I felt like I was sick for about 1/2 the month. I had the flu, or some flu like symptoms for 2 weeks, plus had some serious back and leg pain, presumably from sitting upright to sleep or sleeping badly. I had my first no-work Thanksgiving in 13 years. Since our deadline day is Tuesday at work, we did not need Thursday or Friday work. I spent the weekend at my in-law's place.
The last Autocross of the year yielded another massive bout of anger. On my first run, my right front wheel hub failed in the exactly the same manner as the other wheel. My friend Alan took me a new hub and I put that on, even while Hersheypark goers were streaming in around me. Needless to say I was massively pissed off. Again the car drove home with marginal brakes, and that was the last it was driven for the year.
Sunday was a lot of fun, I bummed a lot of rides at AX, and my friend Scott was kind enough to let me co-drive his 2002 Z06 Corvette (in ASP). I had a great time in that car, and ended up winning ASP even (well I had seen the course at speed, but then again the car was new to me to drive).
I was finally going to Friday at the Track again. I was in Group 2, so thought I thought I still needed an instructor, they had me signed off and no instructor needed. I had a pretty good first heat. Second heat was going well, until, with almost no warning, the left front wheel hub sheared off in turn 6 (the slowest turn). I had to have the car towed back to my parking place, and was making calls to every auto parts store for a replacement. Thankfully, next to me the other Trans Am driver (in trailer) had a spare. On it went, and home I went at about 6 pm, with only marginal brakes.
After the Labor Day weekend, we went to the beach for a weekend after the crowds. We went to OC, MD, which was a beach we haven't gone to often. We had a nice hotel for a good price, we had a dreary Sunday but a beautiful Monday.
Finally, after months of no tenant, and waiting for banks, we got our rental house refinanced. Not as much as we hoped, all the fees suck, the bank needs a minimum reserve in the account, miscommunication with our partner of the split, bank deposits.
My axle problem finally was solved fully. I put my tiny video camera lens on the back of the wheel, on the axle, and filmed my wheel flexing dramatically under side load. Seeing this, I decided to put new axles back into the rear end. The GM stock axles were clearly visible to the naked eye to be of larger diameter than the crappy Moser axles I had installed in the spring. The new axles removed 95% of all the flex and play (I only have about 5% knockback at full cornering, compared to 95% knockback at 80% cornering ability).
The douchebags at Moser could not refund my money or help out since the "axles were used". Plus the major douchebag Kip (the VP) was so overinflated about the quality of their product he could not even concede there was a technical problem with them; despite the video evidence and my before/after resolution of the problem.
My dad turned 65 and mom had a big surprise party for him. I made a video of pictures from his life to show, it was about 18 minutes and was a lot of scans. Thankfully, Dad was totally surprised about the party.
Started with a bang in a good way. We took a long vacation to NY state. Goal #1 was to experience the Indycar Watkins Glen race on Sunday the 4th. Our 2nd goal was to get to visit Grandma Cotten for the summer. We stayed at the farm north of the lakes. We had a 1 hour drive down past the lake to get into Watkins Glen, which was scenic, calming, and included what I think is the longest straight stretch of road I've ever driven; but it was only a 2 lane country road. Thankfully I had the AC in my Honda wagon fixed the week before, since it was quite a hot and humid weekend.
Our time at Grandmas was nice and did again include a bit of manual labor (pond scum dredging). In the evening we tried to lay out and watch the stars. Out there in the country there is only a tiny bit of light pollution. You can see so many more stars there compared to Lancaster County. Too bad that I could not stand it for long, there seemed to be a plethora of mosquitos and biters compared to other years.
The race was a lot of fun. We had great seats up in the grandstands, with a nice view over a lot of the track and the front straight. On qualifying day we watched qualifying, as well as the support races from other points around the track. We got autographs, I had PT autograph my Forsythe Racing shirt, as well as Alex Tagliani. I had Will Power and Justin Wilson sign a hat that had a Champ Car logo on it.
Once back in PA, on the next morning we went to pick up our new Honda Fit. We had to drive to our credit union to pick up a check for the down payment. I requested to take a look under the chassis to see how the car was made, it's all very compact and some very unusual geometry. But Amanda was on her way and I went back to work.
