Day by Day cartoon

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Mostly Cajun,

All American and Opinionated has moved off Blogger and into shiny new digs with his own .com address. Be sure to update your links to a fine blogger and worthy Cajun.

One note, for one reason or another, you can't click "back" off his new page. Nothing happens.

When electrons go bad...

I discovered last night that my grocery bill that I used my debit card to pay, had in fact been deducted from my checking acount twice! The cashier, after not getting the proper response from the machine when I tried to use the card as a debit card, explained that the system had not been working properly, and could she run it as a credit instead of a debit. And of course, I said yes. It makes no difference to me how things get billed.

Except when I get billed twice! Once it was on the debit and once it was on the credit side, just like the cashier manipulated the transaction. It seems that the part of the computer deducting the money was working but the reporting back of a successful transaction wasn't reporting back as instructed.

I wasn't the only person that the electrons struck back at this weekend. After a couple of phone calls, I discovered that I was about person number 7500 to call, so far! It seems the electrons went on strike throughout the country for anyone that shopped at a DOD commissary. Oops! Some folks had their acounts hit 3 or 4 times depending on the diligence of the cashier to force the computers to comply.

I've received a promise of a call-back with the commissary's corrective action, but as I said, I'm number 7500 so I might have a long wait. The commissary is also uncertain how they will reimburse anyone who's account might have been overdrafted by their error.

Bad electrons, naughty electrons!

A little something new at WE

Over there on the right, below the archive links. I signed up for Google advertisements. I really don't expect to see all the revenue they promise, but hey, it can't hurt, right?

Interesting how the adverts, which are related to subject matter that the Google spiders find on the page immediately linked up my posts about scooters to related links. That is very cool technology.

So check them out. Maybe you will find something of interest over there you haven't seen before.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Man Who Grabbed Runner Won't Be Jailed

Instead, maybe he could have been sentenced to train for his own marathon for a year.
A defrocked Irish priest with a history of disrupting sports events was given a one-year suspended sentence and fined $3,600 Monday for grabbing a runner who was leading the Olympic marathon with three miles to go.
Seems to me like a perfect occasion for a punishment to fit the crime.

Toys depict Sept 11 Tower Attacks

There are now two different toys in thses candy bags. One of the toys has a character that looks like Osama bin Laden. This really creepy and it makes me wonder how safe the candy might (or might not) be...

And it reminds me that there are people in the world that cheered on September 11th and those people still hate us. No matter what the State Department trys to sell as a "cultural difference" that can be improved by being friendly to them.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

More weekend fun

I failed to mention the 2nd scooter store that I visited on Friday. It wasn't much to look at though they did carry the Derbi line of scooters that I had not seen before. They're racy looking, have highly tweaked motors for performance and are more overpriced than the Aprillias that I saw last week.

I did get to see the new TN'G 150cc machine that I only heard about at the first store. And the guys at EcoMoto were correct about the stilted attitude of this new machine. It seem the company decided that this scoot needed 13" wheels and tires and so, to provide plenty of suspension clearance under the fender, longer springs and shocks were installed, jacking the back end of this thing way to high. It looks foolish. Having the ass end all jacked up destroys the look of the Milano while at the same time making sitting at a traffic light a very dicy situation for somebody my size. Literally, it was taller than most motorcycles and I had to slide my butt off to one side to get my foot down flat on the ground. Stupid! Its really stupid!

Oddly enough, with the 13" inch wheels, the company went with a very low profile tire and making the overall diameter of the tire no more than 1.5" taller than the 10" wheel and tire combo used on the smaller engined Milanos. But the shock absorbers and springs apear to be 3" longer on the tall machine than on the shorter one giving it that "kicked in the ass" look and tippy seat height. Too bad too, because the price of the bigger machine is just $300 more than the 125cc machine and is a bargain for its engine size and performance.

Friday night it was Raptors baseball again and Vicki joined me at the last minute for a fine evening of baseball. It was a really good time, unseasonably cool, a full moon came up over the Wasatch mountains and the Raptors beat the Great Falls White Sox in only their second shutout this year.

Saturday was a hike, planned during the baseball game, with Vicki. I might mention here, if I haven't before, that Vicki is Lily's mother, Lily being son Noah's girlfriend of two years and a multiple day road trip. Anyway, she has a trail that she likes to hike but was afraid to hike alone for fear of cougars and so we decided to go together. The trail is called Hidden Meadow and its a seldom used trail that begins just above my house. Its not well hiked because its steep! And 5 miles long too approximately, and all going up until the meadow. This is not a meandering, up and down trail, its all inclined, rocky and loose for most of the trip.

It was beautiful at the top with a fantastic view of the top of Taylor Canyon and the back side of Snowbasin Ski Resort. The canyon nixed any idea that it would be possible to hike all the way to the ski resort, doing so would require most of a day to cross from the point where we stoped hiking. We had a nice rest, a little food, I was nearly attacked by a hummingbird that swooped in to see my red t-shirt and then we headed back home.

Remember I said it was up going to the meadow? Going down is tougher than going up! Going down was also rocky and loose, this time with tired legs, toes crunching into toe boxes of boots and knees that got to crying about the amount of fat body I was subjecting them to. My knees really were hurting by the time we made it back to the car. Without being able to stride forward, and having to lean back to keep the boots under the body, my knees were done for at the end of the hike.

