Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I really like it! It was 47 miles home last night from the dealer and after dinner at Red Lobster while we waited for the traffic on the interstate to subside. The scoot easily did 74 mph on the interstate and gained sppeed climbing the hill coming out of Weber Canyon that would have been almost unclimbable on my 150cc scoot.
Its smooth and accelerates from a stop like it has an electric motor. The mirrors don't shake. The headlight is terrific bright with an excellent beam and it lights up the road with great clarity and not much glare to oncoming traffic. Putting gas in it is a bit of a pain because the fuel filler is in the center hump between the floorboards, under a cover and down in a hole about 3 inches. SO putting in fuel the first time took a little fiddling. The handlebars were leaned back a little to far but I fixed that when I got home and adjusted the mirrors so I could see out of them.
It takes a tool to unscrew the dipstick and oil fill cap. The coolant reservoir is under the hood in front of the windshield but I have no idea how to access it. I also can not find the battery! I looked under covers under the seat and everywhere I could see from the outside tonight and could not find a battery anyplace. I'll be glad when the owners manual gets here from the dealer so I can find out how to maintain and service this critter.
I didn't yet buy a factory service manual but I will be soon enough. I have ordered the first bits of chrome for the Sleek Black Beauty, first, for the front, this bumperand for the back, this license plate holder with a center LED brake light. The original plate holder is cheap & tacky and holds 4 cheesy reflectors that need to go. Dragon Custom has a bunch of neat parts for the Morphous and I'll probably be sending my lunch money to them over the coming months.
So, I'm happy. This scoot is so much faster, smoother, quieter, (too quiet) than my Phantom that its hard to explain. I expect it will also be much more reliable which was the real problem I had with the Phantom. I expect to spend far more time riding and polishing on this scoot than I have spent over the past 3 years fixing and tinkering on the old one.
And, it has a name. Its going to be the Sleek Black Beauty. That's a partial reference to Car Talk's, Tommy Magliozzi's 65 AMC Ambassador convertible. Once I get some better photos, I think you will agree that the name is perfect.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Or, I could if the clouds would lift long enough for the mountains to be visible. Right this minute it is too cloudy to see the mountains just 6 miles to the east of me. Its about 45 degrees outside and not much better inside the building.
I suppose its finally time to drain and cover the swamp cooler for the season and start thinking about winter.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Its been a real treat to just sit and read for the fun of it again this summer. Its something I've always done since grade school but my degree chase somehow sucked the habit out of me for a few years. Its nice to get back to reading for fun.
The first of the two books I read was Amazonia by James Rollins. Its a tale of adventure in the deepest reaches of the Amazon Basin with a group of researchers and soldiers trying to locate a source of a terrible disease outbreak that is spreading through out Brazil and into the US. Behind the researchers are a team of cutthoats being paid to track, kill and capture whatever solutions there might be to the outbreak. In front of the researchers are giant locusts, hybrid creatures with legs like frogs and the mouths and teeth like piranha that not only fill the rivers but can climb trees and cross land and 120 foot long crocodiles. There is danger at every step and in spite of a number of the party dieing from the hazards, a terrific secret is discovered, a tribe of people living in a hidden valley with a giant, ancient tree as the center of their culture.
There is, of course, a clash of cultures, a battle with the paid bandits, one of which is a beautiful, naked headshrinker and more surprises that involve the massive tree. Its quite an adventure. The book is fast paced and exciting due to its exotic location and a combination of believable characters. I was reminded of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea for its bigger than possible creatures and bizarre events that are just to big to be possible. But it is exciting and readable and I recommend it.
Next, I read The Righteous Men by Sam Bourne. Think of this book as The DaVinci Code but this time taking place in New York City and the secrets being revealed are part of Jewish & Kabalah tradition instead of the Catholic secrets of the DaVinci Code. There are believable characters and a fast-paced action that is all revealed in the final pages, just in time to prevent the end of the world.
I read it in a weekend, without feeling like I was struggling. Its pretty good, filled with riddles and chases and hidden meanings. I really did like this story and recommend it if you like adventure stories. This one was a good one!
Saturday, September 22, 2007
So today, with the BSU's permission, I put down a deposit on a 2007 Yamaha Morphous scooter! Its not new, its actually a trade-in with 437 miles on it. For the fact that its used instead of new, I sacrifice a warranty but save about $1200 from new price.
