Day by Day cartoon

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Steven den Beste on Proportionality-

SdB no longer blogs routinely, and that's too bad, becuase the man really has some well thought out ideas about big-picture items around the world. But he has guest posted at Chicago Boyz blog, talking about warfare styles and Israel's recent efforts against Hezbollah.
God fights on the side which has the biggest pile of ammunition and the fastest rate of replacement of expended ammunition. Like any general principle it's not absolutely unconditionally true, but that's the norm.
Its a very good read and be certain to follow through the comments.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Caught him!

Warren Jeffs, that is, one of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives! He's wanted for sexual misconduct related to the arrangement of illegal weddings of underage girls, to adult males, as part of his cult's polygamy practices.

Jeffs is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and it is reported that he has 40 wives of his own, some brought into the fold from his father's harem after his death.

In spite of his 10,000 followers down in Hildale, Jeffs isn't a beloved character throughout Utah. Publically, he's called an embarrasement, even by the mainstream LDS church leaders. And lots of us just think he's a criminal that needs locking up for a good long time.

Be certain to check out the items that were found in the Escalade!

Monday, August 28, 2006


I'm home, finally, and safe. Today has been a real b**l crusher. Nearly everything I've touched today has turned to crap. The scooter did get picked up but the shop was a man short today and so it didn't get worked on yet.

I had to hand deliver across town, pictures of the spouse's ID card because the fax machine effort couldn't deliver a readable product. I stopped at Circuit City to use their high-speed internet to get a confirmation number off of an email, for the boy because my laptop wouldn't connect at the deli where I normally can connect wirelessly. Then I couldn't reach the boy by cell phone because he was inside the book store, waiting for my call but not receiving a cell signal...

We did finally connect in time for him to collect the text books that were waiting on him and the confirmation number before the book store closed.

And while I didn't get my scooter fixed, I did stop into the shop for a bit and I was able to show the young mechanic Alex a trick for removing crankshaft keys without scratching up either the key or the crankshaft.

Then it was time to go back to school! Good grief!

Bed time now. Maybe tomorrow will be easier.

Pluto's been demoted-

And my karma's in the toilet today, no doubt as a result of my star charts being completely screwed up as a result of Pluto's loss of status in our solar system. Either that or its simply a crappy, crappy Monday and its only 8:30 AM...

The damm scooter's broke- again! This time it left me stranded, unstartable, on my way to work. That is completely unsat! I haven't messed with it except to check the color and gap of the spark plug over the weekend. But there is something wrong that lets the scoot run terrifically, while its running through town, but it dies or stalls either at idle at a traffic light or when giving the throttle a twist when the light turns green. It started more than a week ago and has gotten progressively worse. Today, it wouldn't even restart after stalling.

So I was late getting out of the house in the first place, broke down, rescued by the spouse, and even later for work after I returned her to the house. And now I have to go participate in a meeting I'm not in the mood for.

I've already left Darren at Quad & Cycle a note and key and asked him to pick up the scoot. Later I'll have him and his crew take a look at fixing it.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Too busy and too tired to post...

Lots of drama and there's a sucking wound where my wallet used to be. Noah's tucked in at USU and enjoying the cafeteria food already. We got to see the grandbaby tonight for a few minutes. Pictures to post later.

I got the yard mowed and some branches trimmed back today. Weeds are overtaking my grass out front in a terrible way.

Sis, I need hook-up info for tuition assistance for next term! I've paid my portion with this first term for Noah. Can you get me the names and numbers so I can get the details?

Time for a shower!

Another terrific video

Found the link at Kim duToit's page today. Too funny not to share with everyone. I can't tell much you about it without giving way the conclusion, so just go watch this video.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A valuable lesson...

in marital bliss...! I think Steve learned an important lesson in marital happiness and communication with the purchase of this Suzuki GSXR motorcycle.
Apparently "Do whatever the H*** you want" doesn't mean what I thought.
No, Steve, it doesn't, especially not when you are dealing with spousal units and motorcycles!

Congrats Chris!

I received this email this morning from a good friend in Florida. That's going to be a promotion party I wish I could attend!

From: Lt Col John C. (USAF) [mailto:
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 7:29 AM
Subject: You'll never believe this one!

Dear friends and family...

Well, in a colossal misappropriation of your tax dollars...the Air Force (in their infinite wisdom) in a stunning display of foresight and vision....has conferred upon me the rank of Lieutenant Colonel!! I know, I know, I'm sorry...(but it's probably cheaper than funding another hunting trip for an un-named top government employee!)