But beer and Aleve and rest in the shade of the backyard invigorated both of us after our hike. It turned out to be a perfect day for a walk and we enjoyed each other's company as much as the scenery and the unbelievable vistas.

I didn't do much the rest of the day though.

Gator gets venison for lunch

From, these pictures of a gator's successful hunt. Not a critter I want to mess with!

More Scooter Shopping-

Friday was my day off and so I used some of the time to explore a couple more scooter stores in Salt Lake City. The first was right down by the university, so parking was a chore but the shop, Eco Moto, turned out to be easy to find and a fun place to visit. The mechanic was out in the grass in front building up one of theseTidal Force electric beach cruisers while his black lab puppy played in the sunshine and smiled for all the coeds passing by.

But I was there to see the TN'G scooters that I had seen advertised in the paper and the scooters were inside, so in I went. The young fellow inside was pleased to show off his Del Ray and Milano 125cc scooters, though he did run off presently to catch a flight for his weekend in California.

The two scoots are identical under the skin with the exception that the Del Ray has a foot brake for the rear stoppers instead of two handlevers. There's also a brand new 150cc Milano which Eco Moto did not have on display. They had received and sold their first one in less than a week. The sales guy informed me that this newest model had been raised 4 inches higher, making sitting on the bike and touching the ground difficult for all but the tallest riders. Later I found out more about why.

Anyway, these are very nice looking scooters. They are manufactured in China but under contract for CMSI, a company out of the Pacific northwest. The name, TN'G stands for Twist N' Go!

Again, I didn't ride either of the scooters, though it was a strong consideration with no spousal objections to overcome but I didn't. The Del Ray is apparently being phased out and so their was the strong suggestion of a really god deal if I was interested in the store's last one, which was the display and demo model. Both models were already marked down to $2095, a $100 reduction from the retail and I gathered that I might be able to have that pretty blue Del Ray for something close to $2000 total.

I actually preferred the Del Ray's styling over the Milano with 2 exceptions. The trunk mounted high brake light has some circuitry built in that makes a swirly little blinky pattern all the time and only turns solid lit when the brakes are applied. There are also, on each side of the bike, facing rearward, blinking red and blue LEDs that are on whenever the power is on! Yikes! Very disturbing and appropriate only for the coolest of teenager cruising the 'vard seeking adulation from other teens. They would definitely be turned off immediately if I were to buy this bike!

I think I'm really interested in that blue Del Ray. I just need to figure out how to fund it. And son Noah, who's been peeking over my shoulder says I should just make this a begging opportunity- so I guess I could. His suggestion- Help me reduce our country's dependence on foreign oil!

PayPal button's still over there on the right...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Bruce hits a home run!

Bruce from mASS BACKWARDS finds another case of John F'n Kerry forgetting that there is a longer memory than his at work on the internet.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Dinner afterwards-

I almost forgot! After our little stop at the scooter store both the BSU and yours truly were ready for dinner. Tonight we went to a Macaroni Grill for the first time. It might have been our first visit but it won't be our last! What a nice dinner, chicken cannoli for me and fettucine alfredo with shrimp for the spouse. And cappuchino and tiramisu for desert, yumm!

Very nice service from our waiter Jeff who started out by impresing us by writing his name on the tablecloth with two crayons, upside down so we could read it. He also explained the color coding of the towels draped on each staff member's shoulder when I asked if they reflected a rank, which they do.

So we will go back there again. If you've never tried it, I recommend it!

Something completely different- Scooters!

Ok, here's a only slightly embarrassing secret most of you don't know about me- I like motorscooters. I've actually owned 2 different ones over the years, the last real scooter was a 1963 Lambretta 175. And I've been thinking about another scooter to ease the pain of my weekly gasoline bill for my truck and my daily commute.

Since the boy moved back into the house and began commuting to Job Corp, I've had to start driving the truck every day, and that's expensive. I'm also paying for his commuting expenses since his JC gas allowance isn't enough for his costs! Another reason to not drive the truck every day is that it has 87,000 miles on it as of tonight and I'm not anxious to replace it in the foreseeable future, so I'm willing to leave it sit as often as possible.

Today the BSU had a Dr's appointment in Salt Lake City and I escorted her as I always do since she's not safe to drive. After seeing the Doc, I asked her, as I always do, if there was anything else she would like to see or do while we are in town. And, as usual, she had nothing else on her agenda. So I asked her if she would mind a side trip to a scooter dealer that I knew about and she agreed to go along, if only to keep my enthusiasm in check.

What a neat place we found! Their website needs lots of help but the store is very nice. There were two shiny scooters outside and another dozen inside for me to look at. The proprietor there was enthusiastic, informed and friendly and he proudly let me set on most of the rigs in his showroom.

This Stella is a brand new 1970 Vespa model now proudly manufactured in India. (This really is a 2004 model.) The mint green was a very good color but there was one special model that was British Racing Green and had a brown seat and some special badging that was very pretty. Obviously this scooter retains all the traditional scooter appearance and the less obviously, it still has the 4 speed, twist-grip shift transmission. Its the only scooter that still has a manual transmission, every other one has gone to the CVT belt drive route.

