v10

After 7 years of arbitrary site versions, I officially declare this to be the 10th version of inphiltrate.com.  This means absolutely nothing.  Just sayin’.

This post also means that my site is now on the new host.  So hooray for Hostgator. :D  You have no idea how much I’ve missed cPanel.

New host yet again

I’ll be moving to a new host within the next week, so if my site is down, that’d be why.

I got a great Cyber Monday deal on HostGator hosting for the next 3 years, so hopefully I won’t have to do this again for a while. :)

Footsteps

I don’t think I’ve ever linked to something like this before, so let me just give a brief introduction for it.

Reddit’s nosleep forum is a place for you to suspend your disbelief of any tale contained therein.  Some stories are extremely creepy, some are not.  Some are obviously made up, some are very possibly real (but in that subreddit, everything is treated as if it’s true).

This series by 1000Vultures is the best thing I’ve ever read on the Internet.  Seriously.  It’s not really creepy, but it is riveting, heart-pounding, excitement.  Beautifully written, wonderfully woven together.

There are 6 parts.  If you enjoy a good story, read them all.  If you’re skeptical and bored, give it a chance.  You won’t be disappointed.

A PSA about Leather

Here are some fun facts about leather:

  • If you want your leather item to last you for literally your entire life, buy full grain leather.
  • Of the grades of leather, the most common are bonded leather (which is garbage – just bits and pieces of scraps glued together to resemble leather) and genuine leather because they’re the cheapest.  From worst to best, the grades are bonded leather, genuine leather, top grain leather, and full grain leather.  These sometimes go by different names, but these are the most commonly used that I’ve seen.
  • Genuine leather is a grade of leather.  When you see the label “Genuine Leather” stamped on something, that does not mean it is real leather, as opposed to vinyl or some other faux leather – it means the grade of leather that item is made out of is genuine leather.
I have gone on this tirade about leather to educate anyone reading this, as the people over at Belts.com gave me hell over this belt, of which I ordered both a black and a brown one.  The belt is clearly labeled as full grain leather, yet when they came in, they were just as clearly stamped “Genuine Leather” on the back.

I called to report this error, and they argued with me that I was wrong, telling me that full grain leather just indicates the grain pattern and that the belts are really full grain leather.  I explained to the guy exactly what I explained above, and he argued that I was wrong, but that I was welcome to send the belts back and have their returns department inspect them and they would reimburse me for shipping if they found an error.

So, I sent them back, hoping that whoever inspected the belts would actually know a thing or two about leather.  Today, I finally got a call from them, arguing the same false, misleading crap about the genuine leather stamp just meaning it’s real leather, not that it’s a grade of leather.  Eventually, I got the guy to talk to his manager, and they refunded me everything, including all of my shipping, but he was adamant the entire time that I was wrong, even after I told him to visit Saddleback Leather’s website, the Wikipedia page for leather, and to just generally research the topic.  If you Google “genuine leather,” the second result is a page that clearly states:

“The fact is the genuine leather label is purposely ambiguous, and meant to mislead the consumer. The label actually tells the consumer what it is not, and should actually send off a buyer beware signal. It is most certainly not full-grain, top-grain or belting leather.”

You’d think a website that sells belts would know this.

So yeah, for anyone that wants a belt, wallet, bag, etc that will last you for your entire life, make sure you buy full grain leather from a reputable dealer, and check to make sure you get what you paid for.

General Car Care Tips

I wrote this as a comment on a car forum a whole back, but I thought I’d share it here. It’s a bunch of useful things to know to take care of your car. Some of it is pretty basic, but some may help someone out there. :)

1) Wash the car when it’s dirty. There are great guides to be found on the Internet about how to successfully wash a car, but the basics are:

-Hose it off thoroughly beforehand to get the dirt and grit off (this will help you to avoid swirl marks).

-Don’t use Dawn or dishwashing liquid. It’s made to cut through grease and will kill the wax on your car.

-When washing/drying, wipe in back and forth motions, not in circles. Even when freshly washed, there are still particles you can’t see that will cause swirls (clay bars remove those particles).

-Don’t use your fingernails to scrape anything off of the paint!

-Don’t forget to clean your windshield wiper blades. Helps them to work better and last longer.

-If you drop your washcloth on the ground, wash it off with the hose REALLY well, or, preferably, grab a new one and throw the old one in the washing machine.

