Thursday, May 31, 2007


I have been in a two day class on Apollo Root Cause Analysis. There were no cumputers in the class, so I couldn't read the blogs during the day, and after I get home, most everyone has shut 'er down for the day.

It was a good class. There are several Root Cause Analysis type of systems around, but Apollo is a pretty simple and effective methodology.

The Z's brakes all the sudden started making terrible noises yesterday, so I had to drive the Blazer. I chose not to work on the brakes last night because it was over 80 degrees. Tonight ought to much better, so I will probably at least tear it apart and see what I need to do.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Eight Things

I was tagged by the lovely and witty Penut Queen with this.

The rules are that you are to post eight things about yourself, then tag eight people to keep it going.

Most of the people who stop by here have already been tagged, but if you haven't, consider your self tagged.

1. I am ambidextrous. I can do most everything with either hand. And no Rick, that doesn't mean I can switch hands without losing a stroke.

2. I don't swim. I sorta can, but have almost drowned twice. We all know what happens the third time, so I decided I'd better not push my luck.

3. I once had sex in a tree. A ladyfriend and I were taking a shortcut through an orchard late at night, and we got chased up in an apple tree by a dog. He wouldn't let us down, so to pass the time, we started messing around. One thing led to another, and........

4. Although my family had a farm within sight of Swietzer Ski Basin, I have never strapped boadrs on my feet and attempted to fall down the side of a mountain. The only skis I have ever been on were firmly attached to the bottom of a snowmobile.

5. I have never lost a fight. I either won, or they were broken up before there was a winner. There were a few times when I avoided a fight because the odds were not good, like the time eight guys jumped a friend of mine and I. We managed to talk our way out of it, mainly because my friend had some really dangerous relatives.

6. I like fixing things. I always have around at least on project car just in case I get bored. I will buy something that needs work, fix it up, drive it for a couple of years, sell it, and go buy another junker. This is how I got the down payment for my first house. I started out selling a camera for $200 and buying a car, and five years later sold a 1960 Jaguar Mark IX Saloon Car for the downpayment. Since then I won't work on a car unless I WANT to. One of my proudest moments as a parent was hearing R. tell one of her friends "Just bring your bike over to my house, my dad can fix ANYTHING"

7. I have to have a book to read. I probably have 1,000 books in my library, and have read a lot more. If I didn't have a book, I would read cereal boxes and soup can labels.

8. If I had mmy life to do over, I wouldn't change a dammn thing. I like who I am, warts and all. and each and every thing I have done is a part of what makes me what I am.

So, there you have it. If you are reading this and have not already been tagged with it, consider yourself tagged.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Almost there

OK, so I signed up for Gezeerdom today.

I gave the guy the downpayment for the RV.

Mrs A and I went over to his place and gave him a down payment for the vehicle. When we can get together down at work, we will complete the deal, but it will be a while. Monday is a holliday, Tuesday and Wednesday I have an off-site class. Thursday and Friday he has the same class.

So the earlieast we can get together will be a week from Monday.

I have the Owners manual, and all the manuals for the stuff inside.

It's driving me crazy to have made the commitment and not be able to play with it.

He started it up, showed me all the stuff. I have never owned an RV, so I have a lot to learn, but it doesn't worry me. I am a damn good mechanic. I can fix just about anything, so I am not afraid of any of it, although the owners manual is about three inches thick.

On one side I am so excited I can hardly stand it, on the other hand I have to wait for a quite a while before I get it, and then I have to license it, and I need to have it serviced before I want to use it, and we have reservations for the end of June, so it will be pretty busy to get it all done before we use it.

Once we get it ready to use............

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Both Mrs A and I have OCD to some extent. I mean, obsessive compullsive behavior is a normal charater trait.

It is the little voice that asks you if you remembered to turn off the lights on the car. I have paid attention to that voice and gone back to find that yes, indeed, I had left the lights on.

As you might guess I tend to be a packrat. Tools and cars. I can never have enough of them. Mrs A an the other hand is somewhat of a neat freak. Fortunately they have a medication for that. But sometimes we get on each others nerves.

She will go off, and declare that the entire house is a pig sty, and rush around cleaning, but not a lot get's done. She will take the garbage wastebasket and take it to the kitchen to empty it, where she notices that the counter is not clean, so she will stop and clean up the counter.

While she is cleaning the counter, she notices that the salt is out, so she puts that away, but notices that the spices are messy, so she starts organizing the spices, when she notices that someone has put the aspirin in the spice cabinet, so she she takes the aspirin and puts in in the medicine cabinet. She checks the expiration date as she puts it away. This starts her checking the expiration dates of all the medicines in the cabinet, and finds some expired medicine.

