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Tuesday March 17th 2009


Spring!
Yes, it's getting to be that time of year. Yay!



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Monday March 2nd 2009 (Entry was updated on Wednesday March 4th 2009)


Paul Harvey, dead?
That's what I was beginning to wonder when I saw all the blog hits coming from Google Images Search where the keywords were "Paul Harvey".

So I Google'd "Paul Harvey", and sure enough, he's dead!

Now if only his kid would shut the heck up too. Paul Harvey's dead, please let his horrible radio show die with him!


Here's a Google Trends chart showing the popularity of searches for Paul Harvey. I expect a big peak once the stats update for this week. There will be a new data point, F.



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Tuesday February 24th 2009


Splat!
So my friend M was bugging me for weeks about going paintballing with him. I'd never even shot a paintball marker in my life, but his constant nagging finally wore me down.

So, I invested in a marker. I opted for the Tippmann A5. Tippmann because they're rugged and can take a beating. A5 because it has a cyclone feeder, which should lead to less chopping (the paintball bursting open inside the gun). I also opted for the double trigger, low profile hopper and J&J 14" ceramic barrel.

A couple weeks later I decided to get another marker. I figured I'd get Red one in case she wanted to play too. And when she's not using it, I can use it as a loaner (or use it myself). This time I got a Tippmann (yep, rugged) Alpha Black Tactical editiion. This is a less complex marker based on the Tippmann 98 Custom, a design that's about 10 years old. Tried and true, you could say. This marker is made to look more like an actual rifle. The reason? It's "sponsored" by the U.S. Army. I guess they figure it'll help with recruitment. One interesting thing, though, is that Tippmann markers are made in the USA (and I actually drove by the Fort Wayne, Indiana Tippmann factory this weekend). That is, all Tippmann marker except the U.S. Army sponsored Alpha Black. This one in made in China. A bit ironic. I guess they wanted to keep the price down so they'd "spread the word" more.

Anyway, here's a composite picture of the two markers. I pieced this together using different pics off the internet... my camera is still broken! Looking for a good deal on a Canon SX10 IS!



Tippmann is also coming out with their first paintball pistol soon.. I might pick up one of those too!

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Wednesday February 11th 2009


Craigslist idiots!

What's wrong with some people? Here's a fairly common ad found on Craigslist:

Some random item for sale
I have a random item for sale. $50.


How long does it take to type in some additional info? Probably a lot less than having to type it 40 times when replying to people asking simple questions like model? age? condition? And no, I don't think these people are smart enough to forward/copy&paste when replying to the same questions over and over again.



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Monday February 9th 2009


Movies

Passchendaele (2008)
Surrounds the Canadian involvement in WWI. The first half of the movie was confusing as heck, as there were several storylines going at the same time, and you had no idea if they were oast, oresent or future. Finally after a while you figure it out, though, and confusion gets replaced with complaining. Like how people go flying through the air and rolling across the ground when being shot with your average German rifle. Overlook all that, though, and it's not too bad of a movie. Red thought it was dumb.



Miracle at St. Anna (2008)
Buffalo Soldiers. The first black soldiers used by the the US Army in WWII. Directed by Spike Lee. Long movie, with some annoying moments, but overall pretty good. 1/2 the movie is in Italian and German, so be prepared to read subtitles.



Gran Torino (2008)
Clint Eastwood is a grumpy old racist that's about the last "white man" in the neighborhood. The kid next door tries to steal his 1972 Gran Torino as a gang initiation. He fails. Later the two become friends. Blah blah blah. Pretty good movie. Red liked!



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Tuesday February 3rd 2009


Al Kaline
I came across a wanted ad on Craigslist that was looking for Al Kaline baseball cards. I'd never heard of the guy (no big surprise since I don't really pay much attention to baseball, let alone players that played 80 years ago), but the name sounded funny to me... like alkaline, you know, batteries.. So I was inspired to create this little sketch:



Al Kaline Wikipedia entry.

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Monday January 26th 2009 (Entry was updated on Monday January 26th 2009)





Saw this on another site and found it hilarious.. Those of you who know will know what it is.. Those of you who don't won't.

Actually, I'm gonna add this:



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Monday January 19th 2009


Wonky Camera
I took some time to disassemble my camera (Canon S2 IS) last night.. no pictures of the process, obviously.

Turns out it wasn't as easy a fix as I had hoped. Instead of the zoom lens mechanism having some foreign objects in it that would cause it to bind up, the motor that drives the mechanism is the problem. I'm guessing condensation over time caused corrosion to form inside it, and now it really doesn't want to spin anymore.

