Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I got a little top down time in at lunch today. Oh the joy!

This last weekend I went to Express Oil for a quick oil and filter change. I only had 3k miles since the last change but the filter didn't get changed last time. I had to find a guy with a thin bone-y arm to take car of that.

This weekend I filled up the truck. Only 10.x MPG on the last tank. I suspect it was low due to moving David's stuff.

Today I filled up the Miata. Only about 26 MPG on this tank. Someone has had a lead foot lately. I must admit I have been driving it hard, but it has been fun. I put 12.7 gallons into the car with a 12 gallon tank. It must have been running on fumes. Zoom zoom zoom.
Who Can't Make Up Their Mind?
I sent the hard drive off to another data recovery center today. I decided to do this about 10 minutes after I washed my hands of the whole ordeal yesterday.

Stay Tuned.
We are now about 11 hours into the 30+ hours of the Barrett-Jackson auction I recorded on the Tivo. The auction is amazing and the cars are incredible.

Tonight I managed to remove a couple of minor bends from the frame of the '72 GMC. I did this by putting a vice on the bend and clamping down on it. Chad and Billy can now stop losing sleep over these bends.

Monday, January 30, 2006

After talking to another rep from another hard drive data recovery firm, I have officially given up on recovering the data again.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Today at 12:18 pm ewing.ods.org went offline. I unplugged the power cord. :)

The Ewings are now moved into their new home. We loaded up the last of the stuff a little after 3:00 pm today. They will probably be living out of card board boxes for a few days.

Every time I help someone move, it inspires me to want to go home and throw stuff away. This time was no different.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

HD Report (Gillware Inc Review)

I sent Ginger's recently crashed harddrive to Gillware. They were unsuccessfull in recovering any data. On the positive side, they don't charge if they are unsuccessful.

Gilware have several levels of service. Same Day, Express, and Standard. For economical reasons I selected standard. The queue must have been short because they received it on Monday, diagnosed it on Monday, and announced defeat on Tuesday. They even volunteered to ship the drive back via UPS ground on their dime. I asked them to send it back 2nd day thinking I might try one more vender.

I was very pleased with their responsiveness and customer service. Too bad they couldn't recover the files.

In the meantine, I tried the freezer trick. The behavior remains the same. Oh well.

Moving Day

I helped David E. begin moving on Thursday evening. After we had loaded up the largest U-haul diesel, driven it across town, and unloaded it, I told David it was not too late to change his mind about moving. Moving all that stuff back would take less effort than continuing.

When I laid down in bed Thursday night I was sore. Whatever happened to the good old days when you didn't get sore til the day after.

I took yesterday afternoon off from work to provide some more moving assistance. You can't buy this kind of fun.

Last night when I went to bed I was tired, though not as sore as the night before. The tiredness was due to moving boxes, climbing stairs, moving boxes while climbing stairs and from only getting about 2 hours of sleep Thursday night. The sleep deprivation was much worse than the physical tiredness. At least until morning came.

This morning when I got out of bed not only was I sore, I was practically limping. Note to self: Either get more exercise or lose the friends.

David has professionals coming to move the large/breakable stuff this morning. This afternoon I will return to help finish it up. Hopefully. If we don't get it all today there is also tomorrow.

New Truck

No, not me, Chad. I have know Chad about 5 years. Chad has had 6 different trucks in that time.

I am suppose to help Chad install side steps on his new truck either this afternoon or tomorrow afternoon. I fear that once I get down on the ground I may never be able to get back up.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

So there I was,
There I was, there I was,
Staring at an empty editor.

It seems I have been very busy lately and at the same time I don't have much to say.

Over the course of the next few days I will be helping a good friend move. I have helped him move a couple other times. He has helped me move a couple of times. We are both forever into each others debts. I sure hope the interest rates are low.

Today was Jay's last day at work. He is moving on to greener pastures. (Does that imply there is more fertilizer?)

Weekend before last I went to test drive the Corvette and the Triumph. Unfortunately they had both already been sold. Last weekend I went to test drive a Mini Cooper. I didn't get around to that one. Ginger wants to know why I want to drive all these cars. If you have to ask, you will never know.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My mind is slipping again. I have forgotten my topic for this evening. Check back in twenty minutes and you will know whether it was a short term or long term memory problem.

We are experiencing more very unseasonable weather. Clear skies with temperatures in the 60s. It would have been a nice day for a little top down action. Because I was driving the truck, I settled for windows down.

Speaking of windows down, I am still fighting with Ginger's computer!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Two hours down, thirtyone to go.
Last week we had a hard drive fail. It is amazing how much time you can spend trying to get a computer functional again. Unfortunately the battle has not been won. Too bad it is under warranty. Read "too much time on the phone being told how important my call is and that it will be answered in the order that it was received".

The Barrett-Jackson Auction started last night on Speed. There will be over 30 hours of live coverage. I Tivo'ing it. I will eventually watch it all, but it may take me 3 or 4 weeks.

I managed to get a few hours last Saturday to go drive the convertible Corvette. To bad it wasn't there any more. Neither was the other little red car. I never did figure out what it was but I suspect it was probably a Triump. The lesson here is never put off driving a convertible to tomorrow if you can drive it today.

