Day by Day cartoon

Monday, April 30, 2007

My weekend? I'm tired!

These 3 day weekends can be tough! Some of the weekend I've already reported on- that was the trip to the Crossroads of the West gunshow with buddy Loc. I was also able to catch up with Bob from Near the Salty City at the show and we had a dandy chat while browsing the tables. I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed with this weekend's show. The number of gun tables was way down and the number of tables of jewelry, dolls and plastic, toy guns was way up. Overall, the gunshow trip was just a 7 out of 10 and partly because the BSU had come along for the trip and a visit to the Home Decorating show next door. My normal habit is a stop at Hooters for some wings and beer after going to the gun show but the spouse refuses to cross the threshold there and so we all had burgers at Crown Burger instead. Crown Burger does make dandy burgers but I can have those any day, Hooters is a just a couple times per year treat that I missed this year.

The spouse thinks that Hooters exploits women because of their costumes. I figure its the men that are being exploited since we are doing the buying, (and spending) partly because of the attractive waitresses and the uniforms. But I'm a guy, what do I know?

Friday, after plunking down more money for Suzuki parts, (see prior post) I got busy with the springtime yard cleanup. I fixed my little yard cart and built a new tailgate for it since the original seems to have vanished. I cleared out a downed aspen tree and got to use my chain saw to cut it into manageable pieces. There were more branches and limbs that need picked up along with the general effluvia of trimmed rose bushes and even last year's christmas tree that all had to be trailered out front and loaded into neighbor Leonard's trailer.

I thought I was going to be so smart with a mixed load of landfill and green dump stuff with the branches and stuff on top since the green dump is closer to home. Except the green dump isn't open on Fridays! Hooverdamm! I ended up leaving the trailer loaded and then Leonard showed up on Sunday and wanted to use his trailer... Leonard's going to go to the dump to empty it out so he can use his trailer for what he wants to haul... Thanks Leonard!

Yesterday was more yard work. There was a volunteer tree that had grown up in one of our raised flowerbeds that had gotten a dozen feet tall or more that needed removing. That task took a couple hours of digging and I never did get to the end of the feeder root. A couple feet down I finally cut it off and filled the hole back in. The rest of the back patio got a good sweeping and pick up and some of the plant life was cut back. This year I think I'm going to revive this area of our yard and so there's lots of work remaining to be done.

In between all of this I scanned a bunch more pictures and loaded them to my Photobucket album. Terry- there's some indoor midget racing pictures uploaded, if you still have a link to my page. There is a much bigger box of photos not yet scanned and I'm going to keep working on them as time and motivation allow. I need to put a link to my pictures over there in my template- but from home, since I can't access Photobucket through my work.

I also spent a few hours playing and practicing with my guitar throughout the weekend. I'm still no musician but the sounds coming off my guitar are more recognizable than they have been in the past and its still really fun.

In between all that there was laundry to do and dishes to wash, groceries and camp chairs to buy, carpet to vacuum and trash bins to be emptied. No wonder I'm tired this morning!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Want to hear something funny?

Son Noah's Tracker quit on him 5 or 6 weeks ago with a bad alternator. The alternator has seemed to be a weak link with that thing and I think we have put 3 alternators on the car over the years. Anyway, Noah didn't want to replace the bad part with another stock part, he wanted to modify it to use a Chevy S10 alternator. There's a couple off-road companies that make an adapter bracket and Noah was convinced he needed this kit.

And of course, he didn't have any money and this time he had enough common sense not to beg me for the cash. He let the car sit for several weeks and learned to ride the bus until this week when he got his tax money back. He called around and finally found out that this kit will fit a Tracker but only with some machine work that he wasn't prepared to accomplish.

And then I recommended that he call Checker Auto Parts or Autozone and just ask them if maybe, possibly, the alternator that he had might still be covered by a warranty...

Sure enough, 3 hours later he is on the road to go camping with a brand new alternator, replaced free of charge, from Checker! The battery that he was whining about turned out to be just fine as well...

Only took him 5 weeks to figure that out...

The motorcycle? Not yet-

Well Loc and I recovered the stranded Suzuki on Thursday afternoon and got it safely home. We had borrowed a trailer but didn't need it as the beast cranked up and ran well enough to get home under its own power. It was running very poorly and a spark plug check showed all of them to be carboned up badly and one of them was wet.

So, I took the carburetors off- again. Of course to do that the gas tank and airbox has to be removed first. After a close inspection and a review of the service manual and the GS Resource forum, I decided that new needle and seat assemblies really were in order.

Those aren't cheap! This 500 dollar motorcycle is really getting expensive- those parts were another 120 bucks... Grr! Anyway, its another few days before those parts arrive and then I'll bet the bike is ready to go. At least I shouldn't have any further carburetor problems.

I've got to get me more of these!

Last week I submitted my post about my beloved 64 Pontiac Gran Prix to Jalopnik for consideration in their daily Blog Hoonage section.

And Jalopnik did me a huge favor and linked to this humble blog. Check out the graph of my visits this week...

I need more of those days!

I think some more automotive posts might be in order...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Stoopid Internet Explorer!

[UPDATE] Now my stoopid Microsoft Outlook Express has gone Tango Uniform! It opened once this morning correctly and now, each time it tries to open, the Bit Defender anti-spam software opens automatically and tries to run the spam training wizard. That process locks up my computer- it always has, and even though the "disable" button is selected for that part of my BD package, I can't figure out how to disable this damm software glitch.

Well after struggling unsuccessfully with Photobucket all day and having no luck, I just decided to give Firefox a try as my browser to see if maybe the problem was mine. And how about that, with Firefox, I've loaded all the pictures that I scanned this afternoon!

I don't know what happened with IE and I didn't change any settings from yesterday but as for now, I'm using Firefox for my browsing.

Thanks, Firefox!

Photobucket problems-

Is anybody else having a problem loading pictures to Photobucket today? Mine seems to be busted...

3 new ammo boxes-

1000 rounds of 7.62 X 39 to keep my SKS fed, 400 rounds of 9mm and 20 new stripper clips for the SKS. That's all I managed to buy at today's gun show.

