Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dream Garage? Yes Please.

Um wow.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ebb’s DIY: Cutting Down Big Trees

                So you got a big ol’ tree in the yard that needs to come down but you don’t want to pay the tree service that quoted you $1000 to do it?  Why not do it yourself?  All you need is a good chainsaw, some rope, a buddy or two, a G-wagon, and basic knowledge of physics and gravity.

DISCLAIMER:  This is by no means an expert DIY.  PLEASE BE CAREFUL!  Wear eye protection and use heavy duty gloves when cutting!



STEP 1:  Equipment

o    Eye protection
o    Heavy duty gloves
o    Industrial strength rope
o    Chainsaw


STEP 2: Pre-planning

                Draw it up, plan it out.  Cutting down a tree isn’t quantum physics, but it’s still Newtonian physics.  You gotta know how the cut will affect where the tree falls – especially if the house is very close like in my case!  Take into consideration angles, rope forces, and the apparent weight of the limb you’re trying to take down.  NOTE: The limb is always much heavier than you think.

Check out this guy’s much more comprehensive tutorial!




STEP 3: Cut

                Notice the angle of the cut on the limbs.  Notice also the limb fell exactly where we wanted it to – namely away from the house :)




STEP 4:  Use Rope

                So in the case of the second limb, it was leaning more over the house than away so rope was necessary to get it to not fall on top of the roof.  Unfortunately in this case I made the cut too hastily and ended up having to attach the rope to my tow ropes and then to my truck to pull it away from falling on the house…but it still worked!





STEP 5:  Clean-up

                Coming soon…

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ebb’s DIY: Replacing Brake Pads

          So that grating brake squeak you’ve been trying to ignore for weeks now has finally tested your limits of sanity; not to mention you’re tired of all the embarrassing stares you get from other drivers who have to listen to you stop next to them in traffic.  But your local auto shop is asking $100+ per/axle on replacing them…and your dealership is asking $150+, and so you’re torn between getting fleeced for the work or continuing to tolerate the incessant screeching.   Why not save some money and do it yourself?  In fact, changing one’s brake pads is one of the easier cost-saving, self-maintenance a car owner can do.

I think the main factor causing people to hesitate changing their own brakes is location on the car.  Since the work to be done isn’t in the more familiar engine compartment and requires a jack, people may reason it must require expert skills.  Not so.



STEP 1:  Get New Pads

                Brake pads, like all car parts, come cheap or expensive.  A local shop would probably go somewhere between cheap to moderate – dealership would go OEM.  Though OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer – "how it came from the factory") parts aren’t as critical here, I still recommend them.  Most sites have OEM designations for your convenience.  Check out places like www.rockauto.com and www.autopartswarehouse.com


STEP 2: Set Up Work Area

                Space, light, and proper tools are key.  I recommend some additional lighting such as work lights.  As for tools, your car should’ve come with the basic tools to jack and remove your wheels (refer to manual).  A basic wrench set, screwdriver, and maybe pliers should round out the cache.  The only pseudo-specialized tool you’ll need is a caliper piston spreader.  This task can just as easily be accomplished by a simple C-clamp (see below) – and it’ll save you a few bucks.  Wear some latex gloves and save yourself a few days of having grease in your fingernails.




STEP 3:  Remove Wheel

                Make sure you refer to your owner’s manual for lifting your vehicle, unless you have a pneumatic lift in which case just make sure you find a nice place to jack it up such as the rear differential in this case.  Add some wheel chocks on the tires still touching the ground to be safe.



STEP 4:  Remove Caliper
                The caliper housing is what holds your brake pads in place and pushes them to your rotor as the pads wear down.  You must remove the two caliper housing bolts holding the housing in place.  They are located on the left and right side of the housing.  They may be tight and/or rusted so give em some oomph.  Spray some graphite lubricant if needed.  Removing the caliper may require some oomph as well.  Use a rubber mallet to loosen it if it's real stuck.


 STEP 5: Replace Pads and Sensor

                With the caliper removed, we can just slide out the old pads and replace them with the new ones.  Some newer cars have brake pad wear sensors that need to be replaced as well (white wire in these pictures).  It is recommended you use proper lubricants on the caliper housing bolts and anti-seize compound on the new pads before replacement.



STEP 6:  Reset Caliper Piston
               
                Since your caliper piston kept the worn down pads in place, you’ll need to push it back in.  Use the C-clamp as shown to get it flush again with the housing, so the caliper piston can be reset to fit the wider width of the new brake pads.



