Friday, February 29, 2008


Apparently I lost my moral compass in the last cage match with five year olds. The little monsters were biting.

Somebody had to set them straight.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

We are getting ready to move our work location. The plan was originally to move on the first, but I made an executive decision to move the date out to the 15th.
Heck, some of the furniture won't be in place. I would be without a desk, chair, display, keyboard. The only thing in place is a hot jack for the laptop. I guess that would put me in the "Hovering" mode.

Sorry but Homey don't hover.

I am calling the new work area "The Black Hole of Calcutta", because it is of similar dimensions to the legendary Jail cell.

Be prepared for useless information!

When the British were taking overe India, they started increasing troop strength at the Fort outside Calcutta. The local Raj took exception and attacked the Fort. Faced with overwhelming odds, the majority of the Army left, leaving behind a small rear guard to cover their retreat.

This inadequate force was quickly defeated. 142 men and one woman were detained in a room 18' X 14' and only one window.

142 went in alive, ony 23 came back out.

The numbers are in question, the facts are unprovable, and the entire episode is under suspicion, but the srory is so compelling, that if it weren't true, we would have to make it up.

The room we are moving into is about 14 X 18, and only has one window and very bad circulation. The ceiling is so low that your average size person can stand flat footed and touch the ceiling.

A complaint has already been filed with the Union. I sincerely doubt that the area meets minimum Safety, Health and Ergonomic requirements. Each persons work area is smaller that a bathroom stall.

Gotta run.

Meetings, meetings, meetings.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

To the Incredible PQ

There is this MEME going around the blogosphere, and I was tasked by her Majesty the Peanut Queen to respond. Understane that I volunteered for this.

But She asked me a couple of questions, and before the MEME I thought I'd deal with a question she asked, which was "Where have you been in your wanderings?"

I suppose you have to deal with things in chronological order.

My family lived in Seattle, and I went to school there, but as soon as it turned towards summer, I left for the farm in Idaho. It was like having two homes. I wandered betwene the two. There can be nothing better than having TWO homes, both of which you love. I suppose it gave me the attitude that I could be comfortable anywhere.
I spent a summer following the strawberry crops, lived with cousins in Olympia (Hi Ginger!)
It makes me a person that is comfortable almost anywhere, any time.
When I graduated from High School, a friend of mine and I left for California, specifically Haight Ashbury. Soent the Summer of Love (1967) in the bay area, and eventually came back home.
The Army decided they needed me, so I spent six months at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. I used to play guitar in the coffee houses when I wasn't being "trained" by the Army.
If you have been around or cared lately, I posted about the "Airplane ride from Hell" the other day.
Out of the 300 people in our AIT training class, the top 1% went some place other than Vietnam. One guy went to Hawaii, one guy went to Thailand, and I went to Okinawa. I could go on for a long time about the experiences there.
Some of us rented an appartment in Jagaru, but we got kicked out of town because one of the guys was having an affair with the mayors daughter.
We moved to Sukiran, where we rented an apartment in the middle of the red light district. People came and went all night long.
After the Army.
I had been repeatedly injured by dislocating my right shoulder, and got a disability Pension from the Army. Their idea of therapy was crap. So I went over to the farm and spent the summer srarting out with splitting kindling, and working up to the hay fields by the end of summer.
Since then I have pretty much stuck around Latteland, but have spent time in Mexico. Not Cabo, no tourist attractions. We took out honeymoon in Morelia, and this is definetely not a tourist destination.
The other time we went to Mexico, it was on a Mission to an Orphanage in Tecate, outside Tijuana. No ammenities whatsoever. I carry with me the image of Mrs A sitting on the seat in the portapotty with diareah while puking in the urinal when she got Montezuma's revenge.
At his point, we are looking forward to new adventures, Maybe moving, who knows what.

Anybody for Costa Rica?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Decisions, decisions

The pictures are of my 1977 Datsun 280Z The bottom one shows what the paint job does. It changes from Emerald Green to Cobalt Blue depending on the direction of the light. It is truely spectacular.
It is my baby. I have spent a lot of time and money making it just the way I wanted it. I take it to car shows. It is dependable and fast.

