Celebrating 10 Consecutive Years of Winning
Peter Barbour, a fellow ham radio operator and volunteer of the Huntington Beach Fire Department RACES group, has been sharing his holiday cheer and enthusiasm of the Christmas season by decorating his sailboat and entering the Newport Beach (CA) Christmas Boat Parade. As this is being written, winners for 2014 have not been announced, so stay tuned and cheer for D25!
Peter combines his computer programming and hardware-hacking skills with his knowledge of sailing that result in a series of award-winning and crowd-pleasing displays.
I am proud to be one of Peter’s helpers in constructing some of his award-winning entries.
2014 marks Peter’s tenth entry and it continues the D25 tradition of “more is better.”
Here are some pictures of D25 under construction:
Where is D25 Right Now?
D25 is equipped with an Amateur Radio tracking system called APRS. Click here to see D25’s real-time location and map.
For more information on ham radio APRS, the Automatic Packet Reporting System, click here.
D25 2004: 2nd Place Best Use of Lights and Animation
Theme: Santa’s Sailing Sled
D25’s debut design was inspired by the idea of Santa’s sailing sled being borrowed by a mischievous elf.
D25 2005: 1st Place Best Humor & Originality
Theme: Classic Christmas
D25’s second design was inspired by a classic Christmas living room scene. A large decorated Christmas tree with presents stacked below the bows and a star atop, red brick fireplace with a roaring fire and stockings hung below a mantle.
D25 2006: Best Boat Under 30 Feet
Theme: North Pole Holiday Magic
In the middle of November, Original Productions, Inc. asked Peter to appear on a documentary on intense holiday decorations for TLC: The Learning Channel. The episode “More Crazy Christmas Lights” premiered on December 8, 2007.
D25 2007: 1st Place Best Humor & Originality
Theme: Surf’s Up – Light Wave
Surf’s Up on D25 features over 5,025 lights brilliantly illuminating a holiday surfer’s dream wave. D25’s strobe light marks the lip of the wave and a hot-doggin’ holiday penguin is in the cave catching some gnarly tubular action.
D25 2008: 1st Place Best Humor & Originality
Theme: Tropical Island Cheer – Lanterns to Lights
D25 for 2008 was inspired by the origins of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade on July 4, 1908. John Scarpa, an obscure Italian gondolier, led a parade with eight fellow small boat operators. The boats were illuminated by Japanese lanterns.
D25 2009: 1st Place Best Animation & Special Effects
Theme: Joys of Christmas Toys
In 2009, D25 demonstrated one of the most complex designs in the series. The entry included a matrix of colored ornaments, made with hundreds of individual bulbs. The matrix enabled the computer controller to make an amazing array of “bouncing ball” images that danced across a black background.
D25 2010: Best Boat Under 30 Feet
D25 2011: 1st Place Best Humor & Originality
D25 2012: Best Sailboat
D25 2013: 1st Place Animation & Special Effects
Some facts and figures of the Christmas vessel D25
The boat: 11-foot dinghy with a Nissan 4-stroke, 5HP engine. Oars for backup
Typical number of lights: Over 10,000 (Peter counted them once, but now simply adds lights up to the generator capacity)
Current consumption: Approx. 33 amps at 120 VAC
Power source: Two Honda EU2000i generators providing a total of 4,000 watts at 120 VAC
Wiring: Over 625 feet of custom extension cords
Safety items: GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) on all circuits and an automatic bilge pump
Communications: A 5 Watt VHF ham radio is interfaced to a GPS for reporting location, and is available for emergency
Sound system: 150W audio power with wireless mike for music and personal greetings
Computer controllers: Four Light-O-Rama (LOR) controllers
A masthead rotating strobe
An automobile classic “AH-OO-GA” horn
Simulated flames & coals in fireplace
Chasing rope lights
I did some measuring today and discovered the adjustable seat rails raise the seat too high for mounting in the enclosed cockpit – on a Roadster, an open car – this would not be a problem, and may help shorter drivers (under 6-foot) like me.
Stay tuned for an update as I re-modify the mounts by installing the rails on the side of the seat – as mentioned in the earlier post. Scroll to the entry by ChazC5ZX.
Last weekend, I decided to get back to work on the Coupe. I have to focus on getting everything ready for the engine installation. So, I started to mount the previously painted foot box aluminum.
But I ran into a problem – the oily under body paint was not adhering well in some places, and the paint surface quality varied greatly. Here is a picture of what I mean…
Rather than just leaving it alone, I decided to remove all undercoated parts and re-finish them with truck bed liner paint. The truck bed liner paint is more consistent, is very hard and seems to adhere better than the under body paint.
Taking off the greasy under coating was difficult, because the gooey paint clogged up the abrasive pads on my random orbit sander. So, I had to first use a wire brush on my drill to “scrape” off the greasy stuff, and then wash it down with acetone, like this:
… and then sanded to bare metal with a 60 grit disc on my random orbit sander.
