Day by Day cartoon

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

One more life milestone passed-

Its official, finally. The BSU and I are Empty Nesters. Last night we completed the move of Son Noah out of the house. He is officially homeless. Sunday afternoon we carried a large portion of his earthly possessions to Logan and into the GFs apartment. Last night we moved the balance of his stuff into a storage unit, also in Logan.

Right now he is staying with the GF in her apartment shared with 5 other girls. He doesn't have any status there and probably won't be allowed to stay there very long. After that, he has a tent, or a couple tents I think, and a sleeping bag. Its summer time and he won't freeze to death sleeping outside for a number of months if he chooses to.

Remarkably, this move out has been animosity free, which might not have been expected, considering the circumstances. He's kept his head and maintained a civil and pleasant demeanor and I've done the same throughout the entire process. The spouse has been more stressed than anyone and yesterday's packing and moving was difficult for her. But, she has been strong and she knows that the time is (past) right for the boy to be on his own and making his own way.

He's a smart kid. He is capable when he wants to be. But he has repeatedly failed to take the opportunities to learn good work skills and he's lazy. He thinks he is a 1969 vintage hippie- except that he showers much more routinely than real hippies. He has a lot of big ideas but no plans so his ideas don't stand much chance of becoming reality. I've tried. I've shared with him all the experience I have with working, job hunting, turning ideas into reality and being a citizen. His mom has given him the benefit of a sympathetic ear and gentle guidance at every opportunity.

Now its up to him.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Can I just say how tired I am?

I'm whupped! This weekend, though seemingly without drama or excess work, still left me worn out. I've already mentioned my acrobatic pratfall in the movie theater at the beginning of the weekend and most of my injuries from that episode have cleared up although I still have a sore kneecap. The rest of the weekend was spent pretty close to home but I'm still tired.

First, son Noah did not get all moved out over the weekend. It seems the rental storage place office is closed on Saturdays and we hadn't gotten them the information required to get into a unit before then. So- no moving on Saturday. We did load up the borrowed trailer on Sunday and haul all of the GF's stuff back to Logan and then into her shared apartment. That girl has too much stuff! Good grief! Never the less, we got it done and then had dinner at one of Logan's institutional restaurants, Angies.

Sunday I spent some time tinkering on the scooter trying to sort out a small carburetion glitch that causes it to stall at traffic lights occasionally and less often even backfire upon restarting. I cleaned the filter, checked for air leaks and upjetted just one size on the main and pilot jets. But a test ride afterwards revealed a too-frequent miss that had not been present before I tinkered. So- I put it back to the way it was. I didn't get a chance to take a test ride so I can't vouch for the problem being fixed. Maybe a new sparkplug is called for about now…

I had one guy come to look at the Suzuki but he was a young fellow and not a serious customer for the bike. Too bad since I think the Morphous is still for sale down in SLC.

The rest of Sunday was spent in laundry washing and drying and piling and some housecleaning got done in anticipation of Brother Tim's arrival on Monday.

Of course he and the GF showed up at the house while I was operating the vacuum cleaner on Monday afternoon! I knew I put that off too late… So they showed up safe from their trip from Florida and we spent a pleasant afternoon visiting and then going to dinner at the brand new, just opened at 4PM today, Texas Roadhouse restaurant. We actually got in for the first seating and the place filled up very quickly. Dinner was pretty good overall but there was a number of first-night jitters by the staff that kept dinner from being perfect. We ordered a Cactus Blossom onion appetizer that didn't arrive until our dinners showed up. The manager was working the tables diligently and he made apologies and comped us for our late arriving appetizer. Overall it was pretty good and once the crowds retreat a little bit I suppose we will eat there regularly.

Oh yeah! I changed out 7 non-working, plugged up, haven't been able to use them for 3 years, sprinklers in my front yard's watering system on Friday! That one line of pop-up sprinklers had been out of operation for a while now, so badly that the grass had overgrown most of them and I had to cap off the ones I could find so I could force water to leak out into the grass just to find the heads. Then I dug them up, down to the service line and replaced everything including new saddle clamps, risers and pop-ups. This will really simplify my watering by reducing the hose and sprinkler dragging that I have been doing to keep my grass green. I still have 4 more, on another line that should be replaced and if I do that, my front yard watering system will be as good as it can be until I get ready to dig up the entire yard.

Finally, I bought a new guitar songbook yesterday with some tunes I really would like to learn so there's lots more guitar practice in my future.

No wonder I'm tired!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Obsessed? Nuckin Futs if you ask me!

Tam has a link today to pictures of one man's obsession; a
1-20" scale German battleship! That's just crazy work that guy put into a project!

I have to ask the question though, why would anybody choose to build a battleship representing the team that lost when the winning team had some pretty interesting battleships of their own? Like the Indianapolis, just to mention one of the Navy's fabled fleet. Anyway, this man's obsession is well documented in photos, so check it out.

