Day by Day cartoon

Monday, March 28, 2005

Catching up with the rest of the world.

Or, Adventures in Cell Phone Shopping!

I'm shopping for new cell phones. Something for me & Noah and I'd get a 3rd one for the house phone if the BSU would tolerate it. She's a "no-go" on that idea, so for now, its just 2 phones. We have been using 2 elderly phones and a pay-as-you-go plan for almost a year now with moderate success but now, both phones are dieing. Noah's Nokia only lights up the display so you can see what you are doing if you push on the display's corner. My Star-Tac only talks through use of a plugged in headset, the microphone has died. I tried to get it repaired but just switching in a new microphone didn't get it working.

Dang! It just occurred to me while writing this that I just bought a $30 battery for that Nokia phone back at Christmas! That's a loss I'll hate to see go into the landfill…

Anyway, I need a full-time service instead of this prepay stuff and then I'll dump my house long distance service. I'm looking for feedback on the different major brands- Cingular, Sprint, Nextel, Verizon. What has worked for you? What company didn't work for you? Right now I'm leaning towards this Cingular plan because of the Bluetooth enabled phones. I like using a headset but I hate having the cord in my way.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

No rescue calls yet...

Son Noah is off on a weekend of 4-wheeling at the 39th Annual Jeep Safari with 10,000 of his best friends. He arrived about 11 last night with absolutely no place to unpack and set up his tent. The two police offices he spoke to offered no solutions as to where he might spend the night. I suspect he slept in the Tracker...

But today was to be a day of wheeling and I suspect he is having the time of his life. Since he hasn't called home tonight, I'm presuming the Tracker survived its first outing on the red rock trails that make Moab famous.

With luck, he'll make it home safe tomorrow night and I won't have to borrow Jim's dolly or rent a trailer for a rescue run.

But I'll bet a clutch replacement will be in our future plans...

Friday, March 25, 2005

Air Force receives last F-16

And I had just a little hand in getting this last airplane delivered on time. I really did. I don't remember if I posted about it in the past, and I'm too lazy to look but I personally scrounged up, begged for and then shipped 4 night vision parts down to Lockheed to make the night vision system in this jet work properly before its rollout. For my trouble, I did not get invited to the big rollout party. Rats. Here's a quote from the Colonel that is just one of my bosses:
"Although this is the last new F-16 expected to be produced for the (Air Force), the F-16 Systems Group continues to technically transform the existing fleet of more than 1,300 jets, enabling evolutionary weapons delivery capabilities through 2025 and making possible a smooth transition to the F-35, the world’s premier multi-role fighter of the future,” Col. Jansson said.
Yup, that's what I do.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Vento Phantom Exhaust Pipe Update

I've still not been commuting on the scooter as its been too cold and too wet this week. The scoot is all prepped and ready to go and I think the weather is changing for the warmer style next week.

Anyway, when last I mentioned it, I was waiting for a prototype exhaust pipe to arrive from Power Sports Factory. And it wasn't arriving like I thought it was supposed to be. So a couple days ago, I emailed the boss that promised me the special pipe. The email said:
Alan, Brett was supposed to be sending me a prototype pipe for my R4i with a slip-fit end on it so I could use a universal style muffler. Last I talked to him was the 10th and he was supposed to be shipping the pipe the Monday following. It has not arrived. Is there something I can do to expedite getting the pipe sent out?
And in a single day, I received back a polite reply:
We had a muffler shop down the street from us making the pipe for us since I just don't have the time. The guy never came through. However I finally received our test designed pipe from Taiwan for our Strada 150 which also fits the Phantom. ...I have to take the header over to another shop to have this pipe copied and hopefully it will be finished by next week. I'll get back to you later. The pipe will be in steel and not chromed. I will have entire systems coming in about 35 days. Price will be around $200.00. The tune and quality is as good as any Yosi designed pipe.
[note- there was a picture attached but I've not included it. I'll let Alan announce that on his time.]

So, the pipe's still being made- reverse engineered, if you will, from a part manufactured overseas in Asia. Does anybody else see any irony in that? The concept struck me as pretty funny. I hope I see a new header dang soon since it will require some fitting of the muffler and mounting bracket. I've also asked another dealer to send me the front portion of a competitor's exhaust system, I guess I'll be able to do some side-by-side comparisons later this summer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ford unveils the next Shelby Cobra Mustang

Yes, I said Shelby Cobra Mustang. Today, at the New York Auto Show.

Very hot looking!

Monday, March 21, 2005

This is big news for Ogden!

We, (that is, my community,) is getting a new aircraft manufacturer in our town! This is exciting news and the latest model of their new jet looks exciting too. While I won't bother you with a link that requires registration, the story in the paper is claiming 300 new jobs coming to Ogden before summer time and another 125 in the following year.

This is great news for Ogden. I'm excited about the whole circumstance. I might even buff up my resume...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Perfect gift ideas for a certain Possum we love

From Functional Ambivilent today, a link to the perfect gift choices for our favorite marsupial. He could have cozy feet and still keep his underworld identity super-secret

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Have I mentioned before how much I like using my air compressor and air powered tools? I have? Well you won't be surprised then when I repeat myself! I like using air tools! I don't know how I ever got anything accomplished before I had air.

What's the big deal? I fixed that dangblasted ratzenfraten dishwasher tonight with the help of air power. And a new tool of course! It was this 3/8" impact wrench that did the trick to remove that reluctant bolt that stymied me all weekend.

And of course, I failed to check the prices online before strutting into the store and whipping out my debit card, so I see from the link that I paid too much for my shiny new tool... Rats! I may carry it back and request the internet price and a refund tomorrow...

Anyway, tonight I'm the hero and there's blueberry pie and ice cream awaiting my attention next!

Minor success on the job today...

Some days I really like my job! Today happens to be one of those days. One of the biggest tasks I've been working since the first of the year is an installation scheme to modify 140+ F16s with an improved breathing oxygen system. This program has been going on for a few years now through the engineering development, then the purchase of kits through contracting, then two installations to prove that the kits fit as advertised and now, a plan is needed to get the kits installed on the airplanes. Expediently. Starting in October this year.

Seems simple right? What if I told you that all the funding for this program comes directly from Congress and that it has a 3 year shelf life and that oh, BTW, there is 3.2 million that will be worthless on September 30 if not obligated on a contract? Would that get your attention? That alone is almost a separate issue entirely but it is looming large in the shadows compared to my bigger circumstance and we will come back to it later.

There is a depot here that has all modification responsibility for the F16. They do all the work that is outside the scope and skill level of a normal flight line crew chief. It really is pretty amazing just how far an F16 can be torn down, repaired, improved and finally put back together.

Today the depot's business office finally responded formally to my request to accomplish this OBOGS modification. I asked for 6 aircraft accomplished per month, or 143 jets total, beginning in October 05 and finishing in September 2007 because that is when my last dollars expire if I don't receive any further congressional funding.

If you read the response, it appears that the depot can do the job as requested. Nowhere on the letter does it say that the depot cannot meet my request. Except when you do the math, using their numbers, it doesn't add up! They can't do 143 airplanes in 23 months, rather by their figures, they would be done in 29 months! But it doesn't say that anywhere…

Hah! I called them on it! Diplomatically and through the proper channels, I asked for a clarification of their math which I need so that I can get further agreement from the people that actually own the airplanes and have to agree to send them to me in the right quantities and times.

This written admission that they cannot support my program as requested also provides the leverage needed to enjoin a contractor to perform some of the modifications using all that $3.2 I mentioned earlier that will otherwise expire. The depot has to approve any action that moves work away from themselves and they normally won't do that for any reason. Except when they can't meet the requirements. Which today they admitted they can't do.

Obviously, no contracts have been let this afternoon, but the fact remains that I got what the program needed to establish an installation scheme that might make the players in this program look like heroes instead of incompetent oafs. And I gave the depot just the tiniest little black eye, without being obnoxious about it! I'm doing that here!

Me? Easy weekend, how about you?

Good grief! Its Tuesday already! Which means of course that the weekend has gotten past me and school has restarted.

Where to begin? What should I mutter about? The weekend I suppose, though mine are never quite as exciting as Terry's since I'm not required to juggle children as he does and my laundry pile is smaller. My goal was to get a bunch of chores done around the house that had not been accomplished earlier in the week due to repeated trips to the vet.

One of the chores was to be to replace the kitchen sink faucet which as taken to dripping uncontrollably, even though I just replaced the cartridge just a year ago. This was going to turn into an expensive proposition because not only was I going to purchase another faucet for $100, I was also going to have to buy shut off valves for both water supplies since those were left out of the previous owner's modernization budget. In just one stroke of luck though, by futzing about with the faucet and rassling with the cartridge, (which I did NOT get out), I stopped the dripping! I don't know what I did but the dripping has stopped. So, no spending money on faucets this weekend!

I wasn't done in the kitchen though, that would have been too easy. Seems the dishwasher had decided to stop spewing the water out at the correct rate during the drain cycle and was leaving water in the bottom of the machine. Hmm, let's see here, I'll bet I can find parts breakdowns online… Sure enough at, I found what I was looking for and a part number for an impellor kit. I'll write down that number and go visit the Sears appliance repair store. Right after I go get the truck inspected so that I can buy a new license plate sticker to be legal for another year.

Now I got lucky again with the truck because it turns out that this year it requires no inspections, neither the safety or the emissions test, which means I've now saved another 50 bucks! And the repair kit for the dishwasher is only $14! This is looking like a pretty good day!

But everything was not roses just yet… The dishwasher wanted to play hardball with me. Under the first cover below the spray arm is the bolt that holds the two impellors secure to the motor shaft. This bolt has threadlock built in from new, I can tell this because there's a new one in my bag of parts. And the bolt is TIGHT! The two impellors are locked together by built-in flats and the top one has a 1" hex to grip while unscrewing the bolt from the center. So I'm trying to use a large socket to hold the impellor with a smaller socket, extension and a ratchet through the center to unscrew the bolt. Seems like a good plan, right? Not so fast… I was able to apply so much torque that the locked-together portions were turning, one inside the other…Crap! I left it for a while and went to see what other trouble I could cause.

Son Noah is in the driveway putting the Tracker back together. Its been off the road all week after we replaced the timing belt last weekend and had to wait for a new cover to arrive to replace the ratty, bent one. Mostly I let the boy do this work including resetting the timing and adjusting the valves. I went out to the shop and went to work on putting the scooter back together. Everything went back together pretty smoothly except for the exhaust and the problem turned out to be the exhaust flange studs on the new cylinder head being bigger that the previous studs and so the exhaust pipe won't rotate just enough for the muffler to clear the shock absorber and spring.

Didn't I see some two-sized studs at the NAPA store one day? Finding out would have to wait until Sunday because it was "quality time with the BSU" time and I needed cleaned up and off we went to the movies! If you haven't seen Million Dollar Baby already, my recommendation is to go see it. It is a very good movie and it earned those Oscars this year. Sure, its about boxing but its about much more than that and it is a fine drama. So then, with a movie and pie date successfully enjoyed by the two of us, it was finally time to drop for the night.

Sunday proved that the Tracker's valves weren't adjusted quite as accurately as the boy wished and that I was right about the two-sized studs at the NAPA store. He went back to adjusting after I showed him how to ensure the tolerances were set the way he wanted them and I finshed up installing the exhaust on the scooter. And the studs that I bought allowed just enough room to let everything fit together as intended. I did ditch the kickstarter mechanism from the drive belt case as I found one tiny broken pin that was holding things up, so until I get a replacement, I just ditched the entire mechanism.

And then I got to go for a ride! I've already mentioned that but it works! The new big-bore kit works. I made one neighborhood trip as a shakedown, came back and removed the riveted tag on the muffler that was rattling and the shiny muffler tip that had broken free of its welds. Then it was off on a bigger trip to make certain everything was in order. And except for the oil blowing out past the rocker cover o-ring, everything else worked dandy.

There was more time spent tinkering with the Tracker with the boy and somewhere during this lengthy chain of events I got my recently-brought-home Model 19 cleaned thoroughly. I even stopped Friday evening and bought 3 different boxes of ammo to fit this thing with every intention of using some of it up during the weekend. Sadly, I didn't get that accomplished.

I did talk to my dad on the phone and visit with a buddy from work that came by on his bicycle and get some of the reading done for my two classes that started yesterday; Microeconomics and Principles of Management. The economics class is online, the management class is 2 nights per week, 7:30 to 10:00! Arrgh!

And the dishwasher is still not fixed… More tools will be purchased!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The scooter's working!

I even went for a ride this afternoon on my Phantom! With the new top end I certainly noticed more pulling power from stop lights and such. I don't know that the overall top speed is improved just yet but it moves out with much more authority. I'm still waiting for my new header pipe so right now I'm just using the very restrictive original system.

The new header pipe is supposed to be leaving NJ on Monday, a week later than last Monday when it was supposed to ship. Seems the guy building it and the guy shipping it couldn't get met up between all the other work going on. So, now its this week.

Anyway, the scoot's back in the workshop as the rocker box o-ring seal isn't. A little clean up and some silicone sealer should get that back in order in quick time.

And its supposed to snow tomorrow!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

There's a hole in our universe tonight

And a new star as well.

Her name was Abby Gail Summer and she was our beloved pet and friend. We picked her out of a squirming litter of spotted pups one frosty October night 15 years ago while a protective mom and a pride of the fire station daddy looked on. She was a present to my spouse but she loved each of us.

The stories of Abby are legion and legend in my small household and she never had an enemy. She played on the trampoline with the boys, claimed it as her own when they weren't around, she went on vacations with us and she would, when she was younger, bolt for an open fence gate for an unbridled, full speed run whenever the opportunity presented itself. She was a capable and doting mom to two litters of her own spotted pups. She knew when anyone was ill and would sit with you as long as you needed her company to feel better. She was sensitive to Sunday's depression and she let me hug her neck every night when my family moved away, back in 1992.

She was 15 years old, 105 years if you count that 7 years for a dog business and she lived a full life. Her health was slowing down her body but never her spirit- until this week. Finally a damaged spinal cord and a liver tumor took her out of our house.

But she's not out of our lives and she never will be. Tonight she's a young, healthy, happy puppy in the prime of her life, wherever dogs go when their bodies are no good here on earth.

We- I, really miss her right now though.

This picture is from 1996, just before I left for my year in Korea. That's Abby on the right. The other dalmation, Kissy didn't stay with us for very long but went to another family.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

There's a sad event taking place at our house

Our aged dalmation Abby has, since yesterday, lost all muscle control over her hind quarters. She did have one hip that was seemingly going lame, occasionally, and sometimes it was ok. So yesterday, because the problem seemed to be worsening, she went to the vet. The vet couldn't find any obvious faults with her but did take some blood for tests to rule out diabetes and kidney failure and general old-dog malfunctions.

Before the results came back today, she had gone completely lame in both hind legs. She can't stand. At all. By this afternoon she seemed to be in considerable pain and so us three humans in the house took her back to the vet.

Thinking she might not be coming back home again.

Well, she did come back home, but she is not well. The doc figures that she has a damaged vertabrae in her spine and that it has cut off the nerve activity she needs to sit and walk. She is getting a big bunch of steroids to curb the swelling, muscle relaxers to ease her fussiness and fear and morphine to ease her pain. The doc did say that she could get better completely from this trauma but he told us to expect it to take 3 weeks or a month. If she gets better at all.

Obviously this has everyone distressed. She can't even support herself enough to relieve herself and she is unwilling to try going potty while being held up by me. She doesn't want food, not even peanut butter and barely takes any water.

