bk2w: (Kitten)
Our little Ginahaya has learned an important lesson tonight. She learned the "Full Tub Is Not A Playground For Cats" lesson.

We, of course, learned the "How to Towel Dry a Soaking Wet Cat" lesson.
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This is a fascinating video of air traffic that my mother pointed me towards. Such wonderful patterns appear.


Nov. 17th, 2006 06:15 am
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12 hours today. 11 hours yesterday and the day before. Ugh. I'm tired. And I'll probably be putting in the same kind of time over the next 5 days, unless I get a breakthrough. On the plus side, I feel like I'm making decent progress, and I'm getting paid for the overtime.

I managed to make one breakthrough today, and rolled right past it to thinking about the next bug with hardly any celebration. Prior to today I had two major bugs that were preventing the demonstration from working right. The board would be doing the critical task, but doing so in a way that looks indistinguishable from a board that does nothing whatsoever. Hardly a convincing demonstration.

Now I can disconnect one of the two fibers to prove that doing so doesn't kill the link. Unfortunately, this still looks extremely similar to a board that nothing.

Tomorrow I can start tracking down the bug that prevents me from disconnecting the second fiber.

And in 5 days, my hardware ships out for an important demo. Oy.
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Thanks to not having a radio in the car, my commute is often filled with mental musings. This morning I saw a license plate frame advertising Mission Valley Ford. No, not the Mission Valley Ford in San Diego, the one in San Jose. Seeing this, my mind turned towards religious displays in municipal environments.

For some California examples, see the Mount Soledad and Mount Helix crosses in San Diego County, both of which can be seen for many miles around, and both of which were situated on public property. There have been crosses at each of those locations for almost 90 years, and have seen the area of San Diego grow from a small harbor city to a major metropolis. The Mt. Helix cross, in particular, has been on the El Cajon City seal and on the El Cajon Police badge for many years as a local landmark. Both crosses created a large amount of contreversy over the last 15 years as various groups try to get the crosses moved off public property if not outright demolished, and other groups try to preserve the cross as-is-where-is. For the record, the Mount Helix park was sold at public auction and bought by a preservation society; the Mount Soledad is still contested, with the federal government stepping in to use eminent domain on the park and cross as an attempt to get it out of trouble and lawsuits filed to prevent same.

These two cases show a strong effort by some to remove Christian symbols and liturgy from public property. But there's a threshold where no effort is made to remove such an influence.

What came to me on my drive north is that California's history is so strongly Christian, Spanish Catholic in particular. Junipero Serra's missions dot the state, and you can see shepard's crooks with bells placed along US-101 commemorating his trek across California and his foundation of the missions. At a deeper level, we commemorate the Catholic faith in our very names. El Camino Real, San Jose, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Diego, Los Angelos, San Rafael, Sacramento, and many more. All of them making reference to some aspect of Catholic faith, most of them saints.

Is the tolerance for these names purely because of ignorance? Because they're Spanish and therefore don't appear quite as blatantly religious as a cross? Because they're names, and not specifically symbols? Are they larger targets awaiting a stronger assault? Or do they have sufficient history to protect them, regardless of their original religious implications? In a broader level, what would happen if Christian symbols were included in greater city planning, such as in the form of the shapes of parks, the location of roads? Generally speaking, at what level are religious references, names and symbols acceptable in a government setting?

I'm don't think there's a clear-cut answer there, but it's something to think about, particularly in California, where so much of our history is tied to the Spanish Missions that give name to places like Mission Valley Ford.
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It lets me log into WoW and post on LJ while doing 65MPH on Highway 4 through Stockton. Laptop and cell phone, wireless all the way.

I'm silly.
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Rainstorm 3 days ago, rainstorm today. And I got the new top on the Miata *just* in time.

Yep. It's fall.

bk2w: (Miata)
This weekend I continued the recent trend in Miata-safety improvements.

The plastic rear window has been getting worse and worse over time, as the plastic oxidized, and got scratched up by the top itself when closed. Eventually it got bad enough that the driver could not see behind the car through the window, and instead had to rely on the side mirrors. This made me uncomfortable, and made [livejournal.com profile] tshuma unwilling to drive the car with the top up. So, out it goes.

In it's place I installed a new convertible top that has a glass window, similar to the tops used by '99 and newer Miatas. It requires minor modification to the convertible frame, but easily handled. I ended up splitting the ~8-9 hour job over Saturday and Sunday, finishing the installation late Sunday night. I got the top mostly installed, but unable to latch closed, just in time for a rain storm Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, I had a plastic tarp to throw over the car for exactly this situation, so no problems. And, hey, it gave me a chance to check for gross leaks.

