Sunday, December 7, 2008

Airstream Cruisette Diary 5

Old trailer philosophy.
I'm one of those people that adheres to the belief that to use the term "restoration" one needs to be returning a trailer (or car, or airplane etc) to as close to the same state it was in when it was new, using vintage or OEM parts, materials, colors, and finishes. If the trailer was mint green inside when new, you keep it that shade. If there was no A/C you don't add one, and so on. Its important to have restored or survivor objects extant as touchstones to the past.
The hot rod car hobby has a variety of terms such as "resto-mod" or "restify" to describe cars that have been overhauled and upgraded while retaining an original appearance. My project will follow that path, though I tend to stick to the term refurbish. Our trailer has enough changes and modifications made by prior owners that to truly restore it would be exceedingly difficult and perhaps impossible. I also would like to add some modern systems to upgrade its usability and make it a more pleasant place for our family to camp.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Learn & Play @ CML Bonus

10 Random Things
1. I'm left-handed.
2. I studied German for 6 years but never used it.
3. I'm a proficient self-taught tailor/sewer. At the fabric store the clerks keep
trying to help my wife, she points them to me, they act confused.
4. I hated mowing grass until I got a riding tractor.
5. The first car I ever drove was a ragged out VW Bettle, in a field, when I was
about 10. I'll never make that mistake again.
6. I like vanilla much better than chocolate.
7. I'm a lapsed Methodist and a failed Boy Scout.
8. I love to travel but have nearly debilitating anxiety packing and preparing to go.
9. I took Kelly, my wife, to see the Bounty on our first date at the Eastland Plaza
cinema in 1984.
10. I can be seen on numerous pages in 9781574270532

Monday, December 1, 2008

Learn & Play @ CML Thing 23

This post will close out one aspect of this blog, ie. the work-driven project called Learn & Play. Of all of the staff development oriented projects we've had here at CML in my 22 years this has been by far the best. I found that I wanted to complete it incentives be damned. I also appreciated the self-driven nature of the course. Some of the exercises were grounded in familiar topics such as podcasts, but others were quite novel. I've always found myself slow to embrace new tech, though not tech averse. I found myself pleasantly surprised at my level of tech proficiency.
When I first heard about blogging (years ago)I found that it didn't hold much interest, and I absolutely loathed the term (I hate most newly coined geek terms), but after L&P I find myself a disciple. My blog will continue, as I built it around an ongoing element of my life. Kudos to LibraryJoy and the rest of the Learn & Play folks for a fantastic project.

Learn & Play @ CML Thing 22

Well I logged on to MOLDI and decided to do a search for videos. I was a bit....shall we say....less than enthusiastic when the first title retrieved was Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory (really). All was redeemed, however, when I found a concert video from The Reverend Horton Heat and an IMAX airplane video. The checkout process was E-Z!!!!! I'll download it and view it later at home. There looks to be lots of decent content to try out once I download the Overdrive software.

Learn & Play @ CML Thing 21

I've been following podcasts for years, but have always sort of stumbled across them. I lnked some of my regulars to my Bloglines account back in the thing about RSS feeds. Since I'm ditching Bloglines for Google reader I'm not going to update it. I liked the user interface for but the subject link "Automotive" did not bring up any of the regular car podcasts that I listen too--CamaroZ28 podcast, NPR's Car Talk, or Cruise Control Radio. The content wasn't as up-to-date as Feedburner (as an example) either. It is significantly better that Yahoo's subject searching nonetheless.
I could see CML exploiting podcasting by partnering with WOSU for instance. Robin regularly talks books on Open Line and it would be a real boon for us to be able to disseminate that content to our customers.

Learn & Play @ CML Thing 20

Ok, when you're talking You Tube videos its hard to get funnier than Chad Vader:

Even though it probably violates copyright its very cool to be able to find old music videos and commercials. I could see a library pushing out book talk content in this format for customers.

Learn & PLay @ CML Thing 19

I'll concur with the top posting about Mozilla Firefox--It flat-out mops the floor with MSIE. I have been using it almost exclusively for about a year now. Things like the session restart option say to me that the designers give a damn about the end user by sweating the details. I initially got exposed to it at work because it would work with our primary vendor's database when Explorer wouldn't. I get mixed feelings when raving about it to someone because I fear that if too many people start using it that malicious hacker-scum out there will see it as a bigger target, reducing its security advantage over MSIE.
Many of the power tools I've already used as part of this program. I looked at 2 that I hadn't seen before. I'm pretty certain that I'm far too square to be the artsy-fartsy target demographic for BoingBoing. The site MAKE was utterly fascinating--not that I understood how a lot of the stuff works--in the way that people DIY technology.

