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Radiator install complete

On the way home Friday evening, I stopped by the local Advance Auto store and picked up some anti-freeze fluid for my new radiator.  I was also going to get new radiator hoses, but they don’t carry the hoses I would need for my Miata.  So I just got some shop towels and the anti-freeze.  Then I ran to sweetbay and picked up some distilled water to mix with the anti-freeze. 

When I got home, I got started right away on my task of replacing my radiator.  It took me a while to get started, as I was trying to figure out how to get access to everything I needed to get to.  At one point I thought I’d have to take off the cover under the engine compartment to get to the bottom of the radiator, but fortunatly I managed to give up on that and was able to do my job without having to remove the cover.  Getting the old radiator out took me the longest time, as I had some trouble with the lower hose which seemed stuck.  I finally got all the hoses and bolts and connections off the old radiator and pulled it out.  I installed the fans on the new radiator and then dropped it in fairly easily.  Then re-connecting a few hoses and wires and I was off and running.  I ended up doing a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water, but only by accident.  I read online that the miata radiator takes 6.7L of liquid, so I got three gallons of distilled water and a single gallon of anti-freeze.  I got way too much fluid and ended up not even using a whole gallon of each type of liquid. 

I took the car out for a spin and made sure there were no flow problems or overheating issues.  Everything works great and it was a much easier job than I thought it would be. 

Movie update

Liz and I watched a few movies we’d never seen before this weekend. Included are:

Poseidon (2006) – was an ok movie, but Liz and I can’t take much of the mass death and disaster type stories…

Catch and release – didn’t really care for this movie, thought it would be good from the description, but it didn’t hold our interest for long. Actually watched this the previous weekend (I think).

Evan Almighty – Thought this was funny, not a terrific movie, but interesting and humorous with a fairly good sory.

I’ve been trying to find a newer romantic comedy that is something good, not some of the sleezy stuff thats been coming out. But after watching that Poseidon movie with all the death and danger, I think we are ready for a musical! 🙂

Miata's are awesome

I love my Miata. I have had very little negativity as a result of driving it, but I did recently get a “its a girly car” or its “a gay car”. In response to this, I put together a short list of links and quotes from people who would know best….Miata owners. People shouldn’t talk down about what they have no clue about. The quotes below are taken from the Miata.net forums…

“I think the Miata is just about the best kept automotive secret for those who are not car nuts, but a car guy (or gal of course) knows what a Miata is and what it can do, it’s no secret to them.”

“I’d rather have a car that attracts women more than men (not that there’s anything wrong with that ).”

To quote Louis Armstrong, ” If you have to ask what Jazz is, you’ll never know””

http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f0e614c
http://www.miata.net/motm/2003/PFN.html
http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=250985&highlight=girly
http://www.miata.net/misc/girlscar.html




I’ve had girls shout their phone numbers to me …my girlfriend didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I did though.

I have had this car for 7 years and absolutely love it! The car is nimble and incredibly responsive-the car takes curves wonderfully. The top is easy to lower – I have taken the top down while sitting at a long red light. Unlatch and drop it behind you. The gas mileage is good. I get up to 33 mph on highway driving. It is a roadster and sounds/feels like one. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a fun, no frills car that is intended for driving enjoyment. When I bought it, the differences between the Miata and the (then) Z3 didn’t justify the $18K difference in price. I am glad I went with the Miata. Fully loaded with all options it was only $24K,

Miata is the most popular sports car in the world with well over 750,000 built to date. What if Mazda had successfully marketed it as a “guy’s car?” Probably would have stopped being built in the mid ’90s and Mazda would no longer exist….

“I have had a lot of friends make fun of the Miata. You know, the whole “it’s a girl’s car” and “gay guys drive them”. A lot of them said that until they rode in it and nearly pissed on them selves. I have thought about it and I have come to a conclusion. My car is black. So, I don’t think that it really falls into either category. The color has a lot to do with the girl or gay appeal. That is just my opinions. But, as you all know. Those are like butt holes everyone has one.”

