Day by Day cartoon

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

My paper did get finished on time last night.

That was the warm-up research paper that was due that I mentioned Sunday evening. It is about Hot Wheels toy cars and although I admit to throwing it together in a hard fought afternoon, I'm pretty pleased with the results. It ran almost 1/2 page long but I don't think I'll get dinged for that. I emailed it to my instructor last night before the concert but discovered this morning that her email address on the syllabus is wrong and so it bounced back to me.

Now I just can't wait to see what kind of grade I get on it! And if I get creative and figure out someplace to post the file online, I'll share it with everyone. I suppose there must be a way through my Comcast web page...

Yes, I was there,

and what a show it was!
Simon & Garfunkel still have it Review by Michael Yount, The Salt Lake Tribune
Art Garfunkel reminded the Delta Center crowd early Tuesday night that the upcoming 50th anniversary of rock 'n' roll also marked the 50th anniversary of his friendship with Paul Simon.
Simon quickly chimed in that it was also the 48th anniversary of when the duo began arguing.
Whether their reunion is sincere or simply a money-making endeavor wasn't of much consequence to those in the mostly full arena.
Imagine this in your mind for just a moment; Paul Simon, standing alone on center stage with a 12 string guitar. Now hear the very first chords of "The Sounds of Silence" and feel the connection of recognition within the first three notes. It was almost eery to be able to know what song it was by such immediate and overwhelming connection to the synapses in my brain. And the BSU said the same thing on the way home, that song, those first few notes and a connection was made.

RATS! Blogger just ate my post! Now I have to try to redo the few witty paragraphs I already put in here...

Long story short then, it was a terrific show. "The Hazy Shades of Winter" was cranked up into a full-on rock and roll song that I felt didn't quite fit but nearly everything else was perfect. It was expensive, too much really but the spouse said she really had a good time and would like to go to more concerts as the come along. So I'm certain that if I suggest buying tickets, she will be in an funds-approving mode for a while. Rod Stewart's coming to town in September and we may attend that one to reprise seeing him back when we were still dating. Might just have to do that show...

Monday, June 28, 2004

I gotta tell you

that this two classes schedule is really crimping my life! I'm supposed to have a 3 page paper written by tomorrow night and I have changed my subject about 3 times while I tried to find the material that would either support or refute my intended thesis. And every time I would start researching I would end up side tracked and not finding what I needed.

So I'm doing a paper on Hot Wheels. The ones from Mattel. You know the ones, the 99 cent toys you see in the bins at Wal-Mart. Did you know they are 36 years old? Did you know that Mattel claims to have sold more than 2 billion of these cars? How about that there are currently 25,226 items listed under the Hot Wheels banner for sale at EBay?

Its 10:20, I'm tired and I've written two paragraphs. If I don't get to bed on time, tomorrow will be shot to crap. And tomorrow night's the ultimate date with the BSU, we have tickets to the Simon & Garfunkle concert! So I have to get to bed tonight on time, I have to finish my paper in the afternoon tomorrow and email in to my instructor since I'm skipping class tomorrow night. Easy, right?

Culligan International responds

to last week's email that I sent them concerning the local Culligan office and my discontent over the brine tank, the tackily written demand for payment and the $150 cost. Its a tie game I guess.

Nathaniel,

Thanks for writing. Every customer is considered our highest priority, and I can certainly understand your frustration and point of view regarding the dispute with Culligan of Ogden UT. I have had the opportunity to speak with Bob Ball, the General Manager of this independant franchisee, and he has fully investigated the matter you presented. The dealer has indicated that there is no record whatsoever of the brine tank in question being returned, and in light of this lack of documentation he unfortunately will not be able to offer you any removal or reduction of the bill. The dealer assured me he has also reviewed the customer service response you had received in writing, and is dealing with that issue internally. I have made sure that your complaint against the dealer has been logged in our permanent database at the corporate headquarters. Please accept my apology on behalf of Culligan International.Sincerely,
Michael Mayschak
Consumer Affairs Specialist
Office of the President
Culligan International
1 Culligan Parkway
Northbrook IL 60046
(800) 947-4759
(888) 777-8715 fax
mmayschak@culligan.com
Note that Mr. Mayschak didn't address the ridiculous price of the brine tank at all. He did at least make certain that the local folks know just how unhappy I was with their service.

Very tired today

The transmission is in the Subaru. The job's not finished for a couple parts that had to be ordered. It was lots of hard work. Son Noah and I worked Saturday and Sunday getting everything back together. I'm sunburnt and cranky and my schoolwork didn't get done.

So that leaves me tonight to research and write a paper and try to get the yard mowed. And I've got to get a part ordered for Lily's car. And do my paying work too. There's lots of that today.

And the boy did something really, really stupid over the weekend that may put the planned trip for his summer break out of the question. You see, Lily was out of town at her grandmother's and he finds Heather, her best friend to hang out with Friday night. Pretty soon after that potentially relationship breaking complications occur. Heather's willing to leave it unsaid with Lily, Noah's taking the "gotta tell the truth no matter how painful" tact and so he may be girlfriend-free after Wednesday night when he gets home from Job Corp. Serves him right if that's how it turns out.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Its next weekend already!

And I never even got around to telling you about last weekend. So, since old news is really no more useful that bird cage liner and fish wrap, I'll try to just give you some highlights.

As mentioned before, there was DRAG RACING! Son Noah and I went off on our first trip to Rocky Mountain Raceway on Saturday night. We had a wonderful time, got to see some excellent racing and had our first experience with a Top Fuel Funny Car. (I've searched for a link to the car unsuccessfully. Sorry)

The announcer claimed that this supercharged, nitromethane burning racer created 6000 horsepower! I can't confirm if that is true but I can confirm that when the lights went green and the driver blasted off that it felt like the doors of hell had been cracked open! That thing blew blue flames 20 feet in the air and the the pulses coming out of the zoomie headers left imprints on my chest as the car passed by! Wow! I like to be close to race cars and such and while I take normal precautions to protect my hearing, I can tell you that this was the noisiest piece of hardware I have ever been exposed to! The driver shut it off at the 1/8 mile mark and was still going over 225 mph at the 1/4 mile mark!

