Ma Blog‎ > ‎2009‎ > ‎


September 30th I dropped some stuff off at Fedex, then went and met Vic for lunch. On the way, I saw the police response to this, which ended up being a smallish fire.

After lunch, I went and took the to see how far away we are for the bi-annual smog test. It failed on the NOx levels, and it's also a bit high in the hydrocarbons, so it seems that it likely needs a new catalytic converter. The guy in the testing centre said sure, an aftermarket one could quite probably want replacing after 3 years, and Sara at Stephan's Autohaus concurs. Scary, seeing as the list price for the aftermarket ones is around $500, due to some testing nonsense that means Californian ones are unlike any other state's catalytic converters. Oh well, the hunt for a new cat begins. When I got in the van to drive home, the check engine light and the charging system light didn't go out. I figured that the drive home would be OK, and got home fine. I got my tester out, and it looked like the alternator's gone, but then I noticed a missing plug - finding and reconnecting that fixed everything. I'm assuming that some piece of testing kit plugs in there. I'm glad that at least was trivial :o)

September 29th After spraying weed killer on the grass, I needed something to do for a while before Tilly went out and played, so I decided to do some fiddling with the media centre PC. I've pulled out the 8400GS graphics card, as it runs hot and I don't need anything that fast. I tried the G965 that came on the motherboard, but that doesn't have the resolution that I wanted. I tried 1280x720, but the scaling made that a little blurry, so I put in the old 7300GS card that I'd had in there pre-Vista. Works fine. The IR setup I'd ordered finally came in, so now I can run the whole thing from the remote control - peachy.

I got the latest electrickry bill, and in September, the solar panels generated 101KWh more than we used. I think February was the last time we paid for electricity :o)

I was just getting into the garage to get the YSR fired up and look at things when Vic got home from work, so I put that away for the moment. Looks like it's still holding oil though :o)

September 28th I checked the YSR and it looks like the gasket isn't leaking any more, cool. I then met a guy to sell him the old stock steel wheels from the Subaru, and another guy bought the old "g" wireless router. At this rate, I'll be junkless by Xmas. 2064.

September 27th It lives - the YSR started straight up and didn't immediately drop it's guts all over the floor. We'll see if it holds it overnight before I start getting too excited. I took the DRZ out to sell a 4 port router to some clown a dude.

I also cooked bagel dogs - you just wrap the bagel dough around a hot dog :o)

September 26th Vic was teaching a critter class at the SPCA, so I went to work on the YSR. I got the new oil feed line in, and the gasket all sealed and set up. I've filled it with oil, but I'll leave it a while before starting it.

I then sat down and listed a bunch of networking stuff I don't need any more on Craigslist, so hopefully I can get rid of that.

September 25th After running a bunch of errands, we ended up with the stuff we needed for a barbecue, so we barbecued. It's looking like the shops are moving to winter, as they have less space for barbecue meat, and more for chili. Vince and Gwen made it over, and a reasonable time was had by all.

September 24th I drained the oil out of the YSR, only to find that it looks like the whole bottom of the gasket's been leaking. Great. I also found that the oil line from the pump to the carb is split, so I need to replace that before I can put everything back together.

September 23rd I started the day on the roof, cleaning the solar panels. Vic cycled to work, so I drove the Subaru over so we could go to lunch. Then I cycled over in the evening so we could cycle home together. I've decided that maybe my headlight shouldn't use rechargeable batteries, as it goes through a set just cycling to and from the SPCA.

September 22nd After getting the usual Tuesday chores out of the way, I went and started peering at the YSR. I fired it up to find that a) it still runs and b) it still leaks oil. There's also something odd about the wiring, as everything seems to be getting the 3V that the battery is putting out as soon as the key's turned, regardless of the switch positioning. I'm going to have to drain the oil to look at the leak (past the new gasket, but at least I should be able to see where), so I've lost motivation again for the moment.

September 21st After meeting Vince and Ken for breakfast, we took the motorcycles for a bit of a ride. I got to try out the new seat on the DRZ, and while it's better, it's not what you'd call good. Oh well, at least I have something to play about with as I try and make it better. Er.

September 20th We went to a donor reception thingy for the SPCA, which involved dressing up a bit more than usual. So, of course, my beard trimmer jammed half way through shaving. I had to shave like 2 weeks' growth with a blade. There was blood. I've unjammed it now, of course, but couldn't in time to stop the blood.

September 19th Arrr, today be Talk Like A Pirate Day.

We had an hour's power cut this afternoon - the first I can remember for quite a while. I learned a couple of things:

  • I don't like losing 2KWh of power generation :o)
  • It's OK having a battery backup for the VOIP router, but the cordless phones refuse to work when the base station has no power. And there are no wired phones in the house.
  • Sod's law says it'll happen when you're running down your laptop battery, so you can't even play solitaire. No, I don't believe I have a pack of cards in the house.
  • Still, if I had a battery backup for the wireless router, We wouldn't have been without the interwebs.
  • The timer on the sprinkler system resets to midnight, so when the power comes back on, the garden gets watered.
Oh well, a learning experience.

