Day by Day cartoon

Monday, December 31, 2007

I may need to start building a machine shop-

So I can learn to make fun toys like this guy!
68 horsepower per liter! Air-cooled? You betcha. This hand-built V12 engine, the fruit of hobbyist Ralf Drendel's labor, clocks in at a mere 87 cc's of displacement and cranks out a whopping mere 6 horsepower.
Make sure you have the speakers on your computer cranked up for the video!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Movie Reviews!

I've been exceptionally negligent recently reporting on the movies that the BSU and I have taken in at our local cineplexes. So in an effort to clear out the cobwebs of 2007, I'll tell you a little about some of the shows we've seen.

Most recently, this week in fact, we saw Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Now the spouse was opposed to seeing this film from the get-go, because she knew it was a parody and that's not her favorite type of humor. But, we were at the mall and everything else had already started, I wanted to see it and she gave in. I should have followed her instincts!This is a really lame story, no matter what the professional reviewers have said about it! John C. Reilly plays a pretty believable pop star and musician but the rest of the story is just lame. From early in the movie where Dewie accidently kills his more talented brother, in a play machete fight, the story goes right down hill. The story is about the efforts of Dewey Cox as he fights to make his way into the pop music world, struggles with all the disasters that befell so many rock superstars. Yes, I know the writers were poking fun at Coal Miners Daughter, Ray and Walk the Line, but most of the scenes really fell flat. Some of the scenes were truly funny, watching Dewey open with an all black band in a black night club after the regular band leader is busted up and can't sing was a good scene and the early scenes between Dewey and Darlene, so reminicent of Johhny Cash and June Carter was pretty funny as they played out their attraction for one another. The duet they sing is full of double entendres and was hilarious but the story line falls lame after that. In particular, when Dewey joins the ashram in India and meets the Beatles that are there to learn enlightenment is probably the worst scene in the movie. The Beatles have to keep referring to themselves by name so the audience knows who they are. It turns into a LSD tripped cartoon at that point for a little while and after that Dewey's life gets really ugly, fueled by massive quantities of drugs and misbehavior. In the end, Dewey does find happiness in retirement and getting to know his many, many children and a reunion with Darlene.

So, two thumbs down for this movie, in my humble opinion. The spouse hated it from the beginning and even though I laughed at some individual events, the movie as a whole just didn't work for me. Sorry Dewey!

A movie we did like and I recommend you see is Charlie Wilson's War. This movie is a telling of a real story and a real person, Congressman Charlie Wilson of Texas. Charlie is encouraged by a rich, beautiful Texas socialite to use his congressional committee participation to fund the Afghan rebellion of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Charlie visits Afghanistan, sees the pain of the people there, living under Soviet attack and goes to work with an unruly CIA agent to begin funneling funds, weapons and training to the Afghan rebels trying to reclaim their country. His back room wheeling and dealing requires Russian weapons to be purchased from an Israeli arms dealer with funds routed through an Egyptian envoy andd matched by Saudi Arabian funds. Its a complex story but the intent is to give the Soviets a black eye. With surface to air missiles at the ready, the Afghanis do drive the Soviets out of their country and Charlie Wilson's secret little war is a huge success. But, there is always those laws of unintended consequence and in the closing scenes, Charlie's efforts to rebuild the country are rebuffed and history tells us what happened when those insurgents that fought off the Soviets became the Taliban that ruled the country in the aftermath.

But this is a good movie. Its smart and funny in places and the characters are entertaining and believable. Tom Hanks makes a great playboy Congressman, Julia Roberts could have been born tothe part of a Texas socialite and Phillip Hoffman makes a terrific disgruntled CIA agent. All in all, I loved it, the spouse enjoyed it and it was one of my favorite movies of the year.

American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington as a New York drug baron, Frank Lucas, setting himself up as importer of the highest quality heroin and selling it through fake businesses he establishes for his cousins and nephews. His drugs are more potent and less expensive than every other dealers wares. Russell Crowe plays the police detective who is trying to track down the influx of cheap drugs and uncovers this seemingly upstanding citizen who is polluting the bodies and souls of the people of his own neighborhood.

This is a gritty movie. The story is based upon fact and it doesn't gloss over the uglieness of a heroin infested community. It shows the death and destruction that drug addiction can cause while also displaying the enormous wealth that one person can accumulate at the expense of the poor persons selling their souls to buy their drugs. This movie left me questioning how any person could be so cold and indifferent to the plight of the persons he was so readily selling poison to for his enrichment. American Gangster is another favorite movie of 2007 for me and I hope it wins a bucketful of awards when Oscar time rolls around.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A couple funnies-

First there's this one: bunnies and thne there's this remarkable tattoo. Found first at Synthstuff.

Holiday slacking-

That's the only excuse I have for the dearth of posts recently. I certainly can't claim to have been too busy, that's certain!

As for Christmas- as Lawdog says" Make the holiday memorable, not perfect," and I think we can say that's exactly what we had at our house for Christmas. Noah came home from Logan on Monday afternoon and relaxed with us and then went to the candle light Christmas church service we always attend. He even volunteered to go with us and he participated in the service! That was very nice. Upon exiting church at midnight, the most beautiful snow was falling, adding to the magic and pleasure of the evening. We all slept in the next morning, me less than the other 2 and I had coffee made and the 8 inches of snow removed from the driveway before they were moving well.

So package opening came late to our house- no big deal that, and everyone seemed pleased with their gifts. The BSU really likes the dangly, diamond ear rings that I picked out for her, even though she discovered pretty quickly that she can't sleep in them with the post type backs on them. So they have already been returned to Cassars, where they came from for hook type backs that won't poke her as she sleeps. I got a new set of ski pants as my old set had mysteriously shrunk and a new set of warm leather gloves since the fleece ones I was using just weren't warm enough for ski duty.

Kye and Stef arrived later in the afternoon bringing more gifts and in time for a terrific turkey dinner with all the trimmings. They stayed a few hours and we all got to relax and rest and hear the tales of their adventures in Grown-Up Land.

Since then, I've been back to work, though mostly I've been tidying and filing and clearing stuff out. There are so few folks here that getting anything real accomplished has been impossible. I'm even going to bug out early here when I finish this post as there's just no reason to be here.

I'll be ticket checking again tomorrow at Powder Mountain, and every Saturday until spring, due to the management changes there and then I have another long weekend to enjoy before hitting the work again hard next week. We've accepted a New Years invitation over to Carol and Dave's place, which should be a fun change of pace since we typically stay close to home on New Years. But they have promised food and fun with their new Wii so I guess we'll head up there for some fun.

More later, I think, from the ranch, since everybody seems to be bugging out pretty quickly around here!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday message from Fred

Merry Christmas to all that happen to pass by this humble blog. If you happen to be a service member away from your family this holiday, I share in your ache to be home and I pray for your safe return.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Well this is perfect!

I got home from working at Powder Mountain Ski Resort just a little while ago, changed my clothes and the BSU announced that she was taking the truck and going out. I'm pretty certain that means she is out Christmas shopping for me.

But National Lampoon's Christmas is showing, right now on TBS and I get to watch it without disturbance. I even got to see it from the very beginning, somthing that almost never happens!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Spouse made it home safely last night

All is well. Now there just remains some shopping to be accomplished, groceries to buy, cookies to bake and presents to wrap before the holiday arrives next week. I've ordered packages to be delivered to most of the folks that read this blog and I've already purchased the spouse's gift, (nope, not telling!) and have it wrapped and under the tree. There was a prime rib dinner at work today and tomorrow is the company's holiday luncheon.

Life is good. Maybe I'll get to go skiing this weekend.

The Christmas shopping must be complete-

Well for whatever reason, as I mentioned yesterday, the network filter shields were down since yesterday about lunchtime. And until about an hour ago, the shields remained down. But, whoever must have needed the access for some last minute online Christmas shopping must have finished up because the shields are back up. I can't see Instapundit or Gizmodo or anything with a blogger address again, just as it has been restricted for months.

