Pimped My Ride

Subaru Air Defelctor

I added an air deflector to my car today. It's that bump on top in front of the moon roof (or is it a sun roof? I always get those two mixed up).

I added it to my 2004 Subaru Forester to make things quieter.

Previously, I couldn't open the moon roof on the highway due to the roar of the wind. I also caught a bunch of sun through the moon roof whether it was opened or closed. The air deflector (part number: F541SSA00) mitigates those problems.

The instructions were a bit a challenge, so I hope this will help anyone else who wants to try installing one. These images are from the directions and from my own installation.

Step 1 -- Read the directions

Step 2 -- Clean the roof

Step 3 -- Open the moon roof

Step 4 -- Attach the metal clips to the moon roof

Attach the nuts loosely. The instructions specify two turns for a reason. If you tighten it more than than, you won't be able to hook the clips to the car in the later steps.

The deflector itself shipped covered with clingey plastic wrap. I left it on while I did the installation to minimize chances I would damage the plastic. I just pulled it back from the area where I was working.

The instruction recomend using a wrench and screwdriver to manage the nuts and bolts. They suggest a fixed size wrench. I tried using an open-end adjustable wrench but it was awkward. I ended up using a pair of vice grips. The vice grips made it easier to hold on to the nut when working at difficult angles. A regular wrench may work if you have an assistant. For a one person job, I suggest the vice grips.

Step 5 -- Position the air deflector on the roof

Just position it on the roof to get an idea of how it fits. This is good time to make sure the rubber gasket is firmly in place on the deflector and hasn't come loose in travel.

Step 6 -- Mark the edges of the air deflector on the room

I'm not sure why you do this. It's easy enough to see where the deflector goes.

Step 7 -- Lift the deflector off the roof

Step 8 -- Clean and add tape

This is wear I made a mistake. I hope it doesn't cause problems on the road.

I put the Subaru tape (Part E in the diagram) flat on the roof at the corners. I realize now when I look at the diagram more closely, it should hve covered the edge where the clips from Step 4 will actually go. The inset with the right angle explains that, but I didn't get it at the time.

Step 9 -- Remove the masking tape

Step 10 -- Place the air deflector flat and evenly on the roof

Step 11 -- Hook the clips to the metal of the roof inside the lip of the moon roof

The images in the directions are pretty poor. They don't include enough detail to show what you hook the clips too.

If you tightened the nuts too tight in step four, you won't be able to hook them in here. So loosen them.

The other challenge here is that the edge of the air deflector is flat, but the roof of the car is actually curved. It may take a bit of work to get the clips to hook on wear they need to.

Make sure the rubber gasket is flat against the roof and not curled up under the air deflector.

Fitting the clips under the metal may take some effort. Once you have the clips in place, tighten the screws and bolts.

Step 12 -- Tighten everything

Step 13 -- Now that everything is attached, make sure you did everything right.

Generally, watch out for the struts that support the small metal wind gard as the front of the open moon roof. You will often have to hold that deflector in its flat, closed position while you do the work. Also, make sure the clips are attached to the metal of the open window frame and not the various struts or other components that make up the window. Test things frequently to make sure the window still opens and closes properly.

You can find more pictures of my installation here.

The whole process took me about an hour, but that including figuring out the directions and going on line to find page 3 of the directions.

I'm pleased with how it came out. It stayed firmly attached at highway speed and didn't vibrate. I really did cut the wind noise. I suppose it may help mileage, too, but I'm not counting on that.

So I'm calling it a success.

Of course while I did the install, I was listening to the car radio and some how managed to kill my battery, but that's another story.



...to Jon and Renee, and their newest cast member:

Benjamin Richard Clarke

For some reason I expected his middle name to be Grimm.


If You See and Adult Holding a Child's Hand...

...he must be a pedophile.

At least in Virginia. And you should report him to the authorities.

That seems to be the message behind this recent ad campaign to raise awarenes.

You can read more about this campaign here.
And you can read one Blogger's view on this here.
There is also an extensive Fark discussion here.


Grammar Girl Podcasts

I recently began listening to the Grammar Girl podcasts.

During these weekly 3 to 5 minute discussions she delves into the quirks of the English language to teach people to write more clearly. You can download her tips and lessons from iTunes or directly from her website.

If you prefer to read the lessons, you can also see the transcripts at her website.


My Travel So Far

This reflects about 75% of the flights I've take so far. The older data may be more challenging to track down.




Map of the Internet

This is actually pretty cool.
More information about the map and what it means is available here:
Link found on Digg.com.

The 20 Commandments

Now, we have 10 New ones. From the Seattle Times:

Vatican's rules for the road: highway to heaven?

