Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The longest winter

I should have stayed in TX through the winter and spring, at least I would have a tan by now. The winter season in CO has been the longest I have ever known. Yet another storm with snow accumulation yesterday and today. The flowers are shot for this spring, all frozen and wilted. It is like one big cosmic joke to constantly torture me with crap weather.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Car shows - where the human race ends

I worry about the survival of the human race whenever I go to a car show.
The cars aren't the problem, they are simply tools that we built to get around. It is the people at the show that bother me. On occasion you run into a decent person or car enthusiast who has high moral standard but the vast majority I wonder if they are capable of even understanding the difference between the words "capital" and "Capital". Yet somehow they have piles of cash to spend on some of the dumbest stuff I have ever seen. I can't exclude myself, I am infected with the same disease that everyone at the show has, we dig cars. For some of these people I wonder if they have any capacity for original thinking.

So, why am I here. well...I want another trophy. yes, I could go out and buy my own from a trophy shop but that would feel wrong. I've taken a 2nd place trophy a few years ago but the show has gotten much larger since then and the number of nice cars have increased. If the category I was competing in was for English cars, I would have good odds of getting a trophy, however, I think I am lumped into the import category which has many cars. Perhaps I have a shot at the oddball trophy.

Update: My Mini took second place in the Vintage category. Hooray!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Van Runneth better

I am really glad that I made the Air/Fuel gauge to monitor how the van was responding under throttle. It was saying that I had a lean-out condition under acceleration which corresponded to the feeling of a loss of power. I tried searching for any possible air leaks/vacuum leaks which cause this type of problem but couldn't find any.

The solution was to adjust the AFR meter slightly. I found some diagrams and information about the meter on thesamba and followed their guidance on adjusting. I first tried going the way that I thought would solve my issues but after doing road testing, I had noticed that it made my van run worse. I tried going the other direction and it ran better on off throttle and acceleration conditions.
I need to reseal the top of the AFR meter but otherwise I think I have solved my acceleration issue.

Next up would be to do some sort of rebuild to get my compression and power back.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

mission to Mars

There is a group attempting to send people on a one way trip to mars in 2026.

http://mars-one.com/en/

Sadly I am too tall to go to Mars :(

Monday, April 1, 2013

3/31/2013 - Monthly Financial Breakdown

The Ninth Unemployed Monthly Financial Breakdown.
Well, another month has passed and this means I need to do a financial breakdown. This past month went well enough...Lets see how it went. How much is Van dwelling in my VW Westfalia saving or costing me?
Previous Monthly Financial post here
Now that the vacation costs are out of the way, it is back to normal for me and my budget.

If I sum up total expenses from 3/1/2012 through 3/31/2013 I get -$430 :-) A rough calculation would put my yearly expenses at $5160. I was under the 11K mark!!
Regular Food costs: -$300 or -$75 per week (normal-ish)
Fun Food Costs:  -$10 or -$2.5 per week (Ate out once)
Fuel: -$53 or -$14 per week (Not much driving, mainly the return trip from the springs)
Van: -$0 (No car projects)
Travel: -$0 or -$0 per week (Next vacation is to Yosemite in June)
Insurance: -$160  per month   (Reduced Van Insurance and health insurance)
Clothing: -$0 (Nothing new in February)
Misc: -$64 (Junkyard parts, Taxes, medical bill, mailbox mail)
Mailbox:  -$15
Gifts: -$0 (zip)

Things that were not necessary this past month: Not much, maybe the one fun food expense and the mailbox mailing and the Tax filing costs.  This brings my luxury expenses to $106 and necessary to $330 Yikes!! Without the luxury for this month, my yearly is at $3960... :)

Ok, clean out the unusual stuff and do a monthly for the rest
Regular Food and fuel: -$300
Mailbox only:  -$15
Insurance: -$160 
Clothes: -$0
Van:  -$50 (minor maintenance next month)
Fun: -$25 (very reasonable)
Yearly expense estimate with the new numbers: $6600

Estimated to be under my 11k mark again for April.

Another Unemployed month but my expenses were great. The eye exam bill came in under my estimate which was a nice surprise.
Here is the status of my dividend income:
I have a running total of yearly expenses which I base my numbers off of so if my monthly goes up my dividend income against it decreases in value.
Since I re-aligned my investment strategy I've been putting extra cash into dividend paying stocks and other investment opportunities.

 Last post it was at 47.63%. Previous Monthly Financial post here

Current level is now estimated at 41.88%

Progress is negative, My plan for April and the rest of the year is to put any spare cash that I receive into dividend stocks and trim expenses. Such slow progress and the market has not been very favorable. Currently in the red on several stocks but many are improving, I am still optimistic though. 
I recently sold two very large positions because they reduced their dividends to levels below some of my more productive stocks. I will transfer the balance into the productive ones.