Honestly, I am humbled and thrilled by this appointment. The official release of the promotion list was last Thursday, 17 August (which happens to be my birthday!), with an effective date of 1 Oct. However, those I work for think highly enough of me that they requested accelerated promotion and I pinned on that very day!

I am very grateful to all of you - whether you realize it or not, you have all played a role in my career and in my personal life.

Well done buddy!

Give Peace a chance-

I'll be buying a couple of these bumper stickers when Bruce announces their arrival.
Give Peace a Chance, Kill Terrorists
They are too big to fit the scooter and the BSU will yell at me if I put it on the truck, but I've been yelled at before... Excellent job Bruce!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Here's a video you just have to see!

This would explain the outrageous water bill from the city last month!
I'm sure glad my cats haven't figured out that trick!

My aching wallet!

Well, the boy is signed up. He is officially a freshman at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. He has a dorm room, a Chinese room mate, and he is signed up for 4 classes. He's on the unlimited meals plan in the cafeterias.

All of the money I borrowed from the credit union is spent. All of it, plus a few more dollars and there are still books to buy tomorrow. Now this freshman kickoff is digging into my wallet! But its done and he starts next Monday.

The boy has this term to find his way into the Financial Aid office and get busy applying for every opportunity for finanial assistance for the next semester. I'll probably have to pony up the tuition and after that I can apply to get reimbursed from the family fund that has been set up to pay for this exact cause. He will just have to find the funds to pay his room & board and living expenses from here on out.

Sailor Curt really hit the nail on the head in these comments regarding the dynamics going on in the household. Everything he advises is true and I am completely aware of the circumstances that he describes. The spouse knows it too but right now, this time, she has aquiesed and enabled the boy's entrance into college, supported by us, instead of on his own efforts.

And I gave in, this time, because I decided it would be a way-ahead and break the stalemate that we have been in for a couple weeks. So, the boy goes to school!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Scooter headlight relay is out!

Well, the headlight relay that I bragged about a week ago is back out of the scooter. Damm... It really seemed perfect and the Easter Beaver proprietor seemed to have the right answer to the flickering headlight problem that I first mentioned. But somehow, the electrical system just did not like the simple changes that I made.

I have a LED voltmeter on my Phantom that lights up green when charging and yellow if there isn't proper charging voltage. As soon as I had the headlight relays installed and the stator's AC power shunted off the ignition switch, the charging system would only occasionally light up the green LEDs and stayed almost entirely in the yellow area.

I fussed with it. I took it to Darren's Quad & Cycle shop yesterday and three of us fussed with it, all to no avail. We did, with a bit of effort, get the kickstarter reinstalled and functioning, as I felt I might just need it if I couldn't fix the charging system. But we couldn't get the charging system to work as it always did in the past.

So today I took out the relays and put the wiring back into the original configuration, with just a little bit of soldering of the one previously cut wire. And although the lights flicker at idle, as it always did, the system is back working and charging perfectly.

The horn relay's still installed and working perfectly. I guess I'll be sending back the headlight relay to Eastern Beaver this week.

Pro-polygamist Teens Defend Their Families

I'll bet you don't get demonstrations like this one in your neighborhood! Yesterday these kids gathered to defend polygamy and to announce their pride in being part of what they see as a religious right
..."They want to defend their lifestyle, they don't want to be ashamed because of the way kids treat them, they want to hold up there head and say I'm proud to be from a polygamist family, and so I think this gives them that opportunity," said Anne Wilde of Principle Voices.

"Because of our beliefs, many of our people have been incarcerated and had their basic human rights stripped of them," said a 19-year-old identified only as Tyler. "Namely life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I didn't not come here today to ask for your permission to live my beliefs. I shouldn't have to."

The youth, ages 10-20, belong to various religious sects, including Apostolic United Brethren, the Davis County Cooperative Society, and Centennial Park, as well as families that practice polygamy independent of religious affiliation. They had their own band and brought their own signs and one after the other, stood up before the crowd to speak out in defense of polygamist families. They spoke voluntarily, but gave only their first names, saying later they were protecting the privacy of their parents.
Unbelievable, almost, unless you see it for yourself.

My textbooks for next term arrived-

The damm Biology book is huge! It must weigh 6 pounds! And I have to carry it every day! Good Grief!

More Sunday morning musings

Seems the boy, Noah, (he's 22, if you're a new reader) has decided that he wants to go to college. And not any community college or Weber State U, which is just blocks from here, because those wouldn't be serious enough and are too close to home and wouldn't provide the right atmosphere for his schooling.

Mind you, the boy could barely be interested in high school when he was there, took no college preparatory classes, took 2+ years of technical trade school without ever saying that it wasn't right for him and is only now demanding that his parents, that me and the BSU, provide him with a college education!

He would really prefer to attend Chico State in the Peoples Socialist Republic of Kalifornia but has an acceptance letter, (that just arrived this week) from Utah State, just up the road about 65 miles.

And the BSU is caving into his demands with the delusional hope that every mother with a non-performing kid does, hoping that if we just get him started, with everything he needs, that he will rise to the challenge and excel in a university surrounding.

I, on the other hand, call bullshit! The kid is looking for any excuse to hide out from Real Life and he thinks a college campus will be a great place to do his hiding. As you might guess, this circumstance is what drove the trip to the counsellor's office this week...

I am very frustrated with this circumstance. Noah has shown me nothing that says he is desireous of hitting the books at a college level for the next 4-5 years. He also has shown no interest in taking responsibility for funding any of this desired joy ride to university, instead expecting us to pay his entire ticket of room & board, tuition and living expenses. None of this has been planned more than a week or two out, so I don't really see this effort, (or lack of same) as being realistic. There's been no summer employment to earn money for college, there was an extended road trip to Kalifornia instead. There have been no applications for scholarships or grants or any other preparation, just a recent demand that we owe him an education. He says he wants to be an engineer but he wants to sign up for art classes.

But the bad thing is, his acceptance letter arrived this week and classes start in another week and the BSU is turning herself inside out, trying to figure out how we can pay, right now, for his first term! The amount is a little more than I have squirreled away right now...

I think I am going to loose this battle. The BSU is delusional about his chances and wants to give him the benefit of the doubt. I'm willing to give the boy two semesters to prove me wrong. I suspect a trip to the Credit Union is in the agenda this week for enough cash to get the boy enrolled. By next term he should be well enough established to have found the funding for his expenses. There's a family trust that will pay his tuition, after I pay the first $2K, if I can get the administrators to respond to my queries.

So here is my prediction: somehow, we will get the boy into USU next week, at great personal expense, for his first semester. With less personal expense, I predict he will start his second semester in January. And he will quit either during his second semester or after, and he won't work next summer to fund his second year.

I hate it, but that's my prediction. I hope he proves me wrong. I've tried, hell, several people have tried to offer him less expensive, less rigorous ways to get his college education started that would give him a better chance of success but those ways don't fit his tight little keyhole view.

Stressed? No, not me!

So what have I been doing all week?

Let's see-

I cleaned 5 guns after last weekend's shoot with Kenny.

I pressure washed the salt off the truck after the trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats, and apparently killed the grass at the edge of my driveway, all at the same time. I probably should have rinsed the driveway even better than I did... I found a fender lip that will need repainting before the wet season starts though. I wonder if Brent Stevens will warranty a 3 year old paint job.

Mowed the lawn after the boy failed to get it done before trash day.

Put the scooter back together after installing the relays- more to come on that issue.

Moved my cable modem and router in my basement for better internet connectivity throughout the house and my shop. Still don't have the signal repeater that I bought working though. More phone calls to the tech support in Bangladesh seem to be in order to get that working.

Took the BSU and the boy to a therapist visit. (Some) details to follow.

Finally got around to ordering a new scope for my .223 bolt action Savage. (That was on my list of things to do while out of school.) Its not here yet, so details of getting it installed and sighted in will be coming in future posts.

I had a pretty good laugh when I found out that the boy, who spent his last dime buying tickets for himself and the neighbor to the Red Hot Chili Pepper concert, missed most of the concert after they snuck out to have a little toke and were apprehended by Security! They didn't get arrested or ticketed but they did miss most of the concert by the boy's favorite band. Perfect natural consequence if you ask me!

What else? It sure seems like there was more. Saturday's chores included grocery shopping, a trip to Costco for coffee for the coffee bar at work, mailing back some boots for the boy that didn't fit and a haircut, which I did not remember until too late to get trimmed... Maybe I'll go to Great Clips today.

I have been really trying to stay focused on the job during the paying hours so I haven't been doing any posting from the duty location. There are a ton of things I want to get done there so I have to stay focused.

How's that for a week?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Doesn't pass a Common Sense test-

Of course, dealing with the government rarely does require common sense but I have an example of just how stupid things can be when dealing with civil servants. I had to take some online, Computer Based Training last week, just like everybody else at this base. The training took about 3 hours to accomplish and more time after that to print the certificates required to prove compliance.