“Heck, I’ll try to talk anyone into buying one given half a chance. “Oh, man, I LOVE this car! The tight handling, the chunky shifter, the size, the proximity to the ground making you feel like you’re going fast even when you’re not, so you don’t feel tempted to get a ticket – what’s not to love?” Then I get to tell them what a practically new-looking ’97 like mine is going for. (But wait, that doesn’t add to my cachet, does it?) ”

“I never turned a basher to a fan, but I did make some shut up. It was early morning and some of my family car lovers and I were headed out to a classic car show. Well my uncles and cousins have either classic muscle or new, as do I but its in the middle of restoration and not drivable, are all ready to go on our little tour to the show. We always take the back way to miss all the traffic, and have a little fun on the way there. I showed up in my Miata and was ready to go. I get there and get knocked a little for ruining the V8 line. But especially knocked by one of my cousins in a late 90s Z28. On the way there I figured I’d give him a run for his money. I told him to just keep up as the roads are pretty curvy. For most of the trip I sat on my uncles bumper, then at one point I slowed down. well my cousin was ready to go, revving his engine and popping the clutch. So after there was some distance between the front of the group I punched it. I tore through the curves like nuts and watched my cousin disappeared behind me until I caught up to everyone else. He never knocked it again. ”

“I was amazed when I bought my 99 NB by how sleek and attractive the car was and how nice the interior design had become. Not to mention the way it drove – and now with power mods done such as exhaust, CAI, and some other goodies (and working on piecing together a DIY turbo kit) I couldn’t be happier! Now I know to never bash cars without checking out what they can become, not what they are.”

“1 convert to date. Made fun of the car, said they were under powered and lame, I asked him if he’d ever driven one, and the reply was “No.” He then joined me in a car pool of friends driving back to Ohio from North Carolina. I drove the first two hours, then handed him the keys and told him whenever he wanted to switch, let me know. I ended up riding in another friend’s car for the rest of the trip while he drove it, and another girl who wanted to ride in it asked me if she could, so we switched spots.

The next day he asked me to drive it around again, and then started talking about his plans to buy one.”

“Two people come to mind. First, I took a kid with an EG civic with a B20 non vtec in it and took him on a nice easy drive down a twisty road. It was the last time I heard him ask ‘why would you want a Miata?’ ever again.

Secondly, several friends of mine and I autocross and both of them have Trans Am WS6’s. This past weekend, I went to an autocross school and the autocross that followed it. I made good use of the braking and turning exercises, and beat both of them by a fair margin(1 and 3 seconds on an average 55 second course.) They both promptly clammed up, and I haven’t heard either of them mention buying a ‘real’ car all week.”

“I have had numerous friends laugh at my “girly” convertible. Once I take the onramp at 70 mph and have to slow down to merge, though, the ribbing stops. Then after their first time behind the wheel, they keep coming back for more. It’s an addiction”

“Let your car explain it for you – have them drive it.

I have friends that still talk about having driven mine in 1991. I have a friend who restores muscle cars, vintage-races a 200 mph former NASCAR Busch Cup car, and considers 300 hp “almost adequate for a street car,” who drove mine a few times and consequently just bought a ’92 Miata. (He drives the Miata more often than the ’04 Mach 1 lately and calls me to tell me “I found this great road on the way home today.”)

I’ve probably let 75 people drive mine, including friends, family, coworkers, and complete strangers who simply ask me about the car. “Here, why don’t you drive it and see for yourself.” I’ve taught probably 20 people to drive a clutch in my car (including my 11-year-old son.) Nobody has ever gotten out of the driver’s seat without a big ol’ smile.”

