Monday, March 31, 2008

Movin' on

Tomorrow I will finally be moving into the new area.

The first body section is due in this afternoon (that sounds rather gruesome, huh?)and should be loaded in the assembly tool this evening.

We processes a couple of peices of paper today, so we have tested the waters with our toe. Tomorrow we will probably go baptism by full immersion. Or fire.

I don't want to go and get all technical but there are problems with the way our systems work. Some parts are determined by usage, so how can you determine what you are going to need if you've never done it before?

And the Crystal ball says.........

Saturday, March 29, 2008


The weather gods seem to be somewhat confused.

It has snowed the last three days in a row. It is Spring, damn it, Spring I say! Warmth and flowers and sunshine. Not cold and snow.

I just can't seem to get motivated to do anything when it's grey and wet. I have lots of things to do, but I just can't seem to call up the motivation.

I should be out getting the fenders off of the black car to put on the white car. The drivers side only as two bolts left to remove and I could be installing it on the white car.

Oh well, there's no hurry.

So Mrs A and I are just goofing off, watching movies. I went through our VHS tapes and came across some things I had forgotten I had. We just put on Dr. Zhivago. It brings back so many memories. I took a lot of girls to see it back in the day. It is such a beautiful and romantic movie. A perfect date movie. I haven't watched it in at least ten years.

It seems like a good way to spend the evening.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Moving, Not Moving

Every day I come in with the intent that TODAY I am going to be moving to my other desk. And every day it gets put off one more day.

Today I finally have some more people moving into tha area. I had intended to move out before they all arived, but was asked to stay a couple of extra days to help people get oriented and their systems hooked up. It's OK to have the company, but it is a very small room, and the air circulation is pretty bad.

So I am busy trying to get equipment working and running back and forth to meetings. Not a whole lot is getting done.

We did process out first change request today, so I guess we are oficially started.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Preemtive Action

Now that Mrs A. has semi-retired she tends to get her knickers all in a bunch about financial stuff. She will suddenly panic because she isn't bringing in much, and we will be countin' cornflakes. I keep telling her that we can live very comfortably on my salary, but because she can't just go buy whatever strikes her fancy, she over-reacts.

Her birthday and our fifth anniversary are in early April, and we always go to the Lake Quinault Lodge for the weekend. I told her that we might not be able to go this year. This was not because we can't afford it, it was because I figured they would want me to work the weekend. Since the body section will be a little late getting here, I will probably be safe taking the weekend and going to the Lodge. So I made the reservations today, and then called her up to let her know we were going.

She was, of course, ecstatic.

But I have an underlying motive.

The Jensen Healey's that were sold in Europe had Dellorto carbs on them. They are much better carbs, and look a lot cooler than the Strombergs, but the setup is expensive. You need a different intake manifold also. The Jensen Healey Preservation Society lists the set up for $2295.00. It also says they do not have it in stock.

Today for shits and grins, I checked on e-bay and there is a pair of Dellorto's up for grabs. I put in a minimum bid for $300.00. If I got the carbs, and didn't take her to Lake Quinault, there would be hell to pay. So I booked the weekend to silence any possible complaints.

Sneaky, huh?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I have always found the study of perception, and states of consciousness fascinating. People can do some amazing things when they put their perceptions to a focused purpose.

Not me, mind you, just some people. My greatest accomplishments are to be able to follow a train of thought to it's logical conclusion (a rare trait) and being able to fall asleep anywhere under almost any circumstances and take a 30 minute nap, and wake up refreshed. But I have studied other states of consciousness. I know how to meditate, and do on occasion.

I don't now seek to alter my state of consciousness by taking foreign substances. This of course excludes beer.

I am entering into a time wqhen my job at work will be very intense. I have found over the years that my perceptions notably narrow as the speed increases. I can't let things outside of the immediate situation distract me. The harder and faster I go, the more I have to concentrate on the opbjectives, and allow less and less distraction.

This is great for accomplishing complex and intense goals. There is nothing I love more than running on the ragged edge just one step away from diaster, but still under control. I have told Mrs A that I love having three things going on at once, and being able to slip seamlessly back and forth between them.

