16 December 2008

Winter Break


It's officially winter break for me. I went a little crazy and took all four of my finals yesterday. Actually, I had finished three of them by 10:30 in the morning and then took the last one at 6:00 at night. They all went well despite the rush, though, so that's good. Jeremy won't finish until Thursday night. Friday we'll hopefully leave for Moscow!!! We're planning on driving almost halfway there and staying the night in Mountain Home with my friend Suzanne Burnett, then arriving at our destination on Saturday. I wish we could leave now. I spent my first day with nothing to do being utterly lonely and bored while Jeremy went to work. I work tomorrow and Thursday (and possibly Friday morning) but didn't sign up to work today because I didn't think I'd be done with my finals.

It snowed like crazy this morning and then began to melt off about halfway through the day. I drove to the BYU gym to work out and the roads were SO slick! I was going about 15 mph and was still sliding all over the place.

We had a beautiful sunset not too long ago. I took a picture (as you can see), but as I am not much of a photographer you'll have to believe me that it looked way better in real life. Anyway, that's about all we have going on. I cleaned a lot today which makes me feel better about the house. The only thing I didn't do was organize the bookshelf we threw all of our school stuff on this semester. That corner of the room is getting quite crowded as buggy parts come in for Jeremy. We have seatbelts, random metal objects and two very large plastic seats sitting over there in the corner of our SUPER huge apartment.

I'm super excited to go home for Christmas though. Jeremy gets to be with me too this year, which also makes me very happy. Happy Holidays!

11 November 2008

Its getting dark and cold.

It has been a while since our last post. Alexandria tells me that its my turn. Its been pretty busy here. School is going well despite several projects and assignments. It feels like we have life pretty well managed right now. In the chronological order of events, lets review the past few weeks. On the weekend of the 25 of October we went to California for my sister's wedding. The weather was nice and it felt good to run in shorts and t-shirts. It was a quick but enjoyable trip and the wedding went very well. I am assuming that Rebecca is very happy as I have not heard otherwise as well as the fact that she seemed very happy about the entire process. Quite giddy frankly, which honestly is expected because being married is wonderful. Even with all the pressures of school and work being married now is even better than it was a few months ago. On Sunday it will have been six months that we have been married.

One very exciting thing is that our Grandpa, much thanks to him, brought the broken buggy back to Utah. Sam and I also harvested our tools and brought those back as well. Unfortunately for my parents, most of the good tools were ours. Since then I've been taking measurements and starting on what I can. The front hubs and rotor are set up now after working them on the lathe at work a bit. This also allowed me to get more CAD drawings done. Hopefully soon we can pickup the steel we need and start on the meat of the project. We still have some parts to order but we have almost everything we need to get started.

Next in the order of events was Halloween. We went to a party thrown by some neighbors in our ward. It was really fun and we had a good time. We also went to a not-so-haunted house (I'm not making that up, that is actually what they called it) on campus sponsored by the Civil Engineering department. It was lame in a way only civil engineers can imagine. Afterward, we dropped in on a party by one of Alexandria's coworkers. It was a fun weekend. During the day at school I just wore my work clothes, not really as a costume, but just because I was going to meet Alexandria for lunch at her work and then go straight to mine. For the party I dressed up as a can of tomatoes. Alexandria dressed up as a very cute consistometer, an instrument she uses at work to test the consistency of viscous liquids and suspensions in food products. Her coworkers found it hilariously, while the lay person didn't quite understand, but we won a prize for originality anyway.

Next, came election day. I had already voted two weeks prior by permanent CA voter-by-mail. Obama won and Prop 8 passed by a narrow margin. The protests are still going on. Hopefully, it remains in effect.

It snowed for the first time last week. Not much though. I took a color test online and got a perfect score. Austin, Alexandria's brother is coming to stay with us for a week on thursday. An older lady from Moscow is coming to Utah for a wedding and wanted a second driver. As he is not in school and Moscow's landscaping business has closed its doors for the winter, Austin became the best candidate for the adventure. Its been fun thinking of ways to entertain him while we're at school and work. It should be nice to have him visit. In just a week or two Thanksgiving is here. My parents are coming out. We are all going to go to Coldplay's Viva la Vida concert tour in Salt Lake the saturday before. I am looking forward to having a few days off school and work.