“I have been driving for 30 years and have never been interested in cars.
They were “transportation” from point A to B, and expensive to boot. In the fall of 1999 one of my co-workers wanted to show me his new-to-him 1996 Montego blue Miata. So one day at lunch I took a look, and then he took me for a drive around town…..3 days later I bought a 93 that I continually upgrade; new top, engine stuff, custom paint, etc. I still can’t explain it, but I will have this car the rest of my life ”

“As soon as I got past the “Miata’s are for chicks” thing, and learned about Mazda’s passion for good sports cars (and the rotary engine – which I know the Miata doesn’t have) all that bias lifted away and now I can’t wait for someone to buy my car so I can move on.”

That’s all I have to say about that…

Watched: Star Wars – A new hope

Ok, so I never watched the Star Wars movies before. Well last night, Liz and I sat down and began watching the first Star Wars movie, A new hope. The only character I really liked in the movie was Obi-One (don’t know how to spell it), and he died. The movie was ok, story was ok, acting was so so, and saw the flub in the part when Luke comes back from his successful mission of blowing up the death star, where he calls the actress playing the Princess by her real name. I thought that was funny and kind of surprised they would leave that in there. Overall, it was an ok movie, fairly easy to watch, but not knowing anything about Star Wars, I’m trying to catch on the story line.

I’m so used to a certain level of production quality and story quality from Star Trek, that its foreign to me to see what they did with Star Wars. Now I am not going to try to compare the two anymore, because its really not the same thing. I love Star Trek, Star Wars is just another sci-fi movie series, and its ok. I found a lot of similarities to what they are doing with Battle Star Galactica.

Getting sick

Started to feel sick last Wednesday, a few minor sinus issues, etc. By Thursday, I had a slight sore throat. Friday, I felt like I had a head cold. Saturday felt a little worse. Sunday I lost my voice and got a worse sore throat. Monday I called in sick because I couldn’t talk and felt terrible. Tuesday I called in sick again because I still couldn’t talk and felt terrible. I went to a doctors walk in clinic and found that I had an upper respiratory infection. They have me an antibiotic and a nasal spray and said I could take Mucinex. Today (Wednesday – one week from day one of all this) I am feeling better, my voice has returned good enough to talk fairly normally, and I think in a few days I’ll be back to my old self again. My sore throat is all but gone, but I still have some sinus problems to deal with.

The Great Speaker Hunt

I recently decided that I’d like to replace the older surround sound speakers currently installed on my multimedia PC at home. Since I don’t have cable or DirecTV or any other paid TV Service, I use my multimedia PC to download/watch any shows or movies (not counting DVDs) that I want to see. This works out great for me, and the quality is amazing. My multimedia machine is a 1.8GHz AMD system, with 512MB of RAM, a 400GB hard drive, and Realtek HD Audio processor. I checked out my system specs and found that if I bought a really nice set of surround sound speakers, I’d probably need a new sound card. I like the Realtek HD audio, but the physical outputs on the motherboard are limited. I won’t have enough outputs to power a decent speaker set in 5.1 surround. So I went online and took over an hour to decide on a new sound card. I ended up getting the Creative Audigy EAX PCI. Its not an expensive card, but should deliver good quality 5.1 6 channel audio to my living room. Now the hunt is on for a good speaker set, I want to get something thats 5.1 surround, has 2 right channels, 2 front channels, a center channel/sub. I need something with a remote for volume control. I also want something if possible, on stands, so I won’t have to worry about finding temporary stands or mounting stuff on the wall.

I think I found a few sets on eBay that look pretty nice, and are fairly affordable. I don’t really need a receiver, because I won’t be using it for any radio or with any other inputs. All my multimedia comes from my multimedia PC, so as long as whatever I get connects to my multimedia PC, I’m set. I don’t want to go overboard either, since I won’t be using them to their full potential till we either move to a more secluded area, or the kids are older. We live in a close neighborhood, so I don’t want to make too much noise! I’ll try to put together some kind of diagram and spec listing for my multimedia PC and home theatre system once its complete.

Christmas Video 2006

Much to our delight, the Christmas video for 2006 is complete!!! I was up until 11:30 last night encoding the last of the video and rendering the DVD menu. This is the second annual video we have done and its still a learning curve. I thought things would be a bit more smoothly, but we did run into a few snags. The girls weren’t the most cooperative and we waited until way too late to really do it up the way I had wanted. I did come up with a few last minute ideas that I think made it nice, but its up to the audience to decice. I have 7 separate video sections on this DVD. Aside from the main movie, I added a bloopers section, special features which include auditions with the girls beforehand, and there is a deleted scenes section as well. For a final touch I added a slideshow containing some of the best pictures of 2006. After reviewing the final product, there are many things I would change and improve, but I just don’t have time. I think it came out good and its another step in learning all the software and video techniques. I hope that year to year they will get better and better. The video is sometimes sudden in starting and stopping, which is something I plan to correct next year. The slideshow has some blurry pictures in it, but hey, we have so many pictures, you try to sort through all of them and not go crazy. I also used some new software this year to compile the video, and was able to create a nice DVD menu. I was pleased to find out that the DVD works great, the whole project turned out fairly well and we have time to mail it out to people before Christmas. If I had more time I might be more concerned about it and spend more time tweaking the scenes and correcting a few things, but I’m sure whoever watches it will like it just fine. This year, I show two new additions to our family in the video, Michael of course, but also two nice scenes of my Miata!!!

Sleep Deprevation

Last night I had two major interruptions in my much needed sleep. First, Sarah came into our room (but not sure exactly when) because she said she had a bad dream. I snuggled her up and fell back to sleep. A little later she must have kicked Liz, because I awoke long enough to hear Liz tell Sarah it was time to get back in her bed. Then not long after that, Michael started to cough. It started to sound fairly bad, so Liz went in and checked and he was still asleep, but was just caughing every minutes or so. So I decided I’d go out to the couch to try to sleep (Blessed are the split floor plan home-owners). I got all settled in and Michael caughed again, but his door was still cracked from when Liz went to check on him, so the cough sounded like I was right there in his room. Realizing this was not going to work, I just went in there and got him and brought him out to the couch with me. Anyone who knows Michael knows how wiggly and mobile he is. I didn’t know if he was going to stay with me or not. He laid there for a while, wide eyed and looking all over the room at any light or object he could see. He’d get a little excited and sit up look around a bit, then plop himself back down onto me and seem like he was sleeping for a minute or two, then he’d repeat that whole process. I went out to the couch around 4:30am so from then until a little after 6am, I was awake holding the ever so wirey Michael. It was nice to get some snuggle time, since he doesn’t usually do that much during the day. Although I look forward to getting a full night’s sleep again SOON! yawn….

ISP change

The time has come for me to try Verizon FIOS. The pre-installers were at my house today to bury the fiber optic cable for FIOS internet. Their base package is only slightly slower than what I get with Road Runner, but Road Runner is $10 a month more expensive and has slower upload speeds. So they will be installing the system at my house tomorrow between 8am and 11am. I get a free wireless router and it does support port forwarding and all the advanced features I need to keep my home network up and running. If I do decide to keep FIOS and ditch Road Runner, I will have some DNS zone changes to make but it should be a fairly easy switch. Eventually I’ll upgrade to their middle package wtih 15MB down and 2MB up. I’ll start off with 5MB down and 2MB up. Which is enough to get me started, but eventually I’ll need more bandwidth!

packing progress

I have several important things to setup before our move, such as informing utilities of our move and turning off the cable/internet. We also have to disconnect the computers/servers in my office area, so I’ll have to re-route e-mail for the weekend. Going back to POP3 is going to be interesting.

Fortunately we got a lot of packing done this past weekend. We only have some closets, the patio, some garage stuff and last minute items left to pack. I think it will be fairly easy if we do all the prep work on the larger items Wednesday night. So that on Thursday, it will just be loading and last minute item packing.]]>