Christmas shopping is the only reason I can imagine for the temporary reprieve from the daily restrictions. Either that or somebody tripped over a cable yesterday shutting down some machine that controls the interweb access and today somebody found the unplugged cable.


Cranky Professor really comes alive with the language!

[NOTE: Mom, you might want to skip this post. Or read it, its pretty funny.]

Cranky Professor shows that she really does know her way around the english language with this post.
Wait, I'm tired of being polite. Why don't you eat my ass with a soup spoon? You are a morally deficient, mentally insufficient, scabby, fungus-ridden swipe of dog shit. It's doubtful that medical treatment can overcome your colorful, hirsute and bastardized background. I hope your microscopic peener shrivels up, spontaneously combusts and falls off.
No way I could top that.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Christmas present from the network police!

I don't understand it but for some reason, this afternoon, the network filter managers seemed to have let down the shields. That's right, I can see blogspot addresses and Jalopnik and Gizmodo display properly. Heck, Gizmodo even displays instead of being blocked as it usually is and has been for a number of months. I wonder how long that circumstance might last, not long I'll bet!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A tale of a boy and his car needs

Well, how to tell this story? It is a parental quandary, sort of, and in another way, its none of my concern. But what's it all about? Its about my youngest son- that boy Noah and his automotive quandaries. Some background; he is 23, done with school at Utah State, he didn't even bother to check to see if he had any passing grades, which means he didn't have any. He is working at a Toyota & Honda dealership in Logan, as a lube tech- the lowest rung of the automotive technician ladder.

He's got a promise to get a technician position/promotion sometime later in the winter or spring. He also is still driving "Lumpy"; the 1990 Geo Tracker that I bought 7 years ago and that he has been driving as a daily driver while also off-road abusing the little beast for the past 5 years. It is pretty rough and in spite of his abuse, it keeps on starting everyday, so he keeps driving it.

But he wants to replace Lumpy. Its not quite as off-road capable as he believes is required for the level of "wheeling" that he wants to do. Its also not very pleasant as a street vehicle during the winter months. He also has a promise from the credit union where he has been banking some of his paycheck for several weeks, to fix him up with a loan for another vehicle of his choosing. So he has the urge to buy some new vehicle and a promise of more money than he has ever needed, close at hand.

He has talked about buying a used Mazda Miata or a Toyota MR2 sports car. Either one of those cars could be a great choice, affordable, reliable, and well supported by online communities of fans. Either of these cars are pretty watertight, have functioning heaters and come in a variety of power levels. He's also pretty keen to have a motorcycle, maybe a Suzuki SV650, to hear him talk.

But yesterday he brought home a Suzuki Samurai that he wants to buy. He found it on Craigslist and he is in love. He's in love with a purple hardtop 1988 Samurai that has been modified with a Toyota engine, transmission, and axles. It has (very) big tires, big springs, fenders cut away to clear the tires and a welded on, exoskeleton roll cage that blocks the rear door making it unusable. Its not street legal because the tires stick out too far and requires some kind of fender flares that will have to be fabricated to cover the tires to stay out of John Law's scrutiny. There is no heater, no defroster ducts and the snow drips in through the vents below the windshield straight into the cab. The rear axle has been welded so the tires squirm and chirp going around corners on pavement. The bottom of the doors is close to 3 feet off the ground to give you an idea how tall this crate is!

It probably is a terrific rock crawler or trail runner and it seems to have been put together by somebody who knew what they were doing- except for the rear door being blocked by the roll cage and spare tire carrier. All the welds I could see appear neatly done and I didn't see any terrible shortcuts in the construction. But it would be a terrible vehicle on the street. Noah's initial thought that the hardtop would be warmer in the winter than his convertible Tracker was pretty quickly disabused once he figured out that the truck had no heater core or even blocks on the open vents leaking in! The welded rear axle makes cornering an exercise in equipment and tire wear as well as being right close to dangerous in any kind of slippery traction circumstance.

He wants to buy this Samurai so he can do more off-roading than he presently can do with the Tracker, even though the Tracker has proven itself capable of 80% or more of the trails he has access to. He thinks the Sammy would be 100% capable if it just had a winch added to the front and an expedition grade roof rack to put gear in since the back of the truck is blocked. He thinks he can reconfigure the exoskelton to gain access to the rear door, if he could just get access to a tubing bender and a welder... The fuel tank filler tube needs to be protected from damage that could be caused by the rear tire.

He lives in one room of a rented apartment, has no garage or carport working space, would still need a reliable daily driver car and probably would need a truck and trailer to move the purple beast to the trails he wants to conquer since its not street legal. Or he needs to make it street legal and then pay for plates and insurance for more than one vehicle. And he wants me to co-sign for a loan if that will get him a better rate at the credit union.

Not too surprisingly, I said no. We talked about this for a couple hours yesterday and I don't think I dissuaded him from buying this Samurai. I tried a number of different tactics, offered suggestions about buying a reliable street car or truck and then using the Tracker for off-roading, fixing it up to make it a little more trail worthy. I tried to get him to consider just how much time, or how many weekends he would be free to go wheeling or whether he would be working, either to pay the rent, (and the truck payment) or to fix the parts that invariably fall off of rigs that get used off road regularly.

I'm pretty certain I didn't convince him to keep looking...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

An entire weekend by myself-

Well, not exactly by myself. But the BSU has been out of town since Friday noon, on her annual sojurn to Oregon for the sister's Christmas party. I stayed here, as usual and sent her off for the weekend.

So I've been partying it up all weekend, staying up late and drinking hard with all my wild friends and loose women. Right?

Yeah, right... Not so much actually. I did attend a fun dinner party that my buddy Loc had invited me to Friday evening. The sneak didn't tell me that dinner at ABC Mandarin was his son, Tom's college graduation celebration! That turned into a really nice evening and it was great to share in Tom's celebration of his hard work and success. Loc's pretty happy not to be footing his education bill too!

Saturday, Kenny and I went to the desert for a couple hours of shooting. We got off to a late start intentionally- hey it was cold yesterday, and it turned into an even later start after a long wait for lunch at the Flying J truckstop where we stopped for nutrition. But, it turned into a really nice afternoon of plinking and hanging out together. Kenny was even nice enough to feed me dinner when we got back to his place.

I am pretty unhappy with my Para-Ordnance Warthawg though because it still is not working right. I replaced the magazine springs a few months ago when I found that it wouldn't feed reliably and afterwards it seemed to be fixed on one trip to the range. But yesterday it still wouldn't feed worth a damm and the gun is no good for a concealed carry piece until I get it fixed. I may need to be contacting Para to see if it needs to go back to them for corrections.

Today has been a day of chores that I've been putting off for a while just out of laziness. I snaked the drain in the shower that had been slowing down recently. I replaced the bad strip light in the laundry room and I replaced the flush handle on the toilet that I couldn't stand any longer. That cheap thing had a plastic arm inside that flexed instead of lifting most of the time and I just hated it. So, with a quick trip to Home Depot, I solved that aggravation.

Afterwards, I've continued to cleanup the room that is becoming my guitar room, cleaned guns, washed dishes and laundry, carried out trash, finished off the last of the Thanksgiving turkey with sandwiches with Noah and neighbor Eric. I'm still soaking the stains out of my coffee carafe and I've watered the Christmas tree.

The BSU called, she may be coming home tomorrow instead of Tuesday. I suppose she's still tired enough after being in the hospital last week and its always hectic when she is with her sisters. So once she gets home it will be time for the final Christmas push of preparations. The boys have called or mentioned their interests so I have some idea for presents for them but I have no ideas for the spouse. She mentioned jewelry and I probably can't go wrong with that so I suppose I'll be revisiting the shop where we bought her anniversary ring.

