I’ve had my iPhone 6 for over two weeks now, and I have to say I’m impressed. It’s bigger, yes, and slipperier–the first thing I did was buy a Skech case for it, which I like–but having touch recognition is frickin’ magic. iOS 8 is much peppier on upgraded hardware, obviously. It’s amazing how much difference three years’ technology makes. The screen is huge compared to the 4s–the difference in pixel density alone is tremendous. I took some time to consolidate five screens worth of icons down to two, which meant I ditched some stuff along the way, but I haven’t bought anything new to add.

I took in the Superbowl last night at my neighbors’, in front of three widescreens. I was the only one rooting for the Seahawks, mostly because I don’t like the Patriots all that much. It turned out to be a fantastic game, and I thought the Patriots had sealed things up in the last three minutes. When the Seahawks drove down the field, I was thinking we were going to see a miraculous comeback. As it turned out, I was wrong–and I still can’t believe the play they called.

Date posted: February 2, 2015 | Filed under apple, general | Leave a Comment »

As it turns out, all the work I did on LED marker lights is pretty much for naught. The spares I have in my bin are all set up with 12″ disconnects, which would presumably be accessible right inside the fender well. Not so with Peer Pressure. The wires go directly into the inner fender and a wrapped loom which joins with the headlight harness, so I’ll be going with LED bulbs instead.

On other fronts, I found a sheet of 16 gauge steel at Lowe’s and took some time on Sunday to cut it down to 16″ x 4″ sections for seat mounts. It’s still rough and needs to be cleaned up, but once that’s done I’ll prime and paint it, and drill mounting holes. I have two sets of  spare bases in the garage. One set is pretty well shot–the lip on the bottom is eaten away with rust around the mounting bolts, but it’s got all the ratcheting hardware intact. The second set is in better shape, but needs to be cleaned up, primed, and painted. So I’ll set that aside for when I get a day with decent temperatures.

Date posted: February 2, 2015 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off

My father, sister and I

Date posted: January 30, 2015 | Filed under family, photo | Leave a Comment »

…No, we didn’t actually buy a new car. On Friday morning, on the way to the train station, we didn’t make it more than 100 feet out of the driveway when we realized something was very wrong with the Accord. It turned out the passenger front tire was flat. We parked it on the side of the road and hustled back to the CR-V and Mama got me to the station on time. Later, she got it back in the driveway before the snow (and, thus, the plows) started falling. And there it sat. Today I pumped the bad tire back up, made sure it held air, and arranged for two new tires to be installed. Finn and I brought some reading material to the garage, and a painless hour later we were back on the road. The old tires were probably OEM, given their wear pattern, so I feel much better about driving it.

Later in the afternoon Finn and I transferred my Irish Stout to the secondary, and it measures out at 4.75% ABV. It tastes good too. It’s been sitting since early November, so another couple of months in the secondary and then conditioning until next fall, and it’ll be perfect. The IPA is done bubbling but I’ll let that sit one more week before I do anything.

Date posted: January 26, 2015 | Filed under brewing, cars | Leave a Comment »

The yeast in my session IPA kicked in with a vengeance on Monday night, which brings me a sigh of relief. There’s at least 2″ of krauzen at the top of the carboy and it hasn’t slowed down since it started.

Jen tells me my new iPhone is sitting in a box on my desk–just in time. I think my 4S knows its time is up, because battery life has plunged off a cliff in the last week or so. However, the case I ordered (and fancy touchscreen gloves) won’t be here until tomorrow.

Not much else happening on the home front. It’s been too cold to do anything on the house, and schedules just haven’t worked out to get anything done on the weekend. I’m getting itchy…

Date posted: January 21, 2015 | Filed under apple, brewing | Leave a Comment »

I’ve always had a lot of projects planned for the Scout. I tend to research a particular improvement, gather the materials together to get the project started, and then wait patiently for the time to get it done. As a result I’ve got a ton of stuff laying around and no idea where to start (or what I’ve got, as some of the stuff has been laying around here for a while). So here’s an unordered, unfinished list to get everything out of my head and into one place: something else to consider is the money I’ve put into these projects without getting anything done. It’s time to make some progress before I buy anything else. So, without further preamble:

  • Install new steering wheel. I’ve got the wheel and a puller. I’m stalled on this for time, and because the puller wasn’t working correctly; I need two longer grade 8 bolts to screw into the retainer plate to get the factory wheel off. I also want to replace the ignition lock barrel and the turn signal cam while I’m in there.
  • New side indicator lights. I’ve got one completed. I need to pull the headlight bucket out to reach the disconnect behind the inner fender so that I can unplug the original and replace it with the new one.
  • Mounting the Rotopax. I have to cut a metal plate for the backside of the fender, pull the rear taillight, and see if I can reach inside the fender to properly screw in the mount. Otherwise I’m a bit stumped as to how to get in there (maybe through the speaker hole?)
  • Mounting new seats. I’ve got the seats. I need to repair or replace my bases, and drill into the seats to properly mount them to the bases. Then I can put them in. They need a good cleaning, too.
  • Hydroboost. I have the reservoir, the standoff plate, and all the hoses and fittings. I need someone who’s done it before to help me put it in.
  • Slider windows and weatherstripping. I have new seals and sliders sitting in the garage. I need some warm weather to loosen up the rubber and some Eastwood rust encapsulator to clean up the window openings.
  • New side rail covers. I bought these last summer and haven’t had the balls to drill into them yet. They need to be primed and painted.

