It’s the final countdown…

There are only ten working days left! My feelings are mixed but the outlook from now on is awesome. By coincidence good friends are throwing a big party in the countryside just at the end of my last working week. Thanks guys, exactly what I needed! In between I already lined up some outdoor activity and the rest of the time will certainly pass by fast with preparations. Buying a travel vehicle definitly is a big leap forwards. So the next couple of weeks will be joyful busy, finishing work, preparing the bus, enjoying the spring (finally!) while meeting friends… That’s anditainment for sure so stay tuned…

final-countdown

 

Guess what?

I’m back in the land of the muted telly and endless waiting. I didn’t get an appointment on short notice again so 76 other persons to go. That’s the third vehicle I bought since I started this blog. They really start to pile up. I think I have to start selling… Let’s hope the second try on the travel vehicle is a success. We’ll see soon, with a little luck the new one will enter the worshop in the afternoon….

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Until now I waited for two hours. There are still 36 to go. Worst performance ever, dear Kfz-Zulassungsstelle. The funny “due to technical difficulty longer waiting..” sign is still here as well. I wonder if they took it down in between. At least I came prepared so it’s almost the same as sitting at home and making ToDo lists and so on… My experiences at this place more or less state out what most car enthusiasts already knew: Monday is “I bought a car at the weekend” day and friday is “i need short term registrations to bring a car abroad” day. Don’t come here at these days.

Also very nice: Since I had no time to order license plates on the internet I just bought them here. 40€ for two !!! On the web they are 5€ a pop + 5€ delivery making up 15€. If you’re in a hurry it will cost you. Time and money… But since I’m not really a patient guy it’s the best choice just to get it over with and hopefully have the car in the workshop this afternoon. Much better than spending hours on the internet searching for possible issues of the car and related fixes…

Workshop Improvement Day

The club (akakraft e.V.) who runs the workshop I’m using is holding “work days” on a regular basis. The workshop is cleaned, maintenance of the machine park is done, light bulbs are changed and new hardware is installed. Some time ago a extraction system for exhaust gases was donated. Today we started to do the piping. There already is a hole in the outer wall at a convenient place but the pipes used are 11cm in diameter and the hole is 17cm. Where can we get a adaptor? This doesn’t sound like a part which is available everywhere.

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Have you ever tried to put a keg on a lathe? Nope. Not until now…

I LOVE such tasks. Just take your measuring tape and roam through the workshop or a hardware store and look for stuff which might help. Great training for your skills in visual judgement of dimensions as well. Obviously I started searching at the scrap box since it’s full at the moment and there’s always good stuff. And Bingo! A five liter keg of a rather well known beer which doesn’t really taste like much. It’s conical as well so it will be a snug fit. It only needs two holes of the right size. Normally you would start to mess around with pliers to get it done somehow in a fast and dirty way. But that’s not how we do it. Everything has to be over engineered, look nice and the fabrication process has to involve fancy machinery. :-)

On the bottom we just marked the center with a center bore, adjusted the turning chisel to it, zeroed the scale and measured outwards.

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A keg spinning on the lathe at 14 (!) rpm

Since the top already has a small hole we started on the outer diameter, zeroed the scale and measured inwards.

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The finished part.

The first hole was a perfect fit. You could slip it on the tubing easy and it was difficult to remove it again. The second hole was a little off but still alright.

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The finished product

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Temporary installment to see how good it fits.

 

Fuck, I’m old!

Yesterday my flatmates and I were talking about books&movies for children. One mentioned that he loved Harry Potter when HE was a child. dafuq

But yeah, the books came out in 1997, the first movie 2001. Back then I was finishing school / starting studying at the university. He is almost ten years younger so he attended primary school being a cute little boy. The perfect age for Harry Potter. Weird. But good. Normally I just don’t realize that there is such an age difference because we’re both somehow grown ups, share some hobbies (like travelling for example) and get along really well. The older you get the less important is the age difference…

Picking up pace…

The measures I’ve taken are starting to work out fine. I took good care of myself during the last couple of weeks. I did almost no excessive partying, drank almost no alcohol and kept almost a quite constant sleep rhythm. I visited dear friends and constantly soldiered through my to do list. Now there are only 13 working days left and I’m starting to see light at the end of the tunnel (and I’m quite sure it isn’t an oncoming train…). There’s still much stuff to do and I still hate the uncertainty of not having a completely checked through travel vehicle standing in the workshop. It’s the same as always before I start an adventure. At first I worry about plenty of stuff and spend much time on alternative plans, countermeasures for any problem which could come up and so on. The closer the date of leaving comes the more I relax (except the last couple of days of course). I’ve got the feeling that I’m prepared well. Mentally not organizationally. Most stuff which is likely to happen has been thought through. I know that I’m good at solving problems, it’s my occupation and hobby as well.

