Day by Day cartoon

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Blogging? When would I do that?

I'm certainly not getting time to do any writing from the cubicle! Since coming back from vacation, and since the .gov's fiscal year runs out in just 2 months, I've been busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger. Really. Its multiple sets of charts to be accomplished and coordinated and answers to gather from the contracting office, the configuration management office and the finance office before I can brief my charts and get the permissions needed to go forward.

We did get the BSU's passport ordered yesterday afternoon, paying the expedite fee with the hope of the passport being here in time for our cruise, late in October. Of course the .gov drone assured us that it would arrive in plenty of time…

Saw the Simpson's Movie last night too, since it was 100+ degrees and I couldn't stand the thought of mowing the over-long grass. The movie's cute, even funny in places but I admit to expecting more- something bigger & better than just an extended television episode. I already knew of course that Homer himself chides the audience for that exact irony- paying to watch something you can see on tv for free, but somehow I thought it might be better. If you already like the Simpsons, you will probably like the movie. If not, the movie won't make you a fan of the television show.

We did see No Reservations on Friday night. It’s a funny, touching and pleasant movie- a chick flick in other words. But, it stars Catherine Zeta Jones and that's enough reason for me to see a chick flick anytime. Its really a pretty good story. The characters are fun and believable and the entire story takes place in a few small blocks of New York City without giving me a Seinfeld rash. I'd recommend this one as a great date night movie.

I still owe some tales from our trip to the coast and I need to write a note to the grandkids to send with the fuzzy critters we picked out for them and tonight I must mow in spite of the temperature. Trash day's tomorrow and the clipping go into the trash can, so tonight's the night. I also have worked on the scooter's carburetor twice since the weekend, including a complete teardown last night. Its back to working- today, but my long term confidence in the carb's continued good behavior is pretty low.

I'm also reading a book, The Book of the Dead, just for fun with no requirement for a term paper or final exam. It’s a thrilling tale so far but I can't give away the ending because I haven't reached it yet! It is nice to just sit and read in the shade again, just for fun.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Well, duh-

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dang tired tonight!

I spent the day- in the sun, replacing the caulk on the two edge seams on the camper roof. After our return on Wednesday, I noticed that the caulk had pulled away from the aluminum edge flange and I decided it needed fixing.

So I bought the caulk rolls and new vinyl strips that cover the screws and a box of screws and set at it this morning. I spent most of the time removing the old caulk and cleaning up the surfaces before putting down the new stuff and putting the edge flanges back down.

Not complicated work but it was time consuming and I was in the direct sun for several hours. It left me pretty worn out. I've been on the recliner since dinner and had to have some coffee just to stay up this late. But I'm not staying up very much later than this!

I've still got to get the camper opened up, cleaned up and do some straightening work to the awning crossbar that got bent by supporting too much rain water during the camping trip. I think that's on tomorrow's agenda- as well as a grocery shopping trip, bill paying and fixing a non-idling scooter problem again.

I'll bet I'll be tired tomorrow night too...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Squared away on toolboxes

Regular readers might recall that not too many weeks ago I moved out the boy's mammoth sized toolbox from my workshop, leaving me in a tool storage quandary, partially remedied by the purchase of a Sears Craftsman roll around box. At the time, I couldn't afford the matching top box and so another small chest was pressed into service to keep my hand tools squared away.

Well, I've had a remarkable piece of good luck fall my way and my tool storage problems are resolved. The Thursday before going on vacation, I ventured out to lunch with buddies Kenny and Loc to the local Cash America pawn shop. After I passed by it once and after paying for the guitar stand and DVD that I couldn't live without, I saw a tool box. A blue tool chest, just the same color as my bottom chest. I had a look. It was the box that I needed and wanted from Sears but used and partially filled with tools! It was $129.95!

"Here's a 20 dollar bill, I'm putting this box on layaway!" Which is what I did. I put it away until after vacation and since I was home Wednesday and it was pay day and I had a bit of time, I went and finished paying for my new top box. Thirty minutes later it was installed in its rightful place in my shop.

Last night I spent a couple hours sorting out the tools that came with the box and installing my tools. The last owner was a sheetmetal worker/machinist of some kind because I inherited 6 large, new files, all with wood handles, a couple speedhandles, a couple ratchets and extensions and a drawer full of drill bits, taps, countersinks and two small precision measuring tools. I also have 4 new hammers- 3 ball peen hammers in different weights and a no-bounce hammer.

I'm very happy. This turned out to be a good deal. The tools turned out to be useful, the price was right and my shop seems bigger now that my smaller tool stack has replaced the outsized behemoth that seemed to fill the room. Here's my new, used box.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We're back!

That's right, we arrived home last morning about 12:45. I took another day today to rest up.

