Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rollin' Stones

I stayed home from work today because one of my kidney stones was back on the road. So I loaded up on percocet and started forcing water. Man am I getting tired of drinking so much water. And peeing so much.

Drink water....pee.....drink water....pee.....drink water.....pee

About five o'clock it passed.


Maye I can get a decent night's sleep tonight.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Gig

As anyone who has been around here for very long knows, I am a Christian. No apollogies, and no preaching. Everyone has to find there own path in life, and I certainly made my side-path journeys.

Born Catholic, I got upset with the Catholic church when I attained the age of Reason. It's probable MUCH too long of a post to put it here.

Mrs A. and I have committed to be crew for a Christian Rock band ML3. Thy have a Myspaceplace, and a blog "newmorninglight". We have been doing this for several years now.

The band consists mainly of recovered alcoholics and drug addicts. It is a powerfultestimony from people who have been there done that.

Mostly they play at prisons and places of incarceration, focusing mainly on the youth facilities. They figure that 80% of the kids in a juvenile place of incarceration are there for drug and alcohol related offences.

What more appropriate audience for a message that you can have a lot of fun without drugs and alcohol, plus if you choose to change your life, here's a bunch of people that will help you once you are out?

I have seensome wonderful results from this. Kids that get out, get wired up, get focused and pointed in the right direction.

This Saturday we are setting up at a church that is sponsoring a homeless "Tent City". It should be an interesting experience.

So instead of watching the Superbowl, we will be working our asses off trying to encourage people who have nothing.

And not regretting a minute of it.

So get off of your asses and give something back.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The old saying is "Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. I guess maybe it is an inherrant part of human nature to be displeased with anything we can't control.

We even labor under the illusion that we "Own" a piece of property. No one owns the land. The very idea is preposterous. At best we lease it for a short period of time. It is no more our posession than the sunlight or air or sea.

The only thing worse than believing you "Own" land, is being forced to pay money to keep it. There is an official body of people that holds the land and all your posessions hostage for money. They are underhanded, pittyless, intimidating bullies.

But enough about the IRS.

The weather here has warmed up just enough for it to rain instead of snow. I can find no redeeming qualities in the weather when it is 39 degrees and the rain is coming down sideways.

This concludes our regularly sceduled rant.

Monday, January 28, 2008

CAT Scan

Indeed there are no CATS, or golfish or other animals inside me.

However I have three (3) small kidney stones in each kidney. This promises to provide me with many hours of "Entertainment". The only consolation is that the Doc says they are small and shouldn't get stuck on the way out. That does not imply it will be a painless process.

Right now nothing is happening. I think they all are in a rest stop on the Great Urine Superhiway.

I wish they would just form a convoy and head on down the road. It leaves me in a state of suspense. I won't take the Percocet unless I need it, but there is no way to predict when they will hit the road. The Doc just says to keep on drinking. Unfortunately adult beverages are not on the approved list of fluids.

On a completey different note, the ML3 Concert on Saturday was a lot of fun. The band was in the groove, and the audience was appreciative. Standing ovations and all that. A good time was had by all.

After sound check and before the show, there was a BBQ. Just hamburgers or dogs or chicken, but it was all good. There was about 45 minutes before the show started, so we asked the sound guy to put on some music.

He put on Enya.

I like Enya, but not for this crowd. After about the third song, the natives were getting restless. I happened to have my iPod with me, and asked them if they could load from it. They said sure, so I plugged in my iPod and switched on Johnny Lang's "Turn Around". Go here: to listen to some of his stuff. Pretty soon the crowd was up and dancing. It got them warmed up for the show.

The show was great. The were on stage about an hour and a half.

Everyone had a great time.

Nice way to spend a Saturday.

Friday, January 25, 2008

No Cats Here

I went in this morning and had a CAT scan. It's a lot easier than a MRI, only took a couple of minutes.

I'm pretty sure they didn't find any CATS. There probably was no trace of the live goldfish I ate on a dare when I was in the Army.

