Saturday, December 10, 2016

Scruffy Finds Her Voice (Then Gets Radical Rhinoplasty)

Something I've wanted to do for the longest time, and finally managed to get taken care of a month or so ago. I got a 512 Labs exhaust system like I have on Sat3 made up for Scruffy!!! Quite a while ago I had got myself an actual glasspack muffler for my car (at the time it was on Baby) and welded it up with flanges in the same position as the original (actually it was a junkyard replacement for a can-type factory muffler, but you know what I mean) and saved that original for Scruffy.

When I put the glasspack on Baby, I don't remember the sound changing that much. After I'd gone through the time and effort, I remember thinking that it was kind of a waste since it didn't seem to quiet it down much at all (not that I'm complaining, it sounds pretty sweet, but was doing it out of consideration for the neighbors) but having my old muffler on Scruffy, there's a decided increase in volume. Has a bit more of a harsh bark to it. Yeah, it sounds good!!! It cost me $20 more than when I had the original made up, and I don't think I got a better job done for my money. You can see instead of being a piece bent to shape, he used a bunch of pre-bent lengths, and welded 'em at compound angles. The outside mount, instead of being to an actual rubber insulator, he welded directly to the suspension mount!!! Discovered that after we'd left, or I sure would have made him fix that!!! I've been thinking of how to remedy this... and to be sure, it's the last time I'm going to this place!!!

The only thing I really like is the tip they made up for it, it appears to be stainless. Needs a little deburring.

Took a shot of the original muffler and intermediate silencer. If you look, you can see the black marks that all Saturn rear mufflers seem to have, from scraping a hole in them. The silencer muffler is shorter from Scruffy, something I'd never noticed before. Saved it to (probably, eventually) add flanges to it and see how it sounds. Mileage seems a bit better, but not so good as I've seen before.

Then, just this week, my wife does THIS to her!!!

Good news, no one was hurt, and it didn't set off the airbags. Probably because the sensors for 'em are in the bumper!!!

She was on the freeway, and traffic stopped and she went under the back of a full size pickup truck. Of course, not her fault. Also amazing, besides a couple scratches on the front bumper, the hood was the only panel affected!!!

Last hood shot is of the insulation pad from underneath, where you can see the print of the twin cam cover, and I've added in a couple of strange pink arrows pointing out the print of the canister for the AIR injection in the front, and the oil fill cap in the rear. I took a hammer to the hood and put some clearance back into it.

As soon as she started talking about insurance, they bailed, so more good news!!!

I'm known to make comments about people locking up their wheels and "flat spotting" their tires. After I took the hood shots, I noticed that it appeared to have an example (somewhat) of just that, except it made a pattern of perfect stripes!!! Wonder if it was grooves on the roadway.

Final shot is of one of the motor mounts from the Falcon, since I'm always putting motor mount pics here!!! In the interim the starter in Scruffy had given up, and I moved the Falcon out to make room to change it. I'd bought the new mounts months ago, and just yesterday finally got them in. When I was moving it out, I drove it over and bought $20 of gas since it's been a LONG time since I have, and the tank was way low and gas was way cheap. I'd goosed it a few times, and floated the back tire for 50 feet or so while I was driving it about, and when I got home it was leaking gas again!!! That had been my last Falcon project, rebuilding the carburetor because it had been leaking from the accelerator pump. This time, turned out to be from the motor flopping over and ripping the line from the body to the fuel pump!!! During the course of changing the mounts, managed to lift the engine enough that it ripped the upper radiator hose!!! Always something...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Halloween: A New Era

Happy upcoming Thanksgiving!!! Before it gets even farther along, figured to to the belated Halloween post!!!

The new era alluded to in the title refers to this being the first year where the older was not in the vicinity, so it was just the younger.

First up is a shot of the Jack-O-Lantern. For a change, they didn't have the carving contest at work this year. Just the one this year, as it seems time always gets tight this time of year. Based on Papyrus from Undertale. The youngest drew it out and I carved it. considering the challenging design, I think it came out quite well. Didn't do it that far in advance, either, so it was in excellent shape for the traditional early November mayhem. You can catch this year's here.

Next up is a construction shot of the most complex portion of the costumes this year, a pair of glasses. Involved was some Plexiglas from the dodecahedron project (worse for time, the protective paper had bonded fairly well onto it!!!), frames from some old sunglasses, much epoxy, and some even older than the Plexiglas window tint film. The black piece was a cardboard mock-up repurposed to hold the bows apart while it was being epoxied.