Work is going very well. I like it a lot. I wouldn't choose to do it as a career, but I wouldn't want to do anything else to put myself through school. Its also nice to have a skill that I can fall back on. For this reason Ross is trying to find someone who can certify me. That way, when I apply for a job later in life I can say, I have a B.S. in this, an M.D. from here, and oh yeah...I'm also 4G (all positions, unlimited thickness) certified on E7018 rod. Not that this means anything to a prospective employer, but I think its cool.

And because pictures never look right while I am typing this here they all are.

18 October 2008

Crabs



Today Jeremy and I got to try fresh raw King Crab for the first time. It tasted like drinking the ocean. Not fishy, but literally like eating a salt-water flavored slug. I didn't like it at all, but that could be because I hate seafood. Jeremy thought it was okay. However, with the product being valued at $75/pound neither of us thought we would be willing to buy it. Why did we eat it then?

I am taking a class called Food Microbiology this semester where we are required to do a project with our lab partners--conducting a literature search, carrying out original research, documenting it, and writing a report on it. There is a company based out of New Orleans (but having facilities throughout the United States) which became the first company in America to use high pressure processing on fresh raw seafood products. The high pressure kills the oysters (or other seafood products) without adding any heat, and therefore they are raw rather than cooked. Typically oysters are kept alive until they are cooked and eaten to ensure that they are fresh. Apparently you can tell that an oyster has gone bad if its shell begins to open. When they first did the process on the oysters they thought they might have ruined them all because all of the shells opened. However, they found that this was not the case; the pressure had merely released all of the oysters so that they slid right out of their shells--reducing the trouble it took to shuck them. They can be kept on ice or refrigerated for a shelf life of 2 weeks or longer.

Last year a group did a project testing the shelf life of the same processing method using lobster. It was successful. My lab partner, Mike, and I are testing how well it works with King Crab. They are expecting a shelf life of 21-30 days. If they can get a shelf life that long it really is a big deal. Typically king crab is caught, cooked, frozen and then cooked again before finally being served at the restaurant. After this much mutilation its taste hardly resembles the real product. Think of doing that to a steak...you wouldn't. The crab actually comes from ships featured on "The Deadliest Catch" if you are familiar with that show.

Our plan is to plate the samples on various media using various dilutions every other day for 16 days to test how long the product lasts. We will also do sensory tests such as smell, flavor and texture. We are using Petrifilms to test for coliforms (with a special indicator for e. coli) and to do an aerobic plate count, and have made up special differential agar to test for lactic acid producing bacteria...in case any of you happen to know/care what all of that means.

The man in charge of the company flew from New Orleans to Seattle yesterday. They processed the crab, and he flew in this morning to bring it to us, meet us, and take us out to lunch. It was really quite fun. He is a wonderfully nice guy. He talked about what the project meant to the company and let us smell and try the crab to show us what it was supposed to taste like. Jeremy came with us, and he took us to a place he had been going to eat since he first came to college at BYU in 1993. It was a sushi bar in downtown Provo. He brought about a pound of crab to the owner of the restaurant, who was very good friends with him and told him that the 100 oysters he sent her last year were the best oyster she'd ever tasted in her life. Neither Jeremy nor I had ever had sushi before. He loved it; I didn't, but the non-seafoody food was good. We really enjoyed the whole experience.

I had to rush home after plating the samples because my English group is doing a set-of-instructions project on how to make a Pumpkin Cake for Halloween. I thought I would share a picture. It's really quite neat. Also, I cut my hair, as you can see in the picture at the beginning of the blog.

04 October 2008

Sunflowers

Our sunflowers finally bloomed! It made me so excited. Ever since I can remember my family has planted sunflowers outside our house every single year...and they have never actually managed to grow. I just scattered a 10 cent bag of seeds and they popped up. It's also kind of cool, because the blue flowers that are on vines crawled around the stems of the sunflowers...but I didn't post that picture because then you could see how weed-like our flower garden really looks. Still, I feel very accomplished.
I got a chance to deep clean our apartment today, which also made me feel better. It's been a few weeks. I had four tests this week, and still have a few assignments to finish up this weekend. It's been BUSY. I was hoping to get everything done so I could actually have a little bit of a weekend. I didn't finish all of it, but I'm going to end up doing a lot less studying than last weekend, which makes me happy. Last week I felt ready for Saturday on Tuesday. It's raining in Provo. I think that's on purpose so that people would stay inside and watch conference. I was hoping the weather would at least have the sense to stop when it's over, but I guess the boys need to go to their session too. After watching conference I went to Shopko and got new lenses for my glasses. The old ones had these weird stress fractures all around the outside of the lenses. The optometrists said it was because the lab had made lenses slightly too large for the frames, and that it wasn't my fault. Luckily they were still under warranty. The lady who helped me was even so nice to straighten them on my face and put new smaller nose pads on so they actually cover my eyes instead of sitting right below them! So that's exciting. I came home to find Jeremy cutting his own hair, so I decided to help even though he was doing a perfectly fine job on his own. I want to get my hair cut, but I've been a little too lazy recently. I wonder what would happen if I tried to cut my own hair...I'm not sure it's worth it.

