Monthly Archives: August 2010

GreenBean’s Autoshop is open for business!

Well today was a very productive day. I drained flushed my manual transmission fluid, installed a fumoto oil drain valve, and changed the oil on my car. And it only took…umm, lets see. 4 hours! haha. Well, the first part was the most important part. Jacking the car up, putting jack stands on, and then I made sure the back wheels wouldn’t roll so I put the wheel chocks, and then I backed up my jack stands with an additional jack. Yes, I’m pretty paranoid, especially since I did read on the S2k forums that a member recently passed away (he was way too young to go). Was working on his car, something slipped and the car pretty much crushed him. Punctured his lungs, was on life support and just didn’t make it. Soo, needless to say, I am pretty particular about safety.

I got all my dad’s tools lined up, the torque wrench, and all that jazz. Lets just say the factory recommends 29lbs/foot of torque on a few of the bolts in the tranny line. I guess the shop guys (I hear they tend to do this since they use super power wrenches) waay over tightened it. Holy spumoni, it took a few tries and all my strength to get that thing off. The second reason I took so long was because I wanted it to properly drain, so I let it sit for about 20 minutes or longer, dropped it so it’s even. Then re-jacked the car up again. Generally dealerships or those Jiffy lube places just do the ‘Wam Bam thank you ma’am’. Plus with this, I know exactly what type of oil is going into my car, what type of filter, etc. Over all I was pretty satisfied. It was kinda fun! I learned a few things, like sniffing the tranny fluid. If it smells bad, or burnt, then it’s definitely time to change it. So I took a whiff of mine, it did have a burnt smell to it, but the color was still good. I think that just takes more experience to know what is right and what is wrong.

The car shifts much better! Next time I need to re-do my oil, I’m going to change the limited slip differential fluid, and then eventually move on to the tire rotation!
Though I think I’ll need to do a tranny flush for my wife’s automatic car, and the same for my integra first. Ahh…Engine components still scare me though. I really need to learn engine basics.

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manny manitos

so I’ve decided to embark in more manly things! Well, not really ‘manly’ per se, as that’s rather subjective. But since I’ve been making an effort to organize my dad’s tools, I realized it would be a shame if I didn’t learn how to use them. Some of them I remembered when I was a kid! His power drill, and he has this dremel set that he absolutely loves. Well, after realizing we spent too much money on stupid oil changes, and small maintenance things on our cars, brakes, etc. I figured it’s about time I did these myself. I remember helping my dad back in the day, holding the light while he fixes things, or just going out there being curious as to how to do things. He usually guided along the way, so I’ve never really had ‘hands’ on experience (with the exception of oil changes and spark plug changes).

So this time around, I’m on my own. I wish he were here so I could ask questions, but I guess I have to do things and leave the nest at some point! I picked up a ramp so I can drive my car up it. (My dad had 2 sets of these, but I think my mom gave them away to my older brother). My car is so low that a traditional jack can’t go underneath it, so I have to drive it up something first, then jack up the car. I sorta took a peek underneath to see what’s cooking. There’s a ton of stuff in there, but the item I was most interested in was the drain and fill plugs on my transmission. Once the car was jacked, secured, and safteyed with jack stands, I sorta wanted to do a dry run to pick out the tools I’d need. So I have my dad’s other fun tool that he loved. His torque wrench! Those bloody nuts and bolts were in there pretty tight. If need be, I do have his pneumatic air drill, that rocks the casbah!

I remember once we couldn’t get the lug nuts off of a tire, so he said one second. I have just the right tool for this. Whiped out the air gun and bam! The thing just popped open. Granted, it’s like bringing a bazooka to a pistol fight, but hey. Sometimes, you just need a bazooka to liven up our lives right?

Anyways, tomorrow will be the day I do my first Do it yourself car task alone. I’m sure in his own little way, he’ll be watching over me. If all goes well, I’ll do the same for my integra gs-r and them stepping up to the automatic transmission fluid flushes. Woo that one I’m not looking forward to.
But yeah, not a single day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of him. Everything from the foods I eat, to something that just triggers a memory. It’s still very surreal. I have his picture on both my cell phones as the background, and every time I look at it, I just still can’t believe that it’s been 3 months already.