She goes to put it in the waste basket, and there is none, because she took it out to the kitchen to empty it.

"Damn, do I have to do everything around this place?!"

About this time I remember that the oil needs changing in one of the cars, go out and smear some dirty oil on my hands, lay out the cardboard and go lay under a car.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


"You don't have to have a point to have a point, dig?" That's from the animated movie "The Point". Those particular words of wisdom are from The Rock Man.

Somewhere at home I have a copy of it. "A point in every direction is the same as no point at all" Another quote, O believe from The Pointed Man.

What's that? You say you have never heard of The Point? Remember the song "Me and my Arrow"? that's from the movie.

So what's the point of all this?

There is none.

I went over to the BECU Service Center yesterday an got preclearance for a loan to buy the Airstream. I asked for six grand, and they pre-approved me for $72,000.00. Sheesh, talk about overkill.

I was perusing Craigslist (I should be banned) and there was this beautiful 1967 AC Cobra reproduction for sale. For $31,999.00 it was a bargain. When I got home last night I told Mrs A that we had been approved for the loan, up to $72,000.00.

"Honey, you know, I've been thinking. We need to buy a small car of some kind we can drag behind the RV, so that we don't have to drive the RV around when we get where we are going."

She said "That makes sense"

I said "Well I saw this beautiful AC Cobra for sale for only $32,000.00, and we are approved for up to $72,000.00............"

I don't think I want to repeat what she said.

Hey, I was on a roll, why not try.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Airstream 190

So this is what the Beast looks like, sorta. I didn't get a picture of the actual vehicle, but this one looks just like the one we looked at.

It was all locked up, so we didn't get a look at the inside, but I surfed around on the internet and looked up stuff.

I has air conditioning, stove, heat, sink, shower, a big bed above the cab, fold out couch for a second bed, bathroom. Converter and generator, can be hooked up to outside power. The cabinetry in the photos I saw is superb.

We peeked in the drivers window, and the seats are pristine. The guy that has it is in Arizona for a week, so I have to wait until he gets back before I can get a look at the inside. It will have to start and run, and the interior can't be totally trashed for me to buy it, but my mind is pretty well made up.

I figure we can use it for the summer and get rid of it in the Fall if we don't like it. And probably make a few dollars in the process.

It will drive me nuts, having to wait for a week.

Patience is not one of my most prominent character traits.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Here we go again!

I am always on the lookout for a "deal", and I have made some good ones over the years.

Right now we are laying out our plans for the summer. We go tent camping, but we're getting a little long in the tooth for laying on the ground, air matress or not.

We were sitting around before a meeting BSing, and one of the guys said he was looking for an RV. One of the others said he had one he wanted to sell. It is an Airstream 19' with only 22,000 original miles on it.

Airstream makes nothing but high end products, so I am going to take a look at it this weekend. He says it is always tarped, doesn't leak. Price? $5,000.00

So I guess I will go take a look tomorrow, if Mrs A. doesnt go volcanic.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Whole Lotta Nuthin'

Got nothing going on at the moment, either at home or at work, and that's fine with me. Only trouble is, I have things that need to be done.

I need to recaulk the upstairs tub.

There's a truck sitting in my driveway that doesn't run.

I have a ground effects kit for the Z that is just sitting there waiting for me to fit it on the car and paint it.

The yard needs work, the basement needs to be cleaned up.

Some of the siding on the house on the South side needs to be replaced.

The thought of all that makes me want to go take a nap.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Close but no cigar

At lunch today I was perusing Craigslist, and came across an add for a 1976 Datsun 280Z for $500.00. In the pictures it looked pretty good, so I called the guy, and he said it ran but needed some work.

You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but those words can be lies. Somebody had given it a rattle-can paint job without cleaning it up much, so it was covered with bubbles and rust spots.

It also didn't run. We could get it to fire and almost run, but it never would run for more that a second or two. If it would have run I probably bought it, but I wanted to at least be able to drive it home. It had wiring problems and a bunch of little hoses that dead ended. It was nothing I couldn't work out and in time, but I have enough projects for now.

Oh well, maybe next time.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mothers Day

Happy Mothers day to all you mothers.

I am lucky enough to have my mom still alive and well. She is the center of our family.

When I asked her what she wanted for mothers day, she said she wanted me to come down and snake out the drain to the sink in her bathroom. Not very Mothers Day, but if that was what she wanted, that's what she would get.

I know how to do plumbing, but I hate it. So on Saturday, I went down to her placce and took the snake and plumbing tools. I pulled apart the trap. and it was clean, so either the block was above it or below it. I always take the easiest route first, so I stuck my finger up the downspout from the sink.