Can I be tired now?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Another medical update you should know about-

A few weeks ago I mentioned a friend Ben who had suffered 2 apparent heart attacks in an evening and his wife had found him not breathing, with no idea how long he had been unconcious. Ben spent a week on a life support machine, and based upon the Doc's advice, he was removed from the apparatus with the expectation that he was simply going to die in a couple days. The medical decision was to not feed him or treat the other maladies he was suffering but just to control his pain and to wait for his demise. I saw Ben just before leaving on our cruise and I was pretty certain I was saying good-bye to him and that I would miss his funeral while we were gone.

But Ben didn't die. Instead, he got a little better. And his boss convinced his Docs to restart medical treatment, which they did, and then Ben got even better. The pneumonia went away and he began to maintain his conciousness. He had almost no short term memory but in a couple weeks and with numerous visits from several of us, his memory began to return. Additionally, Ben has no permanent damage to his heart and no surgical procedures are in his future.

The week after Thanksgiving Ben was even moved out of the hospital and into a theraputic rehab center, which is where he is right now. He has regained much of the memory and thought process capability that the Docs said he would never have again. He is getting stronger and healthier everyday. He has apparently forgotten that he was a long-time smoker and seems to have no desire for the demon nicotine. There's a possibility that he might even be able to return home to live in the coming weeks and perhaps return to some kind of work although he has been medically retired from civil service already.

Going home is a problem though. Ben has a wife but she's not mentally healthy and she needs to be under somebody elses care besides Ben's. He has a teenaged son who has been placed in foster care during this entire episode. So things are not good, overall and Ben's problems are not all resolved.

But he is alive, against all odds. And he is getting healthy, healthier than anyone could have expected. Ben's life, and his restored health is a direct result of answered, fervent prayer and nobody can convince me otherwise.

Well, the spouse is home from her hospital stay

She has survived all the turmoil of 2 nights in a hospital, her diverticulitus is responding to 2 types of antibiotics and she is home so she can rest.

Truth be told, she got really good care and she is getting better, which makes me really happy.

And I've got the cold bug beginning to sit on my chest... Grumble!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

This ain't going to happen!

I've taken the muffler of Sleek Black Beauty during this down time and I thought to have it shined up by having it dipped in a local chrome tank at a nearby establishment. The other day I carried it the muffler in there to get a price estimate for the work.

The estimate was for $350 and an unsatisfactory result due to all the bracketry that is attached to the muffler! I can't afford that!

What I can afford is to have it HiPerCoated by HPC,in a polished aluminum color. They quoted me $70 to do the job. I hope to take it to them on Friday after dropping the BSU at the airport for her trip.

Call it a Christmas present from me to Beauty.

Well this is no good!

The BSU's dreaded diverticulitus has reared its ugly head again and plunked her back into the hospital. We've been there all day after she decided that she recognized the symptoms and did not want to wait until she became critical.

Seems she was right and closer to being critical than she realized.

So, I'm headed back in a few minutes and I'll sit with her until they throw me out. I haven't decided about tomorrow's work shift. I guess I'll figure that out later.

UPDATE: I'll be skipping work tomorrow to sit with the BSU in the hospital. There's a chance she might have to get a colonoscopy since it has been 5 years since her last one. She is mighty intent to get well and out of the hospital as her airplane ticket taking her to Oregon is dated for this coming Friday.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Woman beaten on bus by 9 teenagers
So, a 26 year old woman tries to ride a city transit bus in Baltimore and a group of 9 teenagers decide they don't like her. She is denied a seat, viciously assaulted, thrown off the bus and received serious injuries. If- if there is something to the legitimacy of hate crimes- which I strongly disagree with, BTW, this case sounds like a hate crime. And it’s a racial crime, since the 9 teens were of one race and the assaulted woman is of another race. Which means that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will soon be holding rallies and shouting over bullhorns for justice for the injured persons due to this despicable crime. Right? No, Al & Jesse will not be coming to support this injured woman with their bloviating and pandering. You see, the injured woman is white. The 9 teenaged thugs and criminals were black so their behavior is is simply a result of their culture and economic misfortune and so they shouldn't be held accountable, if we were to believe those two whining jackasses.

Two things: First, if there is any justice, these 9 "students" will be charged and tried as adults, not juveniles. If they want to get all "tough" and threaten and injure citizens, then they have passed beyond simple  juvenile misbehavior and they should be tried to the full extent of the law as adults. Secondly, Maryland is a "may issue" concealed carry state instead of a "shall issue" state. Which means simply that firearms carry permits are available but only to a chosen minority under restrictive circumstances. Imagine how this circumstance might have ended differently if this woman or her boyfriend had been prepared and afforded the "privilege" to defend themselves with a firearm. I'm guessing that a simple revolver in the hand would have immediately reduced the 9 to 1 odds of a deadly threat into a de-escalated public disturbance. I suspect that even 9 teenaged thugs would not take the chance of being shot simply to hassle a woman on a bus about her taking a seat.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

This looks like fun!

Its been a while since I tried to embed a video, so I'll see if this works. But the video is fun and make sure to stick around for the very end.
I found this on my good buddy Steve's Scooter Scoop blog.

Cops desperately chase Krispy Kreme truck-

Only after getting it stopped did it occur to them that it might have been stolen...

A new reader uncloaks!

Actually, I don't know if this WE visitor is a new reader or a long-time, regular visitor. But I do know that somebody I know, in a general sort of way, has recently revealed themselves in the comments of a prior post. That's pretty interesting. I'm especially curious how this person happened to become a visitor to this humble blog though I'm not going to ask, since that seemed to be a prime method of driving visitors away when I tried it in the past. So, welcome, new reader and keep coming back. There's occasionally a little something of interest going on here and I try to make things interesting to more folks than just me. I can't say how successful I am at that effort but I try.

I do owe everyone several movie reviews and maybe I can crank those out this week. Also, a final extended chapter from our trip last month and some pictures so the story can be saved for all time, wrapped up in these puny electrons.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Its snowing like it means to get serious about winter today. Its about dang time! Only a few of the ski resorts are open and only those that have snowmaking equipment. but so far, the pretty, powdery white stuff has been in really short supply around here and it looks really nice to see it out my front window this morning.

And hopefully in a few days, it will be ski season for me, back up at Powder Mountain Ski Resort. I've been hired to be a ticket checker again this year but with new management, (and there are new owners too), comes changes and so I'll be working differently than in past years. This year, it will be every Saturday, not every other one, which almost makes it sound much more like a real job. Additionally, ticket checkers are no longer "volunteers" and paid with passes that we were allowed to give away or sell. This year, I'll be on-the-clock and a paid employee. I just hope I make enough money to cover my gas bill for the truck and the chocolates that I buy and give away to people in the lift line.

But at least it looks like wintertime outside my window this morning and its pretty. I've got to do some errands this morning then I'll be playing with my guitars if my index finger will let me. And tonight's a hockey game!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This is very interesting-

My Friend Renee and I are talking again. Just out of the blue, on Sunday evening and after finishing my outside Christmas lighting decorations, I gave her a call. Its been many months since we last spoke. But she answered her phone and didn't hang up on me once she found out it was me, so we talked for a bit.

Things are pretty good with her, in spite of a pending b-day that she doesn't want to talk about and apparently, things are good between us too. She did admit that she's a Glock owner and everybody knows I lean towards John Moses Browning's designs for my handguns, but otherwise we have apparently resolved our differences.

That's very cool news.

John Browning Day- by Mike S. Adams

Here is an idea that I can really get behind- replace Martin Luther King Day in January with John Moses Browning Day. Since everybody knows my feelings about JMB and his inventions, creations and hard work ethic, it shouldn't be a surprise that I think replacing Martin Luther King with a man whose gun designs saved thousands or millions of lives during two World Wars is a good idea. Anyway, click the link and read the whole thing. Its good.
Today’s “civil rights” movement has become a disgrace largely because it is based on the idea that people are entitled to things they did not earn through the fruits of their own labor. Instead, people are given things on the basis of what their ancestors suffered – all coming from those who did nothing wrong on the basis of what their ancestors did wrong.

But John Browning was a different kind of man. He refused to take anything he did not earn. He even refused an honorary degree from a university on the basis of that principle. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson could learn a lot from a man who practices what he preaches.