It was supposed to be 500 rounds of 9mm but 2 boxes apparently fell off the table...

And I couldn't find the H&R rifle I wanted at any price.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Turn signal flasher for an aged Suzuki?

Thirty-five bucks from Bike Bandit! What the hey? That's crazy money!

I already know that a normal, 3 connector automotive flasher doesn't work because I pulled a spare out of one of my many boxes of junk and tried it. I've looked inside the flasher, there's a typical coil and switching contacts and everything seems to be in place. I think it has just deteriorated until there's enough resistance to restrict the voltage flow and prevent the flasher from functioning.

But 35 bucks? Plus shipping? Good grief. I'll wait to call the local Suzuki store and see if they can get it for me for less money or less time before I order up one from Bike Bandit.

Today is going to non-productive

At least as far as my paying job is concerned. Not only do I have to wrangle more manpower to help me with the Suzuki, (see prior post), I have to borrow a trailer and probably a ramp from a 2nd location.

I have a follow-up doctor appointment at 4:20 today, down in Salt Lake, so the bike has to be moved before that. I also have a paperwork package that needs to be completed and submitted before today's end and a I have package that I owe to another scooter owner that needs to get to the FedEx dropoff.

I may be at my desk this morning, (and only this morning) but I'm probably not going to be focused on the paying gig.

Its alive! No, wait, its not...

That's the Suzuki of course... Hooverdamm! Tonight I put the carburetors back together, after making a fast trip to the motorcycle store to buy a new main jet- to replace the one that twisted off as I tried to install it. Hmph! No matter, I put the carbs together, then put them back on the bike, then the air box, then the gas tank. After supper I bought 3 gallons of fresh gas and dumped it into the tank.

Cross your fingers to see if it runs...

[Make some engine cranking sounds here] Hmm, not starting. Give it a little shot of ether and hurray, its running! Let it warm up in the shop. Everything seems to be good, it idles, revs and sounds pretty good. The turn signal doesn't flash. I knew that but forgot to order one from the Suzuki store.

Anyway, I screw the temporary tag to the back of the bike. Let's get it out of the shop! I backed it out and prepared to take the bike out through the sidewalk and gate beside the house. There's 3 shallow steps going out and a kink in the sidewalk to negotiate. I do it all the time with the scooter and use a 2X8 as a ramp. But the ramp is too short for the bigger (and much heavier) bike and after 3 tries, I can't get out. So, I backed up, struggling with working backwards past the sidewalk kink.

Did I mention the hillside before the sidewalk? And the raised garden? No? Well, there's a hill right there too. And railroad ties that border the garden. I got it stuck. The exhaust pipe was against the railroad ties, I couldn't move backwards and I was on the downhill side of a heavy motorcycle...

I had to lay it down and I couldn't get it back up by myself. I had to get the neighbor, Roger to come and assist. And with his help we got it back on its wheels and down the hill. Now its flooded, dripping that $3 per gallon stuff I just bought into the yard.

I did get it cranked up, eventually and got it moved out of the backyard through the other gate and into the driveway. It seemed to start up and clear out pretty well and after a few minutes I decided it was time for a real road trip to test it out. I got the helmet and jacket and gloves, fitted up and headed up the street. It did pretty good for the first few neighborhood blocks so I decided to head down the road and really give it a try.

Except it got sick headed down the hill just 1/2 mile from home. I pulled into the Smith's parking lot to fuss with it. It would run, it wouldn't run. It sounded very flooded. Eventually I had to park it next to the building, lock it up and call the BSU to come and get me.


I guess today I'll rope my buddy Loc into helping me go get Jim's trailer and rescuing the bike and getting it home. And then I can start over, figuring out what's wrong with it...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The only ones important enough-

With regards to David Codrea from his blog, The War on Guns, I couldn't help but steal his signature header for this post.

Salt Lake City Employees Banned From Using Cell Phones While Driving
The mayor would like everyone to think about the families who have lost loved ones in car crashes caused by drivers on cell phones. He encourages drivers to pull over when the cell phone rings. He would like this order to apply to everyone; however state law prohibits cities from making those restrictions. Therefore Mayor Anderson is making this a rule for all city employees, except city council members. [emphasis added] He hopes this will set an example. "It's about raising people's consciousness. Visualizing what can happen when you take your eyes off the road for two or three seconds," Anderson says.
Now, Rocky has already proven himself loonier than almost everyone except Dennis Kucinich and has made a (ugly) name for himself by speaking out against our administration and the war in Iraq. He's even due to debate Sean Hannity sometime in the very near future.

But I love his edict directing all city employees to not use their cell phones while driving- except for the special ones- the city council members. I suppose the reasons of distraction from task of driving Salt Lake's busy streets don't apply to those important folks!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Suzuki update-

The good news- the long awaited carburetor pilots jets should finally be ready for pickup at the Suzuki dealer. Since they didn't arrive bfore the weekend, I've been waiting somewhat impatiently. The replacement windshield, hopefully with mounting brackets, from Bike Bandit should also be on my step awaiting my arrival at the palatial Wasted Electrons World Headquarters and guitar studio.

The bad news- the BSU has an optometrist appointment today at 4PM. Then there will be some kind of dinner obligation and after that I have to return Son Noah to Logan, a 90 mile round trip. All this meaning I won't get carburetors rebuilt or reinstalled tonight and the windshield probably won't get installed either.

And its going to be 70 degrees and sunny tomorrow! Hooverdamm I'm getting anxious to make this beast work!

Monday, April 23, 2007

More picture archiving tonight

If you're interested in seeing more pictures from my family's history check out my Photobucket albums. Tonight I've added pictures to the Family album and the Cars and Motorcycles album. My first motorcyle is in there and more pictures of the fun we had with the scooter in the yard and driveway.

Still no midget racing pictures but there are pictures from the kart racing in Greenfield Indiana that we used to go spectate. It was fun stuff, karts racing on a city street and through the park.

Automobile trivia

Here is something you car buffs probably didn't know.

The 3 Goldberg brothers, Norman, Hiram, and Maxwell invented and developed the first automobile air-conditioner.

