Category Archives: Projects

A Day For the Toronado

It’s been over a year since the one and only time the Toronado broke down on the side of the road.  I’ve had it back together for a while, but I haven’t really given it any love until today.

Here it sits, like it has for months.

I tried to start it up and move it before Luke’s birthday party back in August, but the battery was dead.  I charged up the battery and the old thing fired right up once the fuel got pumped back up into the carburetor.

I pulled it into the garage for an oil change.  Our 3rd oil change in 24 hours in this garage.  Haha.

This is what dirty and neglected looks like.  Leaves, dirt, bird poo.  Time was starting to pass it by.  Sad to see it like this after all the work I put into painting it.

I washed out the engine bay.  Halfway because it was just nasty.  And the other half was because there were spiderwebs everywhere and I didn’t want any spiders hanging around!

I went for a short cruise and came back home.  I don’t have current tags on it right now, so I didn’t want to drive it too far.  And I need new ball joints before I really feel safe on the highway.  So it was just an Albert tour for today.  But I did make the point to BACK it into the driveway so the neighbors can tell it DOES run!  Haha.

So there we go.  The ball joints should be around $100 all together.  Then I plan on driving this thing!  Part of me wants to fix the hail dents, re-do the vinyl, get new bumper fillers and paint it.  The other part of me want to just drive it as a “beater” during the winter and nasty days so we can keep the Cutlass clean.  I’m really torn which way to go.  I just like this car so darn much!

The List

This will begin a difficult series of posts.  It’s the beginning of another fall sports season and there are a lot of teams out there making cuts.  They’re whittling their best players down to the best of the best.

Well when it comes to games, there are literally hundreds of phenomenal games out there that deserve to be played and re-played.  But if you had to cut it all down to a starting lineup, who would make the cut?

I’m going to go through my games in my collection and decide, if I had to leave it all behind and pick one game to represent each genre, one game that I could play over and over in that category, what would it be?  So I’m going to have to make some tough choices to determine my all time favorite game in each of the following genres:

  • Action/Adventure
  • Arcade
  • Fighting
  • First Person Shooter
  • Party
  • Platform
  • Puzzle
  • Racing
  • Role Playing Game
  • Simulation
  • Strategy
  • Sports

Did I leave out any important categories?  Let me know in the comments.

I’m going to have to leave some really great games on the shelf.  And just to warn you in some of the categories like Fighting, there WILL be some great games left out of discussion entirely because those are genres I just never quite got into and as such some iconic games I simply never have played. They will still be represented though.

Then my ultimate goal is once this list is completed, to PLAY these games, capture the video, produce it out and make a show out of it.  This will become my project for Friday night’s “Project Night”.  None of that can commence though until “The List” is finalized.

So check back soon as I make the final cut for my defacto “Sports Game”!

Project Night: 1

What a rockin’ success!  I went into today not knowing for sure what project night was going to be.  Ultimately I envision some large time consuming project that I can whittle away at every Friday and maybe on weekends.  Something like building a MAME cabinet.  But I haven’t quite narrowed down the sweet spot of awesomeness and what we can afford right now.  So for tonight, I decided to do a little one night project.

I had an old 2×4 screwed to the wall a while ago that I used to hang the shovels on.  Well since then, I’ve out grown it a bit.  I’ve gotten tired of walking around tools or propping them up in a corner, so I figured a great project for tonight would be to do something about it!

It really doesn’t get more simple.  I took some more 2×4 and screwed them into the wall where the studs are.  Then just used regular nails for the “hooks” to hang the tools on.  It’s ghetto fabulous, but at least it’s organized.

Most of my projects take three times longer than I plan on them taking.  So I usually plan on them taking that long (yes, it’s a vicious cycle).  But tonight went about as quick as it should.  Well, almost.  I guess it took twice as long as it should because the battery for my circular saw kept dying.  It just doesn’t hold a charge anymore.  So it took me about 30 minutes to cut a 2×4.  So I guess it was about right.

I then started looking around and thinking, what else can I hang and get off the floor?  That’s when I saw the car ramps and noticed they had a nice little hole in them, perfect for hanging.  So I got some more spare fasteners that I had and made new perches for my car ramps and wheel chucks.  Got ’em off the floor and since they hang under the cabinet, they aren’t in the way.

It was a good night for sure.  I freed up some space and in one car garage like mine, space is a premium!