The model that really caught my eye was this Mojito Custom. Make sure to click the link for the bigger picture to get an idea just how pretty the baby blue and white model is. This rig is very, very pretty! It is 50s retro cool and shiny as any Harley. Sitting on the bike I could actually see my own reflection in three places! That chrome headlight bucket facing back would be perfect for checking out the silly grin that would no doubt occupy my mug if I were riding it every day. It is available as a 50cc bike or with 150cc though that really drives the price into a tough to afford range. The proprietor assured me that the 50cc rig is plenty if its just me commuting to work but the big motor sure seems to be the rig for hauling my overweight butt around.

I didn't test ride any tonight. It was tempting. The BSU was extremely tolerant of my dawdling and questions and tire-kicking, which was surprising and pleasant. I don't have enough money to consider one of these pretty toys nor the readily available credit that would let me walk in and sign on the line for my favorite but I could, with a little effort have enough cash stashed over the winter to have one of these payed for by riding season next spring. So that's something for me to think about. There's still riding season here- really through October almost unless the winter arrives before Halloween like it did last year but I think I will have to reflect and plan for spring. And convice the spouse too of course though she didn't seem to concerned about anything except the amount of money a purchase would require.

I do have two very nice mountain bikes in my shop that I could sell... hmm.

WE- its not supposed to be an anti-Kerry blog...

At least not all the time. It has been leaning that way and if that offends you, well good. Maybe in my tiny, humble way I'll be able to find the story or the link that helps convince one person that John F'n Kerry is unfit to lead America, unfit to be the President and unfit to be Commander in Chief.

This does not mean that I believe President Bush to be unassailable as I have been criticized by my son, several co-workers and friends. To the contrary, I have been and remain disappointed by the President's performance in a number of areas.

Its just obvious to me that JFK has done nothing for America despite all his years in the Senate. I don't believe he has served anyone except himself and his aspirations of the presidency. I do not believe he is the best Democrat to represent that party and I am incredulous that the Democrats have decided to make him their torch bearer.

So, I'll try to find other stuff to write about; guns, trips to the shooting range, the cool weather here behind the Zion Curtain this week, the search for Lori Hacking's remains and whatever I can find that interests me. I'm back in school, Tuesday and Thursday nights so that will be tying up my time too.

So don't go away mad or even just go away. Keep coming back and maybe there will be fun stuff to talk about!

John F'n Kerry wasn't in Cambodia

And here's what seems to me to be an obvious proof that not enough folks have considered. Its from John Podhoretz at the NY Post and I found it through Little Green Footballs.
Consider the history. In 1973, Kerry was a leader of the anti-war movement. That same year, the American Left went nuts when the Nixon administration admitted it had secretly invaded Cambodia in 1969 and 1970 to roust out Communist fighters.

It's hard to overstate just how big an issue this was in 1973. Cambodia was officially a neutral country, and it was the contention of the anti-war movement that any movement across Cambodia's borders constituted a violation of international law.

If Kerry is to be believed, then this leader of the anti-war movement remained silent in 1973 when he could have spoken out about how he was ordered to violate Cambodian neutrality as early as 1968. Which is why Kerry is not to be believed on this matter.
It seems pretty obvious to me based upon his other noted proclivity to speak out against the war that Kerry would have been at the front of the horde railing against America's incursion into Cambodia. If he had thought up the story before 1973, he would have been shouting the loudest. Kerry's silence too strongly suggests that he had not yet conceived his "Christmas in Cambodia,"
war-hero story.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

About those medal citations-

Yesterday a coworker asked my take on John F'n Kerry's service and medals. And while I know you didn't ask, I'm going to repeat it here. The connection to awards and performance reports and supervisors requesting signature-ready reports may not be unique to the military but it is certainly prevalent and maybe you don't know that. So here it is.

Jack, you have been in the military long enough to know that commanding officers do not write reports or decoration submittals, they review and approve almost anything that gets put in front of them. You probably also have known people that are at the front of the line for special treatment- Airman or NCO of the Month or Quarter or BTZ. How did they get there? They submitted themselves for the award or opportunity, just like you wrote your EPR for your boss’ signature or wrote your own decoration citation.

That’s my take on John Kerry’s Purple Hearts and Bronze & Silver Star and it explains why others that received the same medals for the same actions had different views of how things happened. It has been made very clear that John Kerry was quick to write the after-action reports and to submit the applications for his Purple Hearts. It stands to reason that he would have been equally quick to write a commendation for bronze stars for everyone involved if it meant he got one for himself. Additionally, commanders are pretty quick to sign off on decorations for their guys because it makes the commanders look good if their people are being recognized.

Remember, there was a war going on and some of those guys were in Viet Nam for a year or more and they may not have been as interested in receiving medals or what the citations said as they were about staying alive and (finally) getting home to their families, many months after Kerry. And since these vets were not coming home to a hero’s welcome, many of them stuck their medals in the bottom of a drawer or footlocker with little regard for the decoration or the words that came with the medal.

I think that JFK has made a terrible mistake by making his Viet Nam service the point on which he builds his leadership qualities. He has been proven a liar by saying that he was in Cambodia on Christmas in a number of instances when his own diaries and biographer do not support that story and now he has backed up to “sometime in January.” The Democrats have made a mistake by carrying the “military service is a prerequisite to be CiC” banner when their last beloved president for 8 years never served and was as much a draft-dodger, (using legal methods) as those they point fingers at like Cheney or Rove.

