Saturday, March 30, 2019

Hiking is awesome, but Strava sucks

So as it turns out, Strava is somehow incapable of correctly performing its one job. That aside, I did have quite a lovely hike up to the top of Kennedy trail, despite having no evidence to back up the assertion that I did indeed return safely home afterwards and am not currently stuck at the top of the mountain.

That said, it's possible my shoes didn't enjoy it as much as I did.

The dirty parts are where the sole had peeled off, the clean parts are where I pulled it off so I could get high on apply the contact cement. There were a few more detached pieces than just these, but I didn't take photos of them all.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Seat goes up, seat goes down

The stock seat post on Blackbirb was disappointingly inanimate.

So I animated it.

I used a very basic non-remote dropper post, as I'd like to at some future point get a wireless remote dropper, and didn't feel like routing cables to the handlebars in the interim. So far it seems to work just fine.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Printing things to hold things

Designed and printed out a new camera and battery mount for my MTB helmet.

And while I was at it, I made a few tweaks and printed one for my motorcycle helmet.

And I finally finished up my iPad stand, which I added some mixed media elements with some wooden dowels.

It's nice having a make-anything machine.

So Long, G+

Blogger just prompted me to switch to a non-G+ profile, so with any luck nothing broke...

Sunday, March 24, 2019

I'm a robot programmed not to know that I'm a robot

Apparently I'm terrible at identifying cars, busses, motorcycles, crosswalks, traffic lights, bicycles, fire hydrants and store fronts. So to make it easier to comment here I switched off recapcha and turned on moderation.

We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, March 23, 2019


The old float needle definitely needs replacing, but not by this one. And just my luck I discover this after the parts place closed for the weekend.

Whatever it is, it blooms

No idea what kind of tree it is still, but given the white blossoms in early spring it at least narrows it down a little.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

It’s only on fire a little bit

Accidentally set fire to Orthrus this afternoon.

You see, it all started when I forgot to switch off the fuel petcock, which usually results in a small puddle of gas below the bike that leaks out of the weep hole in the float bowl, and a distressing drop in fuel mileage.

But today it decided to drain into the cylinder instead, which meant that when I tried to start it, it hydrolocked. The solution to this issue is to, in some way, open the cylinder and cycle the piston to eject the excess fuel. Usually one would do this by removing the spark plug, but since I didn’t have a socket and wrench on hand I instead opted for disconnecting the carb from the intake. This is quite easy to do on the R65 since the carbs are mounted to the side of the bike and held in place by some hose clamps.

So I loosen off the carb, put the bike in gear, and push it backwards until the fuel spits out the intake port and onto the ground. Then to make sure things are clear I put it in neutral and cycle the starter to turn the engine over.

This does two things: It ejects the remaining fuel into the exhaust, and sets fire to the gas in the intake. Whoops.

As the subject line says, though, it was only a little bit of fire and easily extinguished.

Once that was taken care of I put the carb back in place and fired up the bike, riding it over to the dealer to pick up a new float needle to hopefully keep this from happening again. Hopefully.

Freedom! Victory at last!

Got an email today from the apartment block I bailed on. They’ve finally rented out my apartment so I’m free and clear and no longer owe them any money. Furthermore I’m getting a partial refund since they rented it out before the end of this month.

It’s really nice to have that done and out of the way. Time to find a new use for that $3500/mo!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Laying Pipe

Little by little the plumbing situation is improving. Tuesday's adventure was fixing a leaking drain line for the washer.

You don't have to be a plumbing wiz to see a lot wrong with this setup. This is the same mess of pipe that was originally just vented by a long pipe that reached almost up to, but not through, the garage roof. Hence why you see the island vent here.

Using galvanized pipe for a drain line is already a bad idea, as it will tend to grab hold of debris and rust through pretty quickly. This is made worse by a poor choice in fittings, like using a vent tee instead of a proper combo tee.

The results speak for themselves. Thankfully it's not a difficult fix, and gave me an excuse to remove the drain line for the sink I'd previously removed.

Next up is getting rid of this mess. Idiots only ever think in 90s. Luckily everything to the left of the tees is going away.

