Day by Day cartoon

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Stories from Behind the Zion Curtain-

Today, pet ownership is in the news.
PROVO, Utah (AP) - The truth about cats and dogs in this city is that they aren't allowed to live in the same house. But that's about to change.

Current city law allows residents to own up to two dogs or two cats at the same time - but not a dog and a cat together. After getting complaints, the City Council is expected to change the law next month.

Now you might be restricted in the quantity and types of pets you can call your own but you are encouraged, even exhalted to fill up that house with a continually growing bevy of children. Children are your heavenly award, delivered early while you're here on earth don't you know. So have 5, heck, have 6 and double-stack them in that suburban rambler that you can't afford without working 2 or 3 jobs.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

What I'm thankful for this season

Sure, I know that last Thursday was actually Thanksgiving and I know that I did not write an eloquent, heartfelt memorial to all the good things in my life as so many folks did.

But make no mistake; I am thankful for many things, not the least of which was actually this weekend. I celebrated Thanksgiving day by catching the very end of the Macy's day parade, just in time to see Santa pass by the terrific float with all the wonder and children and imitation reindeer. Later I cleaned house in anticipation of company coming to dinner, which considering my BSU's circumstances over the past couple years was a remarkable change.

That's right, we had Thanksgiving dinner here, at our house, with family and friends. And it turned out wonderful. Noah & I cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, put stuff away, even making our upstairs living room into a presentable place to sit and visit. We swapped tables around, dug for tableclothes and washed dishes while the spouse dirtied them up preparing a very typical, traditional dinner which she did in splendid order.

The menu was turkey of course and the ham waited for another day. There was mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, pumpkin and banana creme pie, fluffy bread rolls, cranberry dressing of a couple types, yams and deviled eggs. As I said, the usual stuff but this time prepared by a woman with enough energy and confidence to tackle all this by herself with just peeling and chopping and washing duties being handed over to Noah & I.

Vicky, Lily's mom and my occasional Raptor's baseball game partner came to dinner as well as Lily and later, son Kye and very expectant daughter-in-law, Sara. The kids arrived late because they were waiting on some friends of theirs to show but eventually we did all get to sit down together and enjoy a fantastic dinner and pleasant conversation.

It was wonderful and I was so proud of my beloved that I thought I would burst. Or maybe it was the pie.

Friday was a beautiful day ouside- the calm before the storm so to speak and what did I do? Nothing outside. I went out once to bring in the mail. Saturday it was snowing and blowing so what did I do? Why, I dragged out the Christmas decorations that needed to go on the roof and the trees out front of course! Noah and I put up the lights and the Heavenly Host Trio of angels on the roof and the star, again lashed to the swamp cooler in the center of the roof. Next weekend we will bring out the remainder of the nativity scene but on Saturday we contented ourselves with getting the trees wrapped and the roof preparations completed.

You know what was nice about this weekend? I didn't leave my yard from Wednesday evening until just after midnight Sunday morning! I stayed at home. I didn't go shopping, I didn't have to run out for dinner preparations, I just stayed home. I had a Business Law test to complete, Accounting homework to prepare and a paperback book to finish reading. It felt terrific not to have to move except from the fridge to my chair or to the computer room.

I did get a phone call from son Noah last night that was a "rescue us" call. For some reason the always reliable Tracker took a powder and refused to cooperate when the boy and Lily were ready to leave the movies. It wouldn't start. Or rather, it started for just enough seconds for him to get into reverse to leave, then it died. I hauled the two home last night and today we went back to try to get the trucklet working and/or home.

The stubborn thing wouldn't start this morning when we went back even though it apparently had both fuel and spark. The spark on the removed plug seemed kinda puny so we installed a new rotor and distributor cap but to no improvement. So we strap dragged it home. Once we got to our street, I stopped and instructed son Noah to put it into gear and how we would try to bump start it, just to see if that might work... Which, of course it did! Dang thing fired on the second spin of the crank! And seemed to be running fine as soon as it wamed a minute... Hmm. Eventually we found nothing wrong with the Tracker. It has turned cold and he did buy gas earlier in the afternoon, so its possible it was nothing but fuel line freeze or sme freezing in the throttle body. Whatever, its working now and I sent the boy to the store for some fuel line freeze preventer in a bottle to see if that keeps the problem at bay.

I did leave the house again this afternoon, this time to go see The Incredibles. Let me tell ya, this ain't just a kids film, it was great! Very funny story with lots of acton and a bunch of inside sight gags that you really have to watch closely to catch. It is a little "Bond- James Bond" as the story gets into the action-adventure portion of the film, but that was part of the fun, spoofing James B. I especially loved all the cars in the movie- lots of fun shapes.

