Day by Day cartoon

Monday, March 31, 2008

Men are better friends

Friendship between women: A woman doesn't come home one night.

The next morning she tells her husband that she had slept over at a friends house. The man calls his wife's 10 best friends. None of them knew anything about it.

Friendship between men: A man doesn't come home one night.

The next morning he tells his wife that he had slept over at a friends house. The woman calls her husbands 10 best friends, 8 of which confirmed that he had slept over, and 2 said that he was still there!

Yup, that is the difference between men and women. This bit of funny was sent to me by my buddy Chris.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

21- the Movie and an Elephant too!

Friday night we went to the movies, just as we usually do, and this time we went to see 21. Its a pretty entertaining story, based upon a true story, of smart college kids and their instructor, as they travel to Las Vegas to win hundreds of thousands of dollars, counting cards while they play Blackjack.

They had a system and they worked as a team and they didn't gamble, they worked at Blackjack for the sole purpose of making money. They lived the high life of fancy hotel suites and clubs while in Vegas and the life of engineering students back in Massachusetts. Kevin Spacey plays the part of professor Ben Cambell recruits and trains and polishes the team for their individual skills and he does a pretty good job in this part. The young actors, Jim Sturgess, who plays the shy and geeky recruit to the team becomes the "big player", Kate Bosworth, Aaron Yoo, Jacob Pitts and Liza Lapira all do commendable jobs in this glossy and fast moving movie.

There's tons of money made and lost and remade again in this movie and an interesting subplot that doesn't show its importance until the last moments of the movie and there's a very good twist that I really liked and didn't see coming.

This movies a good one and I recommend it. Its a two greasy popcorn thumbs up!

Bonus feature! Last week we saw Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who. This is, of course the telling of a terrific kid's classic story and it was terrific fun on the big screen. Horton, if you have forgotten, is a sensitive, caring elephant who discovers a tiny little town living inside a speck and takes it upon himself to find this speck a safe home. His efforts put him at cross purposes with a bossy kangaroo who makes it her duty to make Horton an outcast from the jungle where he lives. There is one portion of this movie that looks like it was created by a totally unrelated part of the team, it gets all anime', Japanese cartoon style for just a couple minutes and it does nothing to add to the movie. It seems almost completely unrelated to the rest of the movie and I didn't care for the style change at all. But the rest of the movie is a hoot and it was great fun.

If you've got kids, or can borrow or rent some, I say take them out to the movies and go see Horton Hears A Who. You'll all enjoy it.

Weekend update comes early today!

Why? Because I'm bushed and parked in my chair already. I had my normal bi-weekly coffee break with Carol this morning and afterward came home for my usual day of projects, of which I have several to get accomplished.

But did you know its snowing today? Its been snowing all day! If I felt better, I should have gone skiing today for some spring powder but I'm just not up to it today. I got a little injured yesterday skiing and I'm pretty dang sore so more skiing today was just out of the question.

How did I get hurt? Blame it on the flat light and a complete lack of visibility and not knowing that the terrain park guys had extended the half pipe by about 15 feet! I had skied down to the half pipe to see some of the Spring Session activities going on there and was leaving, skiing the length of the pipe, up above it, not in it- thanks and then I turned right to cross below it and to get on the run leading away from the area. But suddenly, I was slammed up into the air and just as rapidly, yanked back to the earth as if I had just crossed over a "fat guy magnet"! I hit the nearly 2 foot high lip of the half pipe at 90 degrees without ever seeing it! My legs weren't prepared for such a huge impact so I basically slammed into a wall, disconnected froom my skis and fell face first into the pipe! It all happened so fast that I was picking myself up before I ever figured out what happened to me.

I bruised both of my kneecaps, either hitting the pipe lip or the packed snow inside the pipe, or both. The back of my boots bashed up into my calves and bruised the back side of my legs so I'm hurting like Nancy Kerrigan. It took all my professional ticket-checker work ethic to stay on the job for the rest of the day and I couldn't get home fast enough to get loaded up on anti-inflammatory meds.

So in between the cold, wet weather and my injured pegs, I just didn't get much done today. I did finish up the work on the seatbelt bracket for Kye's car but put off installing it in the snow. I did clean up the cylinder head for the Phantom that arrived a couple weeks ago and verified that the head gasket I bought is the right size, so that job can proceed shortly. That's about all I got done before deciding I was too tired and that my chair seemed like a good place to be for a while. So, here I am.

Last Friday I took my Morphous front wheel to get the tire pulled off and the bearings pressed out. I had tried to paint it bright silver, "nearly chrome", and it actually looked pretty good- until I touched it. The dang stuff wiped right off with just a paper towel and there was no way it could be used for a scooter wheel. So- its getting stripped to just the rim and the rim is going to either the chrome plater's shop or the powdercoater's shop next week. Where it ends up really depends on how much either coating will cost and how much I can justify- which means it will probably get powdercoated...

So I'm resting the rest of the day with a cat on my lap and hope that springtime temperatures return this week. And that my bruises get better pretty darn quickly!

Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm practically a saint!

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Convicted sex offender arrested again

A convicted sex offender in Salt Lake County has been arrested again on charges he sexually assaulted a 7-year-old girl.

