Day by Day cartoon

Monday, May 29, 2006

We are Empty Nesters-

That's right, our last fledgling has cleared the nest and has headed west for parts unknown. Noah headed out Saturday afternoon to seek his future. Not his fortune neccesarily, but his future. He thinks he might be headed for Oregon or Washington and he is looking for some fiendly hippies to hang out with. When he called this morning he was in Winnemucca Nevada and thought his next stop would be Lake Tahoe.

His mom has been really upset with his barely thought out plan and she is unhappy with me for not being more concerned with the same scheme. I keep reminding her that Noah is 22 years old, not 16 and there's not much I can do now that I haven't already done for him.

So we have no idea when he might be back or where he will end up in the coming weeks or months. I just hope he finds what he is looking for...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

For all our Servicemen and Women

My spouse says this is true-

2nd closest finish ever!

And Marco Andretti finished 2nd by .007 of a second! DAMM! It was so close and so exciting! Marco is 19 years old and he just finished 2nd behind Sam Hornish.

What a finish!

Congrats to all the racers today. Thanks for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing!"

UPDATE: I have to say that I had already typed in the title,"Andretti Wins!" in my posting page while the race ran down and was just waiting to see if it was going to be a 1-2 Andrettin finish. I missed it by that much...

For those of you not related to me that don't know this already, I have been a lifetime Andretti fan. I grew up watching Mario race and he has always been my hero. I've cheered when he won and mourned we he didn't. I've not been as closely linked to Michael but he's family so I have to give him credit for being a fine race driver and team owner.

Little Al is out-

at lap 149. He's ok but his race day is over.

There's a Toyota commercial on the tv right now

Which reminds me that Dad and Carol are proud owners of a brand new 2007 Toyota Camry. 2007? Dad told me the new models had only arrived this week, just days before they decided to go car shopping.

Congrats you two on the new car.

2 Indy winners out of the race

Buddy Rice, who won the race in 2004 and Helio Castronevus who won back-to-back in 2001 & 2002, just banged into Rice, putting them both into the wall in turn 4 and out of the race. No injuries, just dashed hopes and mangled equipment.

Castroneves had completed every lap of each of the Indianapolis 500s he has been entered in, until lap 110 today.

Watching the Indy 500-

I admit, I haven't actually sat down to watch it for a number of years. Usually there's plenty of other activity to keep me moving during the day and I catch the highlights later.

Today, there's snow in my yard and rain pouring down and its 40 something degrees outside! So I'm in my chair with a blanket, my coffee, my laptop and the INdy 500 on the television.

Marco Andretti is currently 6th and Michael is right behind him in 7th.

Back home again in Indiana-

29 years, Jim Nabors has been singing that song at the Indy Motor Speedway. If I don't miss my childhood in Indiana more than once a year, I miss it at this time every year.

Indiana was a great place to call home and I learned a lot that has influenced my life from the days in the summer sun in the Midwest.

Call me a softy

But I can't watch military members singing our National Anthem above the Start-Finish line of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in front of the thousands of people in the stands, without tearing up.

There's a bugler playing taps right now- there's nobody watching so I guess I can cry all I want to.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Friday, May 26, 2006

Busy, busy day!

Its another 4 day weekend for me so I'm intent to keep busy and get a few more chores done around the house. Today I had to dig up one of the repairs to the sprinkler system that was still leaking. That fixed, I went on to help Noah with his trip preparations and then on to some repairs to the corner of the carport. There's a corner that had suffered some water damage that needed some trim and some sheathing cut away and replaced. I got the sheathing up and that looks good. Tomorrow I'll get the trim back on then get it primed and painted.

Pizza tonight for supper, from an Ogden legend, The Pie Pizzaria. It was the first time we ever ordered from the Pie but I can tell you it won't be the last. The Pie's reputation is tastely well deserved, tonight's pizza was terrific!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The scooter is FMC

That's Fully Mission Capable for those of you not familiar with aircraft maintenance terminology. Noah had the bracket welded and painted for me before I got home and I put everything back together before dinner.

One of the 18 watt headlight bulbs is going to blow in short order as it fogged up as soon as I powered it up. Maybe it will last long enough for me to buy a replacement before it blows.

Scooter update-

I brought it home last night after a very minor tune-up. The Guys at Quad & ATV didn't find anything definitively wrong with the scoot except for a fouled spark plug. They did adjust the valves and check out the electrical charging system, giving it a positive review. The consensus is that the pair of 35 watt headlight bulbs that I installed were drawing more power than the charging system could support and eventually the battery died as a result.

On the way home, the scoot ran beautifully. Before I got home, my right mirror bracket broke off the handlebar and left my mirror dangling... This is entirely my fault as I had the original mirror tab fail last summer and the new one that I made and welded wasn't welded very well. That became very clear when I took things apart last night. Son Noah has been busy welding on his Tracker this week and I hope he has corrected my lousy work already so I can put things back together tonight.

And I re-installed the 18 watt headlight bulbs!

Well, I will try to do my part today to support the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three party. This week the questions are about those Veterans that we can lay claim to and their exploits and service.

1. Have you or any of your immediate family members ever served in the armed forces, and if so, what branch(es)?
Um, yes, I am a veteran. That still feels odd to write, but its true. I served 21+ years in the US Air Force, from 1978 until 2000. Several of my uncles served at least one tour of duty in the US Navy and one of them retired as a Chief. Two of my brothers almost did an entire 4 year enlistment between them in 2 different services, Pete in the Navy and Mark in the Army.
2. Were you or you family member ever on active duty during wartime?
I still have a Navy Unit Commendation medal on my ribbon rack because I happened to be stationed at RAF Mildenhall during the attack on Libya in 1986. The tankers assigned to that base provided support to the F111 jets from RAF Lakenheath and the Navy's F14 Tomcats. As a result, everybody on base received this Navy award which provided a distinguishing feature to member's ribbon racks forever. During the first Gulf War, I was stationed in Louisiana and unhappy that I didn't get to deploy somewhere closer to the war. I did get to see Dhahran, Saudi Arabia after the war was over and I lived in the Khobar Towers that were later attacked by terrorists.
3. If your family member died in service, how do you honor them on Memorial Day (or throughout the year)?
Fortunately, no one I know or am related to died while in uniform. I try to honor all our troops, veteran and active duty alike by proudly flying the Stars & Stripes on the front of my house everyday the weather permits. And everyday, when I read about our servicemen and women dieing under fire in Iraq and Afghanistan, I say a prayer for the comfort of the loved ones they leave behind.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Too busy & too tired to post tonight-

Maybe I'll get some time tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Its just not fair-

That just about the same time that the women working around me break out their spring and summer weight finery, the environmental control folks crank up the air conditioning unit, driving the office temperatures into meat locker ranges. This unfortunate circumstance drives the many uncovered legs and the bare shoulders under sweaters and lap blankets and just really ruins the ambience.

Why does it take two weeks or more to get our temperature regulated properly? Its so unfair!

Well, the scooter's broke-

Its in the shop, as of yesterday. After it quit during my morning commute I hauled it in a borrowed trailer over to Darrin's Quad and ATV shop in my neighborhood for his expert attention. Darrin seems to think I have an electrical charging failure that caused the battery to carry the ignition load until the reserve got low enough that the coil couldn't fire. Since the battery was too dead to crank the motor when it quit on me and I had been noticing that the lights were dimmer than I thought they should be, I think he might be right. Hopefully today he and his mechanic will get the chance to troubleshoot and advise on the scooter's troubles.

Lucky for me, its only 60 degrees and trying to rain, so there's no punishment in not riding on 2 wheels today.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Fun with trucks!

This looks like lots of fun! Thanks to Jalopnik for the link.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

What a nice weekend camping!

The BSU and I did go camping this weekend and what a terrific time we had doing just about nothing. We left Thursday morning and found the first open for the season campground, Shady Dell, in the Wasatch National Forest. The campground had really just opened up that day and we had the pick of the camp spots.

Here's a picture of our idea of good camping- the camper's up, the dog is nearby and there's no place to go-

We were camped in a beautiful field of wildflowers-

and just a few yards away from a very busy, gurgling Provo River.

On the last day we had a visitor at our campsite-

The spouse insisted on a photo of this chubby scribe and our patient dog, Sandy,

We did have a bit of excitement on Friday while we were out exploring and driving around. We headed up a dirt road that supposedly had a lake at the top but we had to stop before reaching the lake because the road was blocked by a snowdrift. When I tried to back the truck to make a 3-point turn, I of course dropped a rear tire into the muddy, sandy ditch! So the truck was stuck, sideways, on a one lane dirt road, 3 miles off the highway! We hiked down for about half the distance, then met up with a group of 2 young couples that were heading up the road hoping to fish in the yet unseen lake. They gave us a lift back down to the campground where we dropped the dog and picked up an ATV ramp from the camp host's trailer. Then they ran us back up to the truck and helped me get it extricated. It took a bit of digging and jacking and stuffing of rocks under the tire before we could finally get it high enough to make effective use of that alloy ramp. That effort got the truck most of the way out of the ditch but we still couldn't get it clear out. We finally used a strap and the other guy's Suburban to pull the truck's back end around and get it pointing parallel to the road instead of across it. Then, finally, we were both able to back down to a wide enough spot where 3-point turns could be managed safely. We didn't get any pictures of that bit of excitement though, sorry.

After that excitement we spent most of our time reading and resting in the shade. I read two books just for fun, Hot Rod: Resurrection of a Legend by Brock Yates and Broken Prey by John Sandford.

So we had a really nice couple of days resting, reading, listening to the songbirds and the gurgle of the river. We came home Saturday afternoon, put things away, showered and crashed on the couch for the evening and an early bedtime.

Today has been an entirely different story, so it deserves its own post...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Time to load up!

And get the heck out of town for a couple days! The camper is ready, the groceries are bought and all that's left to do is get everything into the truck and to point the truck towards the mountains.

That means no blogging from me or for me until I return. I have to see about one of those cell phone air cards for my laptop! Anyway, hopefully there will be tales of pleasantness upon my return.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Another busy day-

Work continues at a very hectic pace. Lots of charts to prepare and meetings to attend and Weekly Activity Reports to prepare, all in the correct format with the right font and color, for about 4 different reporting direcions... Grr!

Tonight I worked all evening on the camper getting it ready for a weekend camping trip. I had to remove a damaged wood strip under the front sleeping deck that was allowing 2 sections of plywood to separate. Now there's a 2" strip of aluminum in its place and a entire bundle of 3/4" screws holding it in place. (I didn't count but the strip is 77" long and I put 2 screws every 2 1/2". There's also new staples in the inside wood strip so the repair should be much stronger than the original.

I've still got to get water in in and the system leak checked and the battery charge topped up tomorrow night before we can head out Thursday for a couple days of camping.

All this means I did not get my new carburetor for my scooter installed tonight. Tomorrow doesn't look good either...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Another Thank You to PowerSportsFactory

I really wish I could find an excuse to get to New Jersey and meet the fine folks at PowerSportsFactory, specifically the VP there, Alan Leson. I owe Alan a beer or two or three! Every time I have a question or problem with my Phantom scooter, a phone call or an email to PSF gets me going in a new direction with good advice or the parts I need sent out with a minimum of delay.

Today I emailed Alan about my ongoing carburetor issues after I got everything back together yesterday morning. After a couple of email question from Alan about the steps I had taken, he suggested that I probably have some fuel paths too small to clean through my admittedly, shade-tree methods and recommended that a new carburetor was in order. I agreed to go with Alan's suggestion and already this afternoon, I have a UPS tracking number.

That is really good service and its typical of the service I have received from PSF for more than a year now. If you are scooter shopping or have scooter questions, I really recommend that you click that PowerSportsFactory link over there in the sidebar. You will get straight answers and honest treatment.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

This would have been an exciting afternoon!

How's this for a headline? Wolf Temporarily Escapes at Hogle Zoo. I hope everyone that had to evacuate got a re-admit pass for another day...

Mother's Day pictures!

So this afternoon we had a really nice dinner at Red Lobster to celebrate Mom's Day. THe spouse picked the place and with a few phone calls we were able to get the boys in the same place at the same time. We weren't able to get the Grandbaby and Daughter-in-law to attend with us, which was too bad but otherwise it was a really nice dinner. Afterwards, there were pictures! The first is of the proud mom and her boys.

This one is of your humble Wasted Electrons editor and his boys.

They are good boys, both of them and they did a fine job honoring their mom today.

Later we had a nice walk in Liberty Park in Salt Lake, and then Ice cream sundaes from Baskin-Robbins before getting back home.

No school? Relaxing? Hardly!

No, in spite of not having school work to accomplish, I've not been slacking around. Instead I've been plenty busy and today will be no exception. So what have I done recently? Let's see...

I got the camper moved out in the front driveway and scrubbed. It still needs put up, the water and battery installed and the awning scrubbed before it can be used.

Found another secondary water leak, this time on a sprinkler line that needs my attention today.

