Day by Day cartoon

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What a difference a day makes-


A day and a cold front, that is! Eighty degrees last night at 10 PM, forty degrees and raining this morning on my way to work at 6 AM. It’s supposed to rain all day today and snow down to the 5200 foot elevation level tomorrow, so just 800 feet above my house. The weather guessers are calling for 18” of snow in the mountains before the weekend. That suggest that the BSU and I will NOT be going camping this weekend as planned.


On another note, I’m reading Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol for the past couple nights and I haven’t even had my laptop open for the past 2 nights. That might explain my lack of blogging and Facebook posting.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fwd: Your upcoming appointment with American Exteriors

NOTE: I just received this email this afternoon. See anything wrong with it?

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: KnowledgeSync <>
Date: September 28, 2009 1:20:46 PM MDT
Subject: Your upcoming appointment with American Exteriors
Reply-To: <>

Dear McCord, Nate,

We are reminding you of your appointment with American Exteriors to discuss your window and siding needs.  Your appointment is scheduled on 7/31/2007 6:00:00 AM at 7/31/2007 5:00:00 PM and with DELWIN HILTON.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Kind regards,
American Exteriors, LLC.

I was right, fishing is more fun than fixing!

After our aborted attempt to go fishing on Saturday afternoon and the repairs to the control head, Jim and I saddled up and took Fish Slayer out yesterday afternoon. The control head shifts better than it ever has since I purchased it and we had no mechanical problems at all. We didn’t have much fishing luck- Jim caught one catfish on a fire tiger colored rattling crankbait and I lost another favorite lure hung on the bottom. But we had a very nice afternoon and evening on Willard Bay.


I’m suspecting that due to the encroaching cooler weather and early darkness that yesterday might be the last trip out in the boat for the season. We’ll see. There’s a cold front coming in this week- only 50 degrees for a high temp on Wednesday with rain, so summer is running out very quickly.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Working on boats is not as much fun as fishing-

And this late in the season, missing an afternoon of fishing on a Saturday is no laughing matter! I was supposed to go fishing with Jim today- we actually did put the boat in the water- twice! but we didn't get it off the trailer!

The first time we backed it in, I had no electricity to the motor- nothing. I wiggled and made sure everything was plugged in but it seemed to have no battery power. So we pulled the boat out to the parking lot and I found a little corrosion on the battery terminal and after knocking it away the electrical power seemed just fine.

Let's back this beast in again! And we did. This time the shift handle bound up in reverse as I was getting ready to crank the motor. It was stuck and would only move in reverse, no neutral, no forward...

Back out of the water- again. We shook and lifted and wobbled but nothing seemed to be fixable at the lake. So we put everything away, tied the boat down and came on home. I thought it might have been related to the shift shaft and lock cam so pulled the lower unit but that didn't free anything up. Next I looked at the engine end of the cables and everything there looked like it was ok. Jim and I finally decided that the only thing left was the shift head, so, I took it apart!

Of course I took it apart! It's a tricky piece of mechanical hardware but I got it apart. It seemed like we located a piece that was worn enough to cause the locking problem that had been occurring but there wasn't anything to do but put it all back together. I greased everything that moved and when it was all back together- no left over parts!, and it works perfectly! I don't know why wverything got so jammed but it seems to be working now.

So maybe tomorrow afternoon I can call Jim and we can go fishing before the season ends.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The truck is in the shop today...

Can’t the monthly repair bills stop? Please? In August it was $600 for getting the Lincoln’s cooling system fixed and doing its job properly and right after Labor Day, another $60 for brake pads and a rotor. Now, still in September, it is the truck that has gone all wonky. The BSU drove it Tuesday and it was fine and then last night when we towed the boat with it, it wasn’t working right. I noticed it first at a traffic light where it seemed to be stumbling and the tachometer was visibly rising and falling. On the highway it seemed like it was surging and balking even though it got us to the lake and back safely. There is definitely something wrong but whatever it is, the Check Engine light hasn’t triggered. I dunno what it is. It almost feels like a sparkplug wire or 2 have fallen off but the truck has individual coils. Maybe a connector has fallen off a coil.


At any rate, we dropped it off at the Firestone Auto Care Center this morning before work and hopefully after they run all their diagnostic tests, the repair will be a simple one. I need it to be a simple, (and cheap) repair because I have other places to spend my money right now!