Unfortunately it plays hell with my home life. The more I concentrate on what is going on on my projects, the less I pay attention to my family.

The first body section is due to arrive soon, so my level of activity will be going through the roof. Probably from now until August. I both look forward to and dread the coming months.

I have already noticed the beginnings of the process.

Strap yourselves in and hang on in the corners, the ride's about to get a little crazy.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Double Whammy

I am walking around in a stupor today.

No, I mean even more than normal.

First we jumped the clocks ahead and hour for daylight savings time, then my shift start time went forward an hour.

So even though the clock SAYS it is 5:00 when the alarm goes off, my body knows perfectly well it is really 3:00 in the morning, and I need to be sleeping. To quote F Scott Fitzgerald "In the real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning."

So don't mind the drool on the keyboard, and don't ask me any complex questions.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

I'm gonna go all Religious here, so any of you that are offended by that or want to argue, go amuse yourself somewhere else. I don't mind.

Easter is THE Christian Holiday. It is also the least commercially exploited Holiday. Christmas is a Great Holiday. The Birth of the Savior and all. Also the mmost commercially exploited day of the year. But for all the wonder and mystery and celebration, without Easter, Christmas is just another day.

For all of the beauty of the Faith, for all of the devotion, for all of wonderful structure provided by the life of Jesus, it all is just Philosophy without Easter.

Without Easter Jesus was a wonderful man who brought a philosophy of peace and reconciliation to the world that has been the founding truth behind much of the worlds legal and moral structure. A wonderful man, a man without peer.

But without Easter he is just a man.

The Reserection is the cornerstone of belief. If you can accept this single fact, you acknowledge the Divinity of Christ, and all that it means.

As Bob Dylan put it in his album "Blood on the Tracks", "You got to serve somebody". Unless you hold the belief that you are the center of the universe, you have to believe in something bigger than yourself.

It is so much better to focus yourself on beleiving in and supporting a Religion that is based on Charity, Faith and Love. Yeah, I know there are a lot of backward, holier-than-thou, Bible thumping Christian Wannabe's out there, but there are also loving giving sharing Christians, who speak with their actions.

So, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter, and took at least a mimnute out of the day to contemplate that it is THE Christian Holiday that is the proof of all the others.

So rejoice, HE is risen!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Still on the move

Things, for all of their hectic activity, have made very little progress.

The room may be small for 12 people, but as I am the sole person inhabiting it, it suits me just fine. It's a little weird, seeing there is a whole lot of activity going on around me, just not in this room.

At lunch I took a nap, and I slept an extra 10 minutes. When I woke up, I realized that there was no one to wake me up (Or care that I overslept for that matter).

Someone I knew was coming over this way for a meeting so I had them go to my old desk and grab a computer cable so I could have phone hookes up. Yeah, I know that soulds weird, but the phones run on cable and are in-line getween the wall jack and the docking station. So now I have landline as well as two cell phones.

Some more of the people will be moving in as of Monday, so I will be losing my peace and quiet. As soon as they get situated, I will have to move on to my next (and permanent) digs.

Well, as permanent as anything is around here.

I put in an application for a first line Managerial Job. I am not sure I really want it, but what the heck, it costs me nothing to throw my hat in the ring.

I know, I know. I have sworn over and over that First Line Manager is the most thankless, underpaid overhyped job at the Lazy B, and I know because I have been one. But the people who worked for me tell me I was the best manager they have every worked for.

If they would only pass that perception on to upper management.

Upper Management doesn't care for me because I never, never kiss ass, tell the truth even when they don't want to hear it, and always can produce facts and data to back up my statements.

And let's not forget the killer "You're just not a Team Player".

Sure I am, you're just not on the same team as me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

THAT'S Gonna be FUN!

I got an e-mail from my Uncle Ben yesterday.

It seems he is coming up from Mexico for a visit, and will be staying in Oregon with my cousin Ginger and her hubby, Pat.

So we will be having a small Family Reunion over the Memorial Day Weekend. I will be driving down in the Airstream. Me and Mrs A. and my Mom. And probably V.

I haven't seen Uncle Ben since Mrs A and I went down to visit him in Morelia four and a half years ago.