Twenty-one-year-old Jonathan Glatti was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail yesterday on suspicion of multiple counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child.

The Deseret Morning News reports that the alleged victim was the daughter of a family that had taken Glatti in.

It was only last September that Glatti was convicted of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. Prior to that he was convicted of three counts of sexual battery in 2006 and forced to register as a sex offender.
Somebody explain to me why this jackass oxygen thief was not in jail for his previous behavior and was allowed out to offend again! I hope the parole board members that approved his release have a difficult time sleeping at night for the rest of their lives.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

About that car I've been working on-

I've struggled for a day now to figure out how to properly write this post and the fact is, I'm so disgusted and cranky about the entire episode that I don't have a quip or funny lead-in at all for this tale.

Long story, short- the car has been repaired, by a garage, at no small expense and all of it on me. The garage replaced the starter and called the car fixed…

The reason I'm so cranky about this circumstance is because I removed that starter the very first afternoon and took it to Checker Auto Parts to have it tested. I saw and heard that starter work and saw it pass the electrical tests that the store's automated system put it through. It sounded fine and appeared to work perfectly. I never would have reinstalled it if I wasn't convinced there was no problem with that starter. But the repair shop troubleshot the system and they determined it was bad and a new one got the car running again.

I'm pretty pi#&ed off that I couldn't or didn't figure this out and that I spent so many hours working and replacing parts that weren't the cause of the problem. I feel hoodwinked by this car and its ability to thwart my troubleshooting and repair efforts. That doesn't happen very often and I'm mad that it happened this time.

So now the car needs transmission mounts and its due for its safety and emissions tests and there might still be some faults with the automatic transmission. We fixed the choked off air pipe that was strangling the intake air and I hope that resolved some of the driveablity problems that the boy was attributing to the transmission. I'll get repaid for my costs over the next couple months and hopefully the GF can keep it running for another year.

Now I can get back to work on the Tempo that's waiting in the driveway!

Homeowner takes header in backyard-

Sorry, no film at 10.

But it would have been an exciting bit of film if you happened to catch it with your video camera!

So, yesterday afternoon, after dinner, and before heading out to do some shopping with the BSU, I went out to the shop and brought out my B1-RD fuel barrel so I could refill the fueling stations. One of the fueling stations is low enough to the ground that I can reach it, even with my stubby little legs, from the ground. And I filled that one uneventfully and then went to fill the big fueling station that sits atop a 4X4 pressure treated post. To reach this elevated fueler I have to lean a metal lawn chair against the post and stand on the chair's seat.

That's what I was doing when the post decided it had stood quiet sentry duty in my backyard long enough and decided it was time for a break- which it did; right at ground level, it broke off. It went down, and downhill too, the chair tipped over and this homeowner went tumbling out of the chair and downhill too! I managed not to break any bones or injure myself in the rather low-speed tumble but the plastic feeder (a new one) and the post didn't fair as well.

The post rotted off right at ground level. Its only been in the ground 8 years so I can't imagine why it was rotted through already… The feeder is repairable and I'll put it back into service just as soon as I can put in a new post, in my spare time…

And just to put the final bit of humiliation on the circumstance, the BSU was watching the entire episode over the fence, waiting for me to finish so we could go to Wally World!

For the uninitiated- B1-RDs are what I call the ever changing squadron of sparrows, finches, chickadees and similar birds that I try to keep fed and safe from harm at the claws of my cat Uinta.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When is a 10 not a 10?

[Editor's note: This post will only be of interest to persons with some experience with tools. If you aren't a tool head, you're excused from following through with this rant.]

I'll tell you when a 10 is not a 10 but only a 9.8; its when Chrysler, somehow, in their short sighted engineering world decides that a screw that should have a Torx headed screw with a size 10, 6-pointed hole in it, to fit a size 10 Torx driver, is really only a 9.8 sized hole!

First, if you don't know, there is a fairly common type of screw in use today that uses what is (supposed to be) an industry standard, 6 pointed drive socket in its head. There are corresponding tools with star shaped tips that fit exactly into the matching screw head. These tools and holes are supposedly standard across the industry and world and labeled as T10, T15, T20 and up through the largest one I own, a T50. These screws and tools are designed for lots of reasons, not the least of which is to make assembly line operation faster and to reduce the "stripping" of screw heads by common or phillips headed screwdrivers.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because last night I was thwarted in the replacement of the ignition switch on the Dodge Neon I am trying to make work by 1 tiny screw with a head that should be T10 sized. I tried 3 different T10 sized tools, after 2 trips to the Craftsman store, and none of them would fit the screw that some Chrysler weenie specified and later some assembly line person installed! One tiny little screw dammit!

I carried one down from my toolbox at home yesterday in anticipation of changing the switch because the Chilton's manual that I bought spells out that a T10 tool is required. And, it was too big. I blamed it on the fact that my tool probably came from Harbor Freight and maybe the chinese company that stamped it out got it wrong. So, we made a trip to Sears and bought 2, T10 sized screwdrivers. One was too long and so would not line up with the screw but the shorter tool was likewise to big on the tip to fit into the screw hole… We went back to Sears, this time I had to buy a $25 multi-tool with individual bits to get a T10 sized item. And, again, when I got back to the car and down on my knees with my head under the dash in the quickly failing daylight, the tool was again bigger than the hole in the screw!


