rebuild

Draw! You have 30 seconds.

Such an eventful week, i don’t even know where to start. Let’s use pictionary categories to keep things straight.

People: Mom and Dad spent a long weekend, and headed home tues morning. Danielle and i had such a great time with them. We’re very lucky to have such happy, caring, generous parents.

Right as Mom and Dad were headed east across the droning expanse of eastern WA, Ann and Aaron were experiencing the same exciting drive headed westward. They checked into their downtown hotel tuesday nite, and i tried to fit in as much time between work shifts with them as i could, touring around the city to some of my favorite places. They headed home today, but i managed to get Ann excited about Seattle and Aaron addicted to C89. Mission accomplished. 😉

Places: The Summit at Snoqualmie is the r0x0r5 in my 80x0r5. That’s your headline and your 133t-speak dose for the day. In case you missed it in the wireless blog, they’ll be honoring all 04-05 season passes again in the 05-06 season. You’ll recall i have an 04-05 season pass and unless you’ve been living under a rock or on the east coast you’ve probably noticed a decided lack of snow that has prevented me from making much use of it. This is just about the coolest news since, well, the next piece of news. Hang on, i’m getting there…

Things: My Z is back home where it belongs. It’s been almost a month (5 days shy) and way more money than, apparently, i can charge in one 24 hr period on my debit card, but i’m very glad to have it back and excited to log those 1000 miles on it (only 983 to go!) until the engine is broken in and i can see if that extra .06 liters makes a difference. 😉

Looking back at the pics today of the engine build i did last winter, it makes me a little sappy and disappointed that all the work i did (and all the help from everyone) was sort of in vain, and had to be done all over again this year. Don’t get me wrong, i’m very glad it’s turned out so well, and that the means were available to make it happen, but i still feel kind of let down in a small way. I dunno, maybe i’m just melodramatic and need more sleep. 😉

My week in bullet points.

Only at work for 30 more minutes, and then i’m spending the bulk of the day running around in the truck, so i’m going to be concise this time. I know, you’ve never seen that from me before.. prepare to be thoroughly creeped out.

Shop says my car should be ready on monday. Bummer that it won’t be done in time to drive it to the nissan soiree at golden gardens park saturday, but i’m just happy it will be done right. I think the pathfinder will appreciate the quality time anyway, and it did get two coats of wax out of the deal, which i’m sure were welcome (made a *huge* difference).

Grama called to say thank you for the puppy Mom, Dad, Danielle and I are adopting for her. I’m glad she is so excited; if we had known how happy it would make her we would have done it even sooner. 🙂

For something fun to do today, go check out . Just click the links down the left side. It’s fun, funny and clever.

Once you’ve reached a state of amused bliss at Eric’s expense, go to various celebrities in height. (flash required) I’m taller that a lot of guys that make a lot more money than me… how does that work?

Frantic! But in a good way…

I have an actual letter in my hands, a promotion to the software dev department downstairs; I’ll be an Associate Software Developer in Test as of April 15th. I received and accepted the offer today, and once i train my replacement i can advance down to the 4th floor and be part of the team that’s building the systems i’ve been monitoring for the last 6 months. I’m very excited! Definitely the most significant jump in my career to date, and a chance to finally put my development and coding skills to use (at my day job, at least). That’s right, kids, i’m going to be using that college degree. I mean seriously, how cool is that? Although i will have to stop griping about those student loan payments now, as i’m finally going to be seeing some ROI on that whole higher education deal. Hmm, maybe i should pay the dues that i let lapse on the alumni association, now that i’ll be able to afford it… Anyway, expect me to be pretty much in a dazed shock for the next month or so, then really excited when the news finally reaches the cognitive part of my brain, then totally off the map for a few weeks while i dive into something new and exciting. But don’t worry, I’ll actually have *more* of a social life now that i’ll be a salaried, M-F guy, so keep me on those saturday bbq calendars this summer!

