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Thursday August 28th 2008

I made some "rating pears". I'll try to apply them to reviews and such from now on.

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Wednesday August 27th 2008

Dealing with the public
Some companies just don't know how to properly deal with the public (their customers).

I recently had the motherboard in my computer die. I sent it in to Abit for a warranty replacement, and they FINALLY after weeks get back to me and tell me they don't have a direct replacement board, so I have to choose from 4 older and crappier boards. I chose the best of the bunch. It's still a couple generations older than my original board, but at least it's loaded with features (dual NIC, RAID 0,1 and 5, 7, ESATA etc). I mentioned to them that I would need the latest BIOS version on it, since the older BIOSes don't support the E8400 CPU that I have. They sent a BIOS chip in a bag along with the board.. Fair 'nuff, I can swap the chips.

I put everything in, and guess what? No boot! After swapping memory and CPU, it turns out that both BIOS chips they sent me contained an old version of the BIOS... both being the same version, even!

ARGH! Well, since I borrowed a CPU from work that's compatible with the board I could at least boot it up and flash the new BIOS. It now works with my CPU. I still need to reinstall Windoze, of course, since the chipset on the new m/b is different from my old one.

Then there's the case of the parts that never arrived. I ordered some parts for one of my cars 9 days ago, and to this day I haven't heard anything back from the Chrysler dealer that sold 'em to me. Their site says "on order", with no more information as to an ETA. I wrote one e-mail directly to the parts guy, and then a couple days later wrote a message using their messaging system saying I need an ETA by noon today or they can forget about it. Needless to say, I still haven't heard a word back from them (it's now 5p.m.-ish), and I told them to shove it and ordered it from another dealer. Hopefully this dealer will at least reply to my questions if I have any. I was really hoping to have this car running within 14 days, but at this rate it'll be more like 14 months!

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Friday August 22nd 2008

The Chai Story
Being an animal lover and dog owner, this story really got to me.

The Chai Story

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Thursday August 14th 2008

Red's battery is running low again..
Yep. The alternator in Red's vehicle went out again. I replaced it in March, and I just replaced it again last night. Still under warranty, though. Took less time this time.. about 15 minutes, I think. Next time I should have it done in 10.

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Thursday August 7th 2008

Brett Favre
Who? Or should I say, who cares?

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Monday August 4th 2008

Taking on water!
Last week I changed the wear rings on the jet skis. I also rebuilt the carbs on the XP, and Saturday morning I rebuilt the carbs on the SPX. Later that day I took the skis to the lake for a shake down run (basically make sure everything is okay).

I took the XP out first. Started up great, idled a bit high. So I adjusted the idle down a little and fired it up again. Idled perfect. Took it for a spin arond the lake, everything a-ok.

Took the XP out and dropped the SPX in. Started it up and idled out to let the engine warm up a bit. After a little bit I tried to give it some throttle so I could it it up on plane. It wouldn't really go, was sputtering. I figured it was still cold, so gave it a few more seconds.. Same deal. Hmmmm. I turn around to head back to the dock, and I stop to see how it idles. At that point the overheat alarm comes on. Ugh. At about that time I also notice that the ski seems a bit tippy and is siting a little low in the water. I pop the seat off, and sure enough, there's several inches of water in it. Double ugh!

Now I'm left with a choice.. Turn the engine off and wait around for a boat (one was at the launch site just getting in) and possibly sink in the mean time (flooding everything). Or, baby it back to the dock and possibly overheat the engine. I decide to go with plan B. The closer I get to the dock, the hotter the engine gets and the worse it runs. When I'm about 30 feet from the dock all it can do is sputter up to 1500 rpm. I kill it and swim it in the rest of the way.

Once I get some of the water out by tipping it on its side it floats high enough to where I can get the trailer under it. I pull it out and drain the rest of the water, only to find the main cooling hose had popped off the inlet in the back. I'd had the pump off to change the wear ring, so I thought maybe I didn't tighten the hose clamp good enough. That's when I notice the two bailer hoses also dangling.. I FORGOT TO CONNECT THE COOLING AND BAILER HOSES! I felt really stupid. Once the water was out I reconnected the hoses and fired the engine. Still ran. I put the ski back in the water and fired it up on the trailer. Still ran decent, had power.

So I dropped it into the water and parked the car. Got on the ski and went for a spin. Runs just fine. Phew! I was really bumming about possibly hurting the engine since it's the one I overhauled when I bought the skis. The engine in the other ski at least needs a rebuild, so it wouldn't have been so bad if it was that one.

So that's my dumb mistake for August.. hopefully I won't make any others!

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Monday July 28th 2008

Hellboy (2004)
I'm sure you've probably seen this movie long time ago. I never thought it sounded at all interesting, so I never bothered seeing it. Well, with the sequel coming out, I figured I'd brush up on my Hellboy knowledge by watching the first one. I chose the directors cut edition.

What can I say, other than it pretty much met my expectations. Not very interesting. I ended up falling asleep during the final fight scene and woke up to the last minute or so of the movie.

We'll see if #2 is any better..

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Monday July 28th 2008

No slip - On the cheap!
I installed Hydro-Turf traction mats on the SPX a few weeks ago. Last time Red and I went out skiing, she stubbed her toe. She wants traction too.

I got the Hydro-Turf cheap, and I wasn't about to pay $75+ for mats for the XP. So I bought a Gator-Grip bathtub mat for cheap, then made custom mats out of that.

First I removed the old mats. A chisel and mallet made short work of the rivets.

Then I knocked the remains of the rivets down with a hammer and punch. Once that was done, I filled the holes with epoxy.

Then I sanded down some of the rough surface that was under the mats. This is Sea-Doo's version of "traction surface", it works to some extent.

I laid the old mats on the bathtub mat and traced the outlines with a sharp knife.

And here's the end result (including custom rear mats).

All for $25. The small pieces of Gator-Grip left over were stuck on the trailer in various spots to keep me from slipping off when launching/retrieving the skis.

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Thursday July 24th 2008

Graduation (2007)
About 4 highschoolers about to graduate when they decide to rob a bank to raise money for one of the teens' cancer ridden mother.

This movie was pretty much quietly released on the market. I can't remember ever seeing any previews for it. Too bad, really, 'cause it's a rather good movie.

It certaily doesn't hurt that it has a smokin' redhead (Shannon Lucio) in it!

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Thursday July 17th 2008 (Entry was updated on Thursday July 17th 2008)

Electric skies!
Lightning last night...

15 second exposure. I took several but this was the only one that really turned out.

Keep in mind that it was pretty much pitch black out, and the lightning was about the only source of light.

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Thursday July 17th 2008

Be Kind Rewind (2008)
I'm sorry, but I just couldn't get into this movie. Slightly amusing from time to time, but overall not interesting.

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Wednesday July 16th 2008

Dumb people... on TV!
So I watched a few episodes of a Discovery Channel UK show called "Mean Machines". They did a few episodes of a Transatlantic Challenge, where they pitted an American made product against a European made product. Sounds cool enough..

But OMG! This is the dumbest show hosted by the dumbest people I've ever heard/seen on TV. I'm surprised Discovery Channel even aired the episodes. I would be ashamed. I would also fire the people behind the show.

Here are some examples of how dumb these people are/this show is:

In the episode where they test excavators, they test a Case against a Terex. The Terex has a slightly shorter and narrower track, giving it a theoretical advantage in maneuverability. Well, one of tests is a "race" around a course. The Terex finished 2 seconds faster than the Case. Bear in mind, there are two different operators for the two machines. Obviously operator skill and choice of methods play a significant factor. But no, the dumb people behind the show draws the conclusion that the Terex is more maneuverable because of the shorter/narrower track.. Based on a 2 second difference!!

Forklifts. They test two electric forklifts, both electrical. These forklifts feature regenerative breaking, where breaking is done by the electric motors. This allows the motors to actually recharge the batteries a littel bit every time the brakes are applied. Somehow the dumbasses behind the show thought that meant that whenever the forklifts were backing up, the batteries were being charged. OMG! OMG! How dumb can these people be???

ATV's/4-wheelers/Quads. They pitted a gasoline powered Can-Am quad against a British diesel powered quad. One of the tests was towing a 150kg trailer up a rain soaked grassy slope. Whoever got it the furthest up the hill was apparently the "most powerful" of the two. Can-Am decides to get a running start and use momentum to get up the hill. Diesel people decide to use the "low end grunt" of the diesel and go slowly up the hill. The diesel unit only gets about 10' up the hill, and from this they draw the conclusion that the Can-Am unit is more powerful. Stupid idiots. If the diesel unit had used a running start it too would have gotten further up the hill! This was more a test of traction than power, but without using the same approach for both quads, the test is totally worthless.

