sailing the NorSea


WEEK 24 2014

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Saturday 14 June 2014
Saturday - Well, I tried to smog the beast. In order to heat up the engine (and catalytic converter I think) I decided to drive up to Rosamond and back, on my way to the station. Since it was on Sierra Highway in Lancaster the easiest route was up the freeway, take the offramp in Rosamond, and just come down the old two lane Sierra Highway. So I drove up the valley, got off, and sitting at a light in Rosamond heard the engine get extremely noisy and lose power.

I had blown a spark plug out of the head, again. I've done this before, and in the same town of Rosamond, on April 9th, 1998. Indeed, I initially thought the heli-coil fix in the No.1 cylinder had failed, but this was a different cylinder, No.3, and the plug - while blown out of the orifice - was still attached to the spark plug wire. Weird. I tried to screw it back in - hard to do with an extremely hot spark plug next to an extremely hot exhaust manifold - but it just blew out again after a couple of miles on the road back to Lancaster.

stripped and blown out sparkplug
The spark plug was still attached when I got back to Lancaster.

So, I just limped home on three cylinders. I'm sure it wasn't the best thing for the engine, but I couldn't get anyone on the phone ( Verizon's cell service is still horrible in Rosamond, even after all this time).

So, I'm now looking at about  $94[Registration, already paid] + $50[smog test] + $40[Oil Change ] + $50[new gas in tank] + $250[repairs, est.] = $494.

And, oh yes, the car insurance is due in mid July.

I'm pretty depressed about the whole thing, but I guess, counting my blessings, that I'm lucky it didn't happen out in the boonies on Thursday.

Movie night was the Veronica Mars movie. This was a 'crowd sourced' movie sequel to the TV show of a few years back. It was fun, but a bit uneven and the polish wasn't quite there - as S said, it felt like "a really, really, well made home movie". Heh.

Friday 13 June 2014
Friday - I didn't get to the smog station, other stuff going on, chores and whatnot. 

Thursday 12 June 2014

Thursday - A warm one, in the 90's. I messed around with the Probe in the morning, putting some Lucas in the oil to help free up a stuck lifter, gas cleaner in the gas, then drove it around for a while to let the car heat up and let the stuff work. I drove out to past Red Rock Canyon and back - 160 miles or so, miserable since the a/c doesn't work in that car. Then I took it in and had the oil changed for new stuff. I was going to bring it into the smog check station, but decided to do a bit of on line research into whether an additive would help with the smog test, and never got in.

S called and said the new pads are amazingly better - that's it chilly in her office now. So maybe I'll get a set, if they are in my size. I'd hate to toss the expensive new pads, but that's just the 'sunk cost fallacy'. Having to run two swamp coolers is pretty expensive, and the aspen pads are very cheap!

I did talk to my friend Dave about incorporation issues. He said that California charges $800 minimum state tax per year, plus standard fee's for incorporation filings, so it's really a $825/yr recurring cost. Nevada doesn't have the state tax, but other fee's add up to $325/yr, recurring. And even if you are a Nevada corporation you still have to pay California taxes. Since California lets you put the $800 against the taxes due, it's actually a plus to be a California corporation, though Dave warned that this state is not exactly 'user friendly' when you set things up, unlike Nevada. We'll see.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Wednesday - Yard work morning - cut, whack, edge, gypsum and fertilizer. Hot work that I was hoping to avoid this summer... Ah well, given the employment situation it's better not to be paying someone else. And breaking the job into parts, front and back, reduces the effort to the morning when it's cool.

Not much else going on, worked on the app a bit.

Interestingly I got a call from S. Her office was sweltering, the swamp cooler wasn't up to the job. She talked to her handyman who suggested she ditch the expensive new allergen pads and put in the old style aspen. So she went to Home Depot and asked them, and they agreed - flow through the natural fiber pads was better, so she bought some and will have the handyman put them in. I"m curious, because lack of flow has been the big issue here - the temps are great, but the air throughput is anemic.

Tuesday 10 June 2014
Tuesday - Working away on the app, nothing too exciting or amazing going on there.

The new a/c is working well. It pulls slightly less power than the wall unit, except on "HI", where it pulls almost 100W less. Strange. I ran it all day on low with no problems. I think that new bearings and water pump would be a good investment, just to be on the safe side, but for now it's fine. I think I'll leave it in that west side window - now I need to decide on the height, and how to mount it securely.

It's nice to reclaim a bit of space in the garage.

I also gave the frame for the mechanical a/c another coat - the plywood, in particular, looked like it had never been painted, just 24 hours later!

A howling gale all afternoon, blowing things over in the yard. It also made a weird whistle under the downwind eaves near the upstairs office, which was a bit distracting.

Monday 9 June 2014
Monday - Fiddling about with the swamp coolers. Oiled the bearing in the old wall unit, which started squeaking while I was working on the new unit, so maybe I need to be on a monthly schedule for that stuff. Then there was a temporary install of the window unit. It seems to work well - rather better than the old unit in fact. It was probably 100+F outside and the two units on "low" kept the house at 77F inside. Not bad.

I'll have to check the power usage at some point, but the new unit seems to have more 'flow' than the other unit. For now it's just set into the west window, but re-measuring things I think it would fit in the east window, just clearing the heat exchanger & pad for the house central air. And it would have about 32" of open space above it, so I could set the mechanical a/c in the window above it in the family room.

Hmmm. I sort of like the idea, but then again it's nice having the a/c in the other room - it's not amazingly noisy, but the fan and pump do make a constant noise, it would blow humid air almost directly upon the media center, and of course it provides a noise path for my neighbor's to bug me: lawn mowers, rock-n-roll, parties, barking dogs, etc.

Best to keep that out of the quietest room in the house, the family room.

Worked on the app in the afternoon, updating some of the prompt animation stuff.

I have a little mechanical a/c in that room, but it's noisy and energy inefficient. By opening a window I can get the cool air from downstairs to flow through. Unfortunately that also allows the cats in. I fixed that by putting a little 5' high bookcase in the gap, letting the cool air flow over the top, but keeping cats out. I like the company, but they want to gnaw on the cables and cords...

Amusingly, when I broke for dinner I found the two young cats comfortably curled up on the lower shelfs of the bookcase...

Sunday 8 June  2014
Sunday - I started to recondition that new-to-me swamp cooler. The bearings squealed, so I oiled them up. I cleaned up the bottom, and sprayed it with the tar based protective coating in the morning, then sprayed again in the afternoon to get a good second coat on. I replaced the pads with new material, and checked that the pump worked.

I also pulled the framing for the mechanical a/c out of storage and gave it a brush coat of paint - it really needed it and just soaked up the Rustoleum enamel. I'd looked around for cheaper primer but didn't have any, and didn't feel like driving to the store for it.

It was hot and humid in the morning, then turned very hot in the afternoon - 105F - but the humidity dropped to about 5% and I was getting a delta of 30F out of the existing swamp cooler. Sadly it didn't have enough cooling capacity to keep the house below 80F, but so it goes.

Picture of the Week
USS Bayfield off Utah Beach, 1944 
Photo Notes: USS Bayfield at Utah Beach, Normandy, 1944.

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