I was already a little wired today. I’ve been up to the shop in Everett every day so far this week, checking on my car, bringing up spare pieces, getting a first-hand tour through all the things i did incorrectly last winter when i built the engine… (that last part is not the highlight of my visit). When i’m not harassing my mechanic team, i’m shopping for, picking up, transporting or otherwise engaged with all the supplementary parts required for the job. I ordered a piston and rings kit today, coming from texas via overnight. Wiseco forged with high-boost rings, overbored by .020 to 87.5mm with a lower (8.5:1) compression. Neato! I also found the perfect to match my sweet new rims, BFG g-Force T/A KDW’s – a high performance tire that still accomplishes wet grip (something important around here, even tho i rarely drive the car if i think the weather’s going to suck), in 245/40-18’s up front and 275/35-18’s in the back. And check how cool the tread pattern is! Cool tread pattern is really the cornerstone of quality tire selection.

Had to buy a few other small things for the car, but thanks to Travis and his connections with the dealership, my new clutch disc was all kinds of a bargain. And one of my mechanics, Johnny, is a very generous guy and offered to sell me the wiring harness i needed for less than he bought it for – and quite a bit less than i would have paid elsewhere – because he bought it for his car and isn’t going to be swapping his right away. So my brand new engine wiring harness is shipping- and tax-free, and has already been delivered. 😉 So things are working out well so far, and despite the giant bill this is all incurring, i’m still really positive about the whole thing. Excited, actually, as my car will finally run like it was supposed to!

I also spent a couple days this week helping Christi try to get her 300z in good running order, as she’s driving to texas on tuesday, and that’s a long way to go on five cylinders! Hopefully we can figure it out and get her motor purring to her (admittedly high) standards before then. Nothing like having a deadline!

So since i’m going to be getting a raise in April, i can start shopping for all those things i couldn’t afford before. Like maybe an iPod that works (although i’ve already been stashing bills in an envelope for that fund, and i’m almost there). Of course, i can pay off a lot of debts, too, which will be great. Or i could just blow it all on gold teeth with spinners. Thoughts?

Hobbies are supposed to break you.

Back at ya with a link to Montage-a-Google and a call to your creative search query skills and artistic inclinations. Throw something in there, any old thing (your name, an interesting place, your least favorite celebrity) or juxtapose interesting ironies (“fat mcdonald” is good and scary. “stupid tv” has an oddly large emphasis on Luke Perry). It’s fun. And you’ll feel like an artist. Google image search is so neat-o.

As long as we’re making fun of famous people (and when aren’t we, really?) go hit up blink o rama to catch all those crazy media-hounding types blinking in mid-sentence. Where these freeze-framed grabs come from i don’t know, but the one of the guvenator cracks me up.

Spending a bunch of money on my car this month cause, you know, what is a hobby if it doesn’t totally run you into the ground? That’s why we have them, right? Otherwise we’d all be rich and boring. As fate is often ironic and nearly always cruel, i had just decided i had a little money to spare and so i hunted out those new rims, which turned out even better in person. Then, before they even get here, my car decides it needs to snarf down a whole bunch of money like Star Jones in a pudding factory. But isn’t that always the way of things, really? If things came along when you were ready for them, what would you have to gripe about in your blog? Anyway, a couple weeks from now it should be back up and running, with a fully rebuilt motor (does that sound familiar at all?) with a new twist; this time i’m letting a professional do it. All the same, it still worries me, and i have trouble waiting 3-4 days without driving up to everett to check on it. But at least it will be a short downtime and should finally run like those crazy Nissan engineers intended. It all makes me very thankful how well my 88 Pathfinder runs and behaves despite receiving generally about 500% less love than the Z does and laying down 3x the miles.

Okay, enough negative vibes. I’m going to go build Google montages of “puppy”, “free money” and “tropical beach”.

