Sunday, April 29, 2007

Car Season

Well it has certainly been a long weekend. That can only mean one thing. I spent most of it working.

This evening when I got home, my neighbor dropped by to talk about a car show we went to yesterday. Yes, it is car show season again. This summer I hope to visit of a few of them:

1. Cullman - May 13th.
2. Jubilee Ballon Festival. (Cars and Tractors!)
3. The big one at the Delphi Plant. (Several hundred vehicles!)
4. The air cooled VW show. (My favorite show in 2006)
5. WBC

Anymore ?

Saturday, April 28, 2007


The next post was written while watching Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man's Chest.

That probably means it is full of lies, misspellings, and bad grammar.

Avast yea matey.
Test Drive

Yesterday was indeed a success. I managed to get the Miata's oil changed. Something weird happened in the process.

For some reason, the oil changing guy sprayed brake cleaner under the hood in the approximate location of the oil filter. A few minutes later he sprayed some water in the same location. I would have suspected they simply washed the filter instead of replacing it, but the mark I put on the filter with a Sharpie was no longer there afterwards. For that reason I think they actually replaced the filter.

Yes, very odd.

I left work Friday about a half hour early to go drive the beamers at the Century BMW Ultimate Drive charity event. I didn't have much time so I only got to drive 3 cars.

1. BMW 328XI - All wheel drive. I drove this one first because when I first got in line the line was about 50 folks long. Because I had just arrived they offered it to me no waiting. I had wanted to drive a 335XI last year, when I drove the 335 but they didn't have one one the lot. The loop was 7.4 miles long. The sun roof was open. I improved the environment by dropping the front windows and turning off the radio. And I pressed the Sport button for the transmission. Zoom-a-zoom-a-zoom. This car was OK, but not for me. It has always been my impression that BMWs are geared fairly low with very responsive brakes. This car matched my previous impression.

2. BMW Z4 Coupe - I took this car next again because it was offered to me while I was still pretty far back in line. I would have preferred the convertible, but all the convertibles were in high demand. The Z4 Couple seemed like a tight fit for little ole me. I again drove with the radio off and the windows down. Unfortunately it had no sun roof. While merging onto I565 I was passed two lanes out by a guy in a 328. Later he told me he hit 135 during this sprint. This part of the loop was essentially an on ramp, about a quarter mile, and then an on ramp. During this drive I was very fortunate not to get hit by some crazy guy driving an older gray Century with a couple of dents in it. For some reason this guy started to swerve over in front of me before realizing I was there. He then swerved back into his lane and locked up his brakes momentarily. The guy behind him nearly rear ended the century. This all happened in a matter of a couple of seconds. All this time I was driving at a constant law abiding speed, sticking to lane 3 of 4. Honest.

Back in line again, I decided to wait for my choice of cars this time. The girl passing out the cars continued to remind us we had time for one more loop. A woman who had been driving all day, literally 7 hours, recommended I go for the 650 convertible. Brian had recommended this car also. I was ready, I was at the front of the line, and the car was driving into the parking lot. Pay dirt! Not so fast. At precisely this moment, a dude walked up that had pre-registered to drive this car. The pre-registered folks had priority. Doh!

They offered me a 750 at this point. I had been eyeing the 750 just because it was so big and I had not been in a car of this magnitude. But I decided to stick to my guns. I was waiting on the 650. And wait I did. At the front of the line. About 15 minutes later the 650 was back. It was mine this time.

3. 650 Convertible. Sweet. Topless, 2 doors, and four seats. This was a very drivable car. At this point Friday afternoons rush hour traffic was in full force.
At every light along the loop I got to sit through one more more light cycles. No worries though, I was stylin' in the big-ole-beamer with the top down and it was a very pleasant 70 F. Again the radio was off. I preferred the peace and quiet over top-forty commercials on the radio. When I returned to the dealer ship, I passed the car to the next guy, who was also the last guy to go out in a car that day. I really enjoyed driving this car.

Had I had the opportunity to drive one more car, I thing I would have gone with the 750 over the other convertibles.

After finishing up the drive, they sent me inside to grab a t-shirt and sign the SUV. They only had L sized shirts remaining. I took one anyway thinking I could give it to Ginger. I also signed the SUV. I looked for Mr. Miata's signature but I didn't find it.

And then I drove home in my shiney red Miata with white racing stripes.

I know you must be concerned that I left work early yesterday. Don't worry about it. I made up for it by putting in a full day today. And tomorrow.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I just saw a link on Digg titled How To Live Comfortably in 96 Sq Ft Of Space (Pics).

And here is a link to the guys web site.