I look forward to the next project night.  I’m almost more excited to see what the next project will be that will make life even better!

Retro Game Night!

FFVI Cart on Shelf

I’m so excited.  I have officially dubbed Tuesdays as Retro Game Night in my house.  You’re probably thinking, I could play retro games every night around here if I wanted to.  And I COULD, but then I couldn’t get a lot of other things done, be it gaming, or actual, you know… responsibilities.

So I decided in order to be able to enjoy a few of the things I’ve really been wanting to do, and not just plow through them one at a time like it’s a job, I would take different nights of the week and dedicate them to different areas.  All part of this preparation and organization kick I’m on lately.

Monday – Guild Wars 2 Night: Officially started last night as Andrea and I were playing through with her new character. This game is incredibly fun, but will literally consume every minute of your life you’re willing to throw at it. Part of this new schedule is to keep me from spending ALL my time playing GW2. Haha.

Butt Kicked

Tuesday – Retro Game Night: A night to play anything not in HD. That’s (begrudgingly) how I’m defining “retro” gaming these days. Right now I’m focusing on Final Fantasy III. It’s tough because it’s been so long between play sessions I’m having trouble remembering what to do next. Hopefully playing on a more regular basis I can follow along a little better.

Wednesday – Guild Wars 2 Night: Because honestly this game deserves 2 nights a week. It’s the game I’m most interested in right now and the game I’m having the most fun with. These game night themes aren’t the same forever. But this is how it is for now.

Thursday – Automotive Night: This makes the list because generally I kinda like working on my old cars. And matter of factly, I NEED to work on these old things to keep them running. Basically there’s only one thing that matters when you’re driving old cars on a daily basis like we do. And that is fix things faster than things break. If you can do that, it will last forever.

Friday – Project Night: This one I’m most excited for. Mostly because I don’t know what my project is going to be yet. Ultimately I’d love to build a MAME Arcade Cabinet. But this night will rely on funds being available for big stuff. But right now I know there’s plenty of little projects around the place here that I need and want to get done. And this sets aside some time to do those.

So there you go.  This whole idea is all about making time for the things I want to do.  I’ve felt so busy since Luke was born.  But hopefully putting a little focus behind my recreation, I can not only actually get to them, but also enjoy them.  All to often I feel like I’m just plowing through something I’ve wanted to do, making it something I have to do because I don’t know when I’m going to get back to it.  This adds some structure.  And it helps me remember I will get back to things, so I don’t have to force my way through them.

We’ll see how long this lasts.  I get on these kind of kicks then eventually they fizzle out for me, but right now, I’m pretty excited about it.

An $8.00 Project

Well the biggest glaring flaw on the Jeep to me was the paint on the rear vents between the window and the hatch.  After years of UV rays, the paint had begun to bake off.  Not sure why it hasn’t effected the rest of the Jeep, but I’m not complaining.

So I stopped by Autozone and got an $8.00 can of Duplicolor “Chrysler Flame Red” and set out to clean ’em up.

Here you can see a previous picture that shows where the paint was gone behind the windows.

They come off pretty easy.  Even so, I busted one of the mounting pegs when I was pulling it off.  A little super glue overnight and it seems like it’s holding strong.

They didn’t turn out perfect so I might pull them back off sometime down the road and redo them, but for now.  They met my “better than it was” standard.

Jeep gets new exhaust

So literally the day after we bought the Jeep.  The Check Engine light came on.  Took it to Autozone to read the code and it said “Catalytic Converter Efficiency Low”.  Basically on these new fangled things, it has not one, but two oxygen sensors.  One in front of the cat converter, and one behind it. It compares the two readings and if they are too close, it deduces that the cat isn’t doing its job and should be replaced.

And because I want to save the planet… we’re fixing it.

I test fitted everything together.  We got all the parts from RockAuto.com, since the local Autozone & O’Reilly’s couldn’t get the front pipe.  With a handy discount code that almost payed for the shipping, everything came out to just a couple bucks over $300.  Not bad considering a exhaust shop was going to charge $400 to JUST replace the cat.

Getting the tailpipe out was definitely the hardest part.  I tried cutting the pipe, but the exhaust pipe cutter I got on load from AutoZone was junk.  So luckily the old muffler was so crusty, I just hammered on the pipe until it popped out of the muffler.