I wonder what his family might do with it whenever? Sell it on Ebay?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pirates? End of the World? Hopefully!

So what's a couple to do on a early summer Saturday night except to get in line with the rest of America to see Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

Action packed? Yup. Terrific CGI that baffles the imagination? Ditto, the special effects are just amazing. Johnny Depp as the swishiest, most over-eyelined and mascaraed pirate ever? You bet- in spades. Even though it takes 45 minutes for Depp to actually get into the picture, he's evident even before and in many multiples of his swish swash- buckling self throughout the story.

Does this movie have a bloated story line? No, it has numerous bloated story lines and its so packed that its difficult to keep up with all the crossing and double-crossing that takes place throughout. There's more pirate captains than ever before, multiple captains on the Black Pearl and one touching scene where Calypso touches Davy Jones revealing what he looked like before turning all tenacly as captain of the Flying Dutchmen.

So, did I like it? You bet I did. Its a wild ride even if the story's hard to keep up with and its a great summer adventure film. You expected something more? Give it a chance and enjoy your popcorn!

And watch out for that big step getting your seat! I took a header yesterday while trying to get into my seat that left me bruised, embarrassed and sore. The spousal unit had gone ahead to pick out seats while I stopped at the snack stand. She picked 2 seats directly behind a railing behind an open section where wheelchairs can be parked. As I stepped past her, I stepped down, under the railing and onto one knee! The bottle water went flying, it nearly clobbered somebody three rows away in the back of their head. The popcorn flew and spilled everywhere and somehow, I didn't spill or pop the top off of the medium sized soda cup or loose the Reese's Cups for the spouse. I banged up one knee and the elbow on the other side and whacked my ribs on the railing and managed to keep my cussing to a very minimum around all the other more sensitive customers. I was mighty sore when I got up this morning too!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

We are going on a cruise!

Woo Hoo!

The deposit has been paid and the dates set, the BSU and I are taking a 25th anniversary cruise in October! We will be sailing the eastern Caribbean aboard the Carnival Triumph for 7 days and I've booked a swanky Balcony Suite for our trip.

This should really be fun. Its not the Hawaian Islands cruise that the spouse kind of had her heart set on ever since one of the sisters too that trip but it will still be fun. (And much more affordable.) But there's plenty of time to get her passport ordered and still time to book cheap airfare. I think I might even arrange it for an extra day or two in Florida before sailing so we can visit Dad and Carol.

One of the exciting aspects of this trip will be getting to see my gentle giant buddy Kenny on the dance floor! Kenny and his beautiful bride are going on this cruise too! That's actually how I found out about it- Kenny told me. Also going along are friends of theirs, Mike and his wife, folks that were next door neighbors to Kenny and Suzi for years.

So now there's nothing else to do but pack up the sunscreen and flipflops and flowered shirts and get ready for a week of relaxation and fun. Heck, pack your stuff and come along. You can see the deal with

Its Moving Day today!

Not me, the boy. Son Noah is moving out today. He's leaving reluctantly, and I don't think he's half packed, but in a little while I'm borrowing a trailer and moving all his stuff out of the house and into a storage unit in Logan.

Its time. The boy is way behind on the trip to adulthood and staying here is just delaying the inevitable slap in the face that life is sure to deliver before he gets his act together. So he's got to go.

To make matters more fun- it looks like it could rain today...

[UPDATE] Well, that didn't work! Seems we forgot to call the storage unit office yesterday and today they didn't answer their phone. So- we loaded the truck and a trailer but didn't drive to Logan, The GF's back tonight but won't have the keys to her apartment before Monday- maybe Tuesday, so we can't get her stuff stowed away either right now.

I did get one flower bed weeded today and had one interested person come up to ride the Suzuki. He seemed to like it but felt it was more motorcycle than he wanted to ride.]

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Its not just a condition, it’s a pain! Where was I yesterday? Oh, from 4:30 AM until mid-morning I was in the Emergency Room with the BSU. She's had another diverticulitus attack and it required another hospital visit. Long time readers might remember that I made a no-notice trip to Oregon a couple of years ago when she was laid low with this affliction, this time she was at home and no flying was required.

And no surgery was required even though the Docs thought it might be called for, to remove her appendix. The abdominal pains that aflict her are in the exact same spot as her appendix and so the first consideration is for removal of that little organ. But the docs ordered up a CT-scan test and the healthy appendix and ailing intestine were confirmed so no surgery was required. Rather large doses of 2 kinds of antibiotics, pain meds and anti-nausea meds were required and she will be choking down those antibiotics for several more days.

So, she is getting better already after a decent night's sleep. She hurt yesterday, all day, and the meds upset her stomach something terrible but some decent rest and a easy diet for another day or two will have her back on her feet again soon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

About that Version 9.5 spreadsheet...