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican, taking a detour from its usual pronouncements on faith and morals, Tuesday issued "Ten Commandments" for motorists to promote greater traffic safety.

The commandments were part of a document, "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road," published by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the council, said at a news conference that the Vatican believed it necessary to address the pastoral needs of motorists because driving has become such a big part of contemporary life.

... More

And those 10 new Commandments are:

1: You shall not kill.

2: The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

3: Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

4: Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

5: Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

6: Charitably convince the young and not-so-young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

7: Support the families of accident victims.

8: Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

9: On the road, protect the more-vulnerable party.

10: Feel responsible toward others.


Shatner-Palooza: Art

It somehow seems fitting this should be my 500th post.

This Shatner inspired art exhibit is almost reason enough to go to Calgary.

From Canada.Com:

What a Long, Strange Trek
An album called Has Been spawned an art show and book project in which William Shatner isn't just the man of the hour--he's all that and a bowl of All-Bran.
By Shelley Arnusch


Rather, as Vangool, a graphic designer and owner/director of Uppercase Gallery, and Dresser, her writer husband, navigated the convoluted highways of northeast Ontario listening to the actor's 2004 spoken-word album Has Been, the spirit of Shatner came upon them. And they were not afraid to be inspired.

As the couple contemplated the man, the myth and the voice that filled the car, an idea began to take shape for a group exhibition of Shatner-themed works at Uppercase, where Vangool's mandate is the support and promotion of original illustration.


The more the couple absorbed the unpredictable ebb and flow of Has Been, the more interested they became in artistically exploring the multi-faceted Shatner persona-- the old man, the young hunk, the Canadian son, the Hollywood player, the noble hero, the lampooned doofus, the novelist, the visionary, the benefactor, the pitchman, et al.

The idea snowballed as it rolled back and forth between the two creative minds. By the time they returned to Calgary, Vangool was ready to hit the ground running with plans for an exhibition called The Shatner Show. In the same way that you can't contain the icon who inspired the show, the concept expanded to include a hardcover book, for which Dresser contributed the introductory essay.

... More

And just when the article couldn't get any better, Shatner himself weighed in:

"Every artist has their muse. Leonardo was inspired by the ceiling in the great chapel. Michelangelo found his art in the Italian marble. Who am I to stand in the way of all these fine artists and artisans who want to use my lumpy, aging face for inspiration? Some creators love a great sunset; some have in mind my bloodshot eyes. Nevertheless, out of awe, amusement or pity, you should come and see this unique show."


Unnecesary Comments

When you work in retail, it's important to be honest. A good sales person or retail representative does not lie to their customers.

But there are times when you probably should just keep your mouth shut.

This evening, my GF and I went the local liquor store. I ran out of Baileys about a year and a half ago, and I ran out of Jim Beam sometime over the winter. I figured it was time to replace those.

The cashier carded both of use. Then as she was bagging the bottles, she looked at me and said, "I had to card you because I carded her."

Now I am under no illusion that I look under 21. But was it really necessary to say that? Can't I just go on thinking I look under 30, which would require carding? There are some things you can leave out.

The next stop was the Ballard Safeway. While looking through the gourmet cheese case, we found a bunch of containers that were past their Use By date. By 6 weeks.

I showed the deli counter person these 6 week expired products. She apologized. There she should have stopped. Instead, she said, "I'm not surprised." She proceeded to tell us how she's been pulling expired stuff all week. Apparently, the woman who normally does that hurt her back and had been out for 10 days.

Think about how many things are wrong with that. First of all, the deli person is not surprised the cheese expired 6 weeks ago. Is is standard procedure to ignore expiration dates? Is the policy to just leave it until it sells? Exactly how much of the food there is now expired?

The idea that 6 week expired food is not a surprise means there is a serious problem with how that department is run.

Not only that, she and the store are aware there is a lot of expired products in the case. She's been pulling them all week. Here's a hint. If you keep finding bad food in a case for a week, maybe you should take a couple hours, empty it an purge it of bad items 1 by 1.

Third we now know the missing employee's medical condition. I really don't care why they aren't there. I'm more concerned with why you have 6 week expired food for sale. Further I'm sure it's some sort of company policy not to disclose the medical histories of your co workers to your customers.

Finally, the injured co-worker has been out for 10 days. The cheese expired 6 weeks ago. I'm guessing that injured back has no connection to the nasty cheese. Was it that person's job to leave all expired cheese on sale for 4.5 weeks past it's expiration date? If not, they why didn't they pull it before they went out on workers comp? Is 4.5 weeks expired good while 6 weeks expired is unacceptable. Where was this quality assurance person in May?