More important to me is Kerry’s claims to having the skills to change the intelligence community in our government and uses his 8 years on the Senate Intelligence Committee as his support. Since it has been proven that he missed 76% of the public hearings and won’t disclose his attendance records for the closed meetings, I wonder how this can be an asset.

Ask yourself if you could have kept your job while being unexplainably absent 76% of the time. Nate
I also noticed that this morning, Kerry's staff is reporting that maybe, just maybe, his first Purple Heart decoration was due to an accident- a self inflicted wound... Sorta like that "seared in his memory" made-up story about Christmas in Cambodia that turned out to be a lie. Details at Instapundit if you want to follow the story.

Monday, August 23, 2004

An eloquent post- "Leave it Alone"

Its from a blog I've never seen before today, Adeimantus. Its about John F'n Kerry, Viet Nam and a now disturbed and unwritten domestic truce. This writer is far more eloquent than I so go read it all.
How can it possibly be that his actions thirty years ago, which Kerry himself described as shameful war crimes, are now so undeniably honorable that no one is allowed to question Kerry's account of those actions, not even the very men whom Kerry accused of committing war crimes?
I may have to read this blog every day for a bit.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Tracker is fixed!

We finished it up just a little while ago. The job would have been done hours ago but we misplaced a small plastic bushing in the shifter tower. It was missing and couldn't be found. Called the dealerships- missed the parts guys by one hour and so called another Tracker guy. I caught him just as he was leaving for the weekend but agreed to pull a tranny out of his garage for me to get what I needed.

Headed over to his place, found the tranny and fought just a little bit to extract the part we needed. After rescuing it we kinda figured out that our original part was probably bouncing around inside the case and after getting home, that turned out to be true! It took me several minutes to root around in there and get the bushing pulled up and out and into the right place but it had been in there all along.

So the shifters went back in and a new carpeted carmat as a tunnel cover was installed since the last one had gotten really rough. A quick road trip proved that everything was in order then the tools got hauled into the shop and the carport got a real good cleaning.

Now I'm cleaned too and we are heading out for dinner as soon as the BSU is ready!

Friday, August 20, 2004

mASS BACKWARDS added to blogroll

Everybody stop by and say hi to Bruce. He's got a spiffy design over at his blog and an intelligent take on life. And he likes gadgets! I don't know how he stays in Massachusetts.

This is MY kind of wildlife!- UPDATED

Bear guzzles 36 beers, passes out at campground
"We noticed a bear sleeping on the common lawn and wondered what was going on until we discovered that there were a lot of beer cans lying around," said Lisa Broxson, a worker at the Baker Lake Resort, 80 miles northeast of Seattle.

It turns out the bear was a bit of a beer sophisticate. He tried a mass-market Busch beer, but switched to Rainier Beer, a local ale, and stuck with it for his drinking binge.
Maybe they should name this bear Hamms! I'm with the bear on his beer choice too BTW.

UPDATE:At work this morning, I received an email about this same bear story. But it had been appended to include a tiny little detail that had been overlooked by the rest of the media reporters:
After the capture the bear was discovered to be a man dressed like a bear. The man, Scott Fickett, had been missing from work for two weeks when he was found in the bear suit. Mr. Fickett told Wildlife agents,"hey I just like Rainier beer and it's hard to find in Utah". Mr. Fickett was sobered up and should be back at work shortly.
Yeah, Scott works across the cubicle wall from me! It was our boss that added the last paragraph. Too funny!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

John F'n Kerry is an Empty Shirt!

I still am amazed that so many people can be swayed by this guy. It just boggles my brain. Here's just one more reason why he is unfit to be president.

Kerry's attendance record
A Bush-Cheney '04 ad released Aug. 13 accuses Kerry of being absent for 76% of the Senate Intelligence Committee's public hearings during the time he served there. The Kerry campaign calls the ad "misleading," so we checked, and Bush is right.
There's also this bit of truth-stretching (oh, wait- lieing!)
In their eagerness to dismiss the Bush ad's charges, Kerry campaign aides claimed that the senator had been vice chairman of the intelligence committee, which isn't true. In fact, former Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska was vice chairman of the panel for several years while Kerry was a more junior member of the panel. John Kerry left the committee in January 2001. He never served as vice chairman, a committee spokesman confirmed to us.
This is just one example of Kerry and his people twisting history to make this poser look like a real leader. What a dumbass!

Military bloggers- another group that will accept me!

Jeff Quinton over at Backcountry Conservative is compiling a list of bloggers that have current or previous experience in the military. I guess my 21 years in the USAF on active duty and 4 additional years as a support contractor qualifies me.

Check out his list when you get a minute.

Thursday Three Responsibility- or Blame!

Well, its true, I did submit the Thursday Three questions to the originator of this most memorable and thriving meme. And, by doing so, I suppose I obligated myself to answering the questions. If I proposed the questions, I must have considered answers for the questions, right?

Not so much actually. I will admit to having watched 0 hours of the current Olympic extravaganza on television. None. Nada. I even predicted to my lovely spouse that this summer’s coverage would be the least watched of any previous games unless of course the terrorists got lucky and found one well-attended event to disrupt and so far, thankfully, that hasn’t happened.

