MACarbon Seat Belt Buckle Repair

These MACarbon seat belt buckles have been a bit of a headache for me. I had to modify the covers for the two rear buckles before they would fit. A recurring warning light forced me to replace the front passenger side buckle altogether. And then the new buckle promptly “broke” apart (the two parts of the housing separated and it’s much worse where the belt is attached and there’s tension). I’m not sure if I’d buy / install these parts again.

Regardless, I’m a guy that looks for solutions. The first thing I tried was epoxy. I glued the halves back together but they came apart again shortly after transporting a  passenger. I considered a number of different options before settling on some 3M adhesive- the same stuff you might cover the exterior of your car with. I cut out a couple of sections and did some test fitting.

Originally I had just intended the fitting to be temporary but the 3M seemed to be exceptionally strong and the installation went fairly well (you can see the lines in the pictures but in real life it’s very hard to see where the film is at all).

One of the back seat belt buckles also had a case that was coming apart so I applied the 3M there as well. I suppose my next step will be to see how well the film works over the coming months (I’m worried about its ability to stick and the potential of stretching). In the meantime this appears to be a quick and elegant solution for anyone with a similar problem.

Collecting Cars: A Practical Guide

If anyone actually reads my blog you may have noticed that I have a thing for cars. Many of you might not know this, but a few years ago I made a rule for myself: One car, one truck. I’d like to unequivocally state that this has been a fantastic rule and keeps things really simple for me (thinking of you, warehouse full ‘o cars). Right now I’ve owned my truck for over four years and my car for nearly three years- that has got to be some kind of a record for me!

Now and then I still get tempted by vehicles (new & used) but I’ve found a much cheaper and space efficient method to collect cars: behold, the 1:18 scale model. I don’t have too many at this point but my collection is growing little by little. I started it off with a Turbo S Exclusive Edition and have added a few here and there:

Takumi Fujiwara’s 1986 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT Apex AE86 from the Initial D comics / TV series. I love the detail on the interior and engine bay. This is an excellent quality model.

This is the Porsche 991.2 Turbo in metallic white. It’s similar to my car but it’s the newer generation (physical differences between the 991.1 and 991.2 include the engine vents and rear lights). The quality level on this one is okay but it’s a notch down from the others and a bit slower than my 2016 991.1 😀

The McLaren 720s is a car I have seriously considered but, as with the 991.2, this seemed like a much more economical way to own one. The detail on the carbon fiber parts and interior is fantastic (although it’s worth mentioning the doors and rear hatch don’t open). The actual color is a light grey but it photographs more like an off-white.

As you can see from these pictures my iPhone 7 doesn’t take great photos (or you may be tempted to think I’m not a particularly good photographer… I would not necessarily argue). I may try and set the cars up and take some better shots with my DSLR eventually… but for now it’s just fun to pick up a “new car” for the price of a tank of gas.

Next on my list: Lamborghini Aventador!

Movies Watched in 2018

I really dropped the ball in 2018. I don’t think I even wrote down some of the movies that I watched. I know I can do better in 2019!   My goal for 2019 year is 60 movies, 1/3 in theaters! Let’s do it! 

This post covers all the movies that I have watched in 2018 (these have to be fairly current movies from this year or late last year to make the list). Newest movies are at the top. 2018 movie total: 37 movies, 21 in the theater. If anyone is curious about previous years just search “movies watched in” to find more posts.

Marry Poppins [Theater]: I definitely preferred the original, although that might just be nostalgia talking. The new one was good but I didn’t leave the theater singing any of the songs.

Crazy Rich Asians: What a life- not sure if I mean that in a positive or negative way. Certainly an interesting movie that provides an interesting window into a niche part of another culture.

The Mule [Theater]: Thew preview made this look soooo sad. But it really wasn’t that bad. A solid thriller / mystery mixture. Side note: Clint Eastwood may be old but the guy is still a badass.

Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet [Theater]: I loved the depiction of how the Internet works and the scene with the Disney Princesses was an instant classic. Solid entertainment.