The down tube was blocked solid.

Hair, toothpast and God knows what else. I went and gor a screwdriver to work it loose, and by hand pulled out this nasty black stinky stuff. It didn't take long, but every time I think of it I want to go wash my hands.

But if you put it in perspective, how many times did she clean nasty stinky stuff off of me?

For Mrs A., I fired up the BBQ and made Shish-ka-bobs and salmon. Everything came out perfect (I am master of the grill!)

Nice weekend.

Friday, May 11, 2007

One step closer

I have taken another step closer to Geezerdom.

I love the outdoors and camping. My whole family tent camped when I was a kid, and I have a lot of very good memories of the family camping.

For my 15th birthday, I asked if my cousin Kelly and I could go camping WAY back in the mountains, all by ourselves. We lived out of a pup tent, and foraged most of our meals. I fished for food. We brought along the minimum necessary to survive. We had a great time climbing mountains, hiking and fishing.

When I got a little older I took up backpacking. If you couldn't carry it on your back, you didn't need it. Little dome tent, ultralight gear. Sleep on the ground, no pad.

About six or seven years ago, I gave up and got an air matress, which was soon followed up by a queen size inflatable bed. Somehow the rocks and roots had gotten harder and always found a way to end up directly under my butt.

This last winter I bought a Honda Super Quiet Generator. It is small enough that I can carry it with one hand, and quiet enough you can stand right next to it and carry on a conversation without raising your voice. I have compromised my ideals for the sake of convenience.

The only step left in my descent into geezerdom is buying an RV.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Mrs A. and I are trying to figure out our plans for the summer. We both like to go camping, so she asked for a bunch of Four day weekends.

They turned her down, said she couldn't miss that many Fridays and Mondays, because those are her heavy days. They also said she couldn't take off the weekend close to the end of the month. She was a little pissed.

The only ting I know for sure is that we are going to the condo on the Oregon Coast the last week in September, since I've already payed for it.

Guess I'll have to dig out the maps and figure out where to go. I want something out of the way and pretty quiet.

Just like every other camper in the world.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Back on Track

I haven't blogged in a couple of days, and I was going throgh Blog Withdrawal.

The symptoms are that you start walking up to complete strangers and telling them things you have never told anyone before.

Saturday my step-grand daughter held a birthday party. I told her I would bring chips and salsa, it being Cinco de Mayo. They made BBQ ribs.

We stopped at Thriftway, because I stop in there on Tuesday mornings after my morning meeting and get chips and salsa. They have the best salsa ever (Chachi's) it's almost as good as my home made, and a lot less work.

I was walking through the Produce section when me sense of smell was slapped around by the odor of something good. I litterally stopped me in my tracks, and I followed my nose. You remember the old cartoons where the character would smell something good, and they would float in the air following the smell to its' source?

It was like that.

I followed it around a corner, and there was a large crock pot type of thing with a sign that said "Northwest Ciopino" and had a price list.

I lifted the lid and inhaled. A spicy mixture of seafood and tomatos hit me like pepper spray, only good. I grabbed a container and the ladle and filled it to the brim.

I made everyone wait while I ate it, because I was driving. It was wonderful.

When I picked up my salsa and chips this morning, I went and checked it out, and they must wait until just before lunch before they put it out.

I have a meeting about a block away tomorrow at 11:30. I'll bet you can figure out what I am having for lunch tomorrow.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Grandfather III, a correction

I was never real clear how my Grandfather met and married my Grandmother. When I wrote something about it, my mom was quick to point out that I got it all wrong.

Mothers are good at that sort of thing.

When my Grandfather was asked to leave the semenary and move West, he got engaged to one of the local girls.

He moved to New Mexico, where he took on the job of managiing a ranch for the nuns.

He recovered his health, and went back to Kentucky to get married.

He found that his "Fiance'" had married his brother. I imagine that was a real shock to him.

While he was back there, he married my Grandmother.

So, there's the truth.

BTW: Where the heck is everyone today? There's probably a whole bunch of you out there who celebrated Cinco de Mayo a little more than you should have, but this is two days later.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Cinco de Mayo

Most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellmann's mayonnaise was manufactured in England.

In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico,which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York.

This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico.But as we know, the great ship did not make it to New York.The ship hit an iceberg and sank, and the cargo was forever lost.

The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise,and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss.

Their anguish was so great, that they declared a National Day of Mourning, which they still observe to this day.

The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th and is known, of course, as Sinko de Mayo.


Sorry about that. I know this is a repeat, but I just couldn't help myself.

A really bad joke bears repeating.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Politcal Humor

I was listening to the news on the radio this morning, and I heard this. I laughed so hard I almost had to pull over. The best part is that it is a true story.

Barak Obama recently gave a talk to a group, in which he referred to Congress as "Spending money like a drunken sailor"

The next day he got an e-mail that said "As a former drunken sailor, I resent being compared to Congress!"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


So Michael had his interview the other day and dared anybody to step forward and volunteer to be interviewed.

In a moment of weakness, I volunteered.

So here is the result. By the way, excellent questions, Michael!

1. You've mentioned your sports car on your blog so you must enjoy a spirited drive, what's the most outrageous thing you've done behind the wheel of an automobile?

Boy, this covers a multitude of opportunities.

I don't suppose doing the track at PIR as fast as I could in my Z with my grandson in the car is all that bad. After the first lap he stopped looking like he was going to puke and settled down, we had a great time. Or maybe doing 130 on the freeway in my GTO.

Here's one I enjoy.

We were working swingshift, so we got out at midnight. I had my GTO and we were looking for something to do. We got off the freeway and into Burien, just cruising, a couple of guys in their 20's looking for some action. We were going down the main east-west drag, 152nd. I noticed a car on the side of the road with its lights out. Something in me said "Sneaker", which was comfirmed when the car started and, still hugging the curb with the lights still out, slowly was keeping an eye on us. I told Jose' to hang on.

I took a hard right into a parking lot, accellerated, went behind a building and took a right, took a left and came out on the back block. Took a right and an immediate left, as the cop car with lights on worked its way through the maze. Another left, another right, two cop cars in sight now. Lights going. Down an alley, through another parking lot, right then an immediate left. Three cop cars. down another alley, around a corner up a driveway, turn lights and engine off.

Watch several cop cars go by. I waited until the street was clear, backed out and slowly sarted to go home. Two blocks later, about six cop cars came from different directions and blocked us. It was the "Out of the car, on the ground" scenario. I have to mention that at no time had I violated any laws. I never exceeded the speed limit, I never chirped the tires, they were never close enough to say they were in immediate pursuit.

They knew they had nothing to charge us with unless they found something in the car, so they proceeded to toss the car. They took out the spare, the tools, the trunk liner, some interior panels, but there was nothing to be found.

So they left us in the middle of the street with half of the car sitting on the ground. They just said "Have a nice evening" and left.

2. Upon arriving home from work one day, you're met at your door by a trio of men in dark suits wearing dark glasses. They introduce themselves as Secret Service agents. The president has read your blog and desperately wants advice on running the country. You get to meet with him for 30 minutes. What gems of wisdom do you share with him?

The President is supposed to govern at the approval of the people. You have said a couple of times that you don't care what the people say, the press says, the Generals say. There was no justification to invade Iraq, no WMD, no smoking gun. You are President, not King George the 1st. Listen to the people.

You come off as a puppet for big oil. Hell, you personally benefit from the inflated prices. Grow some balls, get the pupetmaster hand out of your ass, and work to improve the situation.
This is the only Earth we will ever have. Take care of it. Yes I know trees are bigger than Bush's, but get over your penis envy and give the environment a break.

3. "The Company" (you know which one!) has determined that your hard work has boosted the stock price! To thank you they've offered you an all-expenses paid night out, anywhere, anything. You've even got use of a company jet to fly you to your destination. Where do you go and what do you eat?

So many places, so many choice. Tokyo for Kobe beef, sushi, sake and a steam job and blow bath? Bangcock for night life and some smokin' hot Beef and Brocoli, or Beijing for a tour of the forbidden city and Honey walnut chicken and eels?

4. The day after you get back from your special dinner, "The Company" announces that due to an increase in executive compensation, budgets are going to have to be cut in other areas. Your group is downsized. The bad news, you're out of a job. The good news, you're invited to participate in a special state program that will allow you to start your own business and not worry about start up costs. What kind of company do you wind up starting?

No problem here, but two choices.

First, a vintage sports car restoration service. I think there is a real good market for it, I love the cars, and with a few discerning emplotees I think I could make a name for myself.

Second choice: Open a Brewpub. I have made probably 20 different kinds of beer as a hobby, and thought at one time about starting "Al's Ales", but the economics meant that I would have to work my ass off to just get started, and I didn't want the economicc risk because of my family.

5. After a Chinese lunch one day, you crack open your fortune cookie and lo and behold, it's a magic fortune! You can instantly learn to play any musical instrument and travel in space and time to jam with your all time favorite musician. What do you wish for?

I love blues guitar. I can play a little, and really appreciate a good guitar solo.
I'd have to go with the guitar, and I would love to jam with the guitar god, Eric Clapton.

Any volunteers for next interview?