DIFM (Do It For Me)

There’s an innate masochism trait built in to the average Do It Yourselfer. You have to be willing to spend time, money, blood, sweat, tears and sanity to produce what is probably lower quality and more expensive than what you could have bought.

Pride is a bitch.

All that said though, I finished* the enclosure for my Car Mac Mini project last night. I got the carpet on, mounted my connectors, soldered the switch and put it all together. The only thing left as far as the box goes is to screw down the lid and the window. Here’s a picture

I’m happy with how it turned out but it’s definitely not perfect. You can see seams in the carpet, there’s some spare glue, the power connector doesn’t stay in very well and the window is a little messy. But it’s mine! MINE MINE MINE!

I was up till about 2am getting this far last night and I realized how seldom I stay up late any more. How sad. By 11pm I was like “I need to wrap this up so I can get to bed!” and then I thought “I used to play EQ till 3am every morning and still usually make it to work by 9am. What the hell?” Getting old I guess.

Also last night I went to Line Creek Community Center and learned how to ice skate with Charles. He plays ice hockey and is a great skater so while I stumbled around the outside of the rink he skated in circles around me and did flips and won awards and such. It was pretty cool. I don’t think I did too bad but I was terrified that I was going to fall and land on one of the 900 12 pound kids all skating circles around me and pointing and laughing.

Good times.

It really was fun though.

* For a given value of “finished”

Blind Rage

For the love of shit, would someone please write a god damn calendar protocol that doesn’t suck dick? Do I seriously have to download and then reupload my entire fucking calendar file every time I want to add an event? Do you have any idea how huge this file is getting? It’s absurd!

Christ, I know open source developers don’t, like, do things, but comon, people will buy this shit. Companies still use Outlook because there’s no other reasonable alternative!

Yea, I know CalDav is coming but that’s such a fucking hack that it makes me sick. Write a good protocol! Microsoft did it! You are smarter than Microsoft aren’t you? Manage the backend with i/vCal if you want to. XML is great but using it as a transport layer? Please.

And Mozilla? Guys? We need Sunbird to not suck anymore please. I use it every day so I can comment on how much it sucks. And the new version which has all kinds of great features (including rudimentry CalDav support) is so slow that I might as well just use dead trees and squid juice.

Now, I know what you’ll say. “It’s Open Source Jason. Write it yourself!” and that’s great. If you’ll look over there to the left where it says “Software” you’ll a bunch of examples of where people couldn’t get it right and I had to do it for them. But I’m tired of having to do it myself every time. You know, just because I can program doesn’t mean I don’t want to just be a boring ol’ user now and then.

Cause see I got this Mac Mini I’m trying to install in my car…


*pant* *pant* *pant*

I Want A God Damn Litre O’ Guinness!

So, it’s been a busy week and weekend and now I’ll tell you about it. Much of this past week I was working on my Project. My Project is to install a Mac Mini in my car to use as the audio system. I ordered all the stuff I needed last week and it started to roll in. Friday night I spent the whole night soldering and cutting and hoping I didn’t destroy anything. When I was all done I was able to power my new Mac Mini off my new custom power supply and have it sleep and wake up with the car’s ignition. Sweet!

The next step was to build a car speaker box type enclosure for the Mac, the power supply and the USB dongle I am using for audio. So Saturday morning I used the incredible powers of The Intertron to learn how to do that. Basically you buy some MDF and make a box.
So I bought some MDF and a circular saw and some drill bits and screws and plexiglass and a plexiglass cutter and all kinds of other shit.

Saturday afternoon was taken up by helping Adam move into JoLynn’s house. JoLynn, Adam and JoLynn’s Dad have been remodeling the place for the last month or two and it’s finally done and looks great. We pretty quickly moved all Adam’s stuff in. It was pretty much the easiest move you can imagine. I believe it was due to the power of Pancho’s.

So Saturday night I got down to the saw and drilling and screwing and rending and screeching involved in trying to pretend I am a carpenter. The box didn’t turn out too bad really. The edges aren’t very straight because, as I learned, it’s not possible to make straight cuts with a circular saw. You (I) need a table saw. But it wasn’t bad. When I finished I had a very strong rectangular box. I mounted all the components in it before I passed out for the night and everything fit nicely.

