sanding = joy

decent progress; informed landlady that i’d like to continue renting and she seemed pretty happy about that. so 9westy won’t be losing her home while she’s all nekkid and stuff.

thumb felt a little sore during and after, but now it feels good. my test is lifting a full glass; it causes me no pain right now. i worked only with the sander and not the drill. the areas i’m uncovering will need cleanup with drill tools, but i have to say that the 40 grit sandpaper i’m using now really tears the paint off, much better than anything else. it even blew right through the racing stripe.

nice thing about it is coming home, showering, and feeling very justified in sitting down with a bowl of ice cream to watch back episodes of ‘alias’, my current guilty pleasure.

exceptional style in vans in ‘alias’ continues with a really hott old school vw bus that looked like it could be bare metal.


i was looking at photos of this year’s big houston art car parade, mostly looking for ideas. i have some vague ideas of what i’d like to do with the top of 9westy– a sort of openwork sculpture along the lines of these “incredible wrought-iron beetles,”:http://www.oldbug.com/ironbug.htm but wrought iron isn’t a practical material for me to work in for about a million reasons. so i had this thought last night that maybe i could use wicker. i could collect old junked wicker furniture pieces, extract the bits i like, and coat them with epoxy or fiberglass resin to make them sturdy and weatherproof, then construct a shape out of them.

anyway, i wanted to write that down so i don’t forget.


there’s a meditative quality to sanding a very large object, and something deeply satisfying about seeing a fine powder fly from the sanding wheel. one forgets about the vast job ahead and focuses on the moment.

nevertheless, it is strangely physically taxing.

i look at the van every time i go to the garage and think, “this is going to take _forever.”_ i’m pretty patient, though.

i’m not the only noisy one

so after a three week hiatus, i’m back in the sanding saddle and the paint is coming off.

my landlady’s kids and their friends have set up a computer in the other part of the garage, and it’s the hangout now. the noise would bug me if i weren’t making so much damn noise myself. between the sound of the sander and the earplugs i wear to protect myself from it, i can’t hear anything but myself swallowing.

i did stop the sander briefly last night to hear one of the kids yelling, “SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUTUP!!” he probably didn’t mean me. hope not. that’s the one thing i can’t do, much though i hate creating a racket.

i tried the wee small brush for the first time last night (having used the larger “cup” brush before). it’s easier to handle than the bigger brush, because less surface area is meeting the van’s surface, but wow is it a wicked little thing. it removes paint/rust/the racing strip very quickly but it also left some scratches in the metal.


a couple of days ago, MFM called me at work.

he likes to quiz me.

“do you know who this is?” (like i wouldn’t recognize that voice.) “yes!”

“do you know what this weekend is?” “BUGOUT!”

he and his wife invited me to come to bugout in Manassas, VA with them this weekend. he said i could even ride with them if i didn’t want to take the van or the bug. they go up every year on memorial day weekend, and her family has a reunion.

bugout, for those not in the know, is a large VW show that occurs on memorial day and labor day weekends. it’s probably the biggest vw show on the east coast barring waterfest, but as far as i’m concerned, waterfest doesn’t count since it’s presumably watercooled only. what the hell do i want to see a buncha riced out golfs for? it’s the _old_ ones that i want to see.

anyway, i knew i wasn’t going to go this year. besides the fact that i need to sit on my $$ and stay home and do useful stuff like sand my van, i feel like i’m taking a break from all vw stuff this year, and i’m liking it. obviously, i’ve met some dear friends through vw events, but there are some aspects of vw culture that bother me. watercooled drivers have a general tendency to want to spend money on their cars in a way that strikes me as being basically about bling. a lot of people are into “performance tuning”, which is basically a euphemism for “i’ll show you what a big man i am even though i feel small inside”. the 20-something guys who will spend an hour telling you in elaborate detail all of the grand things they’re going to do to their car are the most boring.

anyway. so i’m not going to bugout, but it was really, really nice of M & J to invite me. but i’m betting i’ll be going next year with a verrrry unique entry into the watercooled van & camper category.

secret option #7: both

well, i did take a little nap. sometimes i think the nicest way to appreciate a beautiful day is with a light nap in a bright, airy room with open windows. then i headed over to the garage to try out some new paint removal strategies.

finally some “good progress”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/spacegrrl/10331684/ tonight! i used my little orbital sander and 120 grit sanding discs. i discovered something that i’d started to suspect– the sandblasting wasn’t actually reaching bare metal. there’s “three layers:”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/spacegrrl/10331677/ brown paint, white primer and dark gray primer. i guess they are primers or one primer that separates into two layers. i was only getting down to the dark gray primer and it looked similar to metal, plus it is more difficult to remove than the first two layers.

anyway, it’s incredibly gratifying to see the bright, silvery bare metal! it’s exactly what i had hoped for, all light and sparkly. with a coat of high gloss clear epoxy it’s going to be incredibly eye-catching. i’m getting excited.

my hands feel funny and my ears are ringing a little– i should bring some ear protection next time.

fuk yea

just home from a hard evening’s sandblasting and i was about to give up on my persuit of 21 jump street, but i’ve hit paydirt this time. it’s an episode about punks, they dress johnny depp up as a punk which is _so hot_ and they’ve got agent orange playing the live band. and jason priestly as a little babyfaced punk who lives in a squat.

the unfortunate thing is that in the second part of season one, the show went from being character driven to being issue driven, self-consciously moving from one Important Issue to the next. and the focus is less on depp, which is a _total mistake._ i mean, duh.

anyway, the sandblasting is going slow but it’s going. i feel bad every time i fire up the compressor, because my landlady is usually out working in her yard and it’s all idyllic and the compressor is damned loud. but she seems to be pretty tolerant of it. the compressor has trouble maintaining the pressure needed to blast effectively, but being slow about refilling the sand hopper gives it a chance to recover. after about an hour it stops recovering quickly and starts to sound funny so i shut it off at that point.

leaving the garage door definitely solves the ventilation problem and i’m not unusually tired like i was the first time.


finally decided this morning to stay home today and not go to the massive auto-fair in charlotte. i was pretty torn, but there’s a lot to do at home.

got the westy into the garage and spent about an hour sandblasting. it’s going to be a _very_ slow job i think. anyone who is interested in trying sandblasting is welcome to come help. as renovation projects go, it’s actually not that unpleasant, but it’s also probably not as sexy as it sounds.

apparently it does help ya work up an appetite, though, because i’m starving now!

ride to lonnies

can anyone give me a ride to lonnie’s from my house tomorrow (friday) after work (say around 5:30 or a little earlier)?

i think the westy will be ready provided MFM can dislodge various rusty brake components successfully. here’s hoping.

another pink bus


the shade of pink isn’t my favorite (or maybe that’s the lighting), but i love the neatly tied back pink curtains, the white interior, and the delicate white flower vine along the side.


i’m pretty hyped. i think i’ve got what i need to get started on sandblasting the westy this weekend. many thanks to jason! for showing me how to use my air compressor last night.

one of my co-workers was very interested in the project, and he talked to a friend who used to work in a body shop. the friend says the size of sandblaster that i have is similar to what they used in the shop and i should not have any trouble getting the paint off. here’s hoping that’s the case!

of course, time is a problem. on saturday, i’ve decided to _sell_ things in the big duke park yard sale, rather than buy them, and that will take up a lot of the day. on sunday, i want to visit sarah at the big car show in charlotte. hopefully i can work in some westy time around those things.