Remember, this is Computer Based Training. Each of us had to first obtain a User ID and a password, using our email address as part of the information divulged to gain access. Remember that certainly the creators of these CBTs included data gathering and reporting options for those monitors that need to measure compliance. That's what computers do, right?

Part of the requirement was to mail or fax or scan the completed certificates and forward them to a training manager who monitors unit compliance. This of course meant that each person had to print no less than 4 pages and then the same 4 pages were reprinted at the monitor's end when the results came through the fax machine or were printed from the email attachment.

So, I scanned and sent off my completion documents, just like a good little government drone. One of my documents was this one.

Imagine my surprise to get a response email telling me that my Report Card was unacceptable as proof of my completion of that training... Instead, I was instructed to go back and print this certificate-

and submit it as the "official" completion proof document!

Do you know what this says to me? It says that some training manager is unwilling or unable to use the computer's reporting functions and instead is keeping white 3-ring notebooks filled with these printed certificates on row after row of shelves someplace. The fact that the Report Card was unacceptable tells me that it simply didn't look like all the other documents in the notebooks and that upsets their sense of order. I've already called bullshit to the training manager's assistant, since he is answering his email and the TM isn't. This is a completely ridiculous misuse of government time and money to maintain a worthless, paper database that most certainly is not dictated by government direction. Instead, it must be one person's obsolete office practice that hasn't kept up with modern technology.

This is your tax dollars at work folks!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Guns and popular media

Can you guys making movies and television shows get a clue? Please? Kenny already mentioned the bogus scene in World Trade Center movie where a dead police officer's gun begins 'cooking off' the cartridges due to the high heat and fire. I have to add my two cents to this stoopid, stoopid scene! The gun in question appears to be a Glock semi-automatic handgun which is laying on its side on a piece of concrete. After the first round fires off, all by itself, then the gun cycles, loads the next round in the magazine into the chamber, fires that round and repeats the process until the gun is out of ammunition!

This scene completely ignores reality and most importantly, Newton's 2nd 3rd Law of Motion that dictates that for every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. First, even if the gun could be made to fire the first time without anyone holding it or pulling the trigger, (highly improbable), the reaction to the force applied by the bullet leaving the front of the gun would push the gun off of the concrete where it began. It would not stay in the same place without moving. Secondly, any semi-automatic handgun requires a firm grip to resist the recoil of firing so that the mechanical devices in the gun can function and the slide operate properly to extract the fired cartridge and feed a new cartridge into the chamber. It is entirely possible to grip a gun like a Glock loosely enough to intentionally cause a malfunction; its called limp wristing.

It is also completely unrealistic that if a gun were undergoing such high heat that cartridges were firing due to heat, that each one would go off in order as they cycled through the chamber, which, as already discussed, is impossible. If the gun got that hot, cartridges would simply explode inside the magazine and the grip of the pistol and it would happen in a random, uncontrolled order.

Don't forget that for the gun to fire without such outrageous heat, the firing pin must be cocked, which is a result of the proper slide operation and someone's finger must be on the trigger to disengage the safety and release the firing pin. A Glock handgun simply cannot fire without numerous mechanical functions taking place in the right order and with the correct forces properly applied.

So a complete BOO! on the movie creators that allowed that scene to be included! Its unfeasible, physically impossible and dumbass. It promotes a 'scary', unreasonable fear of firearms for anyone not already familiar with this gun's operation. It distracted from an otherwise well done movie.

One more thing, this time for the television producers- Glock firearms don't have external hammers! There is nothing to cock to make the gun ready to fire after chambering a shell. So will you please stop playing the sound of a Colt Single Action Army revolver, (click, clack click) each and every time someone engages a bad guy on any of the CSI television shows? I can't tell you how many times I have observed a TV character draw his scary, black pistol from his holster, point it at someone he is trying to apprehend, then the sound of the pistol cocking is played, to let the viewer know he really means business. Just stop it! By the same token, there is no sound of the pistol being de-cocked before re-holstering it, which I have also heard.

You TV folks work so hard to produce realistic, gritty shows with all the drama of finding the tiniest piece of evidence to exonerate or convict but you continually misrepresent the use of firearms with these bogus sound effects. So quit it! Take yourself to a gun store and check out the sounds. Then fix your damm shows!

School starts again 1 week from today

Introduction to Biology and Public Speaking are on my class schedule for the upcoming term. Biology class will be during lunchtime and the Public Speaking will be 7:30-10 PM, Monday & Wednesday. I just ordered my books yesterday...

I hope they show up in time!

These are the last two classes I will be taking in a classroom towards my Bachelor's Degree. Next term I have one class that will be a one-on-one course in Cost Accounting. That class isn't available until this time next year, so I am requesting permission to have Individual Instruction so I can finish.

