Sunday, May 25, 2008

Free Mulch Day

Mulch Day

Free mulch day does not happen often, but when it does we stop everything. The bathroom is not finished, Bobby's old room has been torn apart, I am in the middle of building some shelves and most of the cars have something wrong with them, but it's free mulch. We must get free mulch.

Time: 8 hours

Cost: $10 for an excavator to load the mulch. $8.50 in gas.

Witch-gear: s-10, trailer, shovels, lawn mower

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

What I Learned: The lawn mower needed to be fixed and as usual, I thought the carburetor needed to be clean out. After cleaning it thoroughly, and filling up with new gas, nothing. It turns out the spark wire was being clamped in the sheet metal and not in it's correct routing hole. It fired up first pull after the wire was feed correctly.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Magical Marxist Fire Uke for Yuk

My friend Yuk has recently had surgery and his left hand is still recovering. As an avid guitarist, this rehabilitation process is especially frustrating for him. (Though I'm fairly certain that sentence is not constructed correctly, I will leave it like that for you mother :):))

I have convinced him to take up the uke as a stepping stone while he regains strength/control in his arm and dexterity in his fingers. (And, of course, because the ukulele is the greatest instrument of all time)

I figure he needs a special uke in this circumstance so ive tricked one out for him. This is no ordinary uke mind you. This is arguably the greatest singular object i have ever encountered in my entire life. It is downright magical. While walking with him to the park, on my birthday I found this the trash! (not just on the top of bin either, this was on the bottom of a pile of black bags. I caught the faintest glimpse of the outline of the bottom curve in my peripheral vision and, granted im always -at minimum, subconsciously- scavenging, amazingly spotted this buried treasure. before i knew what i was doing, the bag was ripped open and a beautiful new uke had emerged into my hands! it was magic.

seriously though i think that is the best birthday event of all time for anyone ever. a magpie like me magically discovering a buried ukulele on a beautiful casual walk ON THE DAY OF YOUR BIRTH down a random side street when you actually not only know how to play but are marginally obsessed with said novelty instrument!?!??! #1 birthday of all time (oh and also b/c my mom loves me and sent a load of candy to me)

at the time of discovery yuk would not touch it (and fair enough it didn't smell as lovely as it's existence was in theory) but a good disinfectant and a paint job later and he'll have no choice but to become proficient!

i decided to paint it like fire for no particular reason other than i like fire, it looks pretty cool to have a fiery instrument, stylistic fire is easy to paint and i had a lot of red paint.

also, i happened to have a screen cut to print karl marx, not so coincidentally, his favorite philosopher (thats a whole other project; will post later), so i printed that on the back too for good measure.

i present to you witchger project # 27:
the magical marxist fire uke

*acrylic paint, brushes
*black permanent marker (wish a had a sharpie i bought some pound shop knock-offs; sharpies are worth the cost!)
*mod-podge!! for sealing and extra shine
*speedball screen, black permaset fabric paint (lauries old school id as a squeegy; dont waste the money on a squeegy!! old plastic credit-type cards work better anyway!)

2 sawzalls

what i learned:
*(and what i forgot but knew) SAND IT DOWN FIRST! i imagine the paint will peel off pretty easily, i should have sanded it down especially with acrylic craft paint, if i decide to go in to business novelty uke painting i will probably sand them down before painting)
*a clamp would have helped to avoid smudging
*again, sharpies...they are worth it
*buying things will never make you this happy!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Bike Gear Shifter

bike gear shifter

Steph currently commutes to work on Kate's old Specialized hybrid bike. Since she started riding it, she's been complaining that it does not shift gears. (Apparently Kate always stayed in the same gear when she was riding it.) After months of telling her she just wasn't shifting properly, I tried riding the bike this weekend and found that, even though the shifter knob on the handlebar could be moved around, the rear derailleur was not responding at all! (Sorry, dear.) I assumed the cable was broken, but Steph and I eventually traced the problem all the way up to the shifter — a grip-style shifter that's ability to pull the cable was inhibited by a broken internal component.

Time: 2 hours

Cost: $40 for a new shifter

Witch-gear: Bike Repair Stand, Allen Wrenches, Screwdrivers, Wrenches

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

What I Learned: The cable inside a grip-style shifter is routed inside of it in a very complicated manner, thus the cable comes pre-installed in a grip-style shifter. Also, I learned how to adjust the derailleurs from "Bike Tutor" videos about the front and rear systems.