Day by Day cartoon

Sunday, February 27, 2005

My Sitemeter emails stopped- anybody else?

For the entire time that I've used Sitemeter to keep track of my puny number of visitors each day, I've received a weekly email with summary charts of the past week's results. Then the emails stopped after the new year. I've not received one since December.

I didn't get an email saying they were going to stop with the summaries and I can't find any info on their web page that says I needed to start paying, or anything like that.

Did you stop getting your weekly reports too?

Enough with this schoolwork already!

Isn't there a kegger party somewhere to crash? Can I get together with my neighbor Roger and have an "old farts" frat party to blow off some studying steam?

I sure feel like I could use it. I have studied and done homework diligently this weekend. Tomorrow is my final for the macroeconomics class, online, and ocnflicting with my accounting class... what was I thinking when I planned that? Good Grief! I also didn't learn the secrets to this proxied test scheduling until this weekend, even though my final is tomorrow, I still have reading to do and answer to for the last week of class!

And accounting ends with a final on Friday and still 2 chapters to cover in class this week! I think I have done all the homework that will be required but there's a study guide to work that will take up several more hours before the test.

Look at what time I'm posting this- its late. I just finished printing out all the review material for tomorrow's test. I think I'm taking the morning off to review instead of going to work.

I did break out of my closet for a few hours this weekend for fun stuff. Saturday the BSU and I went to see Hotel Rhwanda. Its a riveting movie. It left me with a deeper understanding of how hatred can be festered and harvested all because of a name stamped in a document. It also furthered my belief that the United Nations is of no value in the world except for setting up tents and soup lines.

Today I snuck out to the shop for a couple hours to continue with the scooter engine upsizing project. Its all apart, the head and all the components are on the bench. I took a number of pictures but its too late to be uploading them tonight. I'll be saving them for a special post all about the swap.

And except for those two breaks, I've been at the schoolwork all weekend. But next weekend, I'm free!

What to do, what to do with all that free time? Something nice with the spouse maybe...

Friday, February 25, 2005

Guess what I bought today...

A new gun! Yes!

No, actually its not a new gun, its a rather old gun actually, a Smith & Wesson Model 19 revolver in 357 magnum. It looks like this one. It is wearing a Hogue grip and a trigger shoe and overall, its not very shiny. The bluing is worn thin and the evidence of a bit of rust shows around some of the edges. But it locks up tight, the bore is shiny and the gun looks like it was somebody's trusted companion for many years. It just has that look of wear in the cosmetics but care in the internals that said to me that somebody loved and carried that gun without regard if it stayed "pretty."

I found it at the Cash America Pawn Shop and you'll be jealous when I tell you the price was just $219 & tax... My trusted religious artifacts dealer Bob advised me on some things to look for this afternoon and suggested that if the gun was in good condition I should buy it without delay. Which I did! Its on layaway right now and should come home next week or the week after.

Once upon a time, many years ago, I had another Model 19 like this one. It was a polished stainless version, wore the same Hogue stocks and was sold early in my married days to this BSU. The rent needed paid and the gun had to go. Now I've got another one and this one has character on display from every angle.

Now I'll need a holster or two, a gun rug and a new caliber of ammo to buy to keep it fed. And since its a 357, I'll need 2 flavors of ammo for it, 38 Special for all the time shooting, and full-house 357 Magnum ammo for when it gets loaded up for duty.

This would be a great time to jingle my tip jar, if you've been waiting for a reason...

EBay Phishing Scam in My Email

This was an interesting email that I received tonight:
Dear eBay customer,
Due to our new services you have to pay your eBay fees.You can pay with your credit/debit card. We will ask for your credit/debit card only once.We will charge your account once per month.However you will receive a confirmation request in about 24 hours after the credit/debit card is authorized.You have 24 hours from the time you'll receive the e-mail to complete this eBay Request.
Note:Ignoring this message will cause eBay TKO Suspension notice.
To make the funds payable to us please use this link:
I was ever so pleased when, just for fun, I clicked the link and this is what I saw:
The host has been disabled due to violation of our terms of service

You are getting this page because the site you tried accessing was involved in a Fraudlent Phishing scheme.
What is a phishing scheme?
The ultimate goal of a phishing scheme is to gather customer infomration such as usernames, passwords, social security numbers, and credit card numbers. The main way they do this and probably how you reached this site is through spoofed email. The email claims to be from a website or company asking for you to login or provide them with some other confidential information.
So, thanks, Vitalwerks Internet Solutions, LLC for keeping aware and pulling the plug on an internet fraudster.

