Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I fixed my car...and by 'I fixed my car', I mean, the shop fixed my car

So, this week, both of our cars decided that they have had it with this world. My Truck wouldn't start--it needed a new fuel pump. Oh, a fuel pump should be cheap, shouldn't it? Nope it is not. I then decided to investigate how to replace a fuel pump on my own. This is what I pulled up:
  1. Determine the fuel pump that your Chevy Silverado will require. This depends on the make and model and engine size of your vehicle. Models are equipped with a Vortec 4.3 L, 4.8 L, 5.3 L or 6.0 L engine depending on the exact model.

  2. Step2

    Disconnect the negative battery cable with a socket wrench. Relieve the fuel system pressure, drain and remove the fuel tank. Remove the retaining ring for the fuel sender assembly with a fuel tank sending unit wrench.

  3. Step3

    Note the position of the fuel strainer before pulling it off and discarding it. Unplug the electrical connection for the fuel pump and the fuel level sensor under the cover of the fuel sender.

  4. Step4

    Remove the retaining clip for the fuel level sensor and remove the fuel level sensor by squeezing the locking tangs. You may now remove the fuelpressure sensor.

  5. Step5

    Install the new fuel pump using the items included in the kit, especially the fuel strainer. Tighten the mounting bolts for the fuel tank straps 30 ft. lbs with a torque wrench.

  6. Step6

    Complete the installation by reversing the removal procedure.

    Are you frakkin' kidding me? You really think that I would be able to follow those directions? Let me put it this way--I decided to take it into a shop. I know my ways around a computer and a woman (totally kidding!), but my car experience is rough to say the least. Got the car back, and it wasn't cheap...but if I had tried to have done it, my car would have probably exploded.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Transformers--part car, part motorcycle...a Carcycle

It was Indian food night on Saturday night so I drove out to get take out. On my way home, I saw a funky car/motorcycle thingy in a driveway, so I hurried and pulled over. As I got out my car, the couple in the driveway let me know that I was parked head on in traffic (I thought it was the shoulder of the road, not the 2nd lane of a 2 lane road). So, I jumped back in the car and pulled in to the driveway before I cause a huge accident.

So, for the fun part. I asked the couple what I was looking at--they told me that it is a motorcycle but with car parts. You have to have a motorcycle license to drive it and it is not available from any store in Utah. All I can say is that it was the coolest thing that I had seen in a while.

You could also purchase a top for it which I am assuming that it would make it look even more strange. The CD player and stereo are all in the trunk. They informed me it is the nicest ride you could ever have. They turned me down on my request to 'take it for a spin.' Oh well.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March Madness and DS Madness

It is now March madness time. I remember growing up and skipping school so that I could stay home and watch the college basketball tournament at home. I loved it. I would even stay home away from college so that I could watch the games all day long. It was that bad. I am no longer quite as obsessed, but still love it. Even without the Utes being in the tourney. That part stinks.

Yes, that is a picture of our boy playing games with 3 different DS units. Yes, 3 of them. I took one away, I mean, c'mon, playing with 3 of those is just silly. I am a good dad--2 at a time for one kid is my limit! I do have to say though, that kid is pretty talented.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

5 new book reviews

Here are the latest books that I have read. I have ranked all of the books that I have read this year (2010) in two categories, Fiction and Non-Fiction and those rankings are on the left of my blog. This latest sampling is a rather diverse group of books ranging from a tennis player's autobiography to historical nonfiction to a Young Adult thriller. If you have any suggestions on books to read, let me know and I will add it to my queue.

Open by Andre Agassi
I loved this book. With that said, it is a difficult book. All growing up, Andre Agassi was the player that I wanted to be like. My forehand and my backhand were all groomed to be like Agassi. This book makes you love Andre even more and it makes you dislike him at the same time.

The book explores Andre's demanding dad's obsession with making Andre the best player in the world. He forces Andre out on the court, hour after hour every single day. Andre used to aim for mis-hits which would bounce off his frame and over the fence. He did it so that he could take a break while his dad went to chase down the ball. The story talks of how Andre met some of the greats growing up (his dad strung Jimmy Connors' rackets and Andre would deliver them to him and talks of how Jimmy wasn't the best). The book goes into his days at the Bolliteri tennis academy which Andre hated. He wore jeans to a match to voice his displeasure.

The book talks briefly of Andre's drug use. The book talks of Andre's fall from grace as he was ranked in the 100s. It talks of his disfunctional relationship with Brook Shields (she cared little for tennis, he cared little for Hollywood and it led to loneliness on both ends). I did love hearing of how he met and fell in love with Steffi Graf (my all time favorite female player) and hearing how Andre finished up his career. It is a thoroughly entertaining book.

The Telephone Gambit by Seth Shulman
Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Didn't he? Didn't he? This book goes behind the intrigue to examine who invented the telephone and the answer may surprise you. The story focuses on Bell and his quest to come up with an invention to transmit voices along wires (a phone). Bell is credited with the invention and his name is synonimous with the invention of the phone...but Shulman delves into it and makes a compelling case that not only did Bell not invent the phone, but that he liberally took ideas from his chief competitor Elisha Gray. A series of events ranging from corruption in the US patent office, to espionage into Gray's proposal to probable shame at presenting Bells' 'invention' reveals that there is a lot more to Bell than he showed outwardly to the public. And the argument over the invention of the phone is still not settled.

