Slouching Onwards to Automotive… Somthing or other.

It’s been that kind of summer. Between finally getting to the track and some general meandering around the province, I’ve put about 9000km on the ‘coupe this summer. That’s actually a big deal for me, as I commute to work by bike, so during the week, it’s not unusual for me to not even start the car for four or five days. Basically, all that mileage is cottage runs, and cruises.

The track wasn’t high mileage (obviously) but 90 minutes at basically wide-open throttle (I kid you not, I could WATCH the gas gauge drop) is hard mileage. So, I’ve ended up with a few more oil changes than usual during the summer too.

There’s just time for two more, as well – Right now, I need an oil change and then I’ll need one again next month.

Next month, you say? That’s crazy talk, three months for oil changes is the norm.

Except.

September27th, I leave for Tail of the Dragon.

It is 1686km one way. Tail of the Dragon (Deal’s Gap) is in Tennessee. I’ve no idea how much mileage I’ll do there, but then it’s 1686km home, as well. I figure that the bare minimum I’ll do in those five or six days is 4000km.

Now, THAT’S a driving vacation.

And right now, a bunch of you are muttering to yourselves that I’m nuts. And I’m not sure you’re wrong. But, with the help of someone who’s done it before, I’ve got a route that, while slightly longer, runs through some very scenic country that isn’t downtown Detroit.

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That should be some pretty glorious driving, even if it is fifteen hours worth. Each way.

Before that, though, I’ve gotta I had to deal with the car. (Had to – Ummm, I was gonna post this Friday afternoon, and it’s now Monday morning. Whattayagonnado?)

Like I said, oil change. that’s actually scheduled for 2pm Friday – Finally, I’ve hit my last “included” oil-change (20 of them at time of purchase, 7.5 years ago). Once that’s done, it sounds like Friday tonight was going to be burgers’n’shakes (and it was), our weekly car crew get-together. Saturday morning, I was up at 7am, and in the garage.

What’s on the agenda?

First, brakes. You’ve all read by now the Post-trackday work I had with the brakes. And through the awesomeness of friends, that got me back to “driveable”. I want better than that for the Dragon, though. So, I ordered up some EBC YellowStuff pads:

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I’ve also got OEM rotors for the back brakes, that are fresh(er than my R1 Concepts ones), and that combination should be prettty good.

once that’s done, I definitely have to change the brake fluid. It would have been nice to do steel lines, but that’s going to be part of the winter upgrade – I don’t have the cash or time right now.

I hate bleeding brakes. Passionately. So, I’m kinda hoping I’ll have some help for it. We’ll see how that goes. I’m pretty sure I can manage, I won’t be trying to get bubbles out of the system, just trying to clear the old and refill with new, so I don’t REALLY anticipate any problems.

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It’s not rocket surgery, after all. Also, found a “one man bleeder kit” at Canadian Tire, and that was $8 well spent, as far as I’m concerned. No bubbles from what I could see, and all the fluid was coming out clear, and clean…. after a few good pumps. #notaeuphemism.

After that, the car is basically good to go. If I have time, I’ll probably pull the AEM DryFilter, and wash it, along with the hydroshield. I have to remove the front bumper for that. While the bumper’s off, I want to tighten up the lip as well – since I realigned it, it seems to move around some. I’m not really worried about it falling off, but I’d like it not to scratch what’s left of my paint. So, if I get time for that, that’s on the agenda too.

Tire pressures will be set. To factory. Because that’s what you do.

After all that, interior cleaning and set-up. I’m going to have a ton of electronics charging in the car – multiple (GPS, four… maybe? Five? go-pros, a pair of Uniden walkie-talkies, my phone, oh, and my regular-issue dashcam.

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How to run all that?

Mount a 12V splitter – I have a stack of 12v dual-2.1a-USB sockets, which are perfect for charging pretty much anything, I just need enough 12v sockets to plug everything in. the only trick will be “where to mount the splitter”. So, I guess THAT’S on the agenda, too.

Actually, ended up being fairly easy:

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At the same time, I ran my longest USB cable under the console, and out the back, into the back seat. I want to do a video of the entire drive down, then speed it up, and set it to music – 1700km in 6 minutes or so. We’ll see how that works out. But I’m mounting it way in the back, rather than just in the windshield, so that, hopefully, it’s a little more interesting and personal. I think Andyman is going to do an exterior camera for this, so it’ll be interesting to see the differences.

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Roadtrips. They’re just the same and very different from what they used to be. All I used to take was a couple of big, spiral-ring map-books. And most people thought that was too much, too. Apparently, wifi/connectivity is hard to come by once we actually GET to TotD, but I’ll be posting as I go/when we stop. If you’ve any interest in the along-the-way antics and any updates I can do from Fontanta Village itself, feel free to follow me on @boozysmurf on Twitter, and/or @b00zysmurf on Instagram.

2015 #extralife #gameathon

Yes, I hashtagged my title. Live with it.