Another place to rant about Vento!

This morning I followed a link and discovered Review Centre. I took the oportunity to further spread the word about Vento's blatant lieing about the size of the 2004 Phantom's engine.

So of course I had to stir the pot some more!

I'm still waiting for my header pipe to arrive and haven't had time to perform the engine upgrade. Since I'll be done with this term next week and won't have any homework to do, I'll probably try to get it done next weekend.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Just one of the reasons I'm crabby lately

is the dog that been using the family room carpet as her peeing spot. Trouble is (one of the troubles,) I don't know which dog! There's two elderly female dogs in this house and either could be the culprit. Anyway, I've been sopping up dog piss puddles for a couple weeks now and I'm getting pretty tired of it.

And, after renting a carpet shampooer once, which was all the hassle that renting always entails, I decided to buy a shampooer for myself. One I could keep cocked and locked in the laundry room for cleanup on an as-needed basis.

So, I went shopping and looked at all the differnt models of carpet shampoo machines. I picked out a .Eureka Atlantis Deep Steam Extractor for all its features and the price that I was willing to pay. I tried to buy it last night at Wal-Mart but no customer service people could be located to get one down from the storage above the displays before the BSU overspent on some new clothes and left me with not enough cash to buy it.

So tonight, on my way home, I stopped at the other Wal-Mart, which didn't even seem to stock the machine I wanted... And after going home, taking the BSU and Son to dinner at Appleby's, stopping at Sam's Club to see if they sell shampooers and finally driving across town to the first Wal-Mart, and expecting to use a rake from the lawn & garden department to pull down the box I want, I find the box down on the low shelf waitng for me to pick it up and proceed to the check out.

And the damm thing doesn't work! No kidding! I brought it home, unpacked it, read the instructions, filled the proper tanks with the correct liquids and- nothing. The vacuum works. But no spraying and no movement of the brushes!

I decided to drink a couple beers and blog until my blood pressure drops low enough for me to sleep. Tomorrow I will call the Customer Service phone number and pray that there is an english speaking person to assist me.

What's a Skoda Convertible called...

with the top down? Its called a "skip!" A skip, of course is a dumpster to those of us here in the good old USA. This of course is just one of a great many jokes told to every Skoda owner in the UK. Of which, I, of course, once was. A Skoda owner.

This silly joke is the answer to the comment I left over at Possumblog this morning in the famed Thursday Three pronouncement for the week.

The Thursday Three this week came from another fabled motorhead, Larry Anderson and these questions are available to read at Possumblog. I simply must pull out of my study and RL induced stupor and respond to these very pertinent questions.

1. What's the strangest car I've ever owned? That might just have to be a Citroen CX2200 sedan. I wrote about this car before and I'll reprint it here:
Citroen CX2200 What a weird critter this was! Hydraulic suspension, when you shut the car off it settled down on its wheels like a camel kneeling. Start it up and it rose like magic to the right height again. Move a lever to jack it way up and lock it to change a tire. Brake pedal didn't actually move it just actuated a pressure switch. Four wheel disc brakes, hydraulically boosted too but no power steering, ugh! Sold it to another GI, he tried to get me in trouble with the commander over it. Unsuccessfully.

2. The worst car I've ever owned? Hmm, this is a toughie as you will no doubt realize when you get to the extended entry. Two of the worst had to be the Commer Caravan camper that didn't look much better than the one in the picture. I said this about it in a previous post:
1974 Commer Caravan, our first RV. This thing was about the size and shape of a Volkswagen microbus, battleship gray and rust infected. The spouse was offended just having it sit in the driveway but we toured England with it and made full use of the stove, sink, fridge, pop-top and fold out bunks.
Alternately, the 1984 Skoda Estelle might take worst car prize, which remarkably shared the driveway at the same time as the Commer! I wrote this about it in a previous post:
I bought this one with the engine already blown; I took a connecting rod out of the motor before even removing the air cleaner... This one was the finest Czecheslovakian car I ever owned! Twelve hundred cc motor, in the back. I fiddled with the motor for this thing for a number of weeks, the first one I couldn't keep together and I finally bought a second from a wrecking yard in London.
After the second engine installation we did drive this throughout England for a number of months before returning home. It was an nightmare from an engineering point of view and it was remarkable how sturdy they could be and how beloved they were among the hard working farmers in East Anglia.

