2010-03-28

Shock and awe


It has been more than a month now that I got Konis "installed" on the Yeller. Ever since they were on the car, the shocks were making a popping noise on rebound, and it was getting louder and louder as time went on. So last week, I took my car to Dietsch Werks, where the owner, Rob, took one of the front shocks out to see what was going on.


This is what we found. The folks who did the original install failed to use all of the hardware provided in the box, as the picture from the Koni manual shows. You see, there is only one nut at the top of the shock, where there should be two: this one and a jam nut, to prevent them from vibrating loose (that's part 5 in the diagram).


Then they also helpfully forgot to put on the little spacer sleeve (3) which goes underneath the top mount bushings to prevent exactly what happened here: too much play in the top mount assembly causing the shaft to slide up and down through the bushing, which also includes a metal washer, which has been rubbing on the threads of the shock and making that popping noise on each upward stroke.


It was doing it so much that the hole in the washer has been worn wider, and kind of oval, from all this rubbing. Thankfully, the washer is made out of aluminium, and has not yet done any visible damage to the threads of the shock.


Additionally, I got a chance to take a picture of the brake line mount which got impacted when it was hitting the front sway bar end link. Not a pretty sight, to be sure.


The top mount bushings for the S2000 (as most any other parts) have to be ordered from Honda, and were on back order last week, so I will have to drive the car in its current state until they get there, as well as the little spacer sleeves from Koni. Once they are all on the car, I intend to take the invoices from this latest round of un-fucking the car to the geniuses who fucked it up in the first place, and hope that they will not make it difficult for me to get the money back.

2010-03-27

Four feet should be enough for anyone

If you want to race, you have to pass tech inspection. Or rather, your equipment has.

Some clubs just tech your car, and some check your helmet. Some just make sure nothing major is falling off the car, while others check more thoroughly. Some clubs tech you on the grid, and some won't let you grid without a tech sticker. In latter case, you have to go to a tech line and queue up to get teched there before the event starts.

At one of the earlier events this year my car was waiting in tech line for quite a while before the tech inspector got there. There were two queues, about one-and-a-half car width apart, and I was at the very end of the right queue.

Inspector gets to the car, I pop the hood and the trunk, he checks all the things he needs to clear me for the race, and I go to close the hood and the trunk.

When I close the trunk, there is nobody behind me. When I start the car and put it in reverse to get out, I look behind me, and there's a red WRX behind me.

I put the car back in neutral and put on the hand brake, thus confusing my co-driver, who hasn't yet noticed the car pull up behind us.

Since there's still cars ahead of me waiting to get teched, no space to my right, and not enough to my left to get out without performing a 14-point turn, I figure I'll ask the guy behind me to back out to let me get on my way--and out of his.

There's nobody behind the wheel of the red car, but there's a dude standing not too far from it. I ask him politely: "Hi, is this your car?"

"Yeah."

"I was wondering if you could back up a bit to let me out?"

"There's plenty of space behind you. There's at least four feet."

Taken aback by such rudeness, I just head back to my car: "Hey man, it's your car. Don't blame me if I hit it." Then I get in the car and say to the co-driver "Four feet! Bet that's how he measures his dick, too!"

The WRX backs up a smidge and I get the car out of there.

Curtain.

2010-03-26

Up in the Air

Having spent two years traveling on business around Europe and to the US, spending every other week in hotels, I was blown away with the authenticity of this film. I sensed a sort of a warm and fuzzy feeling come over me as I watched Clooney perform, and his character Bingham pack, unpack, work his way through airports, security checkpoints, car rentals, hotels.

But what I really liked about the film was that it remained true to itself and its characters till the very end. There was no happy ending in the Hollywood sense of the word. Bingham reaps the fruits of years of avoiding any sort of commitment, although he now may realize that his life was lacking. Or not.

13 months

Today marks one year and one month since the countdown started for my departure from Red Hat. It was an exciting ride, and looking back, I realize how much I owe to all the people I got the privilege of working with--and learning from.

You know who you are, people. And today, at the end of my first week at VMware, I want to thank you all, because I would not be here today have I not met you.

Last year, I knew that I wanted a new challenge, to try myself outside the familiar comfort of a company that nearly quadrupled in size since I joined in 2004.

So looking for a challenge, I went to a start-up in Mountain View, CA. And challenged I got, plenty. Mostly in a good way.

Moving to Silicon Valley, selling a house, and driving my two-seater from coast to coast was an adventure I would not want to miss. There was a lot of stuff in between, but it was mostly all documented here on the blog and on Facebook.

Thirteen months later, I find myself in California, in an urban setting which is my natural habitat, racing on as many weekends as I choose, and making better money.

However, this week was special in a different way: it was the beginning of a whole new phase--being a full-time community manager.

Ever since I got involved in Fedora, I wanted to build communities for a living, and here it is. A big opportunity to do what I have long wanted to do. In the past five days, I have had a few moments where I had to stop and almost pinch myself: "Here you are, you're doing it, you are in charge of a community! Don't fuck it up!"

And I am determined to give it my best. Here's to a new adventure.