I can't for the life of me figure out what dumbass trick Chrysler did to make this screw not fit the standard tools. Whatever the reason, there is absolutely no call for such goofieness. Its not just the retaining switch for the switch either, the screws that hold the ignition lock mechanism to the steering column are likewise undersized.

Today when I go back I'm taking my cordless drill, drill bits and my Dremel tool and I'm going to cut the head off the screw. Then (and this is all part of the plan…) I'll be able to remove the switch and use Vice-Grips on the screw shaft to get it removed. I really need to get this project finished so I can get back onto my own projects that are backing up!

UPDATE: That's it, I quit! The car has been towed to a shop and tomorrow some paid professional can figure out what is wrong with it. I did find smaller Torx drivers, 1 individual bit with the Theft Resistant screw hole in it and a folding set for the normal Torx screws. And guess what, of course I needed the single bit TR tool, which of course broke when I tightened in the screw after replacing the iginition switch.

And of course the new switch did not fix the problem, leaving a brand new but unneccesary switch installed and no tool to remove it... Rats! I also found a relay that I had overlooked the other day after digging deeper into the wiring schematic and a trip to the dealer to buy that part still didn't fix the no-start problem.

So, I gave up. Kye called a shop that had done work for him before and we got it towed down there before they closed up shop for the night. I don't know what's wrong with it but I'm mighty interested in hearing their results.

Tomorrow- I can get back to working on the Tempo so I can get it out of my driveway.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I am NOT shopping for a new truck...

But last week as I was leaving the Ford dealer- Westland Ford, after picking up the Tempo parts I ordered, I happened to see this truck- and it was a real beauty! I like green as a truck color and I really like the King Ranch option for the saddle leather on the seats, so this truck caught my eye and made me get out to go look at it.

But the price! HooverDamm! This truck has just about every bit of extra-cost add-on that Ford can put on a truck and make it stick! Two thousand bucks for the radio & navigation system and another 500 bucks for the "Audiophile" option? GMAFB! That's just crazy. That is just way too much money to spend on a truck.

As I said, I am NOT shopping for a new truck. Hey, my F250 is only 8 years old now and it still has less than 160,000 miles on it so its just getting broke in well. I planned to keep it for 10 years when I bought it so I've still got a couple years to go. And in spite of the fuel costs for the dang thing, I'm not putting a truck payment' worth of fuel into it each month. And based upon Ford's pricing for a new truck, I may have to keep driving my current truck for lots of years. Either that or track down this truck after its been sold or leased once and buy it after some depreciation has set in...

P.S. Ford- I love the baseball glove leather seats in the new Rawlings edition trucks. Except I don't love it enough to buy it with the bright-red, stitched-on Rawlings label on the front of each headrest. Sorry, I couldn't buy it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Think politicians won't lie to you?

Kevin at Smallest Minority takes Washington DC's mayor's blatant lies and exposes them to the light of day and honesty. Its amazing to me that elected officials can believe their own lies and state them in public without expecting them to be questioned and ocmpared to the published facts.

A mighty wild drag race

Watch this video of a Bugatti Veyron against a Eurofighter jet. Its pretty wild and the results aren't as predictable as you might guess.

Why am I always so tired on Sunday nights?

Aren't I supposed to be rested up when the weekend is over? It never seems to work out that way and particulary this weekend. I'm whupped!

Its all the car repairs I'm doing that are kicking my butt. Friday was my regular day off and I spent the first part of the day in the local junkyard looking for seatbelt parts for the Tempo in the driveway. I still can't make the motorized shoulder belt work, after changing out the drive belt, so I found out online that later model cars had the emergency release mounted on the sliding portion instead of between the seats. Friday I went hunting for some of those belts. And I found a pair that were in good shape and didn't require too much to get removed. I also scored the center console that is different from the one in the car and the sliders for each side. In addition, I scored a outside mirror housing to replace the one on the car that had been epoxied together with a couple nails for support. It was really terrible looking and for just a few bucks I found a good one at the yard.

In the afternoon I got most everything torn out of the car. I had to modify the original bracket with a hacksaw and cutoff tool and then I carried it down for some welding to add a new plate for the new bracket to mount to. That was as far as I got on Friday.

Saturday was a full day of ticketchecking at Powder Mountain and it was the first blue sky day on a Saturday this year. It was warm and beautiful all day with terrific snow and a great crowd. I even have some pictures but I'm too tired to post them tonight.

I intended to finish that job today... But a phone call from the boy last night reset my plans. Seems the girlfriend's car- their only wheels, was now broke down, stranded needing immediate attention. So- today I loaded a toolbag and headed to Salt Lake. The problem? The car won't start. All the other electrics seem to work and the battery shows a full charge and it doesn't drop off on the voltmeter when trying to start it. SO we towed the car back to their apartment and went to work. I poked and prodded a bit, decided perhaps the starter solenoid had failed, just like my truck a couple weeks back. To remove the starter and the solenoid, according to the Chilton's book, you have to drop the motor off the motor mount- or, remove the cooling fans and radiator! Turns out, all you have to do is remove the fans, the radiator can stay. But you have to remove the battery and the battery box to get the fans out!

