Day by Day cartoon

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Our trip to the beach- by me

So, it only a week late but considering everything, I'm thinking this report isn't too untimely. I mean, we just got back on Monday evening and then there were those two finals and an oral presentation to complete before Thursday. So all things considered, today seems like a good time to write about last week's mini-vacation to the beach.

For the visitors around here, this trip to the beach has become an annual event, started 4 years ago by joint edict of the Sisters. The BSU's sisters, the total number of the clan is 7, the BSU being #6. Here's a picture of 4 of them. And since the rest of the Sisters live in Oregon, the beach is the Oregon coast, not somewhere warm and tropical and inviting. Each year they make reservations at one of Oregon's very nice state parks and then we all gather on the appointed weekend.

For us, its a 1600+ mile trip... Normally we make it into a two day trip going up and that's what we did this year. We stayed in LeGrand Oregon on the way up, had a decent dinner and even played in the motel's pool for a little while before bedtime. The second day was the regular trip down the Columbia River Gorge with a short stop at Multnomah Falls and then finally through Corvallis and over to the coast to South Beach State park on Thursday afternoon.

We got a nice, corner campsite, far enough away from Sister Mary's barking beagle, Riley to not be bothered by him. We took our dog, Sandy and she turned out to be a perfect travel and camping companion. She rested quietly in the back seat of the truck on the road, never made a peep in the motels and took to sleeping in the camper as if she owned the place. The first night there was a terrific storm that blew through the park, lightning and thunder just pounded for 30 or 40 minutes. Sandy, who is normally afraid of any loud noises, slept through the entire storm with nary a wimper. And when the rain came in, behind the thundering introduction, we all slept, warm and dry in the camper. Here's a picture of our camper, set up like a tiki hut for the weekend.

Most of the camping trip involved overeating at the communal picnic tables and feed troughs in Sister Mary's campsite. Everybody brings food, based upon some schedule and directions from two other sisters who are appointed as meal planners. Basically, everybody brings what they like, plus cured pork products and pancake fixings in huge quantities. There was a complete table set up this year to hold the desserts!

When we weren't eating, or preparing to eat or cleaning up afterwards, there was time to sit around the campfire and rest and catch up on family stories. This year there was some nieces and nephews that haven't attended before, so it was god to see them and meet the additions to their families. There was time for the BSU and I to walk over the sand dune and out to the beach with the dog and shiver in the morning's fog. I also excused myself from some of the joviality around the campfire to do homework, trapped in my camper by deadlines that were not going to be extended.

The BSU and I did take a few hours to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium. My favorite part of the aquarium was the floor-to-ceiling tank of Oregon Moon jellyfish. There is a webcam on the link you can see but it doesn't begin to display the mesmerizing effect this huge tank, filled with such strange and beautiful creatures had on me while I watched them. The otters were another particular favorite of ours.

So we rested and visited and generally enjoyed much cooler temperatures than the 100+ temps that had been clobbering us in Utah.

We headed home Sunday after another too-big breakfast and disassembling of all the campers, awnings and a good trash pickup. Instead of following the Gorge back home this time, we decided to take the more direct route, through the south-central part of the state, through Sisters, Bend, Brothers and into Burns for our first day's travel. This was a beautiful trip if pretty desolate for the latter half. The first portion was up through heavily wooded wilderness area and mountains with lots of curving, 35 and 45 mph turns. Later it was just high desert and longe range vistas and only occasionally another car on the road. Its an empty part of America!

After another good night's rest we came on home, finally getting onto interstate 84 in Ontario. We did have a tire blow and shred on the camper just after passing through Boise but changing that was no real adventure except for the roaring traffic at my back as I worked. We stopped in Mountain Home, Idaho for a replacement for the in-use spare and then we were back home without incident.

All told, 1651 miles round trip. I didn't keep track of the gasoline consumption but the computer in the truck said 11.5 mpg when we got home. Highest price for fuel? $2.62 at a otherwise decent stop in Eden Idaho. Ouch!

We rented and listened to the audio version of One Soldier's story, Bob Dole's memoir of his time in World War 2. It is a fascinating tale of his efforts to rebuild his life after being injured in battle. We both really liked listening to this and its probably worth buying a copy of the book to keep and re-read. I highly recommend it.

UPDATE: You can see all the pictures I took from the weekend here.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Don't tell my BSU-

But I've given the nod to Bob the Religious Artifacts Dealer to get another artifact for my, ahem gun locker cough. I'm buying a Savage .223 bolt action rifle.

Hey, I don't own a centerfire rifle! And Kenny wants to go to Wyoming and try to reduce the prairie dog population and he wants me to go along and help. And a man needs a centerfire rifle for that, don't ya know? Anyway, the rifle will have a grey composite stock, blue steel, the Acu-Trigger and come ready-to shoot with a 3X9X44 scope already installed and boresighted.

And with luck, it will be here by this time next week! UPDATE: Sadly, Bob the RAD will be leaving on his vacation next Thursday, immediately after work. And the earliest my gun could get here is also Thursday... Meaning that because of the potential for the gun to be delivered late and Bob not to be there to sign for it is very high. And it means I won't get it until after Bob gets back, about the middle of the month. Rats! UPDATED AGAIN: I caught Bob this afternoon, just before leaving for the day and suggested I'd be willing to pony up an extra $20 or so if he could get the gun delivered before his vacation. I guess I won't know until Monday.

Guess I better go buy some ammo this weekend...

One last thing, The suggested retail price on the link is just about exactly $100 more than I'm paying for my gun, delivered, taxed and background check included. How's that?

I am such a geek-

Though you probably already knew that, if you've come around here more than once or twice. Anyway, school's out, the term's over, and I have a three week respite.

Why does that make me a geek? Because I really strive to get those 'A' grades. I'm just not willing to get anything less! I know that nobody else but me cares about my GPA and I'm mighty certain that it won't be a factor once I get that degree completed, but I really like getting 'A's!

Last night I stuck around a few minutes after my Financial Management final exam since the instructor was grading them on the spot. And I got the grade I wanted, both on the test and for the class. The Organizational Behavior class grades will be equally as good.

I haven't had a 'B' since this time last year...

I have 12 more classes- 6 terms to completion. Then what? A Masters degree? The BSU is saying ixnay to that consideration... Loudly!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

You should be reading Trevor's Blog

I don't remember how I discovered Trevor's Blog and I don't get around to reading it as often as I should. But its heart-warming and heart-wrenching and shouldn't be missed.

Go check it out. Tell me if I'm wrong when you get back.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Scooter Related- JJ's Cruisers has a new name

I went looking last night to add JJ's Street & Electric Cruisers to my link list of scooter related sites over there on the right. I found only a single page with an email address at their website. You might remember last fall when I was scooter shopping that I nearly purchased my scooter from those helpful and informed folks and only a lack of the desired color sent me looking for a Vento Dealer.

Today I dug a little deeper and discovered they have changed their name! Now they are Bandit MotorSports. They still seem to be doing a booming business and I continue to recommend them as a source of quality scooters. Their brick & mortar store was a bit too far away from my travel route to the Oregon coast last week to go find them but if you happen to be within traveling distance of Elmira, Oregon, stop in and check out their line of Bandit scoots.

Tell them Nate sent you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Its finals week-

So don't expect much here till the end of the week...

Sorry 'bout that.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Reporting in from Burns Oregon

Yesterday was a beautiful day of travel through a part of Oregon I've never seen before. Very empty. Desolate. Pretty. We ended up in a decent motel in Burns, an America's Best. We skipped getting into the pool but I did borrow a network cable and got hooked up to the internet while imbibing a couple beers before bedtime.

We're out'a here in a little bit and on the road to home in time for supper. Probably. And I still have homework to do!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

So, its gonna be pretty quiet around here

While I'm jaunting off to the Oregon coast with the BSU for the annual Clark Sisters weekend campout at the beach and yack fest. Leaving tomorrow for arrival and check-in Thursday and lowering the camper top and heading home starting Sunday and finishing Monday.

In between there will be some beach walking, too much food, lots of excited, running children, brothers-in-law that I only get to see annually , some I have to see annually , maybe a morning of offshore salmon fishing, fresh crab boiling and eating, homework and just a little bit too much to drink.

Not necessarily in that order... There is 1 week remaining in my school term, so I do have work that must be done. I have a book I hope to read just for fun.

And I'm decorating the camper's screen room like a tiki hut lounge! I've got margarita mix and pina colada mix and Jimmy Buffett on the CD player. Plus some decorations to set the mood!

I just wish it wasn't so many dang miles to get over there!

Evil, Evil! I tell you!

UPDATE: I sent this to my buddy Chris, who promptly shared it with all his friends. Chris has sent me two updates from one fellow- his current score is 23039 points! He is on level 8 and still going!
This game, Planatarity is a huge brain scrambler! I've negotiated to level 3 and 481 points.

Oh, its a tricky one... Found on Dave Barry's blog. Don't blame me for your productivity rates!

Last weekend- some entertainment!

I often neglect to mention the fun stuff that the BSU and I find to do together during my blathering recaps of my weekends. To my readers, you might guess that my life, and our life is just one big drudge of schoolwork and chores. That's really not true. Somehow I just neglect to write about the fun stuff until its way past and then I write again about the droll stuff. So in the spirit of trying to encourage folks to believe that life behind the Zion Curtain isn't as terrible as I make it out, let me tell you about the concert we went to Friday night…

We went to see the Lovin' Spoonful! The band was playing at the Kenley Amphitheater just down the road in Layton last Friday night.

First off, the Kenley Amphitheater is a beautiful venue. It was our first visit but I promise it won't be our last. There's seating in proper chairs for 1500 folks or so and lawn seating just behind the (more) expensive seats. You can carry in your own chair or rent one for the night just a buck. We elected to purchase the reserved seating but there really is no bad seats in the place so its all a matter of preference. There are huge trees shading most of the seating from the setting sun and very nice flower beds surrounding the entrance. It’s a nice place for a show, its close and its priced right- why have we never been there before?

So, enough. Let's talk about the band and the music! It was fabulous! The Lovin' Spoonful's big album from the 60's, Daydream, was the first rock and roll record album I ever owned. My favorite aunt gave it to me as a Christmas present and I remember that my dad was mighty unhappy about the whole deal. But I loved that record and if there ever was a record that was see-through thin from having a needle run through it, it was that record. And because of that record, I became a fan of the Lovin' Spoonful forever.

John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky are gone from the band of course, but the rest of the group remains with the addition of a couple younger guys playing drums and lead guitar. They played all their old hits, talked a little about the times in the 60s when they all met, became friends and band members and played some new songs they have produced in the past couple years. They also did a wonderful medley of the folks songs that were so popular early in the Flower Power generation that was a hit with the crowd.

It was great fun. The band was obviously in love with their place in life and on the stage and their performance reflected their passion and pleasure. The crowd sang along, clapped hands and even struggled with the whistling portion of Daydream. When the music was over the band stuck around to sign autographs and I was really sad that that old album disappeared during one of our many housecleaning efforts prior to moving somewhere back in my AF past. Otherwise, I would have taken it for autographing. I did buy their CD even if I didn't get it signed.

There was even some local TV news celebrities sitting in the row just in front of us. I would not have known or recognized these two attractive folks except that I heard other people talking to them during the break. I know how smitten Terry is with some of his Birmingham news reporters, so I couldn't help but wonder how he would have managed sitting just behind Samatha Hayes and her handsome, sportscaster date, who's name and bio I can't find right now. And since I can't find that info on KSL's website, I think she must be consorting with somebody from one of the other networks… [If I find his info, I'll update this] Anyway, I would not have recognized her from the television but I can assure you, she is a lovely young woman and drew a small continual flow of folks that just wanted to come over and shake her hand.

Afterwards, on the way home we had Baskin-Robbins and the evening was perfect.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Its gonna be a busy week

But I'm only working today and tomorrow. With school both nights. Wednesday starts the annual trip to the Oregon coast with the BSU and the camper so there is much to do before heading out. Over the weekend I got the tires rotated and the oil changed in the truck, had the coolant replaced and bought some firewood. I also finished a term paper, hooked up the Tiny Tach on the scooter and worked on my knocked-down fence.

The fence is not finished after 2 weeks of being down. We had a good windstorm whip through that broke off two of the 4X4 posts where they had rotted at ground level in the concrete mowing strip. Noah started the job during his two weeks off from Job Corp but then his plans got more important than my plans and he didn't finish the work. Yesterday, I bought three new posts and dug out the holes of the rotted wood that remained below the concrete. Digging dirt and wood chunks out through a 4 inch square hole is a little tricky- let me tell you! Anyway, the new posts, because they are new and damp won't fit through the concrete holes... Rats! Old pieces that I have laying around fit right in but  the new posts were sticking and not fitting in. I hope a couple days of drying in the sun will shrink them down so they fit and I can get some cement in around them.

Ninety-two bucks to have the truck's coolant changed on Saturday. I could have done it myself but there just seemed to be enough other chores to keep me busy. That fee seemed like a bundle but I haven't touched the coolant since I bought the truck 5 years and 100,000+ miles ago. So dividing the cost by the years makes it seem not so bad really. And I decided that I would rather get it done in town, at my convenience than doing it on the way to Oregon while on vacation. There is over 4 gallons of coolant in that truck's system as well, so maybe I'm glad to pay somebody else to deal with the disposal issues.