...I believe that John Browning’s greatest achievement is the example he set for all Americans with his work input not his work output. Indeed, he showed us that we can only be set free through hard work, a love of country over self, and a refusal to take credit for the achievements of others.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I look like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer!

Except that my red nose is stuck on the end of my left index finger. I've a dandy red bandage keeping my 3 new stitches clean after a little trip to the Emergency Room yesterday. And boy- is typing on this keybaord tough without my index finger!

It all started with another little mod to Sleek Black Beauty... I bought some of that chrome plastic, split wire cover to put over the control cables on the handlebars- just a little bit of bling to shiny things up a little bit. And on the first piece, when it was time to cut it to length, my index finger snuck in behind the plastic just as my swiss army knife sliced through. Youch!

It cut a nasty little flap in the side of my fingertip, just next to my fingernail... Of course I didn't want to stop what I was doing so I wrapped it with a paper shop towel and continued to work. Thirty minutes later it was still bleeding and dripping blood on everything so I went to get the BSU's assistance with a bandage. She took one look and declared that I needed stitches so off we went to the local ER. The folks there hooked me up with stitches and this reindeer nose of a bandage in pretty short order and I've been just Partially Mission Capable ever since.

I did manage to get the old stick-on Christmas light hangers off the house and today I need to put up lights and drag out the nativity set for the front yard. Just as soon as it gets above 35 degrees or so!

Friday, November 23, 2007

If you're out shopping for my Christmas present today-

I'd like a pair of these mirrors for Sleek Black Beauty. I think these would be a stylish replacement for the stockers that Noah called "boring" the first time he saw the scoot.

Oh, hey,

Happy birthday Dad!

Time to support our 2nd Amendment freedoms!

As anyone that might have turned on a television set in the past week no doubt knows already, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has agreed to consider a case involving the rights of citizens of the District of Columbia to own firearms. More importantly than that distinct decision will be the greater scoped issue of what exactly does the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution mean as related to states rights or individual rights.
"A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
As you might imagine, gun rights advocates and gun ban control advocates are in a complete flutter around the internet, predicting either complete freedom from any gun restrictions or complete breakdown in law and order should individual rights win the day. Every gun blog and forum is burning up the bandwidth with experts of all stripes postulating on what will happen when SCOTUS makes a decision. You can find some links to get you started at Sailor Curt's place to understand the significance of the possibilities.

You can read a couple of editorials on the subject, first by the Attorney General of the state of Michigan and by law professor Glenn Reynolds. Professor Reynolds makes the point that no matter how SCOTUS decides, this is an election year upcoming and the politicians that are running for office better be prepared to debate, discuss and support their views on this subject or suffer for it.

My own humble opinion? I think it is time, finally, for this determination of states rights vs. individual rights is finally settled at the highest level. I think it has been too long since the Supreme Court considered this issue and it is time to get it figured out. Most of the states have resolved the question in favor of the individual and the 2nd Amendment is the only one of our specified rights in the Bill of Rights that anyone tries to bend to a state's right as opposed to an individuals right. Imagine if we decided that only the states had the 1st Amendment freedom of speech, you might not agree with going that direction, now would you? Ditto for the 2nd Amendment. I think our country has to stop being embarrassed by this part of our Constitution that makes our country unique among all the others. There is a terrific essay, The Embarrassing Second Amendment by Samuel Levinson that really spells this out. I predict that when SCOTUS rules, it will be in favor of us, individual United States citizens.

And, I'm putting my money where my mouth is, (or my electrons in this case) and I am sending money to support
Academics for the Second Amendment, a group of academics that are writing an amicus brief in support of the individual's right in the upcoming SCOTUS case. If you value your individual freedoms and believe that the 2nd Amendment gives you the right to keep and bear arms, then I'd ask you to support their efforst with some cash as well.

Finally, I've added a new link to my blogroll today, this one-Gun Cite. It a page of links that will take hours to read and digest but its a great place to begin if you want to understand why this upcoming case is so important.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ya gotta watch this!

Dad, you're just going to have to find a high speed connection to watch this video. Its Sports Acrobatics like I've never seen before. Really awesome physical skills.

Sent to me by my buddy Chris.

This article just blows my mind! GMAFB!

There is so many ways to snark at this dumbass that it just about defies my ability to communicate at all. But based upon his misplaced sense of entitlement for his special needs to avoid being discriminated against in business and on the street and when applying for jobs, I'll bet he votes Democrat.

Life is hard. Its harder when you're stupid.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Interesting email conversation about guns

I started out by emailing the editor of Guns & Ammo magazine this past weekend-
On 11/18/07 11:41 AM, "Nate" wrote:

Gents, please allow me to introduce your writers to an American gun manufacturer that apparently slipped under their awareness levels. I'm referring to Kel-Tec CNC Industries of Cocoa Beach FL. Through a twist of delivery schedules and vacation days, I have 4 G&A issues in front of me and in three of them, writers seemed unaware of Kel-Tec handguns as comparable to the tested guns.

Patrick Sweeney tested the PPS Wather and called it, "Far ahead of other pistols" in relationship to its thickness, neglecting the dimensions of the PF-9 which is not only smaller, (.88" thick) but smaller in every dimension than the new, expensive pistol from Germany he tested. Sweeney also swoons over the H&K P30 in the October issue, seemingly unaware of the P-11 that matches the wundergun's capabilities in a lighter, DAO capability, save 4 rounds of ammo. And, since S&W magazines fit the P-11, adding more rounds though extended magazines is a no-brainer. Finally, Richard Venola rolls out some top of the line, (ie, expensive) handguns for his sister to test only to discover that the vaunted and desireable PPK, shooting the 380 auto round is design limited to folks with strong enough hands to work the slide. He also says "no design is slipperier than a PPK", apparently unaware of the P3AT from Kel-Tec. Its a locked breach design, so its much easier to operate the slide, is thinner and lighter than the PPK and retail sells for probably half the Walther's price.

Which leads me to the letter from David Haydell in the November issue, "Remember Joe Sixpack." I'm with David and I would like to see responsible reporting on guns that he and I can afford. It doesn't hurt my feelings to see articles written about guns built in this country either. I have no connection to Kel-tec except that I own several of their guns that I carry, shoot and enjoy. I think its time that G&A and their writers acknowledge the fine guns produced by this company and let up on the German wundergun fetish that seems so misplaced.

Nate McCord, Ogden Utah

Today, I received a response-
Dear Nate:

Kel-Tec indeed builds some very innovative and practical designs. G&A has nothing against them.

A lot of this industry is personality driven. I’ve tried to make contact with Kel-Tec several times and it’s like pulling teeth. One time I talked to the folks at their booth at the SHOT show and the guys basically treated me like a spot on a hotel pillow. At the following SHOT show they were displaying their prototype bullpup FAL. I was one of a bunch of interested passers-by. The Kel-Tec rep told us the price and everyone reacted with shock and the rep then rudely dismissed us. It doesn’t take too much of this attitude and you just walk away shaking your head.

But based on your letter here, I’ll give it another shot.

All the best,

Richard Venola
Editor, G&A
Note that it was the editor that I took to task about the PPK and didn't even realize it. Doh! Anyway, that was an interesting an polite response and it will be interesting to see if anything comes from it. I also sent both the original email and Richard's response off to Kel-Tec. I wonder if they might have anything to say about his prior meetings with Kel-Tec staff.

Morphous Taillight mods

Well I've finally completed the most recent mods to the Morphous. I've changed the turn signals in the rear into turn signals and taillights. I began by adding new bulb pigtails with dual element bulb connections, the stock pigtails for the front turn signals on my scoot into the rear wiring harness.

I bought LED bulbs from Superbright and the load resistors from Custom Dynamics and installed the resistors under the left side cover.

I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. Its really bright in the back now and I hope it will help keep the inattentive SUV drivers off my butt in traffic. What do you think of these pics? As always, click the thumbnails to see the full size pictures.