So unless some kind of miracle combination of time, money, or opportunity comes along and I inherit a car-sized paint booth, adopt an engine mechanic, or win the lottery, I’m going to try and get these jobs accomplished this year before I tackle anything else. That is, of course, if nothing breaks.

Date posted: January 19, 2015 | Filed under Future Plans, Scout | Comments Off

Jen and I ventured out to the AT&T store today to have our individual plans combined into one family plan. Some back of the envelope math revealed that we’ve been paying too much individually when we could combine our bill and get a decent discount. The representative at the store suffered from an annoying speech impediment, so understanding what she was telling us was difficult at least. What we saw on the initial bill changes drastically when the phone company adds all of their taxes and fees and charges and double-secret fines, so our takeaway is that we might save some money, but we might not save a whole lot. It remains to be seen.

While we were there I pulled the trigger on a new 64GB iPhone 6. AT&T has three different ways to buy a phone: the standard subsidy model, the buy-it-outright model, and something they call AT&T Next, which is supposed to be geared towards a two-year upgrade plan, but seemed like bullshit to me. The rep couldn’t explain it well enough for me to understand, so I opted for the subsidy. Of course, they didn’t have a phone for me to take home, so I’ve got to wait until the middle of this week to have it delivered. In the meantime I’m going to have Amazon send me a case, because I’ve heard they’re very easy to drop on their own. Then my trusty, slow 4s will be unlocked and sold on Craigslist, where it looks like I can get anywhere from $125-175 for it. It pays to take care of your equipment.

I sat down with my UMBC advisor on Saturday and went over the synopsis of the class, which seems pretty cut and dry. I’m still a wee bit nervous but I think it’s going to be good. My one worry is the amount of time I’ll need to spend on the road, which is going to take me away from the office at a very busy time. We’ve been going nonstop since last summer, and it’s going to take a lot of work to keep on top of everything.

Meanwhile, I’ve got to brush up on some reading and find some bits of inspiration to offer the class. The heavy hitters will be

Thinking With Type, Ellon Lupton
Designing With Type, James Craig
Canon, Massimo Vignelli

There are many more I want to add here; I need to spend some time going through our library and pick out some other heroes.

Peer Pressure got run up for the first time in two weeks on Saturday, and I took her downtown and back (a short trip). My intention has been to get out into the garage and get some work done on her, but it’s just been too goddamn cold.

I brewed a batch of Conundrum Session IPA last night, which went smooth and easy, up until the point I ran out of ice. I made up the rest of the water amount with our Brita pitcher and set it out on the back porch to cool down for an hour, which did the job pretty well. This batch has 3 oz. of hops, which means the bottom 2″ of the fermenter is nothing but sludge. Hopefully the yeast will kick in tonight and I’ll get a replacement for my current keg going.The Irish Stout hasn’t moved since I brewed it in November, so I’ll transfer that to the secondary this afternoon and clean up the pail. And I think I’ll buy a Hefeweizen kit this week and get that one started so that the kegs are full and fresh when the weather starts warming up.

Date posted: January 19, 2015 | Filed under art/design, brewing, geek | Leave a Comment »

Linda, this one is for you:

Free Han Solo in Carbonite Replica, from Craigslist.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 12.57.34 PM

Date posted: January 15, 2015 | Filed under geek, humor | 1 Comment »

I bought a cheap Harbor Freight dremel last weekend and cut down the outside housing of the LED lights I got from Amazon; they are about 3/4″ deep shipped, and about 1/8″ too wide all the way around the outer perimeter. Once I’d cut and sanded down the edges, the light fit flush into the outer bezel. It’s not perfect, and not pretty, but it works. Pulling the originals out of the buckets, though, it appears the quick connect at the end of the wire is actually inside the inner fender, so in order to swap these out I’d need to (probably) pull the headlight out of its bucket to access the inner fender.

LED light, back

LED light, front

Given all the work this took, I may take Mike’s advice and just buy LED bulbs to replace the rest of the incandescents.

Date posted: January 13, 2015 | Filed under Repairs, Scout | Comments Off

Well, the Ravens lost to the Patriots on Saturday afternoon, which is kind of a bummer. I think I’m more surprised they made it this far and played as well as they did based on their regular season performance, but it was a great game and they didn’t fold up and blow away. Events kept me from the rest of the divisional playoff games, but I read the highlights from the Packers/Cowboys game and wish I’d seen it.

We took in the game in our neighbors’ basement media room with the kids being watched by a babysitter upstairs. That was a very comfortable arrangement. The girl who watched them is the daughter of a woman who will be giving Finn piano lessons shortly. We know her from the church across the street; she was one of Finn’s counselors during summer camp a couple of years ago. Our hope is that Finn finds the piano interesting and takes to the lessons. This is a child who is always humming bits of music to herself, something I think she gets from her old man (the earworm bug). She can listen to the score of a movie playing over the end credits and identify its sections by scene (“this is the part where Toothless meets Hiccup”) so her musical retention and comprehension is as strong as her reading comprehension.

So, remember when my sister contacted me about missingmoney.com? I sent my information in a few weeks before Thanksgiving and everything went silent for a while. Last week I got a check from Maryland with no explanation, no note, or idea of what happened. But hey, free money!

Date posted: January 12, 2015 | Filed under finn, money | Leave a Comment »