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2017.05.22
Saw Alien: Covenant yesterday. Those who know me know that I'm a huge fan of the movies. I'm happy to say that the movie did not disappoint. My biggest pet-peeve with prequel space-themed movies is that the ships are always more futuristic than the older sequels (because, new technology in film making). This was way more prevalent in the StarWars prequels. Specifically for the Alien series, does it make sense that ships 50 years prior to the Ripley films have transparent touch screens and then 50 years later, have ships with CRTs and mechanical button keyboards. Anyways, I'm looking forward to getting the Blu-Ray in September to compliment the collection.

2017.04.30
Wife and I saw Testament play on Saturday night at Bogarts. Supported by Sepultura and Prong. Awesome show. I haven't been to Bogarts in since 1990-92, and honestly do not remember who played. I also discovered for some extra coin, you can have a table with wait service for drinks on the balcony. I think my wife and I have found our new best way to rock.


2017.04.27
Nice to finally get to hit this milestone this week after the rash of repair work over the past couple of weeks:



My end goal is 500k miles. At my current average mileage, it will take approximately 9.62 years to get this, so realistically probably not going to happen. This was underscored yesterday, when I was checking on the new half-shaft that I installed last weekend and noticed a 1/4in cut in the boot that had spit the unholy grease all over the undercarriage. Since I'd had the part for a while, it was no longer under warranty (downside to having parts on hand). I'm going to try to fix the cut until I can get a new axle purchased and installed.

On a different note, my employer's board had decided after 13 years, to end our fixed wireless broadband by the end of the year. I have mixed emotions about this. On one hand, I've made no secret about how much I disliked wireless (it's black magic, I tell you), sleepless nights when storms roll through, and having to continuously maintain a fragile network due to limitations in hardware. On the second hand, there is nothing better than being on a tower on a nice sunny 70f day, sniffing and deciphering SNMP traffic for a monitoring system, and honing my troubleshooting skills. Needless to say, I will be quite busy with tower work over the next couple of months.

With wireless out of the way, I will be redirecting my attention to the routing aspect of my work. We are currently in the progress of looking at new equipment and the possibility of changing vendors. My work has been strictly Cisco from the beginning, but with rather poor technical support over the past couple of years, we are looking seriously into Juniper Networks gear. It'll be an interesting transition if we go this route. Stay tuned!

2017.04.11
It was a bit of work, but I managed to get the new exhaust complete with driver's side catalytic converter installed. The task of separating the header from the exhaust was supposed to be the hardest part, actually turned out not so bad after hitting it with a couple shots of PB Blaster. I ran into a peculiar issue with one side of the flange connecting the two parts having a 15mm nut and the other side having a 16mm nut, despite both having the same bolt size. I ended up replacing both sides with new 16mm nuts. Bulk of the time was spent on having to cut out the clamps as they had rusted together. Five hours later (I didn't rush through it), I had a brand new exhaust system installed. I ended up keeping the original O2 sensor since it was still good, so now I have two new ones on hand the when they give up the ghost.


Speaking of parts on hand, I was just about done with the exhaust when I noticed a spot of grease on the floor underneath the passenger side front axle. Sure enough, the CV joint had split and puked the most unearthly of all concoctions all over the passenger wheel well. I had replaced the driver's side some 18 months ago and when I purchased that half-shaft, I decided to buy both sides. Spent the remainder of the day and the next morning replacing the axle. Needless to say, it was a very productive weekend.

All that's left on the existing to-do list is the door hinge. I had actually started that one the weekend before, but crashed and burned. I'll save that story for when I actually replace the darn thing.

2017.03.22
Seems the 300 is starting to show it's age. At 11 years and just shy of 1/4 million miles, needed repairs are starting to add up. A couple of weeks ago, it was the rear toe links. This time it's the exhaust. I've been engaged in a losing, on-going battle with the expansion/flex link between the catalytic converter and mid pipes for the past year. Now that the rest of the exhaust is starting to rust out, it's time to start looking at repair paths. Initially, I was pretty set on cutting off the pipe from the catalytic converter and having someone weld a new stainless steel "cat-back" system on. Brands like Borla, Corsa (preferred), and Flowmaster come to mind. Crunching the numbers, I'm looking at 2k+ for the parts, plus installation cost (mostly welding). I was looking at RockAuto for unrelated parts and decided to see what an OEM equivalent exhaust would run and found out that for ~$1000 (including core reimbursement), I could replace the entire run from the drivers side headers to the tail pipe, including a new catalytic converter. Keep in mind that this is an aluminum system as opposed to stainless steel. Mindset being that the existing system lasted this long and my budget doesn't currently allow for a nicer SS system. Added bonus here is that I will have one less catalytic converter and O2 sensors to replace in the future.

Doesn't help that I'm also looking at replacing brakes and tires in the next couple of months. As long as I can keep the repair costs are lower than monthly car payments, I'll keep the ol' girl running.

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