So today I've got 2 briefings to give an hour from now, some online training to complete, a Purchase Request to cancel and an email to write to my instructors explaining my upcoming absences and how I will complete the work before the term ends next week. Gotta run!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Too much time on their hands

I don't know who made this movie but they sure spent a bunch of time playing. Can't say I blame them, really. Its weird but mesmerizing and tough to stop watching. Its got a bank robbery, car chases, crashes and sirens. Enjoy.

Another "mother of the Year" candidate...

Sent to me by my sis, this woman was drunk when she delivered her baby!
A police affidavit says Melissa Tanner had a blood alcohol content of point-two-nine percent when she gave birth June 30th. Police say the baby girl was at point-two-one percent.

Hospital staff had to use an oxygen bag to help the baby start breathing and gave her medication to counteract any narcotics.

Police say Tanner told them she and another person had just polished off a case of beer -- and that she regularly drank during pregnancy.

A sheriff's investigator says the baby has fetal alcohol syndrome.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the syndrome as the leading preventable cause of mental retardation and physical deformity. The severity of the girl's disability won't be known until she is older.
Maybe its not obvious enough, but I have no pity for anyone as dumbass as this woman!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Where the hell is PETA when you need them?

Man dies while having sex with horse.
King County sheriff's detectives are investigating the owners of an Enumclaw-area farm after a Seattle man died from injuries sustained while having sex with a horse boarded on the property.

Investigators first learned of the farm after the man died at Enumclaw Community Hospital July 2. The county Medical Examiner's Office ruled that the death was accidental and the result of having sex with a horse.

But because investigators found chickens, goats and sheep on the property, they are looking into whether animal cruelty — which is a crime — was committed by having sex with these smaller, weaker animals, he said.

The farm was talked about in Internet chat rooms as a destination for people looking to have sex with livestock, he said.
Serves him right! Dumbass!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Scooter Updates for July

Hmm, there's lots going on with my scootering this month. I even met another scooterist in Ogden this week. Jon has a Phantom clone called a Wildfire that he bought off Ebay. Visually it is an identical twin to my scoot, even the color. We happened to cross paths early this week and stopped to chat and compare notes. Jon had to put his together when it arrived from Ohio and the scoot had suffered a little plastic damage that he is trying to get replaced. He's also already discovered PowerSportsFactory and has ordered their HP150 exhaust and variator. He's ordered a racing clutch as well and is planning to have my buddies at Quad & ATV Sales install all the new bits when they arrive. Jon's scoot has a different method of mounting the muffler than the standard Phantoms so there is going to be a little challenge fitting up the new exhaust system.

My HP150 muffler is on its way back to PSF for warranty consideration. I discovered last week that the inlet pipe portion had separated from the outer can portion of the muffler. In fact, the pipe would rotate around inside the cannister. A quick email to Alan, the manager there at PSF confirmed that my pipe's failure was the first of its kind from the 500 that PSF has sold this summer. So I got instructions to send it back and Alan has promised to either warranty it out with a new one or get it welded up for me.

In the mean time, I'm using my JC Whitney megaphone muffler attached to the header of the HP150. It looks really sharp. (pictures later- from home.) With my homemade stinger installed, the sound is deep but not obnoxious, with the pipe open as it was designed, its really, really noisy. Its too noisy for a responsible citizen to impose on the community. And it produces less power than the HP150 muffler! Overall, the scoot just doesn't run as crisply with the megaphone as with the cannister muffler. Taking out the stinger makes it better but the top speed is still decreased and obnoxious. So I'll run it as it is until my cannister makes it back from New Jersey.

I've also purchased a tachometer and a voltmeter for the scoot. The tach is a Tiny Tach and the LED voltmeter came from Wing Toys, a Gold Wing specialist place. . Those 2 shiny bits only arrived this week and so are not yet installed. But they both look pretty slick and I'll get pictures once they are installed.

And- I'm supposed to be putting my Phantom in a motorcycle show at Lindquist Field on Saturday! The show is being called Bike Stock and apparently its supposed to be a concert with motorcycles on display. I've got almost no details but I signed up just on a lark and if I get my term paper for Org Behavior finished, I'll shine up the Phantom and take it down there for a while.

Lots still to do this week before next week's Oregon trip so I gotta run now!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Not any ordinary dumbass...