There was way too much detail. All I really hoped to hear was maybe an apology and an assurance the problem will be taken care of immediately. I don't need the headshots for the supporting players.

There are some things better left unsaid.


Flying the Flag

This article has an interesting discussion about what it means to fly the flag at half mast.

Half-Staff Flags Stir Meaningful Debate
By GRETCHEN PARKER The Tampa Tribune

Published: Jun 10, 2007

Historically, flying your nation's flag at half-staff meant one thing.


Even before the white flag came to signal a request for truce, lowering the national flag over a battlefield was a darker expression of hopelessness. It meant, simply, a bitter end.

Now, we lower the U.S. flag to signify a nation in mourning. In a way, it's a carryover from the old tradition. It's a symbol of death - the ultimate submission.

... More

Hockey Versus Football

If there was fight between 10 NFL players and 10 NHL players, who would win?

If the fight is on ice, the hockey players will clean up with no problem. If it's on Astroturf, the football players have a definite advantage.

So they'll fight in the snow.

The football players will do well because they're big. If they can hit hard and fast, it could be over before it really starts.

But football players are used to a competition where they run around like crazy for about a minute and then they stop to take a break. Hockey player skate quickly and continuously for a long time. If the fight goes on for a while, that type of conditioning could be a serious disadvantage to the football players.

Football players need more breaks. Hockey players are in it for the long haul.

On the other hand the football players are big.

When it comes to fighting in their sport, though, hockey players have more experience. Sure, they're not supposed to fight (wink wink) but they do quite often with few consequences. They run into each other, throw each other against the wall and toss punches at one another through out the whole game. That's what fans go to see. NFL players who fight in a game, however, face actual consequences. Hockey players have more experience brawling. They also have more experience taking a punch. And they do this with less protective equipment.

On the other hand, football players are big. Really big.

It seems like hockey players tend to be crazy. It looks like an utterly exhausting sport and getting hit with a piece of frozen rubber must be painful. Yet they keep doing it. One guy's job it to stand in front of the net and get in the way of the frozen piece of rubber being hurled at him through the chilled air. And, until the rules changed to mandate it, most players played the sport without a helmet or any sort of head protection. And in a fight, I generally give the advantage to the crazy one. Sane people ultimately are concerned about protecting themselves and fighting clean. The worst person to fight against is the one who would think nothing of eating his opponents eyes. How do you defend against that?

But have you noticed how big football players are? Seriously, they get really big.

The consensus at dinner, among the sports enthusiasts I spoke with was that the football players would probably win. After all, they're kind of big. I'm not convinced. But there is one thing we agreed on. It would be a hell of a fight.


Remember how that smoking ban was going to force all those bars and restaurants out of business?

Yeah. Not so much.

Eateries, bars doing fine after smoking ban


OLYMPIA -- Gambling declined while beer and food sales rose slightly in bars, restaurants and gambling establishments across Washington last year, the first full year under a smoking ban, state figures indicate.

Alcohol and food sales were 3.6 percent higher in 2006, compared to a 2.1 percent average annual growth rate in 2002-05. Gross income at non-tribal gambling businesses was down by 9.8 percent in 2006, according to Revenue Department figures issued Monday.

"The numbers suggest that bars and taverns may have lost some smokers but gained customers drawn to a smoke-free environment," department spokesman Mike Gowrylow said.

... More


Ever Accidentally Store You Money Data on Microsoft Servers?

Here's how to delete it.

How to remove your personal financial information from MSN Money

It's actually a pretty nice feature. If you manage your finances with MS Money, you can sych your data for free to MS website. The nice thing is you can access all your information and do all your banking from nearly any computer in the world.

But if you travel with a notebook and keep the data secured there, it's not as useful. And, while I trust MS security on things like that, I still feel the less distribution of my data, the better.

The problem with this feature is that it's easy to accidentally turn in one when you try to set up on line access for new accounts. You actually have to read the dialogue box to realize what is happening. I've turned it on twice accidentally.

And while it's easy to remove the data once you have the directions, it's challenging to find the directions. They don't come up in obvious places in the help menu -- you have to go to the MS Knowledge Base to find the process. Or at least be better at navigating help files than I am.

I don't think MS is hiding this information in some sort of deliberate, conspiratorial fashion. It probably just didn't occur to the development folks that people might not want to use the feature. Or might try it and decide against it.


How to Create News

This is the head line and lead story on the Seattle Times on 2007-06-12:

Boeing finds 787 pieces aren't quite a perfect fit
By Dominic Gates
Seattle Times aerospace reporter

On the left-hand side of the Dreamliner fuselage, a gap of 0.3 inch appeared during initial joining of the nose-and-cockpit section to the section behind it. Through the gap, the factory ceiling is visible. The photo, which appears to be an internal photo shared among program workers at Boeing and the manufacturers of the two sections, was sent anonymously to The Seattle Times.