If I don’t find a decent travel vehicle or destroy it in an accident or whatever I can still fix the station wagon and use it for traveling. Having a rear lock differential and quite a good ground clearance it even has limited offroad capabilities. Exactly the same mode of transportation as in Australia and quite comfortable as long as it doesn’t rain for several days straight and it’s not too cold.

And even if that is going wrong as well I still got my “everything sucks and I have to get out RIGHT NOW” escape vehicle which I started to prepare years ago. The trusty Honda XL 600V Transalp!

An old pic without the modifications.

An old pic without the modifications.

Already equipped with aluminum boxes, engine bashplate and crashbars it only needs a new set of offroad tires and a new chain / sprocket set. That’s done in less than a day.  And even if that’s not working either I still have quite some backpacking experience. I just tend to get more comfortable while I’m growing older and my income is raising…

To sum it up: The summer will be fun for sure and some travelling will be done. The only thing which could stop me (except for accidents & stuff of course) is being stuck in an everyday life routine. And I definitely kick ass avoiding that. So no worries folks!

 

I hate you, smartphone! Recap…

I decided to get rid of smartphones. I bought a cheap phone (Nokia 100) and a Tablet (Asus Transformer) instead and thought I would carry the Tablet if I need Internet and stick to the phone otherwise. Then a good friend needed a phone fast so I traded the N100 for pizza and some beer (yeah, it really is THAT cheap).

Yesterday the screen of my HTC Desire cracked. Again. While driving my car. I put it under the armrest in the middle between the seats and when I arrived it was lying in front of the back seat with the screen cracked… Maybe it was my unusual reckless driving, I tried to figure out the top speed of the pornstyler. This was a failure as well, too much traffic and too many idiots on the autobahn. At least it runs 190km/h (GPS measured) and it was still accelerating. And the breaks are fine as well…

Anyways, a realized that a 10″ tablet with a keyboard is not just looking like a subnotebook, it in fact is one. So I don’t just carry it in my jacket… I wanted to get a replacement for the HTC fast so I did two things which I normally don’t: I synched my whole phone with google and I went to “media markt” to buy a (Google/LG) Nexus 4 Tablet Smartphone.

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The HTC Desire is not a small phone but it looks just silly beside the Nexus

While synching the phone was quite unspectacular besides the bad feeling giving my data to google the shop visit was. The price at the “media markt” online shop was 349€ if you pick it up in one of their stores. Since I didn’t want to give my personal data to “media markt” as well I just went to the shop. 395€ for the phone. Well… I asked an employee if I really had to order online to get a normal price. He was quite helpful, had a look at the website, adjusted the price in his software and that’s it. So if you just walk in and buy the thing they just rip you off big time. Interesting. I thought about buying some HDMI Adaptors (20€ each) and some Crimp Connectors for the car stereo (6€ each). But since these items are sold on the internet for maybe 2€ / 10 Cent I changed my mind quickly. So Dear Idiots: Please stop buying overpriced crap at “media markt”! Just imagine a world free of ridiculous “media markt” stores and silly “media markt” advertising… You can do it! Well, alright. You probably can’t because you’re stupid… My bad…

 

The Kfz Zulssungsbehörde again…

Last time they forgot to transfer the admission for the hardtop and the cabin for the taro to the new papers. I got around pulling a number this time by telling the guy for the appointments that my time amount isn’t unlimited and that they messed up (in a polite way). He sent me to a accountant who was on holidays and gave me the wrong desk number. The person on the desk wouldn’t belive my story and asked if I had the printed email with me. Nope, but I’ve got a computer and internet access with me.

Now I’m waching two Employees since almost an hour taming the software beast to add two lines to the papers. Luckyly I brought a computer. Back in the days this was made by hand (or typewriter) and signed with a stamp. A matter of minutes. Now it takes 3 manhours (them two and me waiting) to copy&paste two fucking lines. Also funny: They scan every page but they can’t access it. If I hadn’t brought the old papers from the 90s they wouldn’t have known what to write. I’m amazed. Where is all this german efficiancy gone?