Monday, November 19, 2007

National Ammo Day? Today?

Sheesh! I got busy and missed it! I hope there's some ammo left on the shelves for me tomorrow.

I stopped on the way home to see Kenny and deliver the card from everyone in the squadron and to meet his mom and hear the story of the escape of the naughty dog and his recovery. Then I stopped and walked around a pond in town that I didn't know existed until I read about it being freshly stocked with fish just last week. Its just where Google Earth showed it to be and it looks like a great place to drown a worm now and then when there's just a few minutes to spend.

So I missed National Ammo Day. I will remedy that tomorrow...

Moved my space again-

That's the bad news. I had to move cubicles this morning and I have to give up my window seat. So if you come to visit me at the back of the building, I'm not there. I'm in a 4-seater cube up close to the front office.

The good news? I did NOT have to move into the cubicle and sit next to that human Slinky person I was complaining about just last week! That person thought I was moving in there, and I let her think that I was moving in because I knew that she was put out that she had cleaned out the spot for me. But Harry Callahan had a motto to remember about circumstances like that one and I pulled the necessary strings to get a much more desirable working space. I also took the opportunity to set myself up facing the cubicle entrance instead of having my back to the entrance. I've grown really tired on people walking up to me without a second's notice that they are behind me.

The computer and phone are hooked up, now its just a matter of moving all my other files and stuff.

The difference between men and women

Let's say a guy named Fred is attracted to a woman named Martha. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else. And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Martha, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"

And then, there is silence in the car.

To Martha, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Fred is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Martha is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily towards mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Fred is thinking: that means it was...let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means...lemme check the odometer...Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Martha is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed - even before I sensed it - that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

And Fred is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say; it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Martha is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.

And Fred is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 6O-day warranty... .scum balls.

And Martha is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Fred is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their...

"Fred," Martha says aloud.
"What?" says Fred, startled.

"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have...oh dear, I feel so..."(She breaks down, sobbing.)

"What?" says Fred.

"I'm such a fool," Martha sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."

"There's no horse?" says Fred.
"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Martha says.

"No!" says Fred, glad to finally know the correct answer.
"It's just's that I...I need some time," Martha says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Fred, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

"Yes," he says. (Martha, deeply moved, touches his hand.) "Oh, Fred, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" says Fred.

"That way about time," says Martha.

"Oh," says Fred. "Yes." (Martha turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

"Thank you, Fred," she says.

"Thank you," says Fred.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Fred gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a college basketball game between two South Dakota junior colleges that he has never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it.

The next day Martha will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.

Meanwhile, Fred, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Martha's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: "Norm, did Martha ever own a horse?"

And that's the difference between men and women.

Maybe owlgore's right after all...

Perhaps there is something to this Global Warming business after all. What other possible explanation could there be for me raking the leaves out of my backyard yesterday in a t-shirt instead of being on the slopes skiing? No kidding, it was 68 degrees in my yard yesterday and I really did fill 2, ninety gallon trash barrels with leaves from the yard.

Noah spent the weekend at home, looking for some home cooked meals and financial assistance with a replacement windshield for his Tracker, Lumpy. The windshield took a stone on one of the trips to Logan while I was moving his stuff up there and had spread far too badly to pass inspection. And, since he still needs to pay for an exhaust system before the end of the month to get it inspected, I went ahead and bought him the windshield.

Noah and a couple neighbors did help get the camper moved back behind the carport, freeing up parking space out front for the (hopefully) upcoming snow season. The camper's too big for me to move by myself and maneuvering the narrow gaps connected to the truck doesn't work either. So it was nice to get the camper moved with some manpower. Now I just need to buy a new tarp to cover it as the old one was ruined when we pulled it out.

Colder temps and rain predicted for later this week but nothing big enough to get the snow flying and the ski resorts open in the foreseeable future. What's up with that? It ski season dammitall!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pictures from my past-

Yesterday's mail produced a small packet from my mom, report cards mostly, (don't ask), some photos and a newspaper clipping. I'm shaaring them here for your perusal and enjoyment.

First, a picture of my Brother Tim and I at Scout camp. Tim's always been a bit afraid of heights which may explain why I'm pushing on him to get over the obstacle.

Or, Dad just staged the picture to get us both in one shot. I can't remember.

Next, a picture of a most handsome young man, all dressed up and heading out somewhere. The picture's not dated and I have no idea when or where this picture was taken. But I was handsome and debonair...

Finally, a newspaper clipping that captured a scene from so long ago that I had for completely forgotten about it. I'm pretty certain I sent it to my Mom so she could see the attractive woman that I had recently begun dating- and was head-over-heels in love with.

Its a lousy picture I know, but you might recognize this woman from some of my more recent photos-

I still think she is beautiful!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Isn't it about time I talked about our cruise?

I suppose it is. I've been home now more than a week and I still haven't taken the time to write my thoughts about our cruise and Florida vacation. I've been busy with yard work chores and window installations, curtain hangings and the (still) paying job, so I just haven't been able to write about the prior weeks. Sorry. But- on with the tale!

First of all, everything good about going on a cruise that I had heard from my friends and co-workers is true. Cruising is relaxing, fun, romantic and exciting, all wrapped up in 1 huge ship. Up front I'll tell you that we had a great time throughout our cruise in spite of getting tossed around by Tropical Storm Noel both traveling out to the Caribbean and returning towards Miami. We were with friends- Kenny and his spouse Susie and Mike and Sandy, Kenny's neighbors for 10 years and now living in Mississippi, and family too, as it turned out, since my Dad surprised me by being on the ship with his wife Carol without telling me his plans.

Having Dad and Carol along on the trip turned into a real treat. Dad of course had to scramble my brain pretty thoroughly by calling my cell phone while I was having lunch with the rest of our crowd, just minutes after coming aboard ship. He was asking me all these questions- What was I doing, What restaurant was I eating in? What deck was the restaurant on? Heck, I had just arrived, I didn't know any thing yet! But I was out by the elevators so I could hear him on the phone and he was saying that he couldn't see me… What? Are there hidden cameras someplace? Finally I went through the doors to the back swimming pool and there he was, standing there talking to me on his cell phone! After I got my jaw picked up off the deck, I gave him a big hug and found out the rest of the story. He and Carol were coming along on the trip!

Once I took him inside and introduced him to the rest of our group, I discovered that both my dessert and my coffee had been pilfered during my absence! Those rats!

Here are some things nobody ever told me about going on a cruise-
If you want to be able to stay in touch with the other members of your group, pack some of those little walkie-talkies that everybody seems to have. You probably won't spend much time next to your cabin phone, your cell phone may or may not work, and it’s a big ship with lots of places to get lost. So pack your 2-way radios.

There are a hundred opportunities to get your picture taken and to purchase the results. Getting on the ship, they take your picture. At every landfall when you get off the ship, they will take your picture. Photographers come around to each table during dinner and take your picture. After dinner on the main decks near the shops and casino, there are photographers set up with a plethora of photo backgrounds, casual and formal where you can have portraits taken. Want your picture taken with the Carnival ship and palm trees in the background? Easy. A romantic picture with a piano and ivy and marble columns? Sure. Throughout the day, every day, there are photogs wandering about posing passengers with the Carnival mascot or a lifesaving float ring with the ship's name on it. The next day, all those pictures are on display in the photo gallery for you to peruse and purchase if you like them. We bought several and even purchased some for our group as I was pretty certain that they wouldn't buy them of their own accord. I just never knew there were so many opportunities for getting your picture taken.

We went swimming in the most beautiful water when the ship stopped in Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas on the first shore excursion. The water was warm and blue and had the most marvelous lavender sparkle on the top and silver and black fish flashing through as we swam and soaked. It was terrific and justified the entire trip.

