Thursday, February 28, 2019

But First, We Ride

Rode Gregg into work today for the first time. I am very, very pleased. The bike feels tiny and nimble and has a really smooth power delivery; not too much, not too little. It's a very different experience from riding my other bikes, which is exactly what I was looking for!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Well, that part works at least

Dig a hole, watch it fill with water.

Mother nature's miracles. Didn't even rain, that's just ground water trickling in.

I filled in the last of the gravel today and installed the box for the outlet. However I ran into a snag when A: I ran out of daylight, and B: I discovered that the breakers I thought were unused, weren't unused. Woe is me. Thankfully there's an empty space in the panel so I just dropped by the Home Despot to pick up a new duplex breaker which I'll be wiring in probably tomorrow, assuming it's not pouring down with rain.

In other news, I evicted the world's shittiest doorknob from my furnace closet.

And replaced it with a new one that actually matches the rest of the knobs in the house.

Downside I guess is that I can no longer lock people into the tiny space between the door and the furnace? Dunno why they used an exterior locking knob there. Maybe to keep Santa from coming down the furnace flue.

I need to replace the hinges too because they look just as hideous as the door knob, but that can wait for another day.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

I think I'll name it Gregg

The CB650F is home safe and sound, and has joined its siblings.

For those who are curious, the R65 is parked in the garage for the rainy season because the gauges were getting soggy. I'll probably pull it back out onto the patio once the skies clear again, and once I figure out how I want to arrange things.

Draining the Swamp

The actual swamp, not the metaphorical one.

Step one is to figure out where to drain it to. Luckily the previous owner had installed some drainage around the back and side of the house, and while it was kind of ineffective in keeping the back yard from forming a lake that then drained into the crawl space, it turned out to be quite convenient for me to splice into.

But more on that later. Before I splice into the pipe, I need something to splice into it. Thus begins the Big Dig.

With equipment gathered and a route planned, we dig.

And at the end of the trench, an annoyingly deep sump pit. Made doubly annoying because the last foot of it was apparently never excavated back when the house was originally put in, and was extremely hard packed gravel and rock. It was then I remembered that I have a rotary hammer, and lord almighty did I put it to use. It was a gift from heaven, making the job immeasurably easier.

Installation of the drain went fairly smoothly, up until the point where I ran out of gravel. It's a lovely crushed marble gravel, that just happened to be the cheapest kind available at the home center. It will be buried under landscape fabric and mulch when the job is done.

But that will have to wait for another day, as I also ran out of daylight and energy with only a few tasks left. I'll need to pick up a few more bags of gravel, plumb in the sump pump to the drain pipe, and add an outlet on the wall to plug the pump into (luckily it's right next to the electrical panel).

Friday, February 22, 2019

New Motorcycle Day

I've been planning off and on to get a new motorcycle some time this spring. In fact I was planning on getting one last spring in order to keep with my new bike every 18 months tempo, but life kinda got in the way and I ended up deciding to spend more time on my new mountain bike instead.

Fast forward to today and I catch wind that a dealership down in Monterey is being shut down and clearing out all their inventory. Some deal with the owner of the place (and apparently a bunch of dealerships across the US) getting out of the game and selling off some dealers, shutting others down. I'd been to the dealership once before when I was shopping around for what would eventually turn out to be Rabbit Season / Duck Season; I test drove a Ducati Multistrada there and decided I wasn't fond of it. Long story short I figured it was worth a trip down to see what was what, so I ducked out of work early this afternoon and did just that.

Now I'd had in mind that I wanted to try out a Kawasaki Z400, but that model is new for this year and not even in dealer showrooms yet (never mind dealers that are going out of business), so I wasn't going to find that. I was also interested in a Kawasaki KLX250, and they did have one there that was really tempting me to take it home. However they also had a Honda CB650F, and a while back I had considered getting the bike, as I was quite fond of the looks and the fact that it's a Japanese I4 bike, which I had yet to own. I also kind of just wanted to find a Honda that I might actually want to own. It's a bit bigger than the Z400, and more powerful, but sits nicely in the midsize range, smaller and less powerful than Rabbit Season which is what I was looking for in the Z400.

So I figured this was just the opportunity to push me over the edge into finally getting a Honda, and I signed on the dotted line.

I'll be bringing it home tomorrow afternoon, by which time I hope to figure out what I'm going to name it. That's the most important part, after all.

