Enhancing images on TV and in Movies

Have you noticed how laughable it is the way they portray image enhancement on TV and in movies?  They take some blobby blurry picture, hit a button and poof! Crystal clear (for the non-geeks out there, it doesn’t work that way in real life).  This video-strip cracked me up, taking it to the logical extreme:

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LeSharo: Demolition

This weekend we did some damage to the LeSharo project.  After 2 visits to various RV stores and of course Home Depot, we were able to get most of the parts needed to fix or replace things that are messed up on the coach.

We tore the galley apart completely, removing the stove, sink, faucet, and countertop.  Everything was incredibly filthy, and with things taken apart, cleaning was a lot easier and more effective.  The countertop cleaned up nicely, as did the sink (it’s surreal to put the sink in another sink and clean it), and the stove.

There is a 110v electrical outlet on the back of the galley which was “harvest gold” (a lot of the interior is that ghastly color, unfortunately).  To remedy that, I had to put a junction box inside the cabinet and join the 2 cables that used to go to that outlet (one is incoming power, the other feeds the dual outlet outside next to the main door).  I joined in a new run of Romex and ran it up to a new ultra-low profile plastic box and installed a Decora style Almond colored outlet & cover plate.  It looks MUCH better.

We were able to find replacement lenses for the interior lights and so the old brittle & cracked lenses went in the trash.  Karen took down all the mashed-up window blinds and the valence boxes containing them.  She has some nice green/gray material which will make a nice fabric upgrade, so we’re planning to recover them all.  Also, the wood trim pieces from the valences and the galley backsplash are all destined to be sanded down and re-stained/varnished.  We’d really love to put in those nice day/night blinds, but as those are quite pricy, we’ll make do with some plastic blinds from Home Despot.

The roof ventilator was a mess.  The plastic lid was completely missing, the fan motor frozen solid, and the fan had all of it’s blades broken.  We decided just to replace it, and bought a new unit.  Yesterday, we were only able to remove the old unit (not a fun job), but ran out of daylight.  The thing wasn’t screwed down at all, it was just glued in place with silicon and roof sealant that had become like concrete with age.  It took a lot of chiseling and grunting to get that thing out.  Next up will be squaring up the rounded corners of the hole in the roof, cutting the new vent interior flashing down to the 1″ roof thickness we have, and installing the new vent.

Bought our LeSharo and drove it home…almost

On Saturday, we bought a LeSharo motorhome from a really nice guy in Sylmar, CA.

What is a LeSharo you ask?  Well, according to my wife, it’s the ugliest motorhome ever made.  I think that is perhaps a little harsh, but it certainly isn’t “beautiful” buy any stretch of the imagination.  Here’s a picture of one (not mine – this one looks much nicer):

Inside, it’s a marvel of space-saving ingenuity (click on images to zoom in):

One of the things that was important to me in this purchase was price, size, and mileage.  It had to be affordable, it had to be small and preferably fit into the parking structure at work (8’2″ clearance), and of course who wants to send more on gas than is absolutely necessary. This unit is 21 feet long, so it fits into a standard parking space, just like an oversized van.

So, we get on the road, stop at a little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop for some much needed nourishment, then head on down to Orange County.  I have noticed that some people post a lot about things that go wrong with their LeSharo, but ours was doing well.  Engine temp looked OK, and though the speedo doesn’t work, my GPS tells me my speed, so I have that covered.  All went well until driving up and down the hills on the 73 toll road.  Suddenly… bang, followed by this nasty machine-gun sounding rasping noise.  I pull over and shut it down (which too some doing, because frequently, you turn it off and remove the key, and the engine is still running!!)  After poking around in the really hot engine compartment, I found that the alternator was missing 1 of 2 bolts, and had rotated on the existing bolt so that the flanges near the belt beat against the side of the engine.  Voilla! My machine gun.  After waiting for things to cool down, and awaiting the arrival of some tools (well of course I didn’t bring tools WITH me, how silly!), I went to work.  I levered the alternator back into position, then Karen tried to tighten the bolt.  To no avail – it seemed stripped.  I knew there was a garage just down the highway, if I could only get it to limp there.

I rammed a screwdriver down the side from the top to prevent the alternator from swinging back and making contact with the engine.  It was really tough to get in there, so I figured it would hold.  Maybe.  I gingerly started the engine (no horrible noises), and drove slowly down the road again.  A really nice couple in a Rialta passed us, and pulled over to see if they could help.  The Rialta looks just like the LeSharo from the outside, but it’s the ‘next generation’ with a Volkswagen engine (instead of the Renault), and a few other upgrades.  It was very surreal to have another similar RV pull over, as you just don’t ever see these things on the road.

We made it to the garage, who couldn’t help us.  2 more garages later (with my trusty screwdriver still holding the engine together), we found one who was not only open, but willing to fix it.  The missing bolt, of course is no problem.  The existing stripped bolt might be difficult.  After poking around for a bit the mechanic determined that the bolt went through the bracket and screwed into a bushing (a fancy nut) on the back side.  Said bushing was in absentia.  So, we’ll have to wait until Monday for him to fabricate something.  While he’s at it, he said he will adjust the idle speed as it was so low that the idiot lights on the dash would all flash on and off.  Entertaining, but unnerving.

Oh yea, I stumbled on to the secret to removing the key without the engine continuing to run.  I found that if I increased the RPMs a bit, then turned it off, it would shut down normally.  For some reason, that doesn’t work when it’s doing it’s ultra-low idle thing.  Go figure.

So, it seems that we’re in good company with many out there who were unable to even get the vehicle home without some issue.  What on earth have we done?  Oh dear!