Still no decision on a Master's program though...

Where did that weekend go?

That was a full weekend! By the time I finally sat down each evening I was too tired to blog about my adventures. So I guess I can sneak a few minutes now before digging into this week's tasks. So what did I do all weekend?

Well, Friday evening was a trip out to the movies with the spouse, World Trade Center was her choice and so we went to see a movie I wasn't so sure I wanted to see. Nicolas Cage does his usual job of never moving his face while expressing great distress and pain and there is one hugely bogus scene involving a handgun that requires its own post. But the movie as a whole is powerful, emotional and a very opportune reminder of why the US is at war against those that hate us. It was a much better movie than I expected to see and it even caused the spouse to question that "Religion of Peace" moniker that supposedly describes the Islamic world's believers.

Saturday, as Kenny has already related, was a trip to the desert for some stomping around after slow bunnies and some informal plinking fun. And it was a bunch of fun. Kenny had several guns that Gun Dealer Bob had asked him to take out and try before they go up for sale, so we shot some guns that we didn't even have to carry home and clean! Mostly we just plinked at plastic toys that I buy at thrift stores and some chunks of lumber that Kenny had in his truck. I did kill one jackrabbit with the shotgun that Kenny brought along from Bob's gun store. I found out today, from my buddy Jim, who was the previous owner of the guns, that the Savage shotgun I was using had not even been fired since the 1970s!

It was a really early wakeup on Saturday to connect with Kenny so I had a lengthy nap after getting home and having a shower. The nap left me tired after I did get up so the rest of the evening was spent in front of the television with the spouse.

Sunday was another motor racing adventure with Noah, this time to the Bonneville Salt Flats, just outside of Wendover, Utah, on the far side of the state. Its Speedweek over there and we decided we really needed to check out this American speed tradition that takes place nearly in our backyard. It is quite an adventure... First of all, its not like any other race event I've ever attended. The racing takes place, one car at a time, about a half mile away from the nearest spectating point- that's the close track! The other racing line is further away and even harder to see! So mostly going to Speedweek is walking through the pits, which are spread out over 3+ miles, checking out the cars that are hiding under canopies and shades. Most of the cars are veterans of many years of salt racing; drum brakes and solid axles are still fully capable equipment on many of the cars! There is a class for any vehicle that shows up and most cars run in multiple classes based upon engine size, gasoline or fuel, supercharged or natural induction and the body type. One fellow we spoke to had already ruined one cylinder in his V-8 powered Datsun 240Z. But he wasn't concerned, the Tech folks had already confirmed that he could run in the next smaller engine class by just running on 7 cylinders!

It's a lot like that. One guy we talked to was racing his dad's car, after Dad had set records with the car in 1994 and passed away in 1995, the son was still racing the 4WD, big block engined, twin-turboed beast. He had the "small" engine in the car and a "big" engine waiting in the truck and claimed to have the most sophisticated engine management system of any car on the salt. I can't say anything about his car's computer system but the fellow claims the car produces 1800 HP and he holds 4 records with it, 2 in the gasoline class and 2 in the fuel class, in both engine sizes and always on gasoline.

It is a relaxed atmosphere in most of the pits though. There is no specific time to show up to go run like every other type of racing, so very little thrashing to get ready is going on. Instead, folks are lounging under canopies, listening to the track radio announcer and sweeping the constant salt off of the ubiquitous, blue tarps that every team has nailed down to the salt as a temporary floor. Most of the racers we spoke to seemed completely content to run their racers once or twice a day at most and most of them were doing no more than checking tire pressures and fuel levels between runs. There was a little more effort going on in some pits but mostly it's a pretty relaxed atmosphere.

But it's a lot of walking! Noah and I were nearly the only folks on foot, since we didn't know better. Everyone else is on some kind of pit ride, mini-bike, bicycle, 4-wheeler or moped, everybody has some kind of wheeled transport to get around on. So we looked at a bunch of race cars, wore ourselves out walking, got sunburnt on the bottoms of our arms and were disappointed to discover that there was only one concession stand for food and water purchases throughout the entire pit area. By the time we got home last night, it was time for dinner and a shower before falling asleep in the recliner until bed time!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Another Phantom Scooter Post

My new relays work! This is really nice. I ordered two relay sets, one for my air horn and another for the headlights from
Eastern Beaver a couple weeks ago and the kits arrived yesterday. These are some impressive kits as you can see from the links.