Didn't know that, did ya?..

On July 17th, 1946, the temperature in Detroit was 97º.

The 3 brothers walked into old man Henry Ford's office and sweet-talked his secretary into telling him that 3 gentlemen were there with the most exciting innovation in the auto industry since the electric starter.

Henry was curious and invited them into his office.

They refused and instead asked that he come out to the parking lot to their car.

They persuaded him to get into the car which was about 130º, turned on the air-conditioner and cooled the car off immediately.

The old man got very excited and invited them back to the office, where he offered them 3 million dollars for the patent.

The brothers refused, saying they would settle for 2 million but they wanted the recognition by having a label "The Goldberg Air-Conditioner" on the dashboard of each car that it was installed in.

Now old man Ford was more than just a little bit Anti-Semitic, and there was no way he was going to put the Goldberg's name on 2 million Ford cars.

They haggled back and forth for about 2 hours and finally agreed on 4 million dollars and that just their first names would be shown.

And so, even today, all Ford air-conditioners show on the controls, the names "Norm, Hi, & Max".

Shamelessly stolen from the Jokes section at The Scoot Dawg Forums. Thanks Charlie!

About that Pontiac in the last post

[UPDATE] To the folks that might have wandered over from the link at Jalopnik's Blog Hoonage post, thanks for the visit. Please come back around often and see what's happeing here at Wasted Electrons. I can't promise hoonage every day but there is usually interesting stuff happening.

Terry asked for more details about that shiny black beauty and I suppose its only fair that I indulge his questions. Its a 64 Gran Prix that I bought after the 62 Oldsmobile F85 that I had been driving threatened to burn oil from the crankcase faster than gasoline from the gas tank. I think I paid $250 for the Pontiac.

It was a pretty dandy car for a teenaged kid to be driving, 389 cubic inches of raw power, power steering and brakes and air conditioning and power windows that all worked as intended. It had a shiny, ribbed metal console between the red vinyl bucket seats and a chrome plated vacuum gauge mounted in front of the central shift control.

Of course I had to modify it. I added a FM stereo, under dash converter so I could keep up with all the new rock and roll being dished out by these radical radio stations. A Lear underdash 8-track tape player went into the car as my financial circumstances improved and later, 2 6"X9" speakers were added to the rear deck. That installation turned into a major challenge as the car manufacturers didn't leave cutouts for speakers that size back then. Much cutting and grinding of steel and cussing from inside the cavernous trunk took place before I got the boomin sounds those big speakers promised.

I had this car at the onset of the first Gulf fuel embargo in 1973 and premium gas jumped up to 55 or 60 cents per gallon. That 4 barrel carburetor's thirst was killing my dating budget! So I scrounged from a buddy a 2 barrel manifold and bought a rebuilt carburetor from the auto parts store where I worked and did the swap in Dad's garage. The fuel mileage didn't improve by very much and I always missed that 4 barrel moan when I took the opportunity to punch it on my way out to pick up my regular girlfriend who conveniently lived out in the country.

The car did play a significant role in my dating life, not the least of which was the fact that the girl who took a liking to me thought I must be pretty rich to have such a big black car. That wasn't true, by a long shot, but she did start dating me and much of our relationship began and flourished in that automobile. Modesty prevents me from being more specific and the woman involved reads this blog but use your imagination and you won't be too far wrong...

Anyway, what happened to it? Eventually it ended up with an electrical charging fault that I couldn't fix with my amateur skills. An uncle of my beloved pestered me to sell him the car in spite of its problems and he took it to a garage operated by one of our regular customers at the auto parts store where I worked. I snuck out one evening and removed the license plates so he couldn't drive it away from the garage after he refused to finsh paying me after getting the bill for the repairs. And he sued me in small claims court. I counter sued. When our day in court arrived, he told the judge that he though I lied, I showed the judge the Bill of Sale and the title, which I had retained and the judge ruled in my favor. I gave the court the title and the uncle was ordered to pay the court to get the title- which he did after he got done being furious. After that the car gave him pretty good service for a number of years. I don't know what happened to it after he was done with it.

So that's the story of the big black Pontiac.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I've been archiving pictures today-

It has rained all day so no yard work got done and after I played guitar until my fingers got good and sore, I decided to break out the box of old pictures and fire up the scanner. An email conversation with Terry earlier this week about the pictures I claimed to have from the indoor quarter-midget racing from my childhood was the incentive for this effort, but Terry, I haven't dug that deep in the photo box yet! I have the pictures, I promise!

I've posted several pictures on my Photobucket album and you can browse a bunch of car pictures, pictures of Brother Tim hot-rodding an Allstate scooter around the yard and a motorcycle or two I've owned over the years. But this is one of my favorite pictures, from Silver Park, in my old home town of Alliance, from November of 1973. That's my baby sister Mel all bundled up in front of the Poncho.

Pretty neat picture, huh?

[UPDATE] I just realized that my prized Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash decal is visible on the rear passenger window.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I got this letter today from Park University

Park University, which I suppose I can proudly claim as my alma mater sent me a letter today. I've been approved for graduation in June. I'll be receiving both mt Bachelors and Associates degree in Logistics Management.

I think I'm in trouble with the university though. The letter said that I was being penalized with a summa cum laude award.

That is a bad thing, right? I mean, I didn't study any foreign languages for this degree so I'm not certain.

Still waiting on Bike Bandit...

Well after two online chats with the service folks at, I still don't have my new windscreen, with hardware this time, in the mail enroute to the Wasted Electrons World Headquarters, Guitar Studio and Cycle Shop. I do have a backorder listed on my account history, that's been there 2 days already but no shipment. I also didn't receive the email shipping label that i had been promised for returning the first windshield.

That was after the first chat. Today, I thought I would try it again to see about the delay. And today on the chat, I got right on, no waiting and Stephen's sign on said he was a Customer Support supervisor! Woo Hoo! Well, they do have the windscreen in stock but they aren't going to send me one of those, because they can't verify the completeness of those packages. So they have ordered more, from the manufacturer and they are going to inspect those before sending out my new windscreen. Good grief, couldn't somebody just walk out to the warehouse, find the windscreen, verify that the brackets were in the package and take one and walk it down to the shipping department and request some expedited handling and shipping?

