Friday, December 31, 2004

It appears I have been upto exactly nothing this week.

Tomorrow we are going to Tuscumbia to visit my Father. We usually get together with my family for Christmas on New Years day at his house. This gathering never conflicts with any of the other many scheduled events. My sister Terry, my brother Rob and his family (Mary, Aaron, and Austin) will all be there.

Today we had nice weather so used the Miata to run my errands.

This morning I rolled the '72 out into the driveway, applied some degreaser to the front end and frame and commenced to making a really big mess in the driveway. The pressure washer wouldn't run (again) so I ended up using the neighbors. I also spent a little time attempting to clean up the heads and intake manifold. I wore out my wire brush!

David M. came by to help this morning. While he was here, we put the Miata up on jack stands and attempted to locate the exhaust leak. No luck. :(

Last night we went to Jack and Kay's annual party that occurs between Christmas and New Years. We had a good time. Lots of food and drink. Jack had made an incredible cheese cake. Alton Brown would have be proud. Jack has painted the interior of his new finished garage purple. He didn't want a garage with plain white walls. Everyone has that, including me. He had used an epoxy coating on the floor. I want my garage floor sealed. Perhaps this spring.

This year we have decided to not have a New Years Eve party. Instead we are heading across the street to our neighbors house to join their party. I believe this will be the first time in 7 years we have not had a party.

Happy New Year.

BTW, It is hot in the hot tub.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Today is my brother Rob's birthday. Jordan and I called and sang to his answering machine.

For a small fee we can provide this service to you as well.
Benny's 1954 Bel Aire Coupe
54 Bel Aire Coupe

Benny's 1957 Bel Aire 4-door Hardtop
57 four door hardtop
The hood is off and the engine is out. It is being replaced with a 350 small block.

57 four door hardtop
In the foreground of the third picture you can see part of the fire wall of the '57 Bel Aire Coupe.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Yesterday was a pretty typical Christmas. That is a good thing.

Yesterday evening before heading home we stopped at the home of one of G's uncles. The purpose of the stop was to check out his cars. It turns out he has 5 Chevy Bel Aires hiding in his garage. Two 1957's and two 1954's. I don't recall what the 5th one was. The 57's were a 4 door and a 2 door hardtop. One of the 54's is a convertible. He is in the process of restoring two of them. There was a shiny Nova parked there as well.

I snapped a few pictures. Perhaps I will share them with you sometime soon. (I bet you've heard that one before.)

Friday, December 24, 2004

Inside Outside Upside Down
... no longer describes the engine block. It is now right side up. The oil pan and time chain cover have been installed. The fuel pump is back on also.

Time to start cleaning up the heads and the intake manifold.

The water pump and a few pulleys are currently hanging off the front. I was verifying they were all lining up correctly. They will come back off for now. Those don't readlly need to be installed til the engine is mounted on the frame.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Eh Wah?

This is for smart people only:


I saw this yesterday. It almost reminded me of a post I made a few days ago.

For those who slept through high school, I will give you a few hints:

1. The Base of Natural Logarithms is e. e = 2.71828
2. X x X = X^2; R x R = R^2
3. X^-1 = 1/X; (1/X)^-1 = X; Try that with Y.
4. F=MA; Force = Mass x Acceleration.

Have you figured it out?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Title Applied For
Tonight I drove home from work with the top down. The moon was high and close to full. It was fairly warm considering yesterday it dropped below 32 F.

I have an exhaust leak somewhere under the hood. It is mostly noticeable from an audible standpoint. A friend suggested maybe the donut is blown. I wonder if this could also be related to the 2200 rpm rattle. Only time will tell.
Quick Note
Tonight we{dm} removed the transmission and then the front end. The front end consists of the outer grill, the radiator support, and the inner and outer fenders.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Pop Quiz
B+(A*l*((m^2)/m)*o*3s/(2+cosine(1))*Sqrt(t^2))+.2-3k = 0.99-3k+B
By my calculation, and keep in mind I didn't check my work, "Almost = 97%".