But a real, no-kidding, ought to be drug out and shot, dumbass- this woman! She left her 3 month old baby in the car while she went shopping in Wal-Mart!

Folks, it was over 100 degrees here today! It was, according to other reports, 132 degrees inside the car!

And this stupid woman was shopping in Wal-Mart. No mention of what she was buying, but what do you suppose, something really important- like a brain maybe?

Dumbass! And I hope she goes to jail for a good long time. Maybe she won't get knocked up again while in jail...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mr. MaCrae makes it right

Note the post below where the letter to the editor writer complained about the noisy F16 fly-by and questioned why his morning peace was being disrupted. Well, after learning that the formation flight was in fact a tribute to a fallen airman killed in the line of duty, Mr. MaCrae has issued an apology.
I read with increasing embarrassment and humility the response to my unfortunate letter to The Republic concerning an Air Force flyby ("A wake-up call from Luke's jets," Letters, June 23).

I had no idea of the significance of the flyby, and would never have insulted such a fine and respectful display had I known.

I have received many calls from the fine airmen who are serving or have served at Luke, and I have attempted to explain my side and apologized for any discomfort my letter has caused.

This was simply an uninformed citizen complaining about noise.

I have been made aware in both written and verbal communications of the four-ship flyby, and my heart goes out to each and every lost serviceman and woman in this war in which we are engaged.

I have been called un-American by an unknown caller and I feel that I must address that. I served in the U.S. Navy and am a Vietnam veteran. I love my country and respect the jobs that the service organizations are doing.

Please accept my heartfelt apologies.

Tom MacRae, Peoria
Thank you Mr. MacRae

Friday, July 08, 2005

Well, this won't help my homework any

The Raptors baseball games are now being internet streamed! Sweet! I've been listening to the games almost every night and tonight, when I clicked on the button, I was pleased to see a new page and the option to watch the game! Heh heh.

And I have 5 tickets in my pocket for tomorrow night's game. Vicki should be going with me and my friend Pat and her parents who have just driven out from New York get the other three. It should be great fun.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What kind of scooter rider am I?

According to Scooterlife, I think I must be a Number 3.

As for being an Econowonk- today's fill up was 1.168 gallons. 96 miles.
82.19 mpg. Down a little bit now that I've upsized the main jet again. Its a 120 now, up from the previous 115. Top speed is improved to almost 60mph indicated. But I'm down to just 82 miles per gallon...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Tom Macrae- Foot in Mouth Poster Boy!

With a hat tip to my buddy Chris who turned me on to this article via email yesterday and to Black Five for having the story of one guy's dumbass letter to the Arizona Republic newspaper posted. Seems Mr. Macrae was offended by the noise of a 4 jet formation disturbing his morning's peace-
Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 a.m., a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune!

Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns' early-bird special?
Of course there was a good reason for the fly-by and Mr. Macrae got his answer from the commander for the noise source:
Regarding "A wake-up call from Luke's jets" (Letters, Thursday):

On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt Jeremy Fresques.

Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day.
At 9 a.m. on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend.

Based on the letter writer's recount of the flyby, and because of the jet noise, I'm sure you didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son's flag on behalf of the president of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.

A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force pays to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.

The letter writer asks, "Whom do we thank for the morning air show?"

The 56th Fighter Wing will call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.

Lt. Col. Scott Pleus
Luke Air Force Base
Black Five has the links to the newspaper letters online. No word yet if Mr. Macrae has responded to the answer to his question...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Changes to my blog

I've added another list of links over there on the right, just for scooter bloggers and scooter related websites. Additions will be forthcoming as I find them but for now, go check out The Scooter Scoop. Steve Guzman is the author, he's from Austin Texas and he has a dandy scooter blog.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Independence Day everyone!

I've hung a new flag and mount this morning on my house front. Later I think we are going to the amusement park and I hope to see fireworks from the ferris wheel tonight.

And speaking of the end of the world-

The BSU and I went to see one of the big summer blockbuster movies this weekend. Not to mention any names but its star is a looney tune that has taken to jumping on other people's furniture in public and on television, shouting and yelling...

Its really hard for me to believe that those scary superior beings didn't know about this.

And, no, its not Howard Dean!

The end of the world must be near...

Last night I watched two seagulls repeatedly trying to perch in a treetop in my backyard...
Consider this picture if you can't understand why that was a curious sight.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Save the Cornatees!

The Cornatee bumper stickers are back online as well as the Possumblog coffee mugs, stickers and mousepads. Check them out and buy yourself something fun, just to poke at our good friend Terry.