Sunday, April 30, 2006

From the archives: Spring Cleanup 2006

It was time again for the strange spectacle of spring cleanup. During the first week of May the city allows residents to go over the 2 garbage-can limit and I scour through the basement, dig in the garage, and generally hem and haw over whether I should keep that empty box or broken floor lamp just more year. That in itself is not so strange because I'm generally a packrat and I like to keep things "just in case." What's truly strange is the parade of vehicles that comes through our neighborhood from early in the morning to late in the evening the day before the city crews come to pick up the extra garbage.

Every spring cleanup tops the last and this year is no different. It's worse than Hallowe'en because at least on Hallowe'en the cars only come for a few hours. This year I noticed that in addition to the steady stream of cars, there was actually foot traffic: people out for a pleasant walk on a sunny Sunday afternoon, perusing the selection of unwanteds left out by friendly neighbors on the sidewalk and along the driveways. I couldn't let my kids play in our normally quiet cul-de-sac because of all the cars. As I am writing this now, I can still hear cars outside and it is well past 11:00pm! Actually, it slowed down earlier in the evening, but now it's picked up again. I guess some people like to browse in the dark.

The parade of people looking through the junk piles creates another strange phenomenon in me. I can't help be curious to see what kind of garbage other people are interested in. Well, I guess to them it's not garbage. I pretend I don't care and I go about my business. Out of the corner of my eye I try to see what they've picked up or are bending down to examine. I'm disappointed, even slightly offended, when they take something from the neighbor's garbage but fail to take any from ours. I actually complained to my wife today, "Our garbage isn't as good as the neighbor's garbage!"

I even went as far as to label our garbage: "Still Works" said the label on the Black and Decker coffemaker we had since university. "Never Used" said the label on the headlamps I bought for my 1988 Tercel when it was still new. There were a few more items that were never used including a 35mm film camera and garbage pouch car accessory. Actually a young couple who jumped out of their car to grab the baby ride-on car toy that I had labled "Recycle" was also eye-ing the garbage pouch and suddenly I wanted it back--I could use the clear plastic bags for something I thought. I was so relieved when they didn't take it. It's now sitting in my garage awaiting some sort of purpose other than what it was designed for because it's just too tacky to use in the STI.

I had also labeled a water and sand play table but no one had shown any interest in it. "Maybe I should put it back together so people can see what it looks like," I suggested to my wife. "If they see what it looks like, they'll take it for sure." Her reply was don't bother. After dinner I put out a few last things, including an umbrella stroller we no longer needed. As I was putting more cardboard into the yellow recycling bag another couple was looking at it. "It's not broken," I said. "Do you want me to show you how it works?" Luckily enough, even they recognized the absurdity of me being salesman to my own garbage and politely declined.

The next picture is so poor because the window was closed and the flash went off. What's significant about that white van is that it had a spotlight on it's roof and was filled to the brim with stuff.

I'm not sure who's more strange, the people taking advantage of this "free" garage sale and doing us the great service of recycling junk before it goes to the land fill, or me for taking pictures of them.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

2006 Subaru STI: Rally Armor pictures

Today was beautiful and I was able to see what the Rally Armor looked in the sunshine and take some more pictures.

2006 STI - 6600 km - Rally Armor

I installed Rally Armor mud flaps on the STI tonight. I had actually ordered them quite a while ago, but instead of having them shipped to Canada, I just had my dad bring them back with him on his return from Washington, DC. I couldn't wait to install them so after returning from the airport, I had a late dinner and then when down to the garage. The package from Rally Armor came with a set of four flaps and all the mounting hardware. I printed the installation instructions from their web site. The flaps are really rigid so they should hold up well. I'm looking forward to see how effective it is at keeping the sides of the car clean....

Installation was straight forward with clearance at the rear wheels being the only issue. The stubby screwdriver was too long and the socket wrench with the screwdriver adapter did not fit either. I've seen other people post the tools they used so they could do the install without removing the wheels (like a 90-degree screwdriver) but I didn't have anything like that. I even tried to use a pair of pliers to hold the screw bit--that didn't work at all. A vice grip would have been beter, but while I was digging through the clutter of my tool box I remembered that I had one of those mutli-tool Leatherman-style knives in the car. That worked out perfectly because I could turn the scew bit 90 degrees. If I hadn't had found that I would have had to remove the rear wheels.


Friday, April 21, 2006

New pictures, old camera

I've been wanting a new camera for awhile now and it seems like that it may be happening sooner rather than later because I think the one I have now is starting die. Anyway, my workshop ended early this afternoon so I took the time to go to some different locations to take pictures.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Skype. The whole world can talk for free.

I had a lot of people tell me how great Skype is, but I never got a chance to try it out until today when R32argent installed it on his computer. It's awesome! The voice clarity is really good and we were able to talk no problem. Well, you have to be careful when you talk at the same time, but it really does sound like they are right there with you. It's bizarre when you remember that you're talking to someone on the other side of the continent. The best part of it? It's all FREE!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter 2006

Something's happening to Easter and I'm not sure what to make of it. All of a sudden it seems to have taken on an aura of Christmas. My kids wrote a note, drew pictures, and left candy out (in a chocolate cookie nest that Cal made at school) for the Easter bunny. Ken gladly gave up the large chocolate egg she received from her teacher because, "The Easter bunny is going to be giving us more." Hmm....