I’m Def Getting My Eyes Pierced

Granted, i don’t really read the “real” news. I read slashdot, the mac news network, and fark. And even on fark, i really don’t click on many links that sound like actual news, mostly stuff that’s tagged “amusing”, “spiffy”, or “wierd”. To be quite honest, i consider this the “real” news myself – i don’t really care about gibberish weather predictions, high school sports scores, or anything remotely related to the consumer price index. News in my book is who the RIAA is suing this week, scientific proof that caffeine is a health food, or how many billion dollars micro$oft was fined lately for being evil. Therefore, i don’t read about a lot of the really disturbing stuff that makes the news these days. Besides, i prefer to be creeped out by weird pop culture trends and government conspiracies instead of gory serial killings and whatever else they think is newsworthy down at king5. So, that said, the creepiest thing i saw on the news today is from Holland. Apparently the dutch think it’s a keen idea to implant jewelry under the mucous membranes in their eyes. Picture is not for the faint of stomach, or people who don’t like their eyes touched. I’ll stick to poking holes in my epidermal layer with big needles and other perfectly normal body decorations, thank you.

And now for today’s completely-0%-creep-factor Nissan update: The Z hit 1000 miles yesterday, i changed the oil and bled the clutch a bit (that second one is difficult to do by yourself, btw), turned the boost up a few notches, and drove around for a few hours. I set the AVC-R at 1.0 kg/cm2, and the turbos easily hit that (it’s about 14psi) at 5400rpm. All my research says not to take it past 15psi without better fuel management, so now i’m shopping for an air/fuel ratio gauge and buying lottery tickets to try and afford new fuel injectors. Anyone with a $G laying around can feel free to order a set of 555cc Nismo injectors for me. My birthday is coming up soon… 😉

Weddings, Moving and Engine Break-ins

948 miles logged on the Z so far – almost there! Not really sure what “extra” i’m going to do when it hits 1000 miles, other than change the oil again. Maybe start worrying a little less, i guess, altho i’m still wondering about a few squeaks and rattles, a strange clicky noise, and parking it outside in the street.

I’ve been MIA all week for many reasons. Last few days in phoenix were too busy for computer time. Wedding was very nice – pleasant, elegant and simple, obviously Jenn’s doing. Ian succeeded in smiling thru the entire evening from inside his vest and cummerbund. The sun shone warmly but not so much that anyone was prone to fainting, and the champagne flowed freely. The happy couple departed, and as the night was still young, we piled a couple cars full of merry attendees and sought out weekend entertainment in downtown phoenix. After wandering haphazardly from block to block, somehow we found ourselves around a large table at Hooters in an outdoor mall, scarfing hot wings served by seemingly-underage waitresses. Heated political discussions notwithstanding, a good time was had by all. And big congrats to our Hero and Heroine – can i say “i can’t believe you’re married!” and at the same time offer “i’m not at all surprised.”

The rest of the trip was about three things: sunshine, pool time, and food. Anna, Kim, Dave, Sophia and I repeatedly sampled what the Valley of the Sun had to offer, and all-too-quickly i was on my way home.

Waiting in Seattle when i returned, Mom and Danielle had found Danielle a great studio apartment in Ravenna (near Green Lake) and we spent the rest of the week packing, moving, shopping, assembling, decorating, and ordering in. Steph was a huge saint and chipped in on the moving part cause she’s so nice. Some small logistical snafus, but nothing compared to the horror-move i put Danielle thru two summers ago – i’m convinced i still owe her some moving payback.

Mom is flying home tmrw, Danielle’s getting settled quickly in her new place, Dad’s not going to believe how much money Mom spent while she was here (sorry Dad, we tried!) including picking up a pair of red Diesel shoes since she liked mine so much. Hers are much more cute and girly than mine, tho…

It’s another beautiful sunny day in Seattle, spring is here and i’m very happy about that. Many days to drive with the tops off, making up for all those winter days without sun, t-tops, or driving. And that, my friends, is what i’m going to go do right now… 😀