-Do NOT wash in direct sunlight unless it’s during the winter or on a pretty cool day (and even then, it’s still better to wash on a cloudy day or in the shade). The sun will dry your car and leave water spots.

-Regularly clean and vacuum the inside of your car too. This will help to keep it from developing odors.

-Clean your windows inside and out with a non ammonia-based glass cleaner.

2) Detail it about every 6 months, more often if it’s kept outside.

-Use a clay kit. Clay bars remove the crap that you can’t see. When you run your fingers over a freshly clayed surface, it will feel brand new. You won’t realize the difference until you clay it.

-Use a decent wax. I personally use Meguiar’s Tech Wax 2.0. It’s easy to apply and easy to remove the excess. The only con is that it doesn’t last quite as long as a paste wax, but that just means I get to detail my car a little more often, which I generally like doing. :D

-If you have any plastic or vinyl on the outside of your car, don’t apply real wax! If you want to wax those parts, use a synthetic wax like Turtle Wax Synthetic. It sprays on and wipes off super easily, can be applied even in direct sunlight (that’s kind of a big deal), and you can put it on pretty much anything.

-Speaking of synthetic wax, PUT THAT SHIT ON YOUR WINDSHIELD. It’s less streaky that Rain-X (or so I find) and if you’re going over 40 miles an hour, you will never have to turn on your windshield wipers in the rain.  I would only apply synthetic wax to a windshield depending on how often you wash the car or how often you clean the windshield.  Don’t apply it every time you wash the car, or it’ll build up.

3) If you have to park outside a lot, buy a sunscreen or put towels over your dashboard to keep it from cracking. Years of sun abuse wreak havoc on dashboards.  At the very least, you’ll keep it from developing a very ugly case of fading.

4) If you park next to other cars, you will get dings/scratches. This is a sad truth. Other people typically don’t give a shit about your car, and half of them don’t care about their own cars either. If you don’t want dings/scratches, park in the back of parking lots (exercise!) or in end spaces where only a passenger side of another car is facing you. There HAS to be someone in the driver’s side, but there doesn’t have to be someone on the passenger side.

5) Read your car’s manual about oil changes. The “change your oil every 3k miles” thing is obsolete. Most manufacturers recommend every 5-7k or even 10k miles these days. If you do mostly city driving, it’s better to change the oil earlier. If you really care, learn how to change your oil yourself. It’s one of the easiest things to learn. For me, this saves a lot of money because I use Mobil1 synthetic oil and Mobil1 filters, but it’ll probably save you less if you’re using dino oil from a $20-30 oil change place. However, those places don’t always do the best of jobs. I’ve heard horror stories about people getting oil changes at Wal-Mart, only to drive away and find out they never put oil back into the engine!  If you decide to do this yourself, I personally think ramps are easiest, but if you use a jack, ALWAYS support the car with jack stands before getting under it, and no matter what you’re lifting the car with, engage the parking brake and put chocks under the back wheels.  Safety first! :)

6) Don’t put an air freshener in your car. Seriously, it’s hard to get that smell out and they smell terrible. If your car starts to smell, you need to clean it REGULARLY, not cover up the odor with something else.  You can find deodorizing products if your car has a smell, but I have no experience with them.

7) If you have leather, you need to clean it and condition it regularly or it will crack.

8 ) Do not ignore anything. If your car makes a noise, google it or go ask on a car forum.  It might be nothing, but it can’t hurt to find out.

9) Change everything that needs to be changed regularly (air filter, cabin air filter if you have one, tires, brakes, etc).  Besides normal engine oil, your car also has differential oil that needs to be changed after like 100k miles (as long as you don’t live in the mountains).  Your transmission also uses a lubricant, but I’m unfamiliar with how changing that works.  Read your manual. :)

10) Don’t put stupid decals on it (anything that blocks the sun will make your car’s paint fade unevenly, meaning once you put a decal on your car and leave it there for a while, you can’t ever take it off without seeing the difference in the color of the paint). If it’s new, request the dealer not put their decal on it or remove it immediately upon pickup.  They’re not paying you to advertise for them, and dealer decals look dumb and cheap.

11) If you want to, tint the windows. Keeps the car cooler and looks better.

12) Keep an air compressor and jumper cables in your trunk. You can get each for $15 at Wal-Mart. If your phone doesn’t have a flashlight, also keep a flashlight in there. It also can’t hurt to keep some toilet paper in your trunk. You never know…