The fun part about it is that it's essentially free. Since having the bike loan will boost my credit score, I'll be able to apply for a better interest rate on my home loan, the savings from which will pay for this bike many times over. Funny how that works, I could just pay for it in cash right now, but it's cheaper in the big picture if I don't.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Come Sail Away, Come Sail Away!

That's odd, I thought I bought a house without a swimming pool...

Naturally it was cheaper to buy a sump pump rather than rent one. I'm probably going to use it in the back yard to set up some proper drainage though, so it's no wasted money. Bit annoying.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Little Fixes, Little Upgrades

Almost all of the fixtures in the house were upgraded prior to selling. Except, oddly enough, the one in the front entryway.

(And I guess technically the porch light outside too but I haven't touched that one yet.)

God-awful ugly thing, especially splattered with ceiling texture and coated with dust. It could probably be restored to its former glory, but I have neither the time nor the patience to do so. Instead, I picked up a relatively inexpensive 9-inch LED flush-mount fixture from the 'ol Home Despot.

Much brighter, much cleaner, much prettier. And less likely to get smashed to bits if I accidentally whack it with something I'm carrying in the door.

Meanwhile out in the garage the previous owner managed to install some plumbing and, to their credit, did at least attempt to vent the drain line. However they only made it about 6 inches short of getting through the roof, so the venting was just open to the garage space, and as a result the garage tended to be a touch on the smelly side. Since there's a proper vent stack not too far away, I decided to chop off the tower to nowhere and cap it with an island vent.

No "before" picture on this one, forgot to take one. Just imagine a really tall 1-1/2" ABS pipe with no supports whatsoever, just swaying in the breeze.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Lead huffing

I decided to go ahead and grab a capacitor kit for my 24" Samsung, since there's no use just letting it sit around and collect dust.

Step 1 was pulling it apart to verify that I had the correct power supply board for the kit I ordered.

Turns out that the case snaps together which makes it a major pain in the ass to pull apart, but I got there in the end. Now I just have to wait for my capacitors to arrive (I ordered two packs, since the other monitor is likely going to need them soon enough as well).

All the Pixels!

One of my trusty 24" Samsungs has been getting an ache in its capacitors, so I decided to finally pull the trigger on a 4k monitor, an LG 32UD99.

That means that my HP Z30i 2.5k monitor shuffled from my mac to my PC, and the 24" Samsung from my PC shuffled to my mac, and the 24" Samsung from my mac shuffled into the rehab pile.

I'm quite happy with both the upgrade on my PC and on my mac.

Ice Ice Baby

It is admittedly a bit silly having an ice maker in my fridge when I so infrequently use ice.

Were I to buy a new fridge right now, it would have neither an ice maker nor a water dispenser. Especially because it would be a bottom-freezer model and not a side-by-side.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Too Hot? Too Cold? Just Right!

Finally got around to configuring the setbacks on the thermostat here, which was a fair bit easier than I was initially worried it might be. Much like in my apartment, I have it set to keep me toasty in the mornings and evenings, and I let the temperature coast down in the daytime and overnight. I'm using a space heater in my bedroom to keep the temperature up there while I sleep, which I'm hoping is a net win in terms of energy used.

It's certainly nice in the morning when the furnace kicks in and my already cozy bedroom gets super-cozy.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

It's been eighty four years

And finally I have upgraded my Mac Mini to a shiny new model with all the new bits and gubbins inside. Feels good, man.

Next on the shopping list will be a 4k monitor to take advantage of the fact that the world has finally been blessed with a Mini that can drive one properly. For now, though, I will just bask in the zippiness and lack of beachballs.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

It's cold upstairs

So it snowed in the hills. I decided to take a little spin up Mt Um to get some pictures, and saw a few lovely sights along the way, like this slightly frosted tree.

The path was only a little damp, with some scattered snow along the sides. I could only go over to the Bald Mountain peak as the road up to the Mt Um summit was closed.

I'm pleased to say the views across the south bay were well worth the short hike.

My timing was quite fortunate, as when I came back down the mountain the gates at the bottom were closed, so had I been any later I wouldn't have been able to go up!

The road itself delivered little drama, with just a few wet patches and no ice. I did have one little slip once I was almost back in town, on some dirt that had been kicked up onto the road. It was just a little wiggle and I kept things upright though, so not a big deal.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Proper Waterflow

So last night it rained pretty hard, and much to my dismay the back yard started to flood despite having a bunch of landscape drains that should let the water out into the front street. So off to the Home Despot I went this morning to obtain some supplies.