I have no idea what else they will find. I was pretty sure I was passing a kidney stone, but eventually the pain just went away. Maybe the stone stopped for a picnic on the Urine Superhiway. If that's the case, I'll find out sooner or later.

We're going with ML3 for a concert in Bremerton this weekend. We have reserved a room in a Hotel for the night. The show is in the Roxy Theater in Bremerton. Free BBQ at 6:00, show at 8:00. If you happen to be in the area, stop in for some free entertainment. Suitable for the whole family. (Well, maybe not for Wierd Uncle Bob. You know how he is with loud noises)

Since the show is in a theater, the setup is pretty minimal. Just the speakers and amps, no lights.

Then next weekend we have another show in Kirkland. Going to be a busy couple of weeks.

Everybody have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Focus on the good

So much of our lives are filtered through our perceptions. You pretty much see things the way you see them because of how you feel.

You perceive things the way you do because you look at them the way you do. If you think things are crappy, they probably will be, because you are going around LOOKING for the crap. It is always there, but things bother you more because you are starting out from a bad perspective.

That asshat that cut you off in traffic, that you flipped off? If you were in a better mood, you would have let him in and and waved more than one finger at him. You LET him piss you off because you WANT to be pissed off.

I got to this place this morning because I am getting tired of it being freezing ass cold in the morning. Sure, I have to bundle up in the morning, and scrape ice off of the windows and watch for icy spots on the drive in. But things could be much worse. No freezing fog, or snow. The temperature isn't all that low. I don't think it has ever gotten below zero here in Latteland.

In the afternoons it has been all sunshine and blue skies, with temperatures well above freezing. Still too cold to go out and work on the cars, but that just means I can turn up the heat and snuggle up with a book, or work on a jigsaw puzzle, or play on the laptop without feeling guilty.

So remember the sunshine and blue skies, and forget the cold and blue fingers.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Running Like my Hairs on Fire

It's been a very busy day. I've been running back and forth between buildings all day, and when the buildings are a half a mile apart, it makes for a pretty good workout.

I also had to run up to Group Health so they could take some blood. I don't really know why they need bloodwork before they give me a CAT scan on Friday. Oh well, I was due for a diabetes check anyway. I don't much care what they do with it, as long as they don't clone me.

Then over to another building for a meeting on our facilities to support the P8-A. They have completely screwed it up. At the last minute the had a big OOPS! They are doing some electrical wiring downstairs which requires them to pour a cement floor upstairs, so our room won't be ready until after the first airplane rolls out of the factory. They have this TINY space about as big as a restroom that they have crammed 10 desks in. Talk abbout lousey working conditions!

I've been feeling pretty good the last couple of days. The pain stopped yesterday. I never passed a stone or anything. It just quit hurting.

Oh well, I will go in and have a CAT scan anyway.

Hey, Look, No cats in here!

Monday, January 21, 2008

News Flash!

Responding to reports that the Bird Flu represented a danger to the security of The United States, President Bush has ordered the bombing of the Canary Islands.

Next stop: Turkey.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Decision Time

Well, Mrs A handed in the paperwork on Friday to start her retirement. She will officially retire on Feb. 29th.

She will leap into a new part of her life on Leap Day. I thought it was pretty clever timing.

We discussed what she should do next. We agreed that there was no reason to hurry and make a decision. She plans to take a couple of months to think and pray on what to do. For the first couple of months she intends to do volunteer work at the church., taking people to doctor's appointments and such.

She will love doing things for people that will actually appreciate it and be grateful. She is not the kind to sit around for long. I have suggested she pick a service career, probably in a Medical support position, go to school for a while, and go do something she will enjoy an will be fulfilling.

I am a little bit envious. I have a job I enjoy, which compensates me adequately, is a challenge, and uses my abilities. I really don't want to retire yet, and the next year or two will be a real challenge. Then I will be ready to take a good long look at retirement.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Junk N' Stuff

I came to work and then took a Percocet, because I don't like driving after taking one. They throw off my sense of ballance.

They work just fine for killing the pain, but I have a real hard time concentrating. I tend to drift off. I guess it's a good thing that I don't have a lot to do. OH, and I really don't care.