Apparently not. That's too complicated, their system's too automated and the parts too widespread between multiple warehouses. At least that's their story and they are sticking to it.

I did wrangle a promise of express shipping when they do get to my order and a 10% discount on my next order, should I choose to be a return customer... That's barely enough to satisfy me, and not enough to keep me from blogging about my disatisfaction...

So there it is.

My carburetor parts did not all arrive yesterday at Big Boys Toys- seems that the jets came from one warehouse and the plugs from another, but they might all be there by this afternoon. So now I'll be burning weekend guitar practice time to rebuild carbs.

Somewhere in here, I have to get started on my yard work too!

Chase in Ogden results in Arrest

Here's a bit of local news that captured prime time interest yesterday since it occurred during the afternoon drive time. Police, acting on a tip, chased and caught an attempted homicide and bomb threat suspect on I-15, between Riverdale and Ogden.

Seems the bad guy was waistband carrying his firearm and when he reached for it coming out of his car, a quick responding officer hit him with a Taser to take the urge out of him.

One bad guy in custody and traffic is back to normal for the evening commute. Good deal.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday Three time!

The tradition continues at Possumblog.
This week we again delve into the places of our childhood for the “Halcyon Days of Yore Edition” of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!

Take a moment and journey back to your childhood and answer the following three questions (ably supplied by an actual college professor) by either leaving you answer in the comments below or a link to your blog.

Tell us about how it was when you were growing up—what was your--

1) Favorite restaurant.
This is pretty easy- I loved going to Big Boy to eat, for two reasons, though the franchise we frequented was Azar's, not Bob's. First, I almost only got to go there when I was out on a trip with my dad and it was just the two of us. Big Boy was his favorite place for a Brawny Lad sandwich and so when we were out, we often stopped there for a late supper or desert. Desert was the second reason I loved Big Boy, I loved the Hot Fudge Brownie sundae. It was a square cut stack of chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream, coated with hot fudge and a big dollop of whipped cream. That desert was my favorite, and that and a Big Boy comic book made for a real treat when I was a kid.
2) Place to spend time, but not money.
Tougher question than the first one and my answer isn't just one single place but rather, my favorite place to be when I was a kid was anywhere I could go on my bicycle. I loved being able to go places on my bike and summertime usually meant getting out and going someplace when the chores were done. There was a park in Fort Wayne, Shoaff Park that hugged the bank of the St Joe river and in the park there were trails to ride and a tiny pond with fish to irritate with a pole, a hook and some Bacos Bits as bait. Later, when we lived in central Indiana, there was a concrete bridge out in the country where the water flowed over instead of under when the rains came and that was a favorite summertime haunt. If the water was high it was fun to speed up down the hill and ride through the water making big sprays, when the water was low, it was a pretty dandy place for an afternoon swim.

3) Place to go that DID cost to get into.
The Fort Wayne coliseum, in the winter time, to see the USAC midget racing, indoors! This was usually a birthday trip bacause the winter indoor midget series came to our home town twice each winter. This was exciting stuff, watching heros from the Indianapolis 500 starting lineup competing in front engined, alcohol burning midgets battling it out on a Sunday afternoon on a racetrack the size of the hockey rink. It was loud, the fuel fumes gathered in the rafters and made my eyes burn and I got to see Roger Ward, Parnelli Jones, Mel Kenyon, Al Unser and many other race car heros bang wheels right in front of my seat. Apparently, racing in Fort Wayne continues indoors, I found these pictures from the 2003 Rumble. Check out the pictures, I told you it was exciting!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Disappointment from Bike Bandit

My eagerly awaited box from was waiting for me when I got home yesterday-hurray! Inside were the parts I ordered last week, the fuel petcock and the National Cycle wind shield. I've been getting really anxious to add this new windscreen to the bike as a graduation present from the winter's work in the shop.

Except there was no mounting hardware in the for the windshield in the box-boo! None. Nada. I double checked. I stirred the styrofoam packing peanuts around to make sure the parts weren't buried. Nope, they weren't included in the shipment! Hooverdamm! Ok, I'll contact Bike Bandit and get this fixed. Except you can't call them. They ignore take emails and encourage use of their Online Chat feature to chat with a Customer Service type person. Which isn't a bad method of doing business, really, except that their system won't put your request into a queue when all the CS types are busy. It kicks you off and tells you to try again later.

Which is what I did, repeatedly, until I got through to a real-live Customer Service person, Franco on the other end of one of those interweb tubes. Franco assured me that a) there was no chance of them locating the missing hardware and sending it to me and, b) he would order another windshield from the warehouse and personally inspect it before shipping it to me and, c) I would have an email with 1/2 hour with the shipping label for the item I have to return and the shipping details for the replacement.

Four hours later I still didn't get the email…

I am disgruntled. This is the first error on Bike Bandit's part since I began ordering from them in January. I'm sure it was a simple mistake by one low paid and over worked guy in the shipping department and he probably has found the parts and doesn't know what to do with them now, but I'm sure disappointed right now.

Tomorrow- the carb jets and parts should arrive at the Suzuki store. So I'll be able to pick those up and take the BSU to supper at one of her favorite places which is just a few blocks from the cycle store all in one trip.

Its 38 degrees outside right now

And snow is falling like its November or December! It was 60 degrees outside when I got in the truck this morning just after 6AM, Yesterday it was 75 degrees in the afternoon, today its just 1/2 that temperature. What lousy weather!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Why the bias?

I've sent an email, copied in its entirety, to the editorial comments section of ABCnews online. The article, Killer's Note: 'You Caused Me to Do This' by Amy Thomas and Jason Ryan, is disingenous, and contains a paragraph completely unrelated to the rest of the article. As you might guess, it concerns the killer's guns. Here's my email:
Please explain how the following paragraph added any relevance to the article concerning Cho Seung-Hui, the student who killed 32 people and then himself yesterday, after leaving "a long and "disturbing" note."