Monday afternoon the 5th graders came back for another welding session. Results were excellent. And the homemade chocolate chip cookies were good to. At this point I believe I have spent more time teaching others to weld than I have actually spent welding. Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. I actually learned a lot by helping them. Pretty cool.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Weekend in Review

I am drawing a complete blank. Is that good or bad?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Perfect Weather for a Convertible
This morning I got to drive a Pontiac Solstice. A nice silver one.

There I was, there I was, there I was, in my office. Ok, actually I was in Joes office. I looked out the window and saw a guy putting the top up on a nice new silver car. Due to the distance I was uncertain as to whether it was a Crossfire or a Solstice. I decided to go check it out.

As I crossed the parking lot, I realized it was Chad. Feeling bold, I started the conversation, "Nice car, can I drive." Feeling generous, Chad unwisely said sure. Thanks cheaster.

Like any new convertible owner, Chad drove in this morning with the top down. I suspect the temp was probably somewhere between 35-45 F.

Driving the Pontiac reminded me of driving Jeff's BMW Z3. (Aside: Jeff sold me the Miata when he decided to get the Beamer Z3, a downgrade in my opinion :). The Solstice is geared low and the car wraps around you like a glove. The top was down for the ride but I forgot to put the windows down. The interior has a nice clean sprase design. I enjoyed the drive and had a lot of fun.

Afterwards I let Chad drive the Miata. After riding in the Pontiac, the Miata was almost a raw go-cart like ride. Yeehaw! I think I actually enjoyed riding in my passenger seat as much as driving the Solstice. I could be just fooling myself so I won't be jealous of Chad's wife's new car. But then again, maybe not. The Miata doesn't have the womb like enclosed feeling of the Z3, Solstice, S2000. When your in the Miata with the top down, your out there! Hopefully I can get another chance to drive it after he gets a few miles on it. The odometer had 103 mile on it when I took the helm.

For lunch I headed to Cracker Barrel to meet Troy and Dave. I invited Matt to go along. Matt drives an S2000, though he previously had a Miata. He also has a Karman Ghia hidden around here somewhere. (Joe, whose office I mentioned earlier has an older Morris Mini. Someday he is going to give it to me. Keep your fingers crossed.)

By lunch the temp was up in the 60's. I offered to let Matt drive the Miata to CB. He eagerly accepted and mentioned more than once that the Miata was more fun to drive than the Honda S2000. How can I argue with that? I drove back. Yeehaw!

I happen to know where a nice used red Corvette convertible is for sale. Hopefully with a manual transmission. Perhaps I will go give it a test drive soon. Anyone want to ride along?

Oh yeah, and the ride home was nice too. We need more days during the winter like today. Write your congressman.
The harddrive in Ginger's laptop crashed Tuesday night. It is definitely making some nasty sounds. Back when be bought it, I decided to go against my normal advice and actually buy an extended warranty. I got the 3 year warranty. This decision was based on my past experience with other laptops. Extended warranties are alway a gamble. This gamble paid off.

The saga is as follows. I called CDW, the place I purchased it from and expained the problem. The told me to call IBM. Total phone time was less than 10 minutes. Normally they would have handled the warranty issue, but I made a special request. The gentleman I spoke with was very responsive.

Total time on the phone with IBM was less than 20 mintues. Again, I received good customer service on the phone. This seemed to be my lucky day.

Ok, now to hear about my woes. First the computer did not ship with install disks. I recall making a recovery disk, but I sure can't find it. CDW did not have any but said I could get one from IBM.

The harddrive is covered under the warranty. The tech support guy said he would ship me the CD and a new harddrive. I should get them either tomorrow or Monday.

I mentioned to him that I wanted to get my data recovered from the HD and was concerned this would void my warranty. He said no problem and explained how to handle this issue. Things seem to good to be true. (I will have to pay for the data recovery.)

Stay tuned...
Jordan's bicycle riding is improving greatly. Still working on starting and stopping. I think he is starting to enjoy riding it. It is getting easier to convince him to practice.

While we were out practicing this evening, we say a doe in the backyard.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I have been helping Jordan learn to ride his new bike sans training wheels. He is getting pretty good at it though he claims he doesn't want to learn. Dear old Dad makes him ride it every couple of days. Usually just 2 or 3 trips down the driveway and back.

He can balance riding in a straight line. We still need to work on starting from a stand still and turning with a limited radius. Oh yeah, and stopping.

And speaking of learning, classes started today.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Motley Mishmash

I was also tempted to take a precision machining class at the tech school. Unfortunately it was also on Tuesday night.

I am not really an over-achiever, but the alternative seems to be to spend more time sitting on the sofa watching more TV and putting on a few more extra pounds. Not that there is anything wrong with that! And I do love my Tivo.

(Aside: The Barrett-Jackson auction is on Speed next week and I am going to record all of it. I think it was 24 hours last year. Check out some of the cars. Sure wish I had a bigger garage!)

Nor a perfectionist. But I want to be.

Now, who wants to help me build an electric car from scratch?
How To Keep Busy

I signed up for a couple more classes. I was considering taking two classes online and then taking a welding class at the local tech school. It seems the more you have to do, the more free time you have. I will explain that in a minute.