The horn relay installed perfectly and without a hitch and allowed the horn to spin up and blow much more quickly and much louder. I had a little trouble with the headlight relay kit installation but not due to Eastern Beaver's product. The trouble was that the lights worked when the scooter engine was idling but they went out whenever the engine was revved up. And I could hear the relays buzzing whenever the lights were on. I had the same problem a couple months ago when I tried to install a relay on my own but I was stumped again with this professionally built kit.

So, I emailed the owner of Eastern Beaver, James Davis last night. I explained my problem and even included an electronic copy of the Phantom's wiring diagram and asked for his help. And help he did! By breakfast this morning, Jim had read my email, looked at my wire drawing and responded with a simple modification that needed to be made to my wiring harness. It seems that scooters like mine use AC power, provided directly from the magneto and the typical relay installation performs just like mine.

Tonight I performed Jim's recommended modification and completed my headlight installation. Its really good! The lights now work without the engine running and they are fully bright with no flicker as they did before the relay installation.

I can tell you these are really good kits. I'm impressed. With the exception of the simple modification to the wiring harness, everything else was simple plug-and-play installation. I've already emailed Jim to say thanks for his help. Maybe he will update his webpage to include the wire harness mod required for these Chines scooters. If you are in the market for a significant improvement to your scoot, I really recommend the Eastern Beaver products.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Burglar Breaking Through Window Bleeds To Death

Thanks to Carol for finding this story of natural selection in action. Seems one not-to-smart choir boy broke into a woman's home, cutting himself as he broke through the window glass and expiring inside the mobile home.

I can just imagine the 911 call-

911, what's your emergency?

A man broke into my house, he's in the front room!

Maam, are you in immediate danger? Is anyone injured?

No, his bleeding stopped already...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Double back flip on a motorcycle!

Things like double back flips on motorcycles aren't possible, right? Nope, Travis Pastrana made it look easy last week during the X Games.

That's nuckin futs!

Here's another YouTube video that seems appropriate as a counterpoint to Travis's double flip, a Superman trick that goes bad... That's gotta hurt!

Monday, August 07, 2006

A really nice weekend!

I had such a nice weekend that its only fair to share it with the rest of the world, or both of you that regularly stop by for updates to my life along the Wasatch Front.

Friday was one of my regular every-other-Friday, days off and I spent the first portion of it wrestling with my laptop, the Compaq, Symantec and Comcast tech centers trying unsuccessfully to get my Outlook Express working again. At Bob's recommendation, I have downloaded the Thunderbird mail and newsreader program from Mozilla and have it working to a degree. I never was able to get OE working and since Thunderbird went directly to the Comcast mail server and pulled in my mail, I'm pretty certain it’s a Microsoft failure. I'm still interested in making OE work if there is anyone out there with suggestions.

The BSU and I took the afternoon for one of our Friday date lunches and returned to Roosters on Historic 25th Street in Ogden for our repast. We were seated at a shaded table in a beautiful courtyard and had the nicest lunch we have had in a long time. Appetizer was grilled shrimp in a pepper jack cheese sauce that was tasty and plentiful enough it could have been an entrée. My lunch was Spicy Mango Chicken and the spouse enjoyed her beer batter dipped fish and chips. Afterwards we had a walk down 25th Street and back and then went to the movies for the matinee show.

Miami Vice was our movie choice for Friday afternoon and it was a pretty good action/adventure film. It worked a little too hard switching between gritty and artsy but overall it’s a pretty good flick. There's enough stuff blowing up and high speed boat chases and gunfights to make it worth the price of admission. One very cool item, if you see the movie- Crockett & Tubbs, acting undercover as drug smugglers, use an Adams A500 aircraft for their first smuggling effort. The A500 is a very modern, twin engine aircraft that is just about to begin production here in Ogden. Currently the airplanes are built in Colorado but Adams has invested in a plant on the north end of the airport and production is either already underway or will be shortly. I especially enjoyed the climatic gunfight scene at the boat docks where most of the fire was from bad guys with scary, black, fully automatic carbines blazing away while Tubbs takes a 12 guage shotgun and uses it to silence almost all the bad guys, one 12 gauge hole at a time.

Saturday, as I've already reported was spent with Noah at Miller Motorsports Park. I'm working on a separate post regarding this new, world-class facility just 75 miles from my house. Needless to say, but I will anyhow, it is a great addition to the motorsports scene here in Utah.