Just when they were about to finish a third person came and told us that I should have been at her desk hours ago. She wasn’t very impressed when I told her that nobody told me to do so. It really drives me nuts if the government wastes my money to pay people to waste my time… I can do this myself….

Travel vehicle buy try #1 failed…

"Muckelchen" on the first pit stop

“Muckelchen” on the first pit stop

Well. After not finding a decent van I thought about just buy anything which comes for a decent price and then sell it again if I don’t like it. Then I saw the following combination on the web: VW Taro (badge engineering at it’s finest, it is a Toyota Hilux which was put together in Hannover, Germany by VW). On Top of it a Tischer Cabin originally for a VW Caddy (small pickup on the golf I chassis). To cut a long story short: The state was not exactly as mint as advertised. There were some leak issues which were hidden under a second wall. Also the Hilux is not quite comfortable for a guy with almost 1,90m of height. And I realized that the cabin is to small and that I want a bathroom on board. And a motorcycle. And a bicycle. And other stuff. So I have to get a decent sized van.

Today I sold the cabin for a decent price to a guy from the VW Caddy forum. If the Hilux is hitting the price I expect I will make a small profit with this failed buy. So all in all this buy wasn’t a total fail after all since I learned a lot about my expectations on a travel vehicle, (hopefully) didn’t loose money and got to visit a good friend who is living nearby the place where I bought the car. So it feels almost like a win while it is technically a fail (on acquiring a travel vehicle).

Caffeine Reduction Day #2-#4

Boring. On day #2 I had a cup of coffee because it was offered to me and I forgot that I didn’t want one. When it was served I thought it would have been impolite not to drink it. Day #2 ended with some alcohol and the night was short because I had a very good conversation with a friend until five in the morning and we had appointments on the very same morning as well. So I drank some mugs on day #3. Day #4 also started with two mugs.

I think I will stop blogging about this topic until something interesting happens. So far it works out as expected, a drastic reduction which is quite easy to maintain. And most coffee I drink really is shitty. It’s time to learn how to brew decent coffee. Since I won’t drink that much anymore the price per mug doesn’t really matter….

Caffeine Reduction Day #1

„Rehab is for quitters“ – Hank Moody

I’ve been drinking too much coffee. 10+ mugs on a working day wasn’t good for my stomach at all. After recognizing that I don’t have sleep problems on vacation I’m trying to dial in on the reason for not having a good nights sleep when working. Work isn’t exactly satisfing at the moment, an NDA stops me from blogging about it but let’s say the project I’m working on at the moment is more or less a failure (that actually made it to nationwide news, so I’m allowed to tell). This probably is one reason. But maybe caffaine is as well. Alright, I’m not good in quitting stuff but I’m very good at reducing. For example I never quit smoking. I’m still smoking on rare occasions. Its no problem at all to not smoke for a week or two but saying that I quit would mean permanently which would mean that I either stick to it or feel very bad for not doing what I’m saying. So I will not stop drinking coffee. But I will reduce my consumption drastically. From gulping back to enjoying. Only drink good coffee and not the shitty free coffee at work.

Day 1, 13:40

Got up at seven, took a shower, went to work. Had a couple of fennel teas. No caffeine yet. I feel sleepy and have slight headache. I’m unsure if work or the lack of caffeine is the reason. I think I should go on vacation and find another project. Funny how all thoughts are leading to „the plan“. BTW: 22 working days left… And lunch break is over, back to work…

Day 1, 14:40

Still sleepy. Probably just dehydration. If you drink much coffee on a regular basis it hydrates as well even if people tend to tell you the opposite.

Day 1, 15:51

Drank a bottle of water and more tea. Still sleepy, slight headache. The colorcoding of my pee suggests it’s not dehydration. Am I experiencing withdrawal symtoms? Hmm.

Day 1, 21:00

Slept for an hour after work. Will head out to the supermarket to hunt down some food. Still tired. Tomorrow I’ll be on the road for about five hours, that will be hard without coffee. And without a decent stereo in the car.

Day 1, 22:16

Still tired. Let’s see how tonight’s sleep will be. Since I do not have to work until Wednesday it will probably be fine.