I for one cannot imagine having the skills and reflexes to drive a beast like that under full power. The one we watched was not competing but making an exhibition run and we only got to see it once, though Noah wanted it to go again after he blasted past us the first time.

So the drag races were good fun and we will be going back there again in the future. On Sunday we headed back out for more racing, this time to spectate racing karts. I've been a kart racing fan for many years and when I heard about a national event being held at the local track, why we just had to go check it out.

The racing was at Black Rock Raceway and it is as fine a kart facility as I have ever visited. This place is really first class and just 75 miles from home. Anyway, we got there late after dawdling over breakfast but in time to see the final 3 races of the day. This is exciting stuff! The 125cc shifter karts actually get down the front straightaway in under 4 seconds with a top speed of just about 90 mph before turning into a sharp 180 degree turn! If you check out the track configurations on the website, they were running the "full reverse" track while we were there.

Lots of exciting racing and afterwards some pleasant conversation with several of the racers in the pits. They were happy to share info and answer our questions and one of them even handed Noah his digital video camera that he uses inconjunction with a helmet cam. Noah got lost watching the racing from the driver's view and didn't want to give back the camera!

So that was last weekend. Lots of racing and racing noises and smells and track-side burgers. Just about a perfect father's day weekend! And after I go get more coffee, I'll tell you about this weekend!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Kind thoughts and prayers requested

For my XSU's long-time spousal unit. She sent me an email this afternoon. Her hubby has melanoma and he required removal of several lymph nodes under his arm yesterday. The surgery apparently went well and the Doc's are predicting no further cancer but they are still waiting on pathology reports that won't be completed before Wednesday.

So it been a strssful week for her family. Any of you that believe in the power of prayer might add these folks to your list for the next few days. I know I will.

Friday, June 25, 2004

An Eloquent Examination of the Differences

Go read this. Its worth it. Unrest in the Forest from Bruce at mASS BACKWARDS. [Ed note: My 'puter is acting up and refused to let me copy & paste a bit to tempt you with. So just go read the whole thing.]

Having fun with stupid people

Some of you might remember that a few months ago I replaced my rental water softener with a purchased one. The rental belonged to the Culligan Water people, the purchased machine did not come from them but Sam's Club instead. I really hated that rental machine, it was noisy in operation, oversized and took up too much room in the laundry room and I really hated paying Culligan every month. I resented their monthly bills and everything about the arrangements. So when I got the opportunity to change the circumstances, I did. And ever since then I've been been trying to get these folks off my back.

You see, the day that I returned the softener unit, I forgot to load up the separate brine tank at the same time. The unit was heavy and ungainly and a bit of a struggle for me to manage single-handedly out of the basement, up the stairs and into the back of the truck. And, the stupid brine tank was behind the laundry room door, so out of sight while I chuffed the heavy piece out of the house.

Anyway, I returned the softener, paid up and closed out my account and promised to return the following day with the brine tank. Which I did. I took it right out back of the building where all the other 20 or so brine tanks lived, unloaded it and gave my name to one of the guys that worked there. He promised to tell the front office that I had kept my end of the arrangement. Which he did not do!

A few weeks go by and I received a bill, for $150 for the missing brine tank! Whaa? I ever so politely showed up at their office and I explained to the staff and the owner of the place that I did return the tank and that it was out back with all the others. After all, why would I keep this stupid plastic tank? The owner promised to query his guys and to try to verify my story and he promised to get me an answer.

Which he did. Through his "collections manager." I received this letter in the mail the other day:

CULLIGAN WATER
1595 WEST 2550 SOUTH OGDEN, UTAH 84401
PHONE 801-XXX-XXXX FAX 801-XXX-XXXX

NATHIANL R MCCORD JUNE 22, 2004
XXXX RUSHTON AVENUE
OGDEN, UT 84401

I TRIED TO CALL YOU TO DAY ABOUT YOUR ACCOUNT WITH CULLIGAN.

I HAVE CHECKED WITH EVERYONE THAT WORKS OUT OF OUR CULLIGAN OFFICE. NO ONE CAN RECALL YOU BRING IN THE BRIME TANK THE NEXT MORNING.

THEREFORE THE BILL THAT I SENT. TO YOU WILL STAND AND I NEED PAYMENT ON IT WITHIN THE NEXT TEN DAYS.

PLEASE CALL ME SO WE CAN WORK THlS OUT, I'M JAN @ 801-627-XXXX.

COLLECTIONS MANAGER
No kidding, that is exactly the way the letter looks! Its all capitalized, my name's misspelled and Jan doesn't even get the type of tank in dispute spelled correctly.

So I wrote Jan a response and I made payment arrangements:
June 25, 2004

Culligan Water
1595 West, 2550 South, Ogden, UT 84401

Jan:

It pains me to believe that you persist in billing me for a brine tank which I had no reason to keep or reason to lie about its prompt return. What possible reason would I have for keeping it? The space that the brine tank robbed from my laundry room was a principle reason that I elected to replace the Culligan rental unit with one of my own and to sever my ties with your company.

I’m also not used to having my credibility called into question and that is another reason why I feel very justified in making a water softener purchase that did not include further business with Culligan. I have endeavored to the best of my skills to behave as an honest member of society and while not perfect, I strive every day to meet my obligations and to be recognized as an honorable citizen. I resent the fact that my word is unacceptable regarding this brine tank’s timely return.

So, as indicated on the attached pages, I have made arrangements to pay the exorbitant replacement cost of the brine tank as you have requested. I believe that $150 is an outrageous price to put on that flimsy bit of plastic barrel and ball float but I will pay it (under protest) to absolve my mailbox from any further mail from your company.