I think these houses all need a tiny garage with a (older) Mini parked inside.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Posts have been somewhat scarce around here lately. I would blame it on work, but work is not the direct cause, it is merely an indirect cause.

The increased amount of work time recently has decreased my extra-curricular activities.

No truck time means no posts about the GMC.

No cruising time, no rambling about the Miata.

No call from the pottery supply store, means no write up about back yard metal casting.

Tomorrow is looking like 70 and a mere 20 percent chance of rain.

Perhaps tomorrow I will write about an oil change for the Miata, or a test drive in a beamer convertible. And the Charger still needs to have the tires rotated.

Four days and counting, No diet drinks. This afternoon I tried a cup of hot peach flavored green tea. How is that for different?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The First Day Is The Hardest

At least I hope so. Having unsweetened tea with lunch was no big deal, but water throughout the day is boring. Sometimes you just want something with a little umph, the Jim Beam burn that you can only get from an ice cold Coca Cola. Unfortunately I don't really recall what that is like. It has been several years since I had a regular cola, and on that occasional is was a little flat. (I don't think you can actually get the Jim Beam burn from Jim Beam.)

Mike mentioned in a comment that he has been hitting the juice bottle. Don't do it man! Fruit juice has more calories per ounce than soda. Sure it is supposed to be good for you too, but if you strictly swap 12 oz. of DP for 12 oz. of juice, you net savings is no good. Now if you swap 6 cans of DP for 5 glasses of water and one bottle of juice your doing OK, but why would anyone want to do that? {End of rhetorical Question}

Back to the water torture. And it's raining today to. That makes my Miata sad.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


This morning I decided to give up aspartame. Why? It just seemed like a good idea. Perhaps this will force me to drink more water.

Yesterday I read another one of those scary articles recently that talks about the possible side effects. Basically it said the stuff will make you stupid. Does one need another reason?

Several years ago I gave up regular sodas because I decided I didn't need the extra calories. I generally avoid fruit juice for the same reason. Milk, beer, and wine all belong here also but I occassionaly make exceptions. Actually, I have been having a glass of red wine every night, but it is purely medicinal.

So to recap, no regular sodas, no diet sodas, skip the juice, etc. What does that leave?

Water, coffee, tea. I usually limit myself to two cups of coffee a day, otherwise I get the jitters.

Now it is just water and tea. Unsweetened of course. Unless I am Thomas Pitt BBQ, then one must definitely have the sweet tea, on the rare occassion.

H20. Pretty exciting.

More tea sir? Yes, definitely.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Work, work, work. Work has been keeping me very busy. Not much else to say. Work, work, work.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Some how I overlooked this one so I will mention it now. I have now had the Charger 1 year, 1 week, and four days.

After a year of driving it, I would say I like it as much or more as I did when I first got it.

The odometer is currently just over 7000 miles.

I have had the Miata for 3 years, and 4 days shy of a month.

I would tell you how long I have had the GMC pickup but Ginger says it does not count as a vehicle simply because it is undriveable. Perhaps I should count the number of truck pieces I have instead.

GMC Update: Last Wednesday I receive a rebuild kit for the rear differential. Hopefully I can get those parts out of the bucket soon.
Summary For iMike

I am home again. The camping trip went well though the weather tried not to co-operate.

For Fridays hike it, we had temperatures in the low 60s. Almost perfect. The hike in was uneventful, except for a broken bottle of pepper sauce at the parking lot.

Friday evenings meal was the traditional ribeye. That was 5 pounds we were definitely willing to hike in.

Saturday we had a thunderstorm. At one point I heard a thunder clap that lasted no less than 30 continous seconds.

A couple guys (David and Alan) went for a hike Saturday morning. They were out when the bottom fell out. Even with parkas, they were totally drenched. The rest of us (myself, Billy, and Chad) hung around camp and kept the fire burning. This was a bit of a challenge at times.

Saturday during the rain storm I had a drip in the tent and a small puddle accumlated. This was resolved by simply tensioning up the rain fly. This is a rookie mistake, so I had no excuse. Chad had a drip problem also. His sleeping bag ended up getting wet. I think he came pretty close to burning the tent instead of packing it out.

Sunday mornings was cold. How cold? Don't know. But it warmed up some before the snow started to fall. The snow changed to sleet and then back to a very heavy wet snow. The view over the gorge was pretty awesome with the heavy snow.

Sunday morning we heard a wild Turkey call. Didn't see it though. Actually other than a few ants, we didn't see any creatures.

We saw one other group of campers. They were hiking in Saturday afternoon during the rain. They were headed for one of the other primitive camp sites. Their destination had been undersireable to us. It did not allow campfires. What is camping without a campfire?

