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Erg…  Can never do anything on this site…  Ah well.


Posted by on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 in Computers


Corolla Front Struts

Warning: Don’t attempt to change your own struts unless you know what you are doing. Supposedly, these springs could kill you. There’s a lot of energy stored in these compressed springs!

My tires are cupped, and I was told I needed new struts… Well, my Corolla has more than 90,000 miles on it. I guess that seems reasonable. And so, I decided to try changing them myself. (Especially since the shop told me it would cost $800 for them to change them with their “buy 3, get one free” special.)

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Old front driver-side MacPherson strut (black)

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Front passenger-side strut removed

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New front passenger-side KYB strut installed (silver)


When you push in the piston rod, it is supposed to come back out, like the new silver strut on the bottom. The old black one on the top is obviously worn out, as it doesn’t come back out at all.

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Keep people and pets away from the strut springs and away from your jacked up car! Lucky should have been inside the house.

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Collateral damage. I don’t think I torqued those bolts to the right specs… I broke and/or deformed some of my tools in the process of tightening them. This whole process gave me much more of a workout than I had anticipated!!! I’ll need to remember to ask the tire guys to double-check those knuckle bolts for me when I get new tires…

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And here, I decided that my rear strut mounting bolts were too difficult to access… And I would pay to let someone else have fun with the rears… Plus, I was too lazy to buy replacements for the tools I broke and/or figure out what kind of tools I needed to access these bolts. (Though this would have been a great excuse to upgrade from Dad’s motley socket wrench set.)

So, I took my Corolla into a shop, and they told me it would cost $383 for labor to do the rears… And a second opinion is in order. In the meantime… Looking at this picture, maybe the rears wouldn’t be that hard to do, either… Just need the right tools… Or need to figure out a way to take that whole plastic panel off….

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Posted by on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 in Car, DIY


Nan vs. Zebra

… and Zebra wins!

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch.  San Antonio, TX.

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Posted by on Monday, June 1, 2009 in Random


StreetView Nederland


A new find!  Street view of the “home stretch” of my bike ride home when I was studying abroad in Amsterdam.  Reaching this kaas-kaas place meant I was almost home…  I wasn’t a fan of cheese then so I never went in this place; what a shame.  I did, however, do my grocery shopping at the Albert Heijn next door, parking my bright red bike along Haarlemmerstraat.

Related pages:

I took a lot of pictures in the Netherlands, but it’s incredible how being able to pan around such an “unremarkable” street brings back a flood of great memories.  I wish I could understand Dutch!  That would make navigating this site a lot easier!


Ahhh… Now THIS was home…  This red brick building on the left…  Google street views never cease to amaze me…  (Oh, and I was trying to find a Thai restaurant that I ate at my first night in Amsterdam…  Couldn’t quite find it, but didn’t try very hard.)

And… More of the Luxor in Rotterdam!


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Posted by on Saturday, April 11, 2009 in Europe, Google


Nieuwe Luxor Theater, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

As viewed in Google Earth… With the 3D buildings layer turned on!

I couldn’t quite remember where I took the Luxor picture from a blog entry I posted earlier this week, and curiosity and nostalgia got the best of me.

Ah, the Erasmus Bridge and the KPN Tower (Renzo Piano) help to situate the Luxor – and more importantly, that intersection – in my mind now!

And I remember shivering there and there and there… And getting rained on while biking across that bridge there… But oh, it was worth it.

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Posted by on Sunday, January 18, 2009 in Google, Photos


Tilt Shift Photography, Again

The small version is just too small… Higher res version here (so I can download it onto my work laptop tomorrow)…


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Posted by on Thursday, January 15, 2009 in Computers, Graphics, Photos


Tilt Shift Photography

So, what is “cheating” nowadays? PhotoFunia and TiltShiftMaker, SketchUp, and… Oh, the list goes on and on… Programs like these abound…

Testing TiltShiftMaker here with random photos from various travels…

AFTER TiltShifting:


Luxor in Rotterdam – my favorite pic of this series…



i amsterdam-tiltshift



Subway in the Netherlands


Rome. Obviously.

Oh, and yes, I DO think this is “cheating”…

BEFORE TiltShifting:



i amsterdam




Posted by on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 in Computers, Graphics, Photos