On Monday I'll be talking to the credit union and I hope I can get my new scooter home in another day or two. And then, I'll be selling my Phantom!
Friday, September 21, 2007
PROVO, Utah (AP) -- The owner of a grocery chain said his 9-year-old daughter persuaded him to stop selling alcoholic beverages and cigarettes at one of his 11 stores.http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=1843160
"She asked me why I was selling drugs at my store," Paul Ream said of daughter Shyanne. "That's when I decided to remove the alcohol and tobacco because I felt we are out of alignment with the values of the community."
The store has problems with beer. Shoppers have placed beer bottles in root-beer cartons to fool clerks at the cash register. "Beer is one of the most shoplifted items in our grocery store, next to pregnancy kits and batteries," grocery manager Tim Norris said. The store began asking everyone buying root beer to show identification. Beer and alcohol account for less than 1 percent of monthly sales.
"We make about $1,500 a month from beer and alcohol. But our sister store in Springville does about $1,000 in beer sales on a Sunday alone," Ream said.
First of all, note the location of the store and this story- Provo, Utah. Proud home of Brigham Young University, ground zero breeding ground of proud Mormon missionaries and young women striving to become a Mrs. of a returned missionary after he completes his mandatory obligation to the church's global outreach program. Provo is a white bread town, spilling over with squeaky-clean college students sworn to celibacy, temperance and an obligation to report fellow student"s misbehavior to the authorities. Those folks in Provo that aren't BYU students are former BYU students who stayed and began propagating offspring close to their alma mater. Got that?
So how funny is it that the two biggest shoplifting items from this store are beer that's forbidden and home, (or dorm) pregnancy kits?
Shoppers have switched beer bottles for root beer bottles in root beer cartons? Hah! Root beer is a very popular Mormon approved soft drink, so smuggling out some real beer in a church approved carton is easy to imagine.
And what a concerned daddy Paul Ream appears to be, doesn't he? His little girl asks him to remove the "drugs" from his store and so he complies. He takes out two high maintenance items that total less than 1% of his sales... Awww. That action's just the simplest business decision ever! Consider, he has to keep expensive to operate and maintain coolers to keep that forbidden beer cool and he has to secure the tobacco products and pay staff to leave their regular tasks to unlock, select the right box or carton of smokes, return to the checkout stand and verify the age of the purchaser. Those are all steps that slow down the checkout process for everybody in line.
I"m no business major but if somebody asked me to decide what to take out of my store to improve my cost/sales ratio, those 1% items that take up an inordinate amount of space, electricity and employee time would be first to go! I wonder how readily Daddy would comply with little Shyanne's request if his beer and tobacco sales were 10% or 20% of his sales? What will he do when his dear little girl turns 14 and decides that meat is bad and wants that part off the store redesigned as a vegan lunch counter? How about it Paul? Will you take out the fresh, chilled and frozen meat departments when your little girl goes meatless?
Finally, what about that dumbass name, Shyanne? Isn't that a perfect example of the mindset of the liberal Provo mom? Its obvious that whoever named that girl, as a baby, liked the name Cheyenne, which as we all know is the name of a native american indian tribe. But mom didn't want her little girl saddled with any connection to something she doesn't know anything about and didn't have a connection to, so she kept the name and made up a spelling to make her unique. Mostly Cajun would love it!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I wouldn't have been that busy, and I had time for blogging over the weekend but there's no electricity or internet or even a cell phone signal where we went camping. So instead of blogging, I rested, read and fished. I'll come back to that in a minute.
But I have been busy with the job and the job hunting. There is actually no shortage of work in the area that I can consider and might be considered for, so I've been busy tweaking my resume to adjust its focus depending on the job and writing cover letters that are applicable to each possible job and sending them out into the wild. I had my first interview yesterday… It seemed to go well but its been 8 years since I had a formal employment interview so I don't have much to compare against. I did get a haircut Sunday after getting home so I looked presentable. It seems that every day brings another avenue to pursue for work and right now I feel like I'm just scratching the surface of the potential. If only this dang current job wasn't occupying my time and attention for hours at a time!
But in spite of all the activity going on around us, the spouse and I took the dog and the camper and got out of town for the weekend for some down time. We went up the Mirror Lake Parkway and made Shady Dell campground our home for the weekend, like we've done numerous times now. We really like the peace and quiet and relative wildness of the campground compared to many of the more manicured campgrounds and except for being to close to the highway noise, its just wonderful.
