Monday, December 5, 2011

Update after Thanksgiving

 Since the last time I updated the blog I've been home twice, visited Nashville, planned a surf trip to Nicaragua, now ride a motorcycle, and have been traveling to TMMWV (Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia) on a weekly basis.

I've been training on the job at TMMWV, working on the assembly line, machining line, dyno benches, precision measurement room. I've completed less than a quarter of my overall training plan.

Overall I'm very happy with the job, but it's still a job. I absolutely look forward to the weekends. At the same time I don't dread Monday's.

Recently I got a new camera in preparation for traveling. I've been planning on getting one and turning this blog into a more visual experience. Now I can share pictures of my apartment and the City. Which brings up another new part of my life.

I'm moving in a week or two to a new place 5 minutes from downtown in a very safe area and cheaper rent than I currently pay. Right now I live in the suburbs and It's been killing me. I'm only home (Cincinnati) for about three days a week: Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I'm so sick of the 30 minute commute to downtown to enjoy the city. Not only is my new apartment closer to downtown but it is the same distance as my current house for commuting to TEMA, the Erlanger office in Cincy, with less traffic. It also has an outstanding view and right next to a park. I forgot to mention my rent will be cheaper than what I'm paying now. I'll get a picture update soon enough (you'll be lucky if its in another 2 months).

For now since this is the internet I figured I would share pictures of Cats 

Before Thanksgiving I went to Nashville with a couple of co-workers just to travel and check out a different city. Only a 4 hour drive and basically a free place to stay. The night before I left I used to research what to check out. Within 30 minutes of research I figured out enough places to go check out to fill up an entire week. Friday night we ended up going downtown on Broadway and checking out 2nd ave.
Saturday we went to Vanderbilt University just to walk around. Not much to see. Engineering building looked like a military fort, the hospital was massive, and the fraternity/sorority row had all original houses (not like the gingerbreads at UMD)
Reddit suggested we check out Jack Whites record label. Which was decent to walk in and check out. It was a small 8x8 room filled with stuff for sale. Took about 5 minutes.
Right down the road was a local brewery, Yazoo. Had a great tour of the brewery and had plenty of good beer, I ended up getting 2 jugs to bring home.
After that we all had to relieve ourselves so we went to a classy restroom. It was alright. I'm assuming it's so highly rated due to the history and the originality of the bathroom.
Then we cleaned ourselves up and headed to get a nice steak, go to a concert, and go back out downtown.
On the way back to Cincinnati we stopped by the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.

Mason Jar Chandelier

Tourist Lights
Skyline: Batman Building
Twin Turbo and C5-R

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Boredom Update

In one week I start my training at the West Virgina factory. I'll be shadowing the engine assembly line for one week, then shadowing the machining line for one week, and finally spend two weeks in the quality control area. I'll be working in the dyno test benches, doing engine tear downs, and working in the precision measurement lab while in QC. Like I said before an IE facilitates the tools and processes necessary to perform QC tests. Therefore I'll spend the majority of my time in QC.

I'm anxious to get on with this training. It will allow me to grasp how the factory really works, and will give me an opportunity to find ways to kaizen. I'm sure it will get old quickly. But the worse part will be living in the town of Buffalo West Virginia for the week. I'll be traveling back to Cincy every weekend but the weekdays will blow.

Well I really don't have much else to say. I have plenty of time right now, which is unusually right now. So I figured I'd give an update.

The Cincinnati sinus issues finally got to me. Started getting sick and grabbed some Allegra and knock-off Musinex at Walgreens. Feeling pretty good right now. Tomorrow I finish up my 2 day fundamental training. Its a great review from FSAE and PFS.

Kinda upset that I haven't found time to go to Wakenation Cincinnati, its getting a little too cold to go now.

Welp Cya.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Steel Cage

On the last leg of my first trip to Huntsville, Al. Currently finishing off my free coffee and wifi, while I wait for my late-waking coworker to grab some breakfast. I decided to update my blog. I'll try not to get sentimental but it doesn't help when I used domino sugar to sweeten up this crappy coffee. How bout dem O's.

For my first overnight stay in Al there are a couple of things I have found out. This accent is way different than any other accent. I've gotten used to the Eastern Kentucky and WV twang and it threw me off when I heard another style of twang. Its like bango compared to steel guitar. It's all still country.  And the other thing I found out is that I can't get away from car enthusiasts.

Both nights out to dinner I found myself eating over conversations about cars. Specifically late model BMW's and some imports. I lost interest in joining in on these chats. Yes its awesome to come together over a common bound of cars. But sometimes these conversations can debunk from the typical penis measuring competitions to the horrible level of high-school-girls-field-hockey-lunch-table gossip. Who knows who, my friends car has (insert outrageous big block, turbo size, or HP number), or the "can you believe they didn't even do their own transmission swap!", "OMG!"

Maybe it's just cause I haven't had a my own project in over two years and I'm bitter.

But to be honest I don't have any interest in throwing away twenty thousand dollars in order to be able to be on the scene. I will respect those that do. I will always snap my neck to check out a tow-hook crew member (which I saw the other day on the highway in Cincy; another aside: look at that amazing finish on that front bumper and quarter panel, mmm spacy), I will respect the person that tracks their toy two or more times a year. I will respect the at home garage fabricator. And I will absolutely respect the kid that only has 10 open ended wrenches, a mismatched socket set, and an Allen key set that is missing a 5mm, no impact gun, and still manages.

I will not respect talk. For a lack of better cliche. Talk is cheap. People talk about cars and projects all the time. Myself included. I'll ramble on about how I want to resto-mod a 240/260/270z (Under her skirt), grab a B5 S4 Avant and upgrade to the RS turbos, or redo another IS so that the exhaust doesn't drag on the ground and leave the crash bar in. But there are a limited few that actually do. This is why both nights at dinner I kept mostly quite. I had nothing to talk about. I haven't tinkered on my own car since I changed my oil last month.