I made this cow cookie for fun last night. I thought I would share.

26 September 2008

Recent Events


It's been a long, relatively stressful, and productive week. I guess we must be in school. Tonight's plan was to go watch a film at International Cinemas called "After Life" when you translate it into English. It looks like a cross between Final Cut and a C.S. Lewis book, and I really am interested in seeing it. It was showing at 5:30 tonight, but rather than leaving our apartment and walking up to campus at that time, we got in bed and took a 2-hour nap. It felt really good. The movie shows again tomorrow at 3:45. I hope we actually make it then. By the way, this is what Jeremy looks like when he's sleeping. I took it on a Sunday after church. I think he looks very nice.

My class's Thursday field trip this week was a tour of Deseret Mills. It was really interesting. One again, they make the flour and packaged products that I test. Flour mills are way cooler than I realized, though. The facility was 5 stories tall full of huge shaking machines and screens that separated out the flour, and we got to learn how the whole process worked. The only thing that made me sad was how they mix their grade 1 and grade 2 flours together. Because they are making it for the church welfare system, it doesn't have to be perfect and the mixture of the two produces an okay-looking only slightly grey flour. But the grade 1 flour looked so beautiful before they mixed it! I thought it was sad that they mixed it in with the crappy stuff to settle for what is only a moderately attractive flour. In all honesty, though, I'm sure most people don't notice. I bring the flour home after we test it, and it is what we use at home and works just fine.

Our garden is giving us HUGE zucchini. When we planted it we tilled the entire flour bed right next to the house, but only needed half of it for our vegetables. Our neighbors saw the tilled half and mentioned an interest of planting a garden of their own, so I left the spot open. After two or three months past and they didn't do anything on it, I took the liberty of scattering 6 random packets of seeds I bought in Moscow for 10 cents a piece just so that we could have something there to water other than weeds. It looks like a ragmuffin weed flower garden, but the individual flowers are quite beautiful. Jeremy took some pictures. Soon we should have some sunflowers
growing as well.

I was also excited this week to finally get Mac Office 2008. It's surprising how frustrating it is not to have Microsoft Word on a computer. I'd been using Google Documents to take notes in class and write papers, and it just does not work nearly as well. My computer also became pretty useless when there was no internet access. A praying mantis found it's way into our house one night as well. It was very entertaining to watch. We watched the Office this Thursday as well. We've been looking forward to it starting again for months now. It was sadly disappointing, actually. We realized that without cable we'd forgotten how annoying commercials were...and that we think we like Arrested Development better as a TV show. This Saturday both of us have tests to take. I have a Food Commodities Processing Test and Jeremy has Organic Chemistry. I also have three tests next week. That makes a test in every single one of my classes that actually has tests within the next week. At least there is no Kids on the Move this week, so I have an extra 2 1/2 hours on Tuesday night to study and figure things out. Also, we found a praying mantis in our house. It is very neat.

video

17 September 2008

Post Marathon Photos

Ok, so my camera ran out of batteries so I didn't get any pictures of the immediate post-marathon. In consideration of the appropriate time frame, I didn't stop limping until last saturday. My foot still felt broken even after my muscles were no longer sore. I did get a few shots from Photo Booth on my mac. After 26.2 miles:

Contributing Posts

Alexandria says tells me that I haven't posted in a while, and in a word urged me to contribute. I have been rather busy lately. So far I've been able to turn in all my assignments on time. Many professors however are not very clear with their expectations on assignments though. I made a rule yesterday that I wouldn't work on buggy stuff except on the weekends. I finished my homework earlier than expected last night so I already broke the rule. I have plenty to do schoolwise for the remainder of the week to keep on track. Work is going well. I'm not there as often as I was during the summer obviously so I'm not as involved but still get a lot done. I still feel like a valuable asset to the shop. Ross and I spent some time trying to get some good results on the lathe in the shop. We're always looking for new tools or attachments to make things better.
Last night Alexandria and I volunteered at Kids on the Move in Orem. It was better last night as more kids showed up. The oldest was 7 and they were all boys. We had fun playing with them. Basically we play/babysit the kids while the parents are taking classes to help deal with disabled or socially chanllenged children (they usually dont bring those kids to class).
Sam and I ordered plans to help speed the process of building a frame. I spent several hours this summer on drafting programs and didn't feel like I wanted to model a the entire frame. So we found some plans that will save us a lot of time. We'll most likely have the buggy here in Utah after my sister's wedding in October. Then we can buy steel and start the project. We have a tight budget to stick to, but it should turn out really nicely. At this point I would like to praise the efficacy of Google Docs. They have helped Sam and I tremendously in sharing ideas and procedures.
As of yesterday Alexandria and I have been married for four months. I feel pretty settled into married life and everything is quite good. Even though school can be stressful, while I am at home I feel very relaxed and good spirited.

15 September 2008

Weekend

I've decided that weekends during the semester are much better than they were pre-married life. It just feels a lot less stressful and a lot more like real life than it did while we were engaged. I really like having Jeremy home all day Saturday. I'm glad that he no longer works at the MTC and that no one other than me wants him Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons; I don't have to fight the missionaries for his time.

This Friday night we went to our Stake Barbeque. It amused me that the meat they were serving was church meat--the stuff they test in the lab next door. At least that means I trust the safety. Jeremy's burger was completely pink in the inside, and he almost considered eating it anyway. Thankfully he decided against it. Safe or not, that's still disgusting. Sam and Michelle were being lazy and didn't come, so we went over to their apartment afterwards, looked at wedding pictures, and watched Stranger than Fiction. I love that movie.

I was excited Saturday morning for the first Saturday in MONTHS that I woke up and didn't have to go running. I instead had an aerobics class. It was much more enjoyable. After training for the marathon it's a relief to have something other than running to do three days a week.

We went to Shopko afterwards. My glasses have some sort of stress fracture in the lenses. We thankfully found out that they are still under warranty, and I get new lenses for free. We went to Target and bought work shirts for Jeremy and curtains. We put them up yesterday and now our bedroom is much more beautiful. Previously our window treatments consisted of broken blinds and a sheet tacked to the wall with pushpins.

We finished the evening with a trip to the dollar theater to see Kung Fu Panda and a late night trip to Taco Bell. It was a good evening and a good weekend. Church has moved to 10:30 for us, so we slept 10 hours Saturday night. I really am liking this whole married thing :)

10 September 2008

Marathon

I am sitting in my commodities class right now and should be paying attention, but unfortunately I am not. I'm sure I'll have questions about the benefits and means of chlorinating and cleansing water later on. I'll face that later.

We ran our marathon last Saturday. We finished! It took us a long time and it was sooo hard. I swear that's the most I've ever hurt in my life. We'll have to see in 4 years or so how it compares to having a baby. By then, though, I'm sure I will have forgotten what it felt like and the pain childbirth will win out. It's probably more painful anyway. While you can always remember that an experience hurt, it's very hard to remember the actual feeling of pain later on. I'm sure that is the only reason anyone ever has another child or runs another marathon. Now that four days later I finally feel okay again, I'm glad we did it :)

I bought a macbook yesterday. It came with the promise of a rebate for a free ipod touch (so I bought one of those as well) and a free 3-in-one printer (which I intend to sell as I already have the older version of the same printer). I'm really excited about it, but I also feel REALLY guilty. Especially since today my old computer actually seems to be working fairly well. I'm regretting upgrading when the old one works relatively fine. Also, one of my complaints about my old one was that it was too heavy to practically bring to class...but I just found out it only weighs .5 pounds more than the Macbook I just bought. I'm pretty much just stressed about spending money on a luxury for myself. It's also always annoying with new technology to transfer all the pictures, music, programs, etc. that you liked on the old computer to the new one. I still have to find a way to get office for Mac as well. Currently the bookstore is sold out.

My justification for spending 1000 dollars on myself is the fact that I was told Monday that I was receiving another unexpected scholarship for more. So that's exciting. I feel kind of bad about getting it considering we no longer need the money. Unfortunately the dinner I'm supposed to go to in order to accept the scholarship falls on the same night that we would need to fly out for Rebecca's wedding. So now I'm going to have to write a biographical sketch so they can read it about me while I'm not there to accept the scholarship in person from the scholarship donor (I would have had to write the sketch anyway). I think I will still go to the wedding, but if I do I will also have three tests the Monday I get back. So I'm sure I will be quite stressed, but in all honesty I would probably be stressed about three tests at the same time anyway even if I did take one on Saturday instead of going to my sister-in-law's wedding.

Classes are going well. They will be work, but doable. Yesterday we went to volunteer for Kids on the Move for the first time. Only one family of four boys showed up, but we had a wonderful time playing with them. Unfortunately we forgot Jeremy's backpack there, so he will have to drive back and get it today. I think that we will enjoy this volunteer project, though. I hope that more kids come in the future.

05 September 2008

Incoming Parts

Ok so here are some parts I have recieved of late.
These are the Hubs and spindles that will replace the broken ones. They are larger and will take much more abuse. They are trailer hubs with a 4 on 4 bolt pattern to fit our wheels. The miata rotors should slip right on to them as well. Then we just have to make a kingpin bracket to hold the caliper and attatch to the A-arms. I think I will add a zerk grease fitting so we can lube them without getting too dirty.




These are the master cylinders. The one on the left is the brake cylinder and is 7/8 of and inch bore. This pushes the brake fluid to the two front Miata calipers and the single CB750 rotor in the rear. It should have a much better brake feel than the small Master Cylinder of the motorcycle (mounted upside down...oops :) ) on the rear rotor only. The one on the right is 3/4 inch for the clutch. This replaces the clutch cable to the engine. More on that later. These will be attatched with 3/16 inch hard brake line to the calipers.

04 September 2008

Peaches

So I finally started classes. I went to all of them on Wednesday and it seems like it's going to be a busy yet manageable semester. I'm taking Food Commodities, Food Microbiology (the class which I think will be the biggest pain because of the group research project), Nutrient Metabolism (a class I think I'm really going to like), Sociology--Multicultural America, and Technical Writing. I'm also doing an aerobics class through BYU but not for credit because I'm sick of running every day. I went to it Wednesday and it made me sore! That's good except that the marathon's on Saturday and I really didn't want to be sore for it. I'm getting nervous. But it's okay, I'm sure we'll make it. I keep eating for some reason...I'm hoping that will stop afterward. Maybe I'm subconsciously carb-loading.

Part of the food commodities class involves a 3-5 hour field trip every Thursday. Today we went to the Lindon cannery and took a tour of the facilty and helped for an hour on the assembly line while they canned peaches. It was really quite fascinating to learn how they were actually processed after spending the last month testing peaches in my lab. One thing I found amusing, however, was the reason for their use of freestone peaches. Freestone peaches aren't meant for canning, but they are named as such because when you chop them in half the pit falls out easily. When you can them they turn mushy, stringy, and sometimes brownish. Clingstone peaches are the variety intended for canning. They have a better color and texture after heat processing. However, they are called clingstone peaches because the pit is secured onto the side of the peach and you have to cut around it to get it out. I had always assumed that the reason they used freestone peaches rather than clingstone was simply because they would have to buy a new machine to pit the latter. Yet it turns out they're actually buying that machine next year but are going to continue to only process freestone peaches. The reason? Because the "brethren" (or the apostles of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints) like them better.

Another finding which amused me also involved peaches. Typically at work we test one can from every batch each cannery produces of any product. However, the Lindon cannery has been sending us two from each batch all summer. I assumed that there was a reason they were doing this; my boss told me it was probably because they had problems with their peaches in the past. This week, though, there was a lot to test: much more than we could get done. My boss didn't think we actually needed to test double the peaches from Lindon, so she called the head of Welfare Square. He said he didn't think we needed to either, so she called the Lindon cannery manager and asked why they had been sending two recently. He said that he didn't know, but the guy in charge of packing them just started packing two one day, so he decided that since the guy had already taken the effort to pack them he should go ahead and send them. Since he never talked to the guy, the guy kept packing two. So we've been doing doulble work for them all summer for NO REASON other than that some guy felt like putting two cans of peaches from each batch in every box rather than one. Go figure.

02 September 2008

School

Today was the first day of class. I didn't go. I realized that every one of my classes meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and that I only have labs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since today was one of those days and the class itself hasn't met yet, there was no lab. I was scheduled to work 3 hours this morning. However, since there was a lot to do at work I ended up working 7 which is fine because I didn't really know what I was going to do otherwise while Jeremy was in class. We've been so bored recently even while we're together (or at least I've been so bored recently) that I can't think of anything more to do by myself. I'm sick of reading, sick of movies, and ready to go to class tomorrow because at least it will keep me busy. The marathon is this weekend. I'm starting to get nervous for it. The entire Utah Valley is having a regional conference following it as well.

Next weekend there is a pretty cool opportunity in Spanish Fork that I'd like to go to. It's at the Krishna temple in Spanish Fork (they have a couple events a year) and is the pageant of the Ramayana. We read that story in my World Literature class and talked about the festival, and I think it would be fascinating to actually see it acted out. The climax involves burning a 20 ft tall effigy of Ravana with flaming arrows.

First day of classes Fall 2008

This morning I went to work as usual but at noon I went home to shower and eat lunch and then go to class. Work consisted of me climbing into one of those shelving units on the back of a pickup truck to cut the old shelving mount out of it with a cutoff air tool. I reiterate the climbing into part of the story. Its 52 inches deep and 22 inches wide, just enough space to wiggle into on your stomach. Once inside I could turn just a little to get a good angle to cut with. I spent nearly two hours with my upper torso burrowed into this unit with my legs dangling out the side. Once inside I maneuvered the grinder to remove several welds along the walls. Then wielding a crowbar and sleever I would pry the mounts out. That was fun. You may wonder why I had to do this. The truck belongs to the plumbing shop. The latches on the drawers came loose while the driver was at the football stadium. As he went around the corner the drawers slid out (as they are prone to do) and hit one of the stadium's pillars. The two foot pillars ripped the drawers out of the truck.

So then I went and got ready for school. Today I had a recitation section for Chem 352 (which I am repeating) Christian History, and the organic chem lab with the infamous Mrs. Hinshaw. I think I had a good beginning though. Classes should go better this year. Things are settled down and I feel more focused. I will most likely drop Christian History, although it seems like a very interesting class, as MFG 130 Modern Manufacturing fulfills my credit balance this semester. I only kept Christian History on there in case the MFG 130 lab doesn't jive with my schedule as a backup. We'll see how that turns out tomorrow. For now, I should study for class before I fall behind. I almost feel productive. :)

01 September 2008

The Summer of Buggy Part 2

video

Back to the story. I added this ironically titled movie "It is finally done this time." You can hear in the movie the clicking of the chain tensioner and how the engine isn't quite dialed in right, namely you can hear the surges and dips in the RPMs. I believe I left off where I saw the tire bouncing away. Sam told me that from his vantage point in the parking lot he saw me drive behind a hill and then didn't see me exit from behind the hill. He did however see a large dust cloud. I unstrapped myself from the buggy and called Sam to come pick me up. He and my mom hopped in the MDX and hauled the trailer to where I was. He was coming pretty fast and I am pretty sure the MDX and the trailer got some air barrelling down the track.

It has been sitting in the garage missing its front tires for almost three years now. Last summer after we returned from our missions we got a few parts together, e.i. stiffer springs and some heim joints but didn't really get much done as we both went back to school for a summer term. Then we got distracted by school, work, and some girls. I thought it would forever cloud our garage like the car under the tarp in Better off Dead. So yes both of us entered the confusing and complicated time of dating, engagement, and weddings. But then the storm lifted and my tunnel vision opened to see the realm of possibility in buggydom. Now that I a married, I needed a hobby. I didn't think I would have the time or money to work on the buggy again but that changed. It started when I began working at the welding shop on campus. We have the best collection of tools that I have ever been previledged to work with. At this point though I still thought that it wouldn't be possible to work on it again because of the aforementioned reasons of time and money. However I realized that one can make time and money, it just takes some effort and budgeting of both the time and of the money. I also began to look at it as an investment. My thought process was as follows. Buy parts, fix buggy, sell buggy, save money x 10 years, and build better buggy and metal shop in the future. Then I'll probably sell that one and make a new one and viola I have a lifelong hobby.

One day, after the mechanics were parting out the broken Hawaiian GEM cars, there were two steering shafts and rack and pinions in the dumpster at work. I decided that these would be a great start to overhaul the buggy. I snapped a picture with my phone and sent a picture to Sam saying essentiallly "I have a plan, we need to fix the buggy." After that I began to research design and parts. My purpose this summer has been to this end: Fix the buggy. I think I have drawn six different models for the front suspension on Solid Edge. I have gone over measurements and plans and know what I want. I talked to my boss about getting the steel and also found out about water jet cutting for all the platework. I am pretty excited. I am very close to actually working on it again. There are just a few problems still. 1. I am in Utah. The buggy is in California. 2. School starts tomorrow. 3. My plans are quickly becoming more grandiose and a few hundred bucks wont suffice in fulfilling them.