3. Any wrecks? Ah, yeah, I suppose there's been a couple wrecks. But I've only turned three vehicles upside down... And nobody's ever required any more medical attention than a band-aid and a valium or two, so that's not bad. Right? The first upside down adventure happened again while we lived in England, in a Fiat 128 sedan, on my way to work one (not so) apparently icy morning. I had Son 1 in the back seat, strapped into his car seat and suddenly we were off the road at 60 mph and fighting for control. I lost. The car hit a large bump in the ground, rotated 90 degrees and then nosed over into a mostly-empty canal! I got wet about knee deep extricating both of us out of that mess.

Then the pretty blue Ford Thunderbird that the BSU insisted on having to rid herself of the "soccer mom in a minivan" look. I turned it upside down with both kids in the car this time, coming back from my mom-in-law's funeral in Jan 98. We crested a large hill on the interstate, and passed onto a piece of the highway that was perenially shaded and covered with packed snow and ice. We faced each direction on the compass before backing into the mountain side and rolling over just as we came to a stop. Rode the Greyhound home the next day after that little mishap...

Finally, just 13 months ago, on the way to West Yellowstone for a weekend adventure of snowmobiling Yellowstone Park with the BSU, we rolled over in our 2000 F-250 truck. Again, it was packed snow on a road that never sees daylight that caused the disruption of our little vacation. That trip did entail an exciting ride down the mountain in an ambulance but everyone turned out fine and we were able to drive the truck home once we rescued it from the wrecker operator.

As for the bonus TT question- my most memorable drive-in memory, I'm gonna have to ponder that one a bit, cause there were some times...

I found this link tonight while researching some of the cars already mentioned. Its an article about some of the worst cars of all time. I've owned several of these cars! What does that say about me? Pammy, I liked my Pacer!

Finally, I've reproduced a post I made some time ago listing all the cars I've owned. My list was not as long as Larry's but I still think its an impressive list. (Your results may vary...) There was once upon a time a link to each one of the cars but they have been lost to the re-copying from one blog to the current one. So check it out.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003
Hi, I'm Nate and I'm a vehicoholic. Terry over at Possumblog got this started today and after the first email in which I admitted to having once owned a Pontiac Gran Prix, a Fiat 850 convertible and a Citroen; it was time to face the facts for myself. I like cars. And trucks. Racecars are really good. Hot rods make me stop traveling wherever I'm going to go back and see up close. I have traveled through multiple states to pick up cars that I purchased sight unseen.

Thought I might come clean by making a list.

1947 Pontiac 4 door sedan - bought before I had a license and never got a title. Did spend a summer working on it and listening to the tube powered AM radio in the evenings with my best friend.

1962 Oldsmobile F85, also a 4 door with bench seats. Not very cool in high school in 1972 but it did have a (little) V8 and the bench seats turned out to be pretty practical after all. (Think Meatloaf and that greatest rock and roll operetta, Paradise by the Dashboard Lights here.)

1964 Pontiac Gran Prix, black with red interior. Big V8 and a chrome console, power windows and AC, this was a cool car in 1974 and the 8 track player and 6X9 speakers in the back window just made it all the better.

1969 Opel Kadett, my first foray in foreign cars. Throttle linkage fell off every time you hit a big bump but otherwise a pretty reliable lump. I replaced my first heater core in that car. Added a homebuilt Plexiglas spoiler to the trunk lid and put 60's on the back and 70's on the front. This might have been where it got started...

1972 Fiat 850 convertible. My first car payments! 903cc of screaming power! Best thing about this car was driving it at full force all the time. Just going for donuts in the morning was a Gran Prix race, but the guy next to you never knew. Had intimate relations in this car a couple of times, with the top up!

A Chevy Vega station wagon. I bought this after wrecking the Fiat and while trying to figure out how to get it fixed. It rusted away almost visibly day by day. The inner fender wells were held together just by the wiring harness clips by the time I got rid of it. And it burned oil like every Vega before GM began installing iron sleeves. But I liked the styling and it was a practical car for two people.

1972 Hornet hatchback. Another winner! Sixty series tires and shortened front springs gave this car attitude even if I did croak the motor trying to pull a much too heavy trailer. Don't remember when I got it but I towed it to Utah in 1979 after I joined the service.

1969 AMC Ambassador SST What a boat this thing was! I think it was a $300 boat, into which I promptly installed a used replacement motor. But then I drove it from Ohio to Texas and then to Utah with all my earthly belongings in it, after changing the timing chain and the burned carburetor in the trailer park driveway in January.

AMC Pacer station wagon, don't remember the year. I'm seeing a bit of a pattern here. Spooky! Bought while married to the first wife and we had a brand new baby. Thought buying a station wagon was just the right thing to do. Immediately became divorced. Drove the car to my next duty station in Florida from Utah. Even had this car painted after the sun burnt off the original paint, it was silver and gun metal gray metallic. I actually really liked this car.

1980 Plymouth Fire Arrow. Came with the current BSU when we got serious. This was a brand new car when she was married to her first spouse. It went to Florida also.

Pontiac J2000. After the second baby and living in Florida, 4 doors and air conditioning seemed to be requirements. Took this one to England when we moved in 1985.

(NOTE: cars kind of came and went during the next several years so the order might get a little scrambled. But bear with me here...)

Austin Allegro. Who knows what year this beast was born. This was an oversized Mini, very similar to the Austin America that was sold over here in the US but rounder. Front wheel drive, very basic transportation. Bought it at the auction down the street. I wonder what happened to it.

Fiat 128 sedan. Bought from the garage owner across the street from me. Turned it upside down on my way to work one morning with my son in his car seat in the back. We came to a stop upside down in a fortunately nearly empty irrigation canal. Took two wreckers to get it out of the canal, for which I also paid Fred.

Citroen CX2200 What a weird critter this was! Hydraulic suspension, when you shut the car off it settled down on its wheels like a camel kneeling. Start it up and it rose like magic to the right height again. Move a lever to jack it way up and lock it to change a tire. Brake pedal didn't actually move it just actuated a pressure switch. Four wheel disc brakes, hydraulically boosted too but no power steering, ugh! Sold it to another GI, he tried to get me in trouble with the commander over it. Unsuccessfully.

Lancia Beta coupe. What a wreck this was! It should have gone directly to the wrecker's yard, instead I bought it. It was completely illegal by British safety requirements. I finally got rid of it when 2 of the disc brakes wore down to the steel pads. And one of the McPherson struts was rotted through at the top and the strut would bang around inside the mount when going around corners... It did go to the wrecker's finally. Thankfully.

Toyota Celica hatchback, the one that looked like a 5/8 scale 69 Mustang. Bought it from another GI. Seems like I drove it pretty hard for a while. I did stuff it into a ditch on a country road one afternoon when the brakes failed. It was a ratty car but it went ok.

1974 Commer Caravan, our first RV. This thing was about the size and shape of a Volkswagen microbus, battleship gray and rust infected. The spouse was offended just having it sit in the driveway but we toured England with it and made full use of the stove, sink, fridge, pop-top and fold out bunks.

1984 Skoda Estelle 4 door. I bought this one with the engine already blown; I took a connecting rod out of the motor before even removing the air cleaner... This one was the finest Czecheslovakian car I ever owned! Twelve hundred cc motor, in the back. I fiddled with the motor for this thing for a number of weeks, the first one I couldn?t keep together and I finally bought a second from a wrecking yard in London.

Toyota Space Cruiser van. Another trip into car payments! This had 2 sunroofs and 3 rows of seats to keep the kids separated. It also had everything hidden under the floor so maintenance was a drag. Sold it when we came back to the US in 89 since it was right hand drive.

1988 Isuzu Trooper, our first SUV! What we wanted was a Chrysler minivan, but they wouldn't loan us money after being out of the country so long and GM would finance us. We purchased this on a Monday morning in Portland OR and on Wednesday we headed for a wedding in Ohio on Saturday!

Mitsubishi Cordia. Another 2nd car when we both went to work in Louisiana in 1990. Not a bad little hatchback but it had 2 shift levers, 4 speeds on the principal lever and the 2nd was a "power-economy" lever. Hailstorm damage paid that one off... Spousal unit sold it when we divorced.

1991 Mustang GT. This I bought after the divorce was in work. I didn't need the Trooper and couldn?t afford the payments. I couldn't afford the Mustang's payments when I swapped either but I had a shiny fast car to cheer me up. I put a shift kit in the auto transmission and started to get my head together.

1981 Ford F150 truck, my first truck. When the divorce was done and the 2nd marriage was pending, the Mustang had to go. BSU did not appreciate its symbolism and it was no good for hauling home repair materials either. This truck was a banger with millions of miles on it but I was desperate and so it followed me home.

1991 Ford F150 truck, truck number two. This one was a really nice XLT extended cab that I really liked. I took it with me to Korea when I went in 1996, just so it wouldn't be sitting in the driveway tempting my teenaged, wannabe driver. It came back the US with me in 1997 and took up residence in Utah.

Hyundai Excel 4 door. Bought this for the spouse when she came back to town after the divorce and she wanted to work things out. We drove the wheels off this little car for a couple of very dependable years and only ever replaced one CV joint. It was cheap but a reliable car and it earned my respect.

Pontiac TranSport minivan. Traded the Hyundai for this one. I put some shiny billet wheels and 70 series tires on it for a much-improved look over the originals. A pretty decent soccer shuttle and grocery hauler, we even took a road trip from Louisiana to Oregon and back in decent comfort for 4 people.

Ford Thunderbird, 1996. The BSU bought this one while I was home on leave from Korea. She wanted out of the minivan mom look and the metallic navy blue T-bird was the ticket. Too bad I rolled it on the Oregon interstate in coming back from her mother's funeral. This time I had both kids in the car with me but nobody was hurt and we got a Greyhound ride home the next day.

Jeep Wagoneer.This was "Woodrow" because it had the wood grain trim on the side and the spouse thought "Woodie" was too informal. Big honking V8 under the hood but no power, no gas mileage and crowded inside. Woodrow had to go when every time I tried to leave town it broke down on the spouse and forced me to come home early.

Mitsubishi Montero A much more modern SUV to replace the Wagoneer. This was spousal unit's daily driver and the family car. It was sold when she went unemployed.

Ford F250 Crew Cab truck, 2000. This was the very first vehicle that I bought brand new from the dealer. Everything else on this list was used when I bought it. It is V10 powered, 4WD and has all the goodies inside. We bought this to keep a long time and to accommodate our recreational desires.

1987 Jeep Cherokee. This one came from the auction and was planned to be either for the spousal unit or for Noah's driver. He promptly exploded the motor and I spent all last summer overhauling, then replacing the motor. Once it had a good motor in it, I sold it with no regrets.

1989 Geo Tracker. This is another SUV, but a little 2 door convertible one. It also came from the auction, the same night as the Jeep. (I got in a little trouble for that...) Its been a really dependable little rig for the time I've owned it and taking off the top when the weather is nice is great fun. It is cheap and easy to work on and tolerant of a teenaged driver.

1969 VW Baja. I bought this for the elder son, who I thought was going to get his drivers license but didn't. Now Noah claims it and in a week or two we may have it through the licensing process and on the road. (Since sold due to lack of interest.)

70s vintage Fiberfab Avenger. This is a kit car that I bought as a father-son project a couple years ago. It looks a little bit like a Ford GT-40 racecar from 1967. We have done quite a bit of work to it but restoration has been stalled due to lack of funds. It is VW powered and we have an entire replacement chassis in the backyard awaiting our time and money. (And now we have a 2.2 liter fuel injected Subaru moror to transplant!)

That's it. That is the list of all the cars I have owned in my life. I think. Thirty-three cars and trucks. The number hardly seems big enough for the list, since 4 of the rigs are presently still in my driveway.
Nate 5:11 PM

Monday, February 21, 2005

Skiing Today! No Homework!

Tales of my exploits when I get home. Providing I survive, of course!

Friday, February 18, 2005

GM to drop Quadrasteer from truck line

This could be good news for my desire for a Ford truck with Quadrasteer, but I doubt it. It could be good news because now that GM's exclusive deal with Delphi, the system manuafacturer has died, other truck companies could buy into the technology now instead of waiting for the original licencing deal to expire. Sadly, I think the same reasons it didn't work for GM, overpriced and under-sold will cause the others to think hard about adding it to their brand of trucks.

Here's one reason I'd like it:
With Quadrasteer, the rear wheels turned up to 12 degrees in the opposite direction of the front wheels, enabling a full-sized heavy duty Silverado or Sierra to turn a corner in a tight 36.5 feet, a radius that is best on the market. The Nissan Titan makes a turn in 45 feet while the Toyota Tundra can turn a circle in just over 44 feet.
I know my truck's turning radius is easily in that 45 foot radius range, making fitting into the parking spots at Wal-Mart a challenge every time I go there. I also know that 4WS has not been successful on any of the vehicles its been tried on over the past years. I remain hopeful that Ford might buy Dephi's technology, add it to a truck I like and put it up for sale just about the time I'm ready to be talked out of my 2000 F250 Super Duty, crew cab.

Ford, if you're listening, call it 2 years from now, maybe 3. A 2008 model, F150 Crew Cab, Lariat model with a 6 foot bed, 4WD, a V-8 and the King Ranch leather package and quadrasteer will be dandy, thanks. And green. Can I get a decent color of true green as a color choice please? You've been dumping some ugly colors on the trucks the past couple years.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Want to see the picture on my desktop?

I've got a new one today thanks to John at Castle ARGGHHH! Go see the great pics he posted today. I'm using the 2nd picture in this post.

If it weren't for Chris, I'd never post anything fun

He sent me a link today and asked me how this bit of computer mind-reading works. I think I should know the answer, but I'll be danged if I can focus my over-tasked cranial cells to locate and retrieve the reason why.

Try it, it works. Chris wants to know how. I'll pass it along to him if you leave an answer in the comments.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Phantom scooter updates

I've been too busy even to go out to the shop and finish up my welder dolly that I hacked together early last week. Its all done but for some weld cleanup and a coat of paint and having its wheels reinstalled. Then the dolly can go on the floor and the welder can get strapped to it. And I've got to find a permanent spot for it to live under the bench which will, no doubt involve a general shop cleanup and throwaway session. I've got to do all that before I can get busy with my scooter's engine upgrades.

I have received some good news on the exhaust pipe replacement plan after last week's unsuccessful search for a local pipe fabricator. Last night I swapped some email with Alan who is the general manager of Power Sports Factory, the same folks that I bought my big-bore kit from. Alan's away from his shop right now and setting up a display at this week's Motorcycle Dealer Expo in Indianapolis, but he promised to bend me up an exhaust pipe to accommodate my slip-on muffler when he gets back. He's even thinking that he might make up a batch of these pipes for folks like me that want some flexibility in their muffler choice.

PSF is in a terrific circumstance to make my exhaust pipe since they already make an entire exhaust system of pipe and muffler. But the way they sell that is all in one piece and I was too cheap to pony up for their shiny, chrome plated version.

So I'm getting kind of anxious to get all the parts gathered up, the shop swept out and the conversion of my scooter into a full 150cc, fire breathing speedster completed. The cleanup may get started this weekend but I'll be waiting until I have all the parts on hand before doing the scooter upgrades. An additional 10 degrees of warmth wouldn't hurt my feelings any as well!

Anyway, I'm pretty excited to have found a builder for the last piece of my upgrade kit and I'm getting anxious for scooter riding season to arrive!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

I cannot tell a lie, I found a quiz before turning off the 'puter...

Which Family Guy character are you?

Where does the time go?

I'll tell you where mine goes- It disappears in the job, which remains running at wide open throttle. There's been nearly no let up from the first of the year in trying to get things accomplished. Things like trying to get 3.2M obligated legally before it expires... and having to explain to the Colonels why the new plan is better than the old plan...