Final fitment of the top happened later that night when I realized I was supposed to latch the top closed, then tighten the bolts in the back to spec. I'd attempted the reverse order, which left the top too tight to be closed by hand. Doing it right suddenly meant the top was closed, the back bolts tightened, and every thing looking good. I'll be leaving the top up for a few days to let it stretch and conform a bit better to its new shape.

It's awefully nice to have a clear view out the back again.

Pictures! )
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There's something rather irritating about Blizzard requiring me to go buy a retail copy of WoW. We already have legally acquired media, and said media is useless without the online service. What I want to simply pay them for the online service, not spend $40 to granted the possibility to pay them for the online service.

But at least I can toy with it using [livejournal.com profile] tshuma's guest pass for 10 days. So, where should I make a character first?


Sep. 22nd, 2006 11:03 pm
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Phrase that amuses me: "Dude, the drummer's got a backup ninja!"
bk2w: (Miata)
A few weeks ago, [livejournal.com profile] tshuma and I visited a junkyard to extract a dashboard and other parts for her Metro. I recalled seeing a Miata on a previous visit, so we looked for it, too.

The fuel door has been broken on my Miata since shortly after I bought the car; the plastic locking pin had snapped. A minor annoyance at best, but hey, we're here, let's take a look. It indeed still had the retaining pin mechanism, so [livejournal.com profile] tshuma helped me extract the part. At one point, I started circling the car to see why it was in the junkyard. Almost every car there shows signs of major impact or fire damage. But I wasn't seeing any major damage in my walk-around. Until I looked at the top. The convertible top couldn't be opened because it was bent and twisted. The windshield frame was bent almost flat. Right, this wasn't a simple impact, this was a roll-over. And wow did the car not deal well with a roll-over.

That visit put the fear of physics into us both. So, a few days later I ordered a roll bar from Hard Dog Fabrication, specifically their M2 Hard Core roll bar, which is designed for glass window tops (something I'll be installing in the near future) and for SCCA racing. I'm not planning on racing the Miata at any time, but I very much like the requirements that SCCA imposes on roll bars.

A lot of modern convertibles have small hoops behind the seats, but all too often I see drivers whose heads stick up over the top the hoop. Which makes me think that, in a roll-over, their head is going to hit the ground first, not the hoop. Plus the hoops have no triangulation, which makes me question their ability to actually bear the impact forces of a roll-over. An SCCA bar is required to be 2" above the top of the driver's helmet and constructed from at least 1.75" diameter steel tubing. Which means this roll bar is ready to do a lot of protecting. Yay, physics to the rescue!

So, I spent a few evenings this week, and about 6 hours today, removing interior panels, cutting sheet metal, drilling holes in the body, and installing the new roll bar. It's pretty, it's big, and it makes us both much happier about the safety of the car.

Pictures! )
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My new laptop is plenty beefy enough to play World of Warcraft. That'd be a great way to lose lots of hours. And, you know, the money required to buy the game and the subscription.
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I got my 700MHz iBook more than 3 years ago. It had just fallen off the bottom of Apple's lineup a month or two before I bought it. It was cheap, I didn't need a lot of power, and it served me well. AppleCare, which I bought at the same time, served me even better, allowing the replacement of several parts of the machine over the years to keep it running.

6 months ago I noticed another problem with the machine. )
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This Saturday I had been planning on going kayaking with friends, and potentially visiting other friends for an evening birthday party celebration.

Instead, [livejournal.com profile] tshuma and I made mid-week changes to those plans in favor of flying down to San Diego for the day. Tuesday, September 12, 206, Herbert Kidder, my grandfather, passed away peacefully, 95 years old.

The ceremony was small and simple. His ashes, and those of his wife Alice, will join Alice's parents. My father's eulogy was touching and quite well done, invoking tears and laughter at the same time. Afterward, the four children of Herbert and Alice congregated at my parent's house to talk and share company.

A few weeks prior to his death, Herbert had completed writing his memoirs, and celebrated a birthday evening with his children. His passing is no great surprise, and no great tragedy, either. But he will be greatly dearly missed, as will his wife Alice.

May you be at peace, grandfather.
bk2w: (Kitten)
This morning, Her Craziness decided to try to crawl partway underneath my dresser, apparently trying to grab something underneath. I figured it was a bit of hair fuzz, or a scrap of paper. Some whim caught me and I pulled the bottom drawer out of the dresser to go digging, thinking I'd just clear out whatever debris she was after.

I found a dryer sheet, two scraps of paper, and a fair bit of hair and fuzz. I also found 3 puffballs, and no less than 9 crinkleballs. Seems we finally located her secret toy stash.