Beginning July 1, 2003 and continuing on a bi-weekly basis for 5 months, Culligan will receive directly from America First Credit Union, a check for $15.00. The final payment will be sent on November 4, 2004. I will not respond to or pay any further late fees, services charges or penalties. You demanded $150, that’s what I’m paying. I have included the documentation so that you can see that this payment scheme is already in place and that I need to take no action to ensure your regular payment.

I also suggest that you ask your employer to pay for your participation in a business writing class to enhance your communication and letter writing skills. Your letter of June 22, 2004 had my name misspelled, two incomplete sentence fragments, more misspelled words and it was written in all capital letters. This letter reflects poorly on your letter writing skills and in my mind the overall quality of your company. It does not generate in me the belief that I am dealing with a professional organization. If you call yourself a collection manager, you need to be able to present yourself as a professional and your letter is substandard in that regard.

Sincerely,

NATHANIEL R. MCCORD
I faxed it off early this morning so that I would be certain that it arrived before Jan did. Its 11AM and I haven't heard a peep from her or her boss. I did not call Jan to "work this out" since I felt that I had already tried to do that 3 weeks ago.

The only question I have is, should I have made the payments stretch for even more weeks or was 10 weeks long enough?

UPDATE: I found an email address for the corporate headquarters of Culligan and asked them if $150 was a reasonable price to pay for that brine tank. I also included copies of the letters, the terrible one I received demanding payment and my response letter. No word back yet, I expect it might take a couple days to trickle through the corporate system...

Does this picture remind you of anyone?

I laughed out loud when I found this picture over at Dave Barry's blog.

UPDATE: Seems there is another, very similar photo over at Red Georgia Clay. You really need to go see the photo!

Home Depot donates $1 million to military

This makes me feel better about the wads of money I leave in their cash registers most every weekend!
The company said it is sending nine truck trailers to the military, filled with 100,000 tools and materials, including shovels, table saws, concrete mixers, safety scaffolding, power generators, light bulbs and jackhammers. The donated goods left San Diego on Thursday.

Earlier this year, the company also donated $1 million, as well as a million volunteer hours by its employees, to help military families repair and maintain their homes while a family member is deployed.
Thanks, Home Depot! Good on ya!

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Dang Network Filters anyway...

I tried, just now to go get a good link to a picture of the Stevens Favorite that I mentioned in the previous post. Since its made by Savage Arms, their website seemed to be a good place to look. The network monitors that control all our web visiting and implement the filters to ensure that we aren't watching Frank Does Fort Worth or shopping all day on EBAy also have the Savage web page blocked.

The heading under which it was restricted was "mature." WTF? So I guess later, from home, I'll get you a link.

Posting may improve today

...if the connection will keep working. Its lousy or worse this morning.

One bit of good news, I just plunked my money down on a replacement Stevens Favorite 22 rifle. I found a pair of brand new ones, made by Savage for a real good price and Bob my local gun dealer and coworker decided that he would like one for his inventory. So the deal's in the works and shortly I will have another rifle in my locker. This one will be a regular shooter for all the time. I'm still looking for the "just right" original Stevens but that will have to take a back seat to next month's vacation.

In case you were wondering, "a real good price" is $285 deliverd for both guns! Check out the suggested retail on the link. I also saw these for sale locally just last week for $189 plus tax...

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

What a weekend, what a night!

And busy as heck on the job too! I've been having some great moments and it is killing me not to have shared them already with all, (ok, both) of you. It involves drag racing, kart racing and opening night of baseball, so you know it will be a wonderful story, just as soon as I can devote a bit of time to writing it.

That is not tonight.

Tomorrow.

Monday, June 21, 2004

I'm wireless again!

Later today I hope to be able to fill in the details of a fun filled weekend. But I can't right now.

I did want to let you know that I'm again using a cell phone and I have a second one working for son Noah's use. His impending road trip was the driving [snark!] factor that pushed me into looking for an affordable cell plan.

I think I found one. Its Ecallplus.com. Unlike many of the prepaid cell services that are available that insist you buy another phone, Ecallplus has provision for reusing a phone you already own. And since I'm a cheap bastard and since I already owned two serviceable phones, this seemed like a really fine idea.

So, for less than $160 I've got two phones running and each has 433 minutes of talk time paid for. I call that a pretty good deal. Its actually $.15 per minute to use and local and long distance costs the same. There's no "free" minutes after 9pm or any of that "stuck in a contract for two years" business. Its pay as you go and I did it all online and through email and it was painless getting signed up.

If you need a cell service and are looking for an economical method of connection and you don't mind keeping an old phone out of the landfill for a while longer this might be a good solution for you too.

If you want to call me, you're going to have to ask...

Friday, June 18, 2004

FYI

In reference to the previous post, the reason I get email from my XSU, in case you were wondering is because of my son, Nate who has lived with her since our split many moons ago. He's 24 now, 25 at the end of the month and a fine young man. The ex keeps me up to date periodically on his successes and I get to be proud of him from a too long distance. She even sent me a picture of him today, sitting in a shiny, new Viper roadster that he apprently got to drive home from the Chrysler dealer where he's a mechanic. He's a handsome young guy and there's no removing the smile from his face for showing up with that car to impress his mom!

And the XSU is a regular reader here too! How 'bout that? BTW, the current BSU thinks its weird... tough.

I got this link via email from my XSU today...

That's eX-Spousal Unit for any newcomers. And in her email she asks, "Where was this back in the 70's?" Study says gene encourages monogamy I have NO idea what she meant by that reference to the time when we were married!

Well this is bad news for the Forest Service already

Pilot Crashes, Dies Fighting Wildfire Things are already bad in the Forestry Service's aircraft division due to the grounding of almost the entire fleet after last year's disasterous crashes. You might remember that they lost a couple of airplanes when the wings just folded up and fell off and a couple crews died as a result. Most of the airplanes remain grounded though I did read a couple weeks ago that if the money could be found to have the aircraft inspected and declared air-worthy that some of them might get returned to service.

