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Same Old New Year


Man so many things I have been wanting to post about, but just been so busy as usual.  It seems like every couple months I get really stoked on blogging and keep with it for a few days, and then shit comes up again and I can’t find the time to do it.  I even thought about making it my New Years resolution that I would post to my blog every day, even if it was just a quick update about shit that I did that day.  Well, 10 days into the new year, that obviously isn’t happening.  I’ll just make a list of the shit I’ve been wanting to update about, and elaborate about the ones that are interesting…

  1. I dislocated my shoulder for the first time since the surgery last feb.  I have no idea what happened, but I think after riding in the desert all last weekend with KJo I just beat it to death (even though it didn’t hurt after riding all day), and on Tuesday I was getting into the shower and just reached out with my left arm to slide back the shower curtain and it dislocated.  It hurt so god damn bad.  It was dislocated for about 2 hours, I could not get it back in and finally went out and got in the spa to try and get it back in the socket.  Usually its easier to get it back in when submerged in water so it takes all the weight off, but it still took an hour in the spa to get it back in.  Finally got it back, but it has been killing me ever since, feels like a nerve is pinched and just intense pain shooting down my arm to fingers, and the fingers on my left hand have been pretty numb.  Of course all of this happens right now when I don’t have insurance due to my recent job switch…
  2. Things at ESET are falling apart. I finally left ESET after nearly 3 years of employment.  It was a great job and probably the best way to start my career in the Information Systems field, and I definitely gained some irreplaceable experience, but things were just not working out right there.  Although in 3 years I had gained a “management” position, having 2 full time employees and multiple interns reporting to me, my official title never progressed past “Supervisor”.  Call it superficial, but I became accustomed to seeing employees with less than half of the tenure I had with the company be promoted on a regular basis, yet I never received a promotion or managerial position based on merit.  Even my supervisor title was only given to me after it being denied once, and then I had to ask for it the second time.  Other departments had managers who were younger and less experienced than I was, yet I was always told I needed to “put in my time” in order to reach the position I wanted.  This started to wear on me, as I was one of the original employees of the company, nearly 90% of employees there had less experience than myself and a few others, yet I felt like I was being passed over for no good reason.  I had reached a point where I was not learning on a daily basis, and seemed to be more in maintenance mode.  I knew at this point that it was time to see what else was out there so I could expand my horizons and see how my career could progress.  It was getting hard for me to be happy staying in an atmosphere where I saw new people being hired for positions that existing employees were denied for, for reasons that amounted to nothing but blatant lies.  After 3 years in the industry it became obvious we were grossly underpaid compared to standards (not even reaching the 5th percentile in most cases), and it really became frustrating the way that certain new employees were regarded differently from those that had shown loyalty for years.  These concerns, in addition to feeling stagnant in my career, led me to look elsewhere.
  3. I started my new job! About 3 weeks ago I started my new job at Defenseweb.  I left ESET to pursue an opportunity at a government defense contractor, and I couldn’t be happier.  I always wondered what it would be like to work somewhere that I was stoked to be at work, and now I know – its awesome!  Unlike my previous position where I was regarded by my boss as the kid he hired out of college, I am regarded as a professional with a legitimate, valued opinion in all matters.  (Tangent: At ESET I never felt like I was taken seriously, even though I was given (After asking and being denied multiple times) a supervisory position, I was never paid accordingly for it, or told that I was doing a good job at it. The fact that I went back to school to pursue my MBA and further myself in education was not appreciated, hell my boss would not even take the time to write me a letter of recommendation for my application! Not to mention a fellow employee was hired as a business analyst to help keep my projects on track, and she lied about being in school for her MBA telling blatant lies supported by our supervisor to keep everyone ignorant of their lies.) My supervisor at Dweb has faith and trust in me, proven by just the tasks and projects I have been assigned in merely 3 weeks.  I am working in project management on a Army contract using Virtual Worlds (Second Life) for interaction and communication between deployed soldiers and families.  Not only do I really love and enjoy the work that I’m doing, I can really put my organizational skills to work in the field of project management.  There are tons of additional perks to this job as well, I work a 9/80 compressed work schedule, so I get alternating Fridays off, as well as great benefits, an on-site gym and pool, and a huge kitchen stocked with red bull, sodas, water, coffee….its awesome!  Such a bright, young, and new office that reminds me of the dot-com offices of 2000.  There are many employees around this company that have been there 4-5+ years, which shows me that this company really takes care of their employees, and I can see people go the extra mile to help the company out.  A great second job and move in my career, I can’t wait to see where it takes me!
  4. I had to tell my neighbor, Model T Jim, that his friend (the original owner of my house) was dead. The other day I was working out front on my dirt bike, when I noticed an old man slowly walking up the driveway.  I said Hello and asked him if I could help him out.  He asked if Jim McFarlan was still around because he hadn’t seen him lately.  I let him know that Jim had passed away in  2006 and that I doubted he  had seen him recently.  Apparently Jim is our neighbor who used to take walks and talk with Jim McFarlane (The original owner of my house, and he built it with his own hands).  After explaining this to Jim, he started checking out the cars we are restoring, and we got on the topic of the Model T.  As awkward as it was telling old Jim that his buddy had passed away 4 years ago, we got off on a great conversation about the beauty of the Model T.  He told me all about the first T he bought when he was 15 for a grand total of $5 – pretty much the same story my grandpa told me, where him and his 2 brothers bought their first model T for $15, they each contributed $5 and were always working on it to make sure that it was running on their day to drive it.  I always look for Model T Jim when I drive down the street now, and say hi when he’s out for a walk.  A great old guy with tons of knowledge about the cars I love.
  5. Finally got Jollicloud installed on my NetBook, and WOW is it the best OS out there for netbooks! jolicloud1229183481701ft7[1] I have been waiting for a stable version of this distro to come out for quite a while, and it finally has.  This is by far the best netbook linux distro, and its based on Ubuntu.  It seems very stable, and primarily uses apps that rely on the cloud so you aren’t doing much locally.  There is some really cool twitter, gmail, and other google apps integrated that make it very quick and easy to get at the stuff I do most often.  I would definitely recommend it if you have a recent netbook – works great on my ASUS eepc:
  6. My ‘56 and Evans ‘55 are going to be featured in the March edition of World of Rods! Jason was down this weekend and did an unbelievable photo shoot. My good buddy from home, Jason Mulligan, was down a couple weeks ago, and he is the editor for Street Trucks magazine.  One of their sister publications is a hot rod magazine called World of Rods.  I’ve been joking with him for months about getting my car in a magazine, and he finally pulled some strings and got our Star Chiefs in the March edition of the World of Rods magazine.  They wanted an article about twin brothers having twin cars – ironic indeed, but it should turn out to be pretty cool – we went down to fiesta islands and took some great shots of the cars on the beach.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out, I’ll definitely have it posted up when its done.
  7. Jason also got my F-150 to be used in a tech article for Street Trucks mag, They are installed AFE intake and full cat-back exhaust system for FREE! As if the magazine deal wasn’t cool enough, Jason had a company that advertises in Street Trucks who has recently come out with a full cat back exhaust system and intake for the 2009 F150.  They wanted to do a full tech write up on the install and then dyno it and show the gains.  He was able to get my F150 to be the candidate, and its going up to AFE on Friday to have it installed and tested – for free!  I can’t wait to hear what this bad boy will sound like with the new exhaust system, and I think the intake should provide some decent performance gains.
    49-43015_400[1] 54-11622_400[1]
  8. Check out these videos of the intake and exhaust:

Pontiac Tri-Power for $125?


A guy hit me up on the HAMB and said he’s got a Pontiac Tri-Power manifold for $125.  Sounds like its a straight swap out from the stock manifold.  I could pick this thing up and bolt it on, dig up three 2-barrel Rochester carbs and enjoy a decent performance boost.  I’m wondering if that tired old mill could could handle the boost, as I’m not sure if the stock cam acould handle it.  But maybe I should just focus on getting that damn water pump replaced first?…haha

Project Hot Rod


Since his Duster was sold, Evan picked up a new project yesterday.  We went down to Chula Vista to check out a 1955 Pontiac Star Chief (one year earlier than mine).  It turned out to be in pretty rough condition, but definitely restoreable.  A lot of surface rust, but nothing major in the door panels or normal spots (like mine had!).  It ran great, new brakes, and trans shifted smooth.  This thing was last registered in 1965 and has been non-opped sitting in a field in Valley Center for the last almost 50 years.  It was picked up by these guys at a charity auction, they got it running, then decided to sell it.

CIMG3306

We got sidetracked by the opportunity to pick up a 1956 DeSoto Firedome for $2500 with the original (rebuilt!) hemi.  It was badass.  But decided against it since DeSoto/Chrysler parts can be hard to come by.  It fired right up, but needed brakes, and the DeSoto drums apparently had some proprietary tool you need to pull off the drum.  We decided against it as it would be a much harder restoration.

Anyway, the Pontiac had potential, and the original 287 eight was in good shape, so we agreed on $3000.  I bought mine for $3500 and it had much more serious rust issues, so this was a decent deal.  We paid cash, and got AAA on the horn to send a flatbed to pick up our car that had “broken down on a saturday morning drive”.  haha

Note: Don’t tell AAA that you just bought a car and it isn’t driveable.  Apparently that violates your membership as its only for roadside assistance when your car breaks down.  I was in the middle of arguing with a manager about this, when I just hung up, called back and got a new  rep on the line and said my car had broken down while driving.  Problem solved, and in 15 minutes we had it loaded up on a flatbed heading back to the ranch.

Tons of pictures here:     http://picasaweb.google.com/egrist/1955_Pontiac_StarChief#

and a few taken from camera phones:

We’ve already pulled the gas tank, cut off the exhaust, and will begin sanding and prepping for paint and body this week. Stay tuned for the fun!

On a side note, I just returned from LA as Anderson, Cam, and I went up to Baingo’s move-in party at her new pad in Marina Del Ray.  It was a hell of a night, and great to see some old friends that I don’t get to see often. Now, I’m extremely hungover, and its all I could do just to get this post up.  I’ll be posting pics from the Short Course race I went to last weekend with Electrosport soon, and some pics from this LA trip.  Good Times!

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