I washed the panels with dish washing liquid in my kitchen sink, and applied two coats of truck bed liner paint. Now the panels look much better. The truck bed paint has a slight wrinkle finish so I am not sure how hard this will be to keep clean. It is, however, better than that greasy under coating stuff. Here is a picture of the bottom surface of the transmission tunnel cover.
I will cover all interior surfaces with heat and sound barrier (Cool-It) and then put carpet over everything later.
Since I am working on cockpit “fitment,” I wanted to dry-fit the Kirkey high back racing seats so I can adjust the position for pedal actuation.
The Factory Five Racing Complete Kit provides two options for seats, low-backs for the more traditional look, and a high back option that provides more back support. I went with the high backs. However, the seats come with nuts and bolts, and the instructions say to drill the seats and use the bolts to attach them to the floor.
I checked the forums and found a better solution. Thanks to posts by Rich A and rick8928, I copied what they did with their seat mounts. Their solution adds an adjustment feature to the seat mounts. The part numbers from Summit are still valid, although the prices have gone up a little. I bought two sets so the passenger seat will be adjustable, too. Thanks guys for helping me to not re-invent the wheel on this one!
Here are some pictures of my version…
The last two images above show the seat belt mounting points.
Here is a cockpit view of the pedal box.
I am glad I have the seat adjusters, it should make getting in and out of the car easier. It looks like I will have to adjust the seat forward in order to reach the pedals comfortably, and then I can push the seat back to get out (and in) the car.
Heel-toe should be okay, I will have to bolt the seats into the car and move the seat forward to make sure.
Sharp-eyed viewers noticed the left side of the driver foot box is missing. Indeed it is. I made a small modification to this part – I cut the tabs off of the mating panel, and added small angle aluminum to the front piece, so I can rivet (maybe screw in) this panel later.
I should probably do the same thing to the right side of the pedal box, so I can access the gas pedal mounts for adjustment, although the engine might be in the way.
Stay tuned, more to come on the Factory Five Racing Type 65 Coupe Project.
Not much to report on the Type 65 Coupe Project. I have been doing a lot of other things over the last few weeks. The heat has been making me lazy.
I decided to do some work on the A/C unit for the Coupe. I cut and chopped the housing cover for several hours, and then decided it might be easier to just make a whole new cover using fiberglass and resin. . . . I did some research on composites, epoxy resins, fiberglass and boat repair, and lost-foam casting. Interestingly, I am doing the same research for some stuff at work. I will try my hand at making a custom duct for the A/C unit. I have a layout in my mind, but there are a lot more things that need to go behind the dash panel besides the A/C ducts. The new cover/duct will have to make several 90- and 180-degree bends. I hope to avoid the use of too many fittings by making a single duct/top cover for the A/C unit. Maybe it should be called a “manifold” instead.
Here are some pictures of the air conditioner and the “dry fit” of where it will mount.
I also re-installed the firewall. I had to take it off and re-paint it with a higher quality silver paint. I do not have pictures of this, but it does look better than before. The paint is “harder” than the other paint I used.
Next, I removed the “bad” brake hoses originally from the Complete Kit and replaced them with the proper red hose from the third technical bulletin from Factory Five Racing. This is the hose going from the reservoir to the master cylinders. The new hose is much softer and easily slipped over the fittings. I hope they won’t leak. We will find out soon when I fill and bleed the system.
I also started to look at engine hoist options – I want to drop the engine in SOON!
Paella is a delicious rice dish. There was a reference to paella on a Seinfeld episode. I have eaten lots of paella, but never made it. So, after several Maker Faire events in the Bay Area, I really wanted to try making my own.
Based on a recommendation from a fellow Big Green Egg fan (Thanks Dale!), I bought a paella pan made in Spain and Bomba rice from La Española Meats, Inc. in Harbor City, CA.
My 15-inch pan would be perfect for my Large Big Green Egg – except for the handles. They are too big and prevent the pan from sitting on the grill grate. I think I can bend the handles so it will fit the 19-inch grate on the BGE. I didn’t let this glitch stop me. I inverted the grill basket used for the vegetables, and put the paella pan on top. If you look closely at the pictures, you can see the basket under the paella pan. Seemed to work OK.
Of course, my paella pan is not as big as the giant ones used by Gerard’s Paella at the Maker Faire, but my pan is large enough to make 8 servings.
I used Steven Raichlen’s recipe from Primal Grill, Season One as a starter. (“Paella Primavera (with Vegetables and Beans But No Meat.”) His version is vegetarian, using all roasted veggies and vegetable broth. I had some Portuguese sausage in my freezer, and chicken stock, so I used them in my first attempt.
Here are the grilled veggies – Onions, garlic, red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini squash. These were direct-grilled in a basket. I used extra virgin olive oil and tossed on some sea salt, oregano, black pepper and basil.
