more ounces of refrigerant in the system. I put in the remaining 6 ounces from that half-used can, and the cooling only got a little worse. Checking pressures, the high side stayed around 250 or so, but the low side never got below the low 30s.

Today, I recaptured some of that extra refrigerant with my homemade refrigerant recovery system!

Yup, that’s the empty R-134a can on an ounce scale to the side:
I never disconnected it from the hose set. And it actually would not be empty; it would still have at least 30 or so PSI of R-134a in it because there is no way a full system would suck it down more.

The plan was to gradually open the high side valve on the gauge set until the can had 12 oz or the low side reading got to the mid-20s. I hit both markers at about the same time. Surprisingly, even with a theoretical 6 oz undercharge, the system still did a 250 PSI on the high side!

Here’s the high tech device I use to keep the engine RPMs up during A/C diagnostic operations:

Here’s the gauge reading after removing all 12 ounces:
I don’t get it.

Over the last few weeks, I was complaining to a couple of people about my vent temperatures. Turns out that my thermometer was reading 5-6 degrees too high. The black-needle thermometer is the one I was using, and the red-needle one is one of our kitchen thermometers:
I later verified both thermometers against a verified digital thermometer in the house, and the red one is spot on.

It will be interesting to see how the system runs now with a theoretical 6 oz undercharge.

By the skin of my teeth

This morning, while driving on southbound Garland Road (TX 78) by White Rock Lake, I saw a careening, white Nissan Maxima headed the wrong way, barrelling down at me.

I could tell it was imminently going to swipe the Volvo wagon in front of me and was barrelling right at me from my left. So I jumped a curb and slammed on my brakes.

I ended up halfway on grass and halfway on a hike and bike trail:
(All pictures are from my cell phone and have poor color balance.)

Luckily, no runners were in my path! I took longer than the Volvo to stop because the grass was wet with dew. Thank God for antilock braking!

If you look closely, you’ll see a Toyota Highlander about 100 feet in front of me. It also had to jump the curb. I guess the lady in the Volvo wasn’t paying good attention; she could have avoided the crash if she got off the road, although I may have then run into her?

Here’s where I launched off the curb:
One of my left wheels did that.

I barely missed the careening Maxima.

Once I realized I was OK, I jumped out of my car and checked on the lady in the Volvo. She was dazed and just wanted out of her car. She couldn’t open her driver’s door:

Seeing that no immediate action was needed, I called 911. I had to ask her twice to shut off her engine as I was on the phone; she was too startled to remember to do that.

Fortunately, she was totally unharmed. Her dogs were also startled and unharmed:
The Maxima’s driver appeared to be in more trouble. As soon as I was comfortable that the Volvo lady was OK, I asked a bystander to help her with her dogs so she could get out. I then went to the Maxima.

The Maxima ended up doing a 180:

Plenty of people were attending to the guy by the time I got to him. At first, I thought his head was bleeding, but it turns out the guy’s rasta-style dreadlocks were hanging over his shoulder. He was shaking and in apparent mild shock. Bystanders were reassuring him. Since he looked OK, I didn’t interfere. His passenger compartment was intact:
He was complaining of foot pain. That wasn’t surprising given the impact location:


Anyone need a coil spring?
(It’s right in front of the car.)

I asked the guy in the green cap to wait for the ambulance and flag it down.

Based on the timestamps in the picture, I guess the fire truck didn’t arrive until about 5-6 minutes after the crash, and the ambulance was about 1 minute later. This surprised me since the fire station is just a mile away up the same road. But maybe that’s normal response time?

The paramedics got the guy on his feet, so I guess he was OK?

The only cop to show up was a traffic cop (in Dallas PD, they wear red epaulets), and he arrived roughly 10-12 minutes after the crash. That response time shocked the heck out of me.

The crash appeared to be caused by an unobservant motorist who had to make a last minute lane change to avoid a slow-moving or stopped truck. The unobservant driver swerved into the Maxima’s path. In avoiding the unobservant driver, the Maxima’s driver lost control and careened into oncoming traffic.

Since I didn’t witness this part, the cop didn’t need me to stick around. After making sure the Volvo lady didn’t need more help (the emergency personnel weren’t helping her as she was unhurt), I took off for my meeting, which was about creating a foundation for White Rock Lake Park. Incidentally, my car ended up in this very park!

Do Volvos automatically blink headlights when the airbag goes off? I am not sure that a driver could make headlights blink: