Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Saga of the Horn

This is the saga of the horn.

But first, a little background.
In Indiana, that bastion of republicanism, no damn goverment can tell you what sort of motor vehicle you can and can't operate on the (*cough) communally funded roadway infastructure. If it has wheels - well, it ain't GOT to have wheels, cause nobody is checking - you can ride or drive it to your heart's content.

These liberals in Texas have inspections. Some private business-person acting as a stooge for the state has to give all your vehicles the once-over to make sure they are safe. And they do it every year. And for a motorcycle, "safe" means it has a horn. Turn signals: Nope. Head light cut-out switch: ok on an old bike. Dry rotted tires: ok in the tread, but not on the side-wall.

I ride a 45-year old triumph. It is safe. Old enough for the cut-out switch, fresh rubber and everything, but the horn don't work. Never did.

So I have 30 days from the day we moved here to get inspected and plated, and the first step is to install a horn. I found one on ebay. Vintage triumph horn; but the reserve was too high. I'm not paying through the nose just to be what the ninnies in state government call "Legal." So I found another one on ebay and bid on it, but the auction doesn't end for-EVER. I'm not patient enough for ebay, so I buy a POS horn off amazon. It works for one-wire or two-wire systems! I have a two-wire system! OK!

Enter the second big player in the story: the repop Tricon switch. This switch controls the headlight. It has a slider; one end is low-beam and the other end is high-beams. Remember about the head light cut-out switch? On such a high quality item as this, head light off is anywhere in between low-beam and high-beam. It's convenient, but not the mark of a well manufactured product.

So I wire the horn up to the switch. Cake. I go for a ride. I should mention that the Triumph is not a huge fan of the 110 degree stop and go traffic. It doesnt idle real smoothly. I have to keep manipulating the throttle to keep it from dying at particularly long lights, or at lights where it takes me three phases to get through them. So I go out riding and the horn – which works – begins to work a little too well. Like it beeps a little bit at stops. At first. Then it beeps a little bit when riding. Then it starts beeping all to hell, and rattling around in the tunnel under the tank. Then the bike dies at a stop.

I'm the guy sweating his ass off in 110 degree heat trying to kick over a stalled Triumph with a horn blaring at like 4 in the afternoon in north Austin the other day – just in case you noticed me.

So I limp home horn still beeping intermittently. I take the thing back apart and begin to investigate. Here is how that Tricon switch's horn button works. You feed it a live wire, and it will ground it out for you everytime you press the button. And all the time that the convenient attach-it-to-the-handlebar screw is used. So to get the horn in the circuit, I feed it switched power, and then return the other switched-power-plus-horn line to the Tricon to ground when I press the button, thus completing the horn circuit and delivering a beep. Great. Except that the body of the horn (also for use with a one-wire system!) is ground. So the bracket for the horn is ground. So the beep is on.

I break out my exacto knife and some cork and set about isolating the horn from ground. I also have to re-attach the horn a little better to its bracket becaue some of the intermittent beeping was caused by it grounding out against the inside of the gas tank tunnel while it was bouncing around all loose. All fixed, and I go for a ride. I get about 6 miles in and the intermittent bad-ingnition system returns fouling out the right side plug. I turn around at mile 7, and go home at top speed ~45 mph on the 65 mph interstate. This is a full-on limp home.

Conveniently, I have a full set of replacement ingnition parts. Out with the old, in with the new, and I am finally up and running again. So I go get the inspection at this awesome bike shop (plug: flashmotorbikes.com) and I am finally OFFICIALLY SAFE and ready to get legal.

Coda: It'll cost me about $600 to get all the vehicles plated. So I'll get legal later.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Job Search So Far - UPDATED Again, Again

Well, some how in my attempts to update this blog, I managed to delete all the code. Read: lost entire blog. I have recreated it with updates to the best of my ability below.

18 21 27 31

Days in Austin

11 15

Cover Letters Written

8 10 11 14

Positions Actually Applied for

3 4

Informational Interviews

3

Rejections

2

Phone Screening Interviews (one that led to an actual interview)

1 2

Actual Interviews (one done, one scheduled)

1

Informational Interview that Turned Out to be an Actual Interview

Sara

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Deep in the Heart of Texas it's...HOT

A photo posted by @seereeves on

Did you see what I did there? Heart of Texas? HOT? Get it?

I am so damn clever.

So, yeah, it is hot here in Austin. Luckily, it's just what we love. We re-acclimated to the heat quite quickly. Earlier this week, Cale and I were sitting at the kitchen table working on a puzzle (yeah, I know, insert nerd joke here), and I reached up to turn down the ceiling fan.

Cale: I was thinking it was a bit chilly in here, what is the thermostat set for?

Yeah, 77.

We've decided that 80 is a good indoor temperature. Texas heat? Bring it, we say.

Sara

P.S. Whatever my comfortability with the heat, the people out for a jog at 2 pm in 100+ weather are still crazy people. That has not changed.

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Digs



Well, we've moved again, and I have been remiss in my blogging.

Cale was accepted in to the PhD program at the University of Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs. So here we are in Austin, Texas for at least the next four years.

The lead up to the move was a little stressful for both of us. Cale was still working at IU on multiple research projects and managing all the details of the move while also adding in new responsibilities from his upcoming position with a research project in Austin. I managed the Global Business Institute this year and, starting with the early arrival of almost a third of the group, worked 100-hour weeks for four weeks ending July 19th. My last day of work was July 22. By July 30 we had all our earthly belongings in a 20-foot U-haul and the Jeep on a trailer. We hit the road for Texas on July 31.



We were lucky we even had a place to move our things to down in Austin. Cale and I had taken a house-hunting vacation back in May in the hopes of finding a rental home. We picked the dates based on advice from a real estate agent who recommended we come 30-45 days out.

Austin, you see, is a tricky housing market. You cannot find a place on your own. You need a real estate agent. Even for rentals.

Unfortunately, our original agent was full of lies and it is virtually impossible to lease a place more than two weeks out. So that trip was a total, expensive bust. At least we got a little vacationing in.

   

Instead, Cale and Jake made an emergency house-hunting and disk golf trip down to Austin two weeks before we moved. We finally signed a lease nine days before we left.

The ~16 hour straight drive to Austin takes quite a bit longer when you are in a 20-foot U-haul with a Jeep on the back. We drove 17 hours on the first day just to Sulpher Springs, Texas (and by we, I mean mostly Cale) and still had another six hours the next day to Austin. We averaged 45 mph and got about eight miles to the gallon.

We've been in Austin a week now. We're settling in. Finding the hipster brunch locations, walking to our corner bar, the usuals.

Cale will start classes near the end of the month. Hopefully, my job hunt will go quickly.

More later.

Sara