Finished the intake manifold spacer for my scooter. It came out perfect, except that the assembly is unusable since there would be no way in install any air cleaner. So, perhaps today everything will go back together as intended after one more carburetor cleanout effort.

The BSU and went to see MI3 the other night. Its a fine enough summer block-buster with plenty of "splodey" things which is all I wanted or expected. There is one scene, and I won't spoil it by telling you which one, where all I could think of a particular episode of South Park that is available to see here.

I did get out to the desert yesterday for some shooting. I went by myself because every shooting buddy I know had something better to do. Oh well. I did not get to shoot my SKS with its pretty new Tapco stock because I forgot to take any ammo for it! I took the rifle and I even moved the box of ammo to get to another box beneath it, but somehow, I forgot to load any ammo for the SKS into my range bag! Doh! I did take my Kel-Tec Sub 9 and while it didn't work perfectly, it worked dang fine. I think my troubles with that gun wree related to that 30 round magazine I bragged about a couple weeks back. All the problems were failure to feeds and using other magazines seemed to solve the problem. Oh well. No rabbits were harmed during yesterday's outing BTW. I did have a walk around and scared up a few but mostly I found cottontails and juvenile jack rabbits, so nobody got shot.

Now my laptop battery is about to die so I guess its time to get outside and do some chores. NOTE: When the warning about the low battery level comes on, it really means it! I had to go get the power cord to finish this post!

Its Mother's Day!

And I hope each of you have called your Mother to tell her you love her, if you can. I avoided the rush and called my Mom last night. Today is the busiest phone traffic day of the year, (try to keep up, NSA!) and there's a 2 hour difference between Mom and me, and I knew she would be in church a time or two, so I called on Saturday and beat all my brothers to the punch! The flowers I ordered arrived on time too.

Mom is good and Grandma too. As usual, there is always plenty going on around their house to keep everybody occupied. Mom says there is at least 3, and often 6 people around for lunch every day! I really think things have worked out so well for Mom and Grandma, since there is family around all the time and nearly every one of them likes and enjoys the other's company. Mom keeps busy managing the church kitchen and overseeing meal preparations for the many functions there. She is ram-rodding a meal for an ANG serviceman's memorial service dinner on Monday and preparing food for 200 people.

In spite of all my faults and failings throughout my life, I am a product of a Mother's love and I am very thankful for that unfailing devotion. My Mom got me off in the world with a firm knowledge of right and wrong, the value of honesty and fair play and hard work. Mom has prayed for me and my family throughout every difficult time, suffered when we were hurting and rejoiced when we were successful. I know that she lifts each of her children and grandchildren into God's view through her prayers, and for that I am unspeakably greatful.

Thanks, Mom.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Scooter update- its broke

But only for a little while. It has been sitting for 10 days or so now while I finished up last term and some of the critical yard work and shop cleanup. When I parked it, it was running terribly, not idling but running at nearly clutch engagement speed with the throttle closed. And something was vibrating pretty badly and the sound was leading me to guess perhaps the exhaust pipe was loosening.

So last night, after dinner, kitchen cleanup, yard mowing and fixing the water system, I finally got around to looking at the scooter. Sure enough, one of the exhaust retaining nuts has disappeared, causing a leak. It didn't appear to be the source of the noise from the vibration that I had been hearing. That vibration turned out to be a very loose intake manifold, which explains the high engine speed due to the vacuum leak and the lean condition it created. Strangely, I had only recently installed that intake manifold and because I knew the flange threads in the head were getting worn, I must have not torqued things down securely.

Today I took the cylinder head to the machine shop for heli-coils for new threads. I'll need to buy some new nuts and lock washers for the exhaust side and I hope I can return to studs to hold the intake manifold instead of bolts when I put things back together. I'm making a 3/16" spacer to raise my intake manifold so that the carburetor clears the motor mount just a bit better. Once that's all built, I should be able to remove the carb without removing the manifold and everything should last longer.

On the way home, I'll go to the Wood Hobby Shop to use their table sander on my adapter and pick up my cylinder head. With luck, I'll have everything back together tonight. After spending $71 to fill up my truck today at lunchtime, I'm really ready for some scooter commuting and letting the truck sit!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Some pictures from my backyard

Last week at the commissary the BSU and I made an impulse purchase, a big cow bone for a chew toy for Sandy dog. Here's a picture of Sandy being introduced to her new yummy entertainment and the spouse enjoying the sunshine.