Yesterday it was time for a second coffee and chit-chat meeting with Carol at the local Hastings book store. She's getting pretty anxious to get her hubby home from Iraq and her under-construction home to get finished. I can't say I blame her in either case. Later I got the yard mowed and cleaned up and once that was all done, I was done for the day! I took a shower after mowing, slipped on clean clothes and spent the rest of my afternoon sitting in the shade, reading, drinking beer and smoking my cheap cigars. I read until I was tired, talked to my Mom for a good bit and watered the lawn, all fine, simple things to do on a perfect, late summer, breezy afternoon.

Boy it felt good just to sit for a long while!

What was I reading, you ask? A delightful book I purchased Saturday at the MMR gift shop- from the author, BS Levy. I purchased his first book in a trilogy, called The Last Open Road. It’s a story of a young man's decent into an automotive racing addiction, taking place beginning in 1952. Buddy Palumbo tells his story of working in a local garage but discovering MGs and Jaguars and a pretty girl, all in the same season and how he gets pulled back and forth between the sports cars, racing and the pretty girl that likes him right back. Its hilarious! I love this story! Obviously, it takes place before my time and involvement in automobiles of all kinds but this is a great story. It reminds me of many of the stories I read back in grade school, when I fell in love with auto racing and reading with about the same fervency. Those books, written years ago, were all about some hungry driven, underfunded team finding their way through the Midwestern bullrings and eventually to the big show known as the Indianapolis 500. I wish I owned some of those great old books. Anyway, The Last Open Road is terrific and I've read most of it already, meaning I'll have to be ordering the next two books shortly. My copy of the book has even been autographed by the the author!

So that was the weekend, time spent with the spouse, time spent with the boy, time spent with a new friend and time spent on my own priorities. It was wonderful, especially for the rarity of the opportunities, all in one weekend.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"After all, you know this guy!"

Actually, readers that aren't local to this Wasatch Front may not get the reference in the title, but if you are from Utah, that slogan refers to just one, very prominent, very visible individual, Larry H. Miller. Now Larry's a mighty successful guy, as you might note from the Wikipedia linkbut one of the things the article doesn't mention is his interest in fast cars. Larry really likes fast cars. In fact, he has a collection of Cobra cars and Ford GT40 race cars that still see regular racetrack action around the world. Larry likes cars so much, he even built his own racetrack, Miller Motorsports Park!

Yesterday, Noah and I went to see Larry's new, world-class racetrack so we could spectate the Heros of Speed Classic Car races. Now we had a terrific time early on, walking freely through the paddock, chatting with car owners and checking under the hood of every car we passed while they sat under canopies and awnings attached to the fanciest of transport rigs. But all the folks were friendly and seemed to have time for a chat or to explain what their car was and how it was performing for the weekend.

Before the lunch break we watched a race or two from the fence along the front straight, then, when lunchtime was called, we had a stroll through the garages in front of the pits. This was where the really high performance stuff was parked. We didn't have the right color badges to be in the garages but the attendants didn't really seem to care too much, so we just let ourselves in through the open doors.

At one garage, Noah really got excited because inside were 3 Ford GT40 endurance racers and several more Cobra race cars. He was having a real good time walking around this GT40 and noticed that the car had a video camera set to record in-car action during the race. He asked one uniformed person how he might get a copy of some of that video and they directed him to another uniformed guy who seemed more than happy to accomodate Noah's wishes, even taking down his address and phone number and making a note of what Noah wanted. Then he asked if Noah might like to sit in the race car!

Well, you didn't have to ask him twice!


Noah finds himeself in the cockpit of his dreams...

So, who was this pleasant guy that chatted with Noah and I for fully 10 minutes, promised to send Noah a DVD of racing action and instructed his chief mechanic to open up the big-block GT40's tail so we could have a peak inside?

Yeah, it was Larry Miller himself! It didn't dawn on me right away, and he was wearing sunglasses so I couldn't see his eyes. But he was wearing a Salt Lake Bees baseball cap- he owns that team too- and his walkie-talkie that he sat down at one point had LARRY labeled onto it... But after having chatted with him for quite some time, and thanking him for letting Noah sit in the car, I was pretty certain it was Larry Miller, and his garage boss confirmed it after he was called away.

What a nice guy!

There is more to write about the day, and the weekend, but right now I've got to go meet a tall, attractive brunette for coffee!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Been fighting my computer today-

Somehow, my Outlook Express went Tango Uniform on me this week and will not connect to the Comcast email servers. It still works just fine for the newgroups I read but nada for mail. I'm still keeping up with my mail through the internet connection, but its a pain.

I started by talking to the Comcast tech support. They ran me through the settings and claims everything is fine with their part of the deal. Then I went to work with Symantec, after digging through some Microsoft support pages. I tried all the things the online support suggested this morning, without success. One of the final tips to try was to remove and then reinstall my Norton Internet Security package.