 STEP 7: Reinstall Components
                
                Put everything back together as you took it apart.  Don’t forget to attach the pad wear sensor wire if one is present.  Be careful when putting the tire back on and make sure you remember to tighten all the bolts.
                *It’s best to replace one or both axle’s worth of brake pads at once.  Don’t just replace one set on one wheel.



STEP 0: Watch an Online Tutorial
                
                There’s a plethora of online tutorials out there on how to do things like this…so if you’re really hesitant just prop your laptop on a chair next to you wherever you do this for instant reference.


STEP X: Stop Paying Other People to Do a Job You Can Do Yourself!
                
                 Gaining self-dependent skills like this, especially helpful mechanical skills, will greatly benefit you and your family in the coming post-apocalyptic world.  Do it for them.



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Gut Level Life

I started a new blog a while ago called Gut Level Life.  This deals a bit more focused on life, love, and why.  Check it out.

Gut Level Life


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

songs

But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don't even need your love
But you treated me like a stranger and that felt so rough
No you didn't have to stoop so low...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Disastrous Invention of a New Middle Class


To hear politicians tell it, the college diploma is the guaranteed gateway to middle-class life, so everybody should probably go to college. The argument seems self-evident—over a lifetime, college graduates far out-earn those without a degree ($2.1 million, supposedly), so go to college, live the American Dream. Unfortunately, as many recent college graduates have discovered, diplomas no longer guarantee success.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Was the Discovery “Retirement” Flight to DC Over-hyped?

Taking to your social network of choice today (not to mention major news media outlets) your news feed was probably inundated with pictures snapped from local area office buildings and parking lots of the Space Shuttle Discovery taking its final flight on top of a Boeing 747 en route to its final resting place at the Smithsonian Air & Space Annex/Museum at Dulles Airport.  A cool sight indeed because how often do you see a space shuttle hitching a ride on a 747 (and possessing a certain sober sentimentality as it represents that last ride of NASA’s space shuttle program), but did it really deserve such grandeur and attention (engineering feat notwithstanding)?  Before logging on to Facebook today, I never knew so many of my peers even cared about NASA’s exploits these days, let alone knew the space shuttle program was retired after Atlantis’ last launch last summer (darn Obama for scuttling Bush’s planned successor, Project Constellation!).

            The funny thing about me writing this is I’m a huge NASA fan, love space, love space shuttles (I will own Space Shuttle Pinball one day), and am super bummed the program had to end (again, darn Obama!).  Yet considering the past achievements and various other markedly more exciting operations of the space shuttle program (launches anyone?), this “victory lap” flight seems to pale in comparison.   I feel most people that got so excited about this somewhat boring (relatively speaking) sub-space flight are sort of like fair weather fans.  I mean I didn’t see nary a post about Atlantis’s final flight from Cape Canaveral last summer?  That was much more significant.  I mean just cause a space shuttle “glides” over your house it’s all the sudden really important?  Space exploration is cool now?
            I mean first off it’s not like we haven't seen a 747 flying around our neighborhoods; perhaps not over DC and with a space shuttle attached to its back, but was the sight of it that much more novel than a massive solo 747 flying overhead like the dozens of times they do over Northern Virginia every day?
Secondly, as cool as the space shuttle is, it is a 30 year old aeronautical design.  Seeing it in the mid-eighties was definitely, well, space-age, but in today’s aerospace industry it’s like seeing a classic car drive by;  super cool, but not novel per se.  It’s not like the sight of a 747 and space shuttle combined was much different than the hundreds of times we saw jets escort the shuttles back home from missions - yet everyone and their mother posted photos as if a second moon appeared in the sky (cool yes, but that cool...disabled and just gliding on top of a common plane?)
             Finally, and this isn’t to marginalize this particular retirement flight because it was neat, but more to explain how much cooler and amazing the actual space shuttle launches were (see below).  I mean if this pedestrian fly-by wowed you, then the actual launches must’ve blown your gaskets over the years.  Or they didn’t, because you probably never watched any of them (save the Challenger’s and Columbia’s I bet), nor could name the rest of the fleet.
 

            I don’t know, I guess I should be excited the exposure this event created for NASA and space programs in general – and I should be very happy NASA picked my backyard to gift one of its greatest technological achievements for its final display.  Maybe my frustration is that there was just something so fair-weather about so many DC folks freaking out about the fly-by today.  It reminded me a lot of so many in DC “Rocking the Red” these days that don’t even know who Don Beaupre is.