I grumbled about it earlier today but after using it for a couple hours now, I'm impressed. I don't know how they do it and I don't know who "they" are and who designed this spreadsheet but it does something I have never seen before. I think I'm relatively a smart guy for using Microsoft Office products but the trick that this spreadsheet does really made me say WOW!

There's a button on the side of the spreadsheet that says, "Create PowerPoint Slide." And after filling in the values for each of the required spaces on the sheet, I pushed the button. PowerPoint popped open, a blank chart appeared and then the results of my values populated the designated style chart automatically. There was nothing for me to do but fill in my name as the Program Manager and the program name.

That was sweet! The last time I did this set of charts, the automated chart did not work and so after producing the spreadsheet, the chart had to be manually produced, keeping all the values equal to the numbers on the spreadsheet. There was much formatting to be figured out. Now- none of that. Fill in the blanks on the spreadsheet, mash the button and wham! the chart is ready for review.

I wonder how they do that...

It was 42 degrees outside on my way to work today

And it was just 55 degrees inside the building when I arrived! I'm not only wearing my fleece jacket but I have it zipped up too!

The building manager did finally get the swamp cooler turned off so it is not blowing as badly as it was before. Its still dang cold in here!

Version how many?

Suppose your job requires you to periodically complete a complex set of automated spreadsheets that (supposedly) will populate a series of PowerPoint charts. These charts are used to brief the bigshots on the status of your programs and so, they have to be accurate, up to date and consistent. Last November, when you last accomplished this work, the version of the spreadsheet was version 6.0. Now that you have to do these charts again, you notice that the latest version of the same spreadsheet is version 9.5!

Does that feel like maybe you aren't really dealing with a mature system? Maybe you're dealing with a system so immature that somebody in a position of power needs to call "knock-it-off" until it is developed fully?

That scenario is just one of the joys of my life this week...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Busy, Busy!

Does anybody else see a farked up Shrek movie clip in the place of the Day By Day cartoon at the top of the page when using Internet Explorer? Its been acting up on me since Sunday. It displays just fine in Firefox but IE7 isn't working for me right now.

Anyway, so what have I been doing since Friday? Not resting much, that's certain! I finally got my secondary, yard watering water turned on after installing a filter in the system where one never had been installed before. That required a bagful of PVC pipe fittings from Home Depot and a few hours Thursday evening and again on Saturday. I think I counted 24 glue joints on the entire project and just one of them drips- a tiny bit. There's no fixing it though without cutting up everything so I think I'm living with it.

I did get the system flushed out and running and one bad popup replaced out at the curb on the line that hasn't worked well for a few years now. Now that I've figured out how to dig out down to the saddle clamp I'll probably be able to get the rest of that line working sometime in the next few days.

Friday night the spouse and I went to see Shrek III, on opening night, at the mall, to a only 1/2 full theater... I don't know why the theater was only 1/2 full but it was and it made the show pretty pleasant. The movie's fun- hell, its Shrek! Its simple and fun and has several new characters that didn't appear in the first two episodes, (who was that fairy tale drag queen?) so the jokes that carry over are spread pretty thin. Donkey's a Daddy now, Puss In Boots still loves the ladies and Shrek still gets fixated on poop. So its mindless fun, the graphics are remarkable and Eddie Murphy as Donkey seems to have found his perfect place in life- in the cartoons! Its harmless and worth the popcorn costs, go see it!

Sunday I took myself and a couple rifles to the desert and tried out my latest, the H&R 223 that I traded for and then installed a dandy Bushnell 6X24 scope on top of. I didn't chase any jackrabbits, I just set up my target stand and my shooting table and spent a couple hours trying to make holes in paper, really close together. Here's a hint- I need lots more practice!

Brother Tim & Rhonda will be here one week from tonight and I'll be figuring out how to spend some time with them in between their running about the state sightseeing. And I suppose some extra housecleaning to get accomplished before they arrive!

Anyway, that's been my weekend. I'm pretty certain I'm forgetting something because I was mighty worn out when everything was all done!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ok, I'm jealous!

Through an interesting turn of events and internet connectivity, after first remarking in the Thursday Three post that I'd love to spend a day with Mario Andretti and to see what's in his garage, and later, emailing my occasional scooter part connection, Alan Leson from PowerSportsFactory, today, via email I received some really interesting photos that involve both of these guys.

Before I post the pictures, I'm going to get permission, but until then I can give you just a little teaser- I now know at least a little bit of what's in Mario's garage! [UPDATE- no pictures for now.]

Envision Ogden!

So, there's a billboard that I pass on my daily commute and on are the words Of course I never remember to check it out when I sit down, until today.

Check out my adopted hometown through this newly implemented site. Its obviously aimed at the growing industry of outdoor activities and recreation that is so popular and prevalent here. And that's a good thing because Ogden deserves recognition for the opportunities, both industrial and recreational that it has to offer the world.