And of course, the starter and solenoid checked out just perfect at the autoparts store... The battery tested good too... So we replaced the power cables that were junk with new ones with absolutely no improvement to the circumstance. Nothing, nada. You can hear all the relays and other stuff booting up when you turn on the ignition but there's no effort to crank up the starter. I found a 30 amp fuse in the box, labeled "Starter" but it checked good.

I think now it must be the ignition switch. Everything else seems to be in place and working. But according to the repair manual I didn't have all the right tools to do the job and it was already late this afternoon, so I didn't get the job done. Damm.

Tomorrow I'll get a switch and the dealer item hose for the PCV that's so hard it breaks off when you try to cut it and make another trip to Salt Lake to see if I can get this thing working for them. Then I can get back to finishing the seatbelt repairs on the other car!

I've still got scooters to put back together too! I need another weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Kenny and I need one of these RC helicopter with 2 full auto shotguns to go bunny hunting! We could just sit in our lawn chairs beside the truck and have a fine old shooting time!

Thanks to Bruce for pointing it out.

Truck dumps debris on freeway, 15 cars damaged

Beasley says the driver of the truck that spilled the debris kept on driving. Troopers know what company the truck belongs to, but they're still working to find the driver.
I'm guessing that somebody is about to experience a metric buttload of ass pain over this circumstance...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Still working hard- on multiple projects!

I didn't even put up an end-of-week post last night due to all the hubbub going on this weekend. The eldest boy and his GF showed up, laundry baskets in hand, about 5 yesterday afternoon and so we were wrapped up with them all evening.

He approves of the Tempo. He took it out for a short drive and played with all the controls for a bit and he thinks it will be just fine. Its still not ready for inspection as the shoulder harness isn't repaired. I had to buy a plastic track from Ford and it won't be here until tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to get that system working shortly and the car out of my driveway and into the boy's parking space.

I've sanded and painted and sanded and primered the gas cap door for the scooter and finally got a satisfactory coat of gloss black paint applied just tonight. The plastic had really been scratched up with the initial sanding and it took much more effort than I expected to get it painted. And because I'm trying to paint in the laundry room because its too cold in my shop, keeping dust specks out of the shiny black paint has really been a challenge, causing a couple extra chances to sand and repaint to get it right.

Sleek Black Beauty's front tire is half painted with a very shiny, almost chrome finish. I tried to paint the 2nd half tonight and just couldn't get all the dust wiped off, so it needs redone tomorrow night. Then I can begin putting the whole scooter back together but I still need to order the color matched paint to fix the body scratches before I put everything back together.

The cylinder head I needed for the little scooter arrived today from another Scoot Dawg forum member, so that scooter needs to be put back together too!

Para-Ordnance advised me a couple weeks back to replace the recoil spring assembly in my Wart Hog to try to resolve the feeding problems that it has exhibited previously. Brownells had the parts and those arrived today too, so I got those parts swapped out in between everything else tonight. Surprisingly, the old recoil spring was easily 1/4" shorter than the new one! I think I might have solved this gun's problems if the spring had collapsed so badly. Now to the shooting range to try it out!

And I've done laundry and a little house cleaning over the weekend as well as everything I've already mentioned. The BSU and I saw a movie, but it gets its own post. I had coffee with Carol on Sunday morning and worked all day at Powder Mountain on Saturday. Other than that, I haven't done a dang thing lately!

Friday, March 14, 2008

A busy week for me

The weather's been pretty tolerable this week and so I have been able to get outside and work on that Tempo, trying to get it ready to deliver to the oldest son. He is no mechanic and I figured I better have it working as well as possible before handing over the keys to him.

So this week I've been in the driveway every evening, in spite of my sore back- which is now only sore and no longer excruciating-thanks for asking. The exhaust system has been replaced. The car went to Wal-Mart for an oil change. I've adjusted the idle speed, replaced the air filter and the leaky rocker cover gasket. Last night I changed the thermostat and added fresh antifreeze to the system. It was the first time in my tool swinging career that I've ever removed a thermostat in pieces! That thing had come apart and fell out of the housing in 4 pieces. I guess it really was time to be changed and my troubleshooting skills were correct.

I still need to dig into the motorized shoulder belt that doesn't work as that is a requirement for the safety inspection. Sadly, the Haynes manual I purchased makes only passing reference to this part, saying to take the car to your dealer for repair, and the electrical schematics don't even reference any of the wiring for this system. In fact, the Haynes book doesn't have any chassis schematic for the 93 & 94 model year cars! What the heck is up with that? So I guess I'll be removing plastic panels and going in blind to see if I can get the shoulder belt moving when it is supposed to move.

