Sturgeon’s Law

Ninety Percent Of Everything Is Crap

Derived from a quote by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, who once said, “Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud. That’s because 90% of everything is crud.” Oddly, when Sturgeon’s Law is cited, the final word is almost invariably changed to ‘crap’.

Random Images

2008 Calendar2005 CalendarEnchanted CeilingAiken's 2010 Snow Day

A Decade Ago

  • 03-02-2005 No articles on this date.


Reconstituted Dinosaurs



Sonata or Miata

Hunting Aliens

  • Member since 17 Sep 2000
  • Total credit: 479,320
  • RAC: 935.08
  • Classic workunits: 5,099
  • Classic CPU time: 28,190 hours
  • Team: Miata Club
  • SETI@Home Status:


Ask Brian

Go Baby Part II

Last week I updated this blog’s NextGEN gallery software. After installation captions disappeared and thumbnails went all wonky. I downgraded to the previous revision, but the damage was done. Then I found a plugin called NextCellent Gallery that promised backwards compatibility with NextGEN. Once installed the caption issue was solved, but the thumbnails were still all wrong aspect-wise. So I have spent the last few days updating the 1,570 thumbnails in my 50 galleries.

Yesterday, in a brief respite from regenerating thumbnails, I did a couple loops of the neighborhood on rollerblades. While passing a middle-aged couple walking in the opposite direction from me, the woman smiled and said, “Go Navy!” I immediately flashed back to that moment in 2006

Almost Blogged Tonight



Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1464


Great job, Internet

It’s Alive

Back in January I piloted a Lily Ball III 30′ up into a tree in the backyard. Several weeks later while grilling on the back deck I looked up in the tree and didn’t see it anymore. It was on the ground!

It had rained pretty hard a couple days before, I bet that it must have been knocked out by the wind. I brought it inside and plugged the copter into the USB port. After dinner I found the Lily Ball’s tiny switch and turned it on. The white “head” light shone bright and the two fiber optic light strips started alternating between red and blue. Hot Dang!

I loaded up the controller with its eight double-a batteries, ran through the start up procedure, pushed the throttle forward aaaaand nothing. So I pulled out the batteries, threw the ball and the controller in the box and set it aside.

Fast forward to now. Tired of the box taunting me as I walked by it everyday, I figured it was time toss the thing out. The box could go in the recycle bin, but I doubt the plastic cage and body of the copter was recyclable. Plus the circuit board and battery probably shouldn’t end up in the land fill. The controller has got a circuit board too… I’m sure if I put in a regular opaque trash bag with a bunch of other kitchen trash no one will be the wiser.

I hate to throw it out though. Maybe I should try one more time to see it it will work. I loaded up the controller with its eight double-a batteries, ran through the start up procedure, pushed the throttle forward aaaaand it lifted off!

Lily Ball III is alive. Now I just have to not fly it into a tree again.

Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1463


na_na_na_DETAIL_grandeToday’s Blipshift shirt is another Miata design. Its a cute take on the minions from the Despicable Me movies because they always sound like they are going na na na when they laugh and it shows a minion in a first generation Miata, AKA the NA.

You only have a couple days to get in on owning one, so get out your charge card. There are now 5 Miata related designs from Blipshift, 4 of which feature the NA (all of which I own by the way) and one other featuring a 3rd gen car, the NC.

But I’m not falling for this one. Where is my car, an NB? Show me a 2nd generation Miata on a T-shirt and I’m buying a bunch of them.

A Day Early

And 4 days late.

The offset O2 sensor wrench from Harbor Freight came in the mail today. If I follow along with the USPS tracking page this tool left Los Angeles, CA and passed through Lake Havasu City, AZ, Vaughn, NM, Clarksville, AR, Graysville, AL and Atlanta, GA before arriving in Aiken, SC some 2,400 miles later. When I looked at the return address label on the padded envelope it arrived in it said; Harbor Freight, 224 Harbor Freight Rd, Dillon, SC 29536. Did it actually come from California in 7 days or did a Postal Service employee walk it the 160 miles from Dillon to my house in the same time frame?