After setting up camp Friday afternoon, I set out to go find a fishing lake. Driving the truck up a winding, gravel road, I pretty quickly had to abandon it as the road turned into an ATV trail. So, I walked, hiked actually, a couple miles up this loose, occasionally rocky trail, until I found the lake. I had to walk most of the way around the lake to find a spot not filled in with weeds and by the time I got there, the sky was blackening with an impending storm. So, I tied on the "sure-thing", $3 lure that I bought just last week, gave it 3 casts, mostly to see how the lure's action looked, and on the 4th cast, the line snapped and the lure took up permanent residence at the bottom of the lake! Hooverdamm!
And still a 2 mile walk back to the truck in threatening weather! Sheesh!
Saturday after a late breakfast I did drive up to another, much more accessible lake and in spite of chilly temperatures and a really strong breeze, managed to catch my limit of 4 rainbow trout. It took me a while to get the right combination of tackle that I could feel through the wind and eventually I ended up using a float to drift my nightcrawlers just above the bottom with good results. We ate 3 of the fish that evening for dinner and I'm eating the last one tonight! Those trout are the first trout I've caught since at least 1982, so it was pretty satisfying to catch and eat some really fresh fish. And I have a picture that I'll add to this post later, from the house.
I'll have 2 book reviews later tonight as well. For now, I need to go beg for an additional $28,000 for one of my programs!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Last night after some pre-camping trip shopping. I figured it was my reward for returning the cart to the cart corral instead of just leaving it blocking up a parking spot since I found the bill on my way to the corral. It must have been my lucky day.
No job offers in the email inbox though...
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
But anyway, this story from NPR really got my attention this morning. Billionaire Richard Branson, who is buddies with the missing Fossett figured out with a few phone calls and $100,000, that Google Earth software, using brand new satelite pictures could be used to search the 6,000 square miles of western Nevada where Fossett went missing. After that, Google hooked up with Amazon.com where you can go, subscribe and help search the desert from your cubicle!
I think this is the most interesting integration of technology for a practical purpose that I've heard about for quite some time. There are now thousands of folks burning their work hours searching 9000 square foot sections of Nevada desert and marking and indicating whether something is there that needs to be investigated by people on the ground. It didn't cost much money, the satelite pictures were updated in just a day or two and the resolution is good down to being able to identify things just about 3-4 feet in size.
That's just cool!
A man has six children and is very proud of his achievement. He is so proud of himself that he starts calling his wife, "Mother of Six" in spite of her objections.
One night they go to a party. The man decides that it is time to go home and wants to find out if his wife is ready to leave as well. He shouts at the top of his voice, "Shall we go home Mother of Six?"
Irritated by her husband's lack of discretion, she shouted back, "Any time you're ready, Father of Four."
Little Johnny's kindergarten class was on a field trip to their local police station where they saw pictures tacked to a bulletin board of the 10 most wanted criminals. One of the youngsters pointed to a picture and asked if it really was the photo of a wanted person. "Yes," said the policeman. "The detectives want very badly to capture him." Little Johnny asked, "Why didn't you keep him when you took his picture?"
Here's a story that has been on our local news for several days now, though I'm pretty certain we haven't heard the end of it just yet. It seems that Bubba A was building pipe bombs, lots of pipe bombs, in a rental storage building. This story doesn't mention the exact number of bombs Bubba A produced but does mention the 40 bombs that Bubba B stole from the storage unit after breaking in. Bubba B then dumped some of the bombs last week to get rid of them and saved the rest to be dumped this week. I think I read that this week's dump of bombs was 20+, some of them left in a dumpster and the rest flung out into an empty lot.
I want to know what exactly Bubba A planned to do with 60 or more viable pipe bombs! I really doubt he was building them up just for the fun of hearing things go bang. I am really glad that responsible citizens found these devices and contacted the authorities instead of unknowing kids or teenagers intent on trying them out just for fun.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Little Johnny attended a horse auction with his father. He watched as his father moved from horse to horse, running his hands up and down the horse's legs and rump, and chest. After a few minutes, Johnny asked, "Dad, why are you doing that?" His father replied, "Because when I'm buying horses, I have to make sure that they are healthy and in good shape before I buy."
Johnny, looking worried, said, "Dad, I think the UPS guy wants to buy Mom."