Remarkably, everything under the hood seems to be in good order. The inside of the engine was cleaner than one might hope for on a high mileage engine, with no buildup of crud showing under the rocker cover. I did find one broken rocker cover hold-down screw stuck in the head so hopefully the Permatex #1 sealer will do its job and keep the oil inside the engine where it belongs. That broken screw and the original formed gasket were probably the reason for the leakage that caused me to consider changing the gasket in the first place. All the wire bundles seem to be connected and unhacked and there aren't any extra wires running around the engine bay that dead end with no rhyme or reason- something you could expect on a car of this vintage.

So I'm pretty pleased with the car. It seems to run pretty well with no obvious bad faults. The electric mirrors don't work but are manually adjustable so they might not get looked at until another day. My biggest fear now is getting it to pass the emissions test and the thought of whatever repairs might be required if it doesn't pass. There's nothing to do but run it through though and see if it passes.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ooh- Shiny!

The new muffler for Sleek Black Beauty arrived yesterday! It is beautiful and will be a great improvement to the scoot when I get it installed. I'll take some pictures to post once it is installed.

As regular readers might remember, I took the muffler and heat shield to HP Coatings way back in December to be coated with their polished aluminum color. While the muffler was in the ultrasonic polishing tank, a plug fell out of one of the muffler tubes and it was filled up with the tiny ceramic beads that do the polishing work.

HPC tried to shake out the beads, then took the muffler to a fabricator & welder that they trust to have him cut the muffler apart to get the beads out. The fabricator guy was apparently able to get the muffler cut apart, putting it back together turned out to be a much bigger problem. So, they had to buy me a new muffler, which although I know it was painful to their profit margin for the month, was the right thing to do and they did with no complaint. Then they plated it, polished it and shipped it to me, all free of charge.

It looks terrific and I'm very pleased. I'm also pleased with HPC for their efforts to remedy an unfortunate situation that was nobody's fault. I'll be getting the muffler, and hopefully the rest of the scooter put back together this weekend. Riding season is getting very close and I'm seeing lots of riders out already in the afternoons, so I am getting mighty anxious to be out riding too.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Its a joke, ok?

Don't shoot me!

This Is No Bull

My wife and I went to the rodeo and one of the first exhibits we stopped at was the breeding bulls. We went up to the first pen and there was a sign attached that said, "THIS BULL MATED 50 TIMES LAST YEAR." My wife playfully nudged me in the ribs, smiled and said, "He mated 50 times last year."

We walked to the second pen which had a sign attached that said, "THIS BULL MATED 150TIMES LAST YEAR."

My wife gave me a healthy jab and said, "Wow, that' more than twice a week! You could learn a lot from him."

We walked to the third pen and it had a sign attached that said, in capital letters, "THIS BULL MATED 365 TIMES LAST YEAR." My wife was so excited that her elbow nearly broke my ribs, and said, "That's once a day! You could REALLY learn something from this one."

I looked at her and said, "Go over and ask him if it was with the same old cow."

Honestly, my condition has been upgraded from critical to stable and I should eventually make a full recovery.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Not exactly how I see myself-

but hey,
I am a: Heckler and Koch, Model P7 in 9mm
Firearms Training
What kind of handgun are YOU?
And according to Munchin Wrangler, that makes me an overpriced, heavy staple gun!

I admit I don't know much about the P7 and its never been on my short list (or long list) of guns to buy. It just seems there are so many other german 9mm choices out there if I wanted one.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hurting tonight

I don't know what caused it- exactly, maybe rolling aound on the ground installing a motor mount yesterday, but I'm hurting today. My lower back is all froze up sore and I've loaded up on meds and spent the evening sitting against an ice pack.

At one point tonight, stepping off a curb, the pain shooting into my back was so sharp that I nearly buckled at the knees and went down. Its pretty bad tonight!

On a lighter note, I did get the Tempo hooked up wwith an entirely new exhaust system this afternoon so that part of the car is fixed and will pass inspection. Master Muffler couldn't save the old pipe as it was crushed from falling off earlier, so everything's new. I do have to go back tomorrow for one gasket that the shop didn't have in stock but they promised to get one and install it for me tomorrow.

And maybe I can get started on figuring out the seatbelt problem and replacing the leaking cam cover gasket tomorrow.

Would Christ carry a concealed weapon?

He didn't need to, his disciples did. Here's a pretty interesting column on Be sure to read some of the loony comments.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

There's another car in my driveway

And yes, Kenny, its for the elder son. After most of a week's searching through KSL's classifieds and KUTV's classifieds and the Craigslist ads, I finally found a car right here in Ogden that should be just perfect.

Its a 1993 Ford Tempo and it looks just like this one. Its even white like the one at the link. Its a 4 cylinder, with an automatic transmission, a working radio, hot air from the heater and cold air from the air conditioner. There's 4 good tires and all the wheels have covers except for 1 center section. Nearly everything electric works and its pretty presentable inside and out.

We were able to negotiate a couple hundred dollars off the asking price and the seller even replaced the bad window regulator in one of the doors.