A couple of new shirts were in order. I did mine with the same technology the the older had previously used for his Vriska costume, a cardboard template and spray paint. The youngers' was made up with an iron on print, on an orange sleeved shirt. I never saw an image of this shirt with the orange sleeves, but hey, artistic license!!!

My costume was yet another Homestuck character, Lil Cal. Also involved was a gold tooth cap I'd had for more than ten years ago. My wife was a huge help locating it. Where is a good place to store such a thing??? An old ball cap and gold chain completed the look. To finish it off, I shaved off my mustache and beard and drew on the cheek spots and jaw opening. I wore it into work, and I think I was the only one in my department this year that dressed up.

The boy had his costume based on Dirk Strider, who of course, is closely linked with Lil Cal, so that is where the inspiration for my costume came from!!! Glasses, shirt, and an old wood sword fresh painted silver on the blade comprise his costume. I'm of the opinion that wanting to have the glasses and an orange shirt were primary motivators to his choice of costume!!!

More of the Jack-O-Lantern, this time on the cat tree. I don't think awesome cat much cares for his heiarchal position at the top of the tree being usurped.

Something cool, I have so many vacation days now, that I happened to see they had a half day available on Halloween, which of course I took. Nice, as they have moved the start and end time of my shift 15 minutes later, and it had already been a late get home time. We trick or treated around the neighborhood, the streets behind our house, then over to what had looked to be a promising area.

One place had this sign up on their gate... I feel vandalism coming on!!!

There!!! Fixed your sign for you, mister!!! No treat, here's your trick!!! Haha!!!

When we had headed over two weekends before, we'd spotted what looked like a walkway at the end of the dead end street we'd walked up. We had walked down it to another cul-de-sac in the valley below. This was the previously alluded to promising area. There were several houses with Halloween decorations, and while we were there we witnessed a mother and child having a Nerf gun war. It was pretty far on in the evening by the time we made it over there, though, and it wasn't as good as it had looked, though there was one guy we caught pulling into his garage who dug out a three year old bag of tootsie rolls and dumped a good quantity into our sacks.

Finally, now that there is one in the neighborhood, no Halloween night would have been complete without a visit to a haunted house...

"And they say the old man's body was NEVER FOUND..."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fired Up

Last Thursday I was in the front room of our house, and I heard sirens. Getting closer. I sat up and looked out, and up our street came a couple of fire trucks. Hmmm, that doesn't happen very often, and it's always troubling when there's an actual fire going on up here. Of course, fire trucks don't always mean there's a fire, but not too much longer, here comes another pair of fire trucks. Shortly after, another vehicle, the size of a fire truck, but more boxlike with "Urban Search & Rescue" on the side.

None of this sounded good as far as there actually being a fire, and sometime in there, a fire helicopter joined the party. Instead of having a spotlight, it had forward facing lights, and when it circled towards us, you could see billowing smoke. Fortunately, while the area surrounding us were experiencing high winds, it has been calm in our area, so no red flag days for us.

I was curious, and was considering trying to walk to where it was going on, but never did. Fell asleep before the news came on that night, but caught it the next day.

A six room,9,100 square foot, six room house. 10 to 15 people living there. The house was apparently in foreclosure. I've walked by the place before, I remember admiring the octagon turrets. Might even have actual pictures of the place on the hard drive from my old Toshiba laptop. The before pictures are from Google Street View.

After I got home from work on Saturday, the younger and I went over to see what we could see. The street does a loop around, with houses on each end and a wide dirt trail on an undeveloped side of the hill with the namesake Sea View. Not knowing exactly which end of the street it was on, we figured it out in a hurry. Two days later, the street is still blocked off with a lot of the fire trucks, and a mobile command center on the opposite side (which is the same style of vehicle that the Urban Search and Rescue had). Parking enforcement was there, guarding the end. Asked if the street was blocked to pedestrian traffic as well as vehicles, and was answered in the affirmative. I asked how we were supposed to rubberneck then???

We walked back, and took off down the next street over, a dead end that has something of a view across the canyon, and it turns out we were able to see a good amount of the property from there.

Unfortunately, there's one person unaccounted for, an 84 year old man. One story I read said he went back in for a litter of puppies. An old guy died last time there was a structure fire up here, too.

Last stories I read, they still hadn't determined the cause. I'd speculate that with that many people, someone may have been using a hot plate in their room. Could be a smoker, too, or some other reason for all I know.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

ReCovery 2.0

Finally a follow up with a post I alluded to!!! A post about a post, as it were!!!

In my last post, I mentioned the cat post getting ratty, and not in the way cats like (although, the cat didn't seem to have any qualms about how bad it looked). In the first shot, here's a trick the guy does, he'll leap right up on the top of the post, but never in a direction where he's good for a picture. Once again, you can see it's come undone.

