#73 The Happy New Year Post

Good Morning!

I think I’ve waited long enough to make my first post of the new year.

It might be a bit late, but happy new year anyways! I’m hoping that your 2020 is off to a great start.

This post really isn’t supposed to be about new beginnings, but as the first blog post of the year, I guess it can be.

If you think about it, the starting of a new year really doesn’t change the passage of time, but what it does give us is a marker for the beginning and the end of a large snapshot of time. A measure of time that we can use to our advantage.

It’s a significant measure of time that is important to a lot of us.

It’s important to a lot of us because we set goals for ourselves that we’d like to achieve by the end of the year.

Some of those goals are met, while others are not.

I do this myself every single year. While some of the goals were realistic and reachable within a year, some were simply not.

I don’t treat these unmet yearly goals as failures, I use these unmet goals as a measure of how realistic I was in my predictions, a measure of how much effort I put into each of those goals, a measure of how important of each of those goals were, and as a tool to reevaluate each goal on their own.

Some goals just take a longer to achieve than others or maybe they were just started later in the year.

You don’t have to wait until January to set new goal yourself, you can do it any time you want and give yourself any length of time you want to achieve it.

The most important part about setting goals and resolutions for yourself every January is taking action. Taking the first step towards reaching your goals is the most important and crucial step.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

#72 Let’s Get Excited About The Future Of Technology

Good Morning!

I had to share this awesome podcast episode with you.

I watched a Rogan podcast earlier this year with Lex Fridman.  He’s a professor at MIT, where he lectures on deep learning, artificial intelligence, and programming with respect to self driving vehicles and other technologies.

I’ve been listening and watching his “Artificial Intelligence (AI) Podcast” on a regular basis lately; I find the subject of deep learning fascinating. Check out his Channel here.

The podcast episode that I want to share with you is called “Michio Kaku: Future of Humans, Aliens, Space Travel & Physics”. Check it out here.

I think I’ve watched and listened to this podcast episode 3 or 4 times now.  I’m a huge geek and I love to nerd out on this subject.

I love these types of conversations: two brilliant people talking about all the technology and the seemingly sci-fi stuff that’s being researched right now that probably won’t be sci-fi in the not too distant future.

It’s kinda crazy how fast technology is progressing, what people are getting funding to study, and what the billionaires of the world are doing just because they want to literally push the envelope for the betterment of everyone.

Man, this stuff is exciting!

Here’s the link again in case you missed it.

Like the old saying says: “It’s a great time to be alive”. It’s been said so many times throughout history and I believe that now is certainly one of those times.

Grab the drink of your choice, get comfy and listen to these two dudes talk about an awesome and exciting future.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

#71 Fun with Fusion 360

Good Morning!

I recently moved back to my hometown where I am currently garageless. 

Eh… it’s no so bad really, but because I can’t keep my idle hands busy with welding and fabrication projects like I normally do, I’ve had to turn to my old friend 3D modelling and drafting to fill the void.

If you didn’t know, studied architecture in college and was a draftsman for about 10 years afterwards.  I worked for a gauge and fixture company for a few years and then a structural steel contractor for the rest. 

I never really stopped using various CAD programs.  Whenever I needed to visualize, plan, or design something, I usually use a program like SketchUp that’s quick, but lately I’ve been spending my time with Fusion 360.

If you’ve never herd of it, Fusion 360 is a CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) program that is used to design and fabricate pretty much anything.

After playing around with the program for awhile I decided to take it a bit more seriously. I dove into the tutorials in the learning centre on Autodesk’s website. Fusion 360 sure has some powerful features and some amazing tools. 

There are some really cool things that this program does that other CAD programs I’ve used in the past don’t, like surfacing a solid!

After using the program for awhile now, I have to say it’s pretty rad!

Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been working on.

I drew most of these projects to get more experience using the program to familiarize myself with how the new Autodesk programs work and feel and also to explore parametric modelling further.

Some of these do have practical applications, which is the whole idea of using the program in the first place. It’s a great tool to have in the tool box, or rather it’s a great tool box full of tools to be able to use.

I often live stream my Fusion 360 sessions. If you want to check it out, I usually stream Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 7pm-10pm EST and sometimes Sundays too, live on twitch. Check it out here.

I’m always looking for new projects to work on, so if you need something designed, a pattern made up for laser cutting, tool paths for cnc generated, leave a comment, send me a message or email.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

#70 The Battle For Nachos: Salsa vs Salsa Con Queso

Good Morning!

Let me preface by saying that Salsa and Salsa Con Queso are both awesome, but if I had to choose only one for the rest of time, I’m going to have to choose plain ol’salsa.

The reason I went with salsa until the end of time is because of nachos.

It’s hard to believe that there is any food that the amazing cheesy salsa doesn’t taste good with let alone one that is so closely paired with the wonderful tortilla chip.

So here’s what I’m talking about:

You make plate of nachos layered a mile high with your favorite choice of meats and cheeses along with other nacho toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, guac…

Oh guac, I love you….

Ahem. Back to the nachos.

…the sour cream, and olives, and peppers, and everything else your little heart desires.

And finally comes one of the hardest decisions of your life: What gets put on top of the beautiful, dare I say perfect, mountainous tortilla creation you’ve just concocted?

What will be the dollopous finale to the best work you’ve ever done in the kitchen on Mexican food night?

How will you remember this meal forever?

Like Gman says: “Time to choose”.

I’ve had this nachos dilemma.

Starring at each jar back and forth, each in turn, over and over.

But I have to choose the salsa because queso overtakes the other flavours and textures and I don’t think nachos are nachos without the salsa.

My ideal plate of nachos needs to be balanced with just the right amount of everything.

I need to keep it from becoming too cheesy, otherwise it’s just tortilla chips and cheese with a bunch of other things that don’t need to be there.

Nachos, you see, are far too important.

And it’s for this reason, I must choose the salsa.

Leave me a comment. What will you choose and why?

Thanks for reading and have a good day!

P.S. I’d like to thank Jeremy Schryer for introducing me to the experience of nachos I’ve come to know and love way back in 1998 at U-Betcha Tap & Grill; The Hideout in LaSalle, Ontario for having a really great plate of nachos; and lastly, Tostitos: Keep up the good work.

P.P.S. As I’ve been editing this article about my inner battle of choosing salsa or queso for a plate full of nachos, I’ve come to realize that my ridged idea of nachos can and should evolve with time and thus can be arranged on the plate in a more adventurous way. Perhaps even more than one plate of nachos can be made at the same time? It could be a nacho party. I’m now craving nachos…

P.P.P.S. Now as far as the decision between tortilla chips and queso or tortilla chips and salsa…Queso all the way.

#69 Don’t Be Lazy

Good Morning!

Just about every time I want to do just sit down on the couch or hop into bed to relax or de-stress, there is always a couple things that I forgot to do or put off right until the end of the day.

For example, last night while I was walking into the bedroom to get ready to hop into bed, I remembered that I forgot to move my car from the street to the driveway and put the garbage out for the following morning.

Of course I remember this is after I’ve locked up and shut down the house for the night.

Continue reading “#69 Don’t Be Lazy”

#68 No Regrets In Understanding

Good Morning!

Earlier this year I started writing on a frequent basis in an attempt to quiet my mind organize all of the thoughts rolling around upstairs and their meanings.

Not only to find meaning, but to find a practical sense of direction and purpose in life.

This is essentially how I decided to deal with the proverbial mid-life extensional crisis that most, if not all of us will go through at some point.

I added writing and meditation and meaningful conversations with family, friends, and colleagues along with diet, moving my body daily, and above all: rest, to my daily regimen.

Just allowing myself to get the sleep I needed and to wake up each morning without an alarm proved to be one of the best things I could do for my wellbeing.

I seem to remember through my whole life I’ve always struggled how much rest I needed and the quantity changing from day to day.

Not getting enough rest all stems from working too much after already working too much, burning the candle at both ends and not having a “work/life balance” as if there were actually such a thing.

I chose the honor of hard work early on. I shouldn’t look back at that decision with scorn and regret, but I did.

Continue reading “#68 No Regrets In Understanding”

#67 What Size Wire

Good Morning!

I got a question a couple days ago: “If I’m moving my battery to the trunk of the car, can I use the sub / amp cable as the positive lead ?  The previous owner had the car wired for subs but I need space for turbo things.”

To answer this question we need to figure out if the size of the wire that the previous owner of the car used for the stereo is adequate to run the entire electrical system of the vehicle.

Sizing the wire required for relocating the main battery in the car depends on how long the wire is, how much current is drawn from battery, and how much current your alternator will produce.

Testing the Current Requirement

What I usually recommend to do is to measure how much current is drawn from the battery after starting the engine 4 times in a row.   The repeated engine starts is to apply electrical stress to the battery and the starter so that the worst case current load the battery will typically experience under normal conditions can be measured.

You an use a current clamp meter to measure the current at the battery positive wire.  If you don’t have or have access to a clamp meter, you can get one on Amazon though this link. https://amzn.to/2KJkYAv

Testing the output of the alternator for maximum output is a bit more difficult because most OEM alternators are sized to output more than the vehicle requires at full load, so that even if you have everything turned on in the car, the alternator can still change the battery. 

What I typically do is use the rating of the alternator published by the manufacturer. In a standard passenger vehicle, this rating is normally less than the current drawn by the starter mentioned above.

We will use either the tested current at the battery or the current rating of the alternator, whichever is higher.

Calculating the Voltage Drop

Once we know what the current requirement is and the length of the wire, we can size the wire based on it’s voltage drop. The rule of thumb for sizing wires is to have less than 0.5V (3-4% of the total voltage) voltage drop over the length of the wire at the current we need to use it at.

The following page has a great a calculator you can use to calculate the voltage drop and an explanation of physics behind the calculations if you want to read up on it.  https://www.omnicalculator.com/physics/voltage-drop

For example, if your alternator is rated at 160 amps and you measured 200 amps at the battery, we will use 200 amps for the calculation. For a 200 Amp load and the length of the existing stereo wire in the car is 15 feet and is also 00 (2/0) AWG wire, then you’re good to go. If the existing stereo wire is only 4 AWG, then you’ll have to upgrade your wire size.