Later this month I must buy a couple airplane tickets to Ohio. (Note to family- the BSU will be coming with me to Ohio at the end of the month!) I need to buy new headlight assemblies for the Lincoln but new ones are $225 each, which means I am going to just buy 1 at a time. I need to buy a cover for Fish Slayer and I need to find winter storage for it which must be paid upfront not monthly. The BSU is bugging for another trip to Illinois to see the grandbabies and it is time to be buying a season ticket for skiing. And Christmas is rapidly approaching…


I do not need lots of unplanned car repair bills right now!

UPDATE: The truck came home tonight with no charge! The Firestone shop couldn't find anything directly wrong but did find one of the fuel injector wire connections loose. So they installed a zip tie to hold it together and told me to bring it back if I have further problems. So it's ok for now.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ten Years-

The BSU and I have been living in this house for 10 years this week. That is a first for us, we have never lived longer than 6 years in any home before as a result of our military life. But we just passed the 10 year point in the last couple of days and I think that is pretty neat.

We're pretty happy in this house and it would take a lot to pry us out of it!

Fish Slayer regains it's mojo!

I actually took the BSU out fishing tonight- her 2nd time in the boat, to Willard Bay fishing for Wipers. We trolled the bay north of the pig farm- actually a cattle feedlot, unsuccessfully and just as we were getting ready to turn into the inlet to the boat launch, I spotted a Wiper boil!

The fish were surfacing just on the point outside the inlet and I was pretty quick to get into them. My new, light action fishing rod put one fish in the boat but it really didn't have the needed backbone. The 2nd fish I hooked up with broke off my favorite lure so I switched poles and contned fishing while the spouse watched and handled the net. I ended up loosing another fish and boating another for a total of 2that went into the cooler. The BSU was pretty creeped out by me dragging angry, flopping fish into the boat but I think she enjoyed the event just the same. For a bit there were fish jumping all around the boat and I think she was pretty amazed by the entire scenario.

All told- it was a fun night. She watched while I filleted fish and took notes of the electric knife the guy next to me was using. I assured her that if I had one of those I could get home much earlier after a night of fishing! Happy, happy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What I left unsaid in yesterday's post...

Yesterday, if you read the post just below this one, you see that I suggested to President Barry that he first try to show the American public all those savings that he says are buried in wasteful programs and that he says, will pay for his big, new plans for universal, mandated healthcare. He says that he can implement his plans with no increases in the federal budget and truth be told, I, and many other people much smarter than myself, including the Congressional Budget Office, think he is full of crap.


I suggested that the president get busy over the next 2 years and root out all those millions of dollars in that he says are buried in inefficiencies and overpayments and prove to the public that he has some of the skills he tells us that he has. I recommended that he table his new plans and first of all prove that those savings that he claims are waiting, can in fact be pulled out of the programs where they currently hide. I think this is a common sense approach and that it would prove that he is the capable leader that he claims to be.


What I didn’t say, and what I hope you realized after reading yesterday’s thoughts, is that Barry is going to have a number of large fights to win as he begins his search for the missing millions of dollars that he believes will pay for his programs. For every dollar he finds and claims to be excess, there is going to be a special interest group that will fight him tooth and nail to keep in place. Seniors will set fire to their phone lines calling their congresscritters when Barry tries to reduce their ability to get medical care through Medicare and the doctor’s associations too when he tries to further reduce their payments through the multitude of medical programs they participate in. Veterans groups? I don’t believe he will be able to stand the heat that the different veterans organizations will rain down on his head if he tries to reduce care to veterans of all shapes and sizes, this veteran included. Will he pay up front for the software, hardware and technical staff required to achieve the transformation of every medical record into electronic records to save those dollars he claims are tied up in the inefficiency of paper records? Can he show exactly how much that effort will cost and the number of dollars to be saved by doing so? I really doubt it.


But I’m willing to be proved wrong. So go ahead Mr. President, get your digging team assembled and show me the money! Fight the fights, find the savings and spell it out to me and America on prime time television exactly where you have saved millions of dollars by reducing waste and inefficiency. Hell, send me the data when its ready and I’ll gladly build your PowerPoint charts to show the American people how successful your efforts have been.