I ended up only getting one of the online courses so the other class will end up occupying my Tuesday nights. Unfortunately the welding class was on Tuesday night also, so it will have to wait.

Master Procrastinator

It is amazing how much time you can waste when you are procrastinating. The true miracle of it is simply the realization of how much time you are wasting, and how many things you can find to otherwise occupy your time. Time has an interesting way of flying by when you don't really have any obligations but add a few things to your to do list and it will slow down. At least as long as your not tackling anything on the list. Once you get around to the task at hand, time flees again.

Any who, I figured if I signed up for two classes at the university and took a welding class at the tech school I would have endless amounts of free time. We will see how much extra time is generated without the welding class. Perhaps I can get the five year truck restoration schedule down to three years. Ha!

What's Up

...with the classes? I have decided to get another degree. I currently have a BS in computer engineering. The next degree, should I follow through with my plans, will be a BS in mathematics with a minor in education. Who knows what distractions lay ahead of me. (perhaps another old truck?)

Why? The plan is to eventually teach either math or computer science in high school. This possible next career is somewhere out in the future, though I don't know how far out. I think it would be nice to teach after retiring from engineering. At the rate I am currently taking classes, I will have the second degree in 2.5 to 5 years. Assuming I don't get tired, lazy, or bored first.

Now back to reality.

To quote Brian, quoting his Mother "[I am] busier than a three tailed tomcat..." which reminds me, I still haven't changed the oil in the Miata. Fortunately, or rather unfortunately, it is not getting many miles right now.

Come on by the house this weekend. I have invited my nephews over. We will be having a LAN party and eating junk food all weekend. All us kids will surely have a blast. (pun intended)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Something is Missing

Something has seemed to be missing for a few days but I just haven't been able to put my finger on it. This evening I realized what it was.

My Miata hasn't been out of the garage with the top down for over two weeks. Sad really. The last few times I have been able to drive it, it has been raining or the temperature was near freezing. Hopefully we will have better luck this week.
Nothing Noteworthy

...but that has never stopped me before.

I have been helping Jordan learn to ride his new bicyle without training wheels. He has made excellent progress in the last two days.

He and I went to Toys R Us today to return a game. He received two Battleship games for Christmas. We traded one in for Stratego. He also had a gift card that he used to buy Risk. We played a couple of games of Stratego this evening. I think he likes it. The box says ages 8+ but he had no problem learning to play. Risk is ages 10+. I think it will be a little more difficult for him to learn but he is up to the challenge. (Jordan is 7) Right now is is playing Risk alone. He has apparrently invented a game using the map and armies. I think he likes his version of the game just fine. Perhaps we can put off learning that game for a few more days.

The Christmas lights and decorations came down today.

I got another half a coat of paint on the frame today. With a little luck I could finish that task up next weekend.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

Feh!
I learned a new word yesterday: Feh. I was reading an article online and came across this word. I usally lookup words I am not familar with. The dictionary had nothing to say and Google had way to much. I ended up emailed the author Joel Spolsky of Joel On Software. I figured it might be a TLA I was unfamiliar with. Enough with the acronyms already. It turns out it wasn't.

Mr. Spolsky suggested I look it up in a Yiddish dictionary. My train of thought forks here. Which path to follow?

I would have never guess the emymology of the word. Thanks for the guidance. Yiddish dictionaries are plentiful online so now I know the meaning of feh.

It turns out Feh is a very useful word. Not nearly as feckless as that last word.

Good thing Yiddish dictionaires are available online. I don't think I would have been able to locate one otherwise. Theere is not much demand for them in Alabama.

Another Feckless Task

In the previous section I wanted to link feckelss back to its original entry.

Choo Choo. There goes that train of thought again.

I figured I will hit Google and it would give me a link into my archives. I searched for 'feckless obsession'. You would not believe how many hits this received. And none were for me. There goes my ego. I am starting to believe my word is overused. Ok, perhaps the word is not mine, but as I have pointed out I can use it in a sentence.

I had been thinking lately it might be time to change the old blogs name. Feckless Obsession. Hmmm. No that seems to verbose. Perhaps Mundane Obsession or simply Mundane.

And speaking of obsessions...

Prep Work Pays Off

Yesterdays truck activities included a light sanding for the entire frame and then another coat of POR-15. What they say about paint and prep work is true. One, maybe two more coats and I will be done painting the frame.

My next task with either be the rear suspension, axle, and differential or the front suspension. With a little bit of reasonable weather I could have both of these done by the spring. Oh what an optimist I am.

I have had a few folks look at the frame and ask why I was bothering to sand out the air bubbles. Is it because I am a perfectionist? No, I am only an aspiring perfectionist and way to lazy to step up to the next level. Actually I am trying to teach myself a lesson. The lession? It is easier to do it right the first time. This is a hard lesson to learn.

Welding Redeux

Recap: start here and then go here. Now that your up to speed let us proceed.

I got a call Friday night. It seems a couple of the welds didn't hold. We suspect that it was a preparation problem. Are you spotting any trends?

More on this later.