Sunday I woke up with the plan to cut a giant hole in the top of the box, cut an inset and make a nice plexiglass window for it. This required another trip to the tool store where I got files, a router, a jigsaw, a hole cutter kit, router bits and probably something else I’m forgetting. I cut the big hole and it turned out nice. Then I tried to use the router to make a nice inset. I did that, got greedy, screwed it up and had to completely restart the top. So that’s what I’ll work on tonight because yesterday I had plans for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

I got most of the wood dust out of my ears and made my way up to the northland to pick up Tricia for a little boozin’.After Ryan showed me the largest spider in the world, which he had captured the night before, we made haste over to The Weston Irish Pub in historic Weston, MO and settled in to some serious emptying of glasses. The Weston Irish Pub is built in the basements of the Weston Brewery which has been MIA for a long, long time. The Pub is great. When you walk in the front door there’s two bathrooms and a staircase down. You head down into the place and it’s like you are in a cave. Dark, smelly (but good smelly) and rocky.

There was a local Irish musician named Bob Reeder playing guitar, singing, telling jokes and getting sloshed. As the night (afternoon?) progressed the jokes got dirtier, the singer got more drunk and the crowd got more rowdy. It was awesome. Eventually everyone was singing along, or in my case mumbling cause I couldn’t remember the words, and having a great time. After we had a few drinks we figured it would be a great idea to join the mug club where you get a litre mug, a t-shirt and very intoxicated. We got all three of those things, and picked up a few new friends who needed a place to sit. Keith and Lisa (I think?) got caught up to us pretty quick with beers, ciders and glasses of Irish whiskey and decided that the mug club was for them too!

Oh, and Bob played some bagpipes. That kicked ass.

We eventually stumbled out of there when Tricia started looking a little green around the edges and made our way to Parkville. Needed some food in a bad way and Town Topic was too far. We were hoping for some pizza, or something from the brewery or SOMETHING but everything was closed. The whole town was dark. Weak. Ended up at Sonic. This morning I spent a few minutes digging bits of breakfast burrito out of my seats.

Anyway, The Weston Irish Pub is a blast and I wanna go back. It’s even more lively on Friday and Saturday night so I’m really hoping to take a big gang of people there soon and tear it up.

And that was that. I dropped Tricia off, put down the windows, opened the sun roof and sang Pixies songs at the top of my lungs the whole way home.

Next up? Ice skating lessons, Honky, Les Miserables and OK Go at The Hurricane. Rock.

The Weather Holds

This morning I drove to work in a short sleeve polo with the windows and sunroof open. Nice weather for November 4th.

When I turned the page
The corner bent into a perfect dog ear
As if the words knew I’d need them again
But at that time I couldn’t see it

I would read that page every day
For the next year

We sat on a shoreline
Watching wind scalp the white off the waves
Sitting on a shoreline
And if i could do it
I’d dog ear this page

We spoke about growing old
And filling the future’s empty stage

I hope the weather holds
But you don’t need the sun to make you shine
These island towns don’t care for city folk
But I think we can starve the city from our minds.

I know we won’t want for much
It’s just you and me and a bed and a shoreline

Beauty and the Beast

Well, Fall has completely fallen. The trees on my street are stunning. Lots of rich, bright yellow with red and orange edges. It’s gorgeous. I was worried that with the quick change in temperature this year we wouldn’t get a chance to see the Fall color but it’s out in droves now. I just hope it sticks around till the weekend so I can go driving around to check it out.

And if I do get to go driving to check it out I’ll be able to listen to my iPod in my car! Monday night my Aux Mod from Sylfex arrived. I ordered it back in July and they just finally got around to having enough on hand to send me one. So last night I cleaned out the garage to make room for my car and began the arduous process of taking my radio out. The RX-8 has a fully integrated stereo system and it’s a giant pain in the ass to remove. I had to remove the cover over the shifter area, the ashtray, a cover under the steering column, a metal plate under the steering column, a bolt buried back behind all that and about 200 connectors to get the damn thing out. What a beast.

I finally got it all out, installed and back in and took it for a drive. Sounded great. The only problem was my DSC (Dynamic, uh, Something Control) light was flashing saying it wasn’t going to protect me from flying off the road. That had me pretty panicked for a while but after two starts and stops of the engine it reset and was fine. I guess it needed to recalibrate or something.

All told, it took me about 3.5 hours to convince my car it has a tape deck and to let me play my iPod. Scotty came over to help and to install his own module which he had picked up at Best Buy earlier in the day. It took him about 15 minutes to install and now his stereo can completely browse his iPod, show track info on the display and basically knock my stereo over in the school yard and tease it.

He can’t talk to it though. Muahah! Man do I have something brewing…