Does it make you want to come for a visit? Or a job? Either way, Ogden can show you some real possibilities.

I've added a permanent link over there on the right, below the "Not A Blog" header and as soon as I can get a response from the editorial staff at Envision Ogden, I'm going to ask for a properly sized button photo to replace the text. Right now I can't contact them through the network filters in place here...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Suzuki is for sale-

As I alluded to in a previous post, I'm putting the Suzuki up for sale. I listed it on KSL tonight.

What's wrong with it? Not a thing! Its perfect really but its just not right for me. Its big and heavy, much heavier than my scooter obviously and its just really more motorcycle than I need. Mostly I commute to and from work and I run my local errands on two wheels whenever possible. I'd like to be able to get out on the highway when I want to go a little further but the fact is, I'm not going touring multiple states or going street racing late on Saturday nights. So its more motorcycle than I really need.

Commuting on the scooter is more pleasant than the Suzuki, just because of its lighter weight and storage capability. The automatic transmission on the scooter makes the stop and go riding much easier as well.

So, I put it up for sale. If I don't get some interest locally, I'll put it on Ebay in a few days. And then, if I sell it, I'll look for something to replace it that's more in keeping with my riding needs.

How to treat a Liberal-

This really made me laugh! Baboon Pirate has some words of wisdom for Liberals today-
Mr. Mendelson, it's time to pull back the foreskin of ignorance and apply the wire brush of reality...

Dehumanizing is chaining a man to a wall like an animal. Dehumanizing is beating a prisoner senseless and denying medical aid. Dehumanizing is subjecting a man to solitary confinement for years at a stretch.

Giving a prisoner a short little toothbrush is by no means a dehumanizing act. For you to claim that it is does a disservice to those fighting to prevent REAL acts of dehumanization.

Thursday Three time!

And apparently, the Thursday Three writing staff has the same vacation plan as the Car Talk Puzzler because this week's TT is the season finale with no promise of summer reruns. So I guess I better jump in and play today or miss out until the fall season. So here's what Terry has for today's TT.
THRILLING, ACTION-PACKED edition of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!
Okay, it’s not thrilling.
Nor particularly action-packed.
In fact, there’s really not much of a theme. But that’s what you get when you assemble your program from stuff you find wadded up in the trash can.
But it’s the only thing we got, SO--
1) If you could hang out with a famous living person for a day, who would it be, and why?
Well I really like hanging out with my Dad and all my brothers so if I could, I would spend a day hanging out with all of them doing something manly and brotherly. We all get along quite well and in spite of our many diverse interests, we share plenty of interests too and I think we could find a way to entertain ourselves without too much trouble. You might expect that whatever we chose to do it will be noisy because we like things that go BANG! and vehicles that roar. We're going to get dirty, you can count on that!I think it would be great fun if we could all attend a racing school like this one or this one as a group.

If I could hang out with someone that wasn't family for a day, I choose Mario Andretti. He has been my hero since I was in grade school and before he won the Indianapolis 500 in 1969 and I followed his racing career throughout the world. I came this close- (hold your index finger just 1 inch from your thumb here) to having a black and gold Lotus Formula 1 car tattoed on my arm in 1979 after Mario won the World Championship. So, I'm a fan. Everything I have seen about Mario in recent years sounds like he continues to live an interesting automotive related life, even if he isn't racing anymore. I think he must be an interesting guy and I'd like my chance to just see what's in his garage.
2) What sort of plans do you have for summer vacation?
Well, Brother Tim and his GF Rhonda will be here in two weeks, for a week, so I'll be taking a few hours to hang out with them. They want to go hiking and mountain biking whitewater rafting and Tim wants to do some shooting. Later, the BSU and I will be taking the annual pilgrimage to the Oregon coast with the camper for a weekend of eating and relaxing with the spouse's sisters and their family units. Since this year I won't be trying to write term papers and study for finals, I'm hoping this year to take a few extra days and maybe visit Crater Lake or some other part of Oregon that we normally don't explore.
3) Blake or Jordin?

I'm sorry, who are these people?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Too busy to blog

Life, and the pursuit of continued employment are imposing their demands upon me this week. Hopefully I will catch up shortly.

In the headlines at Wasted Electrons World Headquarters:

Younger Brother Tim is coming to Utah for a visit very soon

Youngest son Noah to become self-supporting and homeless- still unaware

In the classified section:

Classic 1981 Suzuki GS850 motorcycle for sale

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I'm a Scooter Trash Gunny!

Now there's a tribute, right? Hey, anybody that thinks my love of guns and scoots is worthy, and knows BobG has got to be a quality guy!


