Tuesday, May 31, 2011

VERY Interesting Cape Discovery

A friend and fellow Superman Returns fan made an interesting discovery the other day. We have both been casually searching on and off for the source of the pattern used for the Superman Returns cape for years now. I've spent a lot of time looking at google, ordering samples of stuff, and asking questions. Nothing has really come close, though in the photos it always looks good. When it arrives, it's usually the wrong size or something.

But check this out. My pal was enjoying a nice snack from Keebler...

And when he turned it over, he found THIS!!

It may not be entirely clear, but that's pretty much the pattern! It's the right size, the right shape, they appear to be the right depth. There is one TINY difference between this and the screen used pattern, but the difference may just be an artifact of the manufacturing process. This is a VERY interesting turn of events. I'm not sure that it really brings me any closer to getting ahold of some, but this is the closest I've ever found the actual pattern.

P90X Progress

Amanda and I have been doing the P90X thing for almost four weeks now. The weird thing about it is that day to day, I don't really notice any difference. But today when I was flipping through some photos, I was REALLY stunned. Check these out.

This was taken maybe six weeks ago, before I had started in on P90X.

This was taken last weekend, after three weeks of P90X, and about 10 days of cardio prior to it.

Here's another one, just in case you thought the jacket was doing a bunch of fat-hiding:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Anovos Star Trek & BSG Photo Shoot

On Saturday, a was lucky enough to be invited to participate in a photoshoot for the company Anavos, who makes high quality replica costumes and other stuff. I think we took almost 700 photos, and these are some of my favorites.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Front Brakes On The 300 Are Done!!

It was quite an adventure, and probably totally unnecessary. But it was fun! And I now have totally new rotors and pads on the front of my car. And a hundred bucks in new tools!

If you follow the blog, you've already read about my trials and tribulations around just getting to this point. The rust fused wheels were a real pain in the rear, but once I cracked that seal, things moved along much faster.

Here's the wheel off. Really, the rotors are actually pretty clean, and there's a TON of thickness there. They could easily be turned and used again later. In fact, that is my plan. The pads were also practically new.

Here's one of shiny new jack stands in use. Nice!

The hardest part was removing the two bolts that held the caliper in place. I'm really happy because I got to use a bunch of tools from my Craftsman tool set I picked up a couple weeks ago. Cue "kid in a candy store" music, please.

And here's the whole thing taken to pieces. A tad more rust than I would have liked to see, but oh well.

Here's the whole thing put back together.

And here's the best part of all! The new tools I had to buy to get this thing done! I need that really long wrench as I was not getting enough torque from my 1/2"-er that came with my set. This one really did the trick on the passenger side wheel. Hammer was for bangin'. Wrench was for the bolt that held the caliper closed. I also needed an adjustable wrench for my set, so all good.

Next up, rear brakes!

Also, a big debt of gratitude to these two threads that provided great walk through's of the entire process:



Haynes Manual Arrives

Not a huge update right now, but I'm always happy when stuff shows up in the mail. Today my Haynes manual for the Caprice showed up.

In other news, MAN OH MAN do I love driving that Caprice. It is the most fun car to drive I have EVER owned. It's just huge, freaky looking, and goes really fast! What more could you want. It's also just such a beater. It gets so many stares! It's great!!! It's like the car I wish I owned when I was in high school. Alas, now I just drive it around to feel cool.

Sorta sad, really. lol

Rotors and Brake Pads. My Journey.

I had a recent conversation with 66 Batmobile builder Nate, who told me the following: Car repairs always take twice as long as you expected, and cost twice as much. Or something like that. I’m sort of paraphrasing, but you get the idea. Well, in this post, I explain to you just how right he is!

Part of my ramp-up strategy on the MattMobile is getting familiar with (and comfortable with) working on cars. Also getting to know my tools, and how I might need to build it in preparation for the work I will be doing on the MattMobile.
I figured I would dip my big toe in the proverbial pool of automotive repair by doing something to my Chrysler that has been on the to-do list ever since I got to California, replacing my rotors and brake pads. By my estimation, when evaluating overall complexity, this is about one notch above topping off the wiper fluid. It’s quite a simple procedure, one which I have done many times before on other cars I have owned. Overall, it’s pretty straightforward, and very well documented on the internets. I figured it would be a snap.

I drove down to my local Kragen Auto Parts, which isn’t really all that far away. It happens to be right next to my gym, so it all worked out. I went in, and asked for pads and rotors for my car. I wasn’t too worried about cost, as this HAD to be done. I also figured it would be a few hundred dollars cheaper doing it myself vs. taking it to the shop to have it done. They had the pads on hand, but the rotors had to be ordered from a distributor in Santa Ana. They would arrive tomorrow. Tomorrow came… no call. Turned out to take four days for the rotors to arrive. Not really a huge deal, as this is not a super pressing need. But still. Four days longer than expected.
I finally get my disks and rotors all set up in the garage, and realized I still had a couple of needs before I got started. I try to be really religious about wearing latex gloves when I do car work. I just hate dirty hands, especially dirt under your fingernails. Nasty. I also needed some C clamps to push in the pistons on the calipers. I headed to Home Depot, and picked up the gloves. And forgot the C Clamps. I was pretty frustrated at this point, so I didn’t bother going back that day. Went the next day.

Finally the weekend arrives, and it’s time to take a shot at replacing the parts. I get the car aligned in the garage so that there’s enough room on the passenger side for me to work on the car. I go into the trunk and get out the jack. Only to find that there’s a puddle of water in the spare wheel well! I recently had a gallon of water capsize in the trunk, but I thought it had all evaporated. Guess not. Took, about 10 minutes to scoop the water out with a plastic cup, and then dry the whole thing up with paper towels.

So I have the jack, and I’m ready to start. The way the process works is that you first loosen the lug nuts, THEN jack the car up, then take the lug nuts off.
But tragedy struck. It looks like I have aftermarket rims on my car, and the lug nuts are not a standard size. They are too big for the wrench that is included with my jack. Ugh. I grabbed the lug wrench from my Honda, but it was too small. Back to Kragen. I pick up an lug nut wrench in the right size, and while I’m there get a set of wedges to keep the car from rolling while it’s jacked up. Another forty bucks. Not a bid deal, as these are things I need.

I get back home, loosen the lug nuts and jack the car up. I even took this opportunity to use one of my fancy new jack stands. Pro style!!! I get all the lug nuts off. But nothing happens. The wheel spins, but it will not lift off. I’m confused. My first thought is that the rim is some kind of locking rim. I head upstairs and get on the internet to research my rim style, to try to figure out if there’s some trick. Along the way, after reading some forums, I come to the conclusion that my rim is actually rust fused onto the rotor. Rats. I read about some techniques to loosen it up, but am unsure.

Just to double check, I put the lug nuts back on, and try the same thing on the back tire. I figured if the back tire just slid right off, that would mean that it was indeed rust fused. Or stuck some other way. But it would eliminate the possibility that it was a locking rim. Sadly, the back wheel suffered from the same malady. Bummer.
I went back to the front wheel. Jacked it up, took off the lug nuts. Then I started whacking it with a rubber mallet… which I just went to Home Depot to purchase. Nothing was happening. It was not loosening up at all. However, the clear coat on the aluminum WAS chipping off. Not the results I expected, or wanted. However, this made obvious to me something that was not clear before. Since I purchased the car, there have been all kinds of weird markings on my rims. I just figured it was the aluminum oxidizing or something. Nope. Sure looks a whole lot like someone whacked it with a mallet or a sledge. So the rust on the rims has been a problem for this car for a while. Thanks, Ohio. I beat the rim for about a half hour, and nothing happens. I give up.

A new day, and I have a new idea. I want to try the wheels on the other side. I figured maybe there’s the off chance that they were not fused, or something was different. So I drove the car into the garage and gave it a try. Good news is both wheels on the passenger side came right off, no problems. And yes, they are pretty rusted. Not SUPER rusted, but there’s a bit of rust on the rotors, and the inside of the rims. Bummer. Looks like I was on the right track after all. I put the wheels back on, and decide to re-attack the rear driver’s side wheel. I’ve got to break that rust seal somehow.

I go through the process of pounding the rim with my mallet for like ten minutes, and still nothing. I next try something I read about on the web. I loosened the lug nuts up, and then went for a drive. Just around my complex parking lot. I hit the brakes really hard. Took corners really tight, did all kinds of unusual acceleration, etc. When I got back to my garage, it LOOKS as if that did the trick, as the lug nuts were now tight. But alas, my time for my lunch break was up and I had to get back for a meeting.

So that’s where it stands right now. About a week longer than I expected, and about 50 extra bucks in tools and accessories.

Update: thanks to some help from an online blog about rust fused rims, I now have freed up ALL of my wheels. Today, I did just as the blog suggested. Loosened up the lug nuts, and then went driving. So I’m all set to go. Now I just need to find a few spare hours to take a shot at getting things fixed. Quite a journey so far!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Welding Helmet, Blade, Mirror

I have a couple of little updates today that are directly related to the MattMobile project. But one is kind of tangential.

When I purchased the Caprice, it did not have a rear view mirror. I went down to Kragen Auto Parts in Irvine and picked up a mirror, and a separate attachment thingie. This isn't exactly what I would call "heavy lifting," but it does constitute some work on the Caprice. Which is on-topic. Here's a picture of the completed project.

I'm also trying to stay pretty much on track with my plan of doing ONE THING per day towards the MattMobile. Until I have suitable workspace, most of my effort is going toward parts and tool acquisition. Today I picked up a welding helmet, and also a metal cut off wheel that can be used on a rotary saw. And yes, I already own such a saw.

While I was at Home Depot, I was also looking for a metal cutting wheel for my chop saw, but alas, I could not remember the diameter of the blade, so I held off. That will be a very important purchase for me, as I plan on using my chop saw to cut all of the steel necessary to build out the frame and roll cage for the MattMobile.

Legion Flight Ring

I've had this in my collection for a couple of months now, but I never quite got around to posting about it.

This is a Legion flight ring, as seen in numerous issues of tons of comics from the DC universe. A ring similar to this has also shown up in a bunch of episodes of Smallville, including the recent season 10 episode with Booster Gold.

Overall, a very well made ring, with a great finish. Sadly, it's slightly too big for my dainty fingers. But then, I probably wouldn't really get a lot of street wear out of this, so not a big negative really. I think this will make for a great display piece, as it's highly recognizable, and quite shiny! Everyone likes shiny things!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jack Stands

I picked these up at Sears yesterday. These will be incredibly useful in the upcoming year for working on the MattMobile. I will also get some use out of these when working on my daily driver.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm On A Boat, Mutha *&%$&, Don't You Errrrr Forget!

This is a fun little paper prop I whipped up over a few hours. It's inspired by the song "I'm On A Boat" by The Lonely Island. Here's a link to the video, the uncensored version.


Mine is not TOTALLY perfect, as I could not find the exact font. But it's really close, and unless you're holding it next to a screen cap, it's pretty hard to tell the difference.

Who should I pick to go with me????

Gas Caps Arrive

My two shelby gas caps arrived today, and they are BEAUTIFUL! Much bigger than I expected too. (that's what she said)

I got these from www.stang-aholics.com

They were not the cheapest I found, but their delivery time was VERY quick, and I'm extremely happy with the purchase. Thank you, guys!

Second Headlight Arrives

I received my second headlight yesterday, and I think it's busted. It looks like there's some kind of charring in the main reflector. Like the bulb in it blew up. Hrm. My first disappointment on this project! I'll take a closer look at it and see if there's a way to either clean it out, or refurb it somehow. It only cost 20 dollars, so it's not a total/epic failure, but it's a little sad.

The new one is the one on the left.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wizard World Anaheim

I spent Saturday up in Anaheim walking around the con with some buddies. Made a video too. My first in HD! Check it out!

Buying The Donor Car - Video

Here's some footage I shot with my HD video camera while I was shopping for my donor car. The video is not in HD, but I just wanted to point out that I have a new HD camera.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Tools

It's a guy thing. I'm pretty sure of it. But buying tools is ALWAYS so much fun! I have been wanting to have a semi-respectable set of automotive tools for a long time now, and today I took my first step into that larger (more expensive!!) world.

I picked up this set from Sears. It retails for 229.00, but was on sale for 149.00, and I got a ten dollar gift card for my next buy. Not a bad deal.

It sort of reminded me of Christmas morning, putting all of those tools into their proper places in the trays. Now I just want more!!