Learn & Play @ CML Thing 18

I checked out the Web 2.0 award winners and I LOVE Google maps. I was even able to find a picture of my bitchin' Camaro--from space!!!!!!(It's the black one for you non-gearheads).
The only thing I don't like is that the street view of my house shows the garage door half painted. I wonder if I can get them to come by for a do-over?
I have used it to get directions to branches when going out for visits. Being able to toggle into different versions of the map is nice. I also love to start out zoomed all the way out and use the mouse wheel to do a "landing" from space.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Learn & Play @ CML Thing 17

The Google Docs features were pretty easy to use considering that I've used online blogging tools and MS Office at home and at work. To be honest I couldn't envision a situation where I would opt to use it over the tools I have at home or work. I'm also overly cautious where privacy is concerned so I can't see myself putting anything out into Google Docs that I "care" about. Though playing devil's advocate, it does present an interesting option as an offsite system backup for personal or work files.
I could see these tools being used to disseminate material to our customers. In CDD we've got a handful of documents that contain the basic content of the workshops we give such as our weeding workshop power point. If CML created a reader's advisory packet, or book group suggestions perhaps this could be one way in which that content is pushed out to patrons?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Airstream Cruisette Diary 4

Exterior lighting, part one. As it sat in the field our Cruisette had lighting problems with both the stop/directional lighting and the clearance lights. For safety alone the brake lights and turn signals needed to be dealt with first. The lighting in the rear consisted of the original single stop & license plate lamp and two 1960's add-on plastic surface mount lights. The best thing about the plastic lights is that they no longer functioned. Turn signals were not required equipment when the Cruisette was built so there is no real "correct" light fixture to add, but I definitely wanted something period appropriate.
After looking fruitlessly at car shows and catalogs, I was browsing for Camaro speed-parts in a Jeg's High Performance catalog that had appeared in my mailbox when I spotted some fantastic reproduction '39 Ford taillights. They turned out to be high-quality pieces with glass lenses and stainless steel bezels, and a bargain to boot.

Installation was fairly simple once I made a flat template for the required holes. We used a hole-saw, aviation shears and some files to make the oval holes for the fixture, and a drill for the holes for the mounting studs.

Once connected to the wiring the taillights proved to be nice and bright and quite attractive. There is a little corrosion and scale from the plastic fixtures to be addressed when I do the final polish. The extra screw holes from the old fixtures will get filled with Olympic rivets.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Learn & Play @ CML Thing 16

Boy, after blogging and futzing around in the Camaro Wiki it was pretty easy to plunge into the CML PBwiki page and start wikiing. I linked my blog and the end then hit some of the "faves" categories. I added some favorite albums which did nothing but reveal my age and musical decrepitude. //

Since CML would flatline in less than 24 hours if lunch were missed I also added to the favorite restaurants page. I couched mine as a hypothetical recommendation to someone visiting Tesch Services here at the Ops Center. Here in Collection Development we visit every location in the system at least once annually so by default we've also created a de-facto cook's tour of Cowtown. We usually rely on branch staff recommendations, or our own collective memory to choose the spot, but we also tend to crave the new and eschew the rut. My utopian dream: a CMLeats Wiki!!!!!!!!! Organized geographically (for my convenience) with realtime raves & rants (& what the hell, while I'm dreaming--menu links), and directions. This could also be a fun Web 2.0 thingy to share during new staff orientation. I've added my four.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CML Learn & Play Thing #15

I checked out (Ha!) a couple of the library wikis. The Princeton Book Lovers wiki kept returning access errors when I tried to move off the main page. Not desirable in a wiki, though the idea is sound. A wiki would lend itself to a book based reader's advisory tool.
I also looked at Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki which struck me up front as one of the best wiki applications for a public library. It could be used system wide or it could be tailored to specific locations. I also liked that it uses the familiar, comforting, Wikipedia layout. It turned out to be somewhat of a bummer to find that random checks in the collection development area found lots of links and someone's idea of a "good " structure but virtually no content. Yawn.
I had a better wiki experience outside of the library world. One of the automotive websites that I haunt launched a wiki at the beginning of '08. They used a clever method to quickly build content--a contest. Numerous prizes, some strong rules and active moderators helped the thing grow quickly in both quality and quantity. Even though I didn't win the tires, the die cast or the stainless Y-pipe, it was a lot of fun to author some pages:

What I find almost more fun than authoring is editing. Lurking and trolling for misspellings, bad grammar, and poor syntax gives one a sort of perverse feeling of being simultaneously covert and constructive. While the concept behind Wikis is to be uber-collaborative and something in which any/everyone can participate my experience with them in practice is that a relatively narrow "cadre"does most of the heavy lifting and many people are not thick skinned enough to handle the ruthless editing required to keep a wiki(pedia) well documented and objective and not a mish-mash of opinion, myth and hearsay (like in a blog!!)

