Aug. 20th, 2008
10:00 pm - Florida vacation pt 4
Time to head home. We all had a bit too much sun, so we explored a bit in the car after check out. We visited the state park at the easternmost side of Perdido Key and sat in the pavilion. The kids sketched on canvas for later painting. I took a walk along a nature trail and fantasised about canoeing in the bay.
We headed to Pensacola Beach on the way out. Kai wanted to look for shells which we saw last time there. We had lunch at our favorite restaurant in the city of Pensacola, then bought seafood at Joe Patti's again. We packed the seafood in our cooler and headed back to ATL.
Aug. 19th, 2008
10:00 pm - Florida vacation pt 3
Today we headed back to the same beach as yesterday, but equipped with snorkel gear. We explored around the jetty they are building. I was able to spot many fish and about 8 crabs hiding amongst the rocks. Some fish were even a bit tropical in coloring. Yumiko and I altered with a single set of gear and the kids also played a bit too with varrying degrees of success.
Later that day we headed back to the condo and hung around the pool. I talked to a retired Gentleman who was also from NJ and lived in Duluth, GA for a while. Yumiko went for a walk and reported crabs in the shallow water.
Everyone headed back to the condo and I headed out with the kid's bucket and net and netted 10 golden crabs which we steamed for dinner. Delicious!
Aug. 18th, 2008
10:00 pm - Florida vacation pt 2
Today we headed to the beach in Orange Beach, AL. The kids played in the inlet near the bridge connecting the island where Perdido Key lies with the rest of Alabama.
We were pretty tired in the afternoon, so headed back to the condo to relax before heading off to dinner.
Aug. 17th, 2008
10:00 pm - Florida trip
Today we left early for Perdido Key, FL. Yet another FL mini vacation. We wanted to try somewhere new and based this decision closely from our past expierence with Pensacola Beach.
We arrived too early to check in yet again. We are staying at the Palacio Condos. We decided to drive west until we reached Alabama, then turned around to find a place for lunch.
We stopped at the Flora-bama which is known as the last great American roadhouse. It was early and deserted, but interesting place that turns out had been partially destroyed in Hurricane Ivan. The food was great and we sat in the lower section in the air conditioning.
I started to think of the name and recalled hearing it mentioned in a Jimmy Buffet song. Later I scanned my collection quickly and realized it was mentioned in the song "Ragtop Day" toward the end.
After this we headed back to the condo and attempted early check in. The condo wasn't ready, so we headed for the pool and beach. It remained not ready until about 4:30pm, but no problem, the beach was beatutiful.
Aug. 9th, 2008
11:24 am - Give me a break
Last Monday I noticed the rear brake rotors on the Mustang were getting scored on the outer edge. Looking in it seemed the pads were getting worn, which is interesting because the fronts had not even yet been changed. (I bought pads already for the front but never needed to put them on.)
Last night I yanked the wheel and inspected. I pulled the caliper and sure enough a rivet that holds a retaining clip started to cut into the rotor.
I got pads from AutoZombie yesterday morning on the way to work. The counter guy said "vented or solid rotor" and I stupidly said solid. When I pulled the wheel, I saw the car had vented rear rotors, but the pads looked like they would work.
They didn't. They fit, but they were just too thick. It turns out the 94-04 GT calipers take the same pad, but with more material. The Cobra takes a thinner pad of the same design to make room for the rotor. They shouldn't have asked the question because it turns out all Cobras had vented rotors.
I returned the pads this morning, but they didn't even have the correct ones. Off I went to Mustangs Unlimited, but they didn't have a single Cobra rear pad in stock - not even the Motocraft ones. Since I was already part way to Lawrenceville, I went to Advance Auto on 120. The retards at there said they'd need to special order them. Off I went to Lawrenceville to Main Auto Parts and they had a set of decent quality pads, so I got them along with a new set of spark plugs. I was going to zip into Pep Boys, but bypassed them for an old school parts house. I shall go back there.
Jul. 27th, 2008
09:10 pm - Can you canoe?
Today, the Shoji family, which will return to Japan gave us a canoe. We met for lunch and then headed to the Chattahoochee. We dipped the canoe in and Nobu (Shoji-san), Keita (his son), Kai and I set off. The girls went shopping. We canoed from State Hwy 120 to Medlock Bridge Road.
We mostly just kept the canoe straight and relaxed. Paddling wasn't explicitly necessary. The river was very calm for the most part. The boys mostly behaved themselves and we stayed upright. The water was surprisingly chilly and I'm guessing it was only about 60 degrees F.