At Autocross, I amost had FTD by about 1 second over the plaid CRX. Somehow I kept hitting a cone that no one could tell me which it was. But if not for the cone, I still had FTD.
Inception movie: awesome. Not as awesome as the Matrix, not as mind-bendy as ExistenZ.
We watched the LeMans 24 hour race on TV, about as much as I could stand. We had a "french picnic" in our living room. We decided we should take a trip to Le Mans next year before our lives get old or we have kids. So our planning for that started.
Ended with a bang, in a bad way. Amanda was going to take a day trip to Pittsburgh for piping. Halfway out, her car died. She got it towed to a service plaza, and the said it looked like a timing belt let go. But it was late. She stayed the night at the cheapo Holiday Inn, and the next morning had the car towed to another shop that could "work on it better". But they had no person available to fix it, the owner was in and out of the doctor's office all day. The guy's old dad was no help, and Amanda could not get a ride home nor a rental car. By 4pm she had not left nor had any work started on the car, which was just as well. She finally demanded a rental car and we decided to have the Kia towed back to Lancaster to get worked on. Amanda got a rental and was home around 8. The Kia was dropped off on Saturday morning.
The diagnose on the Kia was completely busted- spark plugs that were completely demolished, they said the valves were exploded and the cylinder bores scored. A new engine was going to be +$3600, and that was way over what I'd consider a reasonable expense to fix it. So we decided on a new car. We had been ogling Honda Fits for quite some time. Used ones were only $1000 less than new, so we went the route of new. We signed paperwork for it the day we left for our NY state trip.
My worst decision of the year: Replace my axles with Moser units. Thereafter, I had problems with brake knockback when cornering.
My buddy Alan let me drive his IT race Firebird in Autocross. It is very light and pretty quick, but needs some more tire under it. A lot of fun to strap in with a 5pt harness in a real race car.
I also went to Formula 101 and drove the open wheel cars. Those are so much fun.
Amanda and I went to the Beach for a day.
I felt like upping my game for Autocross and that meant some new hardware. I got a new LSD differential since my old on essentially didn't work- 1 wheel burnout on every corner.
Went to Philly for a concert of the Cheiftans, by train, with Amanda and her mom.
I gotta send a big THANKS to a programmer I've never even met in person. Andrew Satori has developed a fantastic framework to enable Macs to talk to SQL Databases, specifically Microsoft SQL. I'm using it at work for a handy piece of software, which without this framework just wouldn't be developed. The ODBC Kit framework is a thing of beauty and made my life easy and a lot of my coworkers very happy. Andy worked with me to hammer out some bugs in an early version, so the idiosyncrasies with the returned data could be smoothed out. He's a very very knowledgeable guy and also very generous to be able to work on this project on a donations basis. If you ever need to integrate a Mac/Cocoa app with some SQL services, you NEED this framework. You also should donate to him as well, as this kind of software gem is rare. In fact I'd say I found no other options to use that replicate what OCBC Kit does! This is the only software of its kind! Andy is the man! Thanks Andy!
I also want to point out that you'll need a good ODBC driver on your Mac to actually connect to the server. I'm using Actual Technologies driver. It's easy to install, easy to set up, and priced right for single users, small business, or larger businesses. If you have Filemaker Pro 9+ and want to connect to an SQL database, you need this driver anyways. Despite how the Filemaker documentation is worded to sound like it's ready out of the box, you need the driver to connect in the first place.
The Actual Technologies driver also works if you are using Applescript, but there is no reliable direct bridge from the driver to Applescript. I had been using a shell script command to tell a built-in unix function to get database data. The lucky folks that had their function included in OSX haven't been able to update it, or Apple hasn't updated it, I'm not sure. You call the function "odbctest" in shell and can get data (check out the man page for it first). But fields with over 500 chars get truncated and some other data is just garbled. So, if you're a pure Applescripter you might be SOL for connecting to the database. In Snow Leopard you might have more luck if you can call the ODBC Kit functions.
On a far different note, check out the movie The God Who Wasn't There. Fascinating stuff, thought provoking. Ever wondered how Christianity started?