I had intended to pick up a garden hose and new sprayer so I'd have one at the back, and was successful in finding this. I also intended to rent a drain snake, but as it turned out I could rent a fancy-pants motorized 50 foot snake for $25, or I could buy a manual/drill powered 25 foot snake for $25, and I opted for the latter. I also was hoping to pick up a small amount of landscape fabric to fashion some filters for the drains to keep the leaves and debris out, but it only came in 4' by 50' rolls at minimum, and I didn't really want to deal with having a lot left over.

I snaked the drain and didn't really find any complete blockages, but it was at least flowing better by the time I was done with it so hopefully it'll work a bit better in the next downpour.

Proper Airflow

Some people might say that stuffing a heating vent full of carpet underlayment is bad for airflow. Some people might. Not the former owners of this house though, no sir, not them.

I think what happened was that the sides of the vent pulled away from the opening (you can see this at the top somewhat) and, rather than fix it properly or even investigate what was happening, they assumed that the draft could be solved by just blocking up the vent entirely. I guess.

Anyway, I pulled out all (I hope) of the underlayment, screwed the vent into the wood properly, and taped things up nice and draft-proof. Should help keep the temperature a bit more even in the living room area now.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Dirty Dozen

Finally my CAAD12 is in suitable shape to be christened with a name, so I herefore introduce to you the Dirty Dozen.

The cables cleaned up nicely around the bars, and while it's really quite difficult to photograph an all black bike, I did my best.

I'll probably need to adjust the angle of the seat once I take it on a test ride, but given it's storming outside I think it's safe to leave that until next weekend at the earliest.

Righting wrongs

Since it's a rainy day today, I decided to put in some time on my CAAD12 cleaning up the shitty assembly job it had been subject to at Sports Basement. I'd already tidied up the headset (the dork had installed shims underneath the dust cap, failed to correctly preload the bearings, and while I was in there I decided to flip the stem) but I'd left cleaning up the crappy cable routing until later.

That later turned out to be today, and after about 2 hours of various fussing about I discovered that the reason the dork had used brake cable jacket for the rear derailleur is that he had accidentally swapped the grommet for the rear brake with the one for the rear shifter. So I swapped them back to their correct locations and used a spare piece of shifter cable jacket as it should be.

Next up I had to unthread all the inner cables so I could clean up the spaghetti mess at the handlebars. Conveniently the shifter housings turned out to be the right length once I had swapped them to the correct crossed-routing, but the brake cables needed to be cut down by about 2 inches. A simple but slightly tedious job. Luckily rerouting the inner cables turned out to be relatively painless, though I did end up replacing the shifter inners as the ends ended up a bit frayed and were being a bit too cantankerous to reuse. They're cheap and I had spares, so whatever.

The only fuss with routing the cables turned out to be getting the rear shift cable down the chainstay, and I ended up pulling out the crankset to give me a bit more room to work down at the bottom bracket. It was then that I discovered that A: the crankset was only bolted together hand tight rather than the 50nm specified torque, and B: the bearing preload had not been set at all, leaving about 1mm of slack for the cranks to shift left and right. Great. Thankfully both of these things are easy to correct, but it would have been pretty ugly had I not noticed it.

As of right now the only work left to do is clamp down all the cables, adjust the shifting, and wrap the bar tape, but I felt like taking a little break. I'll probably get back to things a little later this afternoon, so you can look forward to seeing the photos then (I hope).

Your door is ajar

When I moved into this place one of the first things I did was shave down the top of the door to the furnace closet, as it was jamming against the frame due to the house settling at some time in the past. Not a big deal. However this resulted in the door now not staying closed because the latch was also misaligned with the striker plate due to the same shifting.

So, naturally, I went in and fixed it by shifting the striker plate up a little.

I also sanded off roughly 50 years of tarnish, scuffs, and sloppy paint, then sprayed it with a fresh clear coat. I'm happy to report that the door now closes perfectly and latches securely.

That's not to say this is the last time I'll be touching this door, however, as I still need to spackle in a bit of wood filler around the striker plate, and I'd also like to change out the doorknob for a paddle style that matches the other knobs in the house. Most of the knobs were replaced at some point with some lovely brushed nickel ones, but for one reason or another this particular door was skipped.

There's been a bit of rain lately

I think it's safe to say that this piece of scrap particle board got a bit of moisture in it.