Yet another update

Alive. Last weekend’s event in Oscoda was a success.

Worked the week.

Sunday, went and saw Hellboy II. Visually amazing, could’ve had a bit more story to it.

Was originally hoping to do the comic-book double-feature with The Dark Knight but due to one thing or another, the timing didn’t quite work out so I’ll go see that one next weekend when I can hit a matinee.

Working this week.


Still here

Things have been happening. Week of 12+ hour workdays, plus some other stuff I’d rather not get into at this time.

Just didn’t want you thinking I’d fallen off the planet.

Co-chairing an autocross up in Oscoda this weekend. Leave oh-dark-early tomorrow morning for that.

More at some point. 

July 4 is Racing Day.

Verdict: New seat mounting rocks. It’s at least 2″ lower than my previous seat — I actually have almost 2″ of clearance above my helmet to the headliner! Got used to it much quicker than I thought. Really like feeling “of a piece” with the car.

And I ran quick enough today to take E Street Prepared over my lone competition — but don’t get me wrong. Lou makes me work for it. Reminded yet again that the Cobra really feels at home on a course where I can really keep the engine spun up. I run most of Waterford in 2nd gear, at least in this configuration, and grab 3rd on the backstraight, going back to 2nd at the end of the straight. With the finish lights where they were today, no reason to upshift again in Swamp Turn. In its regular configuration, I grab 3rd coming down from Hilltop and through Big Bend, 4th on the backstraight, back to 2nd at Archers at the end of the straight, 3rd again coming out of Swamp onto the front straight, and think hard about keeping 3rd until the tight lefthander that goes up to Hilltop.

One incident, during the 1st work shift, at the turn I was working. A car (I am not identifying it further for a variety of reasons) slid sideways to the inside of Swamp and went nose-in to the concrete barrier in front of Station 8. Which was where I was working at the time. We (my fellow worker and I) were not really in any danger — we were away from the impact point and got further away during the incident itself. Driver was physically unhurt aside from the usual bumps and bruises from the belts and airbag, but was upset about damage to their car, for obvious reasons. My assessment is the car is imminently fixable, with only minor tweakage (didn’t push anything back into the doors).

I didn’t have any real issues aside from wondering if I’d run out of gas during a run (and I didn’t have any with me).

After I dropped the trailer at storage, I stopped and picked up Strawberry Crush and vanilla ice cream for a Crider family tradition on the 4th — strawberry sodas. Real simple: big glass, some vanilla ice cream, and then pour the soda over it. K doesn’t care for it so I bought her some root beer. And she just had ice cream with some strawberry puree over it. Ah, well.

Note: that half-gallon of ice cream you used to buy? It’s now 1.5 quarts (2 quarts is a half-gallon). Same price, though. Grrrrr.

And I’ve spent the evening listening to more illegal fireworks than I’ve heard in years up here. Nothing that goes bang or flies in the air is legal in Michigan except for professional displays. I’m going to hazard a guess that a lot of people who would normally go Up North for the weekend to blow stuff up stayed home this year because of fuel prices.

Fuel prices are also keeping the entry count low for the autocross weekend I’m co-chairing up in Oscoda next weekend. I’m thrifting it to the bone but may still have to cut some stuff unless I get more car count. 😦

Ah, well, up tomorrow morning at 7:30 for the start of the Tour de France. Big format changes this year, should be interesting.

More seat shenanigans

Since pal M brought me the nifty low-boy adjustable seat track from pal D in St. Louis via a relay at last weekend’s Peru National Tour (in Indiana), I hauled back down to MRT this morning for what I most sincerely hope is the last word on this particular project for a good many years.

This involved:

– Disassembling the old race seat from the original power seat track, saving the cool custom adapters that pal and fab-wizard R made for me back in 2002 or 2003. Saved the track, too. And the wiring. The old race seat? Dumpster. Too broken to take a risk on someone else using it.

– Cutting off the original seat belt anchor, which R had removed from the original seat and very nicely welded to the original seat track. We would reuse this.

– Removing the new seat and its fixed mount from the car.

– Trial-fitting the seat and its side mounts to the new track. My original idea was to bolt this together, but upon seeing where some of the bolts would be (over the slidey-bits of the seat track), MRT tech, trained welder (I’m a total hack, and since we’re talking about a seat mount and seatbelt mount, I was willing to pay for a good job), and fellow Mustang junkie J and I determined the best bet would be to weld the sidemounts to the new track’s upper bracing directly. Good thing I got the steel sidemounts — trying to weld aluminum to steel is virtually impossible.

– J says “It’s your seat, and YOU’RE the engineer, YOU figure out where it goes”. So I did. Got it pretty much centered and relatively straight. Marked it. Clamped sidemounts to track. Removed seat from sidemounts. Then J did some grinding (to remove paint) and tack-welded the sidemounts into place.

– Test fit. Is good.

– Finish welding. J welded every place he could weld. Pretty beads. Let it cool, ate lunch.

– Test fit. Is still good.

– Out back to the spray-bomb table for a coat of paint. Let dry.

– Finish assemble seat to track, and inside seatbelt to track. Assemble track to car.

– Test drive. I’m sitting lower. This is actually good for racing since it lowers the CG of the car a smidge. And I have more than enough room for my helmet. The seat moves as it should on the tracks, then holds firm when it shouldn’t move. The seat is at a comfortable angle for long driving. I might prefer to sit more upright for racing, but I can fix that by moving the rear seat mounting point up a slot or two (two M8 bolts) if I really need to. Right now, I’m thinking not, though, as it leaves room for the HANS device I plan on getting in the next year or two. Mostly, I need to get used to the new position.

Which I’ll have a chance to do tomorrow, at the annual Corvette Club of Michigan Gary Griffith Memorial Autocross at the Waterford Hills road course. It’s a high-speed event (in SCCA, it would be classified as a Solo Trials event) and I’ll get deep into 3rd gear on the back straight unless the slalom into Big Bend (the sweeper that feeds the straight) is more open this year — if so, hello 4th gear! This will test my new shifter as well as the seat.

I’m just glad to get the new seat finally the way it needs to be. Now I can concentrate on the driving thing again instead of the “hanging on for dear life” thing. It’s safe. It’s secure. It’s about 20lbs lighter than what was in there. Makes me happy. 🙂

Stolen from EVERYONE

I’m home all day today, tending to some racing-related administratia, and I’ve now gotten bored. So…

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who’ve read six and force books upon them.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling (only the first two)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (many, yes, but not all)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis

34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown (not on a bet)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
47 Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby-Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From a Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – A.S. Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (some of them, not all)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams (thinking it was a nice book about cartoon rabbits from the film… WRONG)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

35 out of 106 (2 of 7 Harry Potter books)