Its early in the fire season yet and loosing a critical resource like a pilot and airplane really will put a crimp in the fire-fighting abilitys across the region.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

I'm not really complaining, honest!

I know that I have been sounding like I'm whining about my workload lately and the fact is these two classes are keeping me hopping pretty hard. But life is not all drudgery and nose-to-the-grindstone ugly so I promise to expunge the whining from my posting as much as I can.

Fact is, last night I went with the Hill AFB Ski Club back down to Speedstreet Racing for a little indoor racing action. As a club, this was our second trip to go racing and I'm just a little proud that it was my idea in the first place.

We had aboout 10 folks racing and we did a 8 minute qualifying race first, had some pizza over a bench racing session then went back for a 25 lap race. I did get to start in the pole position for the big race since I won the qualifying race and had the fastest time. Now I'm not bragging or anything, but in 25 laps I passed everybody except the guy in 2nd place! Some of the folks I lapped twice...

So a good time was had by all and everyone thinks that the racing is great fun, even those that haven't done it before. Its always fun to introduce folks to this, especially women because they normally aren't used to the idea of blocking the line into corners and real passing manuevers so when they get a chance and the opportunity some of them are dandy racers.

As usual, our host, Jeff was a fine proprietor and did his best to ensure that everyone had a good time. He even asked me, off to the side, if I ran a web page of some sort... Seems he Googled his SpeedStreet and found Wasted Electrons close to the top of Google's list from a previous post. He thought it was kind of nice that I was promoting his endeavor. Its really no problem to promote a place where I have such a grand time, so "thanks Jeff!" I needed the break.

Doesn't time fly...

when you're double and triple-tasking all day? It certainly does for me! Anyway, the paper for tonight's class is complete and all I need to do right now is read about 40 pages and decide on a research topic for my short research paper. I'm strongly leaning towards a discussion of Islam and its claim to be a "religion of peace" for my final research paper though I haven't locked myself to that subject just yet.

For my more pressing paper I'm still in search of a good subject, something I can argue. I'll take suggestions. I think it might have to be related to either self defense as either a right or a privilege or it might have to be a comparison of the 1st Amendment's protections vs. the 2nd Amendment's similar protection. I'll just have to wait and see.

Anyway, I'm still busier than a 3 legged cat in a litter box and the weekend is shaping up to have more fun things to to than there is time for. Gotta run.

ELF claims arson responsibility,

fax claims they burned the lumber yard in West Jordan.
A day after this West Jordan lumberyard went up in flames KSL News Radio received a fax claiming to be from the Earth Liberation Front. It says ELF targeted the Stock Building Supply, because it ignored warnings to repair its forklifts, which the organization says, put out more pollutants than average diesel engines.

The arsonists appear to have no remorse. The release goes on to say, “If the consequences are what it takes to bring the company's negligence to the media and the people of the world, then it is well worth it and ELF will continue its mission, to stop large companies from destroying the environment.”
So according to these mental giants, this brand new lumber yard, probably not two years old was torched because their fork lifts were gross polluters! They didn't go after Mag Corp or any of the gross polluter opportunities here behind the Zion Curtain.
One recent study by the Public Interest Research Group found that among all states, Utah ranks fourth nationally in the release of chemicals that affect child development and learning. Tooele County ranked first in the nation among counties.

The No. 1 air polluter in all of North America — Magnesium Corp. of America (MagCorp) — is located on the western shore of the Great Salt Lake, upwind from 1.5 million people living along the Wasatch Front.
You know I have a name for people like these unwashed Earth First!ers, don't you? What's the name for people like this? Its DUMBASS!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

FDA Panel Backs Implant To Counter Depression

How do I get my BSU involved in the bext trials? FDA Panel Backs Implant To Counter Depression
A surgical implant that stimulates the brain should get government approval to treat chronic depression, an expert panel of federal experts said yesterday -- marking the first time an implanted device has been recommended for the treatment of a psychiatric disorder.

Using a technique known as vagus nerve stimulation, the device uses electrodes implanted in the neck to activate brain regions that are believed to regulate mood.
I think she might be a very good candidate for a treatment like this and I'll be watching to see if this implant gets approval. When it does, I'll be banging on the spouse's Doc's door requesting it!

BTW, last week was the 2nd anniversary of her most recent attempt to take herself off the planet. So that required a bit of discussion and consideration and I tried to make it a celebration of sorts but with only minor success. She no longer thinks every day about assuming room temperature voluntarily but her illness is still keeping her in bed or on the couch nearly 100% of the time.

So if implants and electrodes and batteries become a possibility for treatment, she's there!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Life is getting in the way!

of my blogging of course! Heck its nearly 11, past my bed time, my algebra home work is not done and I've got a paper to write before Thursday night! Who's idea was this going back to school thing? Dang!

But if you keep coming 'round, I'll try to keep finding things of interest to write about. But for now, I'm hitting the shower and the sheets!

Scratching the Itch: Orrin Hatch's Rash Creativity

From FunctionalAmbivilent...
Now, let me just stop you right here. I want everyone to take a moment to picture Hatch, in the willowy spring of his youth, away from home for the first time, neatly dressed and bright-eyed, indulging his ardor for writing poetry. Got it? OK, let's move on.
Orin's got 6 new albums?
Last year, according to the Houston Chronicle, Hatch made $33,000 in royalties on the more than 300 songs he has co-written. The songs have titles like, "God Bless Our Homes and Families" and the weirdly Yakov Smirnoffian "You Gotta Love This Country."
He's also got polygamist family in his history that he's not too ashamed of, after all, they were good, hard working folks that made a life in this pioneer state...

Disproportionality

Is that a word? Is it the best word? I heard it used by a middle school principal today during an interview on NPR. Wouldn't disproportionate be as effective a word?

That word kinda got stuck going down my my ear pipe today. I think that it was an "educator" who said it might be one reason it didn't slide down easily. [ed note- can I get away with using scary quote marks like Reuters?]

Just something I noticed today.

UPDATE: Yup, its a word. I found it here.

Irony for the day...

The "Go Vegan" bumper sticker on the back of a shiny black GMC Yukon SUV today... Hmm.

Know what's just the best thing right now?

Picking luscious, fat, bursting with sweetness cherries out of my own tree. I love it! Our little tree in the front yard has really outdone itself this summer and it is heavy with delicious fruit. I ate a couple (ok, several) handfuls last night while mowing, I just had to stop as I passed by and pick as many as my cheeks would hold and then carry on mowing. On my way out to the car this morning- a little divert over to the tree and I had another handful to eat while I drove to work.

Summer is here. Yumm!

Monday, June 14, 2004

Follow-up on my weekend

Well as previously mentioned, mine was not a weeknd of leisure. Instead it was filled with fun challenges, grease, (the grimy black kind, not the grilling kind) and a trip to the airshow.

Friday was "get the stripped out Subaru out of the driveway" day and that wasn't too tricky except that we removed the steering column, making changing its direction a real challenge. Lucky for me that I didn't take for granted the scrap metal collector being good to his schedule as I called to try to nail down a time and found out that my pick-up had fallen off their calendar. He did make it over pretty quickly after I got back on the schedule but he didn't bring me the $15 I had been promised the first time I called. I'm just happy to have it gone!

That Subaru had to depart to make room for Lily's similar Subaru which needs a transmission transplant. Her car began slipping mighty quickly after she bought it and has gotten worse in a significant way. From a stop the car barely will climb any of the local hills and it revs quite freely for a number of seconds before the parts all get spinning and engaging in the proper manner. So, Saturday morning, up on the jack stands it went for it's transplant.

I really thought that since son Noah and I had already gotten good and dirty on the donor car that this swap would go smoothly. Hah! In reality, nothing went terribly wrong but there was a lot of steps to the removal process and it took us until almost dinner just to get the transmission out from under the car.

[Ed note,there's a 5 hour break right here.]

The first complication turned out to be the torque converter to flywheel bolts. The book says you are to remove them through a small port on the top of the engine case or through a tiny gap between the oil pan and the crossmemember. WRONG! Removing bolts through either of those two choices would have required a miracle and probably words detrimental to a miracle actually being performed. Hmm, what to do? Well, there's no dust cover on the bottom of the bellhousing like most cars with the engine in the front and the transmission behind it, that area is covered up by the crossmember and the power steering rack. But hey, there's a big slot in the crossmember just above the rack and its only held in place by 4 bolts. I'll pull that down and see what I can see.

I can see a big slot and just above it the ring gear. I can even see the 4 bolts I need to remove, I just can't get a wrench on them. Where's my air powered cutoff wheel? I'll enlarge the slot! And that's what I did. It took two different tools with cutoff wheels but I enlarged just enough of the existing slot that I could get the torque converter bolts out. Heh!

Next, you must remove the lower control arms to get the axle shafts loose from the transaxle. That leaves everything hanging down low and in the way of my head. More words get said here, again preventing any miracles. And it seems that there is just no room to actually move the transmission out from under the car now that there are suspension bits hanging down and the leg of a crane that's been brought into action to tilt the engine and the jack stands that hold the entire mess up off my head, so- I removed the entire driver's side suspension. There wasn't much holding it in place anyway by this point and with just a couple more bolts and a brake hose removed it was loose in the driveway. That opened up the hole where the tranny could finally emerge into the daylight.

Of course there was more shaking and lifting and grunting before the tranny could finally be coaxed away from the engine and be lowered to the ground. The good news is we didn't break anything getting it out. By the time we were to this point it was too late to consider getting the new tranny back into the hole and reassembled so we knocked off for the night and had a good cleanup. Tricky work over all and son Noah and I were both pretty worn out.

The tranny still has to go back in... But that will have to wait until next weekend because Sunday was dedicated to homework and the air show! And you will have to wait to read more about it because its 9 PM and I still must write a review for tomorrow's writing class! And I'm tired because I came home and mowed the lawn tonight since I can't do it tomorrow night and the trash truck comes on Wednesday.

Crap I'm tired!

This is one of the things I disagree with President Bush about.

White House rejects calls for change of stem cell policy:
"In 2001, Bush signed an executive order limiting federally funded research to 78 lines of embryonic stem cells then in existence. However, researchers say the number of lines actually available is now 19 -- and contamination may make those unusable"
There's just no reason in my mind for not expanding on this research. Everything I have read so far has described outstanding and remarkable developments in the use of stem cells.

I think President Bush is making a huge mistake by not already getting on-board with support of those scientists working to save lives using stem cells. Unfortunately, if he were do do it now it would look like campaign grandstanding on the memory of President Reagan and that would make it a political hot potato instead of just a good idea that needs to be supported.

Weekends are not for relaxing, not at my house anyway...

Man, what I might do to get my weekends to look like those on the beer and hot dog commercials that I occasionally see on the tv box. You know the ones, long, idle days spent relaxing on the beautifully manicured lawn, hanging out with a group of buddies, grilling and just generally taking it easy. That is NOT how weekends are spent at my house.

Instead, it was a weekend of getting cars hauled away, removing a transmission from another car and attending the air show on the base on Sunday. There was also yard work in an effort to get a portion of the back yard reseeded, homework and a movie to watch while I dozed off on the couch.

Details later. After class and after I complete the writing I am doing to support my eating habit.

Friday, June 11, 2004

It seems pretty obvious to me...

Here's a creepy story about a man that jumped out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon. Here's the strange part:
the man fell about 4,000 feet.

Authorities say the cause of death won't be determined until the body is recovered from White's Butte.
I'm not a trained medical examiner but I think I can predict the cause of his death... Duh.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

A Must Read Post- Do Not Skip Reading This!