Here's another picture of the dog trying to figure out how to move her new toy.
One of my tasks this week is to get that patio cleaned up!

The yard almost looks good but that flower bed still needs lots of fixing up.

That Was Easy!

So I mentioned the other day my tribulations with the secondary water system in our yard. The system is old and decrepit and requires my manual labor and attention every spring. It was the last leak that really caused me to worry, since it resides under a concrete slab with several hundred pounds of bricks stacked on it. Here is a picture of the broken coupling.

I still have no idea what was plugging that 1" hole for the past 6 years I've lived here. There were no broken parts in the hole when I cleared out the dirt!

The next picture was my solution to the problem. Three bucks and change at Pep Boys.

Mission Accomplished! I had to cut a screwdriver slot in the screw to keep it from turning and then it installed perfectly. Didn't leak a drop!

And disregard those bogus dates! I still have to reset my camera.

Another Carnival of Cordite post

This week's CoC is #58 and I have again been graciously included for my post, The Long and the Short of it.

I'd like to thank all the folks that come around rom the CoC linkages because I have broken the 50,000 visitor mark this week and yesterday I had at least 114 visitors according to my referral logs. That's easily twice my regular number of visits and probably a personal best. Those numbers are puny, I know. But they are my numbers and I'm proud of them.

Monday, May 08, 2006

One more bit of happy news from Sunday-

The hummingbirds have returned! Actually, I've only seen one hummingbird at my feeder so far but I did have multiple sightings yesterday afternoon. I was so pleased to see a hummer at my feeder again. I guess winter is truly over if the little buzz bombs have returned.

I need to find out if Utah has bluebirds. There was a pair of birds in my backyard on Saturday that looked like bluebirds. I may have to add some housing for the pair if they really were bluebirds.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The joys of homeownership-

or, How I spent My Sunday...

With a shovel, and a trowel and a hacksaw and a bottle of PVC glue! Argh! I hate my secondary water system! Today I dug around in the dirt and mud to find the broken pipes, fixed 3 broken pipes, spent too long on my knees and belly making the repairs and I still have one more leak to fix.

The remaining leak might turn out to be a real challenge because the pipe lives under a concrete slab! I've dug out the area next to the concrete and discovered an open end of a T, sticking out from under the slab. There's a broken coupler glued on to the portion that ends just parallel with the edge of the slab. When I came into the house tonight, I didn't know how I was going to fix this little problem without significant amounts of manual labor.

But I figured it out, just about the time I started this post. I need a 3/4" expandable rubber plug! I don't know where I'm going to get one just yet, but that's what I need.

I also don't know what was in that hole for the past 6 years preventing it from flooding out, since I didn't find any parts when I dug out the hole. Ideas?

UPDATE: I found the expansion plug, (not inflatable plug, Carol) at Pep Boys during a lunch time trip. Now if I can get it installed without cracking the tube, things will be perfect.

A exciting new addition to my blogroll

I had a new commenter recently. Her name is Carol, she's the mom to two small boys and the spouse to an Air Force serviceman just deployed to Iraq for the next several months. She's also a blogger and she lets the world know what she is thinking at her blog, Mrs. Flyboy.

Go say hi to Carol and wish her well. Its tough duty being the spouse to a serviceman and she has her work cut out for her, so she can probably use a kind word.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

No schoolwork!

I've got a whole month off and boy, does it feel good! I sat down outside in my backyard and just reveled in the perfect weather and the complete lack of schoolwork hanging over my head.

I ran errands this morning, helped the boy carry off some unloved car parts and did just a little bit of yardwork today before taking the BSU to see Stick It.

Stick It is no Academy Award possibility but its a cute story. No cleavage in this movie, by a long shot, this is a story about gymnasts after all. But there is plenty of pretty girls to look at, performing more than the usual stunts you might see on a televised competition. Its cute. Some of its funny, some of the special effects were pretty dumb.

Tomorrow? More yard work!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The BSU is safely home-

and so is the boy. One of them is talkative, cheerful and with tales of exploits to tell but glad to be home. The other is sullen, uncommunicative, hungry and has a big pile of laundry to wash.

You can do the match-up. I've got too much paying gig and schoolwork to finish.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Carnival of Cordite #57 is up!

This week its being hosted over at Spank That Donkey. I've got a post down near the bottom but there is much better stuff from more proficient bloggers throughout this week's edition.

So go check it out.