Until that day though, Mr. President, I will continue to not believe you or support your new healthcare proposals. In fact, like  Congressman Joe Wilson, I will say you lie. You are lying to the American public every time you tell us that your proposal won’t cost us in an increased federal budget. Prove me wrong. I dare you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dear Mr. President-

I know you are running into trouble getting your ideas about universal healthcare across to the American public in spite of your continual campaigning style of promotion. I heard you were on 5 different Sunday talk shows yesterday and are going to be on David Letterman’s show tonight. I didn’t watch you yesterday and I won’t be watching tonight because I think Letterman is an obnoxious jerk and I won’t stay up past my bedtime to be annoyed by that cretin. I also know that you have risen to the top of our government without ever having managed so much as a sidewalk taco stand and that your demonstrated skills and provable results are transparently invisible to the majority of law-abiding and tax-paying American citizens. I think I have a suggestion for you that might make implementing your plans possible- show us the money!


I have heard you say on television that you think you can pay for your healthcare schemes by reducing the waste and overspending that you claim are currently in place in Medicare and Social Security and other federal care programs. You believe, (or at least state publically), that the increased costs of your universal healthcare programs can be implemented without raising the federal budget by identifying and correcting all the overspending that you claim is presently in the system.


Here’s my suggestion. Take 2 years off from implementing your healthcare plans. Spend those 2 years rooting out those millions of dollars that you claim are buried in overpayments and mismanagement in the existing programs. Show the American public where that money is , and how much of it there is. Show us that your administration can first of all locate and fix the mismanagement that you claim will be the cornerstone of funding for your health care plans, make these existing programs more streamlined, fair to both the recipients and the taxpayers that fund them. Show all of us that you really do have the top-level management skills that you seem to believe you have and then, after you have had some fiscal success, we might believe that the savings you have created should be applied to the new, more inclusive programs that you envision.


So go to work. Quit asking for programs that can’t possibly operate without more money, (just ask Massachusetts how that is working for them) and quit telling us how wonderful your new programs will be and how these new programs will be free based upon savings that you haven’t yet identified. Find the money, the overspending, the mismanagement. Weed it out first then we can discuss expanded healthcare! With success up front your supporters will have something tangible to brag about and we citizens might believe that we hired the right guy for the job of President.


Feel free to take my idea and implement as your own. You and I (and those I email this to) will be the only ones that know that you are cribbing my idea and that is fine with me. Talk it over with your staff and those fawning folks in Congress and see if this idea doesn’t have some strength. Consider how badly the Clinton’s got clobbered when they proposed HillaryCare to an unwilling public, too early in that administration. As I recall, the crushing of that proposal really set back all their schemes for a number of years  and their health care plans never became possible.  Until you have some proven results, I think your health care scheme is doomed to failure and I believe my idea is the perfect lead-in to a more comprehensive health care plan.



Nate McCord, Ogden UT

Wasted Electrons blog

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Do you know what I hate?

I hate breaking fishing poles! And I broke one of my favorites 2 nights ago while working on my boat! Oh, I was mad! I've been trying to get the reverse lock hooks cam aligned properly which has dictated removing and reinstalling the lower unit numerous times and shifting the gear lever forward and reverse and into neutral lots of times.

One of those times my fishing rod tip moved up under the control handle and when I pushed the handle into reverse, I broke the top 12" off my fishing rod! Dammitall!

I have adjusted the reverse locks cam again and again and there is no right position! On 1 spline the locks are engaged until the control handle is moved a long way into forward so its too far advanced and when I move the cam 1 spline backward the locks don't hook at all in any position.

I give up! I'm just going to use a tie-down strap to secure my motor to the transom until I can find a no-kidding solution to this problem.

Ogden Underground

We've got a distillery in town! Who knew? I discovered Ogden Underground a few weeks back at the base liquor store where they were having a tasting event. I bought a bottle just to show my support for a local business and have been sipping on it ever since. It's a 1 liter bottle, so I've been working on it for quite a while now.

It's pretty good stuff. Apparently it is similar in taste to Jagermeister, all packed full of herbs and spices and tasty stuff. I'm no Jager expert so I can't compare them but Underground is quite good.