From a email from a friend today. There's more. Some may follow.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
So, its Sunday morning and I'm making my end of the week roundup post. I don't know what that means except that I'm delaying heading out to the shop. I could take the laptop out there to post and I might take it out there later, but right now I'm inside, at the dinner table where I can watch the Mormons headed to Sunday School and witness meetings and watch the 2 remaining hummingbirds that missed the memo that it was time to head south.
Go see 3:10 to Yuma. That is, go see it if you want to watch a gritty, western story of a busted down cattle rancher trying to save his ranch and earn the respect of his sons, a stagecoach robbing, Pinkerton killing bad guy and his gang of cuthroats and the adventure that brings them all together in a violent shootout waiting for the train that will take Ben Wade to the Yuma prison. Russell Crowe plays Ben Wade, the evilist bad guy in Arizona and Christian Bale is Dan Evans, the down on his luck rancher that signs on to escort Wade to the prison train to earn enough cash to save his ranch. It is an old west shoot-em-up of the finest tradition and I really liked it.
The scooter's still broke and I'm going out to work on that next. I think I found a bit of dirt plugging a tiny passageway yesterday and maybe that will fix the carburetor problem. We'll see. I made an appointment to take it into a shop for carb tweaking but its 3 weeks of good riding season in the future, so I'll keep trying to get it right myself.
The scoot's going to have to go, once I do get it right, if the job searching takes me into Salt Lake for employment. Its no good for that type of distances and highway speeds, so next year, it will need to be upgraded- dang!
Writing about appointments reminds me, I have 2 coming up. One is for some lumps/scabs on my head that aren't attributable to me running into things. I see a dermatologist tomorrow. The following week I see the same orthopedic doc that removed my tailbone a number of years ago, about my aching left shoulder. I don't know what I did to it, but its been hurting at least 3 weeks now and its not getting better. It hurts to reach back to get my seatbelt, it hurts to pull a t-shirt on over my head and reaching out to push a store door open really hurts. The BSU says its my rotator cuff come undone. Whatever it is, I'm most unhappy with the circumstance because no matter what- it is bound to screw up our upcoming cruise and ski season immediately behind that.
Baseball season in Ogden is over for the summer- dang again. Our Raptors play just 90 days for their season and it starts late and ends early. The spouse and I attended the last 2 homegames, Thursday and Friday night.
Thursday night's game was a treat because I had a coupon for free tickets and I upgraded to reserved seats for just 5 bucks each. Then, at the souvenir stand, all hats were half off and I bought this one to
For Friday night's game there were no reserved seats available and so, for the first time, we had to sit on the bleachers with the rest of the unwashed masses. I was reminded of the dance scene in the movie Titanic, down in the steerage section of the boat with all the poor folks that couldn't afford the tickets to the ballrooms upstairs. In spite of the crowding and constant moving about of folks in front of and on the bleachers, everyone seemed to be having a great time. And it was a great night of baseball, even if out guys couldn't beat the Owlz one last time before the season ended.
Job hunting is progressing nicely. I've had a couple responses already and more to submit resumes to- Carol this means to you, and I don't want to say much more than that right now. I'm less stressed now that I'm doing something instead of just thinking about it, so that's a good thing.
And now, I'm going to my shop. I've got 6 pounds of coffee to grind and bag, a scooter to mess with and guitar practise to get started with again!
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Monday, September 03, 2007
Yeah, I'm job shopping. I told you the current job has been eating my ass for a few weeks, and it is very true. My current contract expires at the end of January and it does not appear that it will be renewed beyond that time.
So, I'm doing a couple of things. First, I'm finally going to apply for Veterans Disability. I should have done this back in 1999 when I was separating out of the Air Force. But I never did then and I haven't done so since. But for a number of reasons, most importantly, improved hiring possibilities with the Civil Service, I need to get it done. Second, I'm going to spend my evenings and weekends working on resumes for other, civilian employment.
Tonight I've already applied for the first job. Its a senior maintenance manager/scheduler for a company with a hopefully upcoming government contract. They want somebody with maintenance management experience- hey, I've got 17 years of that, and a Bachelors Degree and hey, I've got that too!
So, its not something I've been looking forward to but it appears that its time for some action.
I'll leave the feeder up a few more days to refresh those that might be passing through but I'm pretty certain that I won't need to refill it until next May.
I'm going to miss the little buzz bombs.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Well, I think they're just cute as can be. And I wish they lived close enough so that I could spoil them properly...