"It is unknown at this time if his guns had standard or extended clips, which, depending on the weapon, can fire as many as 30 shots before the gun has to be reloaded."

I find this paragraph to be out of context to the rest of the story and unrelated to Cho's activities. In fact, it is simply an opportunity to further press the media's anti-gun scare tactics. It appears that lengths of chain were also used by Cho during his killing spree and were used to trap students inside the building, directly contributing to their deaths. I have read no call for the legislated banning of chain for unlicensed users, or waiting periods for chain purchases or controls on how many links of chain can be sold in single lengths. Why is that? Why has the type and tensile strength and location of purchase of the chain not been researched and published in every article related to this terrible tragedy?

It is because, in contradiction to the reality of the hundreds of thousands of responsible gun owners, owning millions of guns, did not go on a rampage yesterday and carry out an evil plan to commit mass murder, but in fact, one madman with an evil agenda misused two firearms. For the media, with not a hidden but a clear agenda, the wish to stigmatize the firearms as being responsible for this man's killing spree is blatantly obvious.
I find the media's focus on the guns, over and above the rest of this cruel tragedy to be a very real attack on this country's 2nd Amendment and I will do all in my power to support agencies and organizations that fight this unrealistic media bias.
Sincerely, Nate McCord, Ogden Utah
So where is the clamor to ban, license and restrict the sale of chain? Should the sale of chain be limited to lengths too short to lock doors shut unless a permit is obtained?

Lets face it, many of those 32 people at Virginia Tech died as a direct result of Cho's ability to purchase chain and restrict them from escaping his killing rampage. Its not all about the guns! And it is irresponsible, though not unexpected for the mainstream media to be focused so directly on the guns used yesterday instead of the greater tragedy of an unrecognized, plotting madman.

Mrs. DuToit takes on Gun Control and the press

I must tell you that my mind is completely wrapped around yesterday's tragedy in Virginia and I am looking for a way to quell the anger that is in me towards the people and agencies already calling for more gun confiscation control as a result of this madman's terrible actions. I've changed the quote at the top of the page today to reflect my feelings about this event. But Connie DuToit has published as fine an essay as you will ever read on the subject of gun control, why it doesn't work and why calling for more laws before these young people are even identified is loathsome politicing at its very worst. One small quote-
Look, we don’t give a damn about being called names. It demonstrates both your loathing of all things manly as well as your inability to bring any valid points to the discussion. The reason we don’t respond to it is because it makes you look foolish, and we’re adults, not children.
You really have to read the whole thing.

I've got my dander up about this subject and I'm looking for a method and direction to affect some change in America's behavior and thought processes.

Monday, April 16, 2007

About that horror at Virginia Tech today-

For the record, none of my firearms escaped from their secure storage and went on a rampage today. No one I know that is a firearms owner has reported any misbehavior by their guns today either.

For me, that means that millions of firearms owned by responsible owners did not cause or participate in the tragedy that caused 31 terrible deaths and one suicide at Virgina Tech today.

That means that one madman, (at least) killed those people. Don't blame it on the guns.

A real tear-jerker

Kenny sent me the link to this video. You really have to watch it. Its touching, heartwarming and a wonderful tribute to the film makere's family members.


Testing- again

This time I'm trying to see if the email function is still working after having to move to a Google login. I'm not hopeful.

Guitar shopping!

[Here's the post I have been unsuccesfully trying to get posted from home. Hopefully this will work...]
That was all day Saturday and what fun it was. Of course, it wasn't shopping for another guitar for me but for My Friend Vicki. MFV is the mom to Noah's old girlfriend and an English professor at our local Weber State U, just down the street. We got aquainted through the kids and over the years we have gone hiking and to baseball games together and I helped with some landscaping projects in her yard as well.

And every now & then we get together over coffee just to catch up and visit, which is what we did Friday afternoon. During our chat I disclosed my newfound love of (trying) to make music on my guitar. Turns out Vicki is a guitar player with much better skills than mine and she was excited about my efforts. Heck, she immediately wanted to build a repertoire of songs so we could start performing together at the local coffee houses!

Anyway, we ended up in my backyard with my 2 guitars and she gave a better lesson in an hour than I've received from the lady I was paying since February! We had a great time and she schooled me quite efficiently and thoroughly and we are going to do it again regularly.

Saturday morning she rang me up early and wanted to know if I wanted to go guitar shopping. Seems that the guitar she owns had either grown larger or her arms had grown smaller because it just didn't fit her comfortably as she tried to practice. And she wanted a new guitar... So of course I tagged along, just for fun to see what she might find.

We went to Guitar Center first where she quickly became nearly overwhelmed with the exotic choices in their acoustic room but after a bit found 2 guitars that she couldn't choose between, this Eric Clapton signature Martinand this equally nice Gibson guitar. In the end, the Gibson's color didn't impress her and she didn't like the rather muted sound of the Martin so we left empty handed and headed to the other 2 guitar stores in town.

At Bert Murdock's we found more guitars but a much more reasonable price range, at least for my tastes. And there was an Ibanez there that she loved the sound of and that the store would be willing to discount because of a very small scratch on the front. The linked guitar isn't exactly the model she liked but I can't find a link to the model she seleced with the satin finish and the inlaid wood ivy vine on the neck and mother-of-pearl inlay around the sound hole. She didn't buy it the first time because she wanted lunch and to visit the 3rd store in town, both of which we did- had lunch and visited Music Village. Nothing there really grabbed her and in the mean time that very pretty Ibanez had been soaking into her brain.

We talked. I suggested going back and dickering for a better deal on the Ibanez. The tiny scratch certainly wasn't a show stopper and took the pressure off her for the first, inevitable scratch. She liked the looks and the sound, especially after I had plugged her into a nearby amplifier.

We went back, she dickered, the manager counter-offered and then sold her the guitar, a hard case at the agreed price and a new set of premium strings at half price, then installed the strings as part of a very reasonable deal.

Later we went off to a women's league hockey match where another friend was competing and finally I got home about supper time. What fun!