Two things that tickled me about the cars, but you have to guess what they were. First one had to deal with one of the very first cars shown in the film and it's license plate. The second tickle had to do with the fancy sports car that Mr. Incredible buys partway through the movie and it takes place in the family's garage... Did anybody else spot what I did? The motorheads in the group might figure out what I saw, so leave your guesses in the comments.

Anyway, the movie was funny and a great story. Definitely worth seeing, maybe more than once. And my weekend has been terrific for all the reasons blathered about in the previous paragraphs.

There's a million things I'm very thankful for, but for this season, I'm especially thankful that my spouse is feeling good. Good enough to enjoy her kitchen, her cooking skills and well enough to have company in the house. Its been a long time since she felt well enough to tackle any of those things and I'm very thankful for her improved health.

Thanks to all of you for your kind words and prayers. I'm certain they had an impact on her well being.

Now its time for pie- then bed time!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Schoolwork Update

97% on yesterday's accounting exam! That made me very happy! Tonight is another round of fast paced Business Law and then a take-home test that should occupy 2-3 hours of my weekend.

Checking 6 on the Job, Part 2

!!UPDATE!! I found out who wrote the comment on the whine board! It was Sandy, one of the sweetest women in the building and one that I have a terrific relationship with! And she of course was joking. She even mentioned it to me in the hallway before writing it, I just didn't hear her remark.She was horrified to find out that I didn't know it was a joke. I got a nice hug from her as well. All's forgiven!

Well, I did receive a reply from the boss concerning the rather hurtful comment left last week on the whine board that I wrote about here. She did offer an apology for not being aware of the circumstances and not realizing that I wasn't a participant in the foolishness that took place. She assured me that there was no problem with my performance and she offered the probably true suggestion that whoever put the "working with Nate McCord" whine on the board was trying to be funny.

She also agreed that should the whine board ever be reinstituted that some ground rules about personal attacks would be required.

So I guess I'm satisfied. I'm still going to be checking behind me regularly to ensure nobody's sneaking up on me.

Aww- Dude!

Close air support for our Marines on the ground in Fallujah, brought to you by the friendly folks of the USAF, F-16 warfighting community!

I definitely know the guys that made 500 pound guided bombs on the F16 a reality, they work around the corner from my cubicle. I may even know the guys doing the jet driving for this mission!

Help a Serviceman Call Home

I've had that link over there on the right almost forever as an encouragement to anyone that would like to support our deployed service people by providing them with calling cards that enable them to stay in touch with their family. I cannot tell you how important it is to both the service member and their family back home to get a phone call every now and then. Its a big, lonely world for the parties on either end of a deployment and a phone call from dad to a young child or a wife's kind word of encouragement can make all the difference.

But calling home is often expensive if its available at all and the cost of overseas calls can bust a family's strained budget. One of the kindest things we back here at home can do is to provide a phone card or two to our troops. So my encouragement to you is to use the Operation Uplink button over there on the right or you can go here and purchase phone cards that will be provided to our service folks.

Help them out if you can. It will be appreciated, I promise you that.

A Thanksgiving Photo Blog Post

Rev. Donald over at One Hand Clapping has posted a series of pictures of what he is thankful for. Its a marvelous post and perfect sentiment. Go check it out.

While you're there, find the popcicle stick reindeer. I have one almost identical but made from a wooden clothespin. Its special and I cherish it and I'll guess that the Reverend's reindeer came from the same place mine did, a caring service group making ornaments to be handed out to deployed GIs serving away from home over the holidays.

Maybe I could get busy and find the time to follow his lead on this meme.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Checking 6 on the job...

I've had the strangest thing occur on the job since last Friday and it has left me distressed and angry. So this is a rant I suppose...

Last Friday was a hastily devised "Wingman Day" put together on short notice to manditorily cause all the military and civil service folks to attend briefings on the importance of looking out for one another and each person being a "wingman" to their fellow coworkers. This whole thing was put together to attempt to reign in the unusually high number of people committing suicide that the Air Force has lost this year. So, as I mentioned, there were mandatory briefings, mandatory health and fitness time with a group walk around the pond and then each division was tasked to implement some kind of additional, well-intentioned, theraputic, touchy-feely team building exercise.

Our bosses thought it would be great fun to have a "Whine & Cheese Party." Which they implemented by clearing a couple white boards so that everyone could leave a whine and then have some cheese curls or cheese puffs or even cheesecake. Everybody was encouraged to just leave whatever whine they had on the board, anonymously of course and then indulge in whatever bit of cheese they desired.

