About Clay

I'm a system administrator in beautiful Charleston, SC. I'm happily married to my wonderful wife Nan and we have a 4 year old daughter Lela. I'm a total geek. I got into electronics when I was around 9 or 10 and got hooked on computers shortly thereafter. I also love Sci-Fi, (not fantasy) particularly Star Trek. My favorite outdoor activities include rollerblading, biking and hiking.

Bimmer down

After sorting out most of the problems with the BMW over the years, and finally getting it running well enough for a long trip, she’s gone and blown a gasket. (literally) I’d hoped it was an electronic problem since there were previously no signs of gasket failure, but on my most recent check, there was coolant in the oil. This car has been plagued by coolant pressure related issues since we got it and when I finally fixed it, the next weak link broke. Thankfully we haven’t driven it since, so hopefully the bearings, cams and journals haven’t been destroyed. Either way, it’s time to rebuild the engine. Since that will cost about what the car is worth, it’s going to get put on the back burner for a while. We’re going to get a new car for my wife to drive in the mean time and decide what to do with the 530i later.

CentOS + VirtualBox & kernel updates

I’ve had issues with kernel updates for a while on my CentOS 6 home server. It’s a problem that would come and go and I never put much time into figuring out why it was happening. As it turns out, the VirtualBox kernel drivers were to blame. With the vboxdrv service running, often times the kernel update process breaks when dracut attempts to build a new version of initramfs. The simple solution I stumbled on was to stop the vboxdrv service, run the update, then rebuild the vbox drivers and restart the service.  It’s a little clunky, but it works every time.

A new car project: 1966 Austin Mini Cooper

With the E39 project being finished, I’ve been itching to do another car project. My wife and I were always interesting in getting a classic Mini, but were never able to find one in good condition. I’d scoured online resources like craigslist and the MiniMania forum on and off for years, but with no luck. I even came close one time when I found a guy that was moving and didn’t think he’d be able to take his prized car with him. Fortunately for him, he was able to keep his Mini, and another one slipped through my fingers. I’d almost given up when I found a rare ’66 mini intact with most of the parts for cheap on craigslist. I was leaving for a work trip and decided I wouldn’t even look until I was about to head back. Luckily for me I found it was still available the night before I was to return.  I rented a truck and car carrier and drove 5 hours to GA to pick it up (and 5 hours back) the day after I got back.  It was a long day, but was totally worth it.  The Mini is a 1966 Mark I made by Austin.  It’s got the original 998cc engine, but also came with a Cooper head that should improve performance.  It’s going to be a lot of work, but much of the hard work is already done.  The previous owner had already disassembled it and organized all the parts, so I can start right in on the clean-up and restoration.