2093 miles round trip and it has been an adventure. As you might guess, there are great stories to tell but its going to take me a day or two. Stay tuned for exciting tales of our summer vacation!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Blogging from Pendleton Oregon

And thanks to the Holiday Inn Express for a really good night's sleep. I am up pretty early as the dog wanted to go out but now she's back sleeping on her bed and the BSU is still happily snoring in her bed. So I'm in the lobby where I could make a wireless connection. I tried last night from the room with no success but from here on the couch I have a good connection.

Anyway, yesterday's travel was remarkable for its pleasantness and the ease of geting out of town. We were up early, everything went into the truck without drama and we were on the road by 10:20. Normally we stay in Baker, Oregon but we had such a good drive that we went ahead and carried on down the road to Pendelton. The gal behind the ocunter here initially was trying to jack a room price up, at one point she was up to over $110 but eventually I asked her about a military veteran discount and that got her all turned around in the right direction and our room cost just $67! Much better!

We had a great dinner at Roosters and I really recommend the fried chicken. It was terrific. The spouse had the shrimp alfredo and like most restaurants, the serving was enought to easily feed 3 people. But the service was excellent and friendly and it was a much better dinner than we might have gotten at Denny's or a similar place.

There's just about 250 miles to travel today and check-in at the campground insn't until 4 so there's no hurry today to get across the state. We may go check out the historic bits of Pendleton before we get serious about driving again today.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

15th Arrest for Man Accused of Automobile Homicide

Let's see what's wrong with this picture…
The man is 23 years old.
He's been arrested 15 times since 2003- since he was 19 years old.
15 arrests in 4 years- that 4 times per year. How did he have time to drink in between all the overlapping court appearance he must have had to make?

His past arrests include possession of drugs, including marijuana and meth.

Somebody tell me why this jackass was still walking, (and driving) around so the he could get loaded and kill 2 people in his own car instead of being in jail? Put him in a cell and leave him there! Maybe if he had already been locked away securely 2 people would still be alive and the 3rd not facing permanent paralysis. I hope the lives of those 2 that died hang heavy on the last judge that turned this criminal loose on the street. Dumbass!

Road Trip!

And camping too! That's right, it is time for the annual sojourn to the breezy beaches of Oregon and the BSU's family weekend camping adventure. We leave tomorrow morning and will be returning a week from today. The good news is this year I will not be trying to write a term paper or studying for a final exam for a college term that ends the week I get back as I have done the past 3 summers.

I'll be ditching a little early today so I can take care of all the errands that need tending to before we pull out tomorrow. The neighbor Roger needs a key to the castle so that cats can be fed. I need to pick up more firewood. I need to pick up my graduation pictures that just arrived today. I need to make a trip to the base liquor store for beer, premixed margarita and pina colada for the evening's festivities. I have to get the truck washed, the windows cleaned and go by the bank. A trip to Wal-Mart is in my future for either a replacement percolator coffee pot glass top or exchange of the one I bought a couple weeks ago that turned out to be missing the glass bubbler top. Then there will be clothes to finish washing, drying and packing. I'll have to pack a tool bag and figure out if I'm taking guns and if so, which ones. The scooter needs parked in the shop and finally, after the truck is loaded, the camper hooked up and the dog situated in the back seat of the truck, the alligators can be loosed into the moat and the tigers loosed inside the grounds to keep strangers and bad guys at bay. I'm still deciding if I'll pack a guitar and which one even if the BSU is trying to dissuade me from showing off/embarrassing myself. Packing both guitars seems a bit much and they do take up a lot of space so I'll have to figure that out tonight.

This year's trip will be more relaxed since I'm not still in school as I mentioned. We also are extending our trip by a day or two and hopefully traveling to southern Oregon to spend a day at Crater Lake and the surrounding area. The pictures sure look nice on the internet and so I'm looking forward to visiting a part of the world I've not yet seen. I may still be blogging from the trip as I'll pack along the laptop and find me some wi-fi goodness for some occasional connectivity though I can't promise hourly updates.

So- much to do today. Then its 2 days to the coast, leaving tomorrow and arriving at the coast on Thursday. We'll spend the night in Baker City, Oregon or LeGrand and then hit the road Thursday morning to travel the Columbia River Gorge into Portland and then over to Tillamook to the campground.

I'm not ready but I am so ready!

Weekend update-

Hey, its only Tuesday morning and you still want to know about my weekend, right? No? Well ya get it anyway! Saturday was pretty easy, really. I got to play my guitars for a few hours in the morning and I did some shop cleanup and I ground the first 3 pound bag of coffee beans into measured servings for the shop coffee bar. My buddy Loc came by for a visit and while we sat in the shade, he told me the story of his escape from Viet Nam in 1981 and his perilous journey coming to America at the tender age of 19. Its a pretty engrossing tale and I loved hearing it. Later the spouse and I headed out to see that lousy movie that I mentioned yesterday. I still don't think any more of it today!

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest and as much as I might have wanted to rest, it didn't end up in my agenda. I mowed the yard pretty early, before the hottest day of the year so far got heated up well. Listening to the Oracle of Murray while mowing, I concluded that I had positive proof that our God is kind and benevolent. The proof is that God elected to make weeds the same color as lawn grass instead of say, making them purple. As such, I can mow and water everything in my yard and from the curb, it looks pretty good even if its not all grass growing neatly and orderly.

I wanted to brag a minute on my yard tools too. My Murray lawnmower, purchased in 1998 at a significant discount from Lowes because it was returned by a previous owner, continues to run every week with no complaint. It doesn't burn oil and except for a sorta annual oil change, the oil level never drops or needs topped up. It might be still using its original spark plug… The paper air cleaner might be original too but I do give it a blow out with the air compressor a couple times a year. My weedeater goes back even further, to the spring of 1990 and it too was purchased at a deep discount as a returned item at a local catalog store. This is a typical, 49cc two-stroke weedeater and except for occasionally tightening a couple screws that vibrate loose and the loss of the heat shield over the muffler and the routine installation of more trimmer string, I never have to tinker with this trusty device. It’s a two-stroke for crying out loud and I can't remember the last time I installed a new spark plug! Both of these yard tools are remarkable in their longevity and reliability and their perseverance in spite of my lazy maintenance practices. I hope I don't jinx them by bragging about them!

Anyway, I had a leaking secondary water line that was getting worse and leaving a muddy spot in the yard and that was bringing bees and wasps so I decided I better fix that little problem before leaving it to fail completely while we are away on vacation. Of course, the leak was up on the hill and right next to the shop's concrete slab and directly in the sun's now overbearing presence. And digging out to get to the pipes wouldn't have been much of a problem- except for the #^*&^<#@ aspen tree roots that have run out and turned at the slab and were now wrapped over, around and through the 3 pipes I was working around! I hate those blasted roots! I spent more time clearing them out than I did finding and fixing the pipe.

Before I got done though, buddy Brian showed up to show off his just purchased BMW GS1150 Adventurer motorcycle. Brian's been lusting for one of these big monsters for a couple years and he finally found one he could afford and even here in our Area Code, as he was looking at one on the East Coast and he was booking airfare to go get it when this one turned up. This bike is one of those that you could fuel up, (8 gallons!) pack up the luggage boxes, plug in the GPS and head off for Tierra del Fuego or the Northern Territories. Its way more motorcycle than I would ever want but Brian is quite enthralled with his monster bike. I must say the whirring and buzzing sounds of the interconnected, ABS brake system kicking into action every time a brake lever or pedal is pushed is pretty bizarre.

So after Brian headed out for a ride, I took the spouse out for lunch, stopped at Home Depot for the plumbing parts I couldn't find in my shop and returned to digging and cussing the roots in my muddy hole. I finished that project with a pressure check- no leaks! And filled the hole back in and raked everything flat. I even figured out that the sprinkler line that runs along that part of the yard really does work, reducing my need to move hoses and portable sprinklers around. I can't remember why I thought that system was busted but it works and that's a good thing.

Before I got to sit down for the evening I still had to grind two more 3 pound bags of coffee beans into pre-measured bags for the coffee bar at work. I've front loaded the bar so it won't run out while I'm away on vacation. And one of my grinders is busted so it took longer than usual to get 6 pounds ground up into 1.5 ounce packages.

Somewhere along in there I visited with Dad and eventually I got to head into the house, get a shower and just sit in front of the laptop until bedtime.

Monday, July 16, 2007

'Torture porn' hits a bloody wall

That's the headline on CNN this morning regarding movies like Captivity which opened this weekend to a poor showing in dollars at the box office. CNN questions if movie-goers are getting burned out on these "kidnap-torture-kill" movies that have hit the big screen over the past couple years.

Let me tell you something. If all these movies are as terrible as Captivity, maybe movie-goers are just getting tired of lame plots, implausible storylines and unrealistic behavior to the point of incredularity in their movies! We went to see Captivity this weekend. Not our usual movie fare but it was what was showing. It sucked! It stunk like fresh dog poo stuck in your sneaker tread and tracked into the house onto Mom's carpet! It was that bad.

If you really needed a high-tech dungeon built into the basement of your deceased parents home in New York City, complete with cameras, remote control drawers, doors and lockers, high decibel speaker system and knock-out gas sprayers and a multi-monitor control room- who do you call? Is there a construction company in the Big Apple called Dungeons Are Us? Can you call multiple contractors, show them your plans then take bids on getting the work done on time and below budget?

The heroine in this story changes clothes more often while in captivity than most people do in a week. And usually after she's been knocked unconscious by the sleeping gas. Presumably her captor is changing her clothes and fixing her hair for her before she wakes up. Do you know how hard it is to undress and re-dress an unconscious adult? It ain't easy.

Our little escaping fashion model turned heroine also pulls the cables from 3 or 4 junction boxes on the wall to turn out the lights! She doesn't grab the box shut-off handles to make it go dark- she rips the cables out of the top of the box! Imagine the strength of that girl!

It got almost laughable when the captive girl and her (supposedly) fellow captive are first strapped down facing each other and she is forced to watch as the captor extracts a molar from the male captive's mouth with pliers, the pain and blood then stirring the both of them into a romantic, passionate bit of lovemaking immediately after the extraction. First of all- yeah, right, that's going to happen. And, secondly- uck!

So, I'm sorry. This movie is lame, badly acted and ludicrous in its story. It has to be the worst movie I've seen in a very long time. If its representative of the genre, the entire bunch of them deserve to do badly at the box office and be sent to DVD clearance bins.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Look what I found-

So I'm sitting here browsing through the KSL classified ads, just for fun mind you 'cause I've got no money to spend. And just look at the two neat little motorcycles I found for sale, a 1981 Honda CB125 and its 2-stroke cousin, a 1975 Kawasaki 100. Both of these bikes looks as new and tidy as the day they came off the boat from Japan and they really are neat reminders of how simple motorcycling used to be.

I'd buy either one of these bikes, or both if I could to ride just for the fun of it and to save them from being banged up or misused by another owner that might not appreciate their terrific character.

[UPDATE] I don't know why I'm on such a small displacement cycle roll right now but they seem to be popping up all over. I'm guessing people are rolling bikes out into the sunshine from the back of every barn and garage due to high fuel costs. But for whatever reason, there seems to be a bunch of neat little motorcycles for sale near me. Here's a real rarity, a 1975 Hodaka Road Toad for sale not 45 miles from the house. I really need to start a small bike museum for fun machines like this!

Aren't those two three bikes neat?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Nobel Peace Prize holder wants to "Kill Bush"

This one article explains exactly what is wrong with the barking moonbat lefties of the world. First, this Irish woman Betty Williams comes to America to demand the impeachment of our US president. Second, she admits to wanting to kill him, "Right now, I could kill George Bush," she said at the Adam's Mark Hotel and Conference Center in Dallas. "No, I don't mean that. How could you nonviolently kill somebody? I would love to be able to do that." Then she blames the unhappiness of all the world's Muslims on President Bush, "The Muslim world right now is suffering beyond belief," she said. "Unless the president of the United States is held responsible for what he's doing and what he has done, there's no one in the Muslim world who will forgive him."

And she encourages healing and strength at this meeting where she was speaking by insisting everyone in attendance get up and hug one another as if that will fix the problems of the world and show unity for her desire to kill the president.

This woman gets no respect from me. Ever. The half of the audience that gave her a standing ovation for her stupid and ill-conceived ideas and poor understanding of the American impeachment process- ditto for them. Don't ask me to ever respect the Nobel Peace Prize as a measure of value when the committee will give it to a dumbass moonbat like this woman. Dammitall this story makes me angry!

Scooter wiring update

Regarding that dead battery problem I was having with the scooter yesterday- I put everything back to stock. It works perfectly.


Does anybody want to buy a set of headlight relays?

Milford Flats fire update

This fire is what's on the news here in Utah, every network and every news program. Hey, its over 500 square miles that has been burnt or is still burning. Firefighters have been brought in from all over the country. As the fire begins to wind down, the economic impact is beginning to be considered by everyone affected, principally the ranchers that have lost unknown numbers of cattle and huge amounts of their grazing lands, not only for the immediate months but for the next couple of years as the land gets reseeded and regrown.

And one truck driver needs a new truck-  For 15 years, Fred Gonzales has trucked the nation's interstates. He told us, "I've seen a truck crash right in front of my eyes. I've seen snow squalls where you couldn't see right in front of you for miles and miles, but I've never seen anything like I've seen on 7-7 of ‘07."

What he saw on that supposedly lucky day was the Milford Flat fire, a solid wall of smoke across I-15. Gonzales pulled out his cell phone and snapped some pictures. "There wasn't anybody telling me nothing, to come through, nor to stop, nothing," he says.

Gonzales drove into the cloud of soot and smoke, and it quickly became a dangerous ride. "The fire was coming out of everywhere. I was just hoping the truck wouldn't die on me while I was going through the flames, and it didn't," he says.

With his truck on fire, Gonzales had no choice than to push ahead. Amazingly, he escaped without injury while his diesel was consumed by flames. He says, "I guess I was lucky ‘cuz I'm still alive. My truck wasn't so lucky."

Make sure to look at all the pictures, they tell quite a tale.

Boat Owner Makes Costly Mistake


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Scooter update- Electrons are loose!

This isn't good news, the battery's deader a giant squid washed up on a Australian beach right now. Seems my last "improvement" did in fact have a shortcoming… I'm pretty certain I bragged last week about finally getting my headlights and relays working in such a way that they were powered straight off the battery and the AC feed wire that normally powers the lights had been capped off. After that mod, the LED voltmeter on the dash began only showing a "charged" green indicator light occasionally and instead was only showing the lesser voltage, amber lights.

I did take a digital voltmeter to the battery when I discovered this apparent voltage shortfall and the fancy digital instrument read that I always had more than 12 volts across the battery when the engine was running. It moved from 12.48 volts at idle to ~12.78 volts when the engine was revved up. So, I was certain that my charging system was still working and sufficient to keep my battery charged.

Not so! Dammitall! I took a errand run at lunch today and coming out of the store, the starter button didn't do a dang thing towards causing internal combustion to take place. Nothing! So, I popped the scoot up on to its centerstand and used the kickstarter and with a couple kicks hyrodocarbon fuels were being converted into energy and I could return to work. It’s a bit of a pain to use the kickstarter since you can't just reach back while on the wheels to use the kickstarter lever. You must use the centerstand to get it out of the way of the lever. I guess it’s a real good thing that I installed that (formerly optional) bit of equipment the last time I had the belt cover off.

So either my digital voltmeter lies and is inaccurate or some other portion of the charging system has failed. Or, I need to find another way to re-introduce the AC power that has been capped off back into the charging system. Time to go talk to my electrical engineer buddy, Loc!

Monday, July 09, 2007

This is working out ok...

I figured something out about blogging via email from the job that has made things much better. By resizing my email window by just a little bit smaller than full size, the formatting and line breaks turn out just fine. All the posts that I made earlier today did NOT require me to reformat them from home tonight. The hyperlinks stand alone instead of being embedded to the paragraph and a word or phrase but I can live with that and I'll bet you can too. Maybe I'll figure out how to add them in through the email but for now, this will work.

I can't read or respond to comments from the job but at least I don't need to re-accomplish my posts every night.

Old dog- new tricks

I mentioned that we took along our elderly dog Sandy during the weekend camping trip. Sandy's a sweet dog, a Hungarian Visla and although her actual age is unknown, she is obviously getting up in age. She has lived at our house now for nearly 5 years and her former owner had rescued her and made her his best friend for 6 or 7 years before she came to live with us. Her muzzle has turned nearly white and her hearing has failed over the past year- she's deaf as a stump these days.

But she seems to be a happy dog with simple needs and although she doesn't really understand the whole camping thing, she goes along with it because the spouse and I are there and usually available to scratch her ears and rub her back. One of her most favorite things, one thing that really gets her excited and animated is her once-a-day Milk Bone. She loves her crunchy chew biscuit and she gets one every evening. These are her treats and she happily crunches up her treat in the hallway corner every evening when I pass her one from the big red biscuit bucket.

Of course when we went camping I took along enough Milk Bones for her evening's treat. On Friday night, surprisingly, she didn't want her treat and she left it in her bowl. That was pretty unusual but sometimes when she's nervous she will pass up her regular kibble and occasionally her biscuit too. On Saturday morning I got up, went out to make coffee and then sat down at the picnic table to enjoy my coffee. Sandy was with me and we already had gone for her morning walk. When I sat down, I put her sleeping pad down too so she wouldn't have to lay on the dirt and I put the left over Milk Bone down, thinking she might enjoy a morning treat.

Sandy Dog took that crunchy biscuit in her mouth and then started walking around the area to the extent of the reach of her tie-out cable. She paced and retreated and searched the entire area. Finally, she selected a perfect spot and started digging! She dug a hole, test fitting her bone for length a couple times and then, when she was satisfied with her hole, she dropped in the treat and laboriously covered it up with dirt and twigs.

She buried her bone! Just like a real dog! It was the most curious thing I have ever seen her do. Once it was buried she seemed satisfied and went and laid down for a rest. On Sunday morning she did it again after I dug up her bone just to see if she would remember it. She repeated the previous day's search for a perfect spot and then dug a new hole and ever so carefully buried it for safekeeping.

It was really quite a remarkable performance for a tired old dog. The BSU and I had a real laugh at her wilderness camping behavior!

