Sunday, March 19, 2006

Wretched Wrenches....

I learned with my first vehicle that I could do better mechanical work than most mechanics. Then, as now, I have more time than money, so I continue to work on my vehicles.

This week's project is replacing a bearing in the clutch of my car, having died last fall. Spring break was my first good chance to have a go at it.

For you Dad:

The part on the left is the $40 OEM replacement, the part on the right is the aftermarket piece that bent, and tore. I'd estimate that OEM bearing is 30% heavier than the cheapo aftermarket piece.

This is the transmission.

This is the engine compartment, sans transmission. That round piece (oval from this angle) further away from the camera is the clutch assembly, bolted to the flywheel of my engine.

Some information on how clutches work:

Why fix it myself, and loose 7 months? Well, the car is too old to spend $$ on, but still worth too much to send to the junkyard.

Now, after I get this car running, I get to redo the rear axle on my 4Runner. Is the work ever done?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

New Girlfriend.

Who says you can't get love when you want it?

Just look at the smile on her face... and mine. True love!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Boys and their toys...

This is a view of the front electric locker in my 4Runner. This differential is from a mid 90's Toyota Land Cruiser. You can see the bundle of black wires that is tied to the red brake line. It goes into the locker in the differential allowing me to turn it on for more traction, and off for road driving.

This is a peek at the underside in the back. You can see the freshly painted rear axle, and all the various linkages. There is also a small bundle of wires leading to the differential in the middle, to the electric locker I have for the rear axle. That differential is from a mid 90's Toyota Tacoma.

This was taken on November 29, 2005, just a day or two after Thanksgiving. It's the first snow of the season, and I had to find an excuse to test out the new 4x4 equipment I had spent so much time and money installing. It worked very well, better than I had expected.

Beauty in my backyard...

I work at the Idaho Accelerator Center, and get to gaze on this backdrop as I enter and leave work. This is one of the things that I will miss most about Pocatello when I graduate and leave town in search of my big fat paycheck.

Being a student body senator has been a learning experience. The lesson learned most often is that it's difficult to convince people your idea is a good thing - the term "herding cats" doesn't even come close. However, maybe it's that my ideas aren't exactly what people like. Well, seatbelts used to sit in the same category.

Even though it has been aggrivating at times, my primary goal for getting into student government has been achieved: the College of Technology got a student vice president! Now I can (and am trying to) relax a little.

The jackets are gifts to the studnet body representatives, paid for by the dean of the particular college whose students we represent. Thanks (departed) Dean Marsh!

Playing in the mud...

This is my 4Runner after a mud run. I can do all that damage in only 15 minutes. It took an hour to clean it off at the local spray-n-wash. My pocketbook says that's the last time I go mudding.

However, the results are nice. Although, I still need to lower the whole vehicle a little.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A few pictures from my mission...

I will forever miss these towers. Where before they stood as a symbol of strength, now they are symbol of pain for me. I cried that day, for I love my city.

My first week in the mission, I trudged through Times Square in the rain. My impression then, was "is this it?" And, thinking myself philosophical, "Is this all the pinnacle of man's progress has to offer? Yes, God is indeed strong, and man weak."

Now, it's just a place to get cheap tickets.

I was one of the few computerliterate englishspeaking priesthood holders in the Bronx that didn't already have a leadership position in a ward. Thus, I was called as ward clerk in the two english speaking branches for about a year total. The missionaries were sent out to help "clean out" the bloated membership lists. The primary results? Yes, the activity rate really was just 10%, mostly women - the members hadn't all moved away. Retention became a major point from our mission president about this time....

One of the three best places to eat on my mission: a pizzeria on 135th and Broadway in the Bronx, where the 1/9 subway ends. The bread and cheese were thick, and the sauce had a full, earthy taste. An italian family ran the joint, and worked like bees behind the counter to keep things going. This is the only time I afforded myself an entire pizza, about a month before I went home.

The LDS church in Kingsbridge, Bronx, dedicated around 1997-1998. Supposedly cost $10 million, due to land values, and construction: it sat near the junction of the two major arteries in the Bronx, and had underground parking controlled by access code. Unfortunately for vandals, the exterior had a spray-away clearcoat. Within a few weeks, the vandals had stopped trying to tag the church with spraypaint. All that money for infrastructure, and they still gave me an old computer for clerk duties.

This is proof that I do in fact take risks in the prusuit of random pleasure. A few years ago, my class in ballroom dancing required the students to put on a public dance and to demonstrate our talents. In part of the setup, we created our own baloon ring for the entrance, of PVC and hand blown baloons. Afterward, we decided it would create a lovely decoration for the ISU Bengal mascot that sits in front of the Reed Gymnasium, my idea. We carted it down three blocks from the Pond Student Union building, wrapped it around the tiger, and proceeded to take pictures. We ran off with some delight.

Ancient History:

This is one of my baby pictures. I was born at 8 lb. 15 oz, or so the legend goes. Fortunately, my rotund form didn't deter my mother from having more children. I'm sure glad that color in general has gotten so much more vivid since then. With a new 8M pixel digital camera you can count the hairs on someone's face.

The middle picture was taken at my grandmother's house in Idaho. I can still remember the photo shoot, and how frustrating the whole situation was, having to stand still. That frustration comes through in my face. Back then I was blonde, especially in the summertime.

The right picture was taken at my sister's 10th birthday party. I cant' tell if my hairstyle is a "spike" or a nearly lethal case of bed-head. Whatever the reason, I was again happy. And photogenic :)

This was taken in front of the Conference Center in SLC, during their first General Conference Session. We were lucky enough to get in with genuine reserved tickets. In the picture are my father, stepmother, and four of her kids, and my youngest sister. And some other people I don't know.

I think I'm the only one with a picture of the family from that day.

Hello all! Thanks for coming to my little home on the web. Yes, it is true that blogs are a little passe by now. However, after seeing my brother's blog, and discovering how easy it is for him to publish pictures, I decided to dive in. Hopefully, this will make it easier to share my experiences with others.

This picture is taken as I sit in a shared office at the Idaho Accelerator Center, where I work. My duties include desktop computer maintainence, computer and web programming, electronics repair and design. Not too bad for a student, eh? I designed the websites for the Idaho Accelerator Center and the ISU Physics Department, save for the latter's front page.