I didn't buy any new guitars but I have to say that I was tempted to replace my beautiful blue Ibanez that I bought just a few months ago. I saw its twin brother that received an Emerald City paint job that is really a knock out. The picture at the link truly doesn't do the color justice, its just fabulous and I've always loved green colors. I won't be swapping but if the green model would have been on the hook when I was shopping, I'd have it instead of the blue one.

Now I just have to figure out what's wrong with my Blogger connection at home!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Testing- testing

Is this thing on?

I've been blocked out of Blogger all weekend and I've finally had to uninstall and then reinstall Internet Explorer. That seems to have worked to get me working again.

Suzuki update-

Remember what I said about repeatedly cutting in half the distance to a final point?

My parts I ordered last week, the fuel petcock and the windshield, will be here tomorrow! That's the good news. The bad news is that the 4 carburetor pilot jets and plastic plugs that I ordered Friday won't arrive until Thursday, at the earliest.

I did remove the carbs from the bike and in removing each float bowl found a treasure trove of bits of orange silicone sealant, rust and crud. They were really horrible. I also discovered that the plastic plug that I found loose in the first float bowl did indeeed belong inside, but installed in a pipe blocking most of the access to the pilot jet.

And 2 of the pilot jets had to be drilled and EZ-outed, so I had to visit the Suzuki store and order more parts, 4 each pilot jets and 4 new rubber plugs.

While I'm waiting, I took the Dremel tool and polishing wheel to the aluminum carburetor tops and shined them up nicely. It may not run (yet) but at least its shiny...

Content note: In linking to Big Boys Toys website, I noted that a) their map hasn't been updated since they moved- at least 2 years ago, out to Harrisville, and b) even though the web site's front page shows a rider on a Victory motorcycle, there's no mention of them being a Victory dealer, which they are. I happen to really like looking at the entire Victory line up. I sure don't have the money for a big custom V-twin motorcycle but if I did, I would be shopping at the Victory showroom and nowhere else.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Suzuki looks better tonight!

Well I was going to leave the paint job the way it turned out from the spray cans even though the fuel tank wasn't nearly as shiny or smooth as I would have liked. I figured it was a "10 foot" paint job, meaning it looked pretty good from 10 feet away and maybe that was good enough. That was last week when I was trying to get it on the road by the weekend.

Well since that plan didn't work out and since I'm waiting over the weekend for the new fuel petcock that I need, (and a windscreen!), I decided to go ahead and hit the gas tank with some wet sanding and polishing. I did that tonight, sanding the tank with 1500 grit sandpaper and then using the orbital polisher and some rubbing compound. Surprise! This thing shines now! Wow, it really looks nice! I have to admit, I was afraid that I would screw the whole thing up, but it turned out beautiful.

I also applied the dual, red pinstripes on the fuel tank and the front fender. They came out just as nice as I had imagined. Tonight, the motorcycle really looks like a completed and stylish rig. I can't wait to get it out into the sunshine and to take some pictures of the finished job.

I did pull one carb float cover off tonight and found dirt, rust and an odd piece of plastic inside. The plastic looks like some kind of plug and I have no idea what it is or why it was in the float bowl. That carb seemed to be flooding when I had it running the other day, so I hope removing an extra piece from inside the float chamber fixes that problem.

Anyway, I got quite a bit of work done on the bike tonight and I am really optimistic about getting on the road very soon, shiny and running smoothly.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I'm a batchelor again this week

There's been a change to the spouse's travel plans- again. She is in Oregon already. I took her to the airport this afternoon. She's going to just hang out with the sisters for a few days and return next week after the memorial service.

So, I get to eat over the sink or while reading a magazine and stay out in my shop as long as want for a couple days. I suppose I can even plug in my guitar and make some real noise for a bit since there's nobody to disturb with all my mistakes!

Mid-week updates-

Well- a couple updates are due on daily life from around the stately WE World Headquarters. First, the BSU hasn't yet left for Oregon. It seems that the entire Catholic priesthood of Portland ditches their vestments exactly 5 minutes after the last Easter Sunday service and escapes with their golf clubs to points out-of-town for a week's R&R. So the memorial service won't take place until Monday, next week. The spouse is now planning to depart on Friday and return Tuesday. In the mean time, she is just muddling through, waiting.

Next, I'm 1/2 way closer to being ready with the Suzuki. After fiddling about trying to make the vacuum operated fuel petcock function properly, last night I read on the GS Resources Forum that trying to fix a bad petcock using a rebuild kit (which I've done already) just doesn't work. The only solution is a replacement petcock- about 70 bucks worth of neccesary pieces that I now have to wait to arrive in the mail… Grr! I suppose while I wait I can have another try at making the fuel tank's paint shiny and smooth instead of dull and listless as it is right now. That means either wet sanding and buffing the clear coat or just buffing the clear coat- I'm not certain which, but both sound like a lot of trouble. I wasn't going to bother but now it appears I have some time while parts arrive.

I'm not missing any riding time this week so I'm not really grumbling as the weather has turned wet and cold. It was just 27 degrees on my way to work today! Yesterday it snowed and sleeted just a little bit, though nothing like what has been happening from Michigan to the east coast. I talked to Mom on Easter, there was 2" of fresh snow in her yard on easter morning!

I am continuing to improve from my surgery, with less tiredness and soreness. I'm also back to regular practice with my guitar and I'm planning to return to class on Thursday afternoon. Reading music notes on a page and translating them into finger locations and actions at the requisite processing speed remains a challenge but I am getting better. I keep reminding myself that I'm actually learning 2 new skills, reading music and guitar playing, which makes me feel like my efforts are actually having a positive affect.

I still owe everyone a movie review from last weekend but that will have to wait until this afternoon. Now- repeated efforts to avoid unemployment!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Who though this was a good idea?

Here's just one more reason why the French aren't ruling the world. Somebody thought this propellor driven bicycle was a good idea!

Pictures you just have to see-

Some unbelievable pictures from Dark Roasted Blend called Lords of Logistics. I think my favorite is the picture of the cow in the backseat of the Yugo. The weird parking pictures are pretty bizarre as well.

Downsize DC! I am down with this idea- big time!