Air conditioning good-

Being too small to cool the room- bad. That's right, the good news is that I bought a second-hand window air conditioner from a local GI last week, before leaving town. Yesterday afternoon, after removing my tired box fan and installing my new AC unit in its place and fitting a new piece of sheathing material to fill in the window hole, I finally determined that the unit is much too small to make anything but a dent in my shop's temperature.

Its too small. By at least half, the unit I bought is too small. Grumble! Now I have to resell this one and locate a bigger machine that still fits in my budget, (I'm off to Oregon with the BSU on vacation later this month, remember?) What a hot pain in my butt this is!

I still think a window mount swamp cooler would work just swell to cool the shop but sadly, even used these things cost more money that a refrigerant powered air conditioning  machine.

I need more cold air dammitall! How can I practice my guitar if its 90+ degrees in my practice area?                                                                                                       

Smoggy today

As I mentioned in a previous post, parts of central Utah are on fire, parts that are almost as big as entire states back there on that cluttered eastern portion of our country. And that fire is creating smoke, tons and tons of it. And that same smoke is causing the skies to be smoggy and the visibility severely limited here, a couple hundred miles from where the fire burns. It is amazing just how poor the visibility is right now.

I ran a short errand at lunch and driving off base, headed north, I was shocked to discover the level of visibility depleting smoke there was in our valley. Even the nearest mountains, just 4 to 5 miles east of where I was, were nearly invisible. You could see their bulk and shape through the smoke but you couldn't really see the mountains.

Its mighty ugly out there today.

Mayor Godfrey says "No" to selling golf course

Well, its official, Mayor Godfrey is running for reelection in November and surprise- he wants to be electable. Which means he has (probably correctly) scrutinized the tea leaves and decided not to throw the city's support of developer Chris Peterson's plans to build an upscale community and gondola on our city's connection to the mountain that defines our eastern border. Peterson wants to buy Mt. Ogden golf course and fancify it for the benefit of a few moneyed individuals that might choose to live there but trail access restrictions were just too real a possibility. And thankfully, Mayor Godfrey has said "No" to selling the property to Peterson. Mayor Godfrey just cleared a major obstacle towards his third term with this decision. Good for him!

Massive Wildfire Grows to 283,000 Acres

Utah is really hitting the front page of the national level news this week and this time its for the largest wildfire in Utah's history. The officials are calling the size of it 283,000+ acres, or 440 square miles! This fire has closed our two major interstates this weekend making travel impossible for some and lethal for some others as there has been one motorcycling couple struck and killed by a hit-and-run Subaru driver. All throughout Utah, even here in my part of the state, the smoke has been reduced visibility and is causing breathing problems for some folks.

"We're fast approaching 300,000 acres, if we're not already there," said Mike Melton, fire management officer for Utah's Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. "I was on the initial attack of this fire in the air, and this fire just ran away from us. We couldn't put a dent in it."

"This is a monstrous fire," said state fire information officer Jim Springer. And it shows no signs of slowing down.

Anyway, this is a horrific fire and its not under control yet. Worse, its not the only fire burning right now, its just the biggest one catching everyone's attention. Make sure to check out the photos and videos at the links. There are some pretty dramatic photos, so check them out.

Woman Arrested for Not Watering Lawn

Here's a great story today from behind the Zion Curtain. One of our uniformed finest has made it to the front page on Drudge Report. I'll fix the formatting tonight from home but this story was too good not to share with everyone early.

When Betty Perry heard a knock at her door and saw a police officer standing outside, she never imagined she would end up in jail. That's what happened, though, when the officer tried enforcing Orem's nuisance ordinance against neglected yards.

"I didn't want to tell him anything until I talked to a lawyer or my son. I wanted to see what he'd tell me to do. I've never had any experience before with the law, ever in my life," she said.

As the enforcement officer started writing her a ticket, she tried going back in her house. That's when the officer tried to handcuff her for refusing to give her name and resisting the ticket. She tripped on the steps, scraping up her nose and elbows, leaving blood on her door, her porch and her clothes. Perry was handcuffed, fingerprinted and put in a jail cell, where she sat for more than an hour.

"I laid down in there. I never seen the inside of a jail before. I didn't know how it looked, I was really scared," she says.

When police brass learned what happened, she was immediately released.
Orem police spokesman Lt. Doug Edwards said, "Every officer in his career has situations they find themselves getting into, at the end of it they scratch their head and say, ‘gosh, how did this happen?' Today, I think, was one of those days. Clearly there were some other options available."

Do ya think?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

What a trip in the Way-Back Machine-

Tonight for supper the BSU convinced me to go to Carl's Jr. for burgers. And, instead of my usual Diet Coke, I wanted something different to drink. I thought about lemonade but then- then I saw Orange Fanta!