I had previous written this “We’re right on top of the Gameathon”. Well, I never posted that. So, this is a little bit of pre- and post-gameathon.

First things: if you don’t know, it’s a charity event that benefits the Children’s Miracle Network, via Extra-Life. In turn, you choose your hospital, in our case, that’s CHEO, or the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

With that explanation, if you’d care to donate a few dollars, five, ten, fifty, five hundred, whatever you can, the best place to do so is here, through me!

Donate via me!

Yes, we have already completed our gameathon for 2015: However, donations are still counted towards this years totals until December 31st, 2015. So, if you want to donate? Please click the link. CHEO is a great, great cause. And, honestly, I would expect them to be busy in the new year: Refugee kids are going to need help, and I’m sure CHEO will be part of that effort.

Anyway, back to the event!

The team has become this weird combination of nerds, geeks, car-people, and .. yeah. General weirdos. There’s Chapter 11 Section 62 representation, @wrenchhaus, and the old university crew: The Bombshelter. Basically, we are legion.

This year, we changed things up. How? well, you’d need to know last years, first. So, here’s last year:

This year, instead of the island in the livingroom, we’re trying a long table around the walls. I think it’s free’d up a bunch of space: we had a problem last year with people needing to get in and out (food, bathroom). I think we’ve alleviated a lot of that with the new set-up.

On top of that, with The McFee being out of town, we’re skipping Rockband and making room for more PC’s. The entire basement, in fact, is dedicated to PC gaming this year.

Then, we’ve set up two bedrooms/offices upstairs with tables and chairs for serious tabletop action:

At this point, in fact, we’ve got a full walk-through video for 2015, again. My apologies for … yeah. that’s me doing the voice over. So, I apologize in advance.

Once again, I failed to do a second walkthrough. This year did, in fact, end up being signficantly different to previous years: not only did the Tabletop gaming get a lot more attention, but at the same time, one non-nerdy-family-game got played for no less than four straight hours, by a group that grew to nearly fifteen (somewhat intoxicated) bodies: “Catch Phrase”. I know. I don’t get it either. Sadly, I didn’t get any video of the idiocy involved, either, but that’s life. That said, we brought in the kids, too, and there were games of My First Carcasonne, and the like. The adults delved into a group favorite, Pandemic, as well as Elder Sign, and a multitude of others.

The PC master race was, as is appropriate, well represented by basement dwellers. I mean, I set up the PC gear in the basement. Note the network cables EVERYWHERE.

Speaking of the hardware, this is what it takes to set-up the house, to do things the way we do it. I’m not sure I’d recommend this to others: it’s a ton of work, and every year I end up buying more and more gear, especially networking gear. I got very lucky this year, and a neighbour was throwing out two tables (and by tables, I mean doors, with those folding legs bolted to them) which I picked up for free. Without that, we’d have had issues, so it was incredibly fortuitous.

So,yes, the hardware and set-up. Couches get moved from basement to ground floor: the ground floor is entirely consoles.

Also, my racing rig, which I finished at about 11pm the night before the event, and stood up extremely well. Althuogh I think I need addtional plyons… I mean, bracing.

The hardware!

Ok, so the house is rigged, before anyone shows up, with:

Ground Floor:
-Asus AC68u router
-TP Link 8 port switch
-TP Link 5 Port switch
-TP Link 16 port switch
-350′ Cat6 network cable

Basement:
-TP Link 5 port switch
-TP Link 8 port switch
-TP Link 32 port swtich (it’s what we had)
-250′ Cat6 Network cable

Once everyone was plugged in we had:

Ground Floor:
-11 TV’s (32″ to 50″)
-5 Xbox360s
-6 Xbox:One
-1 lonely PS4

Basement:
-12 gaming PCs of various sizes, shapes, and forms

This year, though, we didn’t blow a breaker. You laugh, but last year, we blew breakers repeatedly (due to a bad piece of wiring we’ve since had corrected) so badly that it blew a hole in the breaker itself, which had to be replaced, last winter. I’ve never seen anything like that. Compared to last year, I think we were actually bigger this year, but it’s hard to tell, because, as I pat myself on the back, I think we organized much, much more effectively this year.

So, while it IS a ton of fun, both in the set-up, preparation, and the event itself, there is a point to all this. And the point is, to raise money for CHEO. Which we did in spades.

Again, donations don’t close on this year’s event until December 31st, 2015. So, feel free to click that link up there, and make even a small donation.

Here’s the numbers so far though.

We’re showing up as the 285 biggest fundraising team in the event (international, 6265 teams, total). However, once the $400 USD I have addtionally makes it to the organizers (next week) then we’ll jump… We may jump into the top 100 teams. Which is INSANE. Most of those top-100 teams are corporate, and where they’re community teams, they have dozens, even hundreds of members raising funds. Again, I’m incredibly proud of my guys and girls: they put a ton of effort into this.

And yes, I know it’s not a competition. But boy, leaderboards, am I right?