I know I'm guilty of playing it up at Christmas, but I didn't think that it would extend into other holidays, too. The kids even recieved Littlest Pet Shop gifts (the latest craze) from Grandma and my wife. Sid presented us with a card she made at school and Cal made one for us at home. Ken, the youngest, went around and gave everyone special Easter hugs. Anyway, I'm not complaining, just a little amused. We had a wonderful brunch my wife prepared this morning and I'm looking forward to the special turkey dinner we will have tonight.

I installed Skype last night and told R32argent to do the same, so I'm waiting for his call. Also, to continue with the crazy weather, we had large hail last night that covered everything with ice and reminants of it were left behind this morning.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

White Rock Meet

Here are some of the pictures from the pre-meet in Richmond. Today was fun, although I don't know White Rock that well and when we left early to go to McDonald's for lunch I felt like we were in a foreign country.

The rest of the pictures are here: April 15 White Rock Meet pictures.

Crash Crawly's is fun!

Imagine my surprise this morning when I woke up to see SNOW on the ground--eek!!! Luckily enough, by the time we reached New Westminster the sun had started to come out and it stayed dry for the rest of the day.

After going to the Subaru meet in White Rock this morning, we headed over to Crash Crawly's for a birthday party. My ears are killing me, but at least I'm able to take advantage of their WiFi and work on the pictures I took today. That's where I'm posting this from.

Here's one picture from earlier today:

That's a really nice looking 2005 Subaru Legacy GT behind me in the George Massey Tunnel. I'll upload the rest of the pictures later.

Friday, April 14, 2006

That crazy neighbor.... is me!

I saw several of my neighbors this afternoon coming and going while I was washing the car late this afternoon. I waved as they went by and they returned the gesture. My neighbors are probably used to seeing me wash the car each week. They're probably used to seeing me spend hours doing something that only takes them 30 minutes to complete. They've seen me use hot steaming water in near freezing weather. But ever since getting the STI, they're probably thinking I've taken car washing to a whole new level. I've washed the STI in the driveway. I've washed it in the garage. I've washed it at night. And this week alone, I've washed it three times.... Today, I did it in the rain.

The reason for today's wash is the Subaru BBQ tomorrow. It's been planned for awhile and I'll be going to the pre-meet so we can head down to White Rock as a group. For me it's all about the drive, but I can't bear to go to a meet with a dirty car. If it rains tomorrow, so be it, but there's a 40% chance it won't. The odds aren't in my favor, but I guess I'm a gambling man.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

2006 STI - Oil change follow-up

I was reading the May '06 issue of Road & Track magazine today when I came upon a Technical Correspondence letter that related directly to my question about 5W-30 vs 10W-30 oil. What are the odds of that happening?! It's even about a Subaru. Maybe I should buy a lotto ticket! Here it is:
Oil Weight Quandary
I've been using Redline oil in my 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX since its original break-in period. The air temperature where I live rarely dips below freezing. I understand 5W-30 is recommended but chose 10W-30 due to its tighter viscosity range, which should mean fewer additives and less chance of lubricant breakdown under extreme conditions. The car has 60,000 trouble-free miles including eight or ten track days. Would the lighter weight oil be better for the engine?
I suspect this is probably overkill, but both oils are offered, so there must be a difference.

We'd stick with the slightly heavier weight 10W-30 for the reasons you cited. Plus, if you are track driving, the narrower viscosity range should perform better with the elevated oil temperature you're sure to get at the track, and cold-start lubrication should not suffer because you aren't subject to truly cold starts. The very thin 0W and 5W oils are relatively modern lubes aimed mainly at improving fuel economy reducing internal engine drag.

So I guess I have nothing to worry about and will probably continue to use 10W-30. My only decision will be when I make the switch to synthetic.

Another article "Your Mileage May Differ" was also a very good:
For enthusiasts, the gasoline that we put in our cars' fuel tanks is liquid entertainment. We enjoy driving and like to do it enthusiastically. But there's no reason we need to be profligate with fuel. That is, there are plenty of things we can do to enhance fuel economy without diminishing the enthusiast value of our motoring.

I've read lots of articles about saving gas, but none were applicable to the way that I drive so this one was particularly interesting and feels do-able.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

2006 STI - 5944 km - Oil and Filter Change

I went in for the STI's first oil and filter change today, just a little under the 6000 km recommended service interval. I went to Don Docksteader because just about everyone I've talked to has said they were happy with their service. The service area was very clean and professional looking and I could watch them actually working on my car which was neat. It was also very quick. My only question was that they used 10W-30 oil which is a different viscosity than what's recommended in the owner's manual. Actually, there are several viscosities listed, but 5W-30 is recommended for better fuel economy. The service agent explained that they used 10W-30 because of the climate that we are in.

On page 11-11 of my 2006 Owner's Manual it says a lower viscosity will improve fuel economy and recommends 5W-30. It also says in hot weather, higher viscosity is required to properly lubricate the engine. The diagram shows that 5W-30 is suitable for temperatures between -30 C to +40 C. I think that pretty much covers our climate since Vancouver has quite moderate temperatures. I'll monitor fuel consumption a bit more closely and who knows, maybe next time I'll have to bring in my own bottles of oil.

While I was waiting for the car I was able to pick up some official Subaru World Rally Team (SWRT) gear including a hat and a key chain that looks like a spark plug and has built in blue LED light and a pen. The hat is neat because it has an embedded hologram in the back.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

2006 Subaru STI: Seattle Photoshoot, Part 2

Here are some of the pictures I took while I was in Seattle.

I photochopped that last picture to make this my new desktop:o)....

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