So, what is my favorite Olympic event to watch? If we consider the summer and winter games, as opened up by Terry, I think my favorite sport to watch is the winter downhill skiing. Downhill skiing is so fast and so capable of hurting the participants that it really gets my attention. Remember, I grew up in the birthplace of downhill skiing, Indiana, so I think that has much to do with my fascination with gravity and ice. In the summer games, I do like watching some track & field events, high jumping and pole vaulting in particular but I think my favorite sport to watch might be the rowing events. Other bloggers concerns about events that involve synchronized activities notwithstanding, I like watching these very trim and strong athletes pulling oars in a rhythm that really speeds them across the water.

Its curious too, when I think about it, that rowing is really one of those left coast, ivy league kind of things that I normally disdain as effete and not worthy of real men (and women) but in spite of that, I like watching it. Go figure.

My least favorite Olympic sport to watch? Its gotta be the synchronized swimming. Come on! That’s an Olympic sport? Its not one I would spend a minute of time watching on television. I don’t care much for the weightlifting either. Or wrestling.

If I were wearing a US Olympic team jacket, I’d like it if there was a shooting team member patch on it. That 10 meter air rifle and air pistol shooting is tough stuff and I wish I was capable of accuracy just a little bit as good as those shooters.

So there’s my Thursday Three inputs. Maybe I’ll even be able to get into the habit of answering this meme!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

You must go read this- take tissues

From Sgt Hook- about keeping open comments on his blog.
Thank you Sgt Hook for telling us about my son’s memorial in the plywood chapel. His Mom and I would also like to thank everybody kind and gracious enough to post their words and thoughts. I don’t know how we will be able to respond to all individually. His Mom and I are very proud of our soldier and your words and thoughts and our pride in our son will hopefully give us the strength to carry on, which we must for his siblings, his wife and his kids. Again thanks to all who have posted in this and every other blog and site.

Blas E. Galvan
MSG USA Retired
Read the entire thing including the comments. You will be reminded directly why this is the greatest country in the world.

John Kerry to address the Veterans of Foreign Wars

I heard that on the radio on my way to work this AM. I am unable to express how much I hope this goes horribly wrong for him. It is my supreme hope that these veterans bring things to throw at this guy; maybe oversized copies of his medals that he through away or just this summer's produce crop spoils.

I don't believe they will do anything untoward though. These are veterans he is addressing today and they, by and large, were taught and subscribe to better manners.

I do hope his little visit to their convention is a rousing failure though!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

I took the night off

and did not work on the Tracker. My head was just too tired. And my wallet ended up just $373 lighter which was better than the earlier over $400 estimate. Anyway, the Raptors are leading agains the Billings team.

I think I'll get off this 'puter and go read a bit.

Why I hate taking my vehicles to the shop-

406 dollars! That's why! Dangitall, I'm unhappy! I wouldn't pay one place $300 because they insisted on replacing parts that didn't need replacing. So I did it myself, $60 for brake pads, another $11 for the rotor turning and I should have been done.

Except the grease seal into the axle got damaged and began puking axles grease out onto the caliper, wrecking my brand new $60 pads. In addition, the $125 parking brake shoes are also grease-soaked and must be replaced!

[Insert John Dean-like scream here]

I really, really hate situations like this. I am additionally unhappy that the Tracker is still on jackstands after much grunting and huffing and rasslin of a greasy, ungainly and heavy transmission last night. The transmission is still on the jack, not installed and I spent 20 bucks on a clutch alignment tool to replace the one that I already own that is hiding in some crevice of my workshop.

My karma is really in the toilet tight now. I suppose its really truckma but it still has me very grumpy.

Monday, August 16, 2004

There's something new up there at the top!

It just showed up- 5 minutes ago, no kidding. I have NO idea what it does and I'm a little afraid to touch it! You go try it!

Can anybody explain

the value of the little plastic rings and the clear, CD sized disc in a spindle of blank CD-Rs? What the heck are they for anyway? Does anybody have an improvised use for these bits of effluvia?

I was right...

I still have brake problems with the truck. Seems I split the grease seal getting everything back together and now its leaking onto the caliper and making a mess. Dangitall anyway!

I discovered this latest problem while running to the parts store to exchange the clutch disc for the Tracker. The geriatric guy behind the counter finally figured out that the first one was packaged wrong, then he produced one from in the back that is the right diameter and has the correct splines. It took him two tries and he never produced a box for the part, so I'm pretty certain he was hunting through boxes until he found a suitable part.

So I guess tonight I try to get the Tracker back on the road so I can put the truck into the shop tomorrow. I'm not going to mess with the truck's brakes any longer. I've done brakes all my life with complete confidence but I think I'll leave the fixes to this problem to my Ford dealer. It kinda hurts my feelers to not do it myself but brakes are important, these parts are heavy and I just don't want to wrestle it any further.

Making the Olympics Interesting- My Idea

I am sad to report that the IOC again this year disregarded my plan to make the Olympics a real spectacular spectator event.

What’s my plan?

Its simple really. Each athlete, upon entering the stadium for the big opening night ceremony, draws a slip of paper from a barrel. On each slip of paper is one event. Whatever event the athlete pulls from the barrel, that’s what they compete in during the Olympics. And no switching of slips!

Imagine weightlifters doing equestrian events, shot putters high jumping and trap shooters running hurdles! Wouldn’t that simple change make the Olympics much more fun?

Your ideas for fun match-ups go in the comments!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Oh, yeah, what else?

Well the Tracker did NOT get its clutch changed this weekend, though it would have if the parts counter guy would have sold me the correct part! Noah & I took it apart today and the tear down went so smoothly it was surprising, almost as if we had planned it. Right up until the part where I tried to fit the clutch plate onto the input splines of the tranny... Hmmm, the hole's too big!

Let me see that old plate! Rats! Definitely the wrong part. Too big overall and the hole is too big too. Done for the day. Nothing to do but cleanup and wait for the parts store tomorrow. Dang it all!

The 2000 Ford F-250 truck did get new brakes installed this weekend on Saturday. One of the discs got to squalling and I wanted the local Les Schwab store to fix the brakes but they only do them with replacement calipers as part of the job! Yikes, $305 before taxes and another $105 if the disc had to be replaced!

So I went and bought my own brake shoes and went home to do the job myself. I didn't know that the axles had to be pulled to get the discs off... But I figured it out ok, I just couldn't figure out how to move the house over the 3 inches I needed to get the axle out on that side! Just one disc got turned... And possibly one of the calipers needs changing too, it doesn't seem to be pulling back like it should and that was the side that was worn through.

I'm probably not done with brakes.

I got stung by another damm yellowjacket in my backyard this weekend and boy if that hasn't made me cranky and tired. This time it was just above my shorty sock. I swell significantly from these wretched critters and so my getting around was significantly impaired. That was Friday and I spent all evening with my foot propped up and antihistimines washed down with beer trying to reduce the swelling. Saturday I could barely get my shoe on but I stayed moving long enough to finish the truck's brake job, then called it a day. Today was better but my leg and foot are still mighty puffy.

The yellowjackets have a nest, hive, swarm, whatever hidden behind the railroad ties that elevate the veggie garden, right next to where I walk to get to the shop. Two cans of long-distance spray has not seemed to significantly reduce their numbers. I haven't felt good enough to come up with a better plan for their demise just yet. Whatever the plan, I think its goiing to require fire...

Now I must go fold laundry before bedtime. Its Sunday night and if my laundry's not folded and put away, it screws up my whole week.

I Did NOT get the 10 Million Dollars last week...

But I did get the go-ahead to find out how much it would cost to buy a couple kits and the instructions to install the modification to the landing lights. While this approval was not a full-on, "go ahead and do it" blessing, it was at least an indication that the powers that hold the purse strings are interested and willing to press futher ahead.

In case you missed it, I had a significant meeting to attend last week and my purpose was to convince the commands that own the F-16 that they should spend that previously mentioned $10 million to improve the taxi lighting system on a large number of the jets. Right now the light is on a main lnding gear strut and its light is blocked by a number of accoutrements that have been hung on the jet over the years. Moving the light out to the front of the airplane, onto the nose landing gear puts much more light out on the runway & taxiways and significantly improves the pilot's view while moving on the ground.

So I did not get the whole grundle of money. The approval to develop a cost estimate for a test or two was all I really expected and was better than my co-worker Matt got for his proposal. Woohoo! I was able to restrain myself from running a victory lap around the conference table but I was very pleased with the outcome.

I also discovered, after the conference, that the stated time to install this modification might be horribly overstated. I met up with one of the engineers that had his fingers in this program initially and he told me that the 91 hours to install was based on all the operational checks that must be accomplished whenever wire connections are disconnected.

So it was a very hectic week at the job last week. I have also inherited a program to monitor CPI, Conductive Path Infrastructure, otherwise known as wires. And wire harnesses! Its a "still-in-development," online, tracking system to monitor how many man-hours are spent troubleshooting and repairing wires in the jet. The AF has for years cared deeply about every component in the jet with a wire attached to it, they are just now figuring out that an awful bunch of manpower goes into fixing the wires. This program tracks and reports wire issues by airplane, unit, or wire but its just a developmental system and now its time to make it a real program and get it funded for every F-16. And it looks like it wil be my job to make all the arrangemenets, beg for the funding and approvals and institutionalize it. this could be fun...

Monday, August 09, 2004

More ramblings

The Tracker's busted with a cooked clutch so I guess I know what I'll do this weekend... Seems the Boy, on the first day of his summer road trip got it buried out on the Bonneville Salt Flats. He drove too close to a drainage area, (he didn't know, nothing's marked) and dropped the front wheels right through the salt crust into the water below! So girlfriend Lily had to do the rocking and revving while Noah dug and pushed and pulled until he got it extricated.

Getting free managed to get the clutch slipping pretty good and the boy didn't think to readjust the cable to the proper place afterwards. San Francisco's steep hills heated it up again and he basically learned to deal with it for the rest of the trip.

So its cooked. I've got a used pressure plate, throwout bearing and pilot bearing out in the shop, just no clutch disc. So sometime early this week I've got to get that on order someplace.

Now the question is- do we take out the engine & tranny as a unit and swap the clutch outside the car or just drop the tranny from under the car? And do we put in the recently purchased spare engine or hold it in reserve and put back in the smooth running but cracked motor? Getting the tranny out from under will be tricky, (we've done it before) because the dang thing's long, nearly 4 feet long from bellhousing flange to tailshaft. Reason being, the 4WD transfer case is integral and hangs off the back of the transmission. So its going to be a weekend of wrenching and in the mean time I'm carpooling him to the Job Corp and home again afterwards.

