Monday, March 27, 2006

Sick Day... March 27th, 2006

Despite my religous consumption of multivitamins, and my determined hand sanitization routine, I have contracted someones creeping crud... I'm not sure who, but I think it was from Mike B at work, who's entire family was stricken with this illness. It is characterized by a wicked sore throat, a mild headache, general upper-respiratory funk, and a mild fever. I think I am fighting it off well, and I imagine I will be back at work tomorrow... hopefully.

As for today, I get to spend a day with my wonderful girlfriend who is very kind, and is currently making me some breakfast. I imagine it will be two eggs, toast with some alfredo sauce (from last nights dinner, and homemade BTW!) on the egss. VERY tasty. Yeah, she's awesome.

I spent yesterday holed up in the house as well, and I am determined NOT to spend today in front of the TV (though the computer seems fine, huh, go figure). I thought I would update my blog since it's been a while.

Let's see, I have a few projects I am currently working on:

-Mudflaps for the MINI.
--I have been trying for a few weeks to make my own mud flaps to protect the doors of the MINI from flying debris off the tires. It's quite challenging, since the mudflaps have work work, AND look good (something I have never been good at).

-Autonomous Helicopter ME Support
--I am helping a friend who is building an Autonomous Helicopter. It's in the early stages right now, so there's not much to report.

-Reviving the Big Hovercraft Project.
--I have been planning this for a while, and I think it will happen this summer... The goal here is a hovercraft big enough to carry 50lbs effectively. This will be a big challenge, not because it's hard to LIFT 50lbs, it's because it's hard to control that much momentum. Creating an impulse large enough to move 50lbs is quite challenging... stay tuned.

Some trips I am planning:
-Joshua Tree, CA / Red Rocks, NV
--Climbing Trip with D.

-Acadia National Park, ME
--Our annual 4th of July climbing trip.

-Salt Lake City, UT
--A mountainbiking trip to my favorite mountainbiking mecca in Utah. I plan on revisiting the best mountainbike trail IN THE WORLD... the Virgin River Rim Trail in Cedar Breaks, UT.
<> Probably late fall of '06

So anyway, that's what's keeping me busy these days... Lots and lots of little projects...

Anyway, I am feeling less-good, so that's all for this entry.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Another view from the side... Posted by Picasa

A good picture of my new wheels and tires after detailing my car for six hours! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The drama of new wheels... So I have been saving up for a new set of wheels and tires for the MINI for about a year now. I searched high and low for just the right set of rims.. I looked at hundreds of photos, perhaps thousands, and I finally found what I was looking for in the Team Dynmics Pro Race 1's. My goal for the MINI is to bring it closer in style to the original Mini and to bring a little bit of Rally Car style to it.

Now, fast-forward almost a year later, and I finally have the cash together to buy my rims and tires. I found a dealer for these rims at and placed my order. My tires came from and those were easy to get. I knew the size I wanted, and I knew I was on a budget, so that pretty much eliminated many of the candidate tires. I was happy to find the BFGoodrich G-Force sports for a mere $79.00/each... the alternatives were closer to $150.00 each!

The tires arrived quickly (the tire rack rocks) and even I was surprised as to how wide they were. By the numbers, these tires are only 20mm wider than my current summer-sport tires, but the look MUCH wider. I was excitied though, as they looked good, and the look like what I wanted.

So, days pass, and my wheels haven't arrived yet, and I am getting paranoid... I kept bugging Aaron from about this, and he was patient with my emails. Right on time (actually a day late!) the wheels arrived... and I giddy with excitement. I rushed home from work, and tore into the packing boxes to look at them. They looked sweet until got to the last box... it looked like I got the bottom of a stack that was packed in a warehouse. This box was pretty much destroyed and was wet on the bottom. Luckily the wheel was only slightly scratched, and it was on the back side of the rim. I was pissed, but I wasn't about to try and send them back for a couple scuffs..

In my giddy state, I failed to read the boxes that had arrived, and, unbeknownst to me I had different wheels that what I thought I had ordered. The picture above illustrates a automototive wheel characteristic known as 'offset'. It descibes the difference between the centerline of the wheel, and the plane of attachement. The wheels I had in hand had to aggresive and offset (30mm instead of 45mm, which is what I thought I ordered) and so they would stick out further from the center of the car.

BUT... I didn't know this at the time. So, I ran as fast as I could to Sullivan Tire to have my new tires mounted on my new rims. Had I noticed the difference in offset, I might have sent the wheels back, but, I didn't... and once you have tires mounted on ANY set of rims, they are yours. No chance for return.

But I was happy, and so I ran home with my new wheels and tires, and installed them right away on my MINI. The pictures are shown below after I spent another 6 hours cleaning and detailing my car to try and clean off some of the winter grime.

So that is my story, and now I have the rims that I wanted (sort of) and the look really is quite dramatic. My car looks awesome, and it certainly doesn't look like anyone else's MINI!