If she doesn't improve, we will have to presently make that decision that we have known was coming for some time, that is, when should Abby's life be ended. She is 15, so this isn't a big surprise, its just hard to think about. She has been my kid's dog, the one dog they grew up with. She was a present for Sunday as a puppy and she was my constant companion during the months that Sunday and the boys lived far away before we remarried in 1992. She has had the last bite of my peanut butter toast every day before I left for work all these years.

Its pretty somber around here tonight.

Its March, and so its time for one of my favorite holidays!

Its the time of year when we celebrate Eat An Animal For PETA Day! And like Timmer over at Sgt Styker's Daily Brief, I like to celebrate this holiday with my family at Famous Dave's.

I'm getting hungry already!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

More scary advertising...

The best sentence you'll read all week:
It’s like HeeHaw mixed with Baywatch meets PeeWee’s Playhouse on acid and nobody finds that attractive.
Go find out what Timmer's talking about over at the Daily Brief I could not agree more with his sentiment.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Local scary news!

This hazardous acid spill didn't affect me or mine directly but it sure got a bunch of media attention all last night. And rightly so-
Sunday's spill caused a cloud of orange fumes above a several-block area of South Salt Lake, forced the evacuation of 6,000 people and shut down several roads and highways in the area, including a stretch of Interstate 15. By mid-morning Monday, evacuees were allowed home and the roads were reopened.
And it sounds like somebody might have broken a few important safety rules-
`The railcars are used for the transportation of sulphuric acid. That's what they're designed for,'' said Louie Cononelos, a spokesman for Kennecott Utah Copper, a Magna-based company that leased the railcar to Phillips Services. "For whatever reason, they were shipping something that was not sulphuric acid."

Samples taken at the site by hazmat crews on Sunday showed the contents included acetic acid, hydrofluoric acid, phosphoric acid and sulphuric acid. The materials in the railcar were not contained and easily corroded the car's lining.

"That combination attacked the integrity of the railcar," Cononelos said.
Fortunately, I don't think anyone was hurt and the danger has been resolved. Now its up to the lawyers.

A fast pass through my referrals today

And I found this disturbing search string,"chosing child underwear." For any Child Internet Task Force agencies that happen to come around for a visit because of this search- I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT CHILDREN'S UNDERWEAR! I don't even want to know anything about children's underwear! Now go away!

This search for "thesis medicine smel" is not only curious because this humble blog showed up on the first page but also because its from the Japanese Google search page!

Now I must attend to my real duties for a bit...

School's out, the scooter runs, spring is here!

And all that is too much to stuff into one post. So I'll just give give you some thumbnails now and detail it all later.

First, I'm finished with school for a week! It feels really good. Last term really did wear me down, so this week is a rest-up and catch-up week all at once, meaning lots of the chores I've needed to do will be acomplished while I'm not doing school.

Second, my Vento Phantom scooter is now a real 150cc! And its running! It still isn't all put back together, as I'm waiting on my prototype exhaust header pipe to arrive from Power Sports Factory, but it was running yesterday in the shop. So far, I'm very pleased. Installation was nearly pain free.

Third, the Tracker's been under the wrench since last Thursday. It quit on the boy on Thursday morning and by the evening it still wasn't running after we worked to rule out a computer failure. Friday after work we replaced the coil and it was right back in business. Until Saturday when the decision was made to replace the leaking crankshaft seal and we discovered the timing belt was missing many of its teeth and needed replacement as well.

So its still broke while we order a new cover and gasket, (I will do that next!) and it only took 3 air powered impact guns to get one strong enough to get the crankshaft bolt out.

Finally, we watched a couple rental movies over the weekend and I've started doing yard work and we visited the Home & Garden Show for ideas on how to spend lots of money making our house even prettier than the neighbors.

So, no, I didn't do much over the weekend, how about you?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Where have you lived?

Just quickly jumping on a meme to keep this blog alive for another day or two. Sure wish I had time to rant about Million Mom March organizers named Frisky that keep illegal guns and drugs in her house or the 23 pound lobster named Bubba or the 2 important holidays this month, one of which is Eat an Animal for PETA day.

So, here's where I've been.
bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.