31 October 2016

Bremont Candy

The Alt1tude Forum is having their fourth annual Halloween competition.  I entered last year and won some cool stuff.  This year, there is more cool stuff, including another key ring and a wooden display.  I know I am not going to top what I did last year, but I will enter anyway.

Bremont crowns
This year, my theme is based on the Bremont crown. Like most watch companies, the crown of each (okay, most) Bremont has their logo on it, the propeller.  For some Bremont ranges that have a Roto-Click™ bezel, there is a Royal Air Force roundel on the crown.

Bremont T-Bar Cufflinks
These crown details are also seen in Bremont's accessories like key fobs and cufflinks.

So, my idea is to paint these little logos on to chocolate confectioneries that are coated in a hard candy shell...basically, M&M's.  By the way, this is also the 75th Anniversary of M&M's (introduced in 1941).

M&M's, paint, brushes
Contrary to popular belief, I do not have a surplus of M&M's, so I needed to do some shopping.  Luckily, this happens to be a Halloween competition...and they have Halloween themed M&M's, of course they do.  This is perfect as they are Fall/Halloween colours.  I even bought a plastic plate to tie everything together.

And yes, I do have paint supplies, so no need to acquire those.

Painting M&M's
When people ask me, "what did you do this weekend".  I answer with, "I painted logos on M&M's"

Helps to have a steady hand
I spent about ninety minutes painting logos.  Only six roundels and about twenty propellers were painted for the photo.

M&M's and ALT1-C
Here are the final compositions for the competition.  Above with my ALT1-C and painted M&M's 'pouring' out of the bag.

Bremont pouch
I thought it might look interesting to have the M&M's pour out of the Bremont pouch from the key fob I won last year.

Oh, so artsy.
Maybe someday, Bremont will release a line of 'Tested Beyond Endurance' confections and desserts.

26 October 2016

The "Mattaligner" Console Switch Retainer and Protector

The Mattaligner, available from PJ Grady
Last Spring, Rob Grady, of PJ Grady, introduced the "Mattaligner" to the DeLorean Community.  This Console Switch Retainer and Protector was named after the original designer, Matt (I was unable to find his full name).   What does it do?  From the product description, via pjgrady.com:

The Mattaligner improves console switch appearance and function in three ways:
1 – Retains switches more securely and precisely.
2 – The thicker bottom plate improves fit and retention of taller after market window switches.
3 – The thinner padded sidebar prevents accidental switch operation while keeping switches accessible.
I have an obsession of getting my console switches to line up, so obviously, I was interested in this.  Unfortunately, the Mattaligner did not go on sale until late 2015.  By that time my car was in the shop for most of 2016.

Well, the car is back and running, so I ordered one.  Installation was a breeze.  I did it in about ten minutes, which means a four year old can do it in under five.  In my defense, there were no instructions, but you really do not need them.  Anyway, I am about to show you how I installed mine...which can be your instructions.

Pre-install, wonky alignment of switches
First step, take a photo of how wonky your switches are before installation.  It will be fun (and tragic) to look back at this moment...much like your Junior High School photos showing you how jacked up your teeth were before you suffered through half your High School years in braces.

Pop out the switches, like a dentist/orthodontist pulling your teeth to prep for your braces.  If the teeth...uh, switches...are hard to pull out, try removing the ash try and pushing the switches from behind.  You will also need to disconnect the switches from their plugs.

Normally, I would tell you to mark and remember where the switches were.  But come on, there are only five switches.  Two are dummy switches, two are (the same) window switch, and one is for the rear defrost that you never use.  Heck, I do not think anyone has ever used the rear window defrost...the engine (heat) is right there.

Removal of switches and test fitting
The Mattaligner was designed to fit all versions of switches.  Whether you have original or DMCH reproduction switches, it should fit.  But, I seem to have a rear defrost switch from DMCH that need to be filed down to fit.  I do have current DMC reproduction window switches and they pop in just fine.  Not sure which version of the dummy switched I have, but they fit fine.

Drill bit and self tapping screws
After making sure your switches fit in the holes, the plate needs to be secured to the center console.  Luckily, it the plate is pre-drilled and countersunk and comes with self tapping screws...and it comes with a drill bit.