Well I didn't desire at all, thank you very much, so I skipped leaving a whine and I skipped the cheesecake. I had work to do and I didn't feel like playing on Friday.

So this morning, I'm at work and walking past the boss's office where one of the white boards remains filled with Friday's whines. Number 12, near the bottom, someone wrote, "working for 4 years with Nate McCord." WTF?

Now I'm a pretty easy going guy overall and I intentionally try not to bug folks if my work doesn't directly intersect with their work. I try carefully to maintain a professional demeanor and rarely get involved with any of the flirtations and extended BS sessions that sometimes go on in surrounding cubicles. I don't not talk to people and there are folks that I converse with for purely conversational pleasure, Bob the religious artifacts dealer sits just around the corner from me and so does Kenny from Coffee in the Morning. So I'm not a scrooge, I just try to mind my own business.

I've also been on the job 5 years next month so I believe that whoever it was taking offense to me arrived after I did in the building. Since it was Friday and since it was this "special" day, a big number of the civil service folks took a day's leave and so weren't there to disparage me so publicly.

Anyway, I went to my boss and showed him the whine board. He assured me that nobody was coming to him complaining about me in any way. He thought that the remark must have been somebody's bad idea of a joke but agreed that it wasn't funny especially since I had not been there to defend myself or rebuke the comment. Late today I wrote an email to my boss and his boss, in whose office the whine board is hung on the wall and expressed my displeasure with the circumstances.

I was especially clear that it seemed odd that on a day when we were supposed to be made more aware of our coworkers and their stresses that it would be ok to make such a direct and personal attack in public without the leadership calling a "knock it off" and deeming the comment to be inappropriate.

I've not asked for an apology because whoever the nameless, cowardly person is, they most certainly are not going to grow a spine if called on the carpet for their comments if they were identified. I did ask that if this person was to be identified that we sit down in a meeting, with my boss and their's present so that whatever grievances this person has can be heard and dealt with in the light of day.

I had to leave this afternoon for a Dr's appointment before I received a response from the front office. I can't wait to hear what the boss's reply will be.

How was your day?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Its late Sunday night and time for bed

But before I go to bed, I want to encourage you to go and sign the petition to support an American Marine who has come under fire for his actions that were captured on video and broadcast to the world last week. This petition is directed to the US Congress. Please take a minute to show your support for this young fighter making life and death decisions on a battlefield against enemies that support no rules of engagement.

I left a comment when I signed the petition. It said, "get the cameramen off the battlefield and let our soldiers and marines do the task they were appointed to."

There's lots more on my mind about this circumstance that would take too long to detail tonight but those of you that know me probably already know my feelings on the subject.

And how 'bout President Bush this weekend? Don't mess with Texas is right!

Accounting homework is done for the weekend

Though I'm going to the local Starbucks for some group review an hour from now. I have been working mighty hard on this class but I like it.

More posting later.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

A new addition to my blog list tonight

I promised Pammie I'd get her linked over a week ago and slacker that I am, I just remembered to do it tonight. Her blog is Lollygaggin and she's lots of fun to read. I like her thoughts and writings and she is a member of the priviledged few known as the Axis of Weevil. So check her out. Tell her I sent you, maybe she's baking cookies or something ansd she'll treat you to one!

Friday is National Ammo Day!

So get out to your favorite dealer in ammo and buy yourself a 100 rounds- just because you can! If you need more explanation, just click that banner over on the right.

I'll be stopping by Impact Guns on my way home from work tomorrow for a brick of 22LR and at least 100 rounds of 380 for my Kel-Tel P3AT. And maybe I'll buy some 9mm, just to store for a bit as an incentive to buy something that it will fit...

Only in Utah... A peek around the Zion Curtain

Today, at work I'm talking to Lynn at my desk. Lynn began his government service as a radio operator in the back of B-25 bomber during the Big War, just to give you an idea of how long he's been around. He's also a life-long Utah resident.

As we are talking some shop, Terrie strolls past, behind Lynn and down the walkway. I turned back from looking as she passed by and said to Lynn, "I wish she would marry me."

Lynn cocked his eyebrow at me and says, "Aren't you already married?"

"Sure," says I, "but living here, that's not insurmountable..."

"No," Lynn advises me, "you can't have two wives if you're going to have plural wives. You can have three, but not two."

"But what if I only want two women," I asked.

"Nope, its got to be three. Two will choose sides against the man every time. If there's a third wife, two of them will choose sides against the third and the man will get left out of the arguments. Everybody knows that."