Kenny set it up with the Maitre de so that all 8 of us would have dinner together and that worked out very nicely. Dinners were delicious, a little bit extravagant and our waiters were terrific; enthusiastic, friendly and efficient with their service. It was great fun to select a delicious appetizer, salad and main course from the menu and even if I had some other appetizer, I had a shrimp cocktail with every dinner. One night I had 2 shrimp cocktails, just because the first one tasted like another! Each night the wait staff for the entire dining room would entertain with singing and dancing at the end of the meal. Their antics were quite funny and very entertaining.

It didn't take very long to get into the rhythm of cruising. Days started with communal breakfasts either in the buffet of the dining room, then moved to either a trip ashore or just a day of sailing. The tropical storm really did rock the boat for several hours sending Sunday and some of the other women to the cabins to rest. Dad and I spent the time visiting and watching the waves. We went ashore in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands for one day, Dad & I in the morning to do a little browsing and shopping then after lunch Sunday & I went ashore, first to visit the butterfly farm

and then to ride the Paradise Point tram to the highest point on the island. From the top we had a terrific view of the entire island and we rested under an umbrella with Bailey's Bushwhacker frozen drinks to listen to the 1-man reggae band until it was time to head back to the ship for dinner. I could have easily spent more time at the butterfly farm as it was a really beautiful place to spend a couple hours.

Evenings were generally spent as a group. After dinner we would meet up in the Rio Lounge, a big theater at the front of the ship where the shows take place. The shows were a real treat and all of them were great fun. Usually after the show most of us would head of to go bar hopping, usually ending up in the karaoke bar to watch the passengers entertaining each other. Most nights there was also a "late" show for adults only, either a stand-up comic or a magician act that could perform without offending anybody's more gentle sensibilities. Sunday and I generally stayed up late for these shows before returning to our cabin to see the towel origami art

that our steward had left behind and to relax on the balcony

before turning in on a wonderfully comfy bed.

[NOTE: I'm going to make this post into multiple parts and put them up over the weekend. There are a bunch of pictures at my Photobucket page but I can't link to them individually from the job so I'll do that from home. More cruise tales to come over the weekend so keep checking in.]

Thursday, November 15, 2007

National Ammo Day is next week!

Wow, its almost National Ammo Day again! I've been so busy that this critical holiday has almost arrived without my realizing it. But I'm aware now, so you should be too! Its Monday the 19th and all law abiding citizens are encouraged to go empty your favorite ammo store's shelves. Or at least buy 100 rounds of your favorite ammo. I think I need a couple hundred more rounds of 45ACP. Maybe Kenny will feel well enough to leave the house for an ammo buying trip after I get off work.

Anyway, check out the link to National Ammo Day HQ-

If I could, I be buying one of these sale guns to celebrate but I think I'm going to have to pass up this sale. Too bad.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Civil Servants and Slinkies

Everybody knows why some people- not all people, mind you, and not all civil servants, but some civil servants share a striking similarity to the kid's spring toy Slinky, right?

The answer of course is that they both aren't good for anything, don't do any work but they make you laugh after you push them down the stairs.

I'm dealing with one of those persons today and it is making me very cranky… This person is one of those career civil servants that has been repeatedly promoted to get them moved out of their previous work area. This person has sadly now topped out, won't ever get promoted again, and can't be bothered to move 1 inch outside their detailed work requirements, no matter how critical the need might be.

Did I mention I'm pretty cranky today? My job is on the line here and this person won't lift a finger to act on an issue directly related to their area of responsibility! Too bad this is just a one story building with no stairs...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Friends in the hospital-

Boy do I hate that! Yes I do. Friend Kenny came straight back from our cruise and was in the hospital just two days later, first to have a blood clot trap of some kind installed and then his left knee was replaced last Tuesday. He came home to recoup for a few days and today had his other knee replaced! I've been talking to him most every day and with the help of the prescription pain meds, he has been surviving ok. Tonight he's pretty woozy after surgery today but everything went well. He thinks he will be there a couple days this time while the Docs work out a rehab regimine for him. I may go visit him tomorrow night.

But I have another friend, Ben, from work who has been in the hospital nearly 3 weeks now after suffering 2 heart attacks on a Friday evening, one driving home and the second later in the evening. His wife found him slumped in his recliner not breathing and clled the paramedics who were able to shock him back to life and drag him to the hospital.

Ben was on life support for a week and the prognosis seemed exceptionally grim. So grim in fact that they took him off the ventilator and moved him into hospice care. For a week he struggled up there without being treated for his pneumonia or pancreatitus and that's how I saw him when I visited before our trip. I was pretty certain I was saying goodbye to a good friend and expected that his funeral would occur while we were away.

But he started getting better, without any intervention and the Docs finally decided to get busy and to try to save his life. The reports from our commander continued to say that Ben was improving, recognizing folks that visited and being able to converse with visitors.

Today I had to stop at the hospital to pick up some records for myself and I decided I better go see the guy while I was there. Ben was resting but opened his eyes when I knocked onhis door and recognized me when I got close enough for him to see me without his glasses. When I shook his hand he grabbed on and didn't want to let go! We had a good visit for several minutes. I asked Ben if he would like some music to listen to if I brought him my iPod and he said he would really like that. So tonight I've added 6 new albums that I purchased on my way home, 1 Eric Clapton playing Robert Johnson tunes, called Me and Mr. Johnson, a 3 CD set of Roy Orbison called Triple Treasures and a 2 CD set called The Electric Joe Satriani. Tomorrow I'll go back and drop off my iPod, the AC power cable and some headphones so Ben can listen as much as he likes while he recovers.

You might say a prayer for both of these guys, if that's your thing because they both have a long way to go for recovery to strength and health.

Monday, November 12, 2007

My but its noisy in here today!

And cold too!

Finally. Our new, high-tech, double-paned, leak free windows are being installed. Right now. There's 3 guys, 2 that know what they are doing and 1 trainee. There's 13 windows to do, 3 done so far and it looks like it might be a long day for all of us.

Our house is as old as me and still had the original aluminum framed, single pane, drafty windows in it. So a few weeks ago we decided to pony up the big bucks and upgrade. And after today, when the installers are gone, I'm going to have to sand and repaint some, maybe all the window boxes.

But we're going to be warm!

UPDATE: With the exception of the 1 window that was broken during transit from the factory and the missing window that was left off the order, the windows are all installed and look terrific. There is one that was broken and will be warranteed out later this week and the missed window has already been ordered so it will be here in another week.

I took pictures-

Anyway, these windows seem mighty nice and the guys doing the installation really worked hard all day.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Back to the salt mines!

That's right, our warm weather, surf and cruise vacation ended Wednesday with our return to Utah. And Thursday I was right back in the thick of things on the job. Today promises yard cleanup tasks as I try to get all the tree leaves picked up and a hockey game later tonight.

Tomorrow is preparation day for the the window installations on Monday, so I have to relocate the cable tv connection and take down the old plastic storm window tracks. Somwwhere in here I'll try to get some real blogging accomplished with lots more pictures from our very wonderful trip.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Vaa Caa Shun Continues!

Here's a link to just a few of the pictures from our trip. We are having too much fun and the interweb connections are too funky to relibly post more or to upload more pictures.

Catching, cleaning and eating fish was just part of today's adventures. Tomorrow, more fishing and some shooting before relocating down to my Dad's house.

Say a prayer for Kenny, he's having his first knee surgery tomorrow too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Vaa Caa Shun!

That's right, I'm still cruising! Tied up today, for a few more minutes in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where I was unsuccessful finding a scooter store to buy the parts that I thought I might buy to save shipping costs. But we did take a bus trip, see the old fort and have had a little walk around.

Internet connectivity is sucking a huge hole right now, so I'm not staying online much more. I have lots of pictures but there is no uploading them from the boat so they will come later.

The great news is that we continue to have a wonderful time in spite of being tossed around for most of an entire day and night by Tropical Storm Noel. We are the 6th deck, high above the water but the spray was coming onto our balcony for most of that day. We have been eating great, seeing some exciting shows and drinking entirely too much alcohol.

Which is exactly as it should be... So, I am off to find the rum drink special of the day and then rest up before dinner and the Halloween festivites for tonight. We are going to be doing this cruise thing again in the future, I promise you that!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm satarting to dig this Carnival Cruise thing...