I'm pretty sure Mrs A. is going to take an early retirement. If she were to retire today, the credit union will pay her $625 a month for life. I told her she should take it and go to school to do something she WANTS to do. Or she could do volunteer work any number of places. Or work part time, or just stay at home and be a housewife, or anything else she wants to do. Hell, it I had someone willing to pay the bills and everything while I went back to school, I'd jump at the chance.

One of my passtimes is puting together jigsaw puzzles. I have put together one called "The Worlds Most Difficult Jigsaw Puzzle". It was a doozie all right. Right now I like 1,000 piece puzzles, but they have to be very high quality. My mom loaned me one by Jumbo that was a painting of a Japanese Geisha. It was taken from a painting by Carl Bang, and is absolutely beautiful. I went on line to see if I could find any more like it, and there are several. I ordered one, and it arrived yesterday. It is of a Balinese dancer in full regalia and pose. It is going to be a real bugger to put together, but I will enjoy every minute of it.

I'm hoping some of my parts for the Jensen come in today. I'm kinda stuck until I get the new coil and electronic ignition kit, as well as the evaporation control assembly. Oh well, it is a long term project.

Tomorrow Mrs A's sister is coming over, and we are taking her out to dinner to the Bahama Breeze. We have been there a couple of times, and the food is excellent. Of course I will not be able to indulge in any "Adult beverages" because I am taking Percocet. I've heard that a couple of beers and a Percocet are a reak nice combination, but I don't want to start down THAT road. That road can lead to a read DEAD end. No thanks.

Hope all y'all have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Stoned Again?

I did not go to work yesterday. When I got home on Tuesday, my back started hurting. It came and went all evening and night. I didn't sleep well at all.

It was bad enough that I broke down and hit the Percocet. After that I wasn't worth a damn. Right now I am waiting for the doctor's office to open so I can get in and confirm my suspicion that I am passing a kindey stone. At least that's what it feels like.

I passed a stone about 10 years ago, and that's what this feels like.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Found it on eBay

After spending a couple of frustrating hours on the Internet on Sunday looking for the Evaporation Control Assembly for the Jensen Healey, on Monday I went in to work, and at break time logged in on eBay, and guess what?

When I searched the auto section, there was the part. It was expensive, but the likelyhood of me coming across another new one was miniscule. I have no doubt that I could figure out an acceptable fix for the broken one, but if I could get a new one, so much the better.

I like eBay, but I hate the auctions. If I want to buy something, I just want to buy it, end of story. I just don't like the waiting.

The engine is not getting any spark. It is either the coil or the points. In order to check the points, you have to remove the intake manifold and carbs, disconnect about a half a dozen hoses. This just so you can get to the distributor.

I decided to redo the ignition to make it electronic. There is a kit made to fit inside the distributor that eliminates the points. If I have to tear the manifold off, this will be the last time.
I will also upgrade the coil at that time. Then it should be good for years.

Mrs A. continues to have problems at her job. She has the doctors orders to only work 32 hours a week. She had her annual review yesterday, and she did well. However her Supervisor told her that all positions in the dapartment are full time, thereby implying that if she doesn't work 40 hours a week, she will be let go.

I told her to just hang in there, work her 32 hours and ignore them. If they let her go, she can get unemployment and go back to school. She has never been on unemployment in her life. It is a benefit she has earned and payed for.

She needs to do what is best for her, whatever that is. She has my backing 100 %. Sure, we will miss her salary, but she won't do herself or me much good if she drops dead of a stroke.

Monday, January 14, 2008

It'll be a Boy!

I got a call from R. and she is going to have a boy. That's what she wanted, so it's cool with me. As long as it has all the apropriate parts and everything works, it's fine with me.

I love kids, and really enjoy watching them develop, discover things, learn stuff. They'll believe just about anything you tell them.

As it turns out, having Saturday off wasn't such a good thing. The Seahawks did a pretty convincing job of getting whupped by the Packers. At least the first five minutes were exciting, when they took a fourteen to nothing lead. But from there on it was all downhill. I'll blame it on the weather. As soon as the Seahawks took the lead, the Packers called in a blizzard. If it had been a rain downpour, it would probably have been fine, but Birds don't fly well in the snow.