This will call for a family Canasta Tournament. Beer will be consumed. Stories will be told (some of them true!) Lots of food will be consumed. I have already promised to bring 100 egg rolls.

Monday, March 17, 2008

New Digs

I am now located in the Black Hole of Calcutta. It's just temporary, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

The tables, computers and such are not in place where I am supposed to be permanently located. All we have is chairs. I guess you could use your laptop truely as a laptop if there was a wireless signal or jack nearby. I know there is a lot of WI-FI in this building, but I haven't checked out the signal strength.

Until they get the jacks hotted up, I am stuck here, where at least I have a chair and docking station. Oh, and a brand new 19" plasma flat screen monitor.

Right now I am the only person in the room, which will eventually house 12 people. The air circulation is bad and there is one small skinny window like you would expect on a jail cell os something.

I spent most of the day getting rid of stuff I don't need or can't use. I ended up with one small rollaway cabinet and my laptop. Not much to show for over 28 years . But that's OK. I like travelling light.

So right now there is nothing to do, and no one to talk to. Maybe I should turn the lights off and lock the door......

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sometimes Things DO work out

I have made no secret of the fact that mmy daughter R and Mrs A. have been at war for a couple of years. It is at least 70% my daughters fault, but it has been a difficult thing for me. I love both of them, but I have stuck by Mrs A. and supported her. It was awfully hard on me, but I always prayed they would make Peace. It seems my patience is being rewarded.

On Thanksgiving, they were polite and cordial. By Christmas they were riding in the same car without the windows frosting up.

At R's baby shower R called Mrs A "Mom", and they were friendly. R asked Mrs A to be in the delivery room with her. Mrs A. was touched. Her remark to me was "Maybe there's hope for this relationship after all."

R. called the same night she was so sick, and asked if Mrs A. would go to birthing classes with her. Mrs A. said she would, and I can tell she was really pleased. I am crossing my fingers that this is the beginning of a closer relationship. Nothing would make me happier than the two closest to my heart would be friends.

I'm not saying it always works, but sometimes prayer and patience are rewarded.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I'm still trying to get the last minute stuff pulled together for the move at work. The Facilities people here are not user friendly. Trying to get them to committ to something is just about impossible.

What's that?

Yeah, they are all male, what's that got to do with anything?

I was talking with Mrs A yesterday, and she was telling me how happy she is. She said "I was driving down the road today, and realized how totally happy I was, and I started to cry." This is one that a guy is probably not going to "Get". We scream and give high fives and hug complete strangers. The concept of being so happy we cry just isn't built into our software. Sure makes me feel good that I have been able to help her get to the place she is but cry????

R. called this morning, and she is having health issues with her pregnanacy. She is RH negative, the baby is RH Positive. That means her body percieves the baby's blood, and the baby itself as an invader. Most of the time it causes no major problems for the first baby, but the second it can have major complications, mainly for the baby.

R has been sick lately, and the doctor says it is because of the RH factors. This morning she puked while walking to get the bus, managed to make it to her work bus stop, got off the bus and puked some more. She finally had to bag the idea of work and called in. She wanted to know what to do. Should she quit her job?

I told her to go to HR at work and request a Medical LOA, and go back to her Dr. and get him to approve of a Medical LOA. That way she will still have a job when she comes back. I got her all calmed down and ready to go to HR.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Turn Around

Being the shy, retiring type I am, I went to work this morning had it out with the guy that was bugging me. After I cut him off at the knees, jumped down his throat and let him know where the bear shat, he apollogized profusely.

He tried to make it like it was all a joke, but that was only a way for him to save some face.

Things were a lot better after that.

I am moving on Monday into my new temporary digs. Real high class. A table with a docking station, monitor and keyboard. Oh yeah, and a mouse. And a chair and everything. Think of it as minimalist modern or some such.

That is, assuming I have a table and docking station by then. Currently the digs exist only in someones fevered immagination.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Waiting for Something to Happen

I'm in a holding pattern right now. Half of our group will be moving on Friday (Me included), so They aren't going to give me anything to do that has any meat to it. I have one data analysis project I need to wind up, but that's pretty much it.

Data analysis is something I am very good at but hate. Somehow I always seem to get the assignments like that, because everyone knows I can do them. When they want someone to figure out how to do it, I start by telling them "Well, you can take an extract out of system X and dump into Y, cut and paste the elements and sort it and then just compute the differential by........

You get the idea. They take my comment to mean I WANT to do this activity. So I tell them "If you give someone some budget, this can be automated to a single step automated process." They always say "OK, but just for now can you do it for us?" Of course the money never comes to hire a programmer and as long as I continue to produce the data, management is happy as heck.

To me it seema a little like having a NASCAR driver doing oil changes at Jiffy Lube.

So a lot of things are hanging right on the edge of happening right now.

I am reminded of the cartoon that shows two buzzards sitting on a cactus. One says to the other "Patience my ass, I'm going to kill something."

Sunday, March 09, 2008


After Church and a little grocery shopping, I went out and worked on the "good" car. I got the door and fender off, and did a little fender pounding. The structure under the fender is a little bent up, but I am sure I can straighten it out. It will also give me an opportunity to undercoat and seal the structural bits while the fender is off.

Now that the fender is off, I can work on it in the basement rain or shine. Once again I have to be patient and take it one step at a time. I still need to take off the driver's side door and fender. If I get it running it will look pretty strange going around the block with no doors or front fenders.

But I am in no real hurry to get it running.

It is nice to have an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day.

For now it is a glass of burgundy, a run through the shower, and off to bed.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


I'm afraid I'm getting boring. No crisis for a quite a while. Mrs A. is doing great now that she is semi-retired. V. is on the track squad and practicing for the State Tournament in Debate (Next weekend for Congress, the following weekend for Individual).

Today was R's baby shower, and all the females in the family showed up, and everyone had a good time. Recently I was afraid Mrs A and R would never be able to be in the same room. Now R has asked Mrs A to be in the delivery roomm when the baby is born.

Today I went out and worked on the Jensens. I have to remove the front fenders on the good car, but I didn't have any idea how to start, except I knew you had to remove the door to get at the screws in the rear, but I had never removed a door before. So I started with the beater so it wouldn't matter if I screwed up.

It turned out to be pretty easy to take the door off, but since the car is heavily rusted, getting the fasteners out proved to be a pain. Most of them I had to drill out.

I got tired of messing with the beater, so I went over to the good car, and it sure was a lor easier to work with a car that wasn't rusty. I still have to remmove the door, but I have the fender mostly loose. Maybe tomorrow I'll take the door off and see if I can't get the fender off.

It kinda seems like I'm going backwards, doing more taking apart than fixing. I have to be patient, although patience is not one of my better qualities. This whole project will be a lesson in patience.

I guess I'd better go "Spring Ahead".

Thursday, March 06, 2008


I thought I'd explain about me and automobiles.

First of all I have mad mechanical skills. The first time I ever saw the inside of a transmission was when I was rebuilding the 3 speed out of my 1938 Graham Supercharger. Not only did it all go back together, it was still doing just fine five years later when I sold the car. No one helped me.

It's just that when I look at mechanical things they make sense to me. Like mathematics there is a purity about mechanical things. They can't lie. They are what they are.

Fairly early on I realized that I wasn't ever going to be able to save enough for a downpayment on a house unless I did something to generate some extra income. So I bought and sold cars. Buy some beater, spend some time fixing it up and sell it for a small profit. In Latteland you are allowed to buy and sell five cars a year. Any more than that and you hve to get a dealers license. So I did my five cars a year for five years. I started out with selling a camera, and when I cashed out I sold a 1960 Jag Mark IX Saloon for the downpayment on my first house.

I have always had a project car in the works. I tend to drift towards the obscure and unknown because they represent a challenge to my mental and mechanical skills.

Take for instance my latest project: the Jensen Healeys. Obscure, high tech for there time, and the repair manual is pretty sparse. When I had to replace the throttle cable there was no information in the repair manual, so I spent a good bit of time standing on my head under the dashboard figguring out how the %^&* I was supposed to get at it. Eventually I figured it out, but it took a quite a bit of figuring.

Because of my long term love affair with cars, I hate to pass up a good deal. I can see potential profit escaping. Dollars bleeding through my fingers. The trouble is that I still think like I am 21 and able to work 20 hours a day. I'm afraid my body will no longer keep up that pace. But I still plan like it can. I need a strong young protoge' to do the muscle work.