The one drawback to the book is that it can be rather scientific but Shulman does a pretty good job at never letting it get too confusing with scientific terms. But, unless you are really following some of the points, you can get a bit lost...but you still are able to stay current with the story.

A Knock on the Door by Margaret Ahnert
The Armenian genocide. Have you ever heard of it? This book is told by the author (whom I have not only met, but spent the day with traveling to lectures) about her mother who survived the genocide. Set in the early 1900s, the story alternates between her mother living through the genocide and her and her mother talking about it 60 years later. It is a very effective literary device and Ahnert does a great job at telling both stories.

When focused on her is chilling as her mother recounts walking mile after mile seeing murders around her and living in fear that the Turks would murder her next. Through her ability to survive and through her smarts, she lived through it. Over 1 million Armenians were murdered in it all and it is still a story that few know.

First, Break all the Rules by Marcus Buckingham
This is a very good business book. The idea behind the book was to interview thousands of managers at hundreds of companies and investigate what really works at those companies instead of what conventional wisdom would suggest. Though I may not always agree that some of their ideas would work in our company, it was fascinating to hear the decisions that some managers made to terrific results. My favorite portion was a discussion of how managers cannot change their employees. Every person comes hardwired to do certain things. A good manager should focus on things that the employee is willing to work on and not spend the focus on changing behavior that may really not matter in the effectiveness of the employee. Work to their strengths, not necessarily to their weaknesses.

Wish you were Dead by Todd Strasser
I really liked how this story started. A high school girl disappears. At the same time, a high school blogger talks of how that is good and that person should die. It is intriguing and the story is rather fast paced as another boy goes missing. It continued to build up momentum as the small town is stunned and scared over these disappearances.

The first 75% of the book was pretty good and entertaining read. And then it unraveled. It appears that the author really lost sight of what to do with the book. It began veering off into a new character and it became an action book where they were trying to find the missing kids even switching into more of a horror book. Yuck. It literally went from 4 out of 5 stars down to 1 out of 5 stars. Too bad.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tennis stringing by sexy guys and rockin' tennis shoes

I play tennis. And for those that play tennis, you know that you break strings. So, a few months ago, I bought my very own tennis stringer.

Back when I was a teenager, I strung my own rackets. But when I went on my mission, my dad decided to sell the stringer. Now, I decided to get back. The problem--I totally forgot how to string rackets and though this machine looks rather simple, I was totally intimidated.

Finally I decided to string a racket...I got halfway through it, screwed up and gave it up. Until yesterday. My buddy Brandon (top notch tennis star and racket stringer extraordinaire) came over to our house with his lovely wife and fabulous kids and gave me a lesson.

To put this in perspective, he can string rackets in 30-40 minutes. With his guidance and me doing the stringing, it only took me about 100 minutes. Per racket. Yes, I was that slow but we finished off two of my rackets. I am about to quit my job and go into a racket stringing business. I should be rich in no time. Our wives spent most of the 3 hours of stringing saying 'Uhm, so are you really going to play tennis with rackets YOU strung? Lets just take the rackets down to the SportsMall and get them strung' You can feel their confidence in me, can't you? Brandon, on the other hand, has strung rackets for 20 years now so he is good to go. I will probably butcher a few more rackets in the future.

On another tennis note--I got new tennis shoes. I am one stylin' dude now. To make a long story short (or as Brodi would say, making a boring story just a little less boring)--I bought the shoes. The company called me a week later and apologized and said that those shoes were out of stock, but they would give me the latest newest updated shoe from the same company...for the same price as last years model which I had ordered. I wasn't sure and she knocked off another 10% on top of that. Great price and great shoes.

Yes, I realize how boring I am when I spend an entire blog post talking about a tennis racket stringer and tennis shoes. It is all about the simple pleasures in life, no matter how boring it is to you all.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A car and a cake

I work downtown and I went for a walk to go and get some food and I came across two interesting things:

First, I kind of understand it when someone is driving a $50,000+ car around town and has to park to pick up somethings so they take up 2 spots because they are freaked out someone might ding their car. I kind of understand that. But why on earth would this person feel the need to take up 2 spots in a rather full parking lot? I mean, seriously? A 1980s truck that is not restored? Seriously? If I had driven, I would have loved to have parked as close to him as possible, like I was trying to fit in the half taken parking stall.

There are few things less appetizing than seeing a 75% eaten cake sitting outside of an apartment to a rusted out pain can. Egads.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Naked religion

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the human body. But, I do have to say--I don't think I would have much interest in going to church every week buck naked. The Ivor Church in Virginia (link here) encourages people to go to church in the the buff...totally naked. As the pastor explains, 'If God made us that way, how can that be wrong?' I guess you can't argue with that. In fairness to the church, it is in a nudist colony so I guess it would be strange if they had to put on clothes, but still...

I can just see the announcement next week in my church, 'You are welcome to wear clothes but hey, it might be better to just leave those clothes home next week. Be you and be free!' Yeah, I probably wouldn't show up that day. But if I can lose another 10 pounds, then maybe, no wait...still not interested.