It's not broken

Went for a little bike ride with some friends on Saturday. Turns out the trails we were on were a bit chunkier than I had anticipated, and I managed to eat shit twice in a row.

The first tumble wasn't too bad, the thorny briar patch broke my fall. The second one was a bit more of an impact and messed up my left wrist a bit. Thankfully I took the impact on the one bone in my body that's steel reinforced, so I escaped getting another break. Just healing up a sprain.

The main issue was that I was on the wrong bike with the wrong setup for the conditions. Tire pressure was too low, and I could have done with a longer travel bike.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Little Things

It's the little things that make all the difference. Will these new clips stay in place and keep the seat on?

Only time will tell...

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Highly Restricted Contraband

There are some things you just can't get in California, unless you know where to find them.

Like occupancy sensor switches, for example. You're only supposed to be allowed to have vacancy sensor switches, which you have to turn on manually and will turn off automatically when no motion is detected. Because some people are just that anal about wasting electricity.

However, if you know where to look (hint: you can find many things that the government doesn't want you to have...

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Crowning Achievements of Mankind

Truly, the invention of the ceiling mounted retractable extension cord reel was mankind's finest hour.

It's Free Energy

It thrills me to announce this amazing scientific breakthrough: by connecting an ordinary light fixture between these two obvious ground wires, the previous owner of this house has shown me how I can illuminate a whole yard while drawing nary a single watt from the utility grid! Take that, energy-selling fat-cats!

I'm quite sure that this is the only logical explanation, and not that the previous owner was an incompetent clod and didn't know fuck all about how to run wiring.

Anyway, I'll put this all on my list of things that should probably be replaced someday. To ensure my safety against the people who would want to silence me and this miraculous invention, of course, and not because it's clearly shoddy work.

Also I added an extra lamp holder to each of the two boxes back there, which makes the lighting much more even in the yard now. Yay.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

And So I Said: Let There Be Light

It really is amazing how a little bit of light can really transform a space. I was holding off installing these lights until I did some proper rewiring, but stumbling around in the dank was really not pleasing me, so I decided to do a semi-temporary installation.

The two upper lights are in their final location, but the lower ones will later be rotated 90 degrees once I get some extra outlet boxes installed for them on either end of the beam they're currently hanging from.

The electrical box in the middle of the beam (which is currently missing a faceplate because I forgot to buy one) replaces an original bakelite round box and porcelain bulb socket, into which was installed a plug-to-bulb adapter, into which was inserted a pair of 2-3 prong adapters that powered the garage door opener and the single-bulb fluorescent fixture (which, to its credit, had a LED replacement tube installed).

The amusing part of all this is that there was a perfectly good ground wire tucked away inside the box, so it was really simple to swap in a pair of modern grounded outlets.

Also in the photo: the thick layer of dog hair, mouse poop, and various forms of dust on the shelf in the background. Still need to finish ripping those down.

I'm also planning to paint the underside of the roof white to help with the light even more, once the shelves are ripped down and I find the time for it. Also on the improvement list: installing a 50ft retractable extension cord.

Anyway, it's really amazing how much proper lighting can change a space.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

King Cnut: 0. Me: 1

Some people do better than others at holding back the tide.

The plumbing for the sump pump is now spliced into the drainage pipes. I'm not 100% thrilled with the couplings I used for joining the ABS to the existing drain pipe though though. The existing pipe is a really lightweight triplewall, and the OD seems to be slightly smaller than usual for a 3 inch pipe. Thankfully it only has to be mostly watertight; as long as 99% of the water ends up in the street, the remaining 1% can go around in a circle as much as it likes and it won't harm anything.

Next up is backfilling this trench and spreading the mulch back out. It's really kind of amazing how wet the soil is in this spot, there's almost a constant drip of water coming from the uphill side, so it's no wonder it was getting into my crawlspace.

Depending on how things work out I might extend the drainage to the other side of the sump, which would involve chipping out some rotted concrete and probably just doing a gravel-filled (and broken-concrete-filled, likely) trench without the perf-pipe, since it's only about a 5-foot length. I'll wait to see how things work out first though, no need to do more work than is necessary, especially when it involves digging out soggy dirt.