2010-03-23

Alice in wonderland

Mr Dodgson must be turning in his grave, as Disney machine processed a work full of quirky, geeky wit, games of logic, and nonsense and spat out a standard "epic battle between good and evil" about as nutritious for your brain as a Big Mac is for your body.

If you liked the book, do yourself a favour and don't see this. I regret that I did.

NorCal UFO AutoX March 14 2010

Results have been published. Not quite sure where exactly I ended up, but seems to be my customary 50th percentile. I guess the goal for this season is to end up firmly in the top 30% percent.

2010-03-15

2010-03-07 Redwood Region PCA autocross in Santa Rosa

Went to a PCA autocross on Sunday a week ago, and placed decent. I guess I am getting to the point where I get to aim to actually win my class or something. Anyways, here are the results (XLS file). I took Ladies class, even though I did not run Ladies. Not enough women run to make this a meaningful win, plus I don't believe that in autocross gender has any impact on performance--given power everything (brakes, steering, windows, and door locks).

Moving on, my car and I managed to get into a few shots taken at the event. You can see the full album of course, if the Yeller and I aren't quite enough to still your visual thirst for cars.

I ran first and third heat and worked second and fourth. My assignment was the scoreboard, basically writing down everyone's times on a large whiteboard, so people can see their times and everyone else's as the day progresses. It's a semi-slack job, but requires concentration and the ability to talk to drivers stopping by to look at and discuss the results while not missing anyone's times.

I really like the Santa Rosa Airport site and the way RR PCA set up their courses, and am looking forward to the next event in April.

Got my papers in order now

Took the yeller screamer to the DMV today to get a California title issued. For my German friends, it's an equivalent of the Fahrzeugschein, only in Germany it is issued by the federal authority, and in the States, it is issued in each state separately. So if you move from one state to another, you may want to get the document reissued by the state you reside in.

So when you buy a car, and you don't pay for it upfront, the bank (or whoever loaned you the money) gets the title, and only when you pay off the loan, do you get the title.

I paid off the loan I took out to buy the S2000 back last Summer, when the money from the condo sale in NC came through. The bank mailed me the North Carolina title, signed over to me once they got the payment. Because you have to go to a physical Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office and wait in line for a while, I never really got around (speak: always found an excuse to avoid) driving there and getting the title reissued in California.

Now that I had a few weeks off, being between jobs, I finally felt compelled to go and file the paperwork. Months and months after actually receiving the title in the mail.

So I was a little worried that there may be a penalty. I had the car registered in the state of California a couple weeks after I moved, but I did not have the title at the time, and the registration card still showed the bank as the actual owner of the car.

When I got to the DMV, the line was spilling out the entrance and into the parking lot. At the time when I took the picture, there were at least another fourteen people in line behind me.

It took me about a half-hour to get to the front desk, where they issue you your waiting ticket, depending on what issue you came to resolve.

There, I was also told that in addition to the North Carolina title I will need to present my vehicle registration, which I absent-mindedly didn't bring.

There were still 20 people waiting ahead of me according to the large displays showing which numbers were being served at various counters, and so I dashed home to retrieve the registration document.

I got back, narrowly missing my number (by exactly one), and walked up to the front desk where the friendly lady issued me a new one, again, about 20 numbers away from being served.

I sat and waited, and amused myself with chatting and Facebook until my number came up half an hour later.

The lady at the counter looked at my paperwork and sent me to the vehicle verification line. This is where you drive your car up to an area with a person who looks at the VIN (Karosserienummer) in all the different places and verifies on a special form that indeed the car you claim you own is the one that your paperwork describes.

After 20 minutes, it was my turn, but seeing California plates on the car, the lady said I did not need any verification. So I backed out of there, and parked (parking at the DMV is hell, and I had to park on the street and walk), and went back to the counter I was at earlier.

Thankfully, I was instructed to just come back up once done with the verification, so I did, and explained to the lady there that the lady in the verification area won't verify my VIN because I got the car registered in California already.

This caused a formal waterfall of apologies, and my paperwork was promptly processed. I paid the fifteen dollars in fees and was out of there.

The new title is supposed to arrive in the mail in about three weeks. Yayz.

Abstract poetry by Google Voice transcripts

I just don't know
what the row was
setting up this edition
with you.
The cos.
Well my completely.
Most of the business at the babies outage
it a buzz
when you give me a m
them myself
want to see if they did
not sent these did you see,
it's labs to do a oops piece of history numbers
automation are still listen to
sell it
feel kind of here.

2010-03-13

PDF, a.k.a Protected Document Format, and other oddities

If you ever contemplated sending any document to anyone in a format other than Micro$oft Word, you want to read this!

Apparently, "databases digest PDF files about like a cat digests hair balls - not well. Most resume databases will reject PDF files and most recruiters don't like them either. Simply because your document file looks amazing on your screen, don't assume it will duplicate identically on upload to another computer screen. A basic file format is the wisest choice."

Must be this newfangled 21st century thing, that DOC and DOCX are now considered basic formats, and that PDF won't always render the same on different systems.

Sadly, the company marketing themselves to me did not post the email online, just in case I were using a text-based email client, so I can't link to it. You can click on the screenshot to enjoy this FUD pearl.