“No LEGISLATION without representation.”
To this end we have created the “Read the Bills Act (RTBA).” RTBA requires that . . .

Each bill, and every amendment, must be read in its entirety before a quorum in both the House and Senate.

Every member of the House and Senate must sign a sworn affidavit, under penalty of perjury, that he or she has attentively either personally read, or heard read, the complete bill to be voted on.

Every old law coming up for renewal under the sunset provisions must also be read according to the same rules that apply to new bills.

Every bill to be voted on must be published on the Internet at least 7 days before a vote, and Congress must give public notice of the date when a vote will be held on that bill.

Passage of a bill that does not abide by these provisions will render the measure null and void, and establish grounds for the law to be challenged in court.

Congress cannot waive these requirements.
I love this idea and I'm going to find a way to put a permanent link on my front page later. The need for this bill was never more apparent than just a few weeks ago when the current snafu with the Justice Department surfaced and the changes made to the Homeland Security Act came to light regarding appointments. NPR repeatedly crowed about how the changes were "snuck" into the bill at the last minute and somehow no Dems were aware of the changes. This bill would eliminate that possibility of claiming "nobody told me" months after the fact.

I for one, would make bills streamlined into pass/fail, single issue items that addressed only directly related issues. There would be no farm subsidy attachments to military spending bills in my perfect world.

One more thing that Downsize DC ought to demand- for every new law passed, an old law must be removed from the books for a no-net gain of laws. There are plenty of obsolete laws that could be cleared out instead of just covered over with new ones.

Thanks to Synthstuff for pointing out this worthwhile grass roots effort.

Monday morning grumblings

Its going to be an odd week, this one. Tomorrow the BSU will be leaving for a couple days in Oregon, leaving me to be a batchelor and pet food distributer at the Wasted Electrons World Headquarters. Buddies Kenny and Loc are both out of town so I can't go to lunch with my regular lunch partners or just hang out in the sunshine with them while I have an afternoon cigar break. The weather looks like it is going to be springtime unpredictable, cool, wet and gusty so the half-planned evening fishing trip with Mike isn't likely to happen this week either.

The Suzuki is getting closer to being ready but like the math experiment where you continue cutting a distance in half and half again and again, each time getting closer to the end but never reaching it; its not finished. I did buy a new battery for it and got it charged up, but its not re-installed. I did get the stock airbox installed but I can't get 2 of the rubber boots to seat exactly as they should. The fuel tank petcock, which I overhauled first when I began this project, leaks and never seemingly stops the fuel flow. The petcock is supposed to be vacuum controlled and close when no engine vaccum exists, but for some reason, that's not working. A replacement petcock is expensive and I can't figure out why the one I have isn't working properly to justify replacing it. I think that maybe if I preload a tiny spring with some equally tiny washers, inside the diaphram side, it might push the piston closed.

I've had to reinflate the front tire on the motorcycle twice over the winter so I'm probably going to have to take it for a bead breaking and rim clean up or other repair to keep the air trapped where it belongs. Maybe everything will come together by this weekend, since I missed this last weekend...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

And then there were five-

AS many of you know, my BSU is the 6th sister out of a clan of 7 women. Her sister Joanne died one year ago in October. Joanne was the 2nd oldest sister in the family.

Last night, her sister Jean passed away from the complications of a multiple strokes she suffered over the past several days. She was also suffering from a reoccurence of the cancer that had weakened here more than 2 years ago.

Jean was the oldest sister. She is survived by the remaining 5 sisters, a husband of 40+ years, Bob, 3 sons and several young grandchildren.

Services are still being planned and the spouse is making arrangements to travel to Oregon on Tuesday. Finances are going to prevent me from accompanying her for this sad trip. Its been a subdued Easter Sunday here today.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Movie reviews

Well, I promised a couple movie reviews from my first weekend of recovery from surgery and now is that time. (I'm actually at work today but there is nothing happening here, so blogging will have to suffice for real work.)

First off, this post may be the very first time that I've not shared an opinion with Lawdog. We've both been to see Shooter , he pans it pretty thoroughly here. On the other hand, I liked it but I haven't read the original story as Lawdog did, so maybe that's the difference. Shooter is a "guy" movie and its full of deception, doublecross and retaliation. Its also full of shooting, some very long range and some more close in and personal and it is chock full of 'splody things. There are a couple very pretty women in this movie just to keep it interesting.

Lawdog thinks that this movie is full of political agenda and represents poorly numerous events that have transpired over the past couple years. He doesn't like Mark Walberg as a wronged, good ole' country boy just trying to clear his name through precisely placed bullets. And Lawdog is right. I've given up caring about the agendas of movie makers and actors & actresses though because I know that I would probably never see another movie if I only attended those that agreed with my point of view on politics. Instead, I just try to enjoy the story for the story and I enjoyed this one. I really liked it- hey I said it’s a "guy" movie already didn't I?

So what to tell? Mark Walberg is the main character, a former Marine Sniper-Scout that looses his partner in a operation that goes bad. He's retired to a quiet life in the mountains of Montana with his guns and a good dog. When he gets visited by a Suburban full of guys in dark suits with a story of trying to protect the president from an assasination plot, he takes the bait and becomes not only a fall guy but the focus of a vigorous, wide-spread manhunt. In the ensuing efforts to clear his name and vindicate the killing of his dog he hooks up with the beautiful widow of his former partner and a rookie FBI agent that is also trying to clear his reputation after loosing his firearm to the shooter.

Explosions and shooting ensue, lot of each to keep your attention. Think of this movie as an American James Bond film for the action and adventure and unlikely circumstances that only one guy, with the help of beautiful women could could pull off, and you won't be disappointed. There is one scene where Shooter and his now sidekick FBI agent go shopping for everything they need to reign mayhem down on the black-uniformed commandos that I could swear was filmed at a local emporium, Smith & Edwards. S&E is a legend out here in Utah for its selection of everything from military surplus to home improvement to horse tack and the store where this scene was filmed looked just like the inside of our local legend.

My favorite line in the movie? As Shooter prepares to leave his Montana cabin to go east, he makes a phone call to a friend asking him to come around to feed Sam the dog. The line is, "Feed Sam once a day and if he gets lonely, read him some ballistics tables."