Same quad episode. They test suspension/brakes by attaching a bowl of water to the back luggage racks of the quads and having them drive over bumpy terrain. Whoever spills the least is the better quad. Again, the operators are by far the biggest factor here! Once the test is over, the narrator says they've tested "suspension and brakes". Brakes??? How does going 1mph over bumpy terrain test brakes?!?!!?

These people conclude the dumbest things out of thin air based on different results of stupid tests, performed by different people with totally different approaches to the task.

I would be ashamed.

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Monday July 14th 2008

Been on vacation...
I've been on vacation the last week or so... but now I'm back.

Saw some movies.. here are the ones I can remember:

College Road Trip (2008) - Not what I expected. :o(
You move, you die (2007) - Pretty cool Kiwi movie! Hope there's a sequel.
Charlie Bartlett (2007) - Also pretty funny!
Cashback (2006) - Good movie!

Spent quite a bit of time on the lake(s) riding the jet ski(s). I put some Hydro-Turf on my SPX. Wow, does it ever make a difference! It's like having your feet glued to the ski. No more slipping and falling on landings!

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Monday June 30th 2008

Get your Blaccuweather forecast:

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Monday June 30th 2008

Weirdsville (2007)
A Canadian movie, eh! Not only Canadian, but truly funny, eh!

Stoners, drug dealers, devil worshippers and midgets.. this movie has 'em all, eh!

Definitely good for several laughs, and something I would gladly recommend you watch. Eh!

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Monday June 30th 2008

The (not) Happening (2008)
Red and I went to see "The Happening" last weekend. What a waste of time.

As is typical with M. Night Shyamalan movies, you go in expecting it to scare the bejesus out of you. And as is typical, you sit there the entire movie waiting for the scary stuff. And as is typical, it never shows up.

I don't know why I even bother seeing any more M. Night Shyamalan movies.

Red laughed throughout the movie. Not because it was intentionally funny, but because it was so badly/oddly acted.

Don't waste your time on this crap.

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Monday June 30th 2008

Grandaddy - Jed's other poem

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Thursday June 26th 2008

Red and I took the kiddies to the zoo on Monday.. Here are some pics and video of it.

Teh Pear, Red and teh kiddies.

Male peacock.

Snow leopard.

Bumble bee!

Female peacock.






Don't remember..

Prairie dog.

The video...

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Wednesday June 18th 2008 (Entry was updated on Thursday June 19th 2008)

DIY (Sand) Blasting cabinet
I started making a sandblasting cabinet a long time ago. Then the project was put on hold. A few weeks ago I finished it up. I started with a 55 gallon steel drum, and this is the result:

Front view. The gloves are some long rubber gloves I got dirt cheap at a discount tool store that was closing. They're not big enough or long enough to be used by themselves, so I cut the legs off an old pair of sweat pants I had. I attached the legs to the flange on the cabinet, then the gloves are pushed through the opening. It works for now until I can find a dirt cheap set of proper gloves. Proper gloves cost around $20, and that would just about double my budget for the cabinet!

Left side. Exhaust outlet (swivels) for hooking up shop-vac or dedicated dust remover (once I build one). Also an electrical switch and two outlets. The switch turns on the light inside the cabinet and also turns on anything plugged into the outlets (shop vac for the most part).

Right side. The door. Has a small lawn mower air filter mounted in it to allow air to be sucked in. Also keeps media from coming out. Latch on top, hinges on bottom. Made out of 3/4" plywood.

A close-up of the view port. Made of plywood. The frame holding the glass in is angle steel. Attaches with two knobs.

Inside. Gloves, rack, light and exhaust pipe.

Better shot of exhaust and light. Exhaust is a piece of PVC pipe with holes drilled in it.

Door is open.

Looking through the view port.

The pressure pot that supplies the blasting media. I use Black Diamond media. The pot has been modified a little bit too. I run it at low pressure (about 5 psi), then feed the output to a siphon type gun. This because the deadman valve is just too bulky and heavy to use in the cabinet. I'll use that for bigger projects outside of the cabinet.

Finally some shots of a piece I blasted. The clean one used to look pretty much like the black one. Full of rust and flaking paint.

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Tuesday June 17th 2008

Hum hum
Snapped some pics and video of a couple humming birds last night..


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