I hope that helps!

Have a great day!

#66 Hey Take A Break Eh

Good Morning!

My brother asked some questions about taking breaks from work on social media last week and it got me thinking about a few things: Why do I feel like I need to do my own thing? Why do I need to be my own boss? Why go through all the pain and extra work when I can just go and work for someone else and collect a paycheck?

The answer is time.  It’s always been time and how I feel about it.

I want to be in control of my time and schedule.

At this point in my life, being in control of my time is the most important thing.  I’ve placed a huge measure of success on this one particular point.

Even as a robotics contractor I didn’t feel like I was in charge of my time. Continue reading “#66 Hey Take A Break Eh”

#65 Good-Bye Coffee We Had A Great Run

Good Morning!

I’m pretty sure I was at Grandma’s house the first time I drank coffee. I might have been five or six years old at the time. There were a few of us sitting around the table in the kitchen. So many good memories were made in that place. The last thing I remember someone saying before taking my first sip was something about my growth being stunted.

Everyone quietly and patiently waited my reaction.  I must not have disappointed anyone because I remember the smiling faces which I can only now assume was amusement.  I must have no doubt made the bitter-tasting facial expression then followed by the wide-eyed expression of “THAT’S REALLY GOOD!!” when the full bouquet of flavours had presented itself and ran its course.  When I was a kid, this was the treat a grandma’s house: coffee or tea and coffee bulla (Pulla or Finnish Cardamom Sweet Bread).

I began drinking coffee regularly in high-school at maybe 14 or 15 years old; I didn’t have a driver’s licence yet.  My group of friends tended to congregate at one coffee shop or another: Country Style, Robins Doughnuts, or Tim Hortons.  All any of us needed to do was show up at some point after dinner and there would be someone to have a coffee, a smoke, and a conversation with.  We’d spend hours there. Multiple coffees, overflowing ash trays, and stimulating conversations that made us not want to sleep.

This ritual continued until near the end of my 18th year when I decided to pack up and move to a new city and start my own adventure.  Continue reading “#65 Good-Bye Coffee We Had A Great Run”

#64 – A New Direction, Sort Of.

Good Morning!

I haven’t published anything in nearly three weeks. Sorry for not letting you know what I was doing, that’s all on me.

I’ll be sure to make a post about any future hiatus the next time around. Either that or I’ll have to prepare some content ahead of time to keep you busy while I duck out the back for a break.

Here’s the scoop.

I decided that I wasn’t going to publish anything or engage in social media while I was prepping to be and while I was away from home for a few weeks.  A week with the family and a couple weeks for work plus the travel time.

Just three days before I was scheduled to travel, my work plans fell through, so I decided to spend more time with the family and just take a break.

I haven’t worked in that industry since February and to be honest, I didn’t really want to do that work again anyways. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise?

I agreed to the work trip because I need top up the bank account again, and I still do because as fun and personally rewarding being a new content creator is, it doesn’t pay the bills yet.

When I sent the confirmation email for the work trip something happened to my thought process. Pressing the send button for email was like flipping a switch back into my old stressed-out rat-race lifestyle.

It felt like what I’ve been doing for the past four months was instantly deprioritized and didn’t matter anymore and all that mattered was making money again. This is why I didn’t publish anything the Saturday or Sunday before left to spend time with the family.

It was such a strange feeling because everything that I had created up to that point had such an enormous value to me, and it still does.  I even made a point to save all the money I could from my last work trip so I could concentrate on learning about writing and recording and streaming and not have worry about where the money was going to come from.

I’m invested enough into what I’ve learned this year that I want to keep doing it.  I want to be in the business of helping people, not just being a cog in a giant business machine. I want to feel like I’m actually in business for myself and not just a contracted employee.

Mind you, being a cog in the machine isn’t a bad thing either.  It has so many positives that I sometimes wonder why I even bother trying to make my own way at all.  But, I always end up back at the exact same point of being burned-out and resentful of having my time taken advantage of, because when I’m a cog in the machine, all I’m selling is my time. Enough with that.

I’ve never been able to fully figure out the work-life balance idea either because I don’t think my gears ever stopped turning; this is the curse or superpower of an ever-curious mind. Even when I’m out having fun or doing nothing at all sitting on the couch unmotivated, there is always something stirring in the background.

I’m a maker of things at heart and I’ve always enjoyed helping people fix their stuff or make that custom thing they need.  

It’s always been the side hustle that’s brought me the most joy.

Most of the time it’s something that needs to be welded, fabricated, or wired, which is cool because I love doing that kind of work.

I think I should do this more seriously and make it the topic of my content in the future.

Want to hear about the welding repair I’m going to finish up this morning on an oil tank for a Lamborghini, and the installation of new wiring system for a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro that I’ll be installing this afternoon?

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Have a great day!