You wanna see cool…check this video of Discovery's final launch

Monday, April 2, 2012

MTT is procrastinating

I realize there are 50,000 sites that do this exact thing, but many times better I'm sure. Thank you for choosing mine :)

Brave
Japanese trailer is pretty cool

Longway North
Speaking of animation featuring strong female leads, how cool is this French short film?

Ice Age 4
More animation. Sid cracks me up.

Hotel Transylvania
More animation.

Rise of the Guardians
Animation overload! This is my least favorite.

Bonus #1:
Iron Sky
First 4 minutes

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bicycling

             Given a choice between motorcycling and bicycling, I’d choose motorcycling 9 times out of 10.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy bicycling; shoot I used to ride my BMX pretty much constantly throughout my youth.  Yet with rising gas prices, lowering opportunities to work out, and unseasonably warm weather, I’ve decided to start bicycling to work on occasion.  Despite using a mountain bike that’s too small for me (hoping to borrow a friend’s proper road bike in the near future) and a butt that’s uber sore, I’m still enjoying to the exercise.

It’s about 13.2 miles from my house to my work so I’m doing a healthy 26+ miles each day I ride in.  No small feat for an IT professional.  But because it’s to and from work, I’m making the most efficient use of my time in regards to trying to find time to work out.  It’s a win-win situation and make me feel good…despite the sore tush.

Here’s a slick biking calories calculator too!

Calories Burned Calculator
Estimate the calories you burned on your bike ride:
Pace:
Weight:
Time:

Map of my route

Friday, March 2, 2012

Movie Trailer Thursday for upcoming movies

Paranorman
Stop-motion is always worth a look

The Raven
Bal'imore represent

The Avengers
I think I'm super-hero'ed out

Bonus #1:
John Carter Extended Scene
4 minutes of this Attack of the Clones look-a-like action scene

Bonus #2:
The Hobbit video blog #6!
I wanna do IT for the production!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

MTT'n

Wrath of the Titans
2nd trailer better than the first..second movie better than the first?

The Raid
Asian action film like crazy

4:44 Last Day on Earth
So many end-of-the-world movies these days

American Reunion
No it's not just to post a raunchy teen (now "adult") comedy for raunchy teen comedy's sake. Little fact...this movie's original, along with Gladiator, I would identify as the two defining movies that launched my writing career. Obviously Gladiator for different reasons, but American Pie because of how it was a major catalyst for my personal "enlightenment" period to my peer culture, college life, how badly young women are mistreated by guys, and the fallen, lost world I lived in.

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope
Never a huge Comic-Con fan, but I definitely can appreciate all this.

Struck by Lightning
Oh I don't know...I never watch Glee. Though secretly in retrospect I do wish I was involved in some writing groups or journalism whilst in high school. Guess being in sports all the time didn't really allow for that jock/journalism crossover :/

Beyond The Black Rainbow
WTH is right. Though I do dig the "2001: A Space Odyssey" vibe.

Bonus #1:
Brave
Fun clip from new Pixar movie!

Monday, February 20, 2012

D.C. Sports Fans vs. Philly Sports Fans

         As a simultaneous lifetime resident of Northern Virginia and fan of Philadelphia professional sports team, I uniquely have the ability to accurately distinguish between the typical D.C. fan and Philly fan.  Thom Loverro’s article below merely manifests currently and practically this disconnect, but deep down I know it’s more an issue of priorities. 

Thom Loverro: Fight with Philadelphia is not one the Nationals can win

                 You see, in Philly, the Eagles, the Flyers, the Phils, and, to a lesser extent, the Sixers, are the priority.  In D.C., only the Redskins (I will concede this…yes, D.C. folk love their Redskins still) are the priority.  D.C.-ites would like to claim that the Caps are the priority now, but for every 10 current Caps fans I can show you 7 of them who didn’t even know Jaromir Jagr was once a Cap, let alone Michael Pivonka and Liut.  The Bullets?  Ha!  The Nationals?  Just see above link.
                But you know, it’s not all D.C. folks’ faults.  As a D.C. folk myself, I realize that there are much bigger fish to fry in this area than underperforming professional sports teams.  For one there’s the whole political spectrum, which everyone in and around D.C. is invariably directly, or pseudo-directly involved in.  That and educational and vocational pursuits rule the Beltway lands.  We’re a bunch of overachieving, goal-seeking, educationally inundated folks.  This is a far cry from a large portion of blue-collar Philly fan demographic.
                But as Mr. Loverro succinctly describes in his article above…Philly fans are of a different breed.  They live and breathe their teams.  In D.C., fans are passionate, but only when convenient (or when success forces attention).  As long as it doesn’t conflict with another iPhone appointment (apart from the Redskins), D.C. fans are there to support their teams.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Movie Trailer Thursday

I know no one really comes to this site anymore, but posting movie trailers and writing the occasional EbbWorld-ish article (when I have time) is somehow therapeutic. Sort of reminding me of the halcyon days, when everything was going to be alright and work itself out.

