Archive for August, 2009

Eat Moar Toona!

Monday, August 31st, 2009

More pictures of last weekend’s work on the Volvo Amazon. The new engine is IN. And, she RUNS! For all the naysayers that said, “Nay, there is no way you can build an engine for less than $500!” I say to them, “Look in our engine bay, oh sayer of Nay!”

On Saturday, Gary came over and between the two of us, we wrangled the lump into position and screwed it down. Saturday, Anthony and McCall joined in the fun, and the four of us poring over the engine were soon able to breathe life into the beast. She runs. Very, very well. After clearing the air pockets out of the cooling system and installing the new $16 Sun water temp gauge, the B20 fired up, took up a nice, sweet idle at around 1500 RPM, and came right up to 180 degrees and stayed there. After everybody left for the day, I let the engine ‘break in’ around 1500-2000 RPM for about 20 minutes, or as long as she would run on the oil bottle full of gasoline I had feeding the fuel pump. So far, so good. No strange noises, no drama, even the dwell was still spot-on despite the distributor having been removed from the old engine and reinstalled on this one without being touched. Rob’s points held up well.

I just want you to know, I have NEVER heard a B20 run as smoothly as this one does. And, when I blipped the throttle, it responded instantly. Knock on wood, this seems like one healthy motor! I turned the idle speed screws down as far as they would go, and even with almost no fuel the engine still was turning at 1000 RPM, and smooth as silk.

In other news, we have one small issue- the safety cut-off switch for the electrical system bit the dust somehow, and needs to be replaced. I never liked that switch, and thought it cheap. I guess we’ll have to find another. The rear brakes are 99% done, just need to tighten the castle nuts and cotter-pin them. Anthony is about 95% done with the new fuel cell mounting, and it looks great- secure and very professional. That pretty much just leaves the front brakes, and whatever welding/ hole-filling I have to do on the inside. We made a lot of progress this weekend.

As always, pictures are in reverse chonological order.

Solar Roadways

Monday, August 31st, 2009

The DOT has just agreed to invest in something very interesting.

They’re providing some proof-of-concept funding for Solar Roadways. The idea is to replace roads with a layer of solar panels underneath glass — the roads would become self-marking, self-heating to melt snow, and would provide energy to the grid.

Personally, I’ve got my doubts about how much I would enjoy driving on a glass surface at high speeds. But with the amount of money the feds are pissing down the rathole on other projects, at least this one might be a little bit entertaining.

Pitt, you’re our resident engineer. How many problems can _you_ find with this idea in thirty seconds or less?

Church at the Googolplex

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Interesting article in this morning’s paper about church congregations meeting at movie theatres. Rather than maintaining a church building and rectory and so on, they just rent the space on Sunday mornings before the matinee starts. The congregation gets a place to worship, the theatre gets a little rent money that they wouldn’t otherwise — everyone wins.

Now, personally, I wouldn’t feel like I was in church without a terrifying old organ, an older and dustier organist playing it, lots of gold doodads on the altar,  and an anatomically exacting sculpture of the Crucifixion. But that’s because I’m Catholic, so I believe in worship as an act of guilt and fear. It might work out better for others.

Bunch of heathens.

It totally bacon!

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Adam this is just for you buddy!

DQM and Oakley Come Together for “Bacon” Inspired Frogskins

Dave’s Quality Meats and Oakley have come together for what is perhaps the craziest and most iconic pair of Frogskins to date with their “Bacon” inspired sunglasses. DQM, a fashion boutique located in New York City’s trendy Lower East side, has been a huge Oakley supporter over the years. The collaborative efforts finally came to fruition with the help of Oakley Rep Joe Mata, Dave Ortiz of DQM and the Oakley team. Dave’s vision of the shade is truly captured in this one of a kind limited edition piece. The entire frame features a streaky bacon-esque design complete with matching micro bag both branded with the DQM logo. The Fire Iridium Lens sets off the frame perfect making it the complete package. The Frogskins will hit DQM on August 25th with a limited run of 50 pairs only!!! Click Here for more details regarding the release.

The “New” Literacy

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

In the academic world, all cloistered and pure, it’s “common knowledge” that the incoming students are essentially illiterate. Facebook, text messaging, and the years-old AOL Instant Messenger have wreaked a deep and terrible vengeance on the English language, making assignments and reports more and more of a trial to decipher every year.

But maybe that’s not really the case. Maybe we’re actually missing the up side to this, the new literacy revolution.

The Stanford Study of Writing, a huge study of students’ written output, points out some other interesting facts besides the demolition of grammar that we all point to. For example, students are writing more, in sheer quantity, than any preceding generation. And students are writing persuasively, adapting their words to an audience, in ways that their elders never had to. They are creating a legacy of debate and persuasion deeper than any the world has ever seen. Academia just turns up its collective nose because it’s happening on Facebook rather than in academic journals.

This is an interesting observation. I don’t know if it’s going to make me feel any better the next time I have to decode some ransom note of a term paper from one of my freshmen, but it’s a bit of comfort now.


Friday, August 28th, 2009

The good news: new FTC rules go into effect on September 1, banning recorded sales pitch phone calls (AKA “robocalls”) in the US.

The bad news: political robocalls are still allowed, because they are considered protected speech.

I wouldn’t have expected them to leave a loophole like that. I am truly shocked, SHOCKED, at this development. Goddamn parasites.

Music reviews you can set your watch to.

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

I remember the days when the concept of boredom was attainable, I guess once you loose that ability you truly have become an adult.

There was also a time that I felt like I was on the pulse of new music, and in my later years I realize that I am not in touch any more. So to help myself and those of you on the ‘flare I am going to try and share some goodness that I found on a semi regular basis. If you like great if not you’re a commie.

The local radio station for “New Rock” is laughable so I spend a lot of time listening to the Canadian equivalent, here’s a stand out.

Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS)

Two guys out of the Toronto area, one on guitar and vocals the other DJ / Hypeman. Their stuff is catchy, good guitar grooves and beats. These two samples are off their first release Welding the C:/

Ubiquitous Synergery Seeker: Hollowpoint Sniper Hypberpole

Ubiquitous Synergery Seeker: 2 15/16

Reminds me a bit of the 90s group God Lives Underwater, they developed a sweet blend of electronic/sample driven guitar laiden stuff on their second album Life in the so called Space Age.

If you dig this check out some of their new stuff off of their first full length album Questimation.

Ubiquitous Synergery Seeker: Laces Out.

Nice Shooting

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Stories like this make me glad I don’t live out in the suburbs with you trigger-happy maniacs.

Short version: car cuts off motorcycle. Road rage ensues. Car driver and motorcycle rider face off on the shoulder, driver pulls a gun. Driver gets punched in the face and shoots himself in the leg on the way down.

Apparently life is not actually a John Woo movie.

Tunachuckers Progress

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

More pictures, seen here:

I have the pics sorted by reverse chrono, so most recent pictures come up first. The engine, brakes, and body/paint work are progressing nicely. Only 2 weeks to go until the race! Are you pumped yet?

Microsoft Photoshop

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

For those of you who haven’t seen this hilarity yet: this is an ad from Microsoft for whatever ridiculous gimcrackery they’re trying to sell these days:


Apparently, though, there are no black people in Poland. So when they sent the image to that market, they edited out the guy in the middle and stapled someone else’s head on.


As bad as that looks, though, it could have been worse.