I suppose you already knew that too. It just never occurred to me before!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

You can save Vincent's life!

Thanks to Gunner's careful reporting, I'm expanding the search for kind souls that will save Vincent's life. But you must hurry, there's only a couple weeks left!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Finally, the weekend report...

UPDATE: I found a very informative link about Burt Munro which I added in the appropriate paragraph. Check it out.

Yes, the BSU and I did go to Wendover, Nevada for a little time away on Thursday and Friday, and we had a great time. The drive over Thursday afternoon was beautiful with a dramatic storm blowing huge clouds over the mountains and horizons. That really made for a pleasant drive and its just over 2 hours away from the house.

I had a coupon for a free night's stay at the Peppermill and the room turned out to be much nicer than either of us expected. It was large, clean, nicely appointed, just nicer than you might expect. In fact, everything about the Peppermill was nicer than we expected. Nothing, anywhere that I looked was worn or dirty or scuffed. Not the carpets or the chair arms or the upholstery in any of the dining room booths, it all looked brand new.

We did gamble a little bit, as promised previously, but mostly on the casino's money. I put $20 into a penny slot machine just for fun while the spouse napped and ended up a couple drinks later with $120! Well that money was what we gambled away throughout the rest of the evening, before and after watching Saving Private Ryan in our room.

The only disappointment of the entire weekend was the buffet. More expensive than Golden Corral and the food wasn't even close to being as good. In fact, it was lousy. Most items were cold, the prime rib and the brisket were tough and the ribs were dried out stubs. A couple Bloody Mary's made it tolerable.

Breakfast was in the regular dining room and it was excellent. I had an omelette with spicy Italian sausage, she dug into eggs benedict with a pronouncement that they were wonderful. Additional Bloody Mary's made breakfast a real treat. We both enjoyed our breakfasts after a good long sleep-in and some prolonged and energetic snuzzle time before going downstairs.

After checking out, we headed back home through Wendover, Utah, which is the poor, plain cousin to Wendover, Nevada with all their neon lights, discount liquor stores and gambling. Wendover, Utah has a few filling stations, a Super 8 motel and a couple (apparently) thriving pawn shops. There is actually, serious discussion going on between the two states considering moving the state border to incorporate the Utah town into the Nevada town, something that's apparently not been done in the US nearly since the country was established. But its really only a painted line on the one street in town that separates a town with lots of money from a town with none. Wendover does have a beautiful airstrip, built a couple years ago in expectation of getting a real airport that could handle commuter sized jets but the money ran out before the tower and ticketing and parking terminals could be built, so it sits there unused. I expect that in another year or two the painted line will get moved east a half mile and those uptight folks that don't want to live in Nevada will have to come east across the desert to the big city.

Anyway, before I got caught up in that geography and civics lesson I started to say that while driving through Wendover, Utah I passed a string of parked cars. There was a 62 Impala SS with 80s styled wheels on it, a 58 Corvette, a couple late 50's Buicks, a MGB rally car with Paddy Hopkirk's name painted on it on a trailer, a tiny streamliner on a trailer, a 32 Ford roadster in black and a couple other vintage looking salt flat racers on trailers, all parked together. Hmm, I think I gotta stop to see... Funny, all these cars have vintage, yellow California license plates. And the plates are wired on over modern plates. What the heck?

Now I know that these folks are not coming from the Bonneville Salt Flats raceway because I had just been there the day before and knew that the raceway was under water. I did find one guy, reading his paper sitting in one of the cars and so I knocked on his window and asked what it was all about.

The cars were all about The Fastest Indian which is a movie about New Zealand motorcycle legend Burt Munro, who in 1962, raced his modified 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle across the Bonneville Salt Flats and set a new world land speed record. The guy in the car told me that back in September they had a couple hundred vintage land speed racers out on the salt for the majority of the filming! That would have been very cool to see!

Anyway, we returned home Friday afternoon refreshed and as happy with each other as we have been in a good long while. And we only spent about $75, not counting our gasoline for the truck.

Any Firefox browser users out there?

I switched over the weekend to Mozilla's Firefox for my browsing instead of Internet Explorer. So far, I really do like it. It stops pop-ups dead. DEAD. Its also free, which we all know is a good thing. It will import your IE Favorites list painlessly.

The only thing I cannot figure out right now is how to get my links in all my folders into order! There's provisions for lining them up alphabetically but it doesn't seem to be working for me. If you are a Firefox user and can assist in getting my multitude of links in order, please drop me a note with instructions.