I may have to buy another bottle when this one runs empty!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thoughts from the weekend camping trip-

It was a wonderful weekend. The son and GF were better company than I expected. The weather was beautiful and Anderson Cove campground was very nice although it did not have the showers and water and electrical connections I thought I read were available. We had a nice campsite with a view of the lake and the big trees provided nice shade most of the day. We had some good meals and even though our elderly dog Sandy doesn't care for him, the boy's puppie Louie was pretty well behaved.

The boat worked beautifully with a tiedown strap holding the engine down when I had to reverse except for the last 5 minutes while I was trying to get it on the trailer. The end of the strap managed to get overboard and wrapped into the prop just as I trying to negotiate the last 30 yards of the weekend! No harm though and I've already removed the offending strap bits. The trolling motor works perfectly and is much quieter than the last one I owned years ago. The operator's not so hot but the motor is a real asset to the boat.

Fishing at Pineview Reservoir is not so hot on Saaturdays due to the huge power squadron of cruisers, wakeboarder and ski boats beating the water into a froth. Sundays are obviously much better because it was obvious this morning from camp that there were far fewer boats than yesterday.

I even talked the spouse into going for a boat ride! Hurray! This really was the high point for me. She claimed to have white knuckles for the entire trip but I think she saw that it was possible to go for a ride without getting wet, drowned or dumped out of the boat. Now that I've broken the ice she might get more amenable to regular boat rides.

The laundry is nearly done, most everything has been put away already and I'm beat!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Never Forget

Take 10 minutes today and watch this video.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Did I mention we are going camping this weekend?

No, I didn't think so... That's because I didn't really think we were going camping until yesterday. The BSU had invited the oldest boy and his girlfriend to go camping this weekend, weeks ago, though it would require them both to arrange their work schedules. I figured it was a less than zero chance of that happening.

But they did arrange their schedules and we found out about it yesterday. Today I had to arrange a day's leave for tomorrow and find a campground, preferably one with a lake with fish in it. We are going to Anderson Cove Campground just on the other end of Ogden Canyon. It's close and convenient, has flush toilets and showers.

And a boat launch ramp. So I'm dragging the camper out first and once I have it put up I'm going to return back home- I said it was close, and get Fish Slayer and go back to the campground. I should get a good chance to check out my new trolling motor searching the shallows for smallmouth bass. And I think I have the spousal unit talked into going for a boat ride sometime during the weekend!

I wonder if they have a wi-fi connection...

It's getting almost painful...

Tonight I dragged Fish Slayer back down to Salt Lake City to have it's lower unit reinstalled. Rich had taken it, had it checked out by another marine mechanic he trusted who gave it a clean bill of health and we arranged to meet at his place to reinstall it. I drove down there, backed in and Rich grabbed the lower unit ready to slip it into place.

Except there was a piece missing! Shit! There is a hard rubber bushing that keeps the shift shaft and the reverse lock shaft in place. It slips up into the upper section and when we removed the lower unit last Saturday, we forgot to remove that part. And somewhere between his place and my place, it fell out... Dammitall!

We did get the lower unit aligned and installed just fine and tomorrow I'll make a couple calls to see if I can find the part. I'm not hopeful I will find it in stock because I can't find it in any of the online parts breakdowns that I have looked at tonight. That isn't a good sign that any dealer will have it in stock.

In the mean time, I'm going to use a ratchet tiedown strap across the transom and the engine mount to hold the engine down when I'm in reverse. It won't be perfect but I'm pretty certain it will work.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

More mechanical distress!

Over the weekend I had to have the truck towed when it wouldn't start. I had already removed the battery and had it load tested, cleaned and reinstalled the cables. And it started right up- once! After that it refused to start again and I had a relay under the dash buzzing even when the key was out. So I was convinced it was something more complicated and I had the truck towed to a garage- that installed a new battery!

I hated paying for it since it was a repair I could have easily accomplished on my own but it tricked me. Bummer.

Today I took the Lincoln to work and immediately heard a brake dragging on a rotor. It sounded like metal to metal grinding and sure enough, when I got to the 4th wheel, I found the damage on the right rear rotor. Somehow, Ford decided that these cars didn't need the squealer feature to let a person know before the damage was done. So tonight I replaced the brake pads and one rotor and got the special tool returned before Autozone closed. My knees are sore from all the kneeling but I got the job done.

