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Blog Archives for May 2009

Dredgery

Sunday, May 31st, 2009 - Comments (1) in Life

Last weekend while walking the Erie Canal in Fairport I saw a hydraulic dredge parked in the village and thought it was pretty cool. As far as I can tell, this thing is like a big floating vacuum cleaner. It's got a big nasty auger that gets dragged along the bottom loosening the sediment that gets sucked up and filtered out.

I really wanted to climb on it, but Rachelle didn't let me.

dredge 1

dredge 2

dredge 3

dredge 4

dredge 5

Peaches

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 - Comments (7) in Life, Projects

You might remember my post from last year about my peach tree and how I was totally robbed of all my peaches by bugs and squirrels. Well the blossoms fell off the tree and all the peaches have just started growing.

peaches 2009

peaches 2009

This year I'm taking a more proactive approach and spraying it with "fruit tree spray", which as far as I can tell is an all-purpose insect repellant and fungicide. Before I sprayed it the first time I also thinned it out by removing a ton of peaches. I read online that they should be about 5-6 inches apart. By removing some peaches, a lot more energy is used to grow the remaining ones.

peaches removed 2009

Spraying might prevent the bugs from attacking them, but I don't think this is going to stop the squirrels from stealing them. Last year when I only had a few peaches left on the tree in August, I was mowing the lawn and a half-eaten peach fell out of a huge tree in another part of my yard! Some bastard squirrel had ganked one and dropped it when I came around with the mower! I was pissed. Some people online are saying the only thing you can do about pests stealing fruit is to get a dog or a cat which isn't going to happen in the near future. Maybe I'll build some kind of electric thing to go around the trunk and zap the shit out of them when they climb up. It could make for some good videos.

Death Wobble

Monday, May 25th, 2009 - Comments (3) in Cars, Life, Projects

Picture it: You're barreling down the highway at 70mph and the road starts curving gently to the right. In the middle of the bend you hit a bump with one of your front tires causing the car to shimmy back and forth. Under normal circumstances you might feel some sideways motion in the steering but it goes away almost immediately. Now image it doesn't go away but actually feeds off itself causing the front end of the car to shake violently enough to knock the fillings out of your teeth. This is called death wobble, and it's fairly common in Jeeps. I think it was named as such because when you experience it, your life flashes before your eyes.

I don't have any video of my car wobbling, but I found a youtube video that shows it pretty clearly:

It's kind of like the wonky front wheel on a shopping cart.

It's common on vehicles that are lifted; raised up higher off the ground with big tires. When the car is lifted the geometry of the suspension is altered things don't behave as they were designed.

My Cherokee currently has the wobble (for the second time) which is super annoying because it's all stock. The first time it happened was a few years ago and was caused by a dead steering damper. It had a bad spot right in the middle where it wasn't dampening anything at all. It happened again recently and I was hoping it was just another dead steering damper, but it checked it and that's not the problem. So there is a huge list of things I have to check to see what is causing this:

  • Wheel balance
  • Track bar (connects the axle to the frame to prevent sidways motion)
  • Ball joints
  • Control arm bushings (allow the axle to move up and down with bumps)
  • Tie rod ends
  • Steering box slop
  • and about 100 other things...

I'm fairly positive it's not the trackbar or the tie rod ends, they seem to be rock solid. My dad talked to a friend of his who owns a repair shop and has a jeep and before my dad could get the words "death wobble" out of his mouth the guy said "ball joints." I'm pretty sure mine are original to the car so they have 133k miles on them and are probably ready to be changed anyway. I'd rather do this job myself because it doesn't look that hard from what I've seen online and I already have the special press needed. I'm just a little apprehensive because they are so old and rusty and anytime you do something like this on an old car something won't go as planned. I'm going to call around to see how much some local shops want to do the job, but I have a feeling it'll be way more than I'm willing to pay.

Shed Electric

Thursday, May 21st, 2009 - Comments (4) in Life, Projects

The original owner of our house had a pool in the back yard at one point in time and had to run an electric line out there for the filter. They got rid the pool a while ago but lucky for me, left the electric. When my dad and I built my shed last summer I specifically placed it next to the electric in the yard. It's almost like it was meant to be; the shed is as far back as possible (according to the town rules) and it ended up being about a foot away from the electric.

A few days ago I finally got around to wiring the shed. There was just an outlet on a post sticking up out of the ground, which worked fine, but I wanted to have outlets and lights inside the shed.

To make life easy, I just cut off the outlet box and extended the wires coming up out of the ground right back into the ground and into the shed. A couple 90° 3/4" conduit pieces and a couple straight and curved pieces got the wire back underground. I used exterior 12/2 cable that could be buried directly in the ground. Because of that I only used enough conduit to actually get the wire into the ground.

shed electric

shed electric

The wire pops up out of the ground under the shed and sneaks up in between on of the ribs and floor. As of right now it just goes to a duplex outlet, then to a switch and then another outlet. The switch controls the outlet at the end of the line at the ceiling where the light plugs in. This way I can have the wall outlet energized all the time and the switch just control the lights. Since I used another duplex outlet for the lights, I can use the second plug if I need to be able to turn something on and off with the switch.

shed electric

shed electric

shed electric

shed electric

I need to get some covers, but other than that it works fine and I even got everything wired correctly the first time! At one point I wasn't paying too much attention and thought I switched the hot and the neutral, but it's all good.

RIP Duke

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 - Comments (0) in Computers, Life

Recently I found out that one of my good friends, Duke Nukem, will not be resurrected in a new video game. You might might remember Duke from such titles as, "Duke Nukem", "Duke Nukem II" and "Duke Nukem 3D." Back when I was in high school they announced "Duke Nukem Forever" was in developement and I couldn't wait for it; I'm still waiting for it.

duke!

Over the years they're released screenshots and little gameplay teaser videos to prove they were working on it and I guess to stir up the nerds. But all the excitement and hype was wasted because earlier this week I found out that 3d Realms, the company developing the game, shut down due to lack of funding. I wonder if they realize how much they'd make if they released the game. Every nerd and his mother would buy it!

Here's a trailer from back in 2001:

And another from 2005ish:

And here are some gameplay previews that got leaked when the announcement went out:

No other game could do things like check yourself out in the mirror, use the toilet and play with the strippers. That was all in the 3rd game from the 90s, imagine all the awesome stuff they could do with the new game!! Sigh...