Sunday, January 7, 2018

AK Subie SCUBA®™

After driving to town in below-zero temps + conked-out car heater = open window (-30°F wind chill) to try & stop breath condensation from icing up on inside of windows, I’m officially filing a patent for my new AK SUBIE SCUBA®™system… I figure it'll just automatically drop down from the ceiling like when there's a sudden loss in cabin pressure with planes.

Actually there's a funny story that goes along with this particular panel (as is often the case: easy inspiration when one's life is a joke). The heater was intermittently working for quite some time, and this particular problem extended all the way back over the past few winters in fact. But when I took it in to my favorite mechanic for some other routine maintenance, I had them check it out. However they couldn't find anything wrong with it, as that just so happened to be one of the times it decided to work. Then while after picking it back up and driving away, the heat stopped again, and as the temperatures outside were beginning to plummet, it became somewhat of an issue. The blower motor was obviously still operating, and the front panel instruments also worked to increase or decrease the air flow. But the buttons to select which specific vents it came out from didn't have any effect anymore - it just sort of trickled out of everywhere. Enough leaked up onto the windshield to make it defrost where I could safely drive - until now, as it began to produce only cold air, hence necessitating the emergency opening of windows in order to see/prevent frost buildup on the interior.

As it turned out, of all things, the air conditioner unit was the culprit: a sensor was shorting out and making it constantly produce refrigerated air - apparently even simultaneously when the heater was operating. As the outside temperatures dropped over fall into winter, there was a slow buildup of ice behind the dashboard - like a little glacier that began to creep along until the block of solid ice froze out other components. Needless to say I opted to yank the air conditioner instead of spending more large sums of money to fix something I haven't ever used in Alaska. Just one of the many ironies that led in turn to an idea that will make me rich + famous.

As opposed to these cartoons. Seriously though, when one compares technique + evolution of style over the years by contrasting two similarly-themed panels I feel all warm inside. Not inside the car though.


  1. My father still likes to talk about how driving an old Beetle in Anchorage in the '70s he had to keep one hand free to scrape frost from the inside of the windshield.

    1. Having owned a SuperBeetle I can attest to the dexterity it requires to even take one hand off the wheel while driving one of those.