I am also thinking of selling it. It will not be easy for me, because I love this car. So why am I selling it?
A new sports car has come into my life. Actually, she is two sports cars. Both 1973 Jensen Healeys.
I know, I know I am fickle. And I am probably doing this for all the wrong reasons. But the new car will take down it's top for me any time I want. This was never an option with Z. Sure she is pretty and fast, but taking her top off was never an option.
Z was battered and neglected when I first saw her, but I saw the potential, so I pulled her out of the gutter and polished and sanded and painted until I was proud to drive her down the street. I saw lots of people do double-takes. When I pulled in to the Nissan dealership, the entire sales staff came out to look.
But my new lady is English, and though everyone knows how temperamental English sports cars are, she is such a classic example of the English Sports Car. So what is she is a little down on her luck. She is not much worse off than Z was when I got her. All it takes is time and money.
What money?
The money I would get if I sold Z.
And besides, she will take her top down any time I want.
Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Story

When I was visiting at Sue's the other day, she was posting about a difficult journey presented by the Airlines.

It brought to mind a story from my own experience.

I told her I might write it down, and so I have.

Here for you perusal and approval or refusal and amusal is "The flight from Hell'


Everything is just fine, thank you.

So far.

About 2:30 yesterday, I crashed hard. I held it together long enough to make it to the end of the day, but immediately went home and crashed. Slept for maybe an hour, and was fine the rest of the evening. Nonetheless, I medicated myself before sleep last night and got close to eight hours of peaceful sleep.

So today I am up and primed and ready to take on the day. Carpe Diem!

And besides all that, it is Friday.

So everyone have a great weekend. Mine will be busy.

Baby needs new shoes (Trans: I need new tires for the truck)

Need to grab some grunions (Trans: We are out of egg rolls, and need to make more)

Twist a socket (Trans: I want to get out and work on the Healey)

and get down and dirty (I hope I don't have to translate that)

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I feel a whole lot better today.

I't amazing what a little sleep will do for you. Last night I figured if I didn't get some sleep, I would probably be completely useless today.

Two Tylenol PM (Tylenol with benadryl), a temazapam (anti anxiety) and a cylcobenzaprene (Muscle relaxer/anti-spasmodic). I managed about six hours sleep. Good Sound sleep.

I awakened thhis morning felling a lot better, although I still have the headache and diziness, and difficulty comcentrating.

I sure hope it is tapering off from here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Withdrawal II

Withdrawal Symptoms:Anxiety Dizziness Fatigue Vomiting Restlessness Muscle and joint pain Jolting electric "zaps” Tingling sensations Fever Abdominal discomfort Flu symptoms and general malaise Sleep disturbance and insomnia Nightmares Vivid dreams Anorexia, agitation IrritabilityAggression Confusion Memory and concentration difficulties Lethargy Tremors Headache Insomnia Nausea Visual hallucinations Diarrhea Blurred visionVertigo Gait disturbances Sweating Weakness MyalgiaChills and hot flashes Crying spells Suicidal thoughts,

Pretty impressive list neh?

So I called the Consultaion Nurse at Group Health, just to ask a couple of questions. I still have the splitting headache, tremors, cold sweats. I also haven't really slept for two days. Getting anything technical accomplished is a real challenge.

I wanted to know a couple of things.

Are the withdrawal symptoms going to get any worse? Can't say, maybe yes maybe no.

How much longer will they last? Can't say.

What would be my best course of action given that I WILL NOT EVER TAKE THAT CRAP AGAIN?

It would be best to go refill your prescription and taper off.

And who provided you with this information?

The Drug Company.

Let me get this straight. A company provides you with a drug which they know is addictive, does not warn you that it is addictive and you will undergo very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. When you stop taking it, it is very unpleasant, and the only course of action is to wean yourself away by taking more of the same drug that got you there in the first place. After all they are a drug company.

What is the whole reason de etre for a drug company?

To sell drugs.

Somebody want to explain the ethics of this to me?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Zoloft Withdrawal

A little over a year ago the doctor put me on Zoloft. My daughter was on drugs and had threatened to kill herself. Mrs A's daughter was with a criminal. Mrs A's job was creating way too much stress for her.

So for a year I took Zoloft. 50 mg a day. It helped, but I never cared for the side effects.

Well, my daughter is straight, employed and expecting. Mrs A's daughter is with a guy I approve of, and Mrs A. just retired.

So when I ran out of Zoloft last Friday, I decided not to refill the prescription.

They don't tell you when they prescribe it that if you quit you will go through withdrawal.

I started feeling wierd on Monday. Monday night I couldn't sleep, started having cold sweats and developed a killer headache. When I did nod off I had very vivid and strange dreams. I would wake up, and when I went back to sleep it would dump me right back in the same dream.

I got up and took Tylenol, but it really didn't help. I have a case of the shakes and the headache is very strange, not like anything I have had before. If I had known I would have to go through this when I wanted to quit I would have reconsidered taking it in the first place.

Oh well, it will get better with time. But I will never take that crap again.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Evil Al

Mrs A. and I have a very strong relatioship. It has to be strong to get through the crap we have been through in the last five years.

Mind you, our relationship is no storybook "They lived Happily Ever After". I think our culture unfairly sets us up when they sucker us in with fairytails and then dump us out in the street. No two people can live under the same roof without having disagreements occasionally. Unless one of them is overmedicated.

Mrs A and I argue about how to raise kids. She loves structure. It is her way of dealing with an uncertain world. It works for her, and it is a perfectly valid approach.

However it is not mine. I think it is a matter of confidence. I am not afraid of the world. Because of all the stuff I have been through and escaped intact if not unscathed, my attitude is more or less "Bring it on". I am not a worrier, I take stuff as it comes. That doesn't mean I have no alternative plans ready, just that once I make up my mind, I don't worry about things. I don't attempt to impose a whole lot os structure because it is just too damn much work and has no guaranteed result. I set pretty loose rules.

It drives Mrs A. nuts.

V's room has become increasingly chaotic over the last couple of months. This is partly because he was in the swimming and debate and gone most of the time.

When I went up to his room Saturday night to tell him something, the stench hit me. His room had passed it's pull date and gone over the boundaries of acceptable behavior.

I went in and told him "Your room stinks, and you stink. Tomorrow you will clean. You will not get on the computer or the X-box or any other game system."

Carol and I got up Sunday morning and went to church, then I took her out to a very fancy Restaraunt for lunch.

Can you guess where V was when I got home?

That's right, he was in his room playing on the computer.

"V., I thought I told you not to get on the computer until your room was clean!"

"Oops, I forgot."

"Reach over and turn that thing off."

"Can't I finish this $%^&."

"No, Turn it off."

"Can I use it to listen to music?"

"No. In fact reach around the back and take off the power cord and give it to me."


"You heard me, do it now. You will get it back when your room is clean to my satisfaction."

(Cell phone rings)

"Uh, I'll have to call you back."

"No shit Sherlock, hand over the cell phone."

"But why?"

"Because it belongs to me and I am taking it until you clean your room"

"That's ballocks!"

"One more word and I confiscate the X-Box, then the stereo, then the TV, so shut your yap."


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Film At Eleven

For Valentines day, Mrs A. had requested a copy of Jody Foster's latest movie, which just came out on DVD: The Brave One.

It was not at all what I expected. I mean, the plot is what I expected, but her portrayal of the main character Erica Bain was incredible. I've always been a fan of Foster, but this is an exclamation point of a performance.

Erica has a radio program, and wanders around the streets of New York recording the sounds and then does an intelligent thoughtful commentary.

She and her fiance' are taking a walk in the park with their dog, when they are attacked by a couple of thugs, who beat the boyfriend to death and put her in a three week coma.

When she comes out of it, everything is changed. Her beloved New York has turned dark, her fiance' is gone, and she lives in fear.

She ends up buying a gun. She ends up in a couple of situations where she needs it, but as time goes on she becomes more proactive. A lot of the film is about her journey, a psychological hike throough her feelings as she attempts to make sense of things.

I won't spoil the film for you by going into the details, but it is certainly worth watching. We watched it on Valentines Day and again this morning.

Great flick.

And besides all that there is a guest appearance by Jodie foster's titties

Friday, February 15, 2008


Mrs A. got a very nice Valentines present yesterday.

But it wasn't from me.

She had been working with the computing people for several days because her computer was on the fritz and she couldn't do her job. After a quite a bit of time and several calls, she still couldn't do her job.

Finally she walked into the Directors office and went off. She was carying a handfull of court ordered garnishments that she couldn't process. If you don't respond to the court orders within a specific time, you can face up to three times the amount in penalties, and she couldn't get anyone to give a happy crappy.

She told the director exactly what was wrong in no uncertain terms. After all, she has nothing to lose, since she was retiting at the end of the month.

The director told her that he understood her frustration, and agreed to give her the rest of the month off, with pay.

What that all translates down to, it that today is her last day of regular full time employment. Forever.

She was so wound up last night, I thought I might have to anchor her to a tether to keep her from floating away.

I love her, and it is such a great lift to me to see her so happy. Happiness is contagious.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines day!

To each and every one of you. I hope you all have someone special to share the day with.

I proposed to the lovely Mrs A five years ago on Valentines day (that way I would never forget when I did it. Sneaky, huh?)

We have always gone back to the Lake Quinault Lodge (AKA The Scene of the crime) to celebrate , but with Mrs A retiring and me busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking convention, we are not going to make it this year. We're flying under the redar.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Valentines day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Workshop redux

We are two thirds of the way through the workshop this week. I have to say, it has been productive. We accomplished today what I thought we should have done last week. We have to wrap things up tomorrow, which should not be any big deal.

I have been out of touch with everything in the factory, and it makes me uneasy. I am a production problem solver, and while what I am doing is valuable, I miss the immediacy of puting out fires. I have a couple of projects that are hanging fire, and I need to get back to them soon, because our window of opportunity for getting things set up is rapidly closing.

Oh well, I'll be back on Friday.

I hope there's enough time left.

Monday, February 11, 2008

On the Road Again

There is another workshop this week. This time it is three days: Tues, Wed, Thurs. All day. Over at a different facility.

Again they will provide breakfast and lunch. Last week, on Friday we had the Makin's for Chicken Fajitas. Put them together yourself. I added a few more jalapenos than were good for me, and consequently had indigestion all afternoon and evening.

Saturday was the best day so far this year. It wasn't raining, snowing, or freezing, This was really my first opportunity to get out and play with the Healeys.

I pulled off the carburettors and intake manifold so I could get the distributor out. Pulled the distributor and rebuilt it with an electronic ignition system. No more points adjusting.

I took off the Hard Top and pulled up the convertible top so I could see what kind of shape it was in. The material is in good shape, but is so stiff it will hardly move, and it has no stretch in it, so I couldn't quite get it snapped down in the front. I think I will stop by the Auto Parts place after work and see if they have some kind of convertible top conditioner. Probably Armor All has something. If I cant find something, I guess it is time to borrow Mrs A's hair frier.

Whe I got in to work today, someone had dropped a copy of the Renton Reporter newspaper, and there on the front page is my brother. No he wasn't in pin stripes with numbers under his picture. The big headline was "'Super Lawyer: Renton 'Intriguing'".

The article, which is quite extensive is a recap of his career as City Attorney, seeing that he is celebrating his 30th anniversary as City Attorney.

He hates publicity and Politics, and probably had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, in front of the camera. Whenever a major event takes place in Renton, which he has had a major hand in, there is always some jerkleg Politician willing to step forward and grab the microphone. Few people actually know how much he has influenced the city.

I guess I won't be around much the rest of this week, since I will be in the workshop, so

At Ease

Smoke em if you have em.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Let's do it again

I survived the workshop. We managed to agree to a process for obtaining parts between the different divisions of the same company. Unfortunately, that process does not fit within the necessary timelines, so we get to do it all over again.

So there will be another workshop next week. Three days this time. We need to find a much more timely way to move things along. I already have a solution, but getting everyone to agree to it will be a struggle. I don't mind conflict and struggle, in fact I rather enjoy them. Mrs A. would go bonkers, but it just feeds my resolve.