Instant Family [Theater] – Loved this movie. Adoption is something that’s near and dear to me and I feel like this movie captures a lot of the right emotion. It’s a bit over engineered but not preachy.

Free Solo [Theater] – Alex is insane. There’s no other word for it. But being insane also makes you incredibly interesting. Watching Alex summit El Cap with no protective climbing gear is literally breathtaking.

The Spy Who Dumped Me: Laaaame. Also, I need to finish this.

Mission Impossible: Fallout: Tom Cruise can only give 100%. Ethan saves the day again and it’s pretty darn exciting.

The Meg- Absolutely ridiculous. To really enjoy this movie you’d have to suspend belief to a level that is simply not achievable in this reality.

Red Sparrow: Dark, exciting & well done.

Tag: Ehhh… love the idea. The movie was so-so.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: These movies just get bigger and weirder. At this point we have an heir apparent murdering his mentor and scientists so he can auction off dinosaur “weapons” to international terrorists. It’s a long way from an amusement park.

Ocean’s 8: Enjoyable. Who knew Danny had a sister?

Transformers the Movie: Brought back some serious nostalgia.

Rampage [Theater]- Are we a little Rocked-out yet? Maybe a little. Not great, but as an avid player of Rampage in my youth (on an Apple IIe, no less) I found this a nostalgia-inducing ride.

Ant Man & The Wasp [Theater] – I liked this better than the original (although, I probably don’t remember the original very well at this point). Every Marvel movie is similar but their formula works so well I’m not tired of it yet.

Pacific Rim 2- I guess this is what happens when you make a sequel no one wanted? It’s got some fun moments, but it’s just not epic like the first one.

Incredibles 2  [Theater]: Not as good as the original. Those were big shoes to fill.

Tomb Raider – This movie legitimately numbed my mind. Every single decision that Laura Croft makes is wrong. It’s seriously like she has the frontal lobe of a three year old kid. It’s a bad movie. There’s no other way to describe it.

A Quiet Place  [Theater]: Good ‘n scary.

Solo [Theater]: Why did critics bag on this? Awesome.

Dead Pool 2 [Theater]: First one was better.

Overboard [Theater]: A funny modern update. Worth a watch!

Avengers: Infinity War [Theater] – This movie was a beast. There’s so much going on here all the time that it’s fairly intense to watch.

I Feel Pretty [Theater] – Fun movie espousing the virtues of self confidence (or maybe obliviousness).

Black Panther [Theater] – Good, but not fantastic. I can absolutely appreciate the diversity here but I think it overshadowed the actual movie. Michael Jordan is a great bad guy.

Ready Player One [Theater] – Not like the book, but still pretty fun. I’ll be curious to see how my kids enjoy it (or not).

Maze Runner: Death Cure [Theater] – I can’t even pretend to understand this series. But I’m glad Dylan O’brien has healed up.

Geostorm – One day! Probably not. I like how there’s only one guy in the whole world who can fix stuff in these movies.

Annihilation [Theater] – I liked it. Wild visuals. Saw this with Fran and I think it really disturbed her.

Murder on the Orient Express [Theater] – I guessed the ending (I haven’t read the book)! Fun to watch it play out.

I completely forgot to write down what I was watching… I suppose as I get older my inclination to judge has dwindled. I think I’ll just jot down the movies I’ve seen with a few thoughts instead of trying to rate them.

The Greatest Showman [Theater] 8.5/10 – Ha! Wow. I loved this movie. I’m sure some would call the plot contrived, but I don’t really care. It pushed all my feels and the soundtrack was spectacular. Best movie of 2018 so far.

The Mountain Between Us [Home] 6.5/10 – I don’t know what it’s like to be in a plane crash and then get trapped on the side of a mountain. But I would think people would be a little more desperate. They would certainly not act like they were just going for a hike. Would they? Implausible but enjoyable enough.