What can go wrong now?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Fish Slayer Updates, Labor Day Weekend Edition

It's still broke... Today I towed Slayer down to Salt Lake City to the boat repair guy that resealed the lower unit to help me get the lower unit reinstalled. I had tried aligning the shift shaft in every which way, I even made a tool this morning to turn the shift shaft but nothing I did made sense or seemed to work properly.

The boat guy had the same problems I had... We worked together on it for an hour or so and he finally decided there was a problem inside the sealed portion of the lower unit. So I left the lower unit with him to figure it out and brought the boat back home.

I did get the trolling motor installed and working yesterday. I swiped the deep cycle battery out of the camper, installed a new battery box in the front of the storage area that was under the seats and got it all wired up tidy. I still have to modify the seat boards to make room for the battery box top because it sits higher than the storage area. But the installation's tidy and will make the boat much more useful for bass fishing or anytime I want to work particular areas of a lake with a degree of control.

So- no fishing for me this weekend. Bummer. Lots of work going on but maybe I can manage to find some non-Fish Slayer related chores done over the next 2 days.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Fish Slayer updates

The good news- I'm now the proud owner of a MinnKota trolling motor like this one. It's used, obviously, because there is no way I could afford one of those new. But a buddy knew another guy that wanted to sell one and the price was too good to pass up so I met with him just a little while ago, paid him the asking price and stuffed it into the Lincoln. I had to use the car this AM because the truck's battery was flat this morning when I went out to the driveway. I guess I left the lights on a little too long the other day while I was checking out the new trailer lights. I'll be buying the wire and receptacle and installing my new electric motor over the long weekend.

The bad news? I still don't have the lower unit reinstalled. Argh! Rob came over last night and helped me get the output shaft splines aligned so it would fit right up but then we had to drop it a couple more times to get the reverse lock cam properly aligned on the shift shaft. He left before everything was perfect but I had figured out how to get the cam aligned. I went 1 spline too far, almost decided I could live with the slight imperfection but then decided that since it was so easy, I would drop the lower unit 1 more time to get it perfect. And I adjusted the cam backwards 1 spline- easy, but then couldn't get the output shaft to slide home into the engine! Crap! I wrestled it for 30 minutes, bumping it just like Rob did with no success. He assures me today that everything has got to already be perfect, since I didn't move anything and that it will just take a little jiggling and it will slip up like it should if I just try it again. So that's my most pressing task, getting that lower unit installed.

There's a long weekend coming up and I am going fishing if I have to install oar locks on Fish Slayer!

There, I fixed it!

I complained a couple days ago about my beloved Compaq Presario laptop acting up and erratically playing the “hardware installed” and “hardware removed” sounds for no apparent reason and my unsuccessful search for a solution. Yesterday, I got it fixed. Hurray! I started by contacting the H-P online chat service and explaining the problem to the helpful service tech. He emailed me some instructions and links to 2 updates for my machine, a new BIOS file and a new set of drivers for the processor.


His instructions included disconnecting the power cable, removing the battery and then holding the power button down for 50 seconds. After that I reinstalled the battery and power cable then went in and reset the BIOS to the default setting. Then I installed the 2 new file updates and when I was done, the sounds were gone! I also removed a D-Link network utility program that I had installed but wasn’t using and that may have been the offending program that was causing the sounds to play. But whatever it was causing the problem, it’s gone now. I’m calling it a real success.


My thanks go out to the very helpful, timely and available Hewlett-Packard tech support. They did me right and my laptop appreciates their efforts.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Now I'm getting cranky! Computer is whacked!

I just turned on my normally trusty laptop 1/2 hour ago and as soon as I had it booted up the Windows "Hardware Removed" and "Hardware Removed" sounds began playing repeatedly. It took me several minutes to figure out what the sounds were and I've spent several more minutes Googling for a solution without success. Nothing I can find on any computer forums have a real answer for this problem.

I didn't add anything, remove or change anything since I turned off the machine last night. It just started beeping for no apparent reason. Listening to videos is pretty unpleasant with the beeping going off every few seconds.

If that's not enough, I can't get my boat motor lower unit reinstalled either! That's why I was so late sitting down tonight. I found the part on the shelf at a boat store in Salt Lake today so afer work the BSU and I drove down and picked it up. Interestingly, the new part is made of metal to replace the original plastic part. That made me pretty happy. But I can't get everything lined up just right and so the motor is not back together and ready for fishing.

Maybe I'll get it figured out tomorrow night...