My little jack is small, but it has served me well for the cars we’ve always had.  The Jeep is about 6 inches higher off the ground though.  And fully extended my jack didn’t even reach the undercarriage!  Forced to make do with what I had, I came up with the above scary setup.  Luckily I didn’t have to actually be underneath the Jeep while it was jacked up like this.  Because that’s some serious red-neck engineering right there.  If I want to keep working on this thing, I’m going to have to get a bigger jack, that’s for sure.

I had to jack it up to get the tail pipe over the axle, and I had to unbolt the track bar and drop that down too.  After that, it was pretty easy to pull the old crusty one out and slide the new one in.  Then I promptly put the wheel back on and got the vehicle back on the ground and off of that crazy ass setup!  I could just see a cinder block exploding and the whole thing crashing down.

I had to make one more cut in front of the cat and after that, everything came out with relative ease.

The whole job was prompted by the check engine light, but it was also a good excuse just to redo the whole exhaust because it had some definite leaks.  The old muffler was just plain wore out.  It had pinholes from corrosion all over it  and as you can see above was super crusty.

I didn’t get any pics of the re-assembly process because once it all started going together, I got on a roll.  Hardest part was getting everything lined up and tucked up as good as possible.  I probably straightened that muffler 10 times before I tightened everything up and it’s still crooked… oh well.  Nothing I can do about it now as it’s all locked in place.  And it’s not like anyone will see it anyway.  It is nice to see the fresh exhaust in there.  Feels rewarding.

Seems like it did what it was supposed to.  It’s definitely quieter.  We cleared the check engine code with our new code scanner.

I have to say, it was super nice working on something that wasn’t rusted solid like our other old cars.  The O2 sensors and even the bolts going into the exhaust manifold all came loose with relative ease!  Is this why people don’t usually drive 30 year old cars?  Haha.

Another Project Radio

These seem to gravitate towards me.  Jamie and Bryan got this for me for my birthday this year.  Man is it cool!  It has a phonograph, cassette deck AND an 8 track!  All the good stuff!

I hooked it up to Andrea’s speakers, we plugged it in and it seems to work fine.  Other than the selection switch is pretty finnickey so I need to get some electronics cleaner and clean all the contacts there.

It needs a good cleaning, but it should be a trusty radio!

It’s Finished

I don’t have pics of the completed project, but here’s a quick picture I snapped right after I picked it up from the upholstry shop.

I’ll get some better pictures as soon as I can.

You know I really like working on cars, but I can get frustrated.  Especially when I’m on a time crunch.  I don’t like having to have a car back together by the next day so it can be on the road.  Sadly we only drive projects around here!  Haha.

I think it turned out pretty good though.

Sorry I’ve Been Absent

It’s been busy.  I had mentioned in previous podcasts that I started playing Metroid Prime with the intention of playing it until completion.  Well the bad news is I’ve been too busy to play any of it for the past two weeks.  But then again, I haven’t really been doing any gaming at all INSTEAD of that, so it’s not like I’ve been “cheating”.  Though Andrea and I did play some Mario Kart 7 on 3DS tonight.

Other than a whole lot of travel this month.  Here’s the big project that has kept me most busy.  The vinyl top on Andrea’s car.  It hasn’t been too bad.  I just hope I’ve done everything well enough that the upholstery shop will put the top on.  My biggest fear is that I get it all prepped to go and they’ll say I didn’t do something right.  Ugh.  Let’s hope not.  Really just want to get this done!

Here’s some pics of the process.  I’m only going post a few of them on the front page, so click through to see the rest!

This is what was underneath when we took it off.

Here’s the old vinyl that was flapping in the breeze.

Uh oh. This can’t be good. Got most of the old glue sanded off. But the paint underneath is pretty flaky, so a lot of that is going to have to come off too.  But what is that drill for?

I had to drill out all the rivets holding down the trim pieces that go around the edges. Kinda apprehensive about drilling holes in an otherwise nice car. But must do what must be done. I was afraid this was going to be tedious work, but the drill chewed right through them!

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Time for new Vinyl

I wish I were talking about records…

Actually talking about Andrea’s Cutlass.  The vinyl top on the back half of her roof has slowly been coming loose since we bought the car.  It hasn’t been too bad, then all at once it really went to crappy.  The glue just totally gave up.

She said she could hear it flapping in the wind as she was driving down the highway, so we stopped by the upholstery shop to get a quote.  It’s actually pretty reasonable if I remove the old top.  So that’s the plan.  Infact, Andrea already got most of the vinyl off!