The second movie we saw last weekend was Reign Over Me starring Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler. This is a powerful and painful story of the re-connection between two old college roomates, in New York City and post-9-11. One character, Cheadle's is a succesful dentist with a thriving practice and adoring patients, Sandler's character is a scooter riding, vinyl album collecting hermit suffering through the pain of loosing his entire family when American Airlines flight 11 was flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Through a chance connection the two men are reunited and the pain and strain of living through this grief becomes shared. Reign Over Me is a gripping and sober story that both the spouse and I really liked. I recommend it and don't think you will be disappointed by spending your movie budget on a viewing. This one could be DVD purchase for me in the future.

Finally, just because we never saw Syriana at the theater, we rented it for the weekend. It is a complex story that requires close attention and overall, I'm glad I rented it instead of seeing it at the theater. Its really too dense a tale to portray in a couple hours of movie, and, like most movies, it has a political agenda that you may or may not agree with or even understand. Its worth seeing but I didn't love it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Where have I been? Where have you been?

Man, I take a few, unannounced days off from posting to this humble blog and the phone calls and letters come piling in to inquire about my health and well being. Compalaints are coming in as well about the lack of Suzuki posts here at Wasted Electrons. So, to keep my hundreds of readers, (ok, both of you) upto date, here's a recap of my whereabouts and activities since having my surgery last week.

First, I'm fine. Everything related to the surgery seems to be on the mend. I've finished one of the antibiotic prescriptions already and have 1 more day's worth of the 2nd antibiotic. I have been trying to keep a minimal activity level and while there's no heavy lifting involved in blogging, I've mostly been taking things easy. I came back to work lunchtime Monday and, so far, except for really not wanting to get up with that early wakeup alarm today, work is not too taxing on my still-healing system.

I was feeling puny on Sunday and so I spent the entire afternoon in my recliner watching 3 kinds of racing on the tv. As much as I like racing, I nearly never sit down to watch it, so when I do, you can figure I'm not feeling up to my regular activity. So, I watched racing. Some of it was even that roundy-round NASCAR banging but I must admit that I'm not a short track fan and tired of that soon enough to catch NHRA drag racing from Houston, which I enjoyed more. I've said it before, there seems to be no greater fury unleashed than a Top Fuel dragster or Funny Car as it blasts off and even though tv doesn't begin to transmit the violence that those beasts display, I still like watching it.

I have been trying to finish the Suzuki's paint job and by this time I'm just about wishing I had followed Kenny's grey primer advice. I have worked much harder on this than I expected. Everything's painted and everything has been clearcoated. Thankfully, the red enamel pinstripes that are on the tail section did not seem to be affected by the lacquer clearcoat. I'm still unhappy with the gas tank though as I just can't seem to get a "wet" enough coat on the entire thing to make it slick and smooth. I don't really want to wet sand and buff it to get the results I want but I might have to go the full route just to have a nice final result. Otherwise, the motorcycle just needs a good cleanup to blow off the paint dust it has collected and one trip to the inspection place before receiving its new license plate. I hope to be riding on Saturday…

I took a bit of a break from my guitar practice while recovering as well. I thought beforehand that I would be using all my free time to improve my string bending skills but somehow, I was apathetic to that effort as much as blogging. Both efforts will be improving as I improve, I promise. I did spend some time last night playing the songs I've learned and getting my fingers retrained to work those frets. I can now play, nearly without error, Amazing Grace, When the Saints Go Marching In and Will the Circle be Unbroken. I'm no Larry Anderson but I am still having fun.

I made the last payment on my truck, just last night! I am looking forward to spending that monthly obligation on the rest of my bills and moving closer to being darn near debt-free. We are getting a substantial tax refund this year that is going to be applied to the same effort. I'm hoping a little bit of the excess that we will have presently falls off the table and into my "Buy A Gun" fund as I've agreed to split a thousand rounds of 223 ammo with Kenny and I don't have a gun to feed it into. And we want to go prairie dog shooting in a couple months, so I need a new rifle!

[CURRENT SITUATION UPDATE} There's a female AF Lieutenant that just fired up an Aprilla bullet bike outside my window. I don't know this Lt but I'm going to go check out her motorcycle real soon!

So things are going along pretty well. I helped Kye and his GF move into their new place before my surgery and they seem to be settling in well. Kye's cell phone pulled a disappearing act but maybe it has reappeared since I heard last. Son Noah is still struggling with all the complexities of adulthood on a college campus. I'm not certain who is winning that battle. Daughter-in-law Sara sent Easter pictures of the grandbabies and I'm waiting for the prints to arrive from the Sears online store. I sure miss spoiling grandson Astin. He's about due for his first tricycle and some laps in the driveway.

I've been to the movies a couple times while healing up and will be doing a separate movie review post in the upcoming hours, so stay tuned for those.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

John Doe Manifesto

Michele Malkin has posted a John Doe Manifesto.
Dear Muslim Terrorist Plotter/Planner/Funder/Enabler/Apologist,

You do not know me. But I am on the lookout for you. You are my enemy. And I am yours.

I am John Doe.
Where do I sign to be a supporter? Read the whole thing. Commit it to memory...

Do ya think?

Man Being Held Without Bail After Fourth DUI Arrest in Less Than a Month

Somebody's a slow learner, and a dumbass!

Adventures in headline writing

I'm trying to get back in the game, really I am! Let me start with a favorite Possumblog technique- what's wrong with this headline?
High Speed Chase Ends in Fatal Shooting
Maybe this will help-
The driver and passenger ran in different directions. After running about a half mile, Murray confronted officers from a distance of 100 yards or so. Jensen continued, "The subject raised a handgun and fired twice at my officer. And the officer returned fire with two rounds. At that point the individual took his own life with his handgun."

"After that we didn't hear anything from him," said Sgt. Jeff Nigbur. "We went down into the ravine and apparently found the subject. It looks like a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head."
So, yeah, shots were fired and somebody died. Not exactly what you think of when you hear, "fatal shooting" is it?