So, as I did three years back, it was time to re cover the post!!! Next shot is the remains of the old rope removed. This time, instead of just bolting the post down on the rope, I cut a little groove into the bottom of the base to hold the rope. Came out a lot better, but it still has a bit of a tilt.

Instead of the hokey bent over nails on the top, I cut another slot on the top and secured it with a couple of steel straps on the top. I'm still planning to make up a new wood square to finish off the top, but I could tell the absence of a claw post was disturbing to the cat, so it's sitting in it's place as is for now. Also, I had considerably more rope to work with. Quite a while back I re-did the perch in the laundry room, and added a 2 x 4 claw post to the end employing the same rope wound construction. I purchased enough rope to make that one and have enough to cover the original completely. Unfortunately, none of the cats took to clawing much at it. Sometimes, though, when the cat is riled up, he'll run in and run up the side of the post, climbed to the top with his ears back.

Hey!!! I think he likes it!!!

Monday, October 03, 2016

Backlog Random

As usual, I've got a lot more post in me than I ever get out of me!!! So, for now, here's a smattering of shots and allusions on things that could get a post of their own!!!

To start off, back in September, I believe it was, my wife and I went to a concert at the Greek. Back in the first half of the year I had a Kings game I was going to have tickets to as prize for the last design contest at work. Unfortunately, I went too long before I went to HR to pick them up, and they gave them to someone else. Oh well. That was around the time Counting Crows had announced their tour schedule, and since we've got a block of seats at the Greek, I made mention to keep an eye out for those in lieu. For whatever reason, that never came through, either, but she offered me quite a bit later tickets to see The Piano Guys there. I was a bit familiar, so I took them. It ended up being a VERY entertaining and amusing show!!! Bonus, included with the passes was admission to the Fandango lounge there, featuring various snacks before the show, and coffee at intermission!!!

Make note of that design contest reference, there's a post (hopefully) on the way about that!!!

On the week of my Birthday, the firstborn graduated from his first Navy school, and came back home for a week. He's purchased a vehicle, but doesn't have a driver's license yet. He didn't want to get it in the state he was in, due to time between the written and driving tests, so he was going to do both on his visit. Well, he was able to do half. He's got 6 months to do the other half to get it, so he'll be making another visit sometime soon. I didn't get a whole lot of pictures of him, but mom did. Here's one of my few, the reunion with his cat. Make note of the clawed to pieces claw post in the background, there's a post (hopefully) on the way about that!!!

He had his dress whites hanging in the bathroom, which I've done up in black and white. Goes rather nicely in there!!! I've been off and on searching for some black ceramic floor tile to black and white the floor in there, too. For like close to two years!!! It's not easy to find!!!

The only work day I had off while he was visiting was my actual birthday. I was thinking of going to the beach, and we were going to visit my parents that afternoon. Got a late start, and went to the Golden Star in Long Beach for breakfast/lunch. By the time we got out, it was already afternoon, so we went straight to my parents house and swam there for a while. As it was drawing towards dark, we went down to the beach in Long Beach, where they were doing a Movie on the Beach night, screening Toy Story. So I got to go to the beach that day, too!!!

Another set of tickets I got was for Dodgers -vs- Cubs. That was a fun evening, even though the Dodgers ended up losing in the 10th inning. As I recall, in the last innings they kept putting in new pitchers and every time they'd get hits right off!!! This picture of the scoreboard the inning count score looked very binary!!!

On our trip down San Diego way, as previously mentioned, we did many touristy things. One of these things, on my list on two of the other trips we'd made there but never attained, was to go to the Midway aircraft carrier. It was pretty cool, but most places we went in the actual SD area need more parking!!!

Another thing often on my list but never actually gotten to is a trip to the San Diego Zoo. This is one of my best shots from there. Richard Parker!!!

I think it was three years back, the wife & I went to Carlsbad for our anniversary. Always enjoy that place!!! We went to Leo Carrillo Ranchero while we were there, which was pretty cool. Come to find out, it's home to much pea foul. On the way back this year, we stopped there again, and this time found out there's an albino peacock there!!!

Not great pictures, but here's another fun thing that we did a bit ago. At the Ford Theater, they had a production of Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio opera... only done as a Star Trek episode!!!

None of the characters were actual Star Trek players, but adaptations of the names Mozart had in the original. The orchestra were all red shirts, and the conductor was a gold shirt!!!