I really don't know the last time I had and Orange Fanta soda but it used to be a favorite when I was a young teenager. While we ate our burgers, I told stories that came flashing back to me with the taste of that tangy soda of my young teenaged life. Orange Fanta was one of the pops we could get from the only soda machine in our little town of Dublin, Indiana and me, and my buddy Danny Bryant and my brothers Tim and Mark used to drink plenty of it out of Mr. Doll's Grocery's machine. The awning in front of Doll's was where we met, hung out, rested between and after our yard mowing jobs and its where we drank Fanta.

Except of course, the summer we drank Sprite until we thought to burst so we could collect bottle cap liners for the Cox powered Sprite racers that were available for a huge, (seemingly) number of cap liners. Somehow, we drank enough and scrounged enough Sprite caps to get 3 of those noisy little racers in our house.

But tonight it was Orange Fanta and the memories that came back for a little while were a real treat. I had a pretty darned good childhood and I was reminded of the good times tonight for the cost of a soda. Good times.

Where've I been? Camping!

That's right, the BSU and our elderly dog, Sandy hit the road for the mountains this weekend for some cooler temperatures and some real peace and quiet. It is July in Utah, so hot temperatures are to be expected and this year has really been a cooker. Local temps have been reaching into 3 digit levels for most of the past 2 weeks and the thermometer in my truck has read 107 and 109 degrees in the afternoons on my way home from work last week. So a trip to cool off was definitely in order!

So, we went to the mountains. To Shady Dell Campground on the Mirror Lake Scenic Highway. We liked Shady Dell when we stayed there a year ago and we were pleased to find another site waiting for us when we arrived Friday afternoon.

We sat. We watched the antics of one very acrobatic Anna's hummingbird who introduced himself with a number of up close and personal inspections while we sat under the awning. A Western Tanager laid claim to the trees and ground near our site and so we got a wonderful view of it as it went about its business.

I read a book! This shouldn't be news as I used to be a huge recreational reader but after 3 years of school, I've kind of lost the habit. Camping is a great excuse to sit down and read, just for the fun of it and that's what I did. I read Knights of the Black and White. Its a story of the knights and Crusades and the occupation of Jeruselem by the Europeans. Its about the secret society of knights that go to Jeruselem searching for their ancient order's long-lost treasures and documents. It is a ripping good story and I read all 749 pages this weekend, enjoying every page. This book really digs into a set of interesting and believeable characters, a part of ancient history I don't know much about and a storyline that has plenty of twists and turns to keep the reading interesting and entertaining. I liked this book a bundle and I'm going to be watching for the next episode in the trilogy Standard of Honor when it comes out later this year.

Saturday we took the drive all the way up the scenic highway and I can tell you, this is a beautiful drive. This road is the only way through this part of the Uinta mountains and there are numerous campgrounds, fishing lakes and pullouts where you can stop and take in some really remarkable scenery. The high point is at Bald Mountain and the pass is 10,739 feet above sea level. Yes, we saw some snow! We drove up to the Bear River store, bought ice and ice cream for a break then turned around and drove back, sharing the road with multitudes of other RVs, motorcycles ans sightseerers. Its a beautiful drive and I recommend it if you want to see the beauty that is Utah.

We slept in this morning then had a great camp breakfast and afterwards we broke camp, cleaned up and headed home. It was 79 degrees when we left camp and 2 hours later at home it was 95 degrees. Except that there's no showers, I certainly could have stayed longer!

Anyway, a couple pictures from this morning.

We need to more of this!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Its the 4th of July, What did I do?

Not much really.

Last night I took the scooter apart, (again) and re-installed the headlight relays from Eastern Beaver that I bought last summer and couldn't make work properly. This time, after my buddy Loc, (a trained electrical engineer) and I perused the wiring schematic for a bit, I got it working correctly.

The problem with scooters like mine is that the power to the headlights is AC not DC. And installing the headlight relays in the typical fashion makes the headlights either flash or go out when the power is applied. Yesterday we figured out a different method of wiring the trigger and when I tried that method, it worked! So now my headlights are 100% bright all the time, don't dim at idle and even better, the battery is still charging as it should. Good deal!

Today I booked and paid for our airplane tickets for our trip and cruise in October. Dad- we'll be staying until Wednesday and will need a ride to the airport. I also learned to play The Star Spangled Banner on my guitar- not as exciting as Jimi Hendrix's version but recognizable just the same. I cleaned out the shooting bench and gear from the back of the dusty truck bed and hosed it out, unrolled the camper awning and decided it didn't need scrubbing and listened to a bit of the Raptors game on the radio while drinking beer in the shade of my carport.

