What Is All This, Anyway?

This site was started as a way to combat entropy. While I used to rely entirely upon my memory to keep track of automotive maintenance issues, with the passage of time and the increase of our fleet this was fast becoming impractical. I also had been participating in Usenet and e-mail lists for awhile in order to learn what I did not know, and to convey to others in an entertaining manner things that I did know. While I could write things down privately for my own reference (my primary purpose, after all) this would do me no good if, for example, I was at work or on the road and wanted to know what parts to order, etc. I could perhaps rely on mailing list archives, assuming no catastrophic loss (which has happened, more than once, so it's good that I did not do so), but not everything I might want to look up would have been considered worthy of being packaged and sent off for public consumption in a mailing list. There are dry details that are occasionally important too...

This all converged with the availability of some free web hosting (a wedding gift) and this site was born. (Its URL has changed a couple of times for various reasons, but it's still essentially the same site.) I scraped together a few of the more interesting posts from what I could retrieve from the automotive mailing list archives, and invented the nucleus of information for the other vehicles. I grabbed my favorite text editor and some HTML 1.0 documentation and had at it—the results you see here. I occasionally browse one of these files just for fun, and I'll amend it if I think of anything new or wish to reword something. (Spelling and grammar are always under review...)

Easily-searchable, highly-legible, fast and usable on any browser, even a text-only one like Lynx, were my goals. Everything that the World Wide Web was supposed to be before it got all crapped up. (Hence the lack of glossy brochure formatting. I don't want it, don't want to waste my time learning how to do it, don't want to waste my time waiting for my browser to render it, and it adds nothing towards my primary purpose, which is reference. That crap changes every year or three anyway, who needs the grief? I am in this for the long haul.)

Now I can look up anything I might need, no matter where I might be, no matter what equipment I might have available to use so long as it has basic access to the web. Others might also find some of the information interesting, or at least entertaining, so the information is packaged accordingly. (Assuming they can even find it in the sea of online shopping crap and garble [lorem ipsum et al.] that search engines cough up as a result to most queries these days.) The site's scope has gradually increased from just the cars, but the primary purpose has remained the same: reference.

Our Stable

None of our current vehicles were bought new, although a couple were not very used.

The Mercedes

Lesser marques

Dearly departed

Other Items

Opinion, Rants, Etc.

Contact Info

e-mail: jim.cathey.pb@gmail.com or telephone: (509) 926-7801. (I prefer e-mail, where possible.)


The site was mastered entirely by hand with the emacs text editor, on a 233 MHz G3 PowerMac running OS X 10.2.8, the latest OS that would run on it without heroic effort. This was unchanged from the site's inception until the death of the G3's primary hard drive in 2018, which prompted a wholesale move to a Mac Pro. The G3 (also a gift, and obsolete when I got it, just like the G4 that served the site for so long) was extremely reliable, it ran 24×7 and got rebooted maybe a couple of times a year, mostly due to power issues. (It did not spontaneously crash. Its main weakness seemed to be when mounting/dismounting removable media, they could get stuck mounted so I tried not to do too much of that. I kept track of when/why it got rebooted.) The G3 was brought back to life, but I didn't have proper backups for it, nor did the machine really fit my needs any more, so it's not what it once was and is usually powered off. Its site mastering and e-mail duties have been taken over by a Mac Pro, which does have proper backups, as well as significant other duties.