CML Learn & Play Thing #14

I read all of the essays and one in particular resonated (likely because it was the least theoretical and "future-y". Rick Anderson's essay Away From the Icebergs caught me with the first paragraph because it advocates the same position the Collection Development has held as our message and and mantra for years now: that collections are changing and many factors have brought us to the place where we no longer want or need a massive print collection to answer any potential question for any potential customer who might come in...someday...perhaps. Right on the mark. Its a nice affirmation to find that someone trusted by OCLC to write for their site correlates with our message.
Likewise his second point is right on the mark, and I like to think our digital initiatives are making strides towards "eliminating the barriers".
I do feel that his third point is a bit wide of the mark in the assertion that "2.0" by itself levels access to info. Many, many commercial firms are trying to exploit paid access to what they used to sell in books. And the stuff with "real" monetary value--market research & demographics-- still requires a steep tariff for entry whether its ink & paper or electrons.

CML Learn& Play Thing Thing # 13

I did some exploring on delcious and left feeling that there are a few things that it would do for me, but not enough to set up an account. I did like the idea that it could be a shareable aggregator of links or bookmarks and can see how it would be useful in a reference role. It came up during a meeting I attended about Main divisions and basic source tarining for the system. It is neat that a division could compile their go-to websites and anyone at any location could know to go there if they run into a specialized reference question. The page that HFAR set up seemed clear, though I did find it ultimately frustrating that many of the links required an account to login. Great if I work in HFAR and there is a division login, or I've already established an account. Out in NewNorthWestside branch with a customer breathing down my neck wanting an answer while I create my own account.....not so much. I'd probably just make a call to Main like in the old days. It also seems to probably suffer from the same flaw that alot of web link aggregators and bookmark utitlites do--dead links have to be identified and purged manually.
Looking into the tagging social networking part just made me feel rather dim. I didn't readily grasp what the infromation I was seeing indicated. or how I could bend it to my advantage unlike fr'instance Library Thing. Like Bloglines I won't visit delicious again and will investigate, based on yapping with colleagues, the aggregating tools at Google.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Airstream Cruisette Diary 3

Since my long-term plan is to refurbish our Cruisette to be sympathetic with the late Art Deco period I made the choice to go with reproduction, period appropriate, tube-type bias ply tires. These were sourced from Coker Tire, which is THE company to go to for authentic period tires. The new tires were matched to the size of the old tires so there would be no issues with the ride height. Ultimately I settled on 650-16 Firestone whitewalls:
In a bit of serendipitous good luck Coker Tire was attending a monster antique car swap-meet in Springfield, Ohio and I was able to arrange to pick up the tires and tubes at the meet. Wandering through the show I was on the lookout for some sort of vintage car taillights to replace the atrocious late 60's plastic units currently on the trailer. I struck out at this but I did find six glass amber beehive lenses that fit the clearance lights, and I stumbled across a very well preserved "Universal Night Owl" tail lamp/license plate lamp fixture which was an exact match to the VERY rusty original on the Cruisette. You've got to love life when it hands you 50 year old spare parts!

Once these tires were mounted, balanced, and reinstalled our '52 was ready for the road once more.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Airstream Cruisette Diary 2

Once the shell was secure, and inspection of the brakes, axle, and wheel bearings showed them to be sound and serviceable the next step was to address the wheels and tires. The tires were at least 30 years old and replacement was obvious. The wheels don't appear to be original. My best guess is that they are some sort of truck wheel from the '50's. Since they were sound and not split-rims I decided to refurbish them. The chassis was secured on blocks and both tires, and the spare were removed.
Discount Tire in Hilliard Ohio stripped the old tires and valve stems and removed them for a nominal fee. What I wound up with was 3 rusty, pitted, slightly mismatched rims. The next stop in the journey was to Columbus Art Memorial for sandblasting. They did a great job and were reasonably priced. At this point time was of the essence since the freshly blasted steel would begin to rust almost immediately with no coating. My father took over the next step and primed and painted the wheels using a black color coat/clear coat enamel. Were I to do this job again I would have taken the time to use some body filler to deal with the pitting on the wheels prior to painting.