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Copy Cat
Ok I removed the weather thingy already. As I was continuing my afternoon internet browsing session, I noticed the weather thingy on Brian's almost Daily Rant. Now that one is more like it. I can't believe how quicky he copied my idea.
How's the Weather
File this entry under boring. A friend of mine out in Austin Texas has a Weather Channel thingy on his web site. It displays the current weather for his area. I thought that would be pretty cool, so I decided to add one to my web site also.

I did but immediately I was disappointed with it. It looks too commerical. I feel like I sold out to the man. Perhaps I should sign up for Google Ads also.

The weather thingy is the last item on the right column. Scroll down if you don't see it yet. I suppose I will leave it there a few days and see if it grows on me.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Slow and Steady Wins the Race
I am making slow progress on getting the '72's engine back together. Last night I re-installed the oil pump. I also spent a little time cleaning some grease and grim off a few more engine parts. And finally a installed a new timing chain and sprocket.

I should have gotten a lot more done, but It was cold outside. It was also dark. I really needed to be outside with the water hose to clean the greasy parts. Another possibility would have been to install the parts without cleaning them but that would just be wrong.

On the bright side, the pile of greasy parts is starting to shrink and the engine block is starting to resemble a complete engine again.

Have you heard the latest REM CD? It is pretty good. For the record, Atomic Bomb is still in the CD player.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I came across this today. It sounds like a pretty interesting challenge. Making fire without matches. Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you. I could use this little trick on my next camping trip.

Actually the whole site is pretty interesting. This guy obviously has a lot of free time.

He links to another pyro site, Aussie Fire Bow.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Holiday Eating Tips
Here is some good advice. I suppose I could 'weight' a few more weeks before starting yet another diet.

Several years ago my wife gave me some X10 equipment for Christmas. (This was long before the advent of the X10 pop-ups featuring pan and tilt cameras.)

Every year at Christmas time, the X10 stuff comes back out along with the Christmas decorations. All the lights usually get hooked via an X10 module. With the single press of a button on the wireless remote, all the lights can be turned on and off. Some years I even setup the clock module to automatically turn the lights on and off at a specified time.

Some time in the last year I happened across MisterHouse. When the X10 stuff came out this year, I thought I would take a closer look. After all, it is open source and it is free. A good bit of it is written in Perl. It is a pretty interesting way to set up home automation. The quick setup documentation leaves something to be desired though. One feature worth mentioning - integrated web server allowing you to control your home from anywhere you have web access to it. There are many other features as well but I shall not mention them here. For more info, check out the web site.

I doubt I will still be using this when the New Year arrives but it has been interesting to play with.

Perhaps I should setup the outside lights and let you folks turn them on/off via the web. I am sure the neighbors would love that. I guess I would need a web cam also. Maybe next year.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Fourth Time is the Charm
Yep, I put the pistons in for like the 4th time. And I torqued the rod caps down to 45 ft-lbs.

So you have got to ask your self. Does the crankshaft still turn? And the answer is yes, and not only that, but I can turn it by hand. No pry bar required.

(The crank shaft was ground down 0.010" while at the machine shop.)

I was hoping to reinstall the oil pump (again) tomorrow. Possibly the oil pan, and timing chain as well. It currently does not look like my schedule will permit this. Keep your fingers crossed.

Dirty Santa was a let down last night. No one cried.

Barry, Beth, and little David came over for dinner tonight. Barry is and old friend from college. David has really grown. This will be his first Christmas.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Dirty Santa
Tomorrow night we are attending one of many Christmas Parties. Like many others party go-er's we will be playing Dirty Santa. When I heard this I asked if I was going to be allowed to play. Yes, it is true, I have made adults shed tears while playing this games. Tears of laughter and actual tears of sadness. The important thing is to make certain everyone is playing by the same rules when we get started. That way I will know how to use them against others, in my favor. I think one of the gifts we are taking is a box of chocolate. Mmmm, chocolate. Perhaps I will bring that one home if nothing better comes up.

