Or in my case...my front left caliper is sticking. Put new pads and rotor on it yesterday and drove it and it still has the same problem. So After spending $106 for the brake parts I got on E-Bay and spent another $36 for a remanufactured caliper. A deal considering local places want $60 - $80 for one of those. It'll come in around the 1st of next month but that's okay because the caliper retracts enough after it cools down to get me to work and back. It's just frustrating though.

That said I seem to be taking more things in stride these days. While things do get me wound up I usually don't stay too would for too long unless they're repeated issues. This is of course a good thing. Money however is a repeated issue. ;-)

All things in balance though or at least that's the plan.

I do realize though that one can not shoot for the stars and remain in balance. It's an impossibility unless you have infinite time.

Here's the thing - to remain in balance you are always balanced between earth and sky and all other things. To reach the stars you have to leave the earth behind.

Thus...all true adventurers to space (so to speak) have to be unbalanced. But unbalanced in just the right way.

I'm suddenly realizing how rare that actually is.

Just got back from taking the puppy for a walk. I should stop calling him that as he's 5 or more years old. That was fun. Now I need to go out and clean up the yard and mow. Not fun.

Well that's not true. I like maintaining things. I enjoy making things work or look good or both. I like improving upon those things. And I like making things from scratch when I can. Unfortunately I don't get a lot of energy to do any of those lately.

Hoping to change that.

One other thing I paid for which cost me about $9 is a small magnetic lens assembly that attaches to my phone or my Flip Mino camera and allows me to do wide-angle and macro shots respectively. This means I don't have to use the main video camera if I want to do shots of me working with electronics out in the workshop. Yet again something I want to do but am not getting done.

Work is going well. Or as well as can be with a busy technical support position. It's always something to be dealt with. :-)

In case I didn't mention it before I got the motorcycle running again. Swapped out the carburator jets for the slightly larger ones so she shouldn't lean out around 5k rpms. Unfortunately I went to air up the front tire and it won't hold air. Fortunately I have a whole 'nother bike that has good front and back tires on it. Going to try and swap those tires today if possible after I mow the lawn.

Mowing the lawn is such a pain with the lawn lights. Seriously thinking about something creative here. I hate having to pull the lawn lights and replace them so here's what I'm thinking:

1) Get a number of those strings of LED lights. Clear, white, RGB, whatever.

2) Get a whole bunch of the small metal spice tins with the clear centers in the covers.

3) Get a bunch of rubber grommets just big enough to fit around the wires to the LEDs.

4) Notch the sides of the spice tins on two sides - one opposite the other - so the wires go in then come out the other sides.

5) Apply grommets to the wires and insert the wires so each LED is contained in a metal spice tin and centered in the clear window.

6) Hot glue the LEDs in place in the tins.

7) Glue the lids shut with something strong - I suggest Gorilla Glue.

8) Bury the tins and the wiring along the path so that just the tops show.

9) Plug the string into a timer or a light-sensitive "after dark" kind of switch.

10) Enjoy mowing your lawn without having to take the damn path lights out.

Simple, fairly inexpensive, and likely more sturdy than other wired solutions.

Now I just need a clean workshop to get those done...

Off to mow!
September 17, 2008 6:11 AM 9/17/08

Brought to you by the early-morning-no-coffee department...

So last night I was thinking odd thoughts about sustainability and came up with a simple one. Europium paint based fiber-optic lighting.

What you do is take a clear Lucite rod, polish the ends of it, and mate fiber-optic lighting cable to it.

Then place the rod into a v-shaped holder (like a piece of angle-iron) that extends the length of the rod so that the “v” is pointing down and is open to the sky at the top.

Paint the inside of the “v” with blue Europium based paint. This paint is designed to glow for 12 hours or more after charged by UV radiation.

Mount said object on roof of house/vehicle/whatever and plumb the fiber-optics cable to a place close by where you want light.

During the day any sunlight is transmitted directly through the Lucite rod into the cable as well as “charging” the paint in the v-channel.

At night the paint glows and that light is transmitted down the fiber-optics cable in place of sunlight.

Ambient lighting from 12 hour paint that will likely last a fairly long time. And the only maintenance is sealing the cable as it enters the house/van/etc., cleaning the Lucite rod, or re-painting the v-channel.

Alternatively if you’re doing this with something like a thin metal roof (like a shed or car or something) you could put the rod into a square box with the top open and a slit in the bottom. Paint the inside of the walls of the box with Europium paint. Then rest the Lucite rod on the slit at the bottom and seal it there. During the day the light shines directly through and during the night the paint glows and shines through.

Once again this stuff is simple and easy to maintain. Heck it’s even fairly cheap. Europium powder that can be mixed with a non-uv clear-coat can be found here: http://www.unitednuclear.com/glow.htm I suggest blue for lighting. (There are other sources and other colors and glow times will vary. Green is the brightest but who wants to live in a Kryptonite cave?)

The Lucite rods are available almost everywhere - replacement clear towel rods come to mind.

The v-channel or box can be made from local materials.

Fiber-optic cable you might have to order online but it shouldn’t be too expensive either as you’re not carrying data only light in general in this case.

Back to my morning breakfast ...


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Mike Hebel


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