Terry has outdone himself this morning with a tribute to President Reagan that you must not miss. This is eloquent, moving and laser beam precise. Read it here.
"For those who are blind to the promise and hope inherent in America, who take joy in her failings, who debase and demean her contributions to civilization, who mewl and purr at the feet of her enemies--for those, you are not fit to walk the streets with Americans. The shoes on your feet are empty of humanity, the space you occupy hollow of meaning. The backwards boots in the stirrups of the saddle, though seemingly empty, are full. The horse, though riderless, carries a life lived loving America."
Thanks Terry for saying so well what many of us could not express so lovingly.

The $744 Power Cord!

The $744 Power Cord from Gizmodo.com.
The new Golden Reference Power Cord from Cardas provides a significant performance upgrade to the AC cords supplied with most hi-fi and home theater components. Use it with any component that comes with a detachable IEC-type power cord, and you'll notice an immediate upgrade in sound quality with audio gear and picture quality with TVs, monitors, DVD players, and VCRs.
Now I am not from Missouri but I think somebody needs to come to my house and SHOW ME that this power cord will improve my television viewing and music listening pleasure. Give me a break!

I guess my duct-taped, kinked, many-headed molded $2 cable's just not good enough now... Hell, every bit of electronics in my house didn't cost as much as this cable! What gibberish.

And just to prove there's "one born every minute", the dang thing's backordered!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Hi, I'm Nate and I'm a grammar geek.

I know that I'm a grinch about grammar even if you can't tell from my scribblings here. I intentionally write casually and colloquially simply because that's also how I talk most of the time. But I consider myself to be a decent wordsmith and something of a grammar grinch when I'm writing for business or looking at other people's work.

Imagine then my surprise when I received my text book yesterday, just in time for my first night of Writing Purposes and Research class. The book's title is The Little, Brown Handbook. I took one look at the title to this book and said, "What the heck's that comma doing in that title?" My puny brain says that the comma does not belong there.

I even asked the instructor last night, she thought that comma might be redundant too. So, having 968 pages of the finest writing specific instructions between the covers of this new book, I went digging to find out about that dangling character. And there it is, on page 480, instructions for using a comma to separate coordinate adjectives. The secret here is that coordinate adjectives modify the same word equally. If one adjective is more closely related to the noun then the adjectives must not be separated by a comma.

There are actually 4 rules for determining if adjectives are coordinate or not. The most important rule is can the word and be inserted between the adjectives without changing the meaning? If the answer is yes, the comma goes between coordinate adjectives. If the answer is no, then no comma is used.

Did the rest of you folks know this already? Am I the last to learn this essential rule of comma usage? Does anybody else find this as interesting as I do?

You folks could be in big trouble because I like this book!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Boy oh boy, the BSU is going to be upset!

CNN.com - 'Too old' 'ER' actress axed
British actress Alex Kingston says she has been axed from the hit U.S. hospital drama "ER" because she is too old.

Kingston, 41, who plays the widowed surgeon Elizabeth Corday, said she was "shocked and upset" when she learned her contract would not be renewed.

"Apparently I, according to the producers, the writers, am part of the old fogies who are no longer interesting," she told the BBC's Radio Times listings magazine.

ER is the spouse's favorite television program and the world stops on Thursday evenings when her show is on. Loosing one of her favorite characters is going to upset her applecart!

And I for one, think that Alex is a hottie and none too old. Of course a good looking, red-headed woman with a British accent is probably always going to turn my head...

A Corporate Lesson for the Day


A sales representative, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke. The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, so I'll give each of you just one."

"Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world." Poof! She's gone.

In astonishment, "Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of piƱa coladas, and the love of my life." Poof! He's gone.

OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."

Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

Do you want this woman teaching your kids?

I cannot let this go unremarked. This woman is a school teacher in Los Angeles and a proud member of the International Socialist Organization. She's actively promoting the defeat of the US military in Iraq and thinks that the VietNam war is the template to use to succeed in her cause. Read about more about this poisonous woman atCitizen Smash - The Indepundit
“Roosevelt High – it’s in East LA. The classrooms are so crowded… You know, if you like history, you should definitely come to our meeting this Thursday. We’re going to talk about what the anti-war movement can learn from Vietnam.” She pressed a flyer into my hands.

VIETNAM*
*When the US War Machine Was Beaten
Scary, scary scary!

Monday, June 07, 2004

Other blogs I'm reading regularly.

After reading and posting about the Politics of Panties, which nobody seemed to care enough to leave a comment about, I've been going back to FunctionalAmbivilent for a few days now. The writer is smart and witty and writes intelligently about sex every Friday. There's other subject matter during the resto of the week including his quest to rid our currency system of the nickel. And the quarter too.

I've also been stalking this blog for a few days, its called Hog On Ice. Let's face it, not everybody can write this:
When sex is good, there's always a bit of a predatory edge to the male role. No matter how loud and obnoxious your lady is during the day, and even if she never lets you drive, you have to be the big bad wolf, with eyes that glow in the dark like the dot from a laser sight, and she has to be the soft, quivering, helpless little bunny. Sometimes you're going to have to bite, and sometimes you're going to want to leave some welts so you have something to grin at each other about the next day, while you're having lunch with your pastor. You can't really do that well unless you search inside yourself until you find Batman.

The dark, tortured Michael Keaton Batman, not the ambiguously gay George Clooney Batman, or the "Let's see if we can get one more drink from this dry old tit" Val Kilmer Batman.
He also writes about food and cooking, he's written and published a cookbook and he posted a story about a documentary film being made about Michael Moore! So I'm reading his stuff for a few days, if I decide I like him enough to share all the time with you, I'll put up a ling over there on the blogroll.

Polygamy's popular here, how 'bout where you live?

Ok, here's the post, re-written as best I can manage from the inadvertent "oops" of this morning.

First there was this link to a story about David Kingston. He's been in court for a number of days now. Seems he can't remember all his children's names- from just one of the 10 women he calls a wife!
Today, (May 21) Kingston took the stand in court. When asked to name all of his children, he struggled trying to remember all of their names.