Kicking it old school with a hand powered drill
I mentioned that it took me about ten minutes to install this.  Well, it it because the batteries on my power still were totally drained.  So, I had to use my hand powered drill like the one pictured above. You only need to drill through a thin sheet of metal (brass?) that is below the vinyl.  This thin and flexible sheet of metal might be part of the cause of wonkily aligned switches.

Almost done.
When placed, the two dummy switches will hide the screw tops.

Black and grey armrest pads
Included in the kit are two armrest pads to match your interior colour.  Or, you can be a real rebel and not match your interior colour.  Some of you have two tone interiors...you are already a rebel.  The pad slips on and prevents your elbow from accidentally tripping the switches.  It also protects your arms from being gouged by the exposed sharp steel corners...I recommend slipping those on.

Ah, look how beautiful that looks.
There you go.  Done.  My teeth are finally straight

I went for the stainless steel finish (111177GS) as I wanted to 'bring' some stainless into the interior...plus, it was the cheaper option. The Mattaligner is also available in black oxide stainless finish (111177GB) for a little more than the naked version..

The thicker gauge steel (2.3mm) allows the switches to sit straight and aligned.  I noticed that my switches were sticking, pre-install, due to the switch rubbing against the sidewalls of the trench.  Because of the thin metal (default base) the base of the switches are allowed to shift and move whether through settling or operation.  With the Mattaligner in place, bases do not move and switches are free to click on and off.

I would highly recommend the Mattaligner for any DeLorean owner experiencing console switch issues.  This plate solves everything non-electrical with your switches.  You can get these exclusively at pjgrady.com

21 October 2016

Making Use of A Broken One-Piece Hockey Stick

When presenting something, I was told to never open with an apology and/or disclaimer.  So instead, I preceded my apology with these few sentences.  Now, that I have padded my opening statement...apologies for not taking photos during this process.

First hockey stick, broken.
Okay, hockey sticks.  When I started playing hockey, it was around the birth of the aluminum sticks. My first stick was a wood stick, a Titan TSM 99 I got at Canadian Tire at Danforth and Main, in Toronto, back in August 1991.  I kept this stick for many years and it eventually broke after 24 years.

Like others at the time, I graduated to fiberglass and/or carbon reinforced sticks.  Eventually, I got that coveted aluminum stick, then carbon fiber shafts.  It helped that I worked at an ice rink at the time.

For a long time, I stuck with two-piece hockey sticks.  I recall the introduction of the one-piece carbon fibre sticks.  It was made by Sher-Wood.  While Easton was the innovator for aluminum and carbon shafts, it was Sher-Wood, with the Carbon 2000 that came to the market first...at least in my area.  For those keeping track, the first tapered stick and blade combo was Easton's T-Flex line.  My first one-piece was the Easton Synergy, first generation.

Anyway, I should get to the point of this post.

I had a one-piece stick break on me.  Luckily, the blade broke so the shaft is still good.  Normally, I would chop off the blade and stick a standard blade in the other end and call it a day.  But I had always wanted to try a tapered stick and blade.  Also, most sticks now are engineered with flex points toward the bottom of the stick, low kick point.   So, putting a blade in the top of the shaft, changes the flex.  In reality, I am probably not good enough to notice a difference in flex point locations.

One day, I found some tapered replacement blades for sale.  They were five dollars each.  Yeah, five dollars.  How could I pass this up?  I bought two.

Five dollar replacement blades.
The differences between a standard and tapered blade:  The standard replacement blade fits in a standard shaft, or the top of a tapered shaft.  The tapered replacement blade has a narrower hosel which fits into a tapered shaft.  Also, the distance from heel to tenon shoulder is shorter on the tapered blades.

Standard vs Tapered replacement blades
Where was I?  Oh, so I have this shaft from a one-piece, with a slight tapered.  If I cut the bottom at the area, I will essentially have a tapered hockey shaft.  What?  Yeah, baby!

This is where some math kicks in.  If you want to do this, you will need some calipers.  First measure the width of the tenon at the base, where there is no glue.  You want the bare tenon.  This measurement should be about 0.525" (13.335mm).

Width of the tenon
Now, measure the thickness of the shaft wall of your broken hockey stick, which should be about 0.095" (2.413mm).  Since you have two walls (left and right), double this number:  0.190" (4.823mm).

Add this to the width of the blade tenon, and you should have 0.715" (18.161mm).   This is the 'magic number'.  Take your calipers and set it to this number.  Now slide your caliper up, from the blade, and where it stops...that is where you make your mark and cut.  It is that simple...sort of.

Width of shaft.
I should throw in a disclaimer here.  This should work with most sticks with a rectangular cross section.  For example, this will not work with the Stealth RS, which has an elliptical cross section.  I am using an Easton ST.

Knowing how your stick was made will help.  Most one-piece sticks are actually made in two (or more) pieces...like traditional, wood sticks.  Blades are made separately, then attached. I know that most Easton one-piece sticks are made like their two-piece sticks.  They make a shaft and a blade with tenon and glue it into the shaft.  Running your hand along the bottom of the stick, you can sometimes feel where the joint is, there will be a slight surface change.  If you have a well used stick, sometimes you can see a hairline crack at the seam where the blade and shaft meet.

I believe CCM attach their blades butt up against the shaft, then wrap with carbon.   Either way, cutting the shaft at about 0.715" width should work.

Because of the mortise and tenon construction of my stick, when I cut the shaft, there was left over tenon from the blade blocking the hole.  I had to clean this by drilling out the foam and carbon.  I suggest you wear a mask and use a well ventilated facility when doing this.

Stolen image of cut one-piece

You will see where the tenon ends, that is how far you will need to grind down.  A handheld rotary tool would be very useful for this task.  Again, apologies for the lack of photos.  I stole the photo above from the internet.  You can see that there are two walls, outer and inner.

Basically, you will be cleaning out the left over tenon (inner wall), making sure you do not over grind (outer wall).

Cleaned up tapered end of one-piece stick.

Pro tip:  Use calipers to double check the width of the opening.  Might be a good idea to mark the wall thickness and use as a guide. Small rounded files are good for the corners.

After a few minutes, you should have a clean opening for your tapered replacement blade.

Bam!  You just recycled your hockey stick into a...hockey stick.

Butt plug
Oh, I also needed a butt extender.  In cutting of the original blade and adding a (I assume) shorter replacement blade, I guess I lost a few inches from the stick.  So, I need to make a new butt plug.  Off to the mill.  This was relatively simple, just took some measurements...which are the same dimensions as a standard replacement blade...got a hunk of wood and started cutting and milling.

Always double checking with the opening at the end of the stick.  I finished it off by rounding the corners to match the profile of the shaft.

Near perfect fit
Pop the blade on, shove the butt plug in, and we are good to go.

Like a glove
Time to try it out.  I will either use this as a back up game stick or I will keep it in my office and use as a stick handling training stick.

07 October 2016

WRENCHit - Kickstarter

WRENCHit - Turing Smart
Another great idea, another great product from mininch.  This is the third product from mininch and I am proud to have back this via their Kickstarter campaign.  The campaign was backed by over 2200 backers and pledged over $150,000, well exceed their goal of $10,000.  In the past three years, I have backed their Tool Pen, Tool Pen Mini, and now their WRECHit.

Their campaign was launched earlier this year in March.  Since I was a previous backer, I was on their mailing list and received information prior to launch.  I was immediately sold on the thought of having a wrench with a 'Pop-A-Point' system.  The feeling was same with many other as it reached its goal five times over within 24 hours.

Outer box
I ordered the full set and just received the set.

Awesome packaging
The full set includes the main body, which holds five wrench bits, and an additional five bits to interchange.  All beautifully packed in mininch's standard box.  Also included is a pouch for the main body and the five bits.

Bits included in the full set of 10 wrenches:
  • 6mm (with 3.2mm, 3.4mm, 3,5mm spoke wrenches)
  • 7mm
  • 8mm
  • 9mm
  • 10mm
  • 11mm
  • 12mm
  • 13mm
  • Wing Nut (with Shimano® 4.3mm, 4.4mm spoke wrenches)
  • Bottle Opener
  • Main body
  • Pouch
The 'Pop-A-Point' system is a little different on the WRENCHit.  Most other have you loading bits from the rear, allowing you to apply vertical force on the tool, like a screwdriver.  If a bit you need is not in the chamber, you will need to load from back and continue to shift until the desired bit is positioned.

On the WRENCHit, you push the bits in and load from the front.  This allows pull and torque force to be applied.   If a bit needed is not in the chamber, you can just load to the front.  Otherwise, a chambered bit will need to be shifted until it is free and can be loaded to the front.

Bits and bits
Of course it has a bottle opener, it would not be a Kickstarter campaign without a bottle opener...even though most bottles now have twist caps.