Getting noticed by other people

This humble blogger has been lucky enough to be recognized for a couple of my posts recently by bloggers much bigger than the editorial staff here at the Wasted Electrons World Headquarters and guitar studio. The pictures pretty much say it all-

This bump is a result of the Mother's Day story about cats, kids and chapstik and is my single largest day's visit count.

This graph shows the past results of 30 days of visitors to this tiny little spot in the blogosphere. The first big jump is from the day that Jalopnik linked to my post about the 64 Pontiac of my youth. And the second big bump is this week's visit from all the visitors sent over by Tam and her widely read blog, View from the Porch.

Nobody else might care, but for me, its been a big week and month for this humble blog!

And to everybody that's stopped by for a visit, thanks and keep stopping back. There's often something interesting going on around here.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Suzuki pictures!

Ok, I've got it washed up and as shiny as it will ever be. So I broke out the camera and took so pictures to celebrate the event.

Not too shabby, heh?

The scooter got washed today as well and now the battery seems deader than roadkill. Maybe its time to go for a ride on the Suzuki...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Blogging excitement today!

This will put a big ole spike in my visitor count this week. Thanks Tam!

I'm off in a few minutes to negotiate a gun trade. I've found a man who has this H&R Varmiter in .223

and he wants a concealed carry pistol. It seems I have this Kel-Tec P11

that might just fit his requirements. I don't use the P-11 as my carry gun and I've been hoping to move it in favor of Kel-Tec's latest, the PF-9. But in the mean time, I've half of a case of .223 ammo waiting for me at Kenny's house and I didn't have a gun to shoot it through.

Looks like I might have a new gun later on this morning.

[UPDATE: Well, now I need a new scope and rings! I made the trade this morning and made a new friend as well. I'm going scope shopping in just a few minutes.

I have to say a few words about the guy I swapped with, R. Dee Putnam. He's a firefighter in Salt Lake County, a cancer survivor and a musician. Dee was kind enough to give me a copy of his album, When I Think of You. I listened to it on my way back home from Morgan. Dee has his album listed at and you can hear his tunes and buy his album there. I recommend it and can't wait to get this loaded on my iPod later today. Check it out and support him with a purchase if you like it.]

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Why My Lips Stayed Chapped on Mother's Day

For my Mom, as Mother's Day approaches, a tribute from an unknown source. I'm not saying this ever happened at our house but Mom did start out with 3 young sons before the final two siblings arrived a few years later.

So, we had this great 10 year old cat named Jack who just recently died. Jack was a great cat and the kids would carry him around and sit on him and nothing ever bothered him. He used to hang out and nap all day long on this mat in our bathroom.

Well we have 3 kids and at the time of this story they were 4 years old, 3 years old and 1 year old. The middle one is Eli. Eli really loves chapstick. LOVES it. He kept asking to use my chapstick and then losing it. So finally one day I showed him where in the bathroom I keep my chapstick and how he could use it whenever he wanted to but he needed to put it right back in the drawer when he was done.

Last year on Mother's Day, we were having the typical rush around and try to get ready for Church with everyone crying and carrying on. My two boys are fighting over the toy in the cereal box. I am trying to nurse my little one at the same time I am putting on my make-up. Everything is a mess and everyone has long forgotten that this is a wonderful day to honor me and the amazing job that is motherhood.

We finally have the older one and and the baby loaded in the car and I am looking for Eli. I have searched everywhere and I finally round the corner to go into the bathroom. And there was Eli. He was applying my chapstick very carefully to Jack's . . . rear end. Eli looked right into my eyes and said "chapped." Now if you have a cat, you know that he is right -- their little bottoms do look pretty chapped. And, frankly, Jack didn't seem to mind.

And the only question to really ask at that point was whether it was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat's behind or the hundredth.

And THAT is my favorite Mother's Day moment ever because it reminds us that no matter how hard we try to civilize these glorious little creatures, there will always be that day when you realize they've been using your chapstick on the cat's butt.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I rode it! I rode it out, away from home and returned under its own power! What?


The Suzuki, of course!

Tonight I finished changing the oil and filter, reset the throttle cable slack and put it all back together. Then there was nothing to do but take it out of the shop- I got help from the neighbor before I tipped it over this time, and rode it around to the front of the house.

Then, I suited up and went for a short shakedown ride in the neighborhood. It ran fine. It did run out of gas on the main side of the fuel tap but started right back up when I switched to reserve. Then I rode it down the hill to the service station and added 4 gallons of high test to the fumes that remained in the tank. Then I rode it home without any hysteria, flooding or misbehavior.

Tomorrow I think I'll get it to the inspection center and then to the DMV to pick up my license plates so I can take it for a real ride. I think I'm going to need some longer handlebars...

Movie Review- Hot Fuzz

Go see Hot Fuzz!

For those of you not in the know, this isn't a 70s porn film though you might guess so from the title. Instead, its an action-adventure cops show with many references both blatant and subtle to many of the movies in the same genre. It’s a parody but its played straight and for that it is all the funnier.

The story is about Nicholas Angel, a London police officer so dedicated to the job and law and order that his arrest record is making everybody else on the department look bad. Angel is reassigned to Sandford, a sleepy country village; the Voted Best Village, where there is apparently no crime and nothing to police. There Angel meets up with the rest of the local constabulary, the appeasing Police chief inspector Butterman, his bumbling and action movie addicted constable son, two 80s vintage non-functioning detectives and the rest, all of whom seem to spend most of their time eating sweets in the station house.

Nothing much seems to happen in Sanford and the biggest bit of policework initially involves an escaped swan. He is ridiculed by his cohorts on the department for his diligence and pitied by the local citizens. Eventually, over too many beers and some action movies from his partner Danny's collection, they find a working relationship that is put to the test later on.

Danny is keen to find some real excitement, some police work like he has watched on his vast DVD collection of cop-buddy movies like Bad Boys, Lethal Weapon and Miami Vice while Angel is just trying to stay alert and catch bad guys without any drama. Eventually, Angel policeworks himself into the middle of the real story behind Sandford's bucolic beauty which isn't what he expected to find at all. But odd accidents keep occuring, killing a number of the citizens in gruesome ways and Angel begins to believe that these accidents are really murders.

In the final portion of this movie, circumstances go completely crazy and all the fine, dignified, elderly citizens of Sandford show their true colors and their arsenals. These folks are armed and dangerous! Angel and Danny end up in a terrific gunfight in the townsquare and from there, car chases, hidden tunnels and bodies, explosions and fights ensue. Every scene from whatever your favorite cop movie might be is played out during the final half hour or the film.

Its hilarious in its parody. I loved it. The spouse- not so much. She thought the final half hour was tiresome. But trust me, this is a funny movie. The characters will steal your attention and when the action starts you will laugh at all the scenes that you have seen before as Danny's dream of real cop action unfolds. The irony of massively armed British citizens wasn't lost on me either since the laws over there in Jolly Ole England have in reality stolen the guns from the citizens. I really recommend this movie.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Weekend update-

The Suzuki's still not ready. Huge surprise there, I suppose. After asking for some expert advice over at GS Resources, I took the carburetors off the bike again, for the umpteenth time and this time I installed the correct sized main jets- 115s instead of the 132.5s that were installed and I fixed the float height, which had been set on the wrong part of the float and so were much too high.

After all that and reinstalling everything, it was running much better and not leaking fuel when it was shut off, so that's a minor success. The plugs still are showing that the engine is running rich but I'm (hopefully) going to leave that alone until I can get the carbs sychronized by someone with a tool I don't own.

But the charging system's not charging... Nada. So- I dug out the repair manual, again and turned to the electrical section. The first test called for the main fuse and ignition fuse to be removed and then running the bike and measuring voltage output... See any problem with that last sentence? I never figured it out. But I did accomplish the no-load stator output test and the bike passed just fine. Which leaves the regulator-rectifier and bad connections as the only remaing source of problems. And I've been over all the connections and double-checked the grounds that can be bad, leaving just that pesky regulator-rectifier. Which turns out to only cost $120 delivered... Hooray!

What else? We had Knock-Me-Naked margaritas and fajitas at Carol's house Friday night and I finally got to meet her hubby, Dave. That turned out to be a really pleasant evening and I hope I behaved myself well enough to get invited back.

I did a little hobby molding this weekend, creating a plaster mold of my P3AT handgun. First I made the molds from some mix-with-water stuff that turns rubbery and preserves the details of the original. From there, I mixed plaster of paris and poured it into the two mold halves. The next day I spent a couple hours trimming the two plaster halves and then sanding them thin and flat enough to mimic the thickness of the original gun. Why did I do all this? I'm hoping to trade my work for a little work from Crossbreed Holsters. I've been communicating with the proprietor there and he said he didn't have a P3AT to mold holsters around. I'll be shipping him my plaster pistol today to see if he can use it.

Last night I spent a pleasant hour at guitar practice at Vicki's house and she has hummingbirds at her feeders, which were just above us on the deck where we played. I need to get my feeders out tonight I guess.

And we went to see a movie but that will get its own post, later today hopefully. Now its time for me to generate some effort for my handlers on the job.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Pending Another car post!

I didn't intend to leave this so long as a teaser but I promise to fill in the story very soon. And the woman in the picture? She just became a grandma for the first time today. Congrats on the new grandbaby, Bettyjean!

Well, who woulda thunk it would take me so long to get back to filling in the narrative to tag along with these pictures? I'm never going to gain a regular Jalopnik hoonage following if I don't keep up with the car tales!

Anyway, since I told the story of my 64 Gran Prix a couple weeks back, it seemed logical to follow that story with this story of the car that followed in the Pontiac's Wide Track tireprints.

That's a 1969 Opel Kadette in those pictures, properly hooned up by this teenaged hotrodder after Buick so graciously imported it from Germany. This was supposed to be cheaper to operate than the 50 cent per gallon gas sucking Pontiac as it was just 1.9 liters- which BTW, did not make much sense to a guy raised on God fearing Cubic Inches. It was my first car with a clutch pedal and a shifter lever that requred rowing just to get going, so in my mind that meant it was a sports car too. (No snickering- it was 1975, ok?)

What was remarkable about this little beast? Well first of all, I think it left me stranded beside the road more than any other car I ever owned. Seems it used a series of pushrods, bell cranks and torque arms to operate the throttle instead of a simple cable. The contraption traversed across the firewall pushing and pulling and then turned a torque rod that extended from the firewall up to the carburetor. On one end was a ball and socket joint. Between the flexiness of the basic stucture, worn motor mounts and a worn assembly, any rough road would cause the ball and socket to separate leaving the throttle pedal unconnected to the carburetor. I got pretty quick at popping the hood and getting my hands under air cleaner and carb and reconnecting the offending hardware without much delay or a flashlight. And I learned where I had to just slow down so the bumps didn't disconnect me!

It also had NO heat for at least the first winter I owned it. None- Nada, no hot water flowed through the heater core. I know that because I had it out a couple times. No amount of radiator shop attention ould cure the complete corrosion blockage and I couldn't afford a new one or locate a used core. Blankets for our laps and a scraper for the inside of the windshield became normal equipment until I could find a heater core much later. The Girlfriend and I took a trip from Alliance to Cleveland for the Autorama, in February, in that little car and that was just a brutal trip for the freezing temperatures we endured.

You might take note of the garage in the background and the paint job that it proudly displays. That was my dad's idea, accomplished while my mom was in the hospital a few days and unaware of the customizing that was being done to the garage in the back yard. If you don't recognize the design, maybe this picture will jog your memory.

Did you note the custom spoiler on the back of that little hot rod? Plexiglas, built by yours truly. I was decades ahead of those kids today with their spoilers and wings pushing down of their front driver cars! What you can't see is the cable trunk release that I installed since the key on the trunk had been blocked by the spoiler. How about those tires? Lemans bias plies, sized A60X13, pretty cool huh? I think there was a different brand of 70 series tires on the front to keep up with the look.

Now then, the final picture. How about that blonde leaning on my car? That is Bettyjean, the girlfriend that has been mentioned throughout these recent car posts. She also became the first Mrs. somtime with a few months of this picture being taken. That's our family pooch, Red Baron with Bettyjean, enjoying the sunshine.

Anyway, that's the car I drove when I married that blonde bombshell and it lasted until I upgraded to the Fiat 850 roadster a year or so later. Pay no attention to the rotted through front fenders, I certainly did!

[UPDATE: Thanks to Terry for the link to a fabled Car & Driver tale of woe regarding this Opel's station wagon twin. There's a bit of copy from Cook Neilson that's too good not to share:
...It’s a never-ending stream of the third-rate and the underdone, a rolling potpourri of mediocrity. Small, cheap, bland, slow, evilly configured, designed to fulfill all the government standards without fulfilling any of the enthusiasts’. Orwell’s 1984 revisited, automobile-style...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A joke from my Dad

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asks them for their orders.

The man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke," and turns to the ostrich, "What's yours?"

"I'll have the same," says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order. "That will be $9.40 please," and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke." The ostrich says, "I'll have the same."

Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.

This becomes routine until the two enter again.

"The usual?" asks the waitress. "No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato and a salad," says the man. "Same," says the ostrich.

Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, "That will be $32.62." Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.

The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. "Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?"

"Well," says the man, "several years ago I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there."

"That's brilliant!" says the waitress. "Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!"

"That's right. Whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there," says the man.

The waitress asks, "What's with the ostrich?"

The man sighs, pauses and answers, "My second wish was for a tall chick with a big ass and long legs who agrees with everything I say."

Hurrah! Motorcycle parts have arrived!

Good news from the Suzuki dealer this afternoon, the needle and seat sets that I ordered for the motorcycle's carburetors have arrived! The flasher for the turn signals arrived yesterday. Tonight, I get to put carburetors back together!

I'm feeling a little better now than since that last post.

[UPDATE- So I put in the new carburetor parts and the engine fired right up when I gave it a try. Except there is something still wrong. It was running waaay rich and after smoking up my shop badly, it loaded up and became flooded enough it wouldn't restart. I had fuel leaking out of the airbox when it was shut off. Hooverdamm! I'm wondering now if the floats might be so old that they are soaking up and sinking. They don't seem to be damaged or heavy but everything else looks really good so at this point I'm guessing.