But Sunday was a beautiful day. Blue skies and sunshine. So I spent most of the afternoon out tinkering with the Jensen Healeys. The good car is not getting any spark, so it looks like I need to pull off the intake manifold so I can get to the distributor and double check the setting on the points.

I can't find a replacement part for the Evaporative Control System cannister. I pulled the part off of the car and gleaned what little information I could off of it, and spent at least an hour on the internet. The closest I got was a rebuild kit for it, but that doesn't include the canister itself. I guess I'll have to figure out a way to fix the one I have. I think I will order the rebuild kit on the assumption that I will figure a way to make what I have work.

That's all for now. How was your weekend?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Oh crap!

The Detention facility called today and cancelled our concert.

On one side I am very disappointed. We had made a committment. It meant some personal sacrifice, and a lot of work, but it is something we are committed to.

To have some officious asshat cancel the whole thing because he hadn't received form ABCDX123 from the Chaplain.

As far as we know we had done everything right, but some anal officious asshat didn't get the right form.

You try so hard to do the right thing, and you never realize how many people are dead set against you .

I guess I have to be satisfied with watching the Seahawks playoff game tomorrow.

There is no cloud that has no silver lining.


We're Goin' to Jail this weekend.
The Christian Rock Band we crew for (ML3) is Performing this Saturday at Mission Creek Womens Facility. The facility is located out in the woods of the Olympic Peninsula west of Belfaire Wa.

Go look at their MySpace page and listen to some music:

This get's you to their Home Page. Click on the ML3 MySpace link and it will take you to where you can listen to some of their music.

This means I won't be able to watch the Seahawks playoff game on Saturday. If I had known when they asked, I might have been a little more reluctant to volunteer, but I made a committment and I keep my promises. They run a pretty tight ship there, and you have to have a squeeky clean record to get in, so not all of our normal crew can get in.

It's a lot of hard physical work too set up 20,000 lbs of gear, so I made sure to stock up on muscle relaxers and pain killers for Sunday.

It will be good to see the members of the band and crew again, and doing soomething for someone else with no reward except the knowledge that you did it is fulfilling. We might actually make a difference in someone's life. I figure that's more important than a football playoff game.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Do you believe animals have a sense of humor? I mean, how much of an emotional life do pets have? Do they plot revenge?

At times their behavior suggests they are much more complex than we think. Two examples.

1) My daughter had a Rottweiller named Chico. He was a big solid dog. He scared a lot of people. He was definitely an outside dog. Any time he was inside, disaster usually followed.

One of his activities was chasing birds. We have a large Bing cherry tree in the back yard. When the fruit is ripe, the Starlings come around. He would wait in his doghouse, out of sight, and when a bunch of birds were on the ground, he would explode out of his doghouse and try to catch one. On more than one ocassion he was successful. It was amusing watching him.

What came next was a little frightening. He found that when the cherries weren't around, the birds would come around for his dry dog food. He would take his dish out in the back yard and scatter kibble around fairly close to his doghouse, get inside and wait.

The birds would come around, and he would ambush them. The implications of this are enormous. It was a learned behavior, not instinct. He was laying a trap. It required that he be able to create a plan, anticipate the future, and follow the plan. A very scary thing, this.

What if he started setting traps for larger prey? Scatter a few leggos out on the lawn and wait.

Or drop a couple of beers in plain sight?

2) I had a cat that stalked and attacked people. If you got up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water, he would wait around the corner and dash out and attack your feet unexpectedly, then run off. I once broke a toe trying to give him the boot after a ninja-cat attack.

I was nursing a broken toe, and he went by strutting. I could swear he was laughing. I also happened to be holding two six shooter rubber band guns at the time.

Revenge time.

As he went by with his tail in the air, I took aim and unloaded both guns. Startled the heck out of him. I scared several solid hits.

Hah! Attck me in the middle of the night will you? He came out of hideing a little later, and he threw me a look that was positively malevolent.