If you are tired of more-than-a-little-bit annoying pop-ups and the myriad hacks that can cause your computer to be vulnerable through Internet Explorer, I encourage you to check out and switch to Firefox. Really. Its worth it.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Differences in America...

More us vs. them but this time its Red State-Blue state differences. By By Ron Marr Commentary, November 05, 2004. And thanks to the Cajun for pointing it out.
The election wasn’t just Bush versus Kerry. ...Oh…there were issues aplenty. And on each one the families from Flyover Country took a stance diametrically opposed to the upper crust. The latter view Europe as a Socialist utopia which all should strive to emulate.The former view it as a place with bad plumbing and body odor. The latter are enamored with, and a desire to appease, anyone who claims a lineage harboring at least one duke, baron or Third World, French-speaking exporter of bat guano. The former couldn’t give a damn what Europe thinks, wouldn’t trust Kofi Annan to wash their truck. Hell, they want to resign from the U.N., boot out the tenants and convert the real estate into a Bass Pro Shop. When it comes to war, the “normal” American believes in big bombs, not big words.
[Emphasis mine] Read the whole thing, its worth it.

A Bass Pro Shop in the UN building... what a great idea!

The difference between them and us...

This is how Americans show their respect for their beloved, deceased presidents.

This is how the deserving folks on the West Bank who desperately desire their own state do it.

Any questions?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Its Veterans Day

So go read this tribute. I don't think you will find a better one anywhere.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Trivial Pursuit today!

After leaving Accounting class I headed over to the Winter Sports Expo that was being held at the club. I picked up a discount coupon for another, hopefully successful trip to West Yellowstone, discussed a discounted rate for a couple season passes at Powder Mountain with the nice lady who is in a position to make a deal and who I have treated to chocolates on a number of occasions and signed up for a free card that provides a $10 discount each time I go to Snow Basin Ski Resort.

Then it was off to the SmithTix counter to purchase two tickets for the upcoming Green Day concert for son Noah and his buddy Jesse. That turned out to be a $76 swipe of the debit card that I had NOT planned on! Dang ticket sellers get $22 in fees over and above the ticket price which is just ridiculous IMHO.

I also had to make a stop for batteries for the radio on my desk and its nearly time to head off to Law class.

Tomorrow, being Veteran's Day, I'll be off work. The BSU and I are heading to Wendover, Nevada until Friday. I've got a coupon for a free room, there's a swimming pool, several places to eat and I think they do a little gambling there too. Which is what we will do- a little gambling. Don't expect me to spend very much of my hard earned cash with the one-armed bandits but I suppose we will play a little. Mostly, we just want to get away for a little while. (The BSU has already ruled out taking the trip in either direction on the long route, every turn's an adventure, gravel road route).

I even got some work done today...

Accounting- 1st test results-

90%! I got an A! I was very surprised after brain-locking and not getting the balance sheet portion of the test completed and balanced. The woman, Kihe that sits next to me aced the test... Good for her!

Coast to Coast Scooter Trip Update from TGB

I've pushed this back up to the top to fix the link to the TGB Coast to Coast Scooter Trip. This link will get you to each day's pictures and their map. Seems they won't be passing through Utah at all. Not too surprising considering the weather possibilities.

It seems like they are having a grand time getting their pictures taken with pretty girls across the country, hanging out with the Hooters girls and even getting their story told on tv. The scooters seem to be holding up well and the decal count increases each day.

It had to be a long day getting across Texas though!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

So that's what a root canal feels like!

Now I know. So far the biggest pain will be in my wallet if I don't look up the insurance information tomorrow and phone it in.

I mentioned last night that I had a tooth that had been bothering, and getting worse for a number of months, so today I made the appointment to see Dr. Miya. Nice guy, though my previous contact with him had only been through my semi-regular checkups and cleanings. I'm lousy for going to the dentist because, except for cleanings, nothing is ever wrong with my teeth. No kidding, I've not had a cavity since before I joined the Air Force in 1978!

Today made up for all the good luck I've had with my teeth. Seems that one of them, in the back, on the bottom and previously filled during the Ford administration was cracked. Finding out how cracked required drilling. And x-rays. And diging around with a sharp pointy object.

The crack runs clear though and I'm probably lucky not to be loosing the tooth entirely. So I got a root canal and a new filling and a temporary cap. I actually took a nap during most of the drilling process. The doc said I snored ever so peacefully while he worked and was pretty surprised at my napping skills. He said that didn't happen often with most patients.

Anyway, I got out of there with a follow-up appointment for two weeks from today to get the permanent cap installed, a warning to go easy on the temp one and a prescription for some hefty pain pills- just in case and a bill for just under $1000, of which the insurance will catch the very largest part. I'll figure that out tomorrow.

I also just finished my Business Law test, which although not terrible hard was 2 and a half hours to complete. My Accounting test today went perfectly, except I completely forgot all the preliminary steps before creating a balance sheet! I hope I get partial credit on that part of the test because it was a significant portion of a decent grade. Maybe I can blame worrying about my bad tooth for missing it...

Now- bed time!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Two tests this week and a tooth hurting!

So posting might just be light while I try to get through my first tests in Accounting and Business Law in the next 2 days. Work is intruding and I have a painful tooth that is really demanding attention right away. That's a rarity for me so I'm not very happy about tooth pain.

Its also a short work week and I have a date with my spouse for an overnight trip to Wendover Thursday & Friday! Whoo Hoo! Don't expect much gambling to go on while we visit but maybe it will be just a nice trip away together for a few hours.

BTW, Napoleon Dynamite is the strangest movie I have seen in a long time, maybe ever. Sure it was a Sundance hit a couple years ago, but its just weird. The two main characters move so slow that it appears they are on qualudes and every one in the film is just a whacked out character. Its not without its moments but you will have to be in the right mindset to enjoy it. The BSU's funnybone is a liitle slow coming back from her recent illness, so she really didn't get it. I got it, I'm just not certain I appreciated it.

Something I saw over the weekend

I watched Noah's girlfriend Lily eating Froot Loops the other day. She eats them one color at a time. And apparently she eats them in the same color order every time! I'm not certain of the color order but she starts with yellow.

Which means that one of the colors is always soggy before the bowl goes empty!

DoD Stresses Troop Support Mail Policy

No more "Any Serviceman"mail.
The Department of Defense announced today the continued suspension of the “Any Servicemember” mail program. Accordingly, the general public is urged not to send unsolicited mail, care packages or donations to service members during the holiday season.

Americans, who don’t have loved ones deployed overseas, can still show support during the holidays by other means.A list of these programs is available at
There are ways to show your support over ther in my right column, buy those guys a phone card maybe.

Friday, November 05, 2004

You will NOT see me riding my scooter

like these guys! Nope. Nada, Ain't happenin for this guy.

Its pretty wild scooter riding so its worth a watch. I'd like to see the blooper reel too...

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Coast to coast on scooters!

The TGB Coast-to-Coast Challenge is under way and you have to go see the pictures! On Day 2 it was 40 degrees and raining all across Pennsylvania. Yikes! This seems like a great publicity effort for these neat, new delivery scooters but I believe I would have waited until next May before setting out.

I'm a fair weather rider I guess but these three guys are tough!

How did we live before the internet?

The BSU just strolled in while I was writing that last post. She needed the address and zip code of the hospital in Salt Lake where she got such good treatment last month. She also wanted the address of one of her sister's in Oregon that had recently moved from the address she had been in for 20+ years.

It took no more than 3 minutes to find both items, from 2 different sites and she was back on her way finishing some Thank You cards. I might have even done it sooner except for a few seconds of snuzzle time.

Before there was the internet, how long would it have taken to track down that info?

Vento Phantom scooter engine sizes revisited

I know that all (both) of you regular readers don't really care about this nonsense but I feel its my duty to spread my (admittedly) limited knowledge through out the great WWW. So I'm going to continue posting about my scooter's engine size deficiency until the whole world knows.

Here's what I learned tonight. Last week I ordered a new head gasket from Vento's online parts listing in anticipation of needing a new one once I tore the engine down to measure it. And today it arrived. Very timely delivery, that was a good thing.

The bad thing is that I got the idea to measure the inside diameter of the head gasket hole! Sure enough, after breaking out my dial indicating caliper, measuring it to be 2.08 inches in diameter and running the numbers through the universal converter program in my Palm, I determined the diameter to be 52.8 mm. Very nearly the 52.4mm listed in the Vento Service Manual next to the 124.6cc displacement figure! I've actually found found a couple places that list the supposed bore as 58.9mm. This head gasket would certainly be hanging over the edges if placed over a hole that big!

So tonight I'm writing that email to the EPA and including a scan of the head gasket since I'm digital camera-free these days. I placed a ruler next to it for scale. I'm not going to uplaod it because I know you don't really care. If you do, ask. I'll email it.

F-16 Fighter Fires at School

Stories like this one cause people in my building to get called in early, stay late and generally run around with their hair on fire. Though I haven't visited him today, I am certain than my friend Bob, the religious artifacts dealer has been intimately involved with the details of this story since he walked in this morning; Bob is the USAF F-16 Flight Safety guru. So I know that he knows more details than the guy who was flying the jet last night.