I'm stressed today

It is entirely related to that youngest son of mine who is just about to finish his first year of higher education immersion at the end of the week. His previously stated goal to go to work this summer to pay for next year's schooling has changed. He now has just enough money to carpool with some other guys to New York, Boston and Maryland…

He has made it clear that he intends to further extend his "Peter Pan" syndrome, adolescent (mis)behavior through the foreseeable future. I can not tolerate his simplistic, unplanned and irresponsible attitude beyond Friday.

Effective Friday, I am severing all financial support of this boy's drama. I may continue to store his stuff, piled up in the room he has called his bedroom for a few months as a courtesy. But it is no longer going to be his bedroom. He will have to find another one, someplace else. His car's insurance dies when the policy renews in a few weeks.

And I hate his current girlfriend! I could feel my IQ points being whittled away just being stuck in the truck with her going to dinner and back last night. She wants to earn a Mrs. Degree and write poetry while raising a fresh handful of look-a-like, bland faced Mormon babies after leaving school.

Another brainiac comes to grief-

Man Arrested for Printing Kiddie Porn at Kinko's
When police approached Chandler after being called by two other customers he told them he didn't have a computer at home and so was forced to use the computers and printers at Kinko's.
Two hundred and thirtyfour counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, huh? Say hello to the cellblock hotel. Have a nice stay!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Helplessness as a lifestyle choice

Yesterday's ride home with NPR on the radio was another of those moments of intellectual cacophony that made me so incredulous that I wanted to shout back at the radio. I'm not kidding, I just could not believe what I was hearing.
For one 89-year-old man, a lifetime of collecting baseball cards delivered a solid return this past weekend: $1.5 million dollars and counting. Lionel Carter of Evanston, Ill., sold a portion of his 50,000-card collection at auction.

Among the lots: the 1951 rookie card for Mickey Mantle.
"I would still rather have the cards than money," Carter told NPR's Robert Siegel.
Here's the story, in a nutshell. You'll have to click the link to get to the source and to hear the actual report.

Lionel is selling his beloved, exquisite baseball card collection that he lovingly accumulated over 5 decades. Why? Because he was the victim of a home invasion burglary… One afternoon an unknown man came to his front door with an obviously made up story about an accident in his back yard and in spite of Lionel's efforts, the man forced his way inside the home and took Lionel out the back way. While Lionel endeavored to remove the man from his property, another person entered from the front and stole $250,000 worth of Lionel's baseball card collection.

Here's the first problem: the police acting on a suspicion from previous bad behavior, apprehended a bad guy in possesion of Lionel's cards. And the "Only Ones" types told Lionel that he could either press charges and wait for his cards while they were held as evidence, or- he could drop the charges against the known bad guy and get his cards returned to him. The gent chose to have his cards returned and to let a home invading burgler go free. At this point, Mr. Carter decided that his card collection intact was more important than taking a criminal and putting him behind bars. In my humble opinion, the cops/prosecuters let Mr. Carter down by not finding a way to jail this choirboy without needing to maintain his cards as evidence. Certainly one might expect that there was evidence of additional criminal activity that could have been used to jail this home invader.

But now Mr. Carter has a much bigger problem- two problems really. First, he knows that the bad guys know that he is an easy target and a pushover when it comes to criminal prosecution. He knows that the criminal element sharks, circling around his home and neighborhood have smelled blood in the water. Second, he knows that he is helpless to prevent further attacks on his home and person and baseball card collection.

He never discusses adding security to his home to protect his prized belongings or family during the interview. He doesn't mention a whole house alarm system or a reinforced, fireproof and vault secured door on his room where the collection was maintained, he just gives up. He gives in and admits that he is powerless to defend himself, his family and his baseball cards. He puts them up for auction.
What Mr. Carter doesn't ever mention is that through his choice to be powerless, he can't provide protection for anyone else in his home or himself. Somehow he believes that removing the attractive nuisance will relieve the interest in his home that the bad guys have already shown. He has has parted with his most prized possesion in the misguided hope that he might now live in peace from evil. He admits he couldn't protect the cards and so abandons them but fails to see how the same reasoning means that he should abandon his wife or other family since he can't protect them either in the face of a very real threat.

Maybe Lionel Carter doesn't have to choose to be armed to protect his home and family and possesions. Perhaps there were other security methods that could have been implemented, as I mentioned before; reinforced storage for the card collection and/or a monitored home alarm system with panic buttons on his keychain that might have been implemented. But now the collection is gone, and I'm certain Mr. Carter's pain at the loss of his collection is not as bad as the pain of his helplessness.

It just didn't have to be that way.

Sadly, my spousal unit is in complete harmony with Mr. Carter's choice and she sufers the same disconnect between responisbililty and personal protection and reliance. Her way would be to give in and let the thugs and criminals take what they wanted, even to the cost of physical harm, in hopes that the threat would be satisfied and go away to allow her cower in her corner. This is so unacceptable to me and it makes me cranky!