We talked about converting it into a two-seater. It would sell for more and would be more fun to drive anyway. Yesterday after checking over the dimensions we would basically have to build a new frame. We would have to carve so much out of the original frame (which is really OK by me, it was a poor design anyway) that there would only be the engine mount left. The extra steel isn't an issue, the average build of a mini buggy is about 250 ft of steel. A local supplier is selling 1 3/16 round tube .120 wall for $0.59/ft. We would need about 100 ft if we just did the front end. So I don't know what we'll do then. The water jet is only $15 an hour so getting our plates cut will be easy. It will just take more time. However I don't think it will take as much time as it did the first time we we're really inexperienced and didn't have any plans to go by. We also lacked tools. I really think that now we could have all the tubes cut and bent in one day, and notched and tacked together in a day more. The plate would be cut in an hour or two while we work on the mills and lathes in the shop. I think most of the time would be spent hooking everything back up, and prepping the frame for paint. The question really is if all of this effort would translate into a higher selling cost. It has to be done and sold by the summer of 2010 so we have some time to do it. After that I'll be in Med school who know where and I definately wont be working on the buggy then. So I guess right now I'll just have to wait.

In short, my mind has been keen on this subject throughout the summer which is why, even though it remains 800 miles away, this has been my summer of buggy.

The Summer of Buggy Part 1




Hello Everybody. This is the other blog scribe. Most of our summer has already been catalogued by my wife. Working at the welding shop has been great. Each day I get to fix things or design and build new ones. As I practice and hone my fabrication skills, possibilities in the realm of buggydom are increasingly apparent. I digress to persue the historical import; during my senior year of high school my brother and I adopted a wrecked motorcycle for $300 and began to build what is called a mini buggy. We finished it by summer's end before we moved to Utah and the rest of the family moved to California. Then one of the sprockets failed. It got pushed onto the moving trailer and was pushed off at my grandparents house in PG, Utah.
While Sam and I were freshmen at BYU, realizing the university had millions of dollars of shop equipment at our disposal, we again began to reinvent the buggy, reinforcing the rear drivetrain and making other modifications as we saw fit. We had no organized plans and no experience apart from owning a few go-karts and reading things on the internet. Once again we were pushed to complete the project by spring when school ended and we would both leave on our missions in May. We diligently spent the week of reading days and finals to complete the buggy in time. Everything worked great and we were able to show a working buggy again to our parents. After buzzing around the block it was time to load it on the trailer to move it to my parents house in CA. As I let out the clutch and gassed it onto the trailer the front left heim joint failed and the nose dive onto the loading ramp. There was no time to fix it so we pushed it on to the trailer and pushed it off in CA.
Once there we replaced the heim joint with a larger size and we were able to drive it again. Aside from the aesthetic maladies of a very loud and obnoxious chain tensioner and a sagging soft front end, if performed well on our neighborhood culdesac. The steering had a bit of a pull to one side due to archaic methods of aligning the front end when we built the control arm mounts. We borrowed the trailer again from my uncle and took it to a local OHV area in Greater Sacramento. I can't remember what it was called. (We had the buggy titled and registered in Utah to avoid legal obstacles in CA. Once titled and registered its much easier to register again in CA.) I forgot to mention that we again had to push the buggy on the trailer. Luckily it wasn't due to and mechanical catastrophes, only an empty gas tank. We unloaded were they run the baja truck events as the size of the buggy wouldn't allow us to run on the ATV trails. Sam took a few laps around the parking lot. I got in and headed for the mile long loop of the baja track. I guess I went backwards but nobody else was there. I was going about 40 mph on some pretty rough terrain. The suspension was clearly too soft. After one small drop the a-arms hit the tie rod on the right side buckling it a little. Now I was driving with one whell cocked to the side. I slowed with the idea just to get back to the car and sort out the issues. I was at the halfway point going up a hill on a blind corner. I was only going about 25 mph when at the crest of the hill 10 feet in front of me I saw a ditch running across the track. It was large enough to swallow the front tires. What ensued as I remember was a rather abrupt stop as the frame "ran aground" and the buggy lurched forward. The harness caught me and I remember hearing the engine stall. I think I was in second gear. Then I looked up and saw nothing but dust. I don't think I could see my hands on the steering wheel. We the dust settled I saw about 50 feet away the right tire bouncing about 10 feet in the air. The spindle had snapped (for the most part due to poor engineering and insufficient welding) and the wheel took it along for the ride. Bummer.

