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Blog Archives for December 2007

Ho Ho Ho

Sunday, December 9th, 2007 - Comments (5) in Holidays, House, Life

We decided this weekend that we needed to get into full-blown Christmas mode. The first thing we needed was a Christmas tree. We went out to dinner on Friday night and on the way home we stopped by a local farm to check out the trees. When we arrived the only other people there were someone I work with and his family, what are the odds of that? We found the perfect tree and once I got over my heart-attack from seeing the price tag, it was wrapped up and strapped to the top of my Jeep. We let it let it stretch out over night in the living room and decorated it on Saturday afternoon:

We also decorated the house Saturday afternoon. We got a few strings of those big outdoor lights from Walmart and wrapped them around the two columns in the front of the house. I thought it was a genius idea, what do you think?

It was a little scary stringing those up; I had to use an old rickety aluminum extension ladder I stole from our last house.

Broken Brake

Monday, December 3rd, 2007 - Comments (3) in Cars, Life

I have a rather old car, a 1986 Jeep Cherokee. When you own such an old automobile, you have to be prepared to fix things that are going to break. The latest thing broken on my car is the parking brake. The brake got used every time I drove the car so it is nice and free and works perfectly (except when rolling backwards, but that's a design flaw), but the button on the handle for applying and releasing the brake broke off last week.

Broken parking brake button

As you can see in the picture, the button just attaches to that rod to release the break. But I could deal with that if it worked without the button, but there needs to be tension applied via a spring to pull that rod out. If I latch on a pair of visegrips I can make the brake function properly by pulling on the rod as I engage it, and then just push it in to release it.

I did some research online about what to do and I came across a few posts on JeepForum mentioning a recall on XJ parking brakes. Apparently they had a habit of just letting go randomly. My brake hasn't done this, but if they're fixing it for free, who cares. I've called my local dealer twice and have yet to get a call back. They probably route all the recall oriented telephone calls to some dummy mailbox that never gets checked.

I've read about a few guys having success just using epoxy to glue the button back on (using duct tape to depress the button while it cures), which I might try if this recall thing doesn't pan out. I called around to a few parts stores and they all said I can either get one of those assemblies at a junkyard or a dealer. The dealer wants $200 for it, so if I can't find one in a yard maybe I'll just start carrying a brick around with me.


Sunday, December 2nd, 2007 - Comments (3) in Holidays, Life, Work

Not a whole lot has been going on for the past month, just the usual everyday stuff. Now that I think about it, the only things coming to mind are the 2007 NYSCATE conference and Thanksgiving.

Nyscate was fun; they had a like 9 timeslots for little talks and like 20 difference choices for each timeslot. They were more geared toward educators than technology people, but I found a few I liked. One of them was on implementing an enterprise class wireless network. It was rather refreshing to see a session on how and why you should do things a certain way without being told "you'll need to buy our product in order to do this." It just so happens that I'm planning a project to improve the wireless at Harley soon, so this was a good one. I also saw a bunch of sessions on specific products, which is good to know what's out there, but I like the generic ones better. Then when you weren't in a session there was a huge room with booths from over 100 vendors you could go chat with. Rachelle (who also went to the conference) liked going around with me to the vendors, because they seemed to give me better free stuff than they were giving out to the teachers. I got stuff like coffee mugs, travel mugs, a leather and nylon portfolio, a rocket-ship clock and all sorts of other stuff. I finally got to meet my CDWG rep, John, as he was one of the guys manning their booth.

The day after the conference we left for NJ for Thanksgiving. We got to hang out with my parents and a couple old friends. I finally got to see JMW; I think the last time we saw him was at his wedding a couple years go. Then we did Thanksgiving over my aunt and uncle's house. I ate wayyyyy too much.