CML Learn & Play Thing # 12

Twitter was really easy to set up, but it appears that it can be a quiet lonely world for TT6644 if your web based email account contacts aren't tweeting too....We'll see if my invites get any tweets in return. Subject searches turned up some posts, but I wasn't ready to push through my social discomfort to join in.
11/17/08 update: I figured out how to follow people, but nobody has directly twittered/tweeted at me....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

CML Learn & PLay Thing # 11

I'm glad Learn & Play gave me the nudge to set up a Library Thing account. I got to attend a session by the founder when I was at Bookexpo in LA in May. I went away from it very impressed with the data manipulation possibilities that might apply to collection development.
I found it very simple and straightforward to add books, and it was very easy to paste-it and edit and expand some book reviews I've previously written. I will admit I'm more than a little intimidated at the thought of the time it will take to catalog the thousands of books I own. One must begin somewhere:

My only Library Thing regret was not rushing the stage at Bookexpo to grab one of the dozen or so free barcode readers that Tim Spalding gave away.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Airstream Cruisette Diary 1

This is the first in a series of posts that will outline the progress made thus far in restoring our 1952 Airstream Cruisette. When we started to refurbish it in 2002, it had lain fallow for 17 years--literally in a field. Fortunately it had fared rather well with only some modest floor rot caused by open windows and an end cap dent from a fallen pine tree as major issues to address. Most of the dent popped out and should be repairable without panel replacement. A full floor replacement was a given from the outset anyway. The initial plan was to make it roadworthy and usable if only as an aluminum tent. We used some heavy gauge sheet metal and extruded aluminum L brackets to tie the shell and good sections of the floor together to correct shell lift cause by floor rot at the front end. In the process of this work some of the original linoleum floor covering was uncovered. Currently the trailer is carpeted in a blue indoor-outdoor carpet installed in the early 1970's. Prior to that it was carpeted in a yellow berber carpet. This was on top of red and cream-colored layers of paint laid over the original linoleum. Preserving the linoleum is likely not possible due to the planned full floor replacement, but I intend to find a way to preserve and integrate some of it in the final plan.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Learn & Play @ CML Thing #10 with image generators. There was some really (potentially) cool ones on but each of the ones I wanted to use seemed to be a dead link or sat there churning away with no picture. I ended up making yet another Paris traffic sign like many others who visited . Its snarky and aimed at the Germans.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Learn & Play @ CML Thing 9

Well so far I've been underwhelmed by the content on the library related blogs I've been following on Bloglines for the past few weeks. Library Stuff seemed arcane and none of the posts seemed to grab me. was also not engaging. Maybe its the vernacular tone, maybe its generational, maybe the open politics make me feel uneasy, but again it doesn't speak to me. I tried Technorati and it served up many of the same in its weighted results. I sampled some more and again none engaged. If anyone knows about a good selection oriented library blog I'm still looking. I also tried Technorati for some automotive blogs and it sort of confirmed what I susoected: that Autoblog, Jalopnik, and Left Lane News are the biggies.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CML Learn & Play Thing #8

This has turned out to be one of the most (in fact the only) frustrating things to learn in this whole project. I was able to set up the Bloglines account and it was very easy to set up feeds of 13 of the things I regularly read. What I haven't been able to figure out is how to get my feeds to display to the public. I'm also at a loss how to use the orange RSS feed buttons on sites to subscribe. At this point I'm of a mixed opinion as to whether it will be any sort of time or effort saver and worth the effort to use. I may try to see what other options are out there that do the same thing.
In an attempt to see if my feeds can be shared:

If not maybe Google reader in a later post.

Amazon Kindle

My department owns an Amazon Kindle which we are in the process of routing around so that everyone here can get a feel for how it works and what it can do. My first impression is that it had a nice balance of portability and readability. The buttons on the front panel are far too small for my liking, but fortunately you don't seem to need to use them much for most functions. The "e-paper" display is nicer than I thought it would be--easy on the eye with decent contrast. Off axis viewing works much better than your typical LCD display. I do loathe the lack of colors other than black and white, and the momentary display color inversion when you change pages really bugs me--to the point of being a deal-breaker if I had to plunk down my own cash for one. I'm very curious to see if the thing has a long enough life to get generational improvements like cell phones & digital cameras. I still intend to buy and read something on it so I'll give a content spiel later.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Airstream Cruisette in earlier days