I even watched a couple hours of Mythbusters this afternoon when it got really hot outside.

Tomorrow its back to work and then Friday the BSU and I are taking the camper someplace cooler for a couple days!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Trying to catch up

Its become apparent to me that there is just no way I can live my life and blog about it in nearly real-time too. The best I can do is offer compilations and Readers Digest condensed versions of all the good stuff that goes on from day to day. Real-life intrudes but I'm liking it too, so sometimes the blogging will just have to take a back seat. That's the way its been for the past couple weeks anyway. Not being able to properly blog from the cubicle further complicates my ability to keep you enthralled with the mundanity that is my humble existence.

But at any rate, things are good. Getting much better now that the muscle spasm in my back has subsided allowing me to walk upright and get a decent night's sleep without crying. Its been a combination of pain meds, muscle relaxers, heat and cold packs and a trip to a new chiropractor last Friday that finally has gotten me standing upright without grimacing. I'm back to the chiro's office this afternoon for x-ray reviews and another adjustment. After that, I'll be accessing how often I need to be seeing him and how much money I need to spend for long term improvements. I'm about 90% well right now and that is a huge improvement from this time last week.

To preclude the posture problems while playing my guitars that caused the spasm, both of my guitars are now equipped with straps. Using them has been a whole 'nother adventure in guitar practice. I've never before tried to play while standing up, and I'm still not as comfortable as when I'm sitting but at least now its possible to stand. I did get a few hours of practice in on Saturday and Sunday. I still have a long way to go, strumming in rhythm baffles me and I'm still no good at keeping up with chord changes but I am getting better. I can read music better than I ever have before and I'm starting to learn to read tablature too but picking up any song book other than one that has the word "Beginning" in the title still leaves me completely lost. Still playing and making music, (sort of music) is fun and challenging and its keeping me thinking and working.

Which leads me to another nagging question floating around my household the past couple weeks- that is, should I begin my Masters Degree program... The BSU has given me the go-ahead and is even promoting the idea more than me. Class starts in just about 1 month. Its expensive and this time I wouldn't be getting paid by the Montgomery GI Bill as I did previously. My company will reimburse me, after I submit a passing grade at the end of the term but I suspect that means I would have to cover the first 2 terms at $1000 each and let the reimbursement for the first term cover the third term. And it would be 2 years or more if I just take 1 class each term. I don't know if I have the motivation. I know I should go ahead with it and I actually liked going to school before but it is a grind that I'm just not sure I'm ready to recommit to. We'll see. Does anybody else want to pay? That might encourage me.

There's a vacation coming up later this month, the annual haul-the-camper-to-the-Oregon-coast for the BSU's family camping weekend. Its actually a pretty good weekend but it sure is a long drive and it will be expensive than ever with the cost of fuel being what it is. The good news is this year I won't be writing a term paper at the picnic table or cramming for a final exam as I have the past 3 years. I'm also hoping to take an extra day on the way home to see Crater Lake and some other parts of the country I've not yet visited.

That's it for now. The BSU and I have been to a number of movies in the past few weeks but they deserve a separate post. I've got to make some phone calls and see if we are going to a Raptors game tonight and if so, how many folks are going along. Then I've got to buy the right number of tickets and still get to my chiro appointment on time this afternoon. I've also got to gather some links for some of the local news stories that bear my attention in the next day or two.

Adam clinches financing to complete A700 certification

Cool! This is more good news for my adopted hometown. I wrote some months ago about Adams and even wrote a term paper about the company and its efforts to bring their high-tech jet into production. Its encouraging to see that they are continuing to press forward to bring aircraft production to the city's growing list of firms producing and hiring in Ogden.
Adam Aircraft has secured $105 million of financing that paves the way for the US developer to complete certification and accelerate production of the A700 very light jet and ramp up its A500 piston-powered sibling to full-scale production.

This capital, offered by new and existing investors, marks the third and probably final round of funding for Adam. "It allows us to aggressively pursue our product development and production growth plans," says company founder and chief executive Rick Adam.

The company has secured around 400 orders to date with the A700 accounting for the bulk of these sales. "We are transitioning from a research and development company into a production company and are working towards an automotive production process that will allow us to mass produce our aircraft," says the company.

Assembly lines could be established across its bases in Ogden, Utah, as well as Denver and Pueblo in Colorado.
It should be pretty interesting once they get production underway. Their jet engine supplier, Richards Manufacturing is just across the parking lot of the industrial park, so the engines supply shouldn't be a problem.

[NOTE: Posting this via email so linkage and formatting might be wonky. I can't edit or fix it from the cubicle any longer so if its busted, bear with me until I can fix it from home.UPDATE: Apologies, I tanked the link to the article. I can't find it right now. I'll keep looking.]