If you have noticed, some of the wrenches are designed specifically for bicycle repair and maintenance.  A full wrench set that can fit either in your seat bag or jersey pocket.  This is a great tool to bring along on rides.

I hope to get good use of this along with the other two tools in the mininch trilogy.  Speaking of trilogy, this is the opening statement of their Kickstarter campaign:

Many great movie trilogies had ever brought happiness to our lives (The Lord of the Rings, The Godfather, Back to the Future, The Matrix…). Thanks to these unforgettable films, we think it would be a good idea to make our Tool Pen series an excellent trilogy as well. No more screwdrivers, but there’s another utility tool to make your collection complete – WRENCHit!
Ha!  They mentioned Back to the Future.

If you want this or any of their tool sets, visit their website at mininch.com

04 October 2016


October is an exciting month, Halloween decorations go up, weather ans colours change.  We accept strangers knocking on our doors, asking for tricks or treats.  In fact, we prepare for it.  But that is one time a year.

Imagine having a stranger behind a mask invading your privacy every day of the year, at random times.  Not only scary, but just plan annoying.

4 October 2016
  626-461-9199  Arcadia, CA - Well, what do you know.  This is a return caller.  I did a search for this on the o'Google and it showed that I had checked this number before.  For those keeping track, that was only two weeks ago.  Fuck you!

7 October 2016
   310-849-5586  United States - By the way, this number is listed in Santa Monica.  This could be just a wrong umber or it could be your typical telemarketer call that has been routed through this number.  Either way, fuck you!

11 October 2016
   310-849-8112  United States - Another "United States" number.  A little search shows that this is a number to a bakery in North Hollywood.  Why the fuck would a bakery in North Hollywood...or any bakery in the United States need to call me.  Sure, I make a mean macaroon, but I doubt anyone would call me about it.  So, this could be another wrong number call...or, more likely, another routed number.  Something tells me that having  the "United States" as the origin instead of City, State makes this a routed call.  Fuck you!

  714-551-5505  Orange, CA - Okay, this is from a real city.  But, did a quick search...and this number is and has been connected to making unwanted/telemarketing calls.  Fuck you!

13 October 2016
  Unknown - You know my policy.  If I do not know the number, I am not picking up.  Hey, thanks for telling me that this is an 'unknown' number.  Fuck you!

14 October 2016
  310-882-7744  Los Angeles, CA - First result in a search for this number:

Flagged as telemarketer...well, fuck you!

19 October 2016
  330-559-7954  United States - Another one of those calls from 'United States'.  According to others who have received calls from this number, this is part of a credit card scam.  Shocking.  So pretty much when the 'United States' calls, just do not pick up.  This is country is fucked...fuck you, anyway!

25 October 2016
  805-267-5949  Thousand Oaks, CA - This looks like a legit number, from a legit city.  Nothing showed up on a quick search.  It is possible this is a wrong number...or most likely...a routed number.  Just to be safe...fuck you!

  310-849-3685  United States - Well based on location, I am not even going to bother doing a search to see if this is legit.  Pretty legit telemarketer, thanks for making it easy for me.  Maybe change the location to 'Telemarketerville".  Fuck you!

26 October 2016
  619-324-4724  Alpine, CA - Confirmed telemarketing call/number.  Typical scam regarding your electrical bill.  I can see how this can entice other to bite, but my utility bills are pretty cheap to begin with.  Maybe I should pick up the next time they all and see if I can offer them an alternative.  Telemarket a telemarketer, that would be awesome.  Fuck you!

28 October 2016
  i0xu8x1@mrjh0.club - Who the fuck has "i0xu8x1" as a login name?  I do admit it would make a pretty kick ass password.  Anyway, another scam text

Fuck this shit
Uh...scam. Oh looky, a "Report Junk" option.  I am going to try it and see what will come of it. If it is anything like the Do Not Call List, we are all screwed...but will have some awesome Michael Kors merchandise.

Delete and Report
Then again, this is Apple we are sending to and not the government.  I have a feeling that something will be done.  Oh, fuck you!

31 October 2016
   310-849-1943  United States - Well, Happy Halloween.  Remember those punks that played doorbell ditch, or put a flaming bag of shit on your porch?  Yeah those losers.  Those guys grew up to become telemarketers.  For them, it is Halloween everyday.  All tricks, no treats.  Fuck you!