Monday, March 21, 2011

bottle cap floor mat

While attending college in Florida, I lived in a house with some friends.
I spent most of my time in the garage with my Jeep.
We had an old couch out there where Brian and I would drink beer.
I think I even made a coffee table out of our surplus microwaves.
Many a hot and humid sunny Florida afternoon was spent in the garage!
Ah, the post-graduation time of my life!

One day, I found an abandoned floor mat in a parking lot.
It is made of perforated high density rubber, the kind used in an auto shop.
I put it in front of the garage couch and fate took over from there.
We discovered the mat's perforated holes are perfectly plugged by bottle caps.
And with great haste we drank; much satisfaction came from filling the mat.


Fast forward to today.

The shop mat still serves its purpose under our workbench in the apartment.
It keeps the cork-board floors from being marred if we drop something.
It also acts as a great catch-all for dirt, sawdust, and debris.

And that is a problem - the floors are never clean!

In a fit of weekend long spring cleaning, this proved to be the coup de grĂ¢ce.
I popped each and every cap out of the mat, and put them back in.
Years ago in college, the caps went in randomly, as we drank.
It was exciting to formulate a color and quantity based design this time!


It was actually more complicated than it looks!
And it took hours - I think we watched 2 movies while I did this.
The caps are "pressed-in" - meaning their serrated edges are seated well.
This is part of the reason so much dust and hair and dirt was trapped.
The sharp bottle cap edges attracted and held on to dirt and debris.
This is also the reason my fingers hurt typing this today.

I put the caps in 3 bags and juggled them to loosen their grip on dirt.
That actually helped!
I'm so inventive.
I also scrubbed the mat front and back a few times.
The difference is noticable in the sequence below.
There are two images of the empty mat - before and after scrubbing.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Learning to Dance

The first time I truly danced I really broke a leg.
Well, sprained an ankle, anyhow.
You see, I went to a place called Shenanigans.
I had a couple of drinks.
Dancing never came so easily!

I really didn't know how to dance before this night.
Letting go was key for me; soon I was inventing all kinds of moves.
People thought I was a great dancer.
I was actually just pretending and letting myself out.

For the first time, in my life, I understood dance.
Such a natural flow - a shame then, that culture inhibits our behavior.
Why do so many people feel afraid to dance; timid and nervous?
We should surely draw comparison of one's dance to their approach to life.

I immediately gained further insight and inspiration towards my sister.
Being comfortable with our own movement through space and time is essential.
Perhaps I had never drawn this conclusion, or thought of this at all.
Jess enables this knowledge and ability of self to many youths each day!

Granted, none of my skills were altogether crafted nor graceful.
But, I was having fun dancing for once and really going for it.

Then, I missed a step coming off the stage..

Sprained Specimen - Right Foot
Control Specimen - Left Foot

The next morning, I wrapped my ankle...
...and sought an expert opinion.
My first experience with Canadian Health Care.
I got a great parking spot!
The urgent care facility was close to my apartment.
I arrived at the waiting room at 10am on a Saturday morning.


30 minutes or so elapsed before I was seen by the doctor.
He was all business, he seemed quite sure of himself.
An older man with large eyebrows and messy hair.

He saw me for maybe all of 5 minutes.
It was simple, really - he wasted no time.
There was no doubt I had a sprained ankle.

He gave me a prescription for basic pain killers.
Also, a voucher to get an X-ray in 10 days.
This would give the swelling some time to subside.
(too much blood makes cracks hard to identify in the x-ray)

I was ordered to be off my feet, elevate, and ice my ankle.
Good thing I already owned a pair of crutches!


I was immobilized, but that didn't keep me from being productive.
For over a year I had meant to repair one of my mothers chairs.
It was an extensive job, or so I thought, and I always put it off.
The chair took up space laying in pieces for all that time.
Finally, I was slowed down enough to stay in one place.
I could fix things.



30 minutes after the injury, 1 or 2 am:
The next morning, 12 noon:
2 weeks later:

I happened to have 6 flights through 5 airports shortly thereafter...
...the moral of the story is that life keeps on going no matter what.
And even when you're slowed down, you can learn new things.
Hard work pays in positive progress.

Monday, March 7, 2011

PCV Fitting Fix

I broke my rear PCV fitting while installing my header.
The purpose of this fitting is Crank Case Ventilation.
A plastic elbow is countersunk through a rubber washer in the valve cover.
As temperatures rise in the engine, air expands and needs somewhere to go.
This hot air is vented from the valve cover to the air box through the PCV fitting.
Turns out, this is a common problem as the rubber and plastic get brittle with age.

The new elbow and grommet are easily installed by hand.
A pair of screwdrivers are all that is needed to pry the old parts out.

I drove with my Duct Taped 'temporary' fix for a week or two...
...Good ole duct tape.

The new grommet is installed first.
It is made of rubber and can be squeezed into place in the valve cover.

The new elbow is installed and re-connected to the intake manifold.
Just like new!