20 May 2012

How To Fold Target Bags

I go to Target a lot.  I mean, a lot...about once a week, sometimes a few in one day.  One can easily walk out of Target with an average of five bags.  Sometimes, on a good run, I can walk...cart out 10-15 Target bags.

These bags are very useful.  Generally, people are re-use them as trash bags.  There are other uses, of course.  One thing I used to do is make tank tops out of grocery bags.  Basically, you cut out the bottom and just slip it over your head.  I know, totally stupid.  But, when I was in college and had to work on messy projects, it made a great protective barrier between your favourite shirt and toxic chemicals.  Also, it was fun to just rip off  the tank top like a wrestling champion.

Pretty sure I have hundreds of bags, I will never need to buy trash bags, as long as I just keep buying stuff from Target.  So, the problem is, what do you do with all these bags?   A few years ago, while still in college, I lived in a very small studio apartment.  This means I had very little space, and with all the junk I had around the place, I needed a way to store these bags.  This is what I came up with, a way to fold and store these bags.

This is what I do in my spare time...I have no life.
For me, this was the best way to keep all my bags organized.  If you suffer from over shopping, this may be a solution to all those bags in your pantry.

18 May 2012

LEGO Harry Potter

LEGO Harry Potter Year 1-4 on Nintendo DS

I think this is my first video game review.  I generally suck at video games.  So, I stick with the 'easier' games.  One of the best games out there are the LEGO series games.  I have played the LEGO Star Wars series, LEGO Batman, and LEGO Indiana Jones.  After watching the final movie of the Potter series,  I got both LEGO Harry Potter games (Years 1-4 and Years 5-7) and see if the game lives up to the movies and the rest of the LEGO games catalogue.

Now, I am only about half way into the Year 1-4, and I have to say that it is a great game.  I should mention that I have these games on the Nintendo DS.  I also have Star Wars on Wii and PC, but found that this style of game is better suited for handheld.  The other LEGO games have been played on the DS platform. 

Like the other games, the Potter series loosely follow the movie outline.  For the Potter game, there is a better use of the stylus as your magic wand as you 'cast spells'.  The game also makes use of the forgotten mircophone so you can speak in Parseltounge, quite a neat feature.  Not sure how Parseltounge would translate (get it?) on other platforms. 

Being a 'simple' game, it does not take advantage of the use of the many buttons on current video game platforms.  In fact, other than advancing through menus, the buttons are pretty much useless.  Everything can be executed by using the D-pad, stylus, and mic.  One thing that may bother some (like me), it is hard to by left-handed and use the stylus, since the left hand is busy with the D-pad.

LEGO Harry Potter Year 5-7 on Nintendo DS
Graphics are what you expect on a DS.  Honestly, it is good enough.  I have played similar LEGO games on the Wii and PC and better graphic, while perfered, does not really add to the game play.  Sound does not matter all that much either.  There is no dialogue (although a lot of reading in this one), just a soundtrack and and sound effects. The only drawback to the smaller, lower resolution screen of the DS is the cinematics between levels.  You can tell it was ported over from home consoles.  

I know this is not much of a review since I have yet to play Years 5-7, or even complete Years 1-4.  But, if you are a fan of LEGO and Harry Potter, I recommend this game.  Heck, if you just like the properties and just acknowledge the fact that LEGO exists, then I highly recommend the other series.  After I 'beat' these games, I will be looking into the other games by LEGO.

09 May 2012

Happy 50th Birthday to David Gahan

Martin, Andrew, David, Vince - Depeche Mode 1981 promo
Hanging out in some apartment, taken around 1984
Andrew, Maartin, Alan, David - Depeche Mode 1986, Stripped video

Enjoy the Silence video  - 1990
Songs of Faith and Devotion promo - 1993
Martin, Andrew, Dave - Depeche Mode 2001, Exciter promo
Tour of the Universe - 2009

05 May 2012

More DeLorean Work, Back to Brendon's

Cinco de Mayo?  Ha, more like Fixo de Loreo.  I spent the better part of the day at Brendon's again, working on the car.  This time, I tried to do most of the work myself.  Although Brendon and Paul was there to give a helping hand, or four.

Last year, we put a sway bar bushing kit in, whilst lowering and strengthening the front end.  There is potential migration of the polyurethane bushing with the original Front Sway Bar Combo Kit that I got and installed last year.  This could cause damage to the bushing, the solution is to add a washer to each side.  Misty and Toby sent me the part to do this upgrade when I happened to order a Steering Column Bushing, more on that later.

First up, the stainless steel washer.  Luckily, I have no damage on my bushings.

Washer needs to fit between the busing and nub on sway bar.
Removal of the sway bar was pretty easy.  Easy enough to do myself.  I have found that taking things apart is the simple part of repairs and upgrades...putting it back together is another story.

Sway bar comes out, remove bushing, slide washer in....