Headhunters
UK Trailer

Prometheus
International trailer

The Secret World of Arrietty
I think I posted one of these before...but I still like good anime, especially Miyazaki stuff

Undefeated
Uplifting HS sports documentary? Like The Blind Side?

7500
I don't like horror movies.

The FP
No idea...post-apocalyptic DDR.

Friday, February 10, 2012

MTT is random

Sorry for the recent absence

How I Spent My Summer Vacation
These movies seem to be natural for Mel Gibson

Art Is... The Permanent Revolution
MTT is cultured

Red Lights
I don't like scary movies :/

The Amazing Spiderman
Reboot

The Bourne Legacy
Wonders what Matt Damon's cameo will be...

Iron Sky
The Nazi's are hiding on the moon!

Extraterrestre
Spanish sci-fi alien invasion?

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Could be funny

Arnold Schwarzenegger DVD Commentary = Hilarious Greatness


    So these mash-ups have been around for a while, but they’re new to me…but Arnold Schwarzenegger’s commentary is absolutely hilarious.  Being a huge fan of Total Recall and Conan the Barbarian (TV versions of course) and 80’s science fiction & fantasy in general, it makes it even more amazing.  I honestly thought at first this was all a joke, or someone was mimicking Arnold’s voice as a joke video.  But no, this is the real deal.  Absolute movie magic. 

I miss the DVD’s extras…you don’t get that in streaming.

Total Recall



Conan the Barbarian

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

untitled

I miss the conversations about life, love, and why...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Millennial-what?

Angels fight with guns and knives right?
            There’s a few non-salvation related topics and advanced tenets of Christianity that many Christians are unaware of.  That’s fine, as there’s no way one could be informed adequately  about all of them and the 2,000 years of history surrounding them (though I think every Christian should have at least an inkling of interest surrounding them – and at least incorporate a pursuit of them into their burgeoning Christian walk to some capacity).  That said, one particularly salient topic in today’s culture is that of Millennialism; basically the “end times/end of the world” scenario’s and how they will all take place (not claiming I'm an expert BTW).  I don’t want to go into all the details surrounding Christian view on Millennialism (as they can get way to complicated/speculative – so go to Wikipedia to learn about them), but I do find it somewhat disconcerting most Christians aren’t even aware they exist.  Most Christians seem to get their “end times” theology (eschatology) from Hollywood or New York Times’ best-sellers; which as we know more often than not are not very good reflections of Biblical accuracy.

            Basically Christian views on Millennialism are split up into three major categories, with a fourth derivative of one.  Each viewpoint has many well respected and bright scholarly proponents.  No one view seems to dominate any other in scholarship (though Premillennial dispensationalism with its popular “rapture” notion is very popular among the masses, not to mention pop culture).  Like I said, go to Wikipedia for a more in depth view, but I did find this nifty little graphic that I think is the best distilled resource that explains the different views.


Is this a salvation issue?  No.  Will it make you a better Christian?  Prolly not.  But it has its place in reaffirming the urgency Christ himself gave before his Ascension.
 
*For the record, I subscribe to Amillennialism.  Why?  Frankly two reasons: 
  1. The first being that book of Revelations is chock-full of metaphorical imagery and figurative language.  Do I think it’s full of literal meanings as well?  Yes…but for someone to claim they can accurately distinguish between the literal and figurative; well you may as well claim to be God himself.
  1. The second reason is more emotionally based, but after all Creation has already been through…do you we really think God and Jesus are gonna mess around and prolong this limited length, width, depth, and time-based existence further?  I don’t think so.  I think when God is ready to usher in the new Reality, and bring the hammer, he’s not gonna noodle around much longer with this limited, entropy-occupied 4D universe, let alone 1000+ years.
This said, and regardless your view, or lack thereof – I think we can all agree on one thing; we’re all pretty darn excited and desiring of Christ’s inevitable Descension.