And just minutes after retrieving them all, she was back at the base of the dresser with a crinkleball, knocking it under the dresser so she could dive under and grab at it. At least we know where to look, now.
bk2w: (GT)
Well, it looks like the my initial suspicions that the turbochargers were failing was right. I suspected the front turbocharger was dying, and sending the metal powder into the engine as well as sending coolant and oil into the intake and/or exhaust. I was mostly right.

The front turbocharger was definitely responsible for the metal. The compressor wheel is substantially ground down (seen here, for comparison, this is what it looked like new), though the exact cause for the impromptu machining is not completely clear.

But it wasn't responsible for all the coolant and oil we saw coming out in the exhaust. That was the rear turbocharger. Somehow the locknut that holds the rotating assembly together (the "new" photo above is this turbo and clearly shows the locknut) had come unlocked, and is otherwise missing. This meant the compressor wheel and turbine wheel could part and go their separate ways. Which meant the oil and coolant seals were not longer sealing, thus dumping coolant and oil into the exhaust and intake. It's possible that the locknut somehow shifted over to the other turbo charger and was responsible for the machining, but I can't be certain. Interestingly, the compressor wheel also suffered some leading-edge wear from something, not sure what.

Fortunately, the coolant came out clean, showing no sign of oil, the oil was minimal but appeared to be clean, again showing no sign of metal. The combustion chamber and piston tops are covered in fine metal grit, but the cylinder wear pattern looks good; still plenty of indication of the honing that was done during the rebuild. So, both turbos are dead and need to be replaced. The air hoses, pipes, intercoolers, throttle body, intake and exhaust manifolds, cylinder heads and engine block need to be cleaned out to get rid of the rest of the metal paste to limit the wear it creates.

I also noticed another problem that I believe is independent of the others. One of the two exhaust camshafts suffered a material failure where the sprocket attaches. There's normally a small dowel that is pressed into the end of the camshaft to provide a key for the sprocket to engage to ensure proper timing. The hole the dowel should be pressed into is cracked open, small fragments of metal are missing, and the backside of the sprocket shows significant wear. So, the sprocket cannot be counted on to maintain timing. Fortunately, this does not seem to have caused any actual problems, as the valves all appear good. But it does mean I'll be replacing that camshaft and sprocket.

Now I get to call places for prices, and figure out exactly where I'm getting two new turbochargers, an exhaust camshaft and a cam sprocket. I think I also need to get a couple of bolts to replace some that have gone missing over the years.
bk2w: (GT)
Last weekend we finally got the 3000GT into the garage in preparation for today. I love off-Fridays. They give me a great chance to dive into a project and work all day on it and make great progress.

I spent about 7 hours starting with a fully assembled, but not working car, and ended it with an engine/transmission assembly sitting next to the car on the garage floor. The garage ceiling is higher than at Fremont, so actually pulling the engine was easier this time around. I also left the transmission attached this time, which made the job much easier. It turns out removing the transmission and leaving the engine in the bay requires some rather complicated geometry that I got to simply ignore.

Now I can get the engine up on a stand and start taking it apart to see what failed, and what needs to be done to repair it. So far, the symptoms were: burning coolant in the exhaust for a while; burning large quantities of oil in the exhaust; oil in the blow-off valve and turbocharger intake hoses; very fine metal paste in some of the air hoses (need to determine exactly which).


Jul. 6th, 2006 08:16 pm
bk2w: (GT)
This week is a short week for me, just three days. And I'm in a Verilog verification class all week, which means the days are not very worklike. They also end rather early, mostly because he's got the class geared to end the day on a lab, and I'm much faster on the labs than his schedule plans for.

So this evening, I got home fairly early, and started in on the garage. Got rid of a bunch of empty boxes, reshuffled the boxes on the shelves, and started putting more boxes away. There's still half a dozen boxes on the floor, but that leaves plenty of space to work on a car. Now I can see about getting the GT moved into the garage so we can pull the engine. For that, I'm going to need manpower.

I sense a bbq-based bribe in the future.
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This morning, [livejournal.com profile] tshuma and I managed to mulch the raised beds, using about half of what I bought. So now we have nicely finished rasied beds, and 7 bags of unused mulch.

The drip system and mulch pretty much finishes the construction aspect of the raised beds. Now it's strictly plant maintenance.

Pictures... )
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Despite the high temps this weekend, I managed to get the drip-irrigation system installed in the raised beds. Started at about 8am and finished at 1pm. Each plant has one or two 1 gallon per hour drippers, all activated by a lawn sprinkler type manual valve. So now we can easily water the garden by just opening and closing a valve.

Hopefully that'll make it easy enough to avoid shriveling more strawberries for lack of water.
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This is horrible and terribly wrong. And funny as hell.
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