Now its late and Jay Leno's Tonight Show will be on in just a little while, so I'm quitting. Its Monday night so its time for Headlines, my favorite bit of television all week. I'll miss anything but Headlines!

I'm still here,

just busy and tired when I'm not busy. So apologies for not having put up anything since last week. That's lousy of me, I know. This week will not be much better. Tomorrow is a major meeting that I am a co-coordinator and that means putting on my best clothes and smile and making sure to keep the coffee pots full. My two planned briefings are Wednesday and today I learned that I will have to do a 3rd briefing Wednesday afternoon, this one to a visiting Colonel that wants to know what my plans are for his wing of airplanes.

I signed up for classes again today, Vendor Management and Intro to Computers. Both are Tuesday & Thursday nights, so I'll be in class from right after work until 10 PM those 2 nights. I could have applied for and received credit for the computer class but that wouldn't have gotten me paid by the VA. So its better to just take the easy class and get the grade and get paid for taking the class. And the Vendor Management class is going to be the last class taught by professor Wilcox who has been my instructor for the statistics and Algebra classes I've taken over the past two terms. I really like the guy and his teaching methods so I decided I should jump on this 400 level class while I could get it from him.

I built a new potato gun last week just for fun. This one is the typical pvc cannon with a 4" chamber and 2" barrel. Overall, its nearly 5', 6", taller than me. Son Noah and I took it out to the desert Sunday. It will shoot a 2" chunk of potato farther than you can see! Great fun, though its not very loud. This one seems to only make a whoosh sound rather than a bang when the thing gets lit. Maybe I just need a different brand of hairspray...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Much, much business going on

I've been PowerPointing non-stop on the job since Tuesday, now I'm cranking up to kill several trees by running them through the printer and copy machines to make handouts. I've also got to make artwork for the handouts and the table name tags and then start hole-punching all the copies piling up on the table.

And it all has to be done before Monday. Cohort Matt and I have been hard at this, calling and collecting briefings from the slow and slacker crowd that always neglects their deadlines. We are printing 15 copies each of 28 different briefings, of which we both had to prepare two each.

Monday is setup and Tuesday and Wednesday will be a medium sized conference that we are hosting, giving briefings, running the computer, taking notes and in my case, pitching a request for money to complete one of my programs.

I need $10 million to buy parts and pay for installation of an improved taxi light on 600+ F16s. The one they have now is bad, very bad. It was always bad from the beginning but other modifications have hung a large pod in front of the light making it pretty much useless for taxiing. With an agreement from the commands that own the jets I can press on with providing a relocated to the front of the airplane taxi light that really lights stuff up!

I actually think they might pay...

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Best Advert Ever

Found tonight over at Redsugar Muse. Go have a laugh! Its even safe for work. This really made me laugh outloud.

John F'n Kerry- hunter and hunter's friend...

This article claims that John F'n Kerry has television ads proclaiming him to be a hunter. Not to put too fine a point on it but the photo I see is of the senator at a trap range, not hunting. I also read that JFK claimed to love deer hunting by "crawling on his belly through the woods with his shotgun..." Crawling on his belly? Oh please...

Come on- if JFK ever hunted deer by crawling on his belly, he had a camera operator there to film it for his archives. Where's the film?
The campaign is running television commercials that show Kerry hunting. It is also distributing campaign literature touting Kerry’s support of the Second Amendment.

This public-relations effort has infuriated the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“He’s not a hunter; he’s just playing one on TV,” said Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist. “The guy has voted consistently against gun owners. It’s politics at its worst.”
And he took time out of his busy campaign schedule to vote for the Assault Weapons Ban extension few weeks back.

Monday, August 02, 2004

If you care-

I did add some links to my post about the weekend, as promised.

My new desktop picture

Is right here. Tomorrow when I get to work I am making this my background on my 'puter screen!Ilove it!

Kerry says he is ready to report to work!

Oh wait! He says he will be there"when neccesary."
Kerry said Bush should immediately call a special session of Congress to implement the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, and he said he would interrupt his campaigning to be there for debate and voting "when necessary."

"When we are at war, we need to do the things that make us safe rapidly, immediately," Kerry said. "If there is something that will make America safer, it should be done now, not tomorrow."
First of all, John F'n Kerry gets my back up just because, unlike Bob Dole, he hasn't had the decency to retire his Senate seat to run for president. Its wrong to be holding public office and to be absent from that duty for months at a time while off doing what you think is more important.

So I have no belief that should President Bush call Congress to a special session that Senator Kerry would be there for anything except a grandstanding speech and the voting, should there be any. He made that pretty clear I think.

Secondly, on this subject of the president implementing these changes to the intelligence world that he recommended today, what would have been John F'n Kerry's words if these ideas had been implemented two years ago? Maybe that the president was rushing into changes that weren't warranted and had not been properly researched? That proper consideration wasn't being applied to this big issue? Yeah, I think so. There is no way that any action taken by President Bush would not have been immediately condemmed, no matter what the action was.

Even the BSU, who supports JFK, said yesterday that his condecending attitude poured through when he was talking to middle-class folks and claiming to represent them. Even she could see that his words just don't ring true.

