Nov 23, 2009: New Website... If you're reading this, please switch to http://www.leinninger.com/feed
I've gone and made the first major revamp to my site in 9 years. More news here: http://www.leinninger.com/
Nov 03, 2009: New Race Car. Continuing workout. Home remodeling.
Gina and I bought a Spec Racer Ford on Sunday. It's chassis #051 and was originally a Renault-powered car. Mechanically, it's a sound car. We'll be updating the front lower control arms, belts, and 5th gear before next season as well as doing a little frame painting and cleanup (the fiberglass is in great shape, though). I'm excited to start racing with a more competitive car and to see if my driving skill is strong enough to keep me running with the pack, finally.[Pics Here]
Gina and I are in week 2 of phase 2 of the P90X plan. We've had to skip a day of workouts last week and this week due to illness and schedule, but have otherwise stayed true to the diet and exercise plan. Phase 2 is more intense and the workouts seem even longer, but we've both noticed feeling better since beginning the workout. The end of this week marks the 1/2 way point.
We've been trying to complete our home updates, but our race season, Gina's work travels, and our workout plan have severely limited the amount of time we can spend on our projects. Christian's new company (Degen Development) is keeping him pretty busy, but we're trying to book him before the end of the year. On the list are crown moldings for the den fireplace, new basement doorwall, and continued work on our basement finishing/theater.
Oct 26, 2009: Media center "upgraded" to Windows 7. Race car plans.
Over the weekend I "upgraded" my media center/server to Windows 7. As noted in a previous post, I'm using an ATI Digital Tuner for TV recording. However, it still uses very heavy DRM to lock down recorded content. As a result, everything I've recorded with the digital tuner is unavailable for playback form Windows 7 and my extenders because I chose a clean install instead of an upgrade. When are Microsoft and the cable companies going to realize that this is exactly why people are using non-proprietary system and downloading TV shows from Bittorrent? Very frustrating. In any event, only a few episodes were still unwatched since the installation of my digital tuner, so not much will have to be replaced with the methods previously mentioned.
I've been thinking about my options relative to my current race car. It's never been built up beyond my initial prep for Spec Neon apart from a header minor top end cleanup before my first season of 100% ITA. The engine is tired, I have no limited slip diff, I need a real suspension setup, and bigger diameter/wider tires and wheels. The cost of everything combined is close to the cost of a complete, competitive race car. Though I considered staying in ITA, it's a class where you have to keep up with the Jones'. I don't have the funds to keep tweaking my car. My other option was to switch to a spec class, such as Spec Miata. But, that has become a very expensive class over the years. I've decided to switch to Spec Racer Ford and race alongside my father-in-law. I'm working on getting a new car now and will have more updates soon.
Oct 14, 2009: Racing season ends without a bang... luckily. Now what? P90X... that's what.
Gina, Glenn and I finished up our 2009 racing season at Mid-Ohio. Though I had to qualify in cold and (sometimes) wet conditions, I had a TON of fun racing. I even met my goal of getting solidly into the 1:49s with my marginally prepared ITA Neon. I'm at the point where I need to spend some money. I've gotten by on a shoestring budget with my greatest annual expenses being a set or 2 of tires. It's time for a new engine, trans, limited-slip differential and coilover suspension, followed by the correct size tires and wheels. Option B is to switch to the class of car that I've grown to respect, admire and understand the best: Spec Racer Ford. It's the same class that Glenn (my father-in-law) races. They're sturdy, reliable, safe, fast and equally matched. Finding a good deal on a SRF is going to cost about the same as making my Neon semi-competitive in ITA and much less expensive than starting over with a Honda CRX or Integra in ITA.
Gina and I recently began our 3rd week of P90X. While we've struggled at times to keep up with every movement in every exercise, we've been doing remarkably well. We're even following the diet pretty darn faithfully. The biggest downside is the length of the workouts. They usually run about 90 minutes and are extremely demanding. "Do your best. Forget the rest." Can I get an "Amen?!"
Sep 02, 2009: Media Center solution: less hacky, but still pretty hacky...
We've been using Windows Media Center for about 5 years. At first, we were stuck with standard definition recorded via s-video from our set top box. Later, a friend told me about this solution that records HD via firewire in a very hacky way. A new solution allows us to use a cable card-based digital tuner to record and watch live TV on all of our extenders in HD. Comcast came out and had us set up very quickly with a working digital tuner in our media center PC.
For the sake of over information: the digital tuner is hooked up to my Windows Media Center server in my basement which feeds my extenders. Nobody actually watched TV on that monitor (it's an old 17" Dell) and runs at 1280x1024... to VGA works just dandy for this purpose. Before I was using the FireSTB hack that John told me about. The catch was ... Read Morethat I couldn't watch live TV in HD because of the weird way it recorded SD and HD in parallel, then deleted the SD file after it was done recording, replacing it with the HD version. The hack also let me change channels (usually) via firewire instead of IR blasting. Unfortunately, the hack also turned the volume on my cable set top box down one "click" each time it changed channels, effectively muting SD recordings after a few days. The digital tuner solution fixes all of these issues. The catch? Technically, you're supposed to have an OEM media center PC with "supported" DRM-friendly bios. There are now workarounds for this...
Jul 30, 2009: IT SPECtacular at Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course Begins Tomorrow
Cincinnati Region SCCA is hosting the IT SPECtacular at Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course this weekend. It's the biggest Improved Touring/Spec Race/Spec Miata event in the midwest. I'll be Tweeting updates throughout the weekend (#it_spectacular). Props to Chris at Angry Sheep Motorsports for helping me get ready and coaching me! Go ITA Neons!
Jul 21, 2009: Mid-Ohio Race Approaches, Mini-remodeling project nears completion...
July 31st - August 2nd is the IT SPECtacular at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course and I'm racing this year. I'm both excited and terrified: over 30 IT cars have registered, including some of the fastest guys cars in the nation. I've never raced at Mid-Ohio before. Luckily, Chris from Angry Sheep Motorsports set up my Neon yesterday, which always makes me feel better.
As noted in previous news updates, Gina and I have been working on a mini-remodel of our den and kitchen. I've installed new recessed lighting, other lighting fixtures, run some complicated a/v wiring, and significant drywall work to prepare for our first experience with professional painters. I hate painting... hopefully seeing how easily the pros do it will make it easier to decide to go this route more often.
In other news, I celebrated my 34th birthday last Saturday. Gina made an awesome coconut cream cake, bourbon-glazed ribs and cheesy potatoes. I was able to relax a bit, play some games (finishing Ghostbusters and House of the Dead: Overkill), and get some work done on my race car and around the house.
Jun 20, 2009: Adventures in wiring... and home improvement...
Gina and I have been working on hiding the wiring for the TV we mounted above our den fireplace last winter. The process involves making several strategic openings in the drywall on several floors of the house, drilling through headers, floors, etc. inside of the wall, crawling around in the (incredibly itchy) insulation in our attic, snaking wires through the walls, and... inevitably... swearing. We're trying to re-paint our kitchen/den area, and need to get the TV wiring done before doing so, as well replacing our kitchen light with a series of recessed (can) fixtures. Ah, the joy of home ownership.
May 20, 2009: Neon parts get harder to find. First race of the season this weekend.
I called Brighton Chrysler to order some parts for my ITA Neon (race car) and found out that they're in short supply. In fact, some of the parts that we replace as part of preventative maintenance are outright unavailable (ACR hub and bearing kits). I hope that Chrysler LLC comes out of this reorganization soon and starts getting parts back in stock. I'd hate to have to switch cars or classes just because I can't get a $70 part...
In related news, I'll be racing at Grattan Raceway this weekend. It's my first race of the season and apart from a few maintenance parts missing (ahem), I'm just about ready to head out on my old tires and get on the track!
May 12, 2009: Baby Degen!
I know I've already posted this to twitter and my moblog, but I gotta put it in here too: Degen Christian Leinninger arrived around 8:00 last night. Robyn and Christian are doing well and are very proud of their little man.
Apr 26, 2009: Ah, country living: power out for 2 days.
While working on restoring our 20+ year-old lawn tractor and replacing the rear brakes on my WRX, the power went out in spectacular fashion. Wind gusts upwards of 70 mph and airsoft-sized hale beat up the Brighton area. Apparently, downed trees caused a transformer fire in Livingston County and left thousands without power. While I was able to continue with my projects in the shop, I had to make do without lights or the convenience of my air tools.
The hum of our neighbor's generators made sleeping difficult and the next day (Sunday) arrived without electricity. After a quick check on our sump, I decided it was best to drag out our hand-me-down generator that is likely even older than our lawn tractor. I topped off the oil, added some fuel and it started right up. Emulating Brad, we powered our fridge, sump, cable modem, router, and a laptop. We were able to download the Bahrain F1 race (since our Media Center was out of commission and unable to record it) and watch it before ending the day. Power returned by evening, and it looks like everything is back to normal.