An unintentionally productive afternoon


A fair amount of meandering is about to take place.

Like the Star Trek episode that starts out with the Enterprise being destroyed after slamming into another starship, captained by Frasier incidentally, this should begin to make sense somewhere toward the end.

It was just a 20 minute side project; maybe half an hour, tops. Three hours later you’re reseeding a squid-shaped spot on the lawn that was incinerated after you tightened the truck’s oil plug, dropped the wrench, and accidentally sent a spark into the drip pan that ignited a fire three inches from your nose. Mysteriously, the truck was parked in the driveway, a good 20 yards from the burnt spot. More mysteriously, you hadn’t intended to change the oil at all. You just wanted to play your MP3 player through the auxiliary channel on the stereo.

Things started off fine. You pulled the stereo, installed a new cable, and everything worked great. After reassembling the dashboard, you decided to get the dust wipes and do a little cleaning. Then out came the window cleaner, the vacuum, and before long you were detailing the center column with a Q-tip.

It wasn’t until hours later, at the end of an unintentionally productive afternoon, that you ignited the drip pan. You kicked it out from under the engine compartment, but it caught a basketball unawares and stopped just out of reach where the flames began licking a tire.

You somehow scrambled out from under the truck without leaving too much of your scalp behind, raced around the front, and with the grace and agility of the most accomplished NFL kicker, launched the whole boiling conflagration out into the yard where it exploded on impact like a cartoon appendix.

While your heart pounded out a drum solo, unplayable by any percussionist who has never changed his own oil or been accidentally locked in a closet with a curious bat, you stood at the edge of your driveway and watched the burning mass melt into an enchilada shape and slowly expel the last of its contents onto the turf. You were reminded of a documentary about Hawaiian volcanoes that periodically belch liquefied rock into the frothy blue ocean, thus slowly and impressively adding to the island’s size. Your frothy lump of petrochemicals produced an impressive billowing cloud of noxious blue smoke.

Not being overly shy, your old pal Spook will, from time to time, take a few minutes to review a product or service in the interests of growing the pool of honest and independent consumer opinion. Few things are as annoying as reading obviously counterfeit product reviews that carefully balance between the optimum number of spelling mistakes and subtly phrased company-speak.

I was into the third page of my Kenwood CA-C2AX – Audio Cable review before I heard that little voice say, “Whoa, horse. Pull it back.” Below is the abridged review without (as many) of the oblique meanderings (above).

A hardcore propeller-head or audiophile probably already has the bits and pieces needed to make his own auxiliary cable. However, if he’s that obsessive, then his car audio equipment is probably more up to date. In fact, his stereo and speakers are easily five to 10 years newer than that smoking Festiva or Subaru Justy he’s driving. And by smoking, I mean the blue clouds of carbon monoxide following him around are lowering his IQ bit by bit each day and altering his DNA.

Perhaps you’re not an engineering nerd. If you’re not interested in downloading pin-out diagrams, if you’re doing well just to pull your car stereo out of the dash without starting a fire, if circuit breakers pop in salute when you walk by, then this is a quick and easy little upgrade that will allow your compatible Kenwood boat anchor to play audio from your portable MP3 player.


  • Step 1: Remove stereo from dash.
  • Step 2: Treat electrical burns, replace blown fuses.
  • Step 3: Plug cable into CD changer/Aux receptacle.
  • Step 4: Route the other end under the dash somewhere. Mine’s in the glove box.
  • Step 5: Plug the audio jack into your MP3 player and switch the stereo to AUX.

The first thing you’ll notice is that your MP3 player probably won’t produce the volume that you want even at maximum. The second thing you’ll notice is that all those crappy MP3 files you’ve collected from gawd knows where over the years need to be normalized to a single volume.

Don’t be smug. You know what I’m talking about. Or, you will when you crank the head unit to 35 to rock some old “Apollo 100”, but forget to turn it back down and blow your ears off with the next “Freezepop” song. Even worse is leaving for work in the morning, turning on the radio for some news, taking a sip of coffee, then slinging it out the sun roof, cup and all, as the local weatherman BLASTS YOU INTO THE BACK SEAT. You forgot to turn the volume back down the night before. This is a cycle that repeats and feeds on itself as you grow older, more forgetful, and steadily become stone deaf.

But the cable works fine.

Cause And Effect – Season 5, ep. 18 (Star Trek: TNG)
On Youtube…

One Response to “An unintentionally productive afternoon”

  1. The coffee ejection seat sounds all to familiar!!! But I don’t have a sunroof… just a very stained head linner. Very funny indeed.