And I am sick to death of hearing him brag about his 4 months and 3 cuts from Vietnam! The man's no hero dammit! He was a cry-baby that claimed Purple Hearts for Band-Aid covered scratches that by some reports he caused himself, he had time to film himself in homemade recreations of battles and he bailed out instead of doing his time. Then he made it worse by defiling the duty and lives of all servicemen when he bragged to Congress how he had committed atrocities or seen them.

The man's a liar, a flip-flopper and does NOT represent me! Nor will he ever if I can encourage you not to vote for him in November.

Later we'll discuss his plan to hire 200,000 new military members...

Yes! Mark Hacking is in Jail!

No longer just a "person of interest," now he's a suspect and has been arrested and put in jail. Good! Not too surprising really.
Police said that 50 minutes before Hacking called police, he telephoned friends to say his wife was missing. During that time, he went out and bought a queen-sized mattress without a box spring.
Now perhaps Lori's body can be located and she can be laid to rest properly.

Did I mention I've met this guy? He was working at the same hospital where he has been a patient for the past two weeks and that's the same hospital where the BSU was a patient 2 years ago. I remember him being the orderly that helped get her checked in when she transfered from the hospital in Ogden.

The other creepy thing about this character is that his actions could easily those of the BSU's first hubby. Many of Mark's circumstances are eerily similar and the BSU could easily ended up in Lori's predicament if she hadn't left him when she did. The sub-standard performance, particularly in relation to his siblings, the lying about plans and goals, the devotion to the LDS belief system were all aspects of her first hubby that made him a scary character.

He broke into her apartment one weekend, after I moved in, loaded one of my handguns and waited for us to return on a Sunday night. Luckily, we didn't return until Monday. When the break-in and the loaded weapon and missing photographs were discovered, we had him arrested. And I carried that same gun daily for a few weeks until he moved away...

Anyway, I got distracted. Sorry. I'm just glad that Mark Hacking is on his way to a long time in lock-up somewhere.

I'm Free! I'm Free!

Well then, school’s out for three weeks. Not quite Alice Cooper’s, “School’s Out Forever,” but three weeks will be a decent break. Maybe I’ll even be able to crank up my posting quality because I realize that things have been pretty terrible lately in that regard. I did warn you about it some months ago…

So the weekend was as relaxing as I could make it. Friday involved a trip to Salt Lake for a Doc visit for the spouse and we took the opportunity to visit the Titanic artifacts display at the ZCMI shopping center. It was an interesting display and I admit the Titanic story is a fascinating one, but I was underwhelmed by the quantity of artifacts in the display. It was nice and all, it just didn’t have an abundance of things to look at. Somehow, I guessed there would be more things to see.

Something I did not know about the Titanic- it required one pound of coal to move one foot! The White Lines management was so concerned that the coal supply not run low on the ship’s maiden voyage that the coal was stacked up in the crew’s dining room!

So, I didn’t intend this post be all about boat but about the weekend. So where was I? Baseball- I went to a Raptor’s baseball game Friday night for another bit of relaxation with America’s game. I’ve actually been to Lindquist Field three times this summer and haven’t taken the time to write about the pleasure I get from going to a ball game. So Friday night was another night of watching baseball and it was a grand time. And the Raptors won, 13-10.

The rest of the weekend was spent in the yard with just a trip to the grocery store for the twice-monthly restocking of vittles. The shop got cleaned up, though that job’s not finished, the front yard received another dose of Turf Builder to get it greened up, the back yard got watered thoroughly and I finally got the guns cleaned that were used during the Oregon vacation.

Oh, I added a rear sight to my Kel-Tec P3AT too. The gun is designed with two small painted dots inset into the top of the slide and they are just barely adequate for the gun’s intended use. But one of the guys on the Kel-Tec Range developed a proper rear sight to improve the sight picture and the disparity between the point of aim and the point of impact and I decided I had to have one for my gun. The sight is a tiny bit of plastic that glues into the machined slot already in the slide. It seems to be a really well made piece and the instructions are first rate making installation simple. I’ve not yet shot the gun with its new sight but since I didn’t go shooting over the weekend, a trip to the range might be in order this week.

No links right now for all this good stuff I’ve put in this post but I will correct that this evening. Work is busy this week and the network connection has been poor. I’m also back to making PowerPoint charts for a couple briefings next week. So posting at work will be limited and I’ll do better from the homestead.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Families Call off Search

Mark Hacking has apparently been talking, just enough that the family of Lori Hacking disclosed to the media that there is no further need to search.
Police focused on Mark Hacking early in the investigation and have uncovered a life full of lies. He never graduated from the University of Utah in psychology and never applied to medical school as his family believed. Mark and Lori Hacking were just days away from moving to North Carolina; he had told family he has been accepted to the medical school at Chapel Hill.
And the morning he said his wife disappeared, Mark Hacking told police he had run his wife's normal three-mile jogging route twice. Actually, he was at a South Salt Lake furniture store, buying a new mattress. Police seized a mattress from a Dumpster behind a church. They also recovered a small amount of blood, a knife and a box spring, along with bags of other evidence, from the Hackings' apartment. That evidence is now at the state crime lab undergoing analysis.
Maybe shortly he will no longer be "a person of interest," but a real, no-kidding suspect! We can hope.