Team Bombshelter is, once again, the #1 fund-raiser for CHEO, via Extra-Life, and the gameathon. I’m incredibly proud of not only our direct team, but the people who support us (with fooooooooood, in large part), those who donate incredibly generously, and those who come to wish us well. Our numbers are not 100% yet: I have a number of cash donations that are still coming in, but it looks, on the surface, as though we’ve (in what we thought was going to be an “off” year) broken through $3200 USD. That’s somewhere around $3800 in Canadian funds, going back, directly, to CHEO. Over the last four years, we’ve raised juuuuuuuust about $15,000 in Canadian funds[1].

It should be noted, however, that the newly-formed “Ottawa Guild Superstars” were nipping at our heels this year! That’s pretty damn, awesome, too.

[1]we lost our team historics this year, and we still don’t know why. Fortunately, I had screen captures of the previous years’ totals, so we’re not totally lost, but it is a shame, and I have to get back in contact with Extra-Life again to see if that can be rectified. It’s not a huge deal, but we are gamers, and our leaderboards are important to us. 😉

Totally Awesome Thing About Car Culture

There’s a reason I refer to myself and my fellow car nerds as nerds. We are. Seriously. Bordering on car hipsters, to be honest. I’m not going to get into what I drive: If you’ve read here before, you already know, ad neauseum, about my car. And, honestly, I’m a little run down. THere’s a “parts going in” update coming… eventually. In the meantime, I’ve been avoiding events, especially “offical” events, because, yeah, I just don’t have the energy, and my car’s not in the shape I’d like it to be for those events, and I don’t have the energy to get it there, right now.

Onwards!

So, Thursday night, there was a show. The Ottawa area has a lot of these weekly shows: there’s a Tuesday night in Kanata, there’s a couple of different Friday night ones, there’s Wednesday night at the Casino. They all have something in common: they are nearly universally classic, hotrod, and muscle shows. I like these shows: they tend not to have the sheer idiocy that comes with eighteen year-olds in civics (I know whereof I speak: I was that kid. But I didn’t have a civic, I had an ’88 Ford Tempo).

The Thursday night show, no different, just at Fallingbrook shopping center, in Orleans.

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So, what you see there is a sea of gleaming muscle, painstakingly restored classics, expensive modern insanity (2015 C7 Corvette, I’m looking at you), waxed and polished so hard the chrome almost comes off. I love all this: I love seeing the restorations, the resto-mods, and the cars of yester-year. And as usual, all the owners are milling around, looking at the same cars they see every week, talking to their buddies, and wondering what seven KDM, one Honda, and one VW are doing there.

And then.

And then this guy rolls in.

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And I wouldn’t say the record scratched as the lot went quiet. Hell, it didn’t REALLY go quiet. But he rolled in, backed into a parking spot, and got out.

The valves (open to the world) were smoking. The exhaust was clattering. The lights were… ineffective.

But all of a sudden, there was a crowd: the biggest crowd of the night. And EVERYONE wanted a word, an explanation, and a picture.

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Two minutes later?

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What you can’t see is ’em standing three-deep behind me, as I took that (and some other) pictures. Basically lining up to take a good, clean picture from the front.

The vehicle in question isn’t even a car. It’s a reverse-trike: specifically, a 1939 Morgan Three-Wheeler. It’s also, according to the owner, a bit of a bastard: it’s an “SS” model, which in this case doesn’t mean “Super Sport”, but rather, “Stainless Steel”. The frame is steel, not wood, so, you only have to worry about rust and British electrical systems, not termites and wood rot. Which is nice.

And yeah, everyone wanted to to know about it. There were the few regulars who had “opinions” and “knowledge” (Spoiler: they didn’t know much about it, but talked a lot like they did). The guy who owned it was saying that he’d actually just got it on the road: 2.1Km from home to the show was its maiden voyage, after he got it: turns out, his Uncle had had it in a barn in BC and kinda said “If you’re going to drive it, it’s yours, free. If you’re not going to, i’ll sell it to someone who will” So the new owner is going to drive it, everywhere he can.

It really was the coolest thing there. And that brings me back to the car-nerd thing. All the guys, and girls there were, well, classic North ‘Murican car-types: big, V8, detroit iron (which you can see in the pics above) but everyone went ga-ga over this little British three-wheeler. Because it’s different and weird, and they want to know. Not only that, they want to know the guy who’s doing something different, who’s being something different. I never did get the spec on the engine, but according to wikipedia, it’s the last year of the V-twin three-wheelers, and this was definitely an air-cooled model. Finding specs on these things is crazy tough, too.

All in all, just a very cool, very cramped little thing. And apparently, the brake- and turn-signal lights don’t work. So, it’s hand-signals all the way (the lights are aftermarket add-ons, and maybe aren’t as good as they could be). And it’s classed as a motorcycle. So, helmet and goggles? Yeah, I’m all over that! I’ll admit it. I kinda want one. I’d totally commute in that in the summer.

And totally not… normal. And, for all you hang out with your own crew? When that “not normal” rolls through? You gotta check it out.