American Made [Home] 8/10 – I wasn’t expecting the ending although when you deal drugs internationally I suppose that’s what happens. Another great job by Tom Cruise (why can’t this guy get the respect he deserves?).

The Hitman’s Bodyguard [Home] 7/10 – Quite a bit more thoughtful and entertaining than I expected. Ryan Reynolds always plays the same guy. And Samuel Jackson always plays the same guy. It’s weird, but here it seems to work.

Baby Driver [Home] 7/10 – I thought this started out great. But somehow toward the end it got a little silly. Maybe that was the movie’s intent, but I didn’t feel like it worked. Still, I like any movie with a car that gets driven fast.

Thor Ragnarok [Theater] – Awesome. Easily my favorite Marvel movie in years. Growing up I never felt like Thor was cool, but now he might just be my favorite.

SideShow “Shouldn’t-A-Bought” Showcase

Sideshow Toys is killing me. As a kid I loved action figures I could play with and now, as an adult, I love action figures I can’t play with. Some of the stuff they put out is just too much for me to resist. Like this Infinity Gauntlet. Seriously, who doesn’t want one of these floating around their home:

And over on the work side of things I added a few more statues from various shows, movies and games that I like: The Captain America solider (stealth version), Iron Man (Mark III), and Ken from Street Fighter II.

I’d love to say these make the office a bit more classy… but that’s not really the effect they’ve had.

I moved a couple of the Primes over to work and added the Prime 1 Studios Megatron. I hate to admit it, but I think he’s a cooler figure than the Prime 1 Optimus. In general, and despite my weird nerd junk, I feel like the office is coming along well. I need to get my art put up. I’m so happy they let me have an office. I should totally go work there sometime (maybe sooner than later).

Prime 1 Studios makes some really badass stuff. Can’t wait for their next Robotech release.

YouTube progress- 500 Subs. Progress in General?

It’s not a huge deal, but I’m finally up to 500 subscribers on my YouTube channel (actually over 600 at this point).  If I ever reach a thousand there’s a good possibility that I could become monetized again. While I didn’t make a ton of money from my channel before ($90 in three years) it still felt pretty bad when they decided I was too small to participate in the ad program.

Recently my Hue Light video gained some steam (it’s at about 128K views) and I think that drove people to my channel. In 2019 I’m going to work harder on building quality content and get my channel in a position where I can earn a few bucks again. I’m not big on the idea of being “putting myself out there,” but who knows what will happen?

Speaking of silly accomplishments: I earned Elite Plus status again at Best Buy (Hooray for over spending!). For whatever it’s worth their Best Buy credit card and reward system has really kept me coming back. Now that Amazon collects sales tax and Best Buy is willing to match Amazon’s prices I do almost all my electronics shopping at Best Buy. If you don’t care about rewards but need to buy some electronics hit me up and I’ll buy your stuff & give some cash!

Something Goes Bump in the Night (and Day). Porsche Repair

It’s been awhile since I made this adjustment, but I wanted to a second and memorialize just what I’d done. It’s probably been a year since I first noticed the bumping noise coming from behind me. It was a rapid and systematically occurring thumping sound aggravated by uneven roads. I accused the seats, seatbelts, various tools stored in the back of the car and even my imagination before I finally found the real culprit. I wedged myself into the back seat and tapped on everything until I finally discovered a piece of interior trim knocking against the car’s frame.

For context: You’re looking at the A-pillar that holds the rear right seat belt (the belt is still attached to the frame). The back window of the car is visible in the top-right.

Removing the interior trim along the right A-pillar was unpleasant. Even after I found the parts that were hitting each other I wasn’t able to determine what parts of the parts were making contact. I tried various sound deadening fixes like felt, molding tape and strong language. Eventually I hit the sweet spot and the noise was radically reduced. Zipping things back up was even more work than taking them apart but I got it done (and it was done right). One less noise in the cabin – easily the largest offender – has been eradicated! This makes me want to revisit my efforts to cap off the engine noise being pumped into the car. One day.