Today I replaced a bad motor mount, installed new wiper arms and hosed a couple pounds of grime out of the throttle body. The car still needs an exhaust system as I carried the old one home in the bed of my truck! The muffler needs replaced and both ends of the pipe need some repair but I think most of the pipe can be reused. The driver's side mouse shoulder belt doesn't work right now and neither does either electric mirror. So tomorrow the car will go to the muffler shop and then I'll make some decisions about getting the electrical bits fixed. I've already determined that the applicable fuses are working so whatever's wrong will require some further digging. I'm hoping to have this thing cleaned up and ready for the safety and emissions tests before the end of the week.

Now, for Kenny- I'm not going to give the car. I'm going to sell him the car over a period of months. This way he'll be able to continue getting to work on time, will be invested in the car and its repayment scheme and won't have to get wrapped up in one of those "Buy here, Pay here" outrageous interest rate car dealers. It seems like a reasonable thing to do.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Well yesterday was a challenge-

Yesterday was one of those "I love it when a plan comes together" days that left me worn out with tasks unaccomplished and my wallet lighter than I planned. Ugh! The first part of the day went fine- I had to go to the VA hospital in Salt Lake City to go to a Pulmonary Clinic appointment to get my new CPAP machine. After that, the plan was to try to locate a cheap car for the eldest son.

The appointment went perfectly. The nurse practioner, Liz was terrific and a great advocate. She got me hooked up with a mask and promised that all the paperwork would soon catch up and that my pending disability rating would be approved in the very near future. The guys in the Prosthetics department issued me a machine and set up the appointment for the respiratory tech to come to the house to get everything set up.

Lunch afterwards went ok too; a stop at Arby's then next door to the coffee shop for internet access for some updated car adverts and then, back to the truck to go shopping.

And- nothing. The truck won't start! It doesn't even try to start! Dammitall! Ok, take a deep breath. I take a look at the battery, the terminals are cruddy with corrosion. I poured some Pepsi on the terminals, maybe getting them wet will clear enough corrosion to make it work. Nope. I'll try some percussive maintenance with a jack handle, maybe that will clear the corrosive block. Nope, still no electricity flowing. Hey! I've got AT&T roadside breakdown service! So, I call. I tell them I need a jumpstart, they promise to send somebody. Time enough for a cigar.

The jumpstart guy shows up and goes to work. Of course the truck still doesn't change its behavior one electron. Jumpstart guy gives up and goes away, leaving me to call the breakdown service- again. Now I need a tow truck. Time for another cigar while I wait. Find a garage to have the truck towed to while I wait. There's a Firestone Service not too many blocks away. The rollback truck and two helpful guys show up and the truck goes on the wrecker without drama.

At the Firestone shop the truck comes off the rollback truck and straight into a bay. Jennifer checks me in and a tech goes right to work. Inside of 45 minutes, the tech diagnoses a bad solenoid and a new one is delivered and installed. The screw that I found stuck in my tread earlier turns out to be very short and didn't penetrate the tire, so there's no repair needed! But my wallet gets lightened by more than $100 for the troubleshooting and repairs but I'm back on the road.

Its too late to go car shopping. But I still need to drive across town to take my drain cleaner snake to Kye's place and to buy some epoxy to fix the snake handle that I broke in the morning. Kye's not home… I leave the stuff on his doorstep, he can do the repair on the handle. I finally make it home with a bag of Carl's Jr. burgers at 7:30 PM.

Ugh, I was tired! On a brighter note, and I can't wait until I get some minutes to look at my charts, Wasted Electrons had its most popular day ever on Thursday after my Open Letter post was publicized by several other much more relevant bloggers. The hit counter had spun up to 1898 hits before I went to bed last night!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I like this guy's thoughts!

My buddy Kenny sent me this and after watching it, I'd love to buy this guy a pint or two or three at his favorite pub. He says what he believes and he doesn't pull any punches. My kind of guy!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Very much want!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Want to photograph a SI swimsuit model?

Well, surprise, you can! This is fun and you can save your best pics for desktop background if you like.

Monday, March 03, 2008

An Open Letter to the College Students of America

Editor's note: This is no Smallest Minority uberpost, as Kevin calls his regular, doctoral level posts but it is a big post for me. I've had this on my mind ever since the shooting at Northern Illinois University. I've written this in all seriousness and not in jest, so I hope you will read it, consider it and share it with your friends.
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." -- Thomas Jefferson (1764) -- Quoting 18th Century criminologist Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and Punishment
College students throughout America’s history have taken it as a point of pride to be changers. I believe it is part of the collegiate experience as young people gather at universities and are exposed to new ideas and concepts, that they take their combined experiences and youthful exuberance and apply those attributes to current events to implement change, either in popular culture or politics or national attitude. It is pretty easy, even for me, to point out numerous examples of changes to the American experience that have been a direct result of upheaval and of university students acting together across many campuses throughout our history. One only has to consider the positive changes in America’s Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the demonstrations that helped bring an end to America’s participation in the Vietnam War and subsequently the end of the military draft and the incorporation of the 26th Amendment to the US Constitution that changed the voting age from 21 to 18 years of age to see the effect that students have on American policies. More recently, it is students carrying the banner of climate change seeking changes in their campus policies and general behavior. Now it is time, and I would like to recommend that young people on campuses everywhere consider a new issue that they might embrace and make their own to implement a change. The change I am recommending affects their well being directly, gives them control over a part of their life that most of them have depended upon others for and can have long lasting effect on the general American population for generations to come. It is time for college students everywhere to band together and demand the right of self-protection be the standard policy on every campus!