Additionally, I have a small personal involvement in this incident as well because it isn't mentioned here, I'm betting the flyer was using his night vision goggles and if he was, I was hired here to work in the program that installed the night vision capability on that jet.
LITTLE EGG HARBOR, N.J. -- A National Guard F-16 fighter jet on a nighttime training mission Wednesday fired 25 rounds of ammunition that tore through an intermediate school. No one was injured.

The military is investigating the incident that damaged Little Egg Harbor Intermediate School shortly after 11 p.m.

Police were called to the area when a custodian heard what sounded like someone running across the roof of the school. The custodian was the only person in the school at the time.

Police Chief Mark Siino on Thursday said police officers noticed punctures in the roof. Ceiling tiles had fallen into classrooms and there were scratch marks in the asphalt outside the building.
Lucky for everyone that it was 11 PM and not 11 AM.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

My first scooter convert!

I've been having a pleasant email conversation with a guy named Chris for the past few days. Chris found Wasted Electrons while Googling Scootersdirect2U, which you regular readers might remember I also conversed with online a couple months back. Anyway, Chris wanted to know the details about that conversation and also any other advise I could share about scooters.

Chris lives in southern California and apparently gasoline is about $2.35 down there so he was looking for a way to cut his commute budget, same as me. I've told him about all I know about scooters, recommended JJ's Cruisers as a place to check out for reliable and friendly service and explained what I know about the Vento engine size disparity. I also recommended that he look around locally and see which scooters he could buy from a dealer nearby and that he should test ride a few before making his decision.

This morning he emailed me to say that he too has decided on a Vento Phantom R4i like mine. Its going to be his early Christmas present. Congrats Chris and let me know how you like your scoot when you get it home.

BTW, I still owe a return email to the EPA concerning the certification of Vento's supposed to be 150cc but seems to be 125cc engine.

National Ammo Day is approaching

So be gathering up your pennies, nickels and dimes to do your part! This is Kim duToit's annual event to encourage folks to stock up with at least 100 rounds of your favorite ammo.

I know I can always stand another brick of .22 Long Rifle!

And John over at Castle Donovan is promoting Buy a Gun Because Bush Won! as a method of celebration which I can certainly support in heart if not in reality right now. Rapidly approching holidays and ski ticket purchases will belay any new guns until after the first of the year. That Beretta CX4 Storm still seems to be on my short list of guns I think I need, so maybe it will get the call when I can celebrate with John.

What the left is saying about the elections...

Wow folks, it is just unbelievable how wild some of these folks ideas are. Over at
Little Green Footballs they are posting a bunch of the best of the left and here at Voices, the Day After, they're not only heartbroke but most have defective keyboards with stuck Caps keys. I think my favorite comment from the weirded lefty crowd was this one, posted over at Sgt Stryker's Daily Briefing.
“… Re: There better be some riots tonight … I can’t believe Bush won. Where did we go wrong?
Personally, I played my bongos at many rallies to defeat Bush. I had some phat beats going sometimes for hours, I really gave it my all. How could this happen?“
He played his bongos for hours to defeat Bush? Wow.

John Kerry does something honorable!

By conceding the election to President Bush! I must admit that I am very surprised. This is completely different from the "Not until the last vote is counted" words from his campaign staff last night and the pre-election drafting of an "army of lawyers" being called out to ensure every last voter was treated with kid gloves.

Since it appears that he has called the president to concede even before all the Ohio provisional votes are counted, based upon all the information that has been provided so far, I'll give the senator an attaboy. I would NOT have expected this to happen and I would have guessed that instead the courts, lawyers and over tasked elections officials would have been drug across the rug for the next several weeks.

So, good on ya Senator for doing something classy and honorable. Don't forget to remind the moonbats to stop sulking and get back to acting like citizens instead of jackasses.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I did my civic duty- and an update

or- I exercised my right as a citizen of these United States of America, and voted. (I suppose civic duty is performing jury duty, voting is a right and a privilege.) Anyway, I did it.

And, as mentioned before, I DID NOT VOTE FOR JOHN F'N KERRY!

On a lighter note, the beloved spouse accompanied me on her first ride astride the motorscooter to the polling station! Since it was just around the block it wasn't too much sacrifice on her part. And I think she actually enjoyed the little jaunt around the block. We even skipped putting on helmets for our short journey. Mostly I think she did it to appease me, but it just seemed easier than hauling the truck around the block to struggle for a parking spot. And it was a beautiful day to go for a scooter ride.