Finally, I've got a few places that supposedly have Chicago Deep Dish pizza around here, but the only one I've managed to try is a place in South El Monte called The One. Pizza and Hawaiian BBQ. I've had it twice now. It ain't Giordano's, but it's not bad for South El Monte!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Night Surf

A couple weeks back, we went on a vacation with extended family down towards San Diego. We actually stayed in Encinitas, a ways north of there, just south of Carlsbad. Our hotel was only a block from the ocean, which was a good part of the reason we'd stayed there.

Every single day we did some sort of touristy thing, which was quite a drain on my parents. The second day we went to Legoland, and my parents and my wife had had enough by late afternoon, and were ready to head back. I could keep going, and my youngest and niece and nephew were all good to stay until closing, so they split and we closed that place down. On the way back, we talked a bit about going to the beach. There are houses all along the coast, so I checked and saw that there was a beach access just a couple blocks north of where we were staying, and, of course, that block over. We all decided that the four of us could go for heading over and checking it out when we got back.

It was a bit different than we'd expected. Instead of the block over sloping down to the shore area, it rose up quite a bit. At the end, it came down a bit, but not as much as the rise. From there, it starts off with a concrete path, with areas of steps going down at intervals. From there, it transitioned to wood steps heading down. Straight down, at the end, and DIRECTLY INTO THE OCEAN!!! Well, we weren't expecting THAT!!! Turns out, we caught it right at an extreme high tide!!! The beach has bluffs that rise up from the back of it pretty straight up.

The waves would recede and reveal the sand of the shore, and just to the right around 50 feet, there is a lifeguard tower, backed right up to the bluffs. My niece was the first to decide that she would make a run for it when the waves receded. She made it, of course getting splashed a bit in the process. The rest of us headed over, and stashed our gear on the tower and did a bit of shore wading. The water was very mild, and the evening was pretty warm, too. My niece had brought her purse (go figure), and among the things contained therein was a GoPro camera, which she broke out to shoot a little bit of video. Don't know how that came out, but I'd like to see.

Of course, I didn't bring a camera, so the two actual "beach" pictures are stolen from the web, and the first pic is image searching the title of this post. By the way, said title was lifted from the Stephen King short story that spawned "The Stand". Grandview Beach is what this beach is called... I cannot attest to the view, but even from the shore area, you could see a lot more stars than back home.

Good times!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Back to the Petersen

A couple weekends ago, while I was working on Saturday, I happened upon this. When there is downtime between cycles, I'll often web-surf. In the course of doing this, I discovered that that very evening, there was to be a screening of a documentary about the restoration of the DeLorean from Back to the Future!!! Entitled "Outatime: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine", all that was required to attend was to RSVP via E-mail. OK, sounds pretty sweet!!!

For further win points, it was screening at the Petersen Automotive Museum!!! I had figured, and correctly, that my wife would not be interested in attending, and my son would. On the way into the parking garage, we spotted our first DeLorean of the evening, a very nice bone stock (as far as I could tell) example, featuring the "LONE PYN" plate.

I believe we saw four more equally nice stock examples, one with a "TIME MCH" plate and one with a "DMC AUTO" or some such plate.

So, what do they do with a fully restored prop DeLorean??? They did such an exquisite job, that it became, quite literally, a museum piece!!! They now have it at the Petersen. This shot is when we first saw it. If you look closely, you can see the flux capacitor!!!

Were there any fans of the movie there??? A couple. This guy, in Marty McFly regalia, with his model time machine DeLorean. There were many Marty McFlys there, in various stages of convincing.

One guy there was lucky enough to have scored some of the Episode II Nike shoes!!!

Yet another guy had himself a nice hoverboard!!!

A better shot of the flux capacitor.

Two of the Doc Emmett Browns, there was also a kid with the visor from the end of I, and possibly II (I don't remember exactly, I've seen II a couple times, but I'm not that rabid a fan). The guy on the right played the part for Universal Studios Hollywood, driving the actual DeLorean around the place. The guy on the left, I think, has his DeLorean that he's done up to look like the time machine, and has a quite convincing voice!!!

The Petersen took good care of everyone, in addition to the show, they also had bags of chips and water bottles for the guests. They said it's the best attended movie night event they've done. After the movie (and the offer to sell you much memorabilia and copies of the DVD, then sign them) they were raffling off several items, T-shirts, various copies of the newspaper headlines from the movies, and a hoverboard. That was the one my son really wanted, and wouldn't you know, they picked a number off by ONE from what he had. Insult to injury, the person with that ticket wasn't even there!!! He was genuinely mad over that. I think a do-it-yourself hoverboard is in order.

And how was the movie??? Pretty good, well worth a watching!!! They did an incredible job on the restoration, and actually made it more functional that it had been. I learned quite a bit from it, and am now more of an expert on the Back to the Future DeLorean that I was before!!!