Archive for July, 2010

Rihaku Nigori Sake Candle

Posted in Candle Making on July 8, 2010 by themidnightengineer

One of the good things about where I live is that there is a heavy Asian concentration, which means there are Asian supermarkets such as H-Mart (Korean; used to be called Hanareum but because tongue-challenged Generic-Americans have trouble pronouncing Hanareum, they changed it to H-Mart) and Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ. In Mitsuwa, they have a great selection of Japanese made liquor such as beer, whiskey, other stuff that I can’t remember, and of course, sake. I love browsing the alcohol section because I love looking at the bottles, most of which are eye-candy. The Japanese create some of the most interesting and aesthetically pleasing bottles in the world.

Nigori is one of my favorite kinds of sake. It is milky and you have to shake it well before you pour. It has a slighty fruity taste and is sweet. It is a refined derivation of the Korean rice fermented peasant liquor makkolli.


Replacing Brake Pads on the Car

Posted in Auto Maintenance on July 2, 2010 by themidnightengineer

I took the car to my usual mechanic last Wednesday to have some work done and he was totally booked. So I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I carry an aluminum pipe in my trunk for taking the lug nuts off the wheels. The wrench is not enough. The nuts are so tight that you need the extra leverage to turn them. It was Archimedes who once said, “give me a lever that is long enough and I can move the world.” The pipe is also handy in case you need to encourage some random road rage miscreants into civility.

Here is what the brake assembly looks like with the tires removed. You have the caliper, the discs, and the pads.

Take the calipers off. Clean the discs using brake cleaner spray. Remove the worn pads.

Install the new pads. I get mine from the Toyota dealer.

Take out the sliding pins and clean them. Apply a fresh coating of high temperature grease.

The following photo shows the pistons inside the caliper. When you step on the brake pedal, these pistons apply pressure on the pads which then clamp on the disc.

In order to put the caliper back into place, these pistons have to be squeezed in. It helps to remove the cap of the brake fluid reservoir on top of the master cylinder to relieve the back pressure in the brake fluid line.

A lady who lives in the building next to me saw what I was doing and wants me to work on her car also. Great.

Wine Candles: Initial Specimens

Posted in Candle Making on July 2, 2010 by themidnightengineer

This is the initial batch of candles made from split wine bottles. One of them I shall give to a friend as a birthday present.


  • Order more soy wax from the supplier. I have discovered that Golden Brands 464, while easy to use, is susceptible to slight melting in the summer heat.
  • Order more fragrance oils. The one I currently have is Rainwater, which smells a bit like soap. I’d like to try out Kiwi and other scents.
  • Experiment with dyes. Up to now I haven’t done any colored wax candles. Since I am doing wine bottle candles, I thought it might be a neat idea to give the wax a wine color. Either burgundy or magenta.