I feely admit I am one of the most determined (Stubborn?) people around, and I will persist when others get tired.

Mrs A. is like a different person. She is going around smiling and humming to herself. Teling me how many days she has left. The idea that she is retiring has settled in, and a calm has settled over her. Things that would have set her off before are just "Oh well, I won't be here in X days, so I don't much care."

We finally have a weekend to just kick back. I will probably go out and start taking apart the engine in the Jensen so I can install the electronic ignition system in.

My custom car cover for the Jensen came in and so did my floor mats, so I have plenty of tinkering to do, but I have no timeline, so no pressure.

Mrs A. is going to get her nails done and I need a haircut. I have a book to read, and a puzzle to work on.

Some times no plan is the best plan.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Blogger Withdrawal

AAHHHH I feel so much more.........


As I said, I am in a two day offsite workshop. So I brought my laptop along.

No cables to connect to the Internet. I broke out in a light sweat.

Wait a minute! My work laptop has a Wi-Fi card!

No dice. Since I am offsite, it needs to go through the firewall.

I can't go through the firewall without a @#$%token, and I don't have one. The whole world is waiting out there, and I can't get to it.

I feel isolated, out of touch. Is this what it's like to be netless? Can people actually live this way? How can they shop for the latest gizmos and gagets? How can they ballance their checkbook and pay their bills?

They started the meeting, but all day there was this little voice in the back of my head telling me SOMETHING IS WRONG.

As soon as I got home I logged on, and found out that you are all still there, and everything is OK with the world.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Going, going, gone

I don't know if I'll be able to do much on my blog, or visit people the next couple of days.

I am going to a two day workshop to work out the processes for obtaining parts for wire bundle rework/repair.

It's always nice to change your surroundings for a day or two. Plus they will provide a free lunch, which may or may not be a good thing.

I mean, there is food as a gustatory experience (Prime rib and lobster) and there is foor as fuel for the body (Top Ramen and Oatmeal). The free lunch at these workshops tend to be the latter, not the former, but I have had a couple of meals that were better than average. The way I see it, free food is almost always good food, since it is free and will keep you going.

In general, they do not cater to my diabetic condition. Here we come to a moral dilema. My mom taught us to always clean your plate (Like THAT was ever a problem), but the lunch will inevitably contain something which is verboten on my diabetic diet.

In my book, mom always trumps doctors, so in order to follow my mom's rules, I will be forced to eat the cookies/carrot cake/pie or whatever.

Blame it on Mom.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Way to go Mrs A.!

Mrs A is retiring at the end of the month. She has been trying too figure out what to do when she quits working at BECU. She can't just sit around. It is not in her nature.

She works out at Curves in Renton. Once she quit working, she really not be able to afford to continue. So she came up with the perfect solution.

She starts working part time at Curves in the mornings. While she is still working at BECU it will just be for a couple of hours a day, going up to four hours as soon as she retires. The pay isn't all that great, barely above minimum wage, but it will be enough to cover har expenses above her retirement pension, and still leave her time to do volunteer stuff at Group Health and at our Church.

It sounds like a perfect solution for now, so she can take some time and decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life.

The only downside is that she will have to get up at zero dark thirty to be there by 6:00 AM.

She is soo happy right now that it is contageous.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I thought the title was clever, because it was the title of a Rolling Stones album from back in the Dark Ages, and since a lot of my posts lately have been about stones.


Not cute or clever? My WE got up on the wrong side of the bed today.

I barely made it out of the bed today. As I mentioned previously, yesterday was ML3's concert at the Holy Spirit Church, which is hosting Tent City 4, a homeless campground.

My back is again telling me that I shouldn't pretend that I am still in my 20's. Setting up and tearing down about 20,000 pounds of gear is challenging both physically and emotionally. Because we are on a very demanding schedule that requires a WHOLE lot of very careful coordination, tempers flare, frustration get's expressed, thing inevitably go wrong. But somehow the set gets together, the lights go on, the sound system works, and the show goes on.

I had really wanted to work on the Healey today, but I am just too stiff and sore.

Oh darn, I guess that means I have to sit around and watch the Superbowl and swill beer today.

Did I mention it is still freezing butt cold out today?