Oh yeah. With the exception of the 75 cent per minute internet access and the streange keyboard that make me spend more time tu\ypin\ than I might normally, this cruise thing is really sweet. Today the BSU & I met Kenny & Mike & their spouses just after breakfast, sailed over to Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas with them, then split up and the spouse and I went swimming in the most beautiful water ever. Tonight we will be meeting them for dinner.

Joining us at a table for 8 will be my Dad and his wife Carol! That's right, my Dad surprised me yesterday, just after we checked in, by meeting me outside the dining room! What a hoot! I was completely surprised. Too much fun. Kennyt has fixed the dining room arrangements for all of us to share a dinner table so that will be fun.

Geez I hate this ikeyboard!

Anyway, the Carnival Triumph is a terrific ship and I have had a most wonderful exploratory walk around this afternoon after returning from the island. There is gambling and shopping and swimming pools and 9 holes of miniature golf, which I am challenging my dinner mates to after dinner tonight.

I am enjoying this vacation already! Tim, you should have cast your fears aside and come along. This is terrific! Signing off now because this post has already cost me 10 bucks!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cruising- Made it to MIami-

And without too much difficulty, overall. I might have been just a little testy with the hotle desk clert at 11:30 last night when they informed me that the free shuttle bus quit at 11. But otherwise the flights and connections were mostly uneventful and the only two people I wanted to choke were the drunk, yakky girls in front of on the flighr from Atlanta to Miami.

Mike's here in the lobby, but no sign of Kenny or spouses yet. I need another cup of coffee. Later, transfers to the seaport and on to the Triumph!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Passports? Check. Packed? Just about

Just one more night in my recliner before heading out on the big vacation cruise! I've go the passports out, the boarding passes printed, a package to mail to my Dad ready and almost all my packing done. I still have to put together a shave kit and locate a tie or two and get my sport coat in the suitcase, but otherwise, I'm done.

I'm embarrased to say it but it appears that I am taking 4 sets of footwear, not counting the pair I will be wearing to travel in. Guys shouldn't have that many pairs of footwear! But I do, and I'm packing all the shoes I own except the desert brown combat boots I wear when I go shooting.

Tomorrow night will be filled up with running around. I need a new belt. I also need to vote early since we will be cruising on election day. I have some pictures I want to get printed on photo paper to give to my family. I might even buy another new digital camera because I just don't love the one we have now.

All that would be much easier if I didn't have a job interview tomorrow... Yup, I'm interviewing for another exciting possibility in the afternon. But I'll get around with everything after that takes place. Wish me luck!

I took a picture of the BSU's new jewelry tonight at her request because all her sisters insisted on seeing it. So, I'll share the picture-

Pretty, isn't it?

Anyway, its bed time and the Tonight Show's a rerun.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weekend update-

The weatherguessers had predicted early in the week that Friday was going to be the last day of warm weather in a few days and this time they got it right. Friday it was 70 degrees, on Saturday it was 40 degrees, raining and snowing all day. Today, though dry, the temperature only reached into the 40s.

Why was the weather so important? Well I had Loc's truck in my carport with its transmission on the ground, waiting for us to install a new clutch. And, we chose to do it on Friday, based upon the weather. We made a good choice. The new transmission jack was a huge improvement to the effort and after I got the transmission strapped down securely, almost made the alignment and installation automatic. Literally, from the time we rolled the transmission under the truck until we had it bolted to the engine took no more than 15 minutes! It went in so easily I thought I might have left the clutch plate out, but we just got it right and the transmission rolled into place like it wanted to be put back into place.

Bolting all the other parts back on the truck took up most of the afternoon but we were done by 3:30 with the tools put away and the truck ran perfectly when we started it up. I think Loc was surprised at the truck's performance with the new clutch working as its uspposed to.

But, we got it done. And done in time for me to get a good shower before my anniversary dinner with my lovely spouse. I made reservations at Rickenbacker's, a ritzy new restaurant out at the airport. I had flowers waiting for her on our table, we had a view of the mountains as the sun set and we had a terrific dinner. The food was just wonderful, expertly presented and tasty to perfection. I had a delmonico steak that could almost be cut with a feather that was juicy and so delicious it could only have come from a very contented cow.

The bride is so pleased with her new ruby & diamond ring, (sorry, no pictures yet) but the framed picture of our wedding day that I surprised her with made her cry, just a litttle bit. It was the same picture from Friday's post that I had enlarged and then put into a frame to compliment it for our bedroom. She wasn't expecting that little present and I was really pleased that she liked it like she does. It put a nice touch on the entire dinner. Jimmy's Flowers did a terrific job on a lovely bouquet for her too. It was huge, beautiful and pleased her as a much as any flowers I have ever purchased for her.

All in all, it was a lovely and romantic anniversary dinner night out.

Today I spent half the day getting my kerosene heater tuned up for fighting the cold temperatures in my workshop. I tried to buy a new wick but apparently my heater is old enought that nobody stocks the right size. So, I ended up trimming a bit and cleaning it some and reinstalling it. The heater seems prepared now to do its part in keeping me warm while I'm in the shop this winter.

So that's what's been happening with us this weekend. We did buy a few groceries this afternoon and yesterday we saw The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Its a western movie- duh, its got Jesse James but its not the typical western. Its a rather complex tale of the story of these two men and how their paths and stars crossed. Some of the tale gets a little bogged down in the middle as some of the minor characters tales get told (and they get shot), but otherwise it was a pretty darn good movie. The period clothes, houses and firearms are interesting and add to a really pretty well told story.

This week, 2 physical therapy appointments and plenty of work at the job before taking off for Florida and the Caribbean. I can hardly wait!

Getting pretty close to cruise time...

And I must admit I'm getting excited. Or anxious, or nervous, or something. I know lots of people do it, all the time, I even know people that have done it before. But I haven't done it before, so, I'm a little nervous.

Time to get packing I guess. There's lots of things to get ready and just a few nights to pull everything together. The cats are staying home and getting fed by the neighbor while the dog is going to doggy sleep-over camp at a local vet. My buddy Loc has promised to take us to the airport and pick us up when we get home.

The spouse still has clothes to figure out, new clothes that she mail-ordered and clothes sent by a couple sisters. She's worried about having big enough suitcases, (she does) and having enough outfits to wear- which she does. Me, I've got a rolling duffel bag if I need to make more room but I think the packing effort for me won't be too much trouble. I'll throw in about everything I have, some nice clothes for the evenings and call it good.

But its getting pretty close to reality time!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What a long, strange trip its been-

Its our 25th anniversary on Friday. My BSU, her name is Sunday, for those of you following along at home, made me the happiest man in the world, for the first time on September 19, 1982. That's the day we got married for the first time, on Santa Rosa Sound, in Mary Ester Florida. That's one of our wedding pictures from that lovely day on the beach.

Not every day since that day has been a day on the beach. We even had a time when we weren't married, back in 1992. But we fixed that in pretty short order and remarried on October 19, her birthday.

I love this woman. Our life together has been is a miracle. Its been a challenge of almost untellable stories of disasters, self-inflicted and otherwise, exciting moments of laughter, passion and parental angst. We've raised 2 good boys, seen some interesting parts of the world, fought, made up, sometimes fought some more. We have survived long separations due to military obligations, infidelity and drowned firearms. In spite of everything, we are deeply in love.

She is a terrific woman and I truly love her. I can't imagine my life without her and I'm glad to have found her and to have spent most of my life with her. She really has made everything worthwhile.

We have a nice dinner celebration planned for tomorrow night. I've bought her a ruby and diamond ring that she asked for and a framed enlargement of that same photo above. There will be flowers waiting for her at the restaurant. And next week, we will be leaving on our cruise to the Caribbean. I'm planning on celebrating my love with this sweetheart and showing her just how much I love her.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Missing link buttons have gone AWOL

From where I sit, it seems that my link buttons for some of the links over there on the right have gone AWOL in the past day or two. Is anybody else noticing the same thing or is it just me? I kind of remember an email announcement from Comcast a few weeks back saying something about new size limits for storage for the websites and such but I didn't pay it much attention.