Knowing I have a couple of projects lined up gives me a comfortable feeling, because I know I won't be bored.

If one or two projects are good, five or six would be better, right?



I think I lost most of my audience.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Gotta Pass

Nothing I hate more than passing up a good deal. It just goes against my nature. But the options just aren't right.

R. stiffed me for $5,ooo a couple of years ago, and I am still paying. After all, I have to protect my credit rating. The National Bank of Dad is closed until we deal with that.

So I tried to set up a deal for the Volvo. I believe it is a great deal, but I can't do it because R. hasn't dealt with what she oews me. So if she wants the car, it has to be a cash deal, and she doesn't have the cash.

I hate to back away from a good deal, but what the hell, I can always find another deal. It just burns that it might take a long time to find another one as good as this.

Oh by the way, the final vote was "You want to buy ANOTHER car. I thought we had a deal yada yada yada".

OK. That was the deal, but I hate to see a good deal go down without me.

I need five acres of land somewhere out of the city where I can park a couple of cars.

Last year I sold three cars, bought four. I would have done more, but I don't have a place to put them.

I need to get about five acres out in the woods.

And a very understanding spouse.


I've been trying to handle about three things at once lately. Trying to do end-of-the-month data, get all the bases covered for our department move, check access levels for the people going over later this month, do some number crunching for the boss.....

Oh wait a minute, that's four, and that means I just dropped one or all of them.

Besides that, I was perusing Craigslist and found a car for R. She had asked me to keep and eye out for an inexpensive set off wheels, since she is without a car.

I came across a 1985 Volvo Turbo 4 door sedan for sale for $600. I have a quite a bit of experience with Volvo's, having owned a couple of them. The are safe dependable cars, get reasonable gas mileage. So what if they are butt ugly. The only problem I have had with mine was that when they were old and pretty thoroughly used up, they just wouldn't die.

I once bought a 70's Volvo wagon with 120,000 miles on it. The transmission whined and it popped out of third gear if you backed off on the gas pedal. I figured that I would repair the transmission when it got bad, no big deal. Five years and 100,000 miles later, it was still chugging along, popping out of third gear. But it WOULDN"T DIE. I cursed it, I abused it, I did everything short of deliberately breaking it, but it just hung in there and hung in there.

Finally, having moved on to a different car, it sat in the driveway. A neighbot approached me about selling it to someone who needed cheap reliable transportation, so $5oo.oo later it drove off. Two years later I saw the same car chugging through town.

So I am trying to get in touch with my daughter to see if she can come up with the money. She has worn out any credit at the National Bank of Dad, but I'll take her down and take a look at it, and I'll do the brake job for her.

But she needs to call me back and lete me know because this car won't last for long at that price.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Nice weekend

I don't mean it was really fantastic or anything. Just a nice mellow solid average weekend.

I have been trying for weeks to get out and do some work on the cars, but we have either been busy, or the weather has been bad or I have been sick, so it was nice to be able to get out and putter around with the cars.

Z needed a new alternator put in,, and I had the new one waiting. So I got out and replaced it and did a few other things. This was sorta the first step towards getting it ready to sell.

The new throttle cable came for the Jensen, so I replaced it today. Of course the first peincipal of English Engineering is why use one part when five will do the same job. I ended up taking all afternoon, partly because the shop manual I have has no advice to offer on how one should approach the task. Luckily I have a lot of skills at figuring out mechanical things.

Next Saturday is R's baby shower. We went out and bought her a nice crib. When we got home there was a message from her, so I called her back, and I asked her if she already had a crib. Of course she did. So we had to go back to Target to exchange it and get her a playpen.

A long as we were out, I diverted our mission to go by Lowe's to check out batroom vents. For some unknown reason, the guy that did the remodel didn't include any ventilation, so mildew grows on everything. I won't go into the details, but the weird construction of the bathroom rules out a lot of the alternatives. I think I have a solution, but have to get up in the attic and do some measuring.

So at the end of the weekend I am happily tired. Guess I will need to go to work tomorrow to rest up.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend.