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November 9,2008(WeekendEdition)

The weather was nice this weekend, but we know that the colder temperatures are on their way. A surprise snow storm is always just around the corner. Summer tires get pretty hard and do not function optimally when the temperature drops below 45º.  Brakes and tires are two things we never take for granted.

Frequent readers already know about the virtues of many of the items in the collection above.  Sharp eye readers will notice something new which we have not yet reviewed.  We'll get to it soon enough. 

We have talked about the bi-annual tire exchange ritual quite a few times, but we want to point out a few reminders.  The tires are always a few pounds short, so we always have the JNC Air on hand to bring the pressure back up to the proper level.  To make changing the tires easier, we always use a wheel hanger to help us align the bolt holes.

The other important thing we always check is the direction of rotation of the tires before mounting.  We are not sure if it makes a big difference, but since there is an indicated orientation , we thought it would make sense to follow it and mount it properly.  The forecast is for another week of sunny weather, so we did not put on the hard top...hoping we'll get a few more "convertible days" before the Winter. [Permalink] - Snow Tire installation


November 8,2008(WeekendEdition)

A few hundred miles ago, our brake-wear sensor light went on.  Since we had just changed the front pads, we knew it was time to replace the rear ones.  It has been a while since we replaced the rear brake pads.  Our ratio over the years has been about 3:1 front/rear in terms of frequency of replacement.

The tools are pretty standard: racing jack, torque wrench, hammer, wheel hanger, and the boxster repair manual from Bentley Publishing.  Once we had the car raised and the wheel off, we could see that the old pad was pretty well worn.

The Bentley Manual had the best directions.  We always break out the manual eventhough we have done this many times, as sometimes we like to review a step just to make sure.

The only new tool we have added over the years is an aluminum rod.  The rod made it a lot easier to tap out the brake pad retaining pin.  The safety cotter pin must be removed before the retaining pin and spring clip can be freed.

Once we had the old pad out, we easily saw the difference between the old and new pads.  While there were still plenty of "meat" left on the pad, it was clear that much had worn away.  So when the light comes on, replace the pads.  BTW, for readers who had asked about a quick way of pushing back the brake pistons so the new pad can be inserted...here is a tip: use the old pad to push the pistons back.

As Boxster owners who like working on their cars, we have found changing brake pads on the Porsche Boxster to be one of the more satisfying DIY maintenance tasks.  We save a lot of money and we know the job was done right.  Besides, what else have we got to do on a beautiful Fall day :-)[Permalink] - Rear Brake Pad Replacement


November 7,2008(FundraisingFriday)

Press passes to events are one of the benefits of working for an online magazine.  It means we don't have to pay and there are always plenty of events to choose from for any given day. 

However, the one rule we have here is that we always pay our own way at charity events.  In September, we went to the Taste Of Roslindale.  It was there where we met some of the "babes" from Babes Making Strides.  They are a group of motocycle-riding, cancer-surviving, research money-raising local women who have declared their own war against breast cancer.

This Saturday they are having a Babes Comedy Nite fundraiser in Roslindale.  If you are looking for something fun to do which will also help out a great cause, drop on by and meet some of the "babes."  [Permalink] - Babes Comedy Nite


November 6,2008(ToughToolsThursday)

When we go on location, we pack our gear in Kata bags (W-92, T-212).  In the bags, we have spare SD memory, card readers, USB cables, and extra batteries.  We also pack a few "tough tools."  Two of the toughest ones are the indestructible Surefire flashlight and the indispensible Leatherman Skeletool

We have dropped them in streams, knocked them of ledges, and watched them tumble down the side of a trail.  We just picked them up, dusted off the dirt, and never gave them another thought.  They are low maintenance tools which have always worked when we've needed them.  The Surefire is brighter than most flashlights ten times its size, but is small enough to slip into pockets and the side of the Kata bag.  The Skeletool, like the Surefire, is always part of the kit

The Skeletool, besides being extremely useful, is easy to take along. There are so many ways to carry it.  It is small enough to fit in pockets, hooked onto belt loops, or clipped onto the side of most things. 