In theory, the giant plastic sections of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner that come in from across the globe all fit perfectly for a quick snap-together assembly in Everett.

But in the real world, it turns out there can be gaps.

Photos of the final-assembly process provided anonymously to The Seattle Times show the jet's first two forward sections did not fit properly when initially joined. On one side, there was a gap wide enough to stick a finger in.


The Boeing 787 is really a game changing aircraft for the industry. It's also one of the most closely watched product development stories in history. From aircraft performance to manufacturing techniques, the 787 is simply different.

So it's not surprising the Seattle Times would jump on the this issues. Gaps in aircraft are generally really bad things. So what does this leading story mean? Does Boeing have to redo the entire design? Is the manufacturing process fundamentally flawed? Is Boeing about to go the way of Airbus and redefine New Product Debacle?

Given the prominence this story got in the paper, doe it portend thousands of layoffs?

After all, this story bumped even Paris Hilton out of the top, most important news section.

So what does this gap mean?

It turns out -- nothing.

Boeing said that within the past week the problem has been safely fixed and the gap eliminated. Company spokeswomen said the gap was a typical issue in putting an airplane together.

"The join in those pictures is now resolved," said 787 program spokeswoman Yvonne Leach. "It's not a problem now."

Her colleague, Mary Hanson, added, "It wasn't a perfect go-together the first time. There were a few challenges. We overcame them."

"In general, [Boeing's engineers] are pleased with how all the joints are going," she said.

Spirit spokeswoman Sam Marnick called the gap "a slight fit issue with the first barrel -- nothing unusual with a new program."

"Quickly resolved"

She said the matter "was quickly resolved and we learned as we moved onto the next one."


A later entry updates the issue and suggests "disconnecting some of the stanchions on the LH side and pushing/pulling on the [Spirit section] in an attempt to align it to the [Kawasaki section]."

... More


Life in the Garden Part 04: Dracaena Trunk

Dracaena Tree

My tree is about 8 feet tall now. It's the oldest houseplant in my increasingly green apartment.

I got it in 1994. My friend Trina was frantically moving out of the dorm. Or rather, her assorted relatives were busy hauling stuff down several floors into various vehicles. Trina handed me King Pelanor in between rushing relatives. King Pelanor was the only plant to from that dorm room to survive the next year.

King Pelanor was just 2.5 feet tall then. The past few years have been good to him. He's even bloomed 3 or 4 times in the past 3 years, which is pretty amazing since Dracaenas have a reputation for never blooming indoors.


But now, King Pelanor is getting a bit tall so I have to consider a few options. I'm trying to figure out how to take a cutting or propagate the tree, but I'm not sure how to do that without risking its health.

It's also starting to split at the trunk. I'm not sure if this is normal or not. The tree seems healthy. The leaves are strong and it's still getting taller. So this might be just normal growth at this point in King Pelanor's life.

Any suggestions?

Dracaena Split Trunk
Dracaena Split Trunk
Dracaena Split Trunk
Dracaena Split Trunk

Seriously -- What the Hell is Wrong with Burger King?

Seriously. What is wrong with these people? Are there no non-creepy ad agencies any more?

So now, when it's late and I'm in a strange city and driving in a rental car -- and I go to a Burger King because its the only thing open -- in addition to my patholigical fear that the "King" is going to just appear in the backseat of my Taurus and make me take his Cheeseburger, I now ALSO have to worry about getting this weird moustache hair in my second rate fries?

Some years from now, I'll be instituionalized with a Burger King Inspired Haldol addiction.

At least you can also go to PetMoustache.com and create your own creepy as hell Burger King moustache.


Amero to get New Trial

Back in January, I posted the story about Julie Amero, a substitute teacher and novice computer user who was being railroaded into a potential 40 year prison sentence by the state of CT over some pornographic images that appeared on her classroom computer.

Her conviction and sentence appeared to have more to do with a school district trying to cover up its own technological incompetence and officials determined to appear tough on pedophiles, regardless of whether or not there are any actual pedophiles involved in the case.

It looks like cooler heads have prevailed in swell of fierce push back from the Internet community and the public at large.

From the Seattle PI:

Teacher gets new trial on classroom porn

NEW LONDON, Conn. -- A judge granted a new trial Wednesday for a former substitute teacher convicted of allowing students to view pornography on a classroom computer.