Love you Dad.

Sweet Peas and Birthdays! Oh My!

I’ve had an eventful weekend. After visiting my mom, I decided to come home and thought it was time clean and organize the garage. It was always my dad’s domain, so it was cathartic and fascinating all rolled into one. I think the only thing I regret, is not asking him what half of the specialized tools that he had, even does! But I could really tell he came from the era where everything was saved. I’ve heard stories of the generation of people that went through the depression and it seems somewhat similar. Lets just say, he kept every nail, every spark plug that he ever changed (and trust me, it’s a lot!).

I didn’t realize his passing had affected me as much as it did at a sub conscious level. Every picture I look at, every item that passes in front of me, registers a tiny blip in my head. “This item, this photo, this memory…took place before my dad’s passing. This item, this event, took place after. It’s as if my world literally split into two parts, and everything is judged from that point in time. It’s very odd. I know to some level I do it, so I guess it falls more under the realm of conscious thought, rather than unconscious. Anyways, I thought that was interesting. I’m sure I’m not the only one that does this, after the death of a loved one.

At any rate, so this weekend I booked two photo shoots! Well, thankfully they weren’t back to back, so I had time to take a 30 minute nap in between. It’s funny, after dealing with super long weddings, two kid’s photo shoots lasting 2hrs total would be a breeze right?! WROOONG! Kids are hard work. Wowzers. But I had a blast! They totally made me feel young again!

The two shoots were completely distinct, both requiring two entirely different sets of gear. One was outdoors, in the bright sun. I’ve been there before so I knew what I was getting into. Two bodies, 1DsII and 1DIII. With an 85mm for the portraits, 70-200 for different perspective portraits, and the 24-70 to finish it off with any needs for wide, or regular portrait shots. I left the 35L at home.

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For the second shoot, I knew I just needed to straight up go with a low light setup. I researched the place online, and it was an indoors environment. The lighting was from fluorescent sources on the ceiling, and I wasn’t sure if there would be huge windows. Basically, I was walking into the unknown, so when walking into the unknown, I always assume the worse. 35mm 1.4, 85mm 1.2, and I even brought a 14mm 2.8 in case it was really tight. 70-200 in the event I would be stationary and required reach. Shooting at IS0’s ranging from 1000 to 1600, and I even brought along a flash, just in case I get requests for group shots. So yes, the second one was definitely more gear intensive. I ended up switching out the 35 with the 24-70 a lot. Going back and forth, on a full frame camera, because I needed the low light capabilities, yet, In some situations, I needed the wider 24mm. I couldn’t afford to take off the 85mm because for portraits, that is king, and I didn’t want to miss out on any random kid’s moments that just screamed portrait.

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My fav shot. I love his expression. Like, “why am I stuck here up to my neck? haha”

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After my last photo shoot with kids, where I just pretty much lost their attention from ducks and other wildlife (I swear taking pics of a group of kids is like herding cats or turtles). But I decided to strap my stuffed animals to the top of my lenses.

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It worked like a charm! They were sooo interested in the orange star fish! I think I’ll try to find a cookie monster or an Elmo to strap in for future shoots.

But the shot that got to me the most was this one.
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My process is after I take all my photos I lay them out and do my selections. I noticed that this was a really cool shot, but since it was rushed I had it slightly out of focus so it ended up being blurry. But I wanted to use it so badly because it just had a shot of a father and daughter, so I thought of the first poem/thoughts emotions that came to my head when seeing this photo, and this came to mind:

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As a parent, you want to hold onto your child’s hands for as long as you can.
As a child, you can’t want to grow up to find yourself.
As you carve your own path into the world, you begin to realize how safe, and comforting it is to be in the guided by the arms of your father.

It’s been so long since he has been gone. Your memories begin to blur…The smells begin to fade. Praying to meet again in dreams, where the blurriness disappears, if only for a second, you are once again nestled back into the comforting, loving arms of dad.

So that’s that! It’s been awhile since I blogged. Been feeling slightly out of it, but I’m trying to get myself back into the game.