However I've decided I need to get back into something. I need my own project; something I can do whatever I want to and call it my own. But I don't have the time, money, or space to deal with all that mass of a caged vehicle. That's why I'm going to eliminate two of the wheels. I've decided to get an Ironhead. While the riding season is coming to a close the winter will give me plenty of time to get my temperamental machine dialed in a bobbed out (when I find one for the right price).

I'm thinking of possibly going hardtail. Definitely going with drag bars, and flat black. Limited amount of chrome, but tons of originality. Not going to throw the front fork out too far. I don't want all that caster on the front tire. I'm not gonna go outrageous on this build. I want something rough around the edges and not too flashy. Something that will turn a head or two but not one that will gather a crowd. Most importantly I want something that I enjoy riding.

P.S. The Scion FR-S concept at Frankfurt looks amazing, I can't wait for this to come out.

Edit: I just saw this picture and my dad would love it. Revision Drawings

Friday, September 9, 2011


Funny how I could be forty five minutes away at school and not worry about my family so much if I haven't seen them in a month, but now I get upset that I  haven't seen my nieces or nephew in 3 weeks because I'm eight hours away.

I wonder if Cole has started walking.

I hope Elle has plenty of candy.

I really hope Katy doesn't need any emergency babysitting.

And I hope Lily has made up a new song on the piano.

It is wonderful to be here

It never gets old explaining why I'm here.

I've been asked many times why I came out to Cincinnati of all places to start a career.

I don't think they understand how beautiful their city truly is.

Hills that are tower one thousand feet over downtown. A skyline set in a valley next to a beautiful river. And a countryside...a real kentucky countryside that is 15 minutes away in any direction.

It is wonderful to be here.

It seems people take for granted this area they live in. Most have grown up here their entire life. And they went to UC, UK, Ohio State, and a couple other neighboring schools. These people don't even know what a Terrapin is. They will never know or understand  that Juan Dixon was the best player in any NCAA tournament history. A Terrapin is someone who see's the beauty and wonder of what they are given. They don't have to sign the top recruiting class win. They already know they have something wonderful. They take what they have and develop it. They make it their own. And they become champions.

This is not to say I am in no way better than anyone else because of the fact I came from the Old Line State. I just want to point out the fact that sometimes these people take for granted their beautiful surroundings, and their wonderful opportunity.

I've been asked many times why I came to Cincinnati to start a career.

I have two responses for them.

1. I love Toyota.

2. These Hills and this River.

Altered response for the Ladies

1. I would have never seen such beautiful eyes if I hadn't moved to Cincinnati 

I like to throw things in my blogs like that just cause I know my mom reads these and she is shaking her head right now. I could throw in some more grammatical errors for a similar affect but I figure some light hearted humor would do the trick instead.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Toyota Way

I'm settling in now. I've moved into my new place, have a new project at work, made a couple of friends, and found a couple great places to hang out on the weekend.

I was shocked when I checked my last blog date and It was almost a week ago. I logged back; I figured I needed to update since I hadn't done so all weekend. In fact I haven't updated since last Tuesday. Anyway I'll give a quick run down of what's been going on.

In my first week of work I've been in about 6 meetings, seen two factories, and have read as many manuals about "The Toyota Way" as possible. Today I finally got my work computer so I can now access all the tools I need in order to make progress with my project. I'm going back to West Virginia for two days this week and I'm planning on going back for 3 or 4 days next week.

I finally have an understanding of what my job as an IE (instrumentation engineer) actually does. I focus on testing in order to validate quality. For example, a random sample of engines need to tested for quality so I make sure the factories have the correct tools, or instruments in order to perform these tests.

The Toyota Way requires me to "Go see for myself", hence the reason I have already been to two factories and will be at WV for the most part of the next two weeks. Toyota also has its own language. Which is a combination of Janglish and acronyms. We were given a reference book for all the Japanese terms used and the hundreds of acronyms. Toyota has very specific and explicit set of ways. I can't explain all of them because I know none of them. It is a very standardized way of performing duties and responsibilities.

On the factories: They are modern marvels. Imagine a line of 10-20 CNC machining processes all lined up ready to perform a series of tasks in order to complete a single part. With a robotic conveyor moving the part from each operation. The part is then transported to the assembly line once it is completed. Where it is assembled with the other hundreds of parts to complete a final product. I have yet to see the stamping plants or vehicle assembly line which are said to be a real site to see. What I have seen is an engine production line that pumps out engines by the minute from unfinished cranks and pistons to fully assembled and ready to be quality tested or put into a vehicle.

To the fun things! This weekend my friend Bobby and I checked a bar right on the water, literally on the water. The Beer Sellar, is built on a barge on the Ohio River (on the KY side) with a great view of Downtown. I'm so glad I'm still by the water, especially a dirty river, it really makes me feel at home. The next day I moved into my new place and met the other roommate. Saturday night a bunch of new hires and my roommate went out to a really sweet part of Cincy, Mt. Adams. This is definitely the place to go out. I will be going back soon. Another thing to note. After hanging out at Mt. Adams we all went to Dixie Chili (same thing as skyline but not as mainstream) and I stepped up my game. Instead of getting the normal 3 way, I went with the 6 way, a sweet combination of spa, cincy chili, cheese, onions, garlic, and something else I can't recall. It. Was. Awesome! I questioned the hype about 3 ways or above, and found out Kentucky Bourbon is the answer. Anyway I had a great weekend.

I did get a little homesick this weekend though. I really hope there is a swell at thanksgiving. Also I miss everyone back home :)