Home, Moved & Settled In.

Anyone who has ever moved knows it can take forever to settle in. It’s easy enough to deposit your junk in a new location but finding the right spot for it and creating a good feeling in your new environment can be challenging. Ever since I moved my car back home I’ve been working on getting things in my new location organized. I think I’ve finally done it and consider myself settled.

I spent this past weekend sorting tools, separating cleaning supplies and car parts, adjusting shelves and shifting stuff around until it fit just right.  I was able to put my old set of tires on the storage rack above the back shelf (I don’t swap tires often so it works pretty well). The back shelf turned out really well and I’ve got the shelves organized by car fluids, cleaning supplies and jacks. My side shelf is organized by tools, books and car parts. I crammed in a Sony Stereo & a fan too.  I even hung my old license plates on the wall (yeah, for real). 

I’m really happy with the results. In fact our whole garage is pretty organized these days. Maybe it seems silly, but it brings me a great deal of satisfaction that we can actually fit three cars into our three car garage. I’m often shocked when I drive by houses and see the second or  third car garage crammed with junk (or worse stuff spilling out from every garage). If you have that much stuff get rid of some or get a storage unit. I’ve always felt the garage is just another room in the house and should be kept neat & clean.

Anyway, now I’m home, moved and settled in. Feels good! Now we just have to finish settling into our house…

Posted by Cam, September 10, 2011

Wax On, Wax Off (How to Prepare & Wax Your Car)

The other day I decided to really clean my car’s exterior. I gave it a quick wash and did a thorough inspection of the body to look for scratches, bonded containments and stains. There were actually quite a few, so I decided to make a quick pit stop at AutoZone. I generally use supplies from a company called Meguiar’s and overall I’m really pleased with their cleaning products (no one has paid me to say this- I wish!). Here’s what I used for my project:

1. Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Clay
2. Meguiar’s Quick Detailer spray
3. Meguiar’s Scratch X 

4. Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax
5. Lots of microfiber towels! You can use cotton terry cloth if you want too, but I don’t care for it personally.
The last picture in the sequence below is actually a reflection. I took the picture with my iPhone pointed and the car to show the finished results. Just for the sake of science I also took pictures in the reflection of my freshly waxed black truck (very little prep work and a different wax though).  No comparison; the rich glossiness of my Vette is unreal.

For the car wash I just go to the local Pay ‘n Spray (that’s not what it’s actually called) and I use their water & soap. I don’t feel like I need to spend big bucks to spray off the road dirt. After the rinse I toweled  off my car and got to work.

I scoured the car for light scratches, stains (bird poop is nasty stuff- it can leave residue that will not wash off), and scuffing. Scratch-X is perfect for this kind of light damage. Just put a bit on the affected spot and buff away.

After the Scratch-X I moved on to the clay. You need to make sure the area you’re working on is lightly lubricated. I sprayed on some Quick Detailer and then rubbed the clay over the misted areas. Clay is cool stuff- it will actually pull out any little particles that have bonded to your car (the stuff that washing won’t get rid of). People may not realize it, but the surface of your car should be perfectly smooth to the touch. If there are any tiny little bumps or any kind of grittiness to your finish the clay will remove them.

After the clay it was time to wax. I like to wax my car by hand and listed to music- I find it very therapeutic.  This was my first time using liquid wax and I thought it was pretty convenient and it applied easily. What I really like about Ultimate Liquid Wax is that it rubs on nearly clear (in other words, it didn’t leave that yellow goo in the cracks of my car). When I went to polish off the wax I got a shock- it took a lot of extra effort beyond what I’m used to. I had to buff it hard in order to get maximum consistency and gloss. Taking it off was more work than putting it on!

But the finished results were well worth it. Proper preparation is essential to achieve the best results.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen my car look this good. But now I have to detail the wheels, engine bay and interior! It must be love.

Posted by Cam, September 10, 2011


The Wait is Over: Apple PowerBook 520C

This is pretty much the coolest thing ever: A fully functional vintage 1994 Apple Powerbook 520C. And it’s mine. All mine!

I have always loved laptops. When I was a kid I’d force my parents to take me to the bookstore where I would buy a copy of “Computer Shopper.” One day in the early 90’s while reading the magazine I came across the first Dell color laptop. I knew (knew) that a color laptop was in my future.

Around this time we inherited a Macintosh IIx from my Uncle. I loved that Mac. The interface was simple (remember, people were still using DOS back then), there were awesome games (Prince of Persia) and productivity software (Claris Works). I was totally hooked.

Fast forward maybe a year. Apple released their new laptop line- the 500 series. A Macintosh color laptop- it was my destiny. I bought up every magazine with a review of the 500 series I could find (I actually still have one- you can read the article if you’d like). There were four models: 520, 520C, 540 and 540C. The “C” was for “color” so I knew it had to be one of those two.

The 520C had a dual scan passive matrix screen and the 540C had an active matrix screen. I’d read enough to know that the active matrix screen would be substantially better than any passive matrix counterpart. The 540C also had a faster processor. But the 520C was nearly $1500 cheaper than the 540C and so I decided I’d have to settle for the lower end model. I made many trips to the BYU bookstore to handle the Apple laptops and “test” their trackpads (although standard now, these were a big deal back then).

But my destiny would have to wait. I schemed, plotted and planned but, as a teenager, I simply had no access to the $3000 I’d need to procure the 520C. The model was discontinued in 1995 and a few years later I bought my first color “PC” laptop from a now defunct company called ProGen (side note- I have always used a laptop since). But I never forgot about that 520C…

Years passed and I finally decided it was time to buy the Apple Powerbook that haunted my dreams. I scoured eBay looking for the perfect model. I scoured… and I waited. Years passed. And then I found it. A 520C in good functional condition with all the user manuals and even the installation disks! I knew it was going to be mine.

I placed my bid for $20 and waited for the onslaught of other bidders. But they never came. I scored this beauty for $20 (I’ve seen broken models go for more). Sure I had to wait 17 years, but I saved $2980! Destiny fulfilled.

It finally arrived a few days ago. It was in surprisingly good shape given how old it is. I gave the exterior a good cleaning and then sat down to turn it on. As the screen lit up nostalgia consumed me. It was just like I remembered. The eBay listing had noted the trackpad was finicky, but it worked perfectly. I browsed around the 520C, cleaned up the desktop a bit and discovered a copy of Claris Works was installed! I made sure the disk drive worked and then ordered an 8 megabyte RAM upgrade ($10) and a couple of games that I had enjoyed on the Mac IIx when I was younger (Scrabble & Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego). I am stoked!

So that’s my story about the Apple Powerbook 520C. I’m delighted that I finally have one. Sure I bought it to satisfy some unresolved emotions, but the weirdest part is that I’ll probably use it frequently. So, one last thing: Who else? Who else has bought something they missed out on when they were younger? I’d love to hear some more stories.

Update: I upped the RAM on my 520C to 12 MB (my current laptop has 8 GB… kind of blows my mind). I also installed Scrabble and played it for a bit (lost). Can’t wait for Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego to get here.  I’m also looking for a good copy of Sim City 2000. This is living.

Posted by Cam, September 10, 2011