My weekend has been nearly as hectic though it hasn't been without its pleasant moments. Saturday, boy & I went to the Indoor arenacross motorcycle races and mud bog races. A pretty good time though I would have preferred more mud bogging and less of the 5 year olds riding their tiny bikes over the bumps.

Sunday morning was homework, as was Saturday morning, then lunch at The Oaks out in Ogden canyon with the BSU. We celebrated tomorrow's valentines day over the weekend instead of waiting so we had a nice lunch, made a quick stop into Wal-Mart, (isn't it a requirement that everyone make at least one stop every weekend?) then went on to catch a matinee show of Hitch. Its a good movie. Funny and romantic at the same time. It was the perfect date movie for Valentines day.

And Friday night I even watched the most chick-flick movie of all time- Sleepless in Seattle with the spouse. So I've been a very attentive hubby most of the weekend. Except for the hours I've been locked in this dang closet with a macroeconomics book stuck in my face that is... I've not even been out to my shop once this weekend, which means there's been no cigars and only one beer.

Geez, I'm even boring myself here! I think I'll go catch some tv before bedtime- and fold clothes of course...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Why proper safety gear is essential for two wheeled riders

Do you want to know why motorcyclists and scooter riders should always wear a helmet and gloves and sturdy clothes? Check out this video to get a better understanding of how things can go wrong in a hurry in totally unpredictable fashion.

Many years ago, when I had my first motorcycle, I was out for a ride with my dad one sunny afternoon. I was riding just to the rear and the right side of my dad and we were both traveling about 60 mph. A starling took off from a fence post to the right side of the highway and flew across and directly into my dad's path. The bird came over the windshield and struck my dad's helmet just above the visor!

The impact scooted Dad back on the seat and almost slid him right off the back of the bike, all while I'm watching this in too close proximity. Fortunately he was able to regain control of the bike and we motored the final few blocks to the house quite shaken. Our luck turned out better than the bird's though Dad was mighty upset to have scratch marks on the front of his helmet.

So, ride safe when you ride, cause you never know when the wildlife is going to fight back.

I have GOT to have this Tshirt!

Actually, most everyone that stops by this tiny bit of drifting asteroid in the blogosphere needs this T shirt. It really does need a male character on a matching shirt for us testosterone driven types, but its still a great shirt. I just might have to get one. Or the coffee mug, as if I already didn't have more mugs than storage space.

Anyway, I think the design is very cool, almost a Lileksian idea, especially the "thrilling HTML-O-Scope with exciting new fonts!" And I owe the link to to the very attractive Heidi and her blog,
Blissfully Unaware. Heidi is becoming one of my semi-regular stops along the blog highway, so check her out, you might like her as well.

My scooter parts have arrived!

That's right, the big bore kit arrived late yesterday and so I didn't discover it until this morning when I went out for work. I did find the package containing my new muffler from JC Whitney on the step when I got home yesterday.

Everything looks terrific. I had a quick dig through the box from PSF before leaving. The engine parts look good. I'm not certain how much bigger the carb might be but I did notice that there is no new intake manifold so the engine side must be the same size as the original. There is even a new cam drive chain but I think I'll not be changing that since mine has only 900 miles on it. The megaphone muffler will be a shiny compliment to the scoot and it most certainly will flow lots more air than the very restrictive (and heavy) original muffler.

Pictures will certainly be following as I do the tear down, swap out of the old parts and install the real 150cc engine parts. Then the scoot will be shuttled out to CPI for the new exhaust pipe creation. After that, its just a matter of a few 60 degree days for me to get back on the road again with all my new horsepower.

I am so excited! The BSU, who discovered the accidentally left laying receipt from last week, is much less excited... I guess I better come up with a doozy of a Valentines Day gift!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I've got a Gravatar too!

Just like Terry, I now have a Gravatar, a Globally Recognized Avatar that will follow me around and leave a picture everywhere I post. You can get one too by signing up at

I tried to use the caffeine molecule picture that rotates around at the top of my blog page. But it is exceptionally unremarkable in the 80 X 80 pixel size so I must find something better. Maybe a scooter picture would work.

I'll accept ideas if you want to offer some.

EPMS Alert levels

Males, click the link and heed the Early PMS Alert Levels. Shamelessly stolen from John at Castle Argghhh!