In the evening Rik mailed to say he was going rollerskating, and did we want to come? Sure, why not. Because I can't rollerskate, that's why not. He sad to be there at 8, which we were. We didn't see then, so we went in. And started skating. Badly. Rik showed up at 9 - they'd been doing Jaeger shots in the car park, so were feeling no pain. I only crashed twice, which makes it as successful as my YSR racing, but I know I'm going to feel it in the morning.

September 18th I fussed around with the entertainment centre and removed all the extra wiring that we don't need any more. I've shuffled the shelves around so that the media PC fits in there properly. I'm still waiting for the IR remote stuff to arrive so that we can control it from the couch, and I think I'll end up having to replace the flaky wireless adapter, but I'm calling it good. I also moved the AppleTV into the bedroom, so we can watch Hulu in bed should we wish.

September 17th Vic cycled to work for a change, so in the evening I pulled out my bike, put some air in the tyres and cycled over to meet her. Rechargeable batteries in the lights don't seem to be the best idea, as they were basically done for by the time we got home, but it was nice to get some aerobic exercise. Of course, I got there just as she was starting to leave, meaning no rest for the wicked :o)

September 16th I fitted the "new" seat to the DRZ, and it looks pretty shabby. I'm not sure if it'll be more comfortable (without an iron spike, I don't see that it can be less), but I see me using it to try and fix the main comfort problems, then maybe get it recovered or something.

September 15th I spent a little time changing a gasket and oil seal on the YSR - now I've just to to see if it still leaks oil. Oh, and figure out the electrical gremlins before re-registering it.

I spent some time looking at new desktop PCs to replace my old one, but for the moment I'm going to try just using my Netbook. Other than video editing and possibly World of Warcraft in the winter, I should be OK without a desktop. It'll be fun playing WoW on the big screen TV :o)

I picked up a cheap seat for the DRZ, and we'll see if I can make it any more comfortable to ride any sort of distance.

September 14th I spent the afternoon setting my PC up in the family room, connected to the TV. I've bought a TV tuner card, and now I'm using this PC with Windows Media Cent[er|re] to record TV. And watch Hulu (it calls Hulu desktop via a WMC hack). And listen to music. And look at pictures we've taken, or videos we've shot. So far, I'm happy enough with it - I just need to get a remote control receiver for it.

In the evening, Vince came over, showed no enthusiasm for my work, and ate charred beast.

September 13th We woke up in the van at around 7:30, so I took Tilly for a walk before breakfast. After breakfast, we played with the blocked black water tank in Fred's 5th wheel, and eventually drained that. We swapped the battery between the quads, and that solved the gear changing, so it's either time for a new battery, or a charging system problem. We headed out around lunch time, and got home to just crash out.

In the evening, we got around to watching the very good Thank You For Smoking before having a well deserved early night.

September 12th I got up at about 7am, and devanned to take Tilly for a walk. When we got back about an hour later, nobody was up and around, so I gave Tilly her breakfast, and headed out again. About an hour later when we got back, apparently everybody was looking for me. Ooops. I got sorted out, we left the tired dog with her aunty Marsha and headed out on the quads. We rode to Stirling Lake, then on to a lookout post from the old days of train travel, and had lunch. Then back, across a couple of patches where I had to get off and let Vic ride the quad over some obstacle or another without my lardness on board. Fred's quad was having problems with the battery, so he was having to use the manual gear shifter by now, which is a pain, as it's not really designed that well. We got back all filthy as usual, and took showers before dinner. Tilly had been "very good"... amazing.

September 11th We were going camping with Fred and Marsha up at Emigrant Gap, so we spent the morning getting ourselves sort of organised, and packing up the van. We drove up there, and played with Tilly until she was tired enough to get some semblance of sleep.

September 9th In the afternoon I went over to the airfield and pulled the Rans out for a run around the area. Now it's started to get dark earlier, I took off at 4pm, and it was quite unpleasantly bumpy. I'm thinking Tilly'll just have to have her supper late when I go flying, so I can take off at around 6pm (suppertime).

September 8th As it's been cooler for a couple of days, I got some weed killer and sprayed the crab grass in the back garden (it needs to be below 90F). I now just wait to see if it kills the good grass, or has no effect at all.

September 7th It was Labo(u)r Day here, when Americans celebrate the successes of the unions by going shopping and complaining that the government's trying to force them to have free health care.

As the weather was nice in Novato, Vince flew the GT-400 down there, and I drove his truck down to pick him up. On the way back, we stopped off at Ivan's in Richmond to collect an electric starter for another of Vince's customers.

September 6th The plan was to drop a Quicksilver GT-400 to Gnoss, but winds blowing 20mph, gusting up to 30 knocked that on the head. So, we went to breakfast, then just wasted the day.

September 5th Vince came over and we went to the airfield so he could check out a GT400 he's going to deliver to Gnoss (near Novato) tomorrow.

September 4th After washing the solar panels, I wasted the day reading Cracked.
As I didn't get out and buy supplies, we took Vince out to dinner, then watched Cloverfield. WTF was that thing, and did we kill it? According to the end of the IMDB synopsis, it might have come down with a satellite, and no, we didn't...