Andrea Moore Emmett, Utah NOW: “He started out he named probably five then he started over. Then he counted and named three. And then he tried again. He asked for water, said he was nervous, and he never did name all of his ten children by this particular wife."
And then after consulting with his attorney he claimed his 5th Amendment rights on all questions concerning his children's names.

It gets better-
Caseworkers for the state have investigated the Foster home four times in the past decade for neglect and extremely unhealthy living conditions.

A police report was filed in February after a three and five-year old child were found walking along a busy road alone. The report goes on to say that when the Kingston kids were taken back home, the investigating police officer says she walked into a home that was filthy, smelly, full of garbage and rotting food, and this is how the Foster children were living.
Note the February mention. This is Utah and February is a lousy time for kids to be on the streets...

Here's the results from Kingston's trial.
A juvenile court judge has ruled that two children fathered by prominent polygamist John Daniel Kingston were abused and neglected.

Judge Andrew Valdez ruled late Thursday that an uncle and aunt who are not part of the Kingston cult will have temporary custody of the 13-year-old girl and the 15-year-old girl will be in a foster facility. Both girls will be able to visit their mother and siblings.

Valdez said they had been abused and neglected by their father and their mother had been negligent in protecting them.

Valdez said all 10 children of Kingston and Heidi Foster, who have gone by the surname of Foster, were entitled to be named Kingston and also were entitled to inheritance.

"The name is Kingston, sir, and they have a right to their own names," Valdez said.
This right to inheritance could be a problem since-
Kingston is believed to have approximately 100 children with around 14 wives.
But it shouldn't be too big of a problem. After all-
The Kingston clan, also known as the Order, includes an estimated 1,200 members. The secretive group has amassed a $150 million business empire, running companies that include pawn shops, restaurant supply stores, dairies and mines.
Well, that's just one of the things that makes living in Utah interesting! How's life in your state?
Ouch, this guy cuts quick! Kind of a "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln" moment. Found it over at Mostly Cajun's bloglist.

That Spinning Molecule up there?

That's a caffeine molecule for the newcomers and chemistry challenged folks that happen to visit. The molecule is significant because it keeps me upright and moving, without it I would be face down on my keyboard most of the time.

Rats! I just outsmarted myself!

Call it unfamiliarity with the Blogger tools or something because I just wrote a very lengthy post about the Kingston polygamist headlines in our local news... and then I lost it. I made the wrong choice when it came to clicking something and I wiped it out! Dang it all. And I don't have time now to reaccomplish it 'cause there's real, paying work to do.

I will reaccomplish it later today. Honest.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Just about moved in.

I still need to get some curtains up and I think things might be in boxes for a while as I get the shelves assembled and put up, but for now, I'm moved in here at Blogger. I still need to decide about using Haloscan's comment's or Blogger's and I want to kick the boxes out closer to the margins and then this place will feel like home.

So make yourselves comfy too. Has anybody seen my toothbrush and razor?
Ok, I'm done here except for some clean up. I've moved over to Blogger so set your browser here

Some improvements to the site... And the house

This Blogger page is starting to shape up and feel a little more like home. I still can't get the margins and box widths set to my satisfaction though.

Yesterday was productive and I finished the window air conditioner installation. I had to manufacture a fill-in panel to keep the cool air in and the bugs and hot weather out. Everything went perfectly, right up until I tried to drill screws through the steel frame of the window to mount the cover.

Who knew there was concrete poured into those window frames when they were installed? I wrecked 3 drill bits in the space of a couple minutes! My plan was of course to drill 1/8" holes into the frame and use sheet metal screws to hold the cover in place. But run a drill bit that size with a 1/2" drill motor through the metal and into the concrete and suddenly you own a drill bit that won't drill through cheese. Crap! I did manage to get enough holes drilled to secure the cover with the help from my friendly caulking gun and some adhesive in a tube.

Its not as good as I engineered it but it acceptable. Its painted and not leaking and the ac unit itself works very nicely.

More PC BS from the workplace!

I found this tonight through Kevin Baker's Smallest Minority. You must read this if you work in any kind of office setting and I know both of you do work in offices. Don't skip the comments either, they're too funny! Sorry, You Forgot To Give Me A Lobotomy With My Nametag
"Er... nothing, really.... she said she's intimidated by you, because you talk about people and events that she knows nothing about, and she said it makes her feel stupid."

Me: "You're kidding, right?"

Intern: "We have to take it seriously, it's in the manual."
This has a liquids/monitor & keyboard interference alert!

Friday, June 04, 2004

Earlier today I put the following bit of drivel into an email. Can you regular readers guess who I sent it to?
Knock knock.

Pardon, maam, its just routine maintenance work going on. I'm here to do the monthly cleaning on your speaking tubes.

Speaking tubes? Of course, these tubes over here on the wall. You know, the ones you have to stand in front of and speak into to talk to someone far away. They get dusty if you don't use them regularly you know.

Sure, this cleaning takes just a minute. Sorry to bother you from your work. These long distance tubes really take some maintenance to keep them in order, 'never know when a crack might develop and let spiders or dirt to fall in. If that happens it takes all day to push a cleaning rag through them to clean them out and of course then you have to go track down the damaged spot and dig it up and make repairs. But its got to be done otherwise the reception just gets all bad and you can't make yourself heard or hear what the person on the other end has to say either.

Won't it be great if'n we ever get those new-fangled telephone things all the papers have been writin' about? Why, I heard that if they get the wires strung across the entire country that we should be able to talk to anyone that has a phone. This telephone thing is supposed to be even better than the telegraph since you won't have to traipse down to the telegraph office to send or get your messages. And old Chet won?t be reading your messages before you ever get them delivered from the office. Why, I heard that you will be able to talk clear out to California! Or even Utah if you knew anybody there! Won't that be remarkable? 'Course the cheapskates around here probably won't pay to have it brought into our buildings, so at least my job cleaning these pipes will be safe a few more years.