Musical Rod Caps, Part Deux
I got my shiney clean crank shaft back along with the rods and pistons. The crank was ground .010". Perhaps this weekend I will get some time to start the reassembly process again. I believe this will be the 4th time I have put the pistons back in. Hopefully the last, knock on wood.

Deux ewe no wut eye mean? What is the word that describes most of the previous words. It is knot synonym, homonym, or metonym, wright? The only thing I could find in the dictionary is soundalike.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Alabama and Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas ...
In the past I mentioned that I was geographically challenged. Well today I found this. Give it a try. My average error was 66 miles. I considered that to be pretty good considing my knowledge of the New England states. It gets easier as you get more done. Just hope you don't have to start with O Yes Wyoming. Fortunately for me I got to start with Tennesse.

Now if someone would just tell me what incedible means. That's what I get for not spell checking or proof reading.

My second try the average error was 24 miles. Let me know how you do.
Here is a clip from an email I wrote a few days ago. You may find it enlightening.

> As I was sipping my tea, I asked myself "If heat rises why does ice
> float?" So then I said to myself "Troy is a smart guy, surely he can
> explain why the specific gravity of ice is lower than water."

Troy responded with the following:


If you have any questions and you are also too lazy to Google for the answer, send them to me and I will forward them to Troy.

And for those who realized my blunder, I will now attempt to make amends. Specific gravity is a term that generally applies to minerals. The term I should have used was specific weight. If you would like to know more, just drop me a line and I will have Troy Google up some additional information.
Has anyone noticed I have not mentioned running, walking, or weight lifting in a very long time?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Musical Rod Caps
The machine shop called today. Among other things, they said they had to play a game of musical rod caps. What I want to know is who mixed them up. I was very careful to make certain I kept them with the correct rod/piston. But if it wasn't me, then who?

On the bright side, that explains why things were so snug! I should be able to get the stuff back before the weekend.
Fine Furniture

More of Rick's fine furniture

This is a stool I made several years ago. The legs are from high quality 2x2's and the seat is two pieces of 3/4" C/X grade plywood laminated together. I think I made it back in 1999 but I don't recall for certain. If you really want to know, flip it over. I usually mark the date on all the furniture I build. For the right price I will make you a set.

Reading Railroad
I disassembled Dwayne's engine tonight.

The Engine in question is an American Flyer Reading Railroad 442 S-scale locomotivie. Based on marking inside the shell (6 49), it was probably made in June of 1949. I could be wrong. The tracks measure 1" center of rail to center of rail. The inner measurement between the two rails is 7/8" (S-gauge).

The power supply puts out AC voltage. It has dual outputs: 7-15 volts and 15 volts according to the lettering on the outside. I believe the first output is variable, the second fixed voltage.

The tender's wheels pickup the power from the rails. The tender contains a mechanical AC/DC converter. Wires lead from the tender to the cab where they connect to a DC electric motor and also to a light bulb which generates heat in turn causing the liquid smoke to become actual smoke. A piston forces the smoke to go puff puff puff. The motor has a worm drive used to spin the rear two of the center four wheels.

I did not fix completely fix the engine. It had four problems. Now it has three.

The first was a free spinning gear stuck on an axle. The gear drives the piston. A little bit of penetrating oil and it spun like a..., well like something that spins freely.

Someone else had disassmbled it in the past. Two springs are missing that hold the keys to the motor. I suspect these could be replaced with springs from some clicky type ball point pens. Clicky type!?

All the electrical wiring is dry, cracked and needs to be replaced (think safety hazard). The tender contains a mechanical AC to DC voltage converter. It could use a little oil and a new spring. The mechanical actuator currently sticks. There is a mechanical switch that is used to adjust spring travel and thus the output voltage which in turns adjusts the speed of the train. It is actually a pretty cool electrical/mechanical wonder.

