Archive for August, 2003

Reunited, and it feels so good

My '76 Alfa Romeo Spider returned from it's long exile in storage. Last time I drove it I picked up Deb for our first date. I'm glad to have it home again, even though it means a lot more MIG welding in my future. It still has the best feeling steering wheel I've ever laid my hands on.

Garage Update

I finally bought my first roll-away tool chest this afternoon. I didn't want to spend a ton (no Snap-on or Matco, or whatever Griot's sells) but still wanted a good chest… something with ball bearing slides.

I checked Sears, Home Depot, Lowes, Northern Tool (catalog), and Enco (catalog) before making my decision. Surprisingly, Lowes had the best prices by far. Quality was similar to all but the best Sears had to offer. Price was 30-50% cheaper for similar items. I got the six drawer model, about 30-some inches high, $220.

The hard part was getting the damn thing home. I had hoped to just cram it in the back seat. I quickly realized that wasn't going to work. So I went back inside and bought an Allen wrench set and removed the passenger seat. Still couldn't fit it in. *sigh* (maybe I should have bought the smaller one.)

Fortunately, I brought my collection of tie-downs, ropes, and straps and this is how I got it home. My Italian Sport Utility Vehicle did the job.

This weekend my wife helped me paint the garage floor with Epoxy Shield paint. It's a two part paint system. I first cleaned the floor as well as I could with my power washer. 40 years of cars leaking oil on the floor is hard to reverse, but I got it mostly clean. I let it dry, and later that evening we painted. It went on easily, didn't smell at all, and was absolutely dry to the touch in less than 4 hours. I'm very happy with the result… it reflects a lot more light, and should be much easier to clean. My concrete was rough enough that I think it should stick pretty well. (You can see the chest in the center of this picture.)

Why men don't watch women's sports

This seems so obvious to me, but yet another columnist misses the essential point.

Most of us (men), presumably also most of the men who care about sports, don't perceive other men in a sexual way. Conversely we see almost all women (except Mom, nuns (well, most of them), and old people) as sexual beings.

It has nothing to do with the fact that the best men would beat the best women in most sports (because they would.) It's the fact that when I happen to see a WNBA or LPGA event, I can't help getting an eyefull of ugly. I can't help but notice, it's like being stabbed in the eye. I realize men are ugly too. I'm just not programmed to care.

Stupidity Halflife

Less than a month after I got back from my last trip, and in sweltering heat, I recently caught myself thinking about another motorcycle roadtrip. I think it was my ass, Becoming aware of my daydream, that finally snapped me back into reality. How could I so quickly forget all those grueling highway miles?

I'm still not ready to give up the Daytona for a Triumph Tiger and set course for the Alaskan Highway, but it's far from an impossibility.

Happiness is a cold gas tank

No A/C on a bike. In the heat of summer you learn to appreciate cooling whereever you find it. A nice cold gas tank, either fresh from the garage, or after a fill-up, is a few welcome minutes of crotch comfort.

Perspective

The following article claims that Americans spend $16B annually on matters related to incontinence:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/healthscience/2001562063_incontinence20.html

That's more than the movie industry's global box office gross for 2002:
http://www.worldwideboxoffice.com/yearly.cgi

Scheduled Maintainence

I finally got around to working on the Triumph this weekend. First up was adjusting the chain slack. I really should have addressed this sooner. It's so easy on this bike. Next on the list was adjusting the steering head pre-load. You need a fancy wrench to unscrew the top cap… but I found that the wrench that came with my angle grinder fits perfect. I was doing this to cure the slight clunk I was hearing when applying the brakes (mostly noticable at a near stop.) After doing the adjustment I finally discovered the source of the clunk. It was from the floating brake rotors.

Floating brake rotors use a center hub, with a seperate rotor that is connected to the center hub using metal buttons. Not being directly connected helps prevent warping, gives a better brake feel… and it's cool. Since the rotor is loosely connected to the center hub it moves a bit as the brakes are initially applied… this is the source of the clunk.

Mystery solved, I decided to flush the brake fluid. Again an easy job I should have done sooner. The brake lever was noticably firmer… I doubt the system has been flushed since new. Triumph's have some of the best brakes around… mine were already good, I'm anxious to see how much better they can be.

Courting Doom

I've been using some backup software (backup2l) for the last few months on this server. I finally got around to actually copying those backups off site. It was amazingly painless using rsync to do the job. About 45 minutes to backup a Gig over my cable modem.

Triple plus Whammy

On Friday the fan relay on the Milano stopped working while in heavy traffic. Shortly thereafter she puked her coolant all over the street… the lower radiator hose connection slipped enough to releave the pressure. We happened to on the block where our friends live, so we stopped in front of their house. Shortly thereafter they returned home and we went to dinner, while the Milano cooled. After dinner I reconnected the hose, refilled the coolant, and quickly headed for home. Of course, three blocks from home a car was on fire blocking the road, forcing a 3 mile detour… each stoplight allowing the engine to get a bit hotter. I kept the heater on full blast, and that helped get it home without further overheating.

Yesterday, the replacement relay failed too. I managed to get home from work avoiding traffic and another overheat. Later, I was cleaning up after dinner and found that the sink wasn't draining properly. (whammy 2) I went down stairs to find a plunger, only to find that my garage lights are no longer working. (whammy 3) I also heard a dripping noise.

I managed to find my shop lights in the dark and plugged them in to find it raining from the garage door header. The sink was somehow leaking into the wall above the garage. Fuck! I hate plumbing.

After 5 trips to Home Depot I'm close to fixing the sink. I bought a Sawzall and carved out the plaster underneath the sink. I found that the galvanized vent pipe had corroded away, which combined with the cloged drain caused the garage flood. I still haven't figured out why the garage lights have failed. I'm now waitng for Drano to do it's thing before I start reconnecting pipes. Oh yeah, now the hot water supply pipe to the sink is leaking. MF!

Physics and Food

This Periodic Table of Condiment Expiration is a handy resource. I'm a sucker for interesting condiments, and as a result the 'fridge is half full of barely used bottles of unknown vintage. Short of an unexpected phase change, foul smell, and/or green fuzziness I'm never sure when I should throw them away.

Return top