Our Cruisette has gone through a variety of changes since it has been in our family. It still carries WBCCI number 1764, though we're not members. Various parts have been polished, the streetside window had been out and re-sealed, carpet replaced, a new. table made, fully rewired, a range top to replace the vintage apartment stove a previous owner installed. The tounge and LP tanks were repainted. Several generations of mice have been evicted over the decades, and at least 5 coats of paint hang on the walls.
Inevitably the relentless forces of entropy have undone all of the prior refurbishing to our trailer. At this point in time our Cruisette will require a new floor, some panel repairs, LP system upgrades, new weatherstripping, frame and tounge painting, new 12V & 110V wiring, plumbing upgrades, cabinet work, paint and upholstery. Future posts will outline what has been accomplished thus far, and will track the progress of our ongoing restoration.
The photo at the right is our trailer during the mid 70's about to embark on a hunting trip with my father and uncle.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Learn & Play @ CML Thing 7

Since the object of this thing is to post about anything technology related I'd like to share the single thing that may make me get an IPhone when my battered old Nokia gives up. One word: DYNOLICIOUS
For a mere $12 you get most, if not all of the tools that are in a stand-alone G meter. Logging lateral acceleration on the off-ramp on my daily commute would be the bomb, not to mention the dynomometer functions. Imagine being able to do somewhat accurate A/B comparisions for modifications (ported exhaust manifolds for instance?). Cooler than cool.
Another tech (ish) geek moment is that this blog now registers when it is Googled. Yee haw!
Also here's a shout-out to my friend Jennifer over at Sweet Baby Bungalow:

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The title of this blog.and this post refers to not only my interest in Airstream trailers, but a trailer that I own. It is a 1952 Airstream Cruisette, which holds the distinction of being the smallest production Airstream ever produced. Its a mere 15' long. Its been in my family since around 1967, and passed through only a few hands since. My grandfather purchased it used from a trailer dealer in Sylvania, Ohio. My parents obtained it when he was no longer interested in using it. I grew up camping in this trailer. My wife and I received it from my parents in 2002 after it had lain fallow since 1985 when my folks bought a newer, larger trailer.
We've used it a few times, however, it is in need of extensive refurbishing. Our long range plan is make it structurally sound, discreetly add as many modern features as possible while maintaining the integrity of its late Art Deco design. Not surprisingly money and time are my main limiters, so it may be a slow process. I'll add to the blog as progress is made.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thing 6 part 2

This is fun! I made a postage stamp out of my daughter.

I cant wait to show her and Mommy when I get home!

CML Learn & Play Thing 6

Its been a busy week and my "real" computer is dead (and just today I found out that the new hard drive is on backorder--drat!) so tending to the blog got nudged down of the list. After a lot of experimenting and poking around I was able to figure out how to map my Flickr photos:

I used the resident mapping function on Flickr since Mappr's tool seems to be defunct. Pretty cool. It'll come in really handy when I'm old & senile to remember some of the places I've been!

The Mt Victory gas station sign is one of my favorites in this bunch because it has a backstory. MV is one of those two traffic light small towns that cover rural Ohio. Typically filled with late 19th and early 20th century buildings, you get a real feel for the fabric of the past since the geographic context is quite intact, even if many of the commercial/industrial buildings no longer serve their original function. The Gulf sign is attached to an early '20s gas station that is fully restored down to the vintage candy bar rack on the glass counter inside the office. The only thing lacking is Ethyl flowing from the pumps. I first spotted the place at night driving south on SR 31. It was lit up brightly in an otherwise sleepy dark town. An oasis for the weary (time?)traveller. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up for an instant. I made a trip back during the day-time to photograph the hell out of the place.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

L&P @ CML Thing 5 continued

This line is very nearly aways a hive of activity where books go from vendor boxes to readers' hands in a matter of hours. Truly a book junkie's magnet.

L&P @ CML Thing #5

Line wall
Originally uploaded by Airstream Moderne
At this point in my career I work for the library but not in a library. I do get to buy books which is cool beyond belief and get to toil away in a really cool Retro-Mid Century Industrial style building. This wall of glass and aluminum is the main public face of the building and provides real light for the processing line where get products from vendors into the hands of readers.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Starting Learn & Play--finally

A day late and a dollar short (weeks late and many dollars short?), I finally started my blog for CML's learn & play. The name of this blog....if you have to tied-in to my interest in Airstream trailers and Art Deco/Streamline Moderne stuff.