...pop bushing back on the sway bar.
 This will be the part where someone with experience comes in.  The sway bar is under tension, so putting it back on requires a little strength, and more importantly, some knowledge and creativity.  Getting the bolt to align with the holes is a lot harder than it looks.

Brendon successfully gets those bolts in.

Finally, washer is in and sway bar is back on.

Taking out the sway bar took about five minutes.  Putting it back on took about thirty.  I hope that I do not have to deal with this again.  I thought that was a lot of work, just to put a washer on a bar.  Little did I know that I am about to do next will be even more time consuming for how simple it seems.

Up next, replacing a  thirty-one year old cracked and deformed rubber steering column bushing with an updated one made out of Delrin.  I love Delrin.  Some call Delrin the Titanium of plastic...okay, not really...I just made that up.

Replacing this part requires removal of the steering column.  Sounds easy, but removal of the steering column requires removal of the steering column canopy , both knee pads on the driver's side, and the impossible-to-get-to-bolt that holds the steering column to the universal joint..  Again, a lot of work just to get to that bushing.

Finally, got that steering column out.
 Once the assembly  is out, taking out the stock bushing was the easiest part of the day. 

New bushing vs.old bushing.
Popping in the new bushing took a little effort.  Since it does not flex like runner, especially 30 year old rubber, it needed a little encouragement.  The best part is there is plenty of room in the foot well to work...for a contortionist.

So comfortable, that I almost fell asleep like that.
We encountered some problems when re-installing the bolt that holds the steering shaft to the universal joint. Lining up the shaft with the universal joint so the wheels line up the steering wheel, proved to be tedious.  Luckily, I made some marks and had some extra hands to help.  Securing the bolt back on the universal joint was another fun process.  Again, not much room in the wheel well to work in there.

Getting in there to secure that bolt.
Back in the foot well to re-install all the things I took out.  

See?  Plenty of room in there.
After hours of work...hey, it only took about eight hours, in what should have been about a three to four hour job.  Bolts kept stripping, holes were not aligned, cramped spaces, etc.  On the drive home, I did notice a minor difference in the steering, no doubt that bushing is well worth the time put into it.

Oh, I also replaced all the lug nuts with solid ones.  The stock ones were capped nuts...which can shear off...ask me how I know that.

Want more awesome car stuff.  You can check out Brendon's restoration/customization of his 1967 Pontiac Firebird, HERE.

02 May 2012


I just got this brilliant idea.  There seems to be a lot of outsourcing of customer service and tech support personnel.  You have a problem and you need a fix and hopefully the person you are connected to knows how to fix your problem.  Well, one of the problems is, the person on the other end is in some foreign country and your native language is not their first language.  There is a definite language barrier, and unfortunately, the calls are very frustrating on both ends, and sometimes nothing gets accomplished during the call.  You want to speak with someone that can communicate in your native tongue.

Meanwhile, there are thousands of jobs in telemarketing that are in this country.  They all speak the native language...after the automated system routes you to said assholes.  No language barrier.

So, here is the idea.  Telemarketers should become customer service and tech service people.  That way, they have a meaningful job.  True, they will have to learn a few skills (depending on the service), but at least the jobs stay within the country of origin.  I am not forgetting the folks overseas.  They become the telemarketers.

This plan works abroad, example:  Operators from Country A will provide tech support and customer service to people in Country A.  Meanwhile, different agents from the same Country A, the fucking losers, call other countries with telemarketing needs. 

Anyways, on with this month's calls

2 May 2012
   971-220-1003  Gresham, OR  Again, this is from the same call center as previous Gresham numbers.  It has the same area code and prefix, 971-220...just different extension.  So far, I have received calls from 971-220-1019, 971-220-1017, and 971-220-1183.  Now, 971-220-1003.  If you count all those numbers, this is the eleventh call from Gresham

   971-220-1003  Gresham, OR  And so it begins. 

3 May 2012
   971-220-1003  Gresham, OR  Barely 8:30AM and I am alreasy getting calls.  I was lucky enough to have a mini break from these fucking assholes last month.  Seems they are starting early and often.  I do not get tired of NOT answering and typing "fuck off".  So, fuck off!

   971-220-1003  Gresham, OR  Wow, it only took 33 minutes for the second call of the day.  That is four calls in less that 24 hours.  Fourteen calls total, if we count the other calls from Gresham.  And, a fuck off to you, too.

The first of many to some.
4 May 2012
   971-220-1003  Gresham, OR  Another early call.  Seems like my call time is the latter half of the eight o'clock hour.  With five calls in three days, I feel that I should post this now.  By the way, the record is six calls in one day.  See if you pussies can beat that.

   202-783-6639  DC, USA  Wait "DC", as in Washington DC?  Holy fuck, is the President calling me concerning the telemarketer situation?  Maybe it is the Do Not Call Registry calling to confirm that they targeted the terrorists and have put a stop to telemarketing.  No, of course not.  A simple Google check, and it shows that it is for some fucking 'cardholder service'.  Yeah, go fuck yourself!