The oven got put to good use. We baked bread, muffins, CC cookies, and brownies. Saturday night we had Jambo and red beans and rice.

The cold weather from this morning stuck with me all day. This evening I was still chilled when we went out for dinner, even though it was a warmer 55 degrees outside.

I had a good weekend and I am glad to be home. I enjoyed a warm shower and a nice nap this afternoon. I bet I will sleep good tonight also.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Three Day Weekend

Yesterday went by very fast. I had a full day for sure. I believe I ace'd the final and as far as I can tell, I managed to acquire everything at Wal-Mart that I needed for the camping trip. I also remembered to purchase the mandatory civil war re-enactment supplies.

At this point everything is packed and I am waiting for my ride.

Camp Oven 3.0 is making the trip again. Check it out. I suppose I should post another picture of it packed down. Don't hold your breathe.

That is all.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I hadn't put much thought into what I might muse about tonight.

I have a final tomorrow and I just assumed I would procrastinate for a while and then eventually do a little bit of studying eventually giving up and going to be because it was my bedtime, not so much because I was actually done.

I did procrastinate for a while. I could have started the study session when I got home. Looking back on it, had I done so I would have been done by dinner.

I think that perhaps I use my finely honed skill of procrastinating to keep from over doing the studying.

I did finally get out the books around 8:00 PM. By 10:00 I decided I had done enough.

And so here I sit, trying not to use the phrase bloggers block, when it was really just poor planning on my part. I assumed that I simply wouldn't have time to wax poetic tonight. As you can see I was both right and wrong. I had the time but there is nothing poetic about this, eh? [Note to self, look up the etymology of the term 'wax poetic'.]

Tomorrow will be a busy day indeed. Lunch will be a magical mystery tour for sure. After work, I will be heading to Athens to take the final. Following the final will be the traditional after-the-final-Mexican-food dinner. And after filling up on refried beans it is off Wal-Mart for the traditional pre-camping-trip-trip-to-Wal-Mart-gosh-I-can't-believe-it's-midnight-already I need some stuff for the camping trip shopping spree.

And then Friday morning I will venture into the dark recesses of the attic to retrieve my gear so that I can begin packing.

There is only a 40% chance of Thunderstorms on Saturday.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Winter Wonderland

This past week I decided it was time to turn on the sprinkler system. The grass is turning green and I didn't want to be left out.

My neighbor has been reading again. He told me that one long "rain" would be better for the roots than three or four shorter "rain" showers.

Armed with this information, I decided to to reprogram the sprinkler to run one day a week, instead of three. I decided Sundays would be a good day.

Yesterday morning as we were heading out, I noticed the sprinkler had run for the first time. The driveway was wet around the edges. The grass, flowers, shrubs, and some of the lower tree branches were covered with ice. By the time we got back home, the ice had all melted and the water had all dried up. It is a shame I didn't get a pictures of the last freeze of the year.

For the record, it was about 80 the day I reprogrammed the sprinkler.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Obligatory Friday Post

The weather has been less than desirable for the last couple of days. Cloudy, windy, and 30-50 degrees F. For fifty, it feels pretty cold. The Miata has been screaming to be taken out so that it can show off it's new stripes.

Next weekend I am going camping. I purchased a new MSR cook kit for the trip. Shiney stainless steel is so pretty. Six days until departure.

My mother-in-law is visiting for the weekend. She likes it when I mention her in my blog. Actually I think she is staying a whole week.

I have a final next Thursday and then I will be done with school for 6 weeks I believe. That will be a nice little vacation.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


A 12 bolt GM differential with a 3.07 gear ratio. Forty three teeth on the carrier, 14 on the pinion.

(43/14 = 3.0714285714285714285714285714286)

GM 12 Bolt Differential

Insides outside in a bucket.

GM 12 Bolt Differential Carrier in a bucket
Ten, Nine, Eight

The count down to the spring camping trip is now under way. Did I forget to mention the camping trip?

It's another one of those trips where we hike into the woods with a back pack full of everything needed to get by for a few days. The head count for this trip appears to be in the neighborhood of 5 or 6. Down from the dozen we had last time. We have one newbie on this trip. He gets to carry the dutch oven and the 14" cast iron skillet.

Several friends have declined the invitation purely because they didn't want to do the hike it. They prefer car camping.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Miata Mods

Miata Stripes, Front View

Racing stripes, tint strip across the top of the windshield, and the style bar. Zoom Miata, zoom.

Miata Stripes, Rear View

It appears I am not done after all. I forgot to put the strip on the center section in the back, either side of the tag. And the Mazda badge on the front end.
My Helpers

My Helpers
Copy Cat

After another 5 hours of effort the stripes are complete.

Final opinion: Good enough.