Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Calendar Hotness!!!!!

As you may or may not know, I'm a moderator over at Club RoadsterThe forum is dedicated to owning and modifying your Mazda Miata in ways that, in some cases, can be quite off the beaten path.  Some highs, some lows, but I'm one of the original members of the forum (member #6, if I recall).  In addition to our own gathering at Deal's Gap (otherwise known as CR@TG), we've made group appearances at Miatas at the Gap.  We have users all over the world--literally!  

We recently completed a run of calendars for 2010.  I'm a horrible photographer, but here're some shots of my copy:


I approve!

If you're interested, the calendars are for sale.  My friend and fellow moderator Adam (aka Revlimiter, whose car Sharka graces the cover) also has a contest going! 

Big, BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG shout-outs to Randy (aka Phatmiata, whose car is the pin-up for January) for getting this done!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Year's Resolution

My New Year's Resolution is pretty simple this year: manage the mail pile better. 

If you've lived in a house and/or paid bills in your life, you know that mail seems to pile up if you don't keep on it.  An irrational fear of finding out you've been canned via the mail or something similarly nefarious does nothing to help this.  When I was living in Ft. Thomas, I had a box full of mail that was unopened, presumably to be shredded.  I seem to recall thinking that the wedding gift I probably used (or at least appreciated the most) was a simple shredder.  Needless to say since we got married, moved, and bought a house, the mail stream has yet to relent.  Unfortunately, my patience for actually sitting down to sift through it all has yet to find itself.  

I mean, come on...we're in the 21st century here--doesn't anyone believe in doing things online?!

(The honest truth is that I'm lazy about doing the mail because I tend to keep tabs on everything online, and therefore know that most of what I get in the mail is either junk or a notification that I probably would have gotten too late had I not already taken care of it online.  That, of course, does not matter because it doesn't get rid of the giant piles Christy and I keep putting off every couple weeks.)

So anyway...a quick picture just to give you an idea of what I'm working with here.  To note: the mail pile today contained at least one item from Oct 23rd and I had emptied the shredder prior to going through my part of the pile...



Friday, January 15, 2010

Quick Winter Job

In order to go grocery shopping today, I needed to take care of a task I'd sort of been putting off.  Because the garage isn't heated, it can reach near freezing temperatures overnight--not good for The Tick's summer tires.  Fortunately, my buddy Chad had a worn-out set of old Blizzak snow tires that he had used last winter that I could mount on the car so that there'd at least be something round and black on it.  Now, these Blizzaks are somewhat special because they have been on, to my knowledge, 3 different cars.  Back in November 2004, I bought them used from a Miata club member to mount on Junior, my old car.  They did pretty well, helping the car to contend with some rather deep snow:

While the snow wasn't deep in this spot of the driveway, the car had navigated 6"+ of snow going up and downhill out of downtown Cincinnati earlier in the day!

After a winter, I gave them to Chad, who ran them on his Miata for a year or two.  In the meantime I switched to a different set of Blizzaks mounted on a set of 90-93 "daisy" alloy wheels.  Thus getting those old beat-up Blizzaks on even more beat up (and mismatched) steel wheels was  an interesting homecoming of sorts.

Sooooooo...finally to the point of this story!

The operation itself isn't so difficult, just time consuming.  Just loosen the lugs, lift up one side, remove the summer wheels/tires, labeling each as you go, replace the winter wheels/tires, tighten the lugs, lower the car, finish tightening, and then torque.

Here's what the car looked like when I was done...decidedly not bling!

Finally, proof that The Tick does not have Sport Package brakes: because the steelies are 14" in diameter, a car with the larger Sport Package brakes (standard from '03-05, but an option on my car) will not be able to fit 14" wheels over the brake calipers.  I was a little scared that I'd gone to all this trouble just to have 4 wheels that didn't fit, but I was relieved to see that they fit just fine!
The only remaining task was to manhandle the wheels downstairs.  I promised Christy that I'd keep them out of the way, and so I tucked them back behind where I'd stuck the luggage and the Christmas tree.  
I'll still need to get them in some garbage bags, but that can wait until I get back from the store, now that I have an open trunk! 

EDIT: Chad was good enough to point out that the Blizzaks had been the temporary rolling stock for our friend Rose's first Miata after it went sunny-side down and was being parted out.  Chad actually got them back after we found something else for  it to roll on and used them as winter tires for the subsequent 2 winters.  Thus, those same Blizzaks and mismatched steelies have been on 4 different cars!

Monday, January 4, 2010

RC'ing over New Year's

After celebrating Christmas with my family (with many thumbs up), we went to Texas to spend New Year's with Christy's family.  I was really looking forward to the trip because I love getting to see my nieces and nephew, but this trip was extra cool because I was finally going to get to meet the little gal that Christy's middle sis and her hubby adopted!

I'll let Christy and her middle sister (yay, btw, for middle children!) tell you the rest of the story with her family went (short version, it went very well).  Instead, I'll tell you about another part of our trip: RC'ing!

The last time Christy and I went to Texas for Thanksgiving, her dad surprised me by unveiling a plane he'd made based on a color scheme I'd modeled on the RealFlight RC simulator.  The plane was a 38" Yak-54 sold by DWFoamies.  He'd already put the airframe together and I did the stripes on wing.  I also helped add the various electrics and the engine as well as the landing gear.  Here is the finished product: the Yak-2!

Christy's dad called it the Yak-2 because it was the 2nd DW Yak-54 he built--the first was still flying, though heavily patched.  In fact, the Yak-1 was the first of the two I got to fly.  I left after Thanksgiving with the plane assembled but its first test flight had not yet taken place--my father-in-law reserved that honor for me on my next visit!

On New Year's Eve, we met up with some of his friends to do some flying.  Here was my debut in front of my father-in-law (doing the filming), his boss, and one of the project managers for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter:

I couldn't have been more pleased with how it went!  The second flight went pretty well, though I nosed over on landing.  The third flight was on video, though--with a perfect landing!

Needless to say, I was pretty pumped!  In the meantime, we added a battery strap to hold down the battery instead of the velcro pad that held it down previously.  We liked the feature so much that we retrofitted it to the Yak-1:


Unfortunately, it was not meant to last...Statistically, the longer you fly without an accident, the more likely you are to have one.

It only took two days for me. 

I crashed the plane nose-first into a parking lot following a flight that'd been going great.  I'll have the video later, but it appears from the pic below that the elevator ripped in two during one of my flights on a somewhat windy day, causing a loss of control.  

Here're some of the pics:


Thankfully, my father-in-law is a very easygoing guy and reassured me that foamies are very rebuildable, as the Yak-1 can testify (man, I wish I'd have gotten a close-up of it!).  I started working on it that same night:


As of yesterday morning, the plane was completely ready for an engine test and then another flight test.  Perhaps I'll have the honor of doing a first test flight for the second time!

To close, I'll leave you with a couple pics of my father-in-law's fleet as well as some of his friends.  I really had a great time and look forward to maybe one day building my own plane!