Life’s little adventures


27 Mar 2011


1. Ordered new tires for the S2000 from Tire Rack with them being delivered to Tread Quarters (who was the highest ranked installer on Tire Rack's website.)


2. Couple of days after Tire Rack emailed that they were delivered and the installer would be calling, I called Tread Qtrs.  "Gosh, I thought Charly called you, " said the manager.


3. The earliest appointment they had available was 5 days later, Sunday morning at 10 AM.  Who knew they worked on Sundays?


4.  Arrive yesterday at the appointed 10AM to find a relatively full waiting room.  The guy at the counter was explaining to a customer that he could not get to him for 4 or 5 hours, as he was short crew.  Only two of 5 had showed up, with one of those an hour late.  (Ah, the joys of business ownership)


5.  Surprisingly within 10 minutes, a guy goes out to move my car to a service bay.  I watch.  He cannot find reverse (hint: look at the top of the shift knob) and he rocks the car FORWARD into the curb 6 or 7 times before I reach him.  By then had had given up and was on his cell phone to his brother for advice. Geeze.


6. In about 45 minutes the tire change was done.  I go out and check if they got the rotation correct, etc.  The drive home was exciting.  It was raining lightly.  My car had NO rear traction.  At first, I thought the new tires had mold coating on them causing slickness.  Despite spinning the tires many times (unintentually), they did not get better.  I am beginning to consider entering a "drifting" contest.


  1. Back home, I found 50+ psi in each tire.



  April 4, 2011


Melting Lead?  My racecar needs about 40 pounds of ballast weight.  I have two 20# chunks of lead shaped like large (ugly) gumballs.  (I don’t know where they came from, but they have been in my shop forever.)  Bolting large gumballs on a small racecar is impossible to do gracefully.  SO, I decided to melt them down to a flat plate.


Off to Google to find out how.  There are lots of posts and videos on making bullets and fishing sinkers, and on a large scale, sailboat keels.  Nothing of the 40# scale; however, one could get a sense of lead melting.  Lead melts at about 600 degrees, aluminum at 1250 and steel at 2700 degrees.  The small-scale melting pots one can buy are heated with simple electrical coils, like a kitchen stove. 


I borrowed a square brownie pan from Kathy (promising to replace it, if I screwed it up) and lined it with heavy-duty alum foil.  I put a small piece of lead (maybe 3#) and put it on my Weber grill.  In about 20 minutes, it melted.  Good.  I added a large gumball to the pan and continued.  The mass is too great for the propane grill and it does not melt much.


Plan B:  Many Google posters use a Coleman stove to melt lead.  I’ve owned one for years, but have never used it. (I was not comfortable with filling the tank with a quart of GASOLINE, pumping it up to a high pressure, and lighting it off.)  Very carefully, I fired up the Coleman and moved a now very heavy brownie pad over to it.  I put some additional support pieces under the pan to prevent the somewhat flimsy grate from sagging.  The gasoline flame burns clear and very HOT, and all the lead melted in about 15 minutes.  Used an old spoon to remove the crud floating on the surface.  From a safe distance, spayed the pan with the garden hose to speed cooling.  My lead brownies popped out of the pan easily.


December 2009


Bad Day


Stopped into the haircut place in the mall to get a quick shearing.  I go to the mall place because it is:

A.     convenient

B.     quick

C.     See B above


I always take the first available chair.  After seating me, the young lady retrieves a bag of clippers, dryers and such.  It takes her some time to untangle the intertwined cords.  This was a clue that I missed.  She asks how I would like my hair cut.  I reply, as always, “like it is now, but much shorter.”  Duh, it is a hair CUT.  My attention goes back to my magazine.  She fires up the clippers, and the next thing I notice is she has cut a swath up and over the top of my head.  I shout, “What are you doing?”  She says, “You said you wanted it short.” 


Well, there was no gluing of hair back on, so I settled for a crew cut.  I will spare you photo evidence. 


As I was leaving, the young lady (staring at her shoes) said I was her first customer on her first day.  I’m thinking she should be plying her “skills” at Pet Smart.