The canoe is a bit heavy. I could just barely get it off the roof of the Toyota myself. It is also very big at 16 feet. I put it in the basement and it is taking up pretty much my whole shop area. It just barely fit through the door at the angle necessary to get inside. I need to get some hooks and pulleys to get it up into the rafters when not in use.
Jul. 18th, 2008
11:00 pm - DTV Part 2
I got another Channel Master tuner at Fry's. This time I really lucked out. Fry's put them on sale for $59.99, so with my Government money it was only $19.99. The tax was based off $59.99, so even though the feds are giving me a break, the state collects on the full amount still.
This one plugged right up and worked great upstairs. I also got a few wall adapters, so I can plug 3 things in simultaneously. Downstairs we had it on a switched outlet and it kept loosing its channels every time someone switched the switch off.
Jul. 11th, 2008
11:00 pm - Digital TV transition.
We have been using rabbit ears for TV since the beginning of time. When I was single, I decided that I'd forgo paying for cable TV and put the money saved toward a VCR. After a few months I eventually bought the VCR and never missed cable, so I just kept the antenna.
With the upcoming transition to Digital TV, I was nervous about picking up anything at all. Our TV reception in the Duluth house has always been very spotty and a bit annoying. We've been on the fence about getting cable, but we don't really watch enough TV to justify it.
Well, I finally sent off for my $40 government subsidized coupons for a digital tuner. The coupons came Monday and I went off to Fry's today to grab a Channel Master CM-7000. They had an open box for $76.95, so I walked out the door for under $40 after tax.
I plugged it in and it scanned for channels automatically and did an EXCELLENT job with picking up channels. Some channels that are problematic downstairs come in very nicely. Our local ABC affiliate on ch 2 wouldn't come in at all and now is crystal clear. (Oh Babwa what did I ever do without you?) The FOX affiliate on ch 5 was marginal before and is now also very clear. Some channels require messing about with the antenna to tune, but most of the available channels come in well with just the rabbit ears. I was a bit concerned based on the poor analog reception, but I should have made the transition sooner.
If anything this should keep the family happy for now and keep the cable guy away. February 17th will be just another ordinary winters day next year.
Jun. 29th, 2008
06:30 pm - Laundry room cabinets
I promised Yumiko that I would put up cabinets in the laundry room for our anniversary present. It has been months since then and we finally followed through last weekend to buy the cabinets at IKEA. They are so-so quality, but look nice. The price is very reasonable, so we grabbed 6. I planned to arrange them in a 3x2 matrix with the top row pushed all the way up to the ceiling.
Friday night I assemble them. At least the base cabinets minus the doors. They went together pretty easily, but it always seems to take longer than planned. I staged them in the garage.
Last night they went up on the wall. Being European they aren't designed to work with 16" center studs, so I resorted to hollow wall anchors rated 100lbs each. The cabinets aren't heavy and they won't be loaded full, so I think that'll do. They haven't fallen down yet!
Once they were on the wall I affixed the doors and put the shelves in. The cabinets and wall surface aren't perfect, but I was able to adjust the doors so they line up better. The stacked arrangement made things harder to align and I should have used a framing square when I assembled them. The doors take up the whole front of the cabinet. I'll be much more prepared if we do a kitchenette later in the basement.
Today after a quick trip to Home Depot I added a closet rack below the existing shelf on the opposite wall. I moved the old wire shelf to the garage so we can put "stuff" on them that normally clutters our entrance way. The kids sure bring a lot of clutter in with them and it will be nice to get some of this put away in cabinets and up on shelves.
Jun. 27th, 2008
11:00 pm - Mustang Electric Fan Part 2.1
I decided to test the fan switch that I installed last time. It's not connected to anything yet, so after work I pulled into the garage and clipped some test leads to it. I do have continuity from the switch body to the thermostat housing as well. I was concerned about this, but I guess I broke through the Teflon tape well enough.
I sat and let the car idle a while until the temperature climbed. I just topped off the coolant so it stayed down until I turned the A/C on. When the temp gauge reached the "o" in "Normal" the switch closed! Cool! This is going to work great.
I really need to work on the wiring next before doing the fabrication work.
I've been trying to track down a relay socket unsuccessfully. I guess I'll have to mail order for one. I was surprised to find Fry's no longer had one in stock and none of the big box auto parts stores carried one. I found the selection of electrical connectors to be vastly inferior to what I found in the past. Bummer.
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