Certainly well publicized recent events prove beyond doubt that your campus administrators are not protecting you and are not capable of protecting you as individuals. In spite of their best efforts, their ineffective rules and laws and their protests that they are doing “all they can” to protect you, the mass shootings at Virginia Tech last year and more recently at Northern Illinois University must prove to you that you are not safe on your campuses. Less well publicized are the violent attacks that occur on every campus to you, our future leaders of America. Rape is widely recognized as prevalent but drastically under-reported and assaults of all types occur wherever students cross campus in the dark of night. My research is incomplete but it is apparent that violence does take place and no amount of parking lot flasher-warning stations or blanket email notifications can stop a single act of violence when a criminal sets their mind to doing harm. Ask among yourselves and see if I’m right. I’m certain that if you look, you can find someone close to you; on your campus; that has been a victim of a violent assault. Does your school have a violence reporting hotline or a support group for violence victims? If it does, that group exists for a reason and I encourage you to discover the reasons for their existence.

Self-protection is a basic human right and it has been recognized as such for centuries! It is not a privilege to be handed out by administration nor can it be doled out to a privileged few through legislation. In every case that you can name, violence happens to individuals or groups when they have surrendered their right of self-protection to some other entity besides themselves. It matters not if it is a community’s trust in its police force, a campus’s trust in the administration and security group or a civilian population disarmed by decree of the government, when you surrender the right of self-protection to another agency, you voluntarily place your life at risk. It should be obvious to anyone that it is not possible for the police to be in every single place where violence can occur and that at best, police officers are provided to maintain the appearance of law and order, yet in most cases of violence they can only write reports, investigate the behaviors of the law breakers and perhaps notify next-of-kin. You may believe that it is the obligation of your local law enforcement agency to protect you and seeing security guards on your campus may make you feel secure, but in fact the courts have proven time and again that there is no obligation by law enforcement to provide for an individual’s security. Note what Jeffrey R. Snyder wrote in his 1993 essay; A Nation of Cowards:
Is your life worth protecting? If so, whose responsibility is it to protect it? If you believe that it is the police's, not only are you wrong — since the courts universally rule that they have no legal obligation to do so — but you face some difficult moral quandaries. How can you rightfully ask another human being to risk his life to protect yours, when you will assume no responsibility yourself? Because that is his job and we pay him to do it? Because your life is of incalculable value, but his is only worth the $30,000 salary we pay him? If you believe it reprehensible to possess the means and will to use lethal force to repel a criminal assault, how can you call upon another to do so for you?

That is why self-protection is your responsibility! Notice that I highlighted the word, feel a few sentences back; it is important to start thinking about what is real compared to what you feel. You may feel safe because you signed up for your school’s automated text messaging warning system that is supposed to warn you of a campus danger, but if you don’t get the text message until 15 minutes after a crazed student commits mass murder, how safe are you really?

Have you heard the sentiment, “When seconds count, help is just minutes away”? Do you take any solace in knowing that the security chief at Northern Illinois University bragged that his officers responded to the death of 5 students and the injury of a couple dozen more in just 2 minutes after the report came in? Were the officers in any way able to respond to the criminal mayhem before the disturbed former student finished his gruesome task by killing himself? Of course they were not! Instead, as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, they arrived in time to write reports, hold press conferences and notify next-of-kin. They obviously protected no one, yet their empty words of immediate response became the words we heard during the press conferences and we are supposed to believe that “everything possible” was done.

So, how can you, the college student, as an individual and as a group, change the circumstances of the violence you face on campus and in a bigger sense, citizens face everyday in their daily lives whether it be at the shopping mall or at lunch at Wendy's? You can accept that your protection is your responsibility and then you can choose to be prepared to face potential violence and prepared to stop the violence when it presents itself. In most cases you can do this through constant possession and training with a handgun.

You need to get past the idea that guns cause crime and that guns are “scary”. Guns are inanimate objects with no ability to operate on their own. Criminals perpetrate crime and guns, in the hands of citizens, prevent crimes. While it is possible to find published reports of citizens preventing or reducing criminal behavior, total numbers of crimes not committed because a citizen defended themselves aren’t really available- because a crime not committed is a crime not reported.

You need to arm yourself. As crucial to your young life as your laptop, cell phone or iPod might be, none of those will save you from a criminal intent to causing you harm. In 39 states, with proper training and accomplishment of a detailed background check, you can obtain a firearms carry permit and in spite of my personal belief, obtaining a firearms permit should be your first step in firearms ownership. Go to the local gun store and get educated on the types of handguns that are available. Take a training class, and learn how the different types of guns operate. Make a decision on the type and caliber of handgun that works best for you. Decide how you will keep this gun close to you and secure and buy the very best you can afford. Make regular training part of your weekly or monthly routine. And then make the mental adjustment that tells you that you are worth using lethal force against a criminal that would harm you.