Anyways Alexandria says I must go now. I assure you that this will make some sense in relation to this summer as I continue to explain...but that will be later.

Rain

So of course it decided to rain labor day weekend. Most of my life it has, I just didn't expect it to happen in Provo, Utah where it has been so sunny and warm all summer. The weather forecast did predict it, but when they predicted rain for two weeks straight in July I believe it only rained for maybe a total of three hours. It is kind of funny that the rain makes me homesick because rain all of the time is exactly what I hate about Moscow.

It's just kind of hard to go back to school without seeing my family first. Even last year when I came out to summer term I got two months of parents and siblings to myself before I had to make it through to December. This summer I got less than a week with them--two stressful days in May in Sacramento while I was busy trying to get married and keep people happy (an impossible task by the way) and four days in Moscow in June with Jeremy and his parents trying to get ready for another reception while everyone was in town to be entertained and my mother was busy making a million cakes and trying to get everything else ready. Of course it rained the whole time...Moscow wouldn't want to let Jeremy see it sunny. I can't really blame the city though. I knew that my hometown only likes to participate in the season most people refer to as summer for about a month each year.

I just feel kind of sad that I don't know when I'll see them again. The first opportunity we'll most likely have is Christmas. Christmas is my least favorite time to be home so I don't know if we'll go. Austin is going on a mission soon so we're guaranteed he'll come out before that, but I don't think it will be until February or March that he actually leaves as he is not putting in his papers until November. The hardest part has just been seeing Jeremy's family so much while I never see mine at all.

The rain ruined our camping trip. We did not get to go once this summer. We had planned it several times and it never worked out. The most recent plan was to go this Friday-Saturday for a last summer hurrah until we learned that Jeremy's mother was coming into town for Sam and Michelle's open house and we decided to stay and spend time with her.

Anyway, we decided that we could still go camping Sunday-Monday after church. The rain decided for us that we weren't. We packed everything into the car, drove up the canyon and were ready to go to the campsite when the thunderstorm struck and turned around and drove home. Maybe we'll get to go later this month or next summer.

31 August 2008

Starting Up

I was told at work that I should get a blog now that I'm married, because apparently that is what married people do. It sounded like a good enough idea so I'm trying it out. We'll see if I get into it or not, and if anyone reads it :) Jeremy and I decided that we might as well do it together, so here goes.

It's been a good and interesting summer. A lot of changes have occurred. I think the biggest change occurred May 16 when Jeremy and I got married in the Sacramento temple. That was quite a wonderful day. We went on a cruise down to San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico for our honeymoon. It was fun and I liked it, yet at the same time I'm not sure I'd ever do a cruise again. There were certainly entertaining parts such as going to the zoo together in San Diego (it was overcast that day which was perfect because all the animals were actually out), an amusing comedy show, and a midnight chocolate buffet that made us both feel quite sick when followed by the rocking of the boat. However, it seems that on a cruise most of your time is spent trying to find something to do to entertain yourself until the time for the next thing you actually want to do rolls around. So I think that one was enough for me.

The rest of the summer was pretty much spent working and running. Jeremy and I were lucky enough to work it out so that we had the same hours for work, and spent a lot of spare time training for a marathon we're running next Saturday (September 6th). It will be our first marathon so the goal is merely to finish and not necessarily to win. It should be fun. I've always wanted to run one. Jeremy has agreed to join me.

Other occurrences throughout the summer included taking a swimming class (Jeremy took beginning swimming and I took intermediate) mainly for complicated financial aid purposes, me taking a cake decorating class at Michaels, having a wedding reception in Moscow, Idaho (my hometown) in June, and Jeremy's dad getting a successful heart transplant (for which everyone is very grateful).

School starts next Tuesday. I don't actually have classes the first day of class due to the fact that my only class on Tuesdays is a lab and we don't have it the first week. Neither one of us are terribly excited to go back, but at least it will be something to do. Four months of only working sounded like such a vacation, but there really are only so many books you can read and so many movies you can watch before you get bored. I'm sure we will be plenty busy soon. We are both taking 15 credits, and found a place to volunteer on Tuesday nights watching kids while parents take evening classes. It should be fun and we're hoping that the semester goes well for us. At least this year we are guaranteed a quiet place to study :) I absolutely love our apartment. It's cute, wonderful and close to campus.

So I guess that's about all for now. We'll see how posting goes in the future.