Which I've done tonight. Two hours later, after multiple updates and a full virus scan, I'm still busted for Outlook Express.


Next, I'm calling Comcast's tech support again!

And Carol, Sunday looks good. Let's try the same plan as last time. I'll call you Saturday to confirm.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Productivity and the AF computer security concept

I'm required to complete some AF training, online. I'm not alone, everyone in this organization of a few hundred people is required to take this training.

There are 4 courses to complete right now.

Each course requires a separate log-in ID and password, using differing criteria for passwords, after logging in through the AF Portal and having my computerized access card recognized. That's 4 more log-in identifications and passwords that I'm expected to use once each year without writing them down someplace.

There's a separate page and a half of instructions on how to log in to each course.

After completing the courses, there are certificates that must be printed then faxed to the one person monitoring these courses.

Does this seem like a good use of everyone's time, (and mine in particular) to you? No, its dumbass! The AF just loves to grasp new technologies- Computer Based Training, in this case. They spend huge amounts of cash on pretty presentations and animated graphics then make each manager of the individual training responsible for the user id and log-in procedures for their little department or class.

Why can't the person monitoring completion rates log-in and download the completion data daily or weekly instead of expecting these certificates to be printed and faxed or scanned and emailed for later, manual compilation? That's what computers do best isn't it, compile data and produce lists?

Why does it take a 4 page email to spell out the instructions for 4 different methods of log-in into 4 systems? Why isn't one set of instructions, or one log-in through the Portal, using my micro-chipped card sufficient access to all the training?

How many hours are going to be wasted by this organization, not by accomplishing the training, but by fighting through the various and sundry and confusing log-in processes? This kind of administrivia is just a huge productivity killer. I'm expecting to spend my entire afternoon today getting through this morass.

I hate it!

This is disturbing-

I may have to start adding Maalox creamer to my coffee! It seems I've found the point where I can no longer consume coffee by the never-ending quart without suffering stomach pain in retaliation. That point was about 2 weeks ago...

I only acknowledged the fact that I'm having daily stomach pain nearly every day just this week. And of course, I've not been to see a Dr. about the problem, since its only about 2 weeks old.

Life will get very ugly if I have to give up my java!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

IDF vs. Hezbollah- a Grondahl cartoon

This deserves much more publicity than it will get through my puny efforts by putting it here or the editorial page of yesterday's Standard-Examiner. Its a fine example of the difference between the good guys and the terrorists.

Digging around a bit, I found the cartoonist's blog, Cal's Blog. I found the online opinion page but no direct link to yesterday's cartoon. So I scanned it and posted it for everyone's consideration.

Update: Here is the cartoon in its full color glory.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Its pouring rain today!

Our nearly 100 degree days have finally busted with a fresh breeze and clouds yesterday and a steady downpour today. Its bucketing down out there and the temperature is just into the 60s. That's mighty different from most of the days this summer.

Regarding my list of things to do while not in school, #3 is beginning to get on my nerves. I have the bent rails removed and yesterday I went in search of replacement parts. Of course, the dealer I bought it from no longer carries this brand, in fact the brand, Camplite by Damon, is extinct! Through the Damon corporate website I found a Damon dealer in Utah and I called them but their parts department can't help me without the VIN of the camper. The model number and year of manufacture isn't enough information to be able to accurately order 2 pieces of steel apparently...

None of these camper parts appear to be available online. You can order every little RV accessory and widget through many sources but I've been unsuccessful locating real "parts" online. And there's no buying anything directly from the manufacturer, you first must be a "registered dealer"...

I found another brand of camper that uses the same steel channel but the one model the dealer was displaying only had a full sized bed, not a queen sized, so the rails on their model were 6" too short. That parts guy is supposed to be researching some longer rails but he hasn't called me back, so I guess he forgot. Or didn't think my requirements were important enough to spend any time researching.

Can you tell I'm a little frustrated? This is turning into a real pain in my butt. Every place I've been, (4 RV stores yesterday) all seem to be interested in selling me a new GPS guided satellite television dish with mobile tracking and verbal KOA directions assistance, but nobody really seems to care about my bent bed slider rails. I guess I need to make a few more phone calls and see what I can stir up. I wish I could just find the original vendor of the steel channel and get away from the RV dealer bottleneck!

As for the other items in my list of things to do while not in school, #s 1, 2, 8, & 10 have been accomplished, though I need more time for #10. As noted above, #3 is pending and #11, coffee with Carol is tentatively planned for Sunday (see comments to prior post).