If I can't find a spare part somewhere for a reasonable price, I'll have to invest in a new camera. While Canon has a new point and shoot camera with 20x optical zoom (which would be sweet), I'm a bit wary about buying Canon again. The E18 problem (stuck zoom lens) is a common one on almost all optical zoom point and shoot cameras from Canon. In addition to that, the S2 and S3 (at least) had issues with memory cards where it would say "memory card error" when there really wasn't a problem (my camera also has this issue).

The thing I really like about the Canon cameras is the flip out screen. Not many other cameras have this feature.

We'll see..

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Friday January 16th 2009


BRRRRRRRR!

I bit cold this morning.. -15F (that's -26C).

I would have taken a pic of the thermometer, but my camera's kinda wonky at the moment. Haven't taken the time to fix it yet.

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Thursday January 15th 2009


Tired of getting those pre-approved credit card offers in the mail?
Give www.optoutprescreen.com a try.

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Wednesday January 14th 2009 (Entry was updated on Wednesday January 14th 2009)


Bluehost and their maildirsize issue
Back in October I wrote about this issue. I've since solved it myself without "greatly increasing" the quotas like Bluehost suggested. Here's the fix:

find /home/username/mail/yourdomain/ -name maildirsize -exec rm {} \;

Where username is your Bluehost account username (typically 8 characters, I believe) and yourdomain is your domain name (i.e. yourdomain.com). Set this up as a cron job (under advanced towards te bottom of your Bluehost cpanel) to run every night, and your erroneous mailbox quota problems should be over.

I set this up shortly after writing my first entry about this subject, and have not had a single quota issue since.

Tags: Bluehost, maildirsize, mailbox, quota, cron, solution, solved, fix, problem

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Tuesday January 13th 2009


Can I still drive my Blazer with a broken sun shell?
Google pointed a blog reader my way when asked that question.

The short anwer is yes, you can drive it, but I wouldn't recommend driving more than absolutely necessary. Especially since you'll end up with only 1st and 3rd gears.

There's a chance that some of the debris from the sun shell splines (in the case of stripped splines) or pieces of metal from the splined collar rubbing against the rest of the shell (a more common failure, I think) getting stuck elsewhere in the tranny. This could either leave you stranded or cause more damage inside the tranny. I guess if you have roadside assistance and you're not planning on rebuilding the tranny but rather replacing it, then by all means, go ahead and drive it.

Just remember that you can't back up!

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Monday January 12th 2009


Happy new year!

Better late than never, right?

Seen a few movies lately, here's a brief recap of the ones I can remember:

Defiance (2009): WWII, Russia, Jews, Nazis. I liked!
Wall-E (2008): Very cute movie. Pay attention to the small stuff.
Lakeview Terrace (2008): Racist cop neighbor, black chick with white guy.
Max Payne (2008): Action. Guns, epxlosions etc.
Zack and Miri make a porno (2008): Room mates with no money make a porno to raise funds for rent.

I think I forgot a few.. will add as they come to mind.

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Wednesday December 24th 2008


Wow, I've been quiet lately.

I'll break the silence by saying Merry Christmas!



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Monday December 8th 2008


Road trip
Last week I called on an ad for a Dodge Intrepid. The guy said the car was very clean, not a spot of rust on it. Interior and exterior in very good shape. He was asking $500 for the car. It had a blown up 2.7l engine, of course.

So I arrange to use M's truck (which needed a wheel bearing, sway bar link and valve stem in a tire before it could be driven). We fixed that early Saturday morning. Then I went and rented a U-Haul car dolly and was on my way. The car was 150 miles away. Normally no biggie, but as it turns out Saturday was the worst day of winter yet this year, and roads were pretty slick, as evidenced by the many cars in the ditch/median. One older couple in a Toyota of sorts spun out and went backwards into the outside guard rail, then slid along it for about 100' before coming to a stop facing the wrong way.

I got there without incident, though. Once there, we walk out back to look at the car. First, there was a foot of snow on and around the car. He could at least have removed some snow since he knew I was coming. The exterior of the car is very clean, with only the occasional bumper scratch.

The interior, however, was a different story. The passenger side front window had jumped off track, and so there was a 1" gap up top. The car had been sitting a year (or 8 months, depending on which of his estimates to believe) with the window down. Of course, there's been plenty of rain since then, so water had gotten into the car. The interior door panel on that side was pretty much ruined.

The entire interior was filthy dirty with dust, probably from the window being open. The seal on the drivers side rear door was torn off for some reason. Radio was missing. Handle over passenger was broken. There was probably more, but that's all that I can recall.

Under the hood there was quite a bit of rust, some from him taking out the engine and letting all the hoses and pipes sit open to air.

Basically I told him the car wasn't what I was expecting, so I got in the truck and drove 150 miles back home.