Another tough tool we sometimes pack is a good pair of binoculars.  We have smaller ones, but most of the time we grab the Brunton Echo.  The smaller ones are easier to carry, but the Brunton is the brightest of the lot.  Afterall, the whole point is to be able to see better.  So, now that you seen some of our "tought tools," tell us about your favorites! [Permalink] - Tough Tools


November 5,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

The RainyDayMagazine office was turned into an election night results center last night.  We were tracking results from all of the major news sites and campaign headquarters in this historic election.

The wall screen was projecting a live news feed, other machines were tracking the real-time election results as they were posted from the various states.

By 8PM, Barack Obama was projected to be the winner of Massachusetts.  Folks were cautiously celebrating all over town.  It was not yet clear how the night will eventually end, but it was starting to look like it would be a big night for the Democrats.

When the Pennsylvania and Ohio results came in for Obama, we knew it was going to be a huge night for the Democrats.  All of a sudden, our prediction from a week ago did not seem so far-fetched.

At 11 PM, MSNBC made the projection that Barack Obama would become the new president of the United States!  A history making moment of which every American can be proud.

The easy part is over.  Now comes the real challenge.  There is a lot of work awaiting all of us.  It is about changing things to make things better for everyone.  Change is hard, change is scary, but we can only grow if we are willing to change.  The country is ready for a change.  The country needs a change.  We are ready to get to work.  President Obama, what do you need?  [Permalink] - We Have A Winner


November 4,2008 (ElectionDayTuesday)

Four years ago, the country elected a president which steered us down some pretty rough roads.  Instead of changing course and getting us out of the mess, we were driven almost off the cliff.  Today, the country will get another chance to select a new driver.  Let us hope that collective wisdom prevails this time around and we elect somebody who knows how to drive, can read a map, and knows when to stop and ask for directions.

Even though some of us here are a bit under the weather, we got up early to go vote.   We have voted in Boston for many years and we NEVER had to wait in line, until today.  The line moved quickly and we experienced no problems at our voting location.  We were done in about 20 minutes.

It was heartening to see all different kinds of people waiting in line to vote.  Judging by the number of folks in the queue by 7AM this morning, it seems like the turnout for this election is going to be huge! 

We made our election prediction over a week ago.   By tomorrow we'll know if we were right.   In any case, the country will have elected a new president.   One thing we know for SURE, it will be a change for the better.  How exciting is THAT?  [Permalink] - Vote


November 3,2008 (ElectionEveMonday)

If you need to know where you should go to vote tomorrow, just click on the image below and fill in the info.  You'll get directions to the appropriate voting place for the address.

We'll be voting for change, but regardless of your particular political leanings, we hope you vote.  It does count.  [Permalink] - Vote For Change


November 2,2008 (WeekendEdition)

We arrived at Walden Pond early in the day, but since the clocks were turned back last night, it really wasn't THAT early.  Most of the trees had already changed

The colors have shifted toward a more muted set of orange and brown.  There were still clusters of reds popping up in places around the pond

This was probably the last weekend where there will be good color at Walden Pond.  Most of the leaves will be gone by next week. If you want to see some of the remaining colors, you need to go soon.  [Permalink] - Walden Pond Fall


November 1,2008 (WeekendEdition)

One look out the window this morning and we knew the day was going to be a nice one.  The colors in the RainyDayGarden started to turn about two weeks ago, but the the Japanese Maples are now just peaking.  It was going to be one of those picture-postcard New England Fall days and we wanted to capture some of it on silicon. 

We thought since the colors were so nice in the garden, they must be peaking at the Arnold Arboretum as well.  We hopped on the Vespa and scooted down to see if we were right.

Because of the wet Summer many of the trees still had their leaves.  Bright yellow colors were everywhere.  The Arboretum is a popular nature destination for many Bostonians but since it was still early in the day, it was not yet crowded.  We took advantage of the temporary tranquility and got some nice panoramic shots.

By the time we were done shooting, more and more of the usual Arboretum goers (jogger, bikers, stollers) had started to appear.  It was time for us to pack up and go get some food.  All that hiking really works up an appetite!

Today was a picture perfect New England Fall day.  Apparently, a few painters agreed and were out capturing some of the Fall colors as well.  If it is still nice tomorrow, we'll take a drive out to Walden Pond and see if we can get another shot of the heron.  [Permalink] - Fall Colors


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