And someday, I read this in a book, someday, you are supposed to even be able to sit down at a machine on your desk and using a telegraph key or a typewriter of some kind send written words across the same lines that they are stringing to talk on using the telephone! Isn't that the wildest idea you've ever heard? Imagine. How are they ever going to make a wire big enough for everybody to use at the same time using voice and letters? Seems like everything would get all jumbled up before it ever gets to the right persons. Don't ya think?

Well anyway I'm done here. Sorry to bother you. Most of your pipes look to be in really good condition except that last one over there in the corner. Its needing some polish on that brass and there's cobwebs growing across the front of it. It will take me an afternoon to get it cleaned up and working again but if you're not using it, why it can just be left alone. Its probably better to fix it than leave it though because regular maintenance keeps everything working smoothly.

So if you want it fixed up, just give me a holler and I'll come back to get it ship-shape. Until then I'm just going to go back to figuring out how those scientists expect to send letters down an electrical wire! I'll see you again next month.
Do ya suppose it might have any positive effect? I guess I'll see. Or maybe not. Hard to tell.

UPDATE! It worked! I've received one of those new-fangled letters deliverd by wires that says the speaking tube might even be cleaned out by next week! How about that?
I just completed my company's diversity training, which as we all know is a mandatory annual requirement. I was shocked to learn that the Golden Rule that we all learned back in kindergarten has been replaced in today's work environment! You know the Golden Rule of which I speak- "Do onto others the way you want others to do onto you."

The new, corporate Golden rule is:
"treat others the way they would like to be treated."
In the next segment I learned:
"Use assertive communication techniques to express how you want to be treated."
Does the name Omarossa come to your mind here? Good Grief! What an absolute pile of PC stinking-animal-dung this is!

Talk amongst yourselves while I try to get this nasty bit of feel-good crap out of my mouth!
Jim over at Snooze Button Dreams has a post that will get your attention today; Good News, Bad News
Heh heh heh! This should be fun. I just sent Possumdad Terry an email. It says this:
__ - - _-_ --- A _- ___ -__ A _-__ ___ --_ -_- A _-_- -_- --_ - -_-- A __ -_ _- -_ __- - -_- A --_ -__- --- _ -_ -- -_- --- A ---- -_ --- _- _ A -_- - -__- -_-- -_ _-_- - _-- A _-__ ___ --_ A A -__ -- _ ---- A --- ___ __ - A _-__ ___ --_ _- __- A _--- -_-- ___ _- _-- A -- _- _ - -_- _- A ---- -_ --- A ---- -
Suppose he will figure it out?

UPDATE: Possumdad's computer wasn't up to snuff to use all the features of the webpage and I went ahead and gave him the clear text. It says:
DEAR CHET HAVE YOU RETIRED? THERES BEEN NO MENTION OF YOU FOR SOME WEEKS. NOW YOUR CRUEL MANAGER UPSTAIRS HASNT REPLACED YOU WITH SOME YOUNG BLOND INTERN HAS HE?

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Air Conditioning come to Wasted Electrons HQ

10,000 BTUs of air chilling refrigeration are going on right now in my family room! And I am just now showered and sitting down for the first time since leaving work. The BSU had requested a room air conditioner in the family room a few weeks ago since it is the furthest room from the swamp cooler up on the roof. There hasn't been a pressing need because the weather has been mighty temperate for the past couple weeks. But it has warmed up this week, 85 on the way home today so I decided it was time to purchase and install an ac unit.

And she of course, agreed.

So off I went to Lowes this afternoon and I carried home a Whirlpool window unit. Its big enough that it should keep the temps under control for the entire basement. I also bought the heavy duty support brace and then headed home to do the "e-z" install.

Yeah, right... The instructions on both the ac unit and the brace were designed for folks with wood sash windows, not the steel framed, set in concrete windows that I have in my basement! Argh! It only took one extra trip to Home Depot and $10 for some heavy-duty concrete screws and the special drill bit to get the mount fastened to my window frame. And more than a little bit of cursing was applied to the task as well.

But I got it done and its running quite satisfactorily. I still need a quarter sheet of plywood to finish the job which I will get tomorrow and then everything will be tidy and secure.

The BSU likes the remote control feature!
well that's interesting. Tonight on the Blog studio sign-in page there's a note from Wayne, the guy that runs the business here at Blog Studio. He was out of the country last week on paying business and there were multiple power outages wherever the BS home is. Wayne's apologetic and promising to get everything fixed up as soon as he's back on US time.

If my archives come back I will be very, very happy. Thanks for the update Wayne!

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The Politics of Panties

AN ANNOUNCEMENT- Mom, avert your eyes.

Ok then. I'm not telling how I found this link but it discusses at length a subject that I've always been interested in. The Politics of Panties from FunctionalAmbivalent:
Panties are worming their way up the crack of our everyday lives. This is, I know, a terrible metaphor, but I go with my strengths. Women's underwear, once so top secret that it was hidden even from women themselves, is going public in a huge way. How public, you ask conveniently, propelling this amateurishly disjointed opening forward so that we can soon get to some jokes and smutty links? Very public. In fact, panties are going so public that they're becoming a threat to life as we know it.
and then there's this:
Somewhere in the early 1950s, scientists working on a secret government project discovered female orgasm. I'm not sure how it happened; maybe it was one of those civilian benefits of NASA research, like Tang. Anyway, this discovery changed completely how women viewed sex and, consequently, their own underwear. No longer was sex something to be avoided. Suddenly, sex was something to desire. In search of a way to get men's attention, women changed their whole approach to underwear. No longer did they see panties as clothing that simply contained what needed to be contained. Women recognized that the huge symbolic importance their underwear held for men -- something that had long annoyed women -- gave them power. By cleverly chosing different kinds of underwear, even if it came from France or Italy, they could manipulate and control men's minds. The object of this manipulation: To get men to pay more orgasm-related attention to women.
You might want to read it all. Or maybe not. It is Safe For Work though, no pictures or pop-ups.