General Mattis and his words about killing people

Varifrank did a little Googling and discovered that General Mattis wasn't the only senior military man that understands the need for the occasional killing of bad guys. He discoverd several notable leaders and their words. I especially liked this one:
"War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it, the crueler it is the sooner it will be over." General William Tecumseh Sherman
Citizen Smash has some additional comments and links to reasons some of these bad folks deserve a good killing here.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

My Vento Phantom is getting bigger!

That's because I have ordered the big-bore upgrade kit this week. I'm anxiously awaiting for the arrival of the big brown truck leaving goodies on my front step. The kit comes from Power Sports Factory. It includes everything I need to make my scooter into the real 150cc that it should have been from the factory. There is a new cylinder, piston with rings and pin, a new cam, a bigger carburetor, air filter and inlet tube. There's also a new variator which is the portion of the transmission that adjusts for the gear ratio change.

The only thing I didn't buy from PSF was their exhaust pipe and muffler system. Instead, I'm doing my own high performance system. As mentioned in the previous post, CPI Racing is going to build for me a new exhaust pipe to fit this megaphone muffler from JC Whitney. The original exhaust pipe seems to be terribly restrictive and not conducive to making power so the new system should be much less restrictive. I'm lucky that CPI is just a few miles from my house as it will be neccesary to haul the scooterdown to them for proper fitting once all the parts arrive.

Needless to say, I'm might excited about the new parts and expectant of lots more power for my scoot. And the way the weather's been going, riding season won't be too many more weeks away.

What a week!

I've been busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger all week! Of course I was trying to play catch-up from missing the prior week and I just about succeeded in spite of the demands of the current week. Its been ugly, I can tell you that! Overall, I think I got about 80% of everything accomplished that needed to be done and the remainder was left undone because I couldn't get though to my boss to get a meeting on his calendar.

I did get to go and sit down and explain to the Colonel what was happening with my biggest programs and why the Lieutenant back in Ohio was going in a direction that seems like a good plan but may not be technically possible or legal. That meting wasn't totally unpleasant for me, the lieutenant may find his meeting less so.

School continues apace and I even got a decent grade on my first accounting test in spite of missing a week's worth of class notes. The online economics course seems to be working out ok. I rather like the flexibility of working at my own times but it does take some discipline to ensure I get everything accomplished during the week.

I got to play plumber this week, the handle broke off on our bathroom faucet and I decided it would be easier to replace the entire thing than to fuss with geting the handle screw out and the cause of the sticking valve fixed. So, with the help of a $100 bill and the missus to choose the style, Home Depot got a little richer and I didn't. Replacing it wasn't too terrible really, except that both the hoses had to be replaced and I didn't get them during the initial faucet purchase trip. (Note to self: just buy the new hoses at the same time, next time!)

And the job wouldn't have been 1/2 bad except that I've hurt my back, again and even before crawling under the vanity to do the faucet replacement. I'm hurting and I've been hurting since Wednesday. Its so bad that I bailed out of a planned trip to the desert to go shooting with my bud and fellow blogger Kenny. So you know it must be pretty lousy or I would not be blogging right now. I'm taking Kenny's advise, I'm overmedicating and resting today.

Yesterday was my regular day off and of course that was a day of rest- right? Yeah... I went first to see if a guy about an exhaust pipe for my scooter. CPI Racing is run by Mark Hare and he was very interested in helping squeeze more power from my Vento Phantom scooter.

Then it was a trip to the barber shop, Home Depot for the first sink supply hose, to the grocery store with the spouse for the big cupboard filling shopping extravagana, back to the Schlotzskys where we had lunch to recover my hat that I left behind and a stop at Radio Shack for a new hands-free headset because my cell phone won't work without one now and my last one died.

So, yeah, I was tired last night... And homework today instead fo tramping through the sagebrush. Rats!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Thanks again to my good friend Chris- who works in a large 5-sided building in the eastern portion of the USA for sending me this. Its all true.
Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result - all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know that's the way it has always been done around here.

And that, my friends, is how AF policy (and program management) begins.

Get your monitor cleaned for free!

And better than you have ever done by yourself. Just click here. Thanks to my buddy Chris that sent me the link.