Danielle arriving as I depart

Mom and Danielle arrived safely today, and Danielle is getting settled in her room upstairs, that will be hers until Christian comes to claim it in a few weeks. I barely managed to get the house clean after work, before they arrived; I was wiping down the kitchen when they knocked on the door. We laughed ourselves hysterical all evening and headed to bed early… doesn’t mean i’m asleep, tho – instead, here i am. 😉

I’ve logged 430 miles on the new motor. Lifters are still noisy, i think i need to find some way to coax oil into them at a faster rate. I sort of thought that ‘self-lubricating’ parts would be, uh, self-lubricating, but apparently that isn’t always the case. When i return next week, it will be due for an oil change, and a much-needed belt tightening – those squeaky belts are so embarassing! Really spoils the illusion…

Tomorrow i’m on a plane to phoenix, to spend a long weekend helping Ian & Jenn get married! I originally planned a nice long trip to get out of town for a bit, since my car would be done, and take a break from everything. Then Mom and Danielle scheduled this to be Danielle’s return-to-Seattle weekend, and Mom decided to stay and visit, and here i am leaving for all but two days of that. Oh, well, i suppose they need their quality time. Hopefully Danielle will have found some good job prospects by the time i get back.

If i can find an internet connection in the desert i’ll give you a wedding update, and pop onto IM. No guarantees, tho – it’s still kinda the wild west down there (no handgun laws!) and i’m staying at a cheap hotel. 😉

So much to be thankful for

Sleeping in sunday morning for the first time in… a long time! No rush to drive a across town to spend all day in the garage. Okay, that’s not entirely true – i’m still driving across town, and i’m still anxious to get there, but for an entirely different reason this sunday! A fun reason! 😉

Logged 120 miles yesterday, things seem to be working well. Getting used to the very short clutch, the tight steering, all the stuff i bought the car for that i haven’t been enjoying lately! It really is a great driving machine, i’m going to have a very difficult time convincing myself to drive the sentra. Ever. 😉

I need to take a moment for some appreciation. I feel like i won an award or something, and i can’t take all the credit cause so many people helped along the way. So here’s my speech. I’d like to thank the acadamy…

  • Jason M, for all the phone calls – me with stupid questions, him keeping me on track – all the garage days, all the early mornings, all his patience with my learning curve and my frustration and impatience. I owe you big time, man! Next time let me buy the chicken!
  • Eric L, for all the garage days, especially since he always seemed to choose the dirty, messy, painful parts of the job – can you say “tranny bolts”? And for being so enamoured with the Z that you needed one for yourself! Welcome to the brotherhood, brother!
  • Mike R, for all your generousity with tools, supplies and time, for sharing all your cool ideas, for helping me realize mine. A guy with so much going on it blows me away and he still has time to spend whole weekend days in my garage! Now let’s get your car running!
  • Steph A, for the lovely garage for the last four months, all the patience with the mess/noise/smell/deadly chemicals/random houseguests. For driving to burien/lynnwood/everett/west seattle for parts/tools/picking up me. For understanding when i needed to spend beautiful sunny days in the garage with the door closed, for being such a great hostess and friend! You rock!
  • Travis W, with his fancy Nissan tools and the hookup on all the proper equipment – thanks for your help, man, i really appreciate it! I promise i’ll never cut your belts again… 😉
  • Clint H, for all the garage days, for putting up with all our abuse, for keeping me laughing when i took the turbos off for the fourth time! Let’s go driving!
  • Christi D, for jumping in whenever you have the chance, for your concern/reassurance/advice from the grocery store or wherever i interrupted you, for having hands that fit inside the engine bay! 😉
  • Christie S, for letting me have Jason for the last 3 months with minimal fuss! 😉 And for being just skeptical enough about everything to keep me from getting too cocky…
  • Mom, Dad, Danielle – for being so understanding, helpful, patient, loving, enthusiastic. For driving out here for a weekend so Dad and i could assemble the motor. Thanks Dad for all your help, advice and reassurance! Thanks Mom for not giving me too hard a time for buying another red sports car!
  • Sarin – thanks for all the parts/tools runs when i had no ride!
  • Sean – thanks for help with the exhaust and driveshaft!
  • Steve – thanks for the wrench, and for always being interested in my progress and stories!

