Monday, November 12, 2018

porsche love - part 1


I am enslaved to my vehicles. When you drive them as fast as you skills capable the maintenance and operating costs can become quite substantial. I try to do all maintenance and repair work myself and so far I have done quite well. The Mini has never been touched by anyone, not even warranty work by the dealer.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

cantonese congee



This is probably my fifth time making congee. I made a pot of mostly seafood congee for my ill neighbor. I simmered the rice into congee which took over 8 hours. It smelled so good that today I decided to make myself a pot too.

Friday, November 9, 2018

high altitude heater pump for brunnhilde



Often a well laid plan can be foiled by poor planning or just a lapse of judgement. Before taking the cross country trip I knew that I may need to use the diesel furnace in the high elevations at the Continental Divide. I planned ahead and ordered the high altitude pump to replace the normal sea level pump for the Eberspächer furnace, and a couple of parts that I expect I will need sooner or later.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

trailex open car trailer towed by brunnhilde - part 1


Based on Brunnhilde's towing capacity I carefully chose an open trailer to stay within the specified limits. The limits are 5000 lb max towing capacity and 500 lb max of tongue weight. Armed with this two numbers I quite quickly narrow down the offering and Trailex 8045 emerged as the uncontested winner. It is the lightest open car trailer of this usable deck size that meet my check list of requirements.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

getting the porsche to the track - part 2


Taking a car to the rack track and driving it flat out with other cars can take a heavy toll on the car's exterior, especially the paint. I had been on the fence as to should I spend a few thousand dollar for a well installed paint protection commonly referred to as clear bra. As I am fearless in tackling just about anything that I have zero experience I would finally decide that I want to give my hands and my head a try. I have no disillusion that it would be challenging and most first time DIY fail. I expect it to be as challenging as drywall or big concrete job for first time DIY without training, let alone cumulated experience.

getting the porsche to the track - part 1



It has been a very long time since I want to take the Porsche to the track. I've come to the conclusion that it is safer for it to be on the track than on public roads. Tracks are where this car belongs, and not tracking it is tragic for me, and equally, for the car.

rear view camera for brunnhilde - revision 2.0




With the 8045 Trailex trailer in tow Brunnhilde becomes a 40-foot road train. Additionally backing up to the trailer tongue requires precision driving which is impossible without a spotter. For backing up even with a spotter the task is far from easy as most people do not have the skills of how to negotiate the tow vehicle to steer the trailer into a tight spot.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

new hdtv for brunnhilde



I repurposed the 23" 1080p HDTV from Brunnhilde for home use. I have been looking for a replacement. The 22" LG opened box arrived shortly after I return home from the cross country trip. It has just about everything I looked for feature wise. It is a little lighter than the Samsung it replaced but less number of ports and without the fancy touch sensitive buttons that I hate.

cross country trip to pick up the car trailer - part 5


Arriving home and I could not wait but to put the Mini onto the trailer to check everything out.

cross country trip to pick up the car trailer - part 4


Leaving Toronto I headed in a beeline to Trailex in Ohio. It is located, you guessed it, just SW of Toronto but because of Lake Erie there is no best route to it so pick your poison. The detour to Toronto in this trip added may be a thousand miles in a 3000 mile each way cross country trip.

cross country trip to pick up the car trailer - part 3



Finally I made it to Toronto. Naturally for someone in Portland is to catch up with the much better Chinese food there as here the best are one that I make. Still the world is in constant change and quality and selection of food is no exception. Even in TO, bad Chinese food is aplenty and buyers aware. In truth, of the countless restaurants we went only two that I feel is worthy especially in a metropolitan that has the choosiest of Chinese cuisines.

cross country trip to pick up the car trailer - part 2



Each trip I return to Toronto I revisit my college to take stock of the changes, and to reminisce the college life. I happened upon the university's open house day of sort for prospect freshmen as well as future freshmen.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

cross country trip to pick up the car trailer - part 1




There was no room for error to prepare Brunnhilde for a cross country trip to pick up the Trailex open car trailer. I planned my trip to also visit my family in Toronto.

mini love - part 46




This was the second time I remove the supercharger from Desire for inspection. Last time I remove it the power take off gear housing as bone dry without oil. Surprisingly the gears showed no sign of premature wear. I fill up the SC with GM SC oil and had since driven on track many times. To my surprise somewhat, the high pitch noise did not subside with the replenished lubricant. Fearing the PTO housing seal may be leaking and all the oil got sucked into the SC compressor housing I remove the SC for the second time to investigate.

Friday, November 2, 2018

trailer prep of brunnhilde - part 6



This is one of many catch up posts, so it is foto heavy with little text. The fotos should tell most of the the story. This post pretty well wrap up the trailer preparation of the brake system for the open car Trailex tailer that I would pick up in Ohio in late August.

trailer prep of brunnhilde - part 5

As a part of preparing for a Trailex open car trailer I had to install an electric trailer brake controller. As Mercedes Benz didn't provide the wire for the trailer electric brake I needed to retrofit a wire with adequate current carrying capacity all the way from the cockpit to the trailer hitch connector. I wanted to retain the existing connector. This requires finding the right crimp contact for this Delphi type connector that is a part of the interconnect between the harness and the trailer connector.

energy bank for brunnhilde - part 1


I have not post for months and have a lot of catch up posts to write. I have hundreds of photos that I want blog posts to document them, for posterity.

The coach batteries in Brunnhilde has been losing capacities steadily noticeably since a couple of years ago. Recently they have gotten to the point of threatening the ability to support the DC refrigerator during an overnight stop transiting interstate highways in a trip to Iowa to pick up the open car trailer. It happen after I used the audio system quite loud for hours and then went to sleep. I estimate that must used up extra 25 Ah of energy. When I woke up I noticed the voltage had drop below 12.0 V.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

mini at HPDE - part 3




Mini has been a victim of prejudice at HPDE events. The corner workers are the nicest people but best people makes mistake too. They are so accustomed to seeing slow Mini's that when they see a high power car somewhat near the tail of Desire they tend to give us the give-point-by flag. This happen countless times this Friday. Also when Desire was short of climbing up the arse of the higher power car ahead, one corner worker consistently not give flag to that car that have been holding us back in turns leading up to the straight.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

mini at HPDE - part 2




I took Mini to PIR this past week partaking HPDE for 2 days. These are four videos taken that day on all four 20-minute sessions.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

bbc proms 2018 is now on



BBC Proms is back for 2018 for this years 2-month long performances. Here in the US we are lucky to have the excellent Symphony Cast that we can stream on demand on some selected performance. Symphony Cast has been my favorite classical music for its coverage of performance from all over the world, and more so the diverse works that often include the lesser known.

Monday, August 13, 2018

mini love - part 44






This is actually a draft that I started from over 4 months ago. 4 months is a very long time with the Mini. I actually have been posting on a Mini forum in the last few months instead of my blog. I want to have everything on my blog as I don't trust the longevity of forums given how the world has gone "social".

Sunday, August 12, 2018

trailer prep of brunnhilde - part 4



To prepare for the new car trailer I went and found my one and only trailer ball hitch that I bought very long ago. I was hoping that I can use it without buying a new one. For my use up to now the height of the trailer hitch is not as critical unless I am hauling very heavy payload like gravel or asphalt roofing. But when you are towing a car and that the payload approaching the limits of the tow weight as well as the tongue weight of Brunnhilde you want to specify just the right ball hitch.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

brunnhilde's air conditioner broke down


In German the title may read "Brunnhilde Klimaanlage ist kaputt". LOL It is like the one for our planet that is now funktioniert nicht.

Since I installed the Coleman Mach 8 cub in Brunnhilde a few years ago I only used it rarely. Yesterday with the heat spell I let the air conditioning ran most of the day unattended as a shakeout test. It was hot sunny day which ambient was near 90F. All was well but by the late afternoon when the van was in the shade I went and checked. To my surprise the AC stopped. My immediately thought is may be the evaporator got too cold and froze, and overloaded the compressor leading to tripping of a overload device somewhere; or worst burnt up the compressor.

mini at HPDE


Of over 30 days of summer heat and 10 consecutive of 90+ F days, today is the first cool day, which happen to be a full burrito day at PIR that I signed up over a month ago. Only 2 R53 Mini's. It was overcast all day starting at circa 65F with very light drizzle. The day never exceed 70F but I managed to boil Motul 600 again. I am going to put in the SS caliper pistons.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

how I like this series

I added to my watch list, Babylon Berlin the day Netflix started streaming it. I sampled a short (a couple of minutes) segment in a later episode then to determine if I want to watch it at all. I was immediately attracted to the time period and subject matter, and I knew I would want to watch it in the original language. I have not started watching it until now because watching in German takes effort as well as attention. I started watching it last night, and I have to say, it is one of the best TV series in recent decade. I will put it right up there with Endeavour, Game of Thrones, Westworld, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood, and The Sopranos.

Zu Asche, Zu Staub is so striking, catchy, and haunting (in season 1 ep 2)


Monday, July 23, 2018

trailer prep of brunnhilde - part 3


In the previous post I couldn't finish the electrical wiring of the trailer brake controller. While I safely powered it up and did some simple tests I used a temporary blade type fuse. I didn't have the self-resetting breaker at the time to finish the wiring.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

trailer prep of brunnhilde - part 2



This is a follow on post to "trailer prep of brunnhilde". Installing a trailer brake controller as well as retrofitting the electric brake wiring from the cockpit to the 7-pin trailer turns out to be an involving project. I didn't want to do a hack job so it is like as if I was designing this aspect of the James Cook trailer prep design and execution. Tens of hours has gone into this.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

pan seared mahi mahi



For me one of the easiest ways to prepare fish is to sear it in a cast iron skillet. Mahi mahi steak is one. It can get quite dry so I devised a rich and savory sauce to help it along.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

trailer prep of brunnhilde



I want to tow a car trailer with Brunnhilde. Driving a car on the track it can become not road worthy as anything can happen. I don't feel comfortable exploring distant tracks until I acquire a trailer. For the heavily laden Sprinter T1N I searched for the lightest aluminum open trailer with tandem axles for security/redundancy as well as low tongue weight. My research resulted in the Trailex 8045EB.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

mini love - part 43



I waited for the winter to be over to install the Wilwood big brake kit for the front wheels on the Mini. Last summer I wanted to try out the stock brake as a baseline driving on tracks. I wanted to experience each step of change, from all stock brake, then to racing front brake pads with the stock calipers. I also wanted to use up the stock brake so I feel better they are not going to waste.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

formula 1 technologies

I was searching for manual gearbox articles concerning dog box and sequential gearbox. I came across this excellent article about F1 sequential gearbox on this site called Technical F1 Dictionary. It has the most in depth, but easy to understand, coverage of all technical things Formula 1. I could not stop reading them.

Just one simple example. I had tried to find out more about MGU-H and most sites just fall flat with a bit of hand waving. Here is the link to his excellent article on the entire new F1 Power Unit. Gone are the ICE which once was the sole power unit. It is now a system including the ICE.

just this single photo of MGH-H answers just about all my questions of how it recovers the so-called heat energy; it is quite misleading for a applied science major as it is really more kinetic than thermal (H)


I had on and off visited other sites of this nature but all fall very far short. This truly is a gem. A lot of fascinating reading for weeks to come.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

home made char siu 叉燒 pizza - part 3






I didn't know about San Marzano tomatoes until I bought this can of Italian can tomatoes at Trader Joe's. Up until now I have been using domestic canned plum tomatoes also bought at Trader Joe's. I thought I would give the pricey Italian one a try.

isolde's motor mounts

I was so sure that the motor mounts in Isolde has deteriorated badly after 28 years. A lot of chain tire shops now refuse to mount and balance your tires if they are over 10 years old which I think is another notch up with their scams. I have been told rubber will continue to vulcanize after the product is made, and soon they lose the flexibility. My experience with tires and rubber molding is the sun is their biggest enemy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

mini love - part 42

I didn't wrap up the installation of the long shifter in the same day as I only worked on it a few hours in taking advantage of the afternoon sun. I didn't want to rush the job only to realize I have done something wrong after buttoning up the undercarriage. I also took the opportunity to study the stock exhaust header for a place to mount a bung for a wide band oxygen sensor - which I resigned was not possible. I also paid special attention for a location to bring the harness for the wide band sensor from the cockpit down to the exhaust header.

mini love - part 41



I took many photos of the shifter so one can see the details where the vendor's site is very lacking.

Monday, March 19, 2018

mini love - part 40

I have been on the fence a long time considering getting a purpose-built short shifter for the Mini.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

mini love - part 39

testing, testing, testing Mac OS's asinine dumb down finder and UI which I cannot find where my shits are.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

my spicy chicken wings


I don't use recipes nor do I like to create recipes. My cooking is all about intuitions and my life's experiences and history. Whenever I travel, I seldom fail to bring back something that inspires me which adds to my experience.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

automotive paint protection - thinking of the unthinkable


I have not invest (spend) in getting paint protection for my Porsche GT4. It is unthinkable for most owners of this car. I am just not crazy about the idea of paying someone a couple of thousand of dollars to put these film on.

taiwanese cabbage

I only found this Taiwanese Cabbage very recently. This is not necessary Taiwanese as you will find them in Asia. Instead of ball shape like the common cabbage this is more flatten. I initially didn't give them much thought. Only one day I became curious and bought one to try. I was smitten by how delicious it is. It is very crunchy when cooked just right, and goes well with just about anything, or just stir fried alone. I cannot image that I would ever buy common cabbage again given the choice.

Friday, February 16, 2018

bountiful of dungeness crabs


There has been many years now that the harvest of Dungeness crabs has not been good. The prices had been high and the crabs were small. This year the harvest season also have it share of difficulties, but finally for the first time in many years, the price is much better especially if you go buy live ones from Asian fish mongers.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

new display monitor - part 4


I must have fallen over the deep end. Today I actually made some effort to tidy up the multitude of cables for the two monitors by feeding them through the monitor arms. I even bothered to connect up the USB hub that is integrated into the monitor. I only did it for the left hand side monitor as it has two ports on the side that is not obstructed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

new display monitor - part 3


I could not contain my happiness looking forward to UPS delivery of the pre-owned monitor arm that I bought from eBay. I found one at a price that I could not refuse. While I would prefer the color to be white this one is silver. The truth is the color does not matter much as one cannot see the monitor arm unless you go to the back of the desk.

Friday, February 9, 2018

porsche gt4 foto album - part 2


I have decided it is time to increase the size of the photos in the blog. Here are some photos that I did a better job in post-processing, mostly just cropping. The sizes are still limited by Blogger allows. I infer the maximum horizontal resolution is 1600 pixels. Must better than 99 % of images on the web.

new display monitor - part 2



Last year I upgraded one of my 24-inch Dell IPS monitors to a newer model with LED backlight, as one had a problem with the DVI interface. I purchased a Dell U2412M. It is a 1920x1200 monitor that Dell sells to enterprise and governments, not the typical 1920x1080 consumer monitors. While it is no where the resolution of the 5k display of the 5k iMac, it is the best value.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

poached black cod with fried gluten


I suddenly has this idea to poach cod at low heat. The reason I have this idea is cod meat is firm and easy to handled raw, but easily falls into pieces while cooking. By poaching it at low heat I can better control in having it cook just right, which can be hard especially if the meat is thick from a big fish.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

porsche 991.2 gt3 vs 981 gt4


It is a dumb post, I know. As most Porsche owners would know the rave of current Porsche GT cars is the 991.2 GT3 for it incredible performance. It should be for the price tag. I want to see how does the GT4 stacks up against the bigger brother GT3 in appearance.

mini love - part 38


I have been busy researching ignition products for the Mini. I navigated NGK's website and gathered these screen shots. As most often I found Japanese automotive company web sites stuck in the 20th century. I am glad to find these. For now this post is work in progress that serves to host the images I collected.


Monday, January 22, 2018

a stir fry of sour mustard green with pork - 鹹菜炒豬肉


I was disappointed with the store bought sour mustard green only a few days ago making a similar dish with beef. Disappointment is an understatement. Instead of simple sour mustard green that should only be processed with salt and vinegar it had over-the-top amount of MSG added. The vinegar is of the chemical process instead real food vinegar (yes, I can taste it). I decided to take matter into my own hands, as always - try making the sour mustard green at home.

Monday, January 15, 2018

a stir fry of sour mustard green with beef - 鹹菜炒牛肉

There are countless preserved vegetable in China. Some can be very difficult to find in the West. Some are simply non-existent there. One very common preserved vegetable is this sour mustard green. I think it is made in a very similar process as sauerkraut that the process is fermentation.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

dishes with asian flowering chive


I used to be not too keen on this Asian flowering chives. I felt they are too sweet, but recently it grew on me because of their garlic sharpness. Being sweet they are not like dishes prepared with excessive man made sugar. Their sweetness is like onion sweetness. I came across some very good batch and I bought them a few times. Calling them flowering chives is a bit of a stretch. They have the flower buds but you wouldn't want them if the buds begin to open.