He avoided me the rest of the day.

When I got up[ the next morning and went to put on my shoes.


Yeah, he shat in my shoe.

I swear I heard cat snickers.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

An OH SHIT! Moment

The whole thing on yesterdays post about doing a wheelie in a truck.

It wasn't entirely out of my imagination. I was in a truck when it happened for real.

When I was running the container yard, I bought and sold used containers. One of my long-time friends, JB had an old International Harvester Semi truck that had been converted to a flatbed.

For a small fee, he would deliver a 20' used container. The containers hung over the back axle by a quite a bit, but we figured there was this big chunk of iron block up front to counterballance it. The first several deliveries, everythong went smoothly. He always cased the delivery place beforehand and made sure there was a good tree to tie off to, and he would chain the container to the tree and just drive out from under it.

I went with him to deliver a container to an industrial yard for storage. We loaded it up and headed out.

We had to stop for a light. When we took off, and JB's foot slipped on the clutch a little. When the truck jerked forward, the front end lifted slowly off of the ground until the back ent of the container bumped on the ground. Mind you we were moving forward all the time. The front end came back down ver slowly and bounced back into the air in slow motion.

Each time it rebounded, it went a little less high, until we were finally back on all four tires. We VERY gingerly got off the road to check things out. The front end was so light that we didn't want to both get out of the truck at the same time.

The flatbed was a home-made conversion, and it was fairly well done, but had been done at least 20 years before. The structure of the flatbed was being held to the structure of the Truck by some big u-bolts. When JB jerked the containers off of the flatbed by driving out from under them, the u-bolts had shifted about six inches to the rear, changing the crenter of gravity.

We didn't have any equipment with us to shift the container of flatbed forward, so I got in the front bumper to put as much weight on the front wheels as possible. We very slowly inched our way back to the yard.

Everyone wondered what the hell was going on when we rounded the corner into the yard with me standing on the front bumper of the truck.

Now that we had figured out what had happened, it became a ritual of passage to take any newcomers in the truck with a container on the back and give them a ride in "Willie".

Shock shock

Or sticker shock if you prefer.

I bought a used S10 pickup a few months ago, and sold off my Blazer. The main reason was gas mileage. That and I have wanted to have a pickup to haul stuff around. One of the things I need to haul around is pellets for the pellet stove.

They come on a pallet, one ton of pellets to the pallet (Nice alliteration, huh?). When I went and got my first ton of pellets, the back end of the truck ended up about six inches from the ground, and the nose pointed in the air.

I took back roads home, because I was afraid to get out on the freeway. The front end was so light that at 35 MPH the front wheels kina skipped along the tops of the bumps. I decided that before I got another ton I would beef up the suspension in the back.

I have to mention that once, when I was stopped at a light, I wondered "When the light changes, I wonder if I dumped the clutch, would I do a wheelstand? That would be so cool."

The the image flashed through my mind of the 5:00 news, me standing in the rain, the truck in the middle of the intersection, nose in the air, reporter asking "What were you thinking?"

The image brought me back to earth (So to speak).

Since we are about to run out of pellets, I made an appointment at Firestone to have them put heavy duty shocks and overloads on the back end of the truck.

The cost was just short of $500.00.


Monday, January 07, 2008

I didn't Do It!

What ever it was, I didn't do it. because I didn't do anything this weekend. My poor long suffering mother used to say thet MR. nobody was a permanent resident in our house, because when anything happened you can bet Mr. Nobody was responsible. I continue to blame Mr. Nobody.

I was going to work on the cars.

I didn't do it.

I was going to work on the molding in the kitchen.

I didn't do it.

I was going to clean up the basement.

I didn't do it.

I was going to go to Church on Sunday

I didn't do it.

I either ate something that didn't agree with my digestive tract or had a slight case of the intestinal flu. Stomach cramps and drizzly doo-doo. I was pretty miserable.

But it seems to be over.

