Monday, November 12, 2012

what's new?

Should I just pick this up like I never dropped it?

Last weekend the following things happened:
-UT beat Iowa State (yay)
-A&M beat Alabama (????)
-I spent 3 hours washing my car and I'm still not done
-Scream-a-thon

The football games were football. That's that. As far as washing my car, I decided that I wanted to take the time and really clean my car. That means bonding with it and hand-washing it myself, versus paying $8 at a car wash. It had been a long while since my car had been washed, so it had a pretty solid layer of grime. I pre-rinsed it and then worked a section at a time, soaping and rinsing. All-throughout, I was keeping the whole car wet because our water is pretty hard and it would start leaving water spots. Well, all of this went fairly smoothly until I went to go dry it. It turns out cheaping out on some terry towels at AutoZone was a bad idea; the towels had zero absorbing qualities. That was both annoying and tedious, going over the same spots of the car over and over again, spreading the water around with the cheap towels because it wasn't actually absorbing water (well, technically it was but it was all but useless).

Once dried, I worked a clay bar for the first time. You use a spray to lubricate the paint, and then take a clay bar (literally a bar of clay) and rub it across your paint. It pulls up various specks and other contaminants that you missed during washing to really smooth out your paint. That helps for the next step, waxing. A friend at work gave me an old spray bottle of some wax he thought I should try. It was fairly easy to use — just spray and wipe. I almost finished Windexing my windows before I had to stop for Scream-a-thon. Today I will wrap up cleaning the windows, vacuuming the inside, and tidying up my rims. If I was a true car-washing enthusiast I would have polished and sealed as well, but considering this already took 3 hours, it was enough for me.

Scream-a-thon was basically an 8 hour adventure where we watched all four Scream movies back-to-back. It was both enjoyable and tedious. The middle Scream movies aren't as good at the first and most recent, so it was a slight lull in the middle for me. The fourth one is the best in my opinion so it was a good way to wrap up.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hello... is there anybody out there?

I haven't updated this in quite a while, huh? Does anyone still check this? Post a comment and nod if you can hear me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hey, it's my mashup!

You may remember, once upon a time, when I mentioned that I made a mashup song. A mashup is basically a big mix of a ton of songs to form one. I finally remembered to upload it (a year or so late), so here it is for your enjoyment (there's some "foul" language so don't listen at work out loud):
 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

the links are back!

I figured out a new way to share links, so the links on the right are back in action!

Monday, February 6, 2012

home ownership weekend

On Thursday night, we had our brand new dishwasher delivered to us. They had called me earlier in the day (around 1:30PM) saying they were ahead of schedule, and they could deliver it then. Well, obviously I'm at work so that wouldn't work. The scheduled delivery time was 5-7pm. Fast-forward to 9:30PM, they finally deliver the dishwasher. Fantastic.

I've been wanting to take pictures of my projects around the house to share the knowledge, but unfortunately it's hard to take on a project and focus on taking pictures, because it will take even longer. Luckily, installing a dishwasher is rather easy. A dishwasher is almost equivalent to a washer with respect to installation. The main difference is that you have to fit it into a sometimes tight space, so you have to adjust the legs and do some shoving, like in our case. Here's a quick summary of what you do:

-You screw on a water line that goes from your hot water valve (under the kitchen faucet) and run it through the dishwasher opening (so it's accessible when you slide dishwasher into place)
-Attach drain line to garbage disposal, and also run that through opening for later installation
-Pull out electrical line (assuming your DW is hard-wired), just like above, so it's accessible once DW is in place
-Adjust DW legs so it can fit through the opening in your counter top and slide it into place (being careful not to snag any of the lines that you pulled out and need to install).
-Wire up electricity (MAKE SURE YOUR BREAKER IS OFF!!)
-Screw in hot water line to DW
-Clamp drain line to DW
-Using a level, adjust the legs so that your DW is level both vertically and horizontally
-The last step is to secure the DW to the countertop. DW are usually secured in place (so they don't move around or topple) with two brackets that screw from the top of the DW to the bottom of the countertop. Attach those and you're done!
-Reapply power and give 'er a whirl. If you're lucky like us, it'll work perfectly.

Later that night (or maybe it was Friday), Taylor was having some weird quirkiness with her garage door. She told me something looks like it snapped. I go out there, and sure enough, the extension spring on one side of the garage door snapped. Most garages I've seen have two extension springs — one on each side — that are attached via a pulley to the garage door. Garage doors are heavy, and the springs help counteract the heavy weight of the doors, whether you're opening them manually or a motor is doing the work. Each spring needs to be matched with the weight of the door. For example, if your door weighs ~100 lbs like ours, you need a 100 lb extension spring on each side.

After some research, inspection, and trial and error, I ended up replacing both springs. If one went, it was probably only a matter of time before the other one broke, too. Also, they lose their springiness over time and they probably would have had uneven tensions.

It looks complicated, but it's pretty easy once you figure it out. The spring attaches to a pulley on one side (the side closer to the door) and a mounted bracket. The pulley is connected to a pulley system that attaches to the bottom of the door. As the door lowers, the line pulls down, which in turn pulls the pulley and the spring. As the spring gets extended, it exerts more tension and helps counteract the weight of the garage door. I know that didn't make any sense, but that's okay. You probably won't be replacing one of these anytime soon. There is one more line that goes from the bracket, through the spring, and attaches anywhere on the other side. This is a safety line, and it doesn't do anything except go through the spring. Imagine for a second the power of a string that can pull 100 lbs of weight. It's pretty damn strong. Now imagine if that spring is fully extended by the garage door and is completely taut. Finally, imagine it snaps. They aren't joking when they say these things can cause serious injury or death. If that thing breaks and flies at you, you're going to have a bad time. The safety line is there to hold the spring in place in case it snaps, like it did in our garage. It's important you have one and that it's installed securely.

This whole process took me a while (figuring out what to do, and a few trips to Lowes to get the right parts), but in the end it's pretty easy. It probably saved me a couple hundred or more in parts and labor to have a pro come do it. The power of DIY.