5 May 2012
   253-382-9928  Tacoma, WA  First Washington DC, now Washington the state.  I think this is the first call from Tacoma...which is pretty close to our buddies in Kent, WA.  Oh, did I mention this was a Saturday morning call?

7 May 2012
   971-220-1003  Gresham, OR  Sixth call, so far.  We are seven days into the month and I got six calls.  I wonder if they can average a call a day and to thirty.  With Memorial Day and weekends, they will have to get on it and make several calls a day.   If they are willing to commit to this, I am willing to ignore all their calls.

8 May 2012
    701-920-9805  Center, ND  Good old North Dakota.  Been a while since I have hear from them.  If they chose to repeat the pattern, I should be getting a shitload of calls in the next few days. Those fuckers in Gresham may have some competition for this month.

10 May 2012
   702-525-0180  Las Vegas, NV  A fucking text message that cost me another twenty cents.  Fuck you.

14 May 2012
   425-390-8149  Renton, WA  The fucking Northwest.  Again, not the first call from Renton.  Their tactic is the old switcheroo.  If you follow my rants about these fucking cunt holes, you will know that this shit happens all the time.

15 May 2012
   253-246-8514  Kent, WA  Once Renton calls, you know that Kent is not far behind.  Again, same area code and prefix, different extension.  It is like I won the lottery and relatives I have never heard from are calling me, begging for some money.  I should be expecting a call from Astoria, soon.  Oh, and let the record show that I kinda predicted this call ten days ago.  Look at the first entry on this post.  Fuck heads!

   646-460-1282   New York, NY  Another text message.  Apparently, I won some bullshit contest that I have never heard of and sure as hell not enter in.  Fuck you, you owe me twenty cents.

According to my calculations, this is the thirty-fifth text I have received a text from a telemarketer.  So, at twenty cents a pop...these mother fuckers owe me seven dollars.  I know that is not a lot, but that money could be used to feed the starving children.  See, every time a telemarketer texts you, a child gets raped and dies.  Yes, at the end of the day, telemarketers are raping and killing innocent children.

16 May 2012
   406-219-2064  Bozeman, MT  Bozeman?  What the fuck kind of name is Bozeman?  It sounds like a shitty fake name that a stoned teenager gives to a cop.  Actually, this is the second time (since January 2011) I have received a call from fucking Bozeman.  Had to look up the records.  Again, different extension.  I need to come up with a term for "same area code and prefix, different extension".  How about SACAPDE?
17 May 2012
   971-220-1003  Gresham, OR  Oh, well welcome back.  Only fucked off for ten days?  Go ahead and fuck off some more.  Seventh call. 

   971-220-1003  Gresham, OR  Eighth call, second call in less than an hour.  Should I expect a few calls tomorrow to make up for those ten days?  You are about eleven calls behind, if you want to hit that 30 call  mark by the end of the month.  Oh, and fuck off!

Technically, I have a stalker.
 18 May 2012
   971-220-1003  Gresham, OR  This would be number nine.  Wait for it.....

   971-220-1003  Gresham, OR ...and there it is, ten calls.  Now, rest up during the weekend.  You got a big week ahead of you.  I expect you to break twenty by this time next week.  Meanwhile, go fuck yourself. 

21 May 2012
   562-884-8324  Long Beach, CA  Another fucking text.  This one apparently my purchase from Wal-Mart last month won me $1000.  Yeah, fuck you!  I have said it before, I will say it again...save your fucking blood money and stop fucking drunk texting me.  Next time I go to Wal-Mart, I am going to steal and/or damage twenty cents of their merchandise.  Fuck you!

23 May 2012
   720-409-2532  CO, USA  Hey, new number from Colorado.  Fuck you and your rectangular state.

25 May 2012
    971-220-1003  Gresham, OR  Where are we at with these assholes?  Oh yeah, eleven.  Something tells me they are not done.

   971-220-1003  Gresham, OR  Twelve?  Is that all you got?  Barely averaging one call every two days.  Oh, I almost forgot...fuck you!

29 May 2012
   503-457-1166  Tillamook, OR  So excited that I get to use my new term SACAPDE.  Yup, I have received calls crom Tillamook on four occasions, each with a differnt extension.  What the fuck is with Oregon?  Speaking of Oregon...Hey Gresham, you less than three days to call me...fuck you!

   805-490-1966  City of Commerce, CA  Guess what...yup, another fucking text message.  This one is for some work at home thing where I can make $57 an hour working from home.  It would be fucking awesome if this job was a telemarketing job.  You owe me twenty cents, fuck off!

31 May 2012
   206-279-8764  Seattle, WA  Holy shit, a new number.  Last call of the month and the shitbags from Gresham did not step up, typical.  Notice that these calls are coming from the Northwest.  What the fuck is up with the hipsters up there?  Until next month...well, tomorrow...fuck off!