A connector or switch is missing from the back of the cab where the wires from the tender connect. I am not certain whether it is a switch or connector because it is missing.

The electric motor drives not only the wheels but also a piston. The piston is what makes the smoke come out of the engine in periodic puffs. This is a pretty cool mechanical/thermal wonder. I left the piston disconnected when I reassembled it.

I estimate it would take a minimum of 4-5 hours to get the thing functional again. A few more to remove the rust and paint the newly rust free portions. Definitely more time than the average person would put into it. What this engine needs is a model railroading fanatic. Catch me on the right day and it could be me. Today however is not the right day.

My current recommendation is to place it on a shelf as a display.

The A/C power supply is fully functional.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I now understand why a few well placed titles are so important. Linking back to older {long} posts without a title may seem to be a hit or miss when looking for content. A few examples follow. See luck and dirt for examples.

The lights are now on the tree. Please please please turn off the Christmas music already!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree is going up before my very eyes. Ginger already has plenty of help from the little people so I am just staying out of the way.

Weather forecase - rain, rain, and more rain. I am disappointed to announce that even with all the dirt, part of my backyard is still underwater.

'72 Update
I took the crankshaft and rods/pistons to the machine shop to be checked out. I should hear back from them in a few days. They should be able to tell me why the engine was so tight.

Adult Education
I also signed up for the Auto Body class today. They allow a limited number of folks to take the class but I think I am probably in. School starts January 10.

Creg K., and Dwayne W. got signed up with me. Mack Daddy was a no show. If you have already done so, you should follow that last link.

Yep, it is still raining outside. Time to build an ark.

Oh Google, Where art thou?
I have completely disappeared from the Google search engine. It seem like not to long ago I was feeling lucky. I wonder what is up.

I stole a model train engine from Dwayne W. today under the guise of trying to fix it. Sorry Dwayne, you will probably never see it again. Good thing you don't know where I live or work. Doh!

I think it is a S gauge train. He believes it is from the 1950's. I wonder how much I will get for it on eBay.

Warp Factor 6, Engage!
Little know fact. Star Trek The Next Generation's Captain Piccard was an obsessive model railroading fan. He was heard often on the bridge saying "N-Gauge". Okay, that I was really cheesy but I will leave it for your reading enjoyment.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese today. And I made it out alive. No small feat.

Auburn is now 12 and 0 and that means...
SEC Champs
38 Auburn
28 Tennessee

Friday, December 03, 2004

It is friday night. We, the kids and myself, just finished our traditional Friday night dinner, Chic-fil-a and Nick-toons.

I am ready for Spring. Technically I don't think Winter has started yet. Has it? The Miata spent the entire week in the garage. Any points for the top being down?

Today is Ginger's birthday. She no longer celebrates it as such, now she celebrates the anniversary of her 27th birthday.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Back To School
Monday I am going to sign up for an evening class: Auto-body I. Anyone want to go with me?

What is in the CD Player?
U2: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
In my opinion this is the best album they have put out in the last 10 years. I suspect it will stay in the CD player for at least a few more days.

Mopar or No Car
Another friend of mine has fessed up to the car craz. He got his from an Uncle. This is Dwayne W's Dodge Charger. It lives in his garage. He does not drive it. He just cranks it every now and then.
I have decided to give in to good advice and take the crankshaft and piston rods in to a machine show to have them checked out. This will probably not happen til Monday, so engine re-assembly is now on hold for a few days. With that out of the way temporarily, I suppose now is a good time to yank the transmission out. No I haven't done that before either but I ain't skeerd. If I was skeerd, I would say skeerd.

Today I had to pick up Jordan after work. He was attending a birthday party at Chucky Cheese. He was having the time of his life. Tokens and tickets are what is all about. He wants to go back and Brianna, who has never been, wants to go as well. I am considering taking them Saturday for lunch. I bet the pizza is world class, cough cough.

Hi Kevin, thanks for stopping by.