I’m not sure just what I’m going to do with it right now. Do I mail it back to return it? Do I make a trip to Augusta to return it? Do I eat it and keep it as a backup in case the one I bought from Advanced Auto breaks when I’m trying to replace the front sensor when it inevitably fails in 6 months? Maybe I’ll give it away as a door prize at this Saturday’s MMC breakfast.

O2 Have Had A Lift

Changed out the faulty O2 sensor yesterday and it would have been munch easier if I had my very own lift in the garage, but seeing as we didn’t win the half-billion PowerBall jackpot on Wednesday…

Last Sunday I ordered the sensor and a wrench. PartsGeek shipped the sensor via the USPS from California last Monday. Harbor Freight shipped the wrench via FedEx from California last Wednesday. Friday the sensor arrived on my doorstep, the wrench was still in transit in Clarksville, Arkansas (ETA Thursday the 19th.)

Friday evening when we went out to do our weekly grocery shopping I stopped in at the Advanced Auto that was on the way to Krogers and bought an O2 sensor wrench. There were two kinds on the rack an offset wrench and a socket type, because the socket one was $11 and the offset was $14, and I’m cheap, I bought the socket style. As a side note these are the same two styles available from Harbor Freight, but the socket style from them is two dollars more than the offset wrench, so that is why I have a offset style wrench in Graysville, Alabama as of yesterday.

When we got home I went out in the garage and pulled the Miata out of the garage and pulled right back in aiming to park it towards the right side of our little one car garage to give the hydraulic jack better access to the driver’s side of the car. To get to the electrical connector inside the car for the sensor you need to remove the driver’s seat and pull back the two sections of carpet under and behind it. In preparation for Saturday I pulled out the seat, easy peazy, 4 bolts and the seatbelt electrical plug, then jacked up the side of the car as far as the jack would go to place a couple of stands under the car. I then crawled under and squirted penetrating oil on some bracket bolts and the sensor to ensure their easy removal tomorrow.

After lunch on Saturday I figured it was about time to do some actual work on the Emperor, so I started with the easy thing first, disconnecting the 4-prong electrical plug to the sensor. I flipped up the back piece of carpet, but when I tried to pry up the piece on the floor I couldn’t get it peeled back enough to get to the connector. I unsnapped the sill plate to get some slack in the carpet, but that wasn’t much help. Next step was to remove the center console so there would be more unrestricted pressure on the carpet.

Calling what lines the interior of this generation of the Miata carpet is exceedingly charitable. What it is is 1/16th of an inch thick plastic with the pliability of cardboard and a slightly fuzzy side up.

Once I got the carpet pulled back I still couldn’t see the connector. Because of this unfortunate downpour incident the 1/2 thick fiber padding that used to be under here was replaced with a nicely sealed covering of foil backed bubble insulation that needed to be carefully un-taped to gain access. Finally, there is the connector, but how does it separate? I pulled and pushed. I tried to both lift and push down on what I thought was the release tab, but it remained stubbornly joined together. I poked at both ends with a little screw driver and finally I managed to get it apart.

Now for the hard part. Crawling under the car I used the 10mm socket to remove the two brackets that keep the sensor wire in place and away from the exhaust. I twirled the wire through a spring-like contraption that further served the same purpose. All that was left to do was place my nifty O2 sensor socket on the sensor and…crap. I could get the socket on the sensor, but the PPF was in the way of putting the handle on the socket. I tried putting the short extension on it, but that was too long by an inch or so to allow the handle to get on it.

Fortunately the drive to Advanced Auto and the wait on a Saturday afternoon to exchange the socket plus three bucks for the offset wrench was short, so I was back under the Miata in about 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes later I was jacking the car down. Five minutes later the driver’s seat was in and I started it up. I ran horribly at first and I had to back it out into the driveway because of the smoke generated from burning off the penetrating oil. By the time I finished putting away the rest of the tools and swept out the garage, the Emperor had warmed up and was purring away with an unilluminated Check Engine light.

Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1463