This is a closeup of my new rims... they are Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2's in 15"X7". They weigh 13.2lbs each and are pretty bitchin'... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 04, 2006

"I'm ahn a mission from Gahd!"
-Elwood Blues

So yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from my mother:

"Yo ma! What's up" I said
"Hey Mr. Roboto, you're brother is in the city at a job interview right now, and he has a flat tire." she said
"Does he have AAA?"
"He DID... but it lapsed."
"So can you go help him out?"
"Sure. I can be there by 4."
"Thanks Mr. Roboto, I love you."
"Love you too."

And so the mission begins... it's 20 degress outside, VERY windy, and I have to go change a spare tire for my brother, or at least sort something out for him.... hmmmm. What to do.

As I saw it, these were the options:

-Call a tow truck for him, and let him deal with it from there.
--He is short on cash so this may not be the best idea...

-Go to where he is, and use MY AAA membership to get him towed somewhere.
--I really don't want to spend all night dealing with this, and getting towed always takes hours.

-Go there and fix the damn tire myself...
--It's cold. Ah hell, its always cold, so I'll just do it.

Now, I work about 30 minutes away from where my brother is (even with all the shortcuts I know) and I am still at work without the tools from my house. So, here begins the race at rush hour on a Friday afternoon! Yay! I run back to my house, unload my AWESOME new race tires that were delivered to work (more on those later). I grab my hydraulic lift, and my work gloves, and a couple flashlights (just in case), my 12V compressor, and some extra gloves (cause my brother surely doesn't have any!).

So I hit the road, and scream downtown to where my brother is, all the while fearing that he is parked on some insanely busy street where we will be in constant danger of getting run over. Once I arrive to the street where he is parked, I realize it's almost an ideal location. Very little traffic (despite it being rush hour), and the flat tire is on the curb side, and my brother has done a remarkably good job of getting out the Touareg's emergeny supplies...

Now I am going to take a moment here to revel in this little moment in time. My brother drives what could be the most capable off-road vehicle in our VERY LARGE extended family. It has four wheel drive with a rear locking differential. It has pneumatic suspension capable of lifting and lowering the ride height by more than 8 inches and 240hp V6!

I.. drive a MINI Cooper S.... it has none of these things. And here I am... putting the proverbial Flinesones Bandaid on this Goliath of a car. I find the irony of this VERY entertaining.

Now I should add that IF my brother was out in the middle of nowhere, I have full confidence that he would be able to do this, but it would probably take him 4 hours.

So, back to the Mission: Once I get there, dave already has the space saver spare out of the car, ready to go (though not yet inflated), he has the Touareg's built in compressor out and hooked up to the battery terminals under the hood (as a side note, the Touaregs battery is under the driver's seat, so only electrical access is a couple of terminals under the hood, near the drivers side windshield wiper.

We bust out my $50 Costco hydraulic floor jack, and it 1 minute we have the Touareg up of the pavement (Best money I EVER spent BTW ). Once it's off the ground, my brother get's the tire off in no time (there was a wheel lock that had him baffled, but we found the key eventually). The tire came off pretty easily (with a few swift kicks to break it free) and then we had to inflate the space saver spare... which was interesting to say the least.

IF you have never inflated one of these tires, let me say, it looks ALL WRONG until the last second, when it kind of springs into the right shape. It looks pretty terrifying until that point though.

Anyway, back on the Ranch, er, street, we have the old tire off (and it shows signs of a clean nail/screw punch). We slap on the newly inflated spare, crank down the lug nuts, and drop the Touareg. It looks good.

So, we pack up the remaining tools and prepare ourselves to battle rush hour traffic back out of the city. It actually isn't that bad, the Big Dig seems to be living up to some of its promise...

Mission Complete.


Friday, March 03, 2006

I am going to copy a portion of one of the funniest lists I have seen in a long time: it's actually quite old, but still damn funny.

These are a the TOP FACTS about The Man: Chuck Norris, chosen by The Man himself from the LONG list on

  1. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.
  2. Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
  3. There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.
  4. Outer space exists because it's afraid to be on the same planet with Chuck Norris.
  5. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
  6. Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.
  7. Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.
  8. Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.
  9. There is no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard. There is only another fist.
  10. When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.
  11. Chuck Norris is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head.
  12. Chuck Norris’ hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush.
  13. There is no such thing as global warming. Chuck Norris was cold, so he turned the sun up.
  14. Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink.
  15. Chuck Norris doesn’t wear a watch, HE decides what time it is.
  16. Chuck Norris gave Mona Lisa that smile.
  17. Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.
  18. Chuck Norris does not get frostbite. Chuck Norris bites frost
  19. Remember the Soviet Union? They decided to quit after watching a DeltaForce marathon on Satellite TV.
  20. Contrary to popular belief, America is not a democracy, it is a Chucktatorship.

You can see all of the best Chuck Norris Facts at <>