Prosecutors did not oppose the defense motion for a new trial for Julie Amero, 40, who had faced up to 40 years in prison after her January conviction. Prosecutors had argued that Amero visited the sites, then failed to shield children from seeing the images.

The computer was sent to a state laboratory after the trial, and the judge said Wednesday that those findings may contradict evidence presented by the state computer expert.

"The jury may have relied, at least in part, on that faulty information," said Judge Hillary B. Strackbein, who granted the request for a new trial.

... More

Based on what I've read of this case, the prosecutor should just drop the ridiculous charges altogether. But for now, not opposing the new trial is at least a start.

How to Play Playlist Tracks in a Random (or Shuffle) Order on Your iPod

Generally, the iPod is rather intuitive. It's easy to operate and easy to set up. There is one problem I've struggled with for several months, though.

I have several large Playliststs. Three are dedicated to Christmas music. Another I call Inspirational, for lack of a better term. It's filled with music that makes me want to go out and fix the world, or at least start beating up up bad people (or demons). There are about 60 songs on that Playlist.

Now, I could listen to them in order all the time, but I would only ever hear the first ten tracks. Also, several artists appear in that play list multiple times. Unless I want to hear them in sequence, I have to manually create a different order in iTunes and then resynch my iPod. That's too much work.

All I want to do is select that Playlist and listen to those tracks in a random order. It should be easy. I should be able to press PLAY and then press RANDOM (or SHUFFLE). That's not how it works, though. Hopefully Apple will fix it so it is this simple. For, now there is a more complicated work around.

Apple does a terrible job explaining how to do it. Here is the link to their support page:


It's poorly written though, so here is how you do it.

I am assuming you have music and Playlists already on your iPod.

First, turn on your iPod.


Second, scroll down to the SETTINGS option.

iPod Screen 02

Third, click the button in the center of you scroll wheel to go to the next screen. That will take you to the SETTINGS screen. Scoll to SHUFFLE option.

iPod Screen 03

Fourth, click the button in the center of you scroll will until the word "OFF" cycles to "SONGS."

iPod Screen 04

Fifth, back out of the menu and play the Playlist you want to hear. The tracks will now play in a random order.

When you want them to play in their original order again, follow these same instructions to turn the SHUFFLE mode from SONGS to OFF.

You can do the same thing to play the tracks on an individual album in a random order. In fact, if you listen to your random order Playlist and then listen to an album without undoing these settings, those album tracks will also be randomized.

It's a bit of a pain, but it works. It just surprises me that Apple hasn't made this easier.


Bad Translation

If you're going to spend the time and effort to build and market a product for the most popular game console of the year, spend couple bucks on some college intern pursuing an English degree.
(Click for a larger version)

2007-06-03 Wii Wheel Instruction

This is my favorite line:

Please keep that no drying process by external heat equipment such as microwave oven etc.


The Wheels are Coming off in Seattle

This is just weird.

Trucks losing tires leave State Patrol at a loss
By Jennifer Sullivan

Seattle Times staff reporter

Imagine speeding down the freeway when suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a semi-truck tire hurtles toward your car.

In the past, such incidents were rare. But in recent weeks, a Bothell man has been killed and several cars have been damaged in five separate accidents involving tires coming off of semi-trucks.

"It is unusual to have an incident when you have a commercial tire come off a vehicle and hit anybody," said State Patrol spokesman Jeff Merrill. "To have five occurrences in the last month is just bizarre."


Wednesday night, an Issaquah man called 911 to report finding a large semi-truck tire on his patio.

The tire came off a semi on I-90, which is a few blocks from the man's home, bounced off the roadway and struck the roof of a nearby house — causing damage — before destroying the man's patio furniture, Merrill said.


The Internet Loves Cats

Here is the most popular picture I have on Flickr.com:

Bernie (Cat) in a box

And here is number 2:

Bernie (Cat) in a box

OF course numbers 8 through 10 are pictures of my scanner. I took the pictures so I would know how to pack it back in the box when I was done with it.

I have no idea why people find that interesting.

But the lesson is that if you want attention on Flickr, post cat pictures. Or scanner pictures. Better yet, do both.


Lois Lane on Plime.com

Lois Lane is now up to almost 1,000 views. And we've gotten some great comments.

If you haven't seen it already, you can view it here:


It's mostly safe for work. There's a little rough language.

But we'd like to spread the video even further.

You can vote the video up at Plime.com here:


If you do not have a Plime account, you can register for one here:


If you have a Digg account, you can Digg it up here:


If you do not have a log on, you can register for one here:


Thanks for all your help.


My Favorite Line from Studio 60 Tonight

"You know who isn't hard on themselves? Amateurs."