Next, I direct-grilled the sausages in the basket. These were Hoffy brand Portuguese sausages. I wasn’t too pleased with this sausage. It was not bad, it was just a little too plain and mild for me. I still have several other brands of Portuguese sausages from Hawaii in my freezer. I need to test those soon.
I heated up the paella pan and added some olive oil. This is the chopped onion, garlic, peppers, saffron and chicken broth. . .
After several minutes, I added the Bomba rice. . . .
I almost panicked as the broth dried up – the rice was not fully cooked, and I was afraid of scorching the pan and ruining the dish. But, I quickly added some chicken bouillon to add more liquid. I had to add a total of four additional cups of liquid to get the rice just right. This is a total of 10 cups of broth. Not sure why this is so much more than Raichlen’s version. I do not recall how long I cooked this dish – I just cooked until the rice was tender.
Here is the dish with all the liquid absorbed. Bomba rice is nice and tender, and very tasty. Bu wait – there’s more. . .
Next, I added the grilled vegetables and the sausage. . .
This would be a great one-pan party dish for a good sized and hungry group.
All of us should continuously be aware of new developments, trends, competitors and technologies in our fields of expertise. This “career maintenance” is a way to prevent skills obsolescence. Some people may call this a way to demonstrate passion for what they do, taking the time to keep their skills and knowledge well-honed. I call this trait curiosity, and one should enjoy this “extra work” not because it is mandatory or forced, but because it is enjoyable. In other words, one should enjoy the work they do, since work enjoyment benefits the employee as well as the employer.
One of the most memorable public television promotions was “Stay Curious,” a series of spots directed by filmmaker Errol Morris. In one spot, a young girl wakes up before dawn, grabs a flashlight and goes to a chicken coop. She sneaks up to the window and shines the light inside. The rooster wakes up, thinking it’s a new day, and crows. In another spot, another young girl wonders about raising fish. She goes into the kitchen, grabs a jar of caviar, and dumps it into a fish bowl.
Here’s a wildly non-job skill, non-work related example of my curiosity. Earlier this summer, I wanted to know whether or not a bunch of really big, fat, ugly worms in my compost pile were hazardous to garden plants or the compost. I could have smashed them, or I could have just ignored them. But I decided to find out whether or not the grubs were helpful or harmful to my compost. So I typed “big ugly worms in compost” into Google, and found several links to describe what these things are. In case you are curious, the worms are soldier fly (Insecta: Diptera: Stratiomyidae) larva, and are aggressive composters, a good thing.
We should apply this idea of curiosity and fresh excitement to everything we do, including keeping up with the latest trends and technologies in our professional field. In addition, if you can find a way to apply multiple ways of learning to your everyday activities, you will increase your expertise even further.
As you learn something new, patience is the key to success. Since this is learning for pleasure, there is no hurry to get up to speed — the idea is to get to whatever level you want. This is an important point. There are some folks who are satisfied with having as much knowledge as they have right now, and have no need or desire to expand their knowledge. And that’s okay. But consider what can happen to your career if you don’t adapt to new things, and get left behind…
Learning by Teaching Others
Did you know that when you teach others something, it reinforces your knowledge of the topic? When I was a tutor for non-native English speaking (ESL) students, I had to twist my way of thinking to understand what they were talking about. Their questions made me think about various topics in a completely different way, and I had to use my knowledge of the subjects-at-hand to answer their questions. When you have the power of knowledge, you can teach others something new. And their questions will make you think about the topic or topics in new and different angles, reinforcing your knowledge even more. Sometimes a question can confuse you, which is okay. This just means that you have to search for another expert to supply knowledge, and the teacher (you) becomes a student.
Reading and Research
This method isn’t as exciting as some other ways to learn more about industry trends or new technology, but is certainly valid. In fact, with Internet access, there is almost no limit to the information you can find. However, like a lot of things in life, there is nothing like old fashioned, hands-on experience and learning by doing.
Making Mistakes, and Learning from Them
Making mistakes is one aspect of learning. I always say, “I know what not to do in this case. . . ,” since I make mistakes all the time. But the only way to turn mistakes into useful knowledge is to learn the proper way of doing the task. In other words, if we goof, we have to find out why we goofed, fix the goof, and remember the correct way of doing something to prevent the same goof in the future.
The Concept of Continuous Improvement
Continuous improvement is the search for excellence and perfection. And since nothing is “perfect,” we should always be on a quest to improve our skills and knowledge.
Here are some helpful books on networking and job-seeking skills, there are plenty of others. Do some research and find some more good ones.
Ferrazzi, Keith, “Never Eat Alone,” a great story about the networking process
Lathrop, Richard, “Who’s Hiring Who,” an old book from the 1980s, but has some useful information and words of encouragement
Yate, Martin, “Knock ‘Em Dead,” a whole series of books for each part of the job seeker
For more posts like this, visit my LinkedIn Publish page.