I'm pretty certain that I uploaded those button pictures to my Comcast storage area several years ago. It was always a PITA to access that storage and I'm certain that I have no idea how to access that storage nowadays.

Maybe, if I'm lucky, the original pictures are still sitting on one of a couple hard drives around here and maybe I can find them and upload them to my Photobucket account and restore the links. In the mean time, we'll all have to suffer. Sorry.

I love Harbor Freight!

Their not so light-speed fast computer systems and less than brilliant staff always find ways to save me money. What a treat!

After struggling last weekend with the transmission adapter that fits on my floor jack, which also came from Harbor Freight a couple clutch changes ago, I decided that my current configuration just wasn't acceptable. The thing is, the adapter that enables the securing of a heavy and ungainly transmission on a typical floor jack, only fits one way. And that way means that the wheels of the floor jack are sideways to the vehicle making rolling the loaded jack and transmission combination away from the engine just about impossible. Only one end of the jack has swiveling wheels, the other two wheels are on a single axle and only roll forward and back, which is side-to-side in relation to the truck. Getting the transmission down on Loc's truck on Saturday required 3 jacks, 1 guy operating 2 jacks, a 2nd guy, Kenny, running the 3rd jack and a chunk of 4X4 lumber and a heavy hammer to move the transmission/jack assembly and me to shake, wobble and clear the transmission with the firewall and exhaust system. It was a lot of work!

So I decided that a proper transmission jack would be in order to make reinstalling the transmission easier. I looked online and Harbor Freight had this 450 pound capacity jack with a friendly price but its screw operated, not hydraulic. I figured it would work even if it wasn't optimal. And, last night, after clipping a 15% discount coupon out of the flyer that arrived in my mailbox yesterday, I set out to buy a new jack. Sadly, HF was out of stock on that jack which was also on sale- Dang.

They did have in stock this 800 pound capacity jack that was hydraulic and offered more lift and I did have my 15% coupon to take the edge off the $139.95 price tag, so I decided to go ahead and buy it. But when the cashier scanned the code for my new jack, it rang up at just $99.95! Woohoo! She then took 15 bucks off that price for my coupon, refunded the compression tester that I returned and I walked out of there with just an $85 dent on my wallet! Sweet.

I love saving a few bucks at Harbor Freight's expense! The jack looks really good too. It will be much better than that unwieldy contraption I have been using. Which will be good because Loc and I really need to get that job finished on Saturday.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Sweet Black Beauty gets her tats!

So the pinstripes that I ordered from Winners Cycle Graphics finally arrived on Friday. I bought the Style set #4. Today I got the opportunity to install them on my shiny new scoot. I think they look really terrific, what do you think?

The BSU isn't too impressed, either with the new scooter or the pinstripes but she seems glad that I like it. I even took the scoot for an afternoon ride today, up to Snow Basin Ski Resort, around Pineview Reservoir and home over North Ogden Pass.

And I can't wait to see the Google hits I get for that title!

Well at least we found the problem...

Yesterday, as promised, I helped my buddy Loc take the transmission out his truck to replace the clutch, which he suspected was bad. The truck had stopped moving on under its own power and letting out the clutch while the engine idled wouldn't cause the engine to stall.

So, we took it apart. That's no easy task, BTW, since it is a 4WD truck and there's a transfer case stuck onto the transmission making it longer and heavier than a normal transmission. When we finally got everything apart, we discovered this-

That's a clutch plate that has been completely used up, if you've never seen one before. Here's another picture to show you the before and after so that you can see what they are supposed to look like.

We didn't get the job finished yesterday because taking everything apart took much longer than expected and the flywheel still needs to spend a couple hours at the machine shop.

So I guess the job gets finished next weekend...

Friday, October 12, 2007

This guy should get the "Eye for an Eye" treatment

I've missed reporting on this tragedy entirely until now but this story really gets me fired up. Once we get this bastard convicted, I think we ought to show him the same treatment as he did to his wife. Maybe we could give him a sporting chance by turning him loose on the Bonneville Salt Flats and giving him a few minute head start. Then we could take our time running into him with a truck!

"(KSL News) The man accused of running over his wife and leaving her to die will make his first court appearance today.

Sherman Lynch is charged with killing his wife, Patricia Rothermich, earlier this month. She was walking in her neighborhood in Holladay when she was hit from behind by a truck.

Even though Lynch had some past run-ins with law enforcement, Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller says she expects to prosecute the case and not strike a plea deal. "Given the facts of this case, I would not expect any type of plea deal early on in the case. It depends on a lot of factors, but it's our intent to aggressively prosecute this as a domestic violence homicide," she said."

Good! Lock this bastard up forever unless we can get to chase him down with a truck!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

So what am I doing?

My Dad sent me an email taking me to task for not posting anything recently and he wanted to know if everything was ok.

Everything is ok, I've just managed to stay busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger for a few days now. I futzed with the scooter over the weekend, did some yard work getting ready for winter season and watched some movies at home with the spouse.

Work is keeping me hopping as you might have guessed from my last post. This eek I discovered that the 450 brackets that I need for my Taxi Light Relocation modification somehow got turned into 3300+ brackets after the order passed through multiple computer systems and ended up with the organization that actually places the contracts for the item purchase. We got that little 2 million dollar overrun fixed after multiple meetings this week- finally.

This weekend I'm helping my buddy Loc replace the clutch in the Toyota truck he bought recently. The clutch has failed so completely that you can put the transmission in gear, any gear, let the clutch out and the engine won't stall, so it needs to come out. Loc wants to get his hands dirty doing something manly and he's already out about 3000 bucks on other vehicle repairs at his house this month so he wants to do it himself- with my help.

No new jobs pending. I did have an interview last week or the week before that seemed to go well and I think I would like the work if I get called back. We'll see.

I still need to get out to buy some new, clean sneakers for walking around the cruise ship with, sometime this weekend too. After that, its just about time to get packed for the cruise!

If you had been in the meeting I just left-

You would know why I drink more at home during the week than on the weekends.


The good news is that in spite of everything, my big program might have cleared a hurdle today that last week we didn't even know needed to be jumped.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Morphous mods this weekend

Well the weather turned cold and wet- snowy actually this weekend so the Morphous moved into my workshop and scooter mod barn next to the Phantom. I already installed the chrome front spoiler and it spices up the front end nicely.

The next important mod I had planned was to dump the tinny, too quiet horn for a Bad Boy horn. These horns can be a challenge to install due to their size but the Morphous has a perfect spot under the front fender, on the bottom of the glove box. I used a piece of 3/16" phenolic sheet inside the glove box to help carry the weight. Then I mounted the relay on the original horn's stud mount and ran the wires. It took one 10 gauge wire and 20 amp inline fuse routed up to the battery and then everything just plugged in. Here's a picture-

While I had the electronics uncovered upfront I also installed the LED voltmeter on my dash. Right now I can't find a link to the brand I bought but here's a picture-

Finally, I performed a rear fenderectomy and installed a much cleaner license plate holder, complete with LED brake light. Compare this picture of the stock rear look-

with this new look-

Much better huh? I did have to cut off the portion of the rear fender that hangs down from the flat portion that cleans up the back of the bike. A few minutes with a hacksaw and sharp knife cleaned that tight up and there's still a close fitting fender further under the scoot. I have to buy some steel strapp and then I will remount the side reflectors that are missing. They will be visible from the sides but not stick out where they look tacked on as they did before.

Some of the pics turned out pretty dark so I may reaccomplish them when I get the scoot back out of the shop but those were the best my digital camera could manage yesterday.

I really need a ride-on hydraulic lift for this scoot because everything is really low to the ground! I spent all day rolling on my concrete floor and I'm too old for that!

Today I try to get the Phantom put back together and running right so I can consider selling it!