This is were i’d exit the stage clutching my guilded award and hustle back to the green room to have a cocktail and see how i look on the 10 second delay. But at this award show, i get to drive the prize home. 🙂

Speaking of Nissans (when aren’t we lately?) yesterday was an excellent day for the NorthWest Nissans BBQ at Golden Gardens Park. Vince, Ben, Breezy, Aaron, Clint and the NWN gang always throw a great event, and this second annual beachside bbq was no exception. Huge turnout, some great cars there, a perfect inaugural trip for my freshly-assembled Z. They were all great about wanting to see my progress, too, have all been very supportive along the way. Actually, lots of people thought my car was worth looking at. I caught this lady sneaking a pic out her window, drive-by style! I loved showing off, it’s so much fun to drive and such a looker! 😉 And the bbq was a great time, looking forward to the next NWN event. Although i’ll wear my NWN hoodie next time (i forgot it in all my last-minute-car-tweaking madness) as that sea breeze gets a bit brisk!

A Garage Victory

IT RUNS! IT RUNS! IT RUNS! IT RUNS! IT RUNS! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Jason and i started the Z tonite! we don’t have the timing adjusted quite perfectly yet, but the engine starts and runs like it should!!! Rear main seal (we think) seems to leak, tho, so i still have to pull the tranny tmrw and see what’s up there. Something missing, might have crimped a gasket. But that’s outside the motor, outside the really awful-to-do-over parts! 😀 Tranny seals are no problem! 😀

I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. And it is a good thing. 😀 😀 😀

Wednesday: pull tranny out

Thursday: figure out what’s wrong

Friday: burn rubber all over sleepy culdesac!

Yes, I’m blogging about carb cleaner

Rather than start off this entry with details of my boring life, let’s jump right into some current events. Coffee is good for you. Leave it to the Italians to figure that out. Apparently the stronger the better, too; espresso is practically a health shake in a shot glass. I love Italy!

So i’m just re-reading that last bit and thinking “if my life is so boring how have i filled a weblog about it for the last, oh [searching] four years? More importantly, why have i brought myself to the brink of repetitive stress injuries typing all those 4,5,7 and sometimes upwards of [gasp] 9-letter words all for naught? Well, i suppose to make my dent in civilization. Granted it’s so far been a dent of the parking-lot-door-ding variety, but i still harbor hope that i have time remaining to upgrade that to something in the it’s-time-for-a-new-fender category. I’m afraid i’ve missed the window for becoming anyone of barringer crater-sized significance, having piled up my college debt skiing and playing frisbee rather than at MIT or NASA flight school, but i still feel like there’s some room left for growth before i hit my glass ceiling. Perhaps also, i’m driven by a very American desire to colonize a new frontier. And i’ve been vindicated, at least a little bit, as i’m part of the permanent record of the internet at archive.org. Go ahead, plug in my url (or your own!) and see what part of my/your history is now part of the history of human civilization. Or just reminisce over how much cooler my previous site designs were than this orange boxy mess… whatever you want.

And now over to our chief meteorologist for an update… It’s sunny today and i still don’t have t-tops. Might have to take a can opener to the sentra. Making progress, tho. Jason and Mike were a huge help saturday, Clint helped a ton sunday, and even Steph came out and sniffed some carb cleaner, er… helped out too. 😉

Even tho i was able to get the transmission attached to the motor last nite, i’m enlisting Eric’s help tomorrow to pull it back off, as i’m really not happy with the condition of the clutch release bearing, so i ordered a new one today. Even with that, tho, i think it will be ready for drop-in by the end of tuesday nite. Eric and i might even get ambitious and throw it in ourselves. I’m totally on track to be tuning it with Jason on sunday, which is very exciting. At the same time, it’s very sunny and nice today and i have no t-tops. Which makes me sad. But only temporarily… i will find something caffeinated, and it will all be better until sunday. 😉