That attitude adjustment and the decision to become an armed citizen will be a change for most of you. That’s the first change that I want you to implement throughout America. Read and understand the anti-gun rhetoric and apply those critical thinking skills you are learning in college to the slanted and inaccurate propaganda that you might have listened to before making this adjustment. Begin to understand how many thousands of citizens throughout America have become routine firearms carriers without open shootouts on the streets as the anti-gun crowd would have you believe. Take note of the pittance of license revocations by licensed firearms carriers and see for yourself that the simple carrying of a firearm does not make a person a danger to society.

The next step is for you as a group to demand change in the rules that govern your universities. Demand that your college administrators accept that there are no such things as “Gun Free Zones” and to drop the ban on firearms on campus carried by licensed, trained firearms permit holders. Use your power as a group, stage sit-ins, organize, use the power of the press and vote with your pocket books until you are successful changing the anti-gun, irrational fear of the administrators of your colleges and universities. Join organizations like Students for Concealed Carry, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) or Mother’s Arms to gain strength and support for your rights as a citizen.

Tell your college administrators that you will no longer tolerate their empty words and useless efforts or accept their worthless rules. Tell them that if they want to really protect students, that they build and staff with qualified instructors, proper firearms training ranges. Vote with your feet and your tuition dollars by transferring to universities that do recognize your right to self-protection. If you really want your school to change, make it clear that your continued attendance is predicated upon this simple and basic change by university management.

It is time to face facts and implement change in America’s attitudes about self-protection. Its time to place blame on the heads of criminals for their actions and recognize that adult citizens have a right to themselves and their loved ones to live, work, study and grow without fear of violence from criminals that are determined to break the law. Do not allow yourself to be one of the cowardly sheep that cower under their classroom desk and wait to die at the hands of a criminal as happened at Virginia Tech or Elizabeth City State University during a stupidly executed emergency drill. It is time to remove the stigma of citizen-carried firearms in our communities, campuses and cities and recognize that sometimes a firearm is exactly the right tool to assure personal protection. It is time for you, the college students in America to demand this right be recognized, accepted and be made the normal, not the unusual behavior.

Change this attitude with yourselves first and then your colleges and universities. Find out how successful you can be, just as your alumni did when they marched in civil rights movements, sat at segregated lunch counters and gave women the protection of reproductive rights. Be as successful as the generation that changed the Constitution to allow 18 year olds the right to vote. Take your success and build upon it as you enter the business world and as you become the next generation of elected officials in our country. Ensure through your actions that the citizens of Washington D.C. and Chicago, Illinois have the same rights of self-protection as the citizens in the rest of this country by changing the undefendable, unworkable and illegal laws imposed upon them. Ask the politicians that are already seeking your votes for change that will put them into power, what their position is on personal safety and the human right of self-protection.

Finally, as a personal favor to me, work to change the concealed carry firearms laws to simply firearms carry laws. Let’s work to make open carry as normal and unremarkable as openly carrying an iPod or a book bag. Doing so simplifies the rules, makes open or concealed carry a personal choice, expands handgun carry possibilities and further removes the stigma of a gun in public. The choice should be made by the carrier and a gun that slips and shows when it is supposed to be concealed would cease to be a scary circumstance or reason to panic by the less informed population. You can make those changes happen, can’t you?

First Million Mom March
Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs
Concealed Carry in Wikipedia
Just Dial 911? The Myth of Police Protection
A Nation of Cowards
Fighting Back: Crime, Self-Defense, and the Right to Carry a Handgun

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I think the shop is going to get a new roof-

And not just new shingles on the existing roof to try to cure the leak that I've been bitching about for a few weeks now. No, I think I'm going to remove the simple flat, sloped roof this summer with an entire new roof in a new shape!

I'm going to find out how much 12 of these trusses will cost and if I can afford it, I'm raising the roof! The current roof really doesn't have enough slope to get the water and snow to drain off and I think this design will improve the run-off while adding a little headroom inside as well. I also want to use steel roofing panels that should last forever and some staple up insulation on the inside.

That should be a nice addition to my shop, don't you think?

Tired tonight- not much to say

I'm still working on the Open Letter to College Students post that I promised last week. Its nearly finished- I think, and I've got numerous links to fit in the right places before its ready for prime time. So continue to bear with me. If you've read the draft that I sent out to a few last week, I appreciate your feedback and if you have some additional points on the subject that I've overlooked, please feel free to share them with me.

I got to spend a few hours in the shop today for the first time in a couple weeks and that was pretty nice. Most of the roof leaks have slowed down and I carried several gallons of water in buckets and bags out of the shop. I also got things cleaned up a bit, carried out empty coffe cans that were piling up and generally got things put away that had been cluttering up the place.

I also took just about all the plastic off Sleek Black Beauty this afternoon. All I really wanted to do was remove the gas fill flap so that I can paint it and put one of my remaining pinstrip decals on the flap. Getting that flap off meant taking off all the plastic on the sides and the front end! The things I won't do for a little custome look! Now I just need some gloss black paint before I can put it all back together.

So tonight I'm just resting, gearing up for another week on the job. And petting both my cats that are both asleep on my lap!