I hope.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Muntz Model

Muntz ran an electronics company right after WWII, His idea was that he would buy an expensive radio or TV. He would take out a part, and if it quit working, he would put it back in. If it continued to work he would remove another part. Same thing. Most devices were redundantly engineered, that is they contained back-up systems for everything. If one system broke, the back-up would guarantee that the device would continue to work.

He made millions, because his products were cheaper to produce.

He even made a sports car for a while, the Muntz Jet. It never really became popular, and eventually he quit producing it, mostly because it cost him more to produce than he sold them for. He was also known only in California, so did not have a distribution network or repair facilities.
He also invented the first car stereo and the 4-track tape player, which was the predecessor of the 8 track.
People are applying this same model to business organizations. Unfortunately there is not always a replacement available when you eliminate one.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Smooth Sailing

Everything went smoothly for Mrs A. on her first day back at work. She will be getting help one hour a day, and will have every Wednesday off.

When she got back to work, she found out that two of her friends were quitting and going elsewhere. When the experienced, skilled help starts moving on, management needs to take a good hard look at what's going on.

I look at the "Lean Model" like this: Management keeps cutting people out of the equation, and if things don't break down, they don't replace them. They keep this up until they have eliminated everone but the most basic and essential people. This model saves money in the short term, but in the long term, it is shortsited and delusional. The model is built on the idea that nothing is going to go wrong. When it does go bad, the resources don't exist to fix things. The whole house of cards comes crashing down.

Witness the whole sub-prime mortgage crisis. The whole business model is built on the belief that the economy and housing market will expand at the rate it had for the last couple of years. When the economy stopped expanding, the whole thing fell apart, and the banks and Mortgage companies are left holding the bag.

Very poor business. And to think that kind of delusional thinking was approved by Management of some of the biggest financial concerns in the US.

Scares you, doesn't it?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Back on yer heads!

Mrs A has to go back to work today. She is trepidacious (oh, go look it up) about returning, since she had to take a medical leave, and the doctor is only allowing her to work 32 hours a week. She is also afraid they will have just left all the work for her when she returns, plus the idea that they may just tell her to take the rest of her life off.

She has been with her present employer for over 21 years, and has seen them go from a couple of quanset huts to a six story building that they own. During that time they have also gone from a customer friendly business, to a cold all business organization. I have seen the same happen here at the lazy B.

It's all a part of the "Lean Model" that is so popular in business lately. Ebenezer Scrooge would be proud.

Lean models work very well with Manufacturing. They work like crap in human models. People are very seldom machines, although I have known a few that I wondered about.

Basically, they have kept adding and adding responsibilities until it is impossible for her to be successful at her job.

I am reminded of an experiment performed on rats in the laboratory. There were three groups of rats. They were all set up in cages with levers in them. In one group nothing happened when you pushed the lever. In the second you recieved a piece of food when you pushed the lever, in the third you would receive either an electrical shock or a piece of food at random. The first group lost interrest, the second pressed the lever fairly ofter, got fat and lazy, and voted Bush into office. The third, because they had no idea what the punishment/reward system was, pushed and pushed and pushed the lever until they were half crazy, and ran off and joined ELF (Environmental Liberation Front).

It appears management has studied this model and is now applying it to Personnel.

I told Mrs A. to be assertive, and don't let them get around the doctors orders. Let them know that it is impossible for her to successfully do her job, and let them know that THIS rat is mad as hell and won't take it no 'mo.

She also put in an application for work at someplace other than her current employer.

This concludes my regulalrly scheduled rant.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Nice Way to start out the Year

The decorations are all packed away in their green tubs, the Christmmas Villiage is all taken apart and back in the basement.

The tree is stripped, but I have yet to take it apart and stow it away.We have spent the day lounging around. I have been reading, and messing with the computer.

It's a good way to start a new year, taking it easy, sitting around. I took a nap. we watched a couple of episodes of Monk.

I have to go pick up V. from his dads later this evening. I need to go out anyway and gas up the truck for work, and we need milk.

Tomorrow is back to the grind, sort of. Mrs A. has a couple of doctors appointments, and I am going to drive her, so I will only be working a half day. A good way to slide back into work.

If it wasn't for the money, a guy could sure get used to this staying home stuff.