The BSU has been feeling much better over the past week. This is great news. When we visited the doc last week, he just suggested that some of the times when she takes her meds be moved around and so far, following his suggestions, she is sleeping all night long, getting up during the day and taking part in normal household activities that were beyond consideration a couple months ago. She even made breakfast over the weekend- twice!

She also mentioned tonight that her handwriting has returned to its normal, readable, pleasant to look at style. For the past many months her handwriting had deteriorated into such scratches and squalls that it was almost unreadable but she said she noticed it getting noticeably better almost immediately after her ECT. Today when I came home she was writing thank you notes to her sisters. That is a remarkable and significant change that we all are very thankful for.

So, I'm proud and happy for her and I'm mighty pleased to have been able to participate again in the democratic process. Now if they can just get all the votes counted, with minor complaints along the way and with the result of an overwhelming successful re-election of the president, things will be wonderful.

Its 199 electoral votes for the president and 188 for John F'n Kerry on Yahoo right now as I write this...

Something to think about on Election Day

From John over at Castle Argghhh! something to consider before voting today-
Its all about the judges!"
If you are a Libertarian pissed at Bush- Kerry's judges will be worse.
If you are a Conservative pissed at Bush- Kerry's judges will be worse.
I'm going to repeat my first scare tactic of my political punditry...

Chief Justice Clinton. Either one. Justice Gore.

Think about it before you throw your vote away."
Ditto. Think about it. As for me, my mind is decided and I'll be casting my vote this afternoon.

John F'n Kerry will not be my candidate! But you might have guessed that already...

Monday, November 01, 2004

Dang it all! Bad news from the mountain

I've finally been able to connect with the ticket checking boss at Powder Mountain Ski Resort, where, long time readers will recall, I've been working weekends since 1999. It seems that management has been changing things around and no weekend jobs exist for me and Noah this winter! Everyone now is on the payroll and sharing ticket checking and chair lift operator chores and the weekend volunteer positions have been buried in a snowdrift.

There is a "call list" so that anyone desiring a day off can coordinate a replacement for his spot in the schedule and I asked to get on to that list. It sounds pretty iffy though unless the boss operating the list is real good about rotating the folks getting called instead of just starting at the top everytime. Come springtime there's a big likelihood of getting called often as the regulars get worn down and quit coming into work but that's not a great plan because the pay is in comp passes and those get hard to sell the closer springtime gets. I've still got three left from last winter!

What this means is a significant boot in my wallet. If we are going to ski each weekend as we are used to doing, I've got to buy 2 season passes. I forget the exact amount but it will be close to $500! Ouch! I was planning some new snow pants for myself and Noah needs a new coat this winter and I still intend to pay for snowboard riding lessons and all that will be much more difficult if I have to pay just to go skiing.

I've already called Steve in the Ski Shop to offer our services to try to wrangle some kind of work / season pass trade deal. He's full up right now as well and had his staff numbers cut back too, so there's no active deal cooking but promised to see what he could finagle for us.

This was NOT news I wanted to hear today!

Go see Ray! Two Thumbs up!

Saturday evening the spouse and I escaped from the trick-or-treating hordes by going to the movies. We left the boy in charge of handing out the candy and we went on our first movie date in many months. And she wanted to see Ray.

First of all, a warning. Do not buy the upsized for just-a-quarter extra large soda! The movie is 2 hours and 40 minutes long counting the previews so unless you've been blessed with a really big bladder, go for the smaller sized soda.

The movie is terriffic and Jamie Foxx deserves an Academy Award for his portrayal of Ray Charles. It is a gritty story and focuses perhaps a little too much on Ray's many-year heroin addiction but in doing so it doesn't pull any punches or try to paint a glossier picture than what was Ray's life. I thought the scenes and the frequency instead portrayed the overwhelming affect the addiction had on his life. If you are offended by scenes of drug use and sexual activity, the movie might be too graphic.

But if you want a story about an American legend and his music through all its different sounds, go see Ray. The spouse was enthralled with the clothing styles and fabrics and the hairstyles as they progressed because she has older sisters that were growing up and wearing those styles. I liked the automobiles and how they were upscaled as Ray's career progressed upwards. But its really all about the music and I don't think a single one of us has been unaffected by Ray Charles' music so the movie is filled with the music that has crossed so many music borders.

So, if you want a story of an American that refused to be a cripple in spite of his disabilities, its well worth watching. Ray promised his mamma not to let anyone make him a cripple as he headed out into the world on his own and except for the heroin addiction, he was successful at that promise. He beat his addiction, kept his promise to his mamma and became an American icon and legend.