All in all it cost me about $90 to go look at a car that was not at all what the guy was claiming it to be. I told the guy on the phone that if the car was what he was describing it to be, that we had a deal. He ensured me that it was indeed as clean as he was claiming. Bull. Either that, or his definition of a clean car differs vastly from mine.

The search continues. Although this experience has taught me that I need to be looking for an ES model. I thought I could be okay with a base model, but after seeing this car inside/out, I realized that the ES models are that much nicer.

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Monday December 8th 2008 (Entry was updated on Monday December 8th 2008)


Rusty bolts
So I changed the rear differential cover on Red's truck this weekend. It's been leaking due to rust.

The rust also made the bolts holding it on crusty, and a couple of them just wouldn't come out without rounding off (using 6-point sockets on an impact wrench and Metrinch flank drive type wrenches).

Then I remembered that I bought some bolt/nut extractors from Sears a long time ago on sale. I didn't have an immediate need for them, but who doesn't need to remove a rounded nut or bolt at some point, right?

Well, I grabbed the one that fits 1/2" bolts and stuck it on the bolt. I slipped the socket over it and turned the ratched. I couldn't believe how well the extractor worked! Instantly it grabbed the bolt and it started turning. I was amazed.

Concidentally, the extractor set I have is currently on sale for $9.99 (as opposed to $19.99 regular price). Even if this set only helps you remove one bolt in a lifetime, it's worth the $9.99. Since I used it on two bolts, I feel I got a good deal. Click picture to go to the Sears site.

There's a 10-piece set too, but it's $29.99 and I've never seen it on sale. At when both sets are at full price it's a better deal, but the sale price on the 5-piece set makes it sweeter. The 5-piece set comes in a plastic case that has room for 4 or 5 more extractors (bigger sizes).



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Wednesday December 3rd 2008


Sniffle, sniffle...

Video of a dog helping his (dead) buddy out of the road. Sad.





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Tuesday December 2nd 2008 (Entry was updated on Wednesday December 3rd 2008)


Harbor Fr(e)ight tools, not all bad
I picked up a 3pc set of 3-jaw pullers from HF a couple weeks ago. Had no immediate need for them, but as with most tools I buy, they come in handy at some point.

In this case, that point was last Thursday (Thanksgiving). I was pulling a wheel bearing off my Intrepid R/T. The splined on the axle had rusted to the bearing, so a puller was needed. Out comes the biggest of the 3 pullers.

I place the puller on the hub and start tightening it using a 1/2 ratchet. No sooner had I started putting a slight amount of torque on it before it literally exploded into several pieces, sending parts of it flying (some of which I have yet to locate).

One of the "link plates" that attaches the jaws to the base broke, and the bolt that went through it on that side broke off too. I'm not sure which part failed first. I don't know the technical terms for the pieces, and a picture is worth a 1000 words.... So once I take a picture I'll post it.

So while not all Harbor Freight tools are bad, the India made 3 jaw pullers I can not recommend.

The bearing and axle were separated using an old (US made) Craftsman 2-jaw puller. I took a lot more torque than I had applied to the HF puller before it finally released. I'm thinking it's a good thing the HF puller failed when it did. I'm thinking it wouldn't have been a pretty sight had it failed when there was actually quite a bit of force on it.

Took a picture. The remains of the bolt you see is the threaded shaft and the nut. The head of the bolt went flying to who knows were.


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Tuesday December 2nd 2008


Roadside repairs
This Friday I helped my friend M fix his sister's minivan. The front passenger side strut broke in two (from rust) as she was pulling out of her driveway. This lead the wheel and everything to jam up in the fender, the inner CV joint on the axle to separate and the sway bar link to break. The control arm also cracked, leaving only the steering tie rod, brake hose and ABS sensor wire holding the wheel to the car (somehow the ABS sensor wire didn't break).

They managed to pull it out of the street and onto the lawn, which is where it sat when we got there.

M had asked me to bring my Milwaukee V28 cordless impact wrench so hurry things up a bit (not to mention some things are near impossible to get off without using an impact wrench, the tie rod end nut being one). I also brought my Milwaukee V28 cordless Sawzall, knowing that we were dealing with a 11 year old van, and from personal experience knowing that the front suspension bolts like to rust up and get stuck like you wouldn't believe.

First things first, we removed the broken strut and hub assemblies. Then the broken control arm, and finally the axle. Assembly was the reverse of removal except having to use the Sawzall a couple times to get rusted/stubborn sway bar link parts off.

For being a "roadside" repair, it actually went pretty smooth.

Oh, and I've managed to contract pinkeye (x 2). First time ever.

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Monday November 24th 2008


Got ABS
Now that I've replaced the right rear ABS sensor, the ABS system works just fine.

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