Friday, November 30, 2012

And time marches on

I went in to Home Depot today to buy some RJ45 jacks to re-terminate a cable where the tab broke off, and I realized something wonderful: it's probably been YEARS since I last stepped foot in a Home Depot!

I mean, I used to live in that place. Construction of my van was my full-time job. Now, it's been years that I've been able to enjoy the fruits of my work, and not have to work so hard.

This may be a very mundane thing for normal people: isn't it always normal that when you work on something, and finish it, then you get to enjoy it, and not work on it at all (or not so much)? Not for me, though, this is a new thing. I had some kind of strange mental problem where I could not ever trust that my effort would be rewarded. Which created an even stranger mental problem where I could never finish a project (what's the point?), and thus never realized that finishing a project is good because then I get to enjoy it. So it's very nice to have a feeling of accomplishment, to have made something that I get to keep afterwards.

Though, work really is endless anyway, in the long run. Example: a few months ago I did some massive and expensive van maintenance. It turns out I was an idiot and didn't grease the fittings on my tie rod ends or ball joints. I was an even bigger idiot and didn't get an alignment for years, but replaced my front tires with new ones last year, without getting an alignment. As a result, my tires were chewed up, and my entire front end was a mess. I had to replace a very expensive tie rod end and all 4 ball joints. Guess what? The special ball joint press tool you can borrow from Kragen doesn't work on E-series vans. I had to run to the plumbing store to get pipe nipples to hack the thing to get it to work. While I had the calipers hanging there, I also replaced my front brake pads and flushed the system too. But that got all that done, before the rainy season started, and all is well.

Speaking of rainy season, I discovered I have a nasty rain leak somewhere in the seam between the box and the cab. It's ugly. I squirted a bunch of Parr-Bond in there years ago, but it seems to not have helped. So I'll have to chase that down.

So now I'm mostly working on my own projects, and working for money. I replaced an old netbook with a newer notebook, since my work really requires it (and websites have gotten so bloated with Javascript that even websurfing or buying stuff online was impossible anymore). My old netbook lasted me exactly 4 years, so that's a pretty good run. My new one has sufficient guts that I should be able to make it last similarly long.

I did have to replace my 12v-19v converter though, it couldn't handle the new netbook. The new converter seems more efficient and hopefully will last longer. During the period after the old converter died and before the new one arrived in the mail, I bought a small 110v inverter and removed it's irritating fan, replacing the heat sink with a massive aluminum heatsink from an old PC. That was a fun hack. It turns out the fan on my 2500W inverter is so ridiculously loud that using it is simply not an option. At all. For anything. It's just sitting there. I may use it to run my laser printer from time to time. But my little hacked-together 110v (150W) inverter will have to do in case I need 110V for anything else in a pinch.

So that's my world. I just wasted most of the evening trying to get a silly bluetooth module to work, and failed. I was intending to use it to connect to my SunSaver to monitor battery, and for some other projects. But it appears to be non-functional. Or maybe it just needs more beating than I feel like giving it right now. I'd rather be doing something more fun, or more lucrative, or both.

Or more cathartic, like updating this blog. Blogging is so last-decade, isn't it? So many blogs I used to follow, are just ghost towns now, and have been for the past year or two. It seems like 2010 was the peak year of blogging, and then it just dropped off like a rock after that. A lot of mailing lists I follow have gone quiet too in the last year or two. Maybe we all have better things to do now. Or maybe everyone is doing their ramblings and discussions on the Twitter machine instead of blogs and emails nowadays.

Well that's all I got for now. I do have some van pictures to post at some time, mostly of the van in some wonderful nature surroundings. I'm in the suburbs at the moment, and have found myself stuck in the city over weekends due to some projects there, but the sooner I can get to the rural coast again, the happier I'll be.