Friday, December 30, 2011

Merry Christmas

Belated, that is.
Things have been WAY too hectic around here.
The kids came over from Idaho to spend Christmas with us. When they got here, Dan announced he intended to get married while they were over here. Lisa did not know about it yet. So he asked her here in the living room of the house two days before Christmas. We toasted them with eggnog with a generous shot of "Nog" They spent Christmas Eve Day getting the license and everything.
Christmas Eve day we had a family thing over at my brothers house and a good time was had by all. We no longer exchange gifts, just for the kids, and as Elliot was the only kid in attendance, he made out like a bandit.
Which brings up a sore subject. I did not hear from R nor get to see "i" over the Holidays. I guess she called my son a couple of weeks before Christmas and asked him if he knew what time of day would be best to call me. But never actually called me.
After the family thing, we came back home and My son and his wive and Vinnie came over and we exchanged gifts with them. It was a pleasant evening. Mrs A got me a kindle Fire, which she found on sale for $179.00. I have spent a lot of my time since immersed in my first kindle purchase, Inheritance by Christopher Paolini.
Christmas day I had requested a turkey dinner. The women brought back a 24 lb bird, and I helped get the stuff ready. Chopped celery and onions for the dressing. After stuffing the bird, we realized we did not have a pan to roast it in. So I had to run off in search of a store that was open that Had a turkey roasting pan. I eventually found one. The dinner turned out great. I made riced potatoes, there was turkey gravy, both kinds of cranberry sauce, L made Greens and ham hocks, stuffing, rolls and an endless supply of turkey. I have to admit that what I like about a big turkey dinner is leftovers. Sometimes I think I could go right past the meal and go straight to the leftovers. In fact there is still a quite a bit of turkey left. I think I will put a couple of pounds away to make turkey and sausage Jambalaya in a couple of weeks.
I needed to renew the tabs on my truck by the 29th. I have been having so much fun driving the Westie that the truck has been sitting unused for the last couple of months. Of course the battery was dead when I went to start it. Pull off the negative battery cable to charge the battery, put it back on when it is charged, and everything is fine. I go to the testing place to get it emissions tested, and it fails. Why does it fail? Not because there is anything wrong, but because a couple of sensors have not "reset" themselves. So what the hell does that mean? The people at the emissions testing station don't know. They tell me to go see the dealership. The dealership says that it takes somewhere between three and ten start and warm up cycles to reset the sensors. I ask how the heck am I supposed to know when it is done, I mean will the sky clear and a beam of sunlight will break through the clouds and I will suddenly KNOW the sensors have reset? (and yes I did ask that exact question of the service manager). He said that for $150.00 they would go in and reset the codes in the computer, and it would pass, but that if it didn't I could get a waiver. It seems if you spend $150.00 to address whatever problem you have that is causing you to fail the emissions test, they will pass you anyway. It guess it is a complete coincidence that that is the exact amount of money it takes to reset the computer which takes about two seconds and involves pushing a couple of buttons. So I made an appointment to drop off the truck the next morning. I had the kids drop off the truck because...
Mrs A had a medical appointment in Bellevue the next morning.
While we were waiting for the medical stuff, the kids called and said they were heading back home that afternoon, because the passes were bare and wet and were supposed to stay that way until late evening, when it was supposed to snow like crazy, so they had to run around and get all of the last minute things done and get everything packed. So we came straight back from the doctors, they got back and packed and got out of here by 2:00.
when I called about the truck, they had not done anything with it yet. They called at 2:00 to say that I had a bad oxygen sensor, but that they could just reset the computer and I could go get it tested. I said that I wanted it fixed, so they went ahead and replaces the oxygen sensor, and I took it over to the testing station where....
it failed.
But since I had just paid $300 to have it repaired, I went and got a waiver. Mind you, my tabs were expiring that day. By that time it was 4:15. I had just enough time to go get the tabs renewed, because the licensing place closed at 5:00. I made it.
So I awoke this morning and Mrs A was getting ready to head out for work. She works a full day on Fridays, so It is just me and the dogs, who are over on the couch, snoring. The first quiet day I have had this Christmas.
And just in time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Two steps fprward

I got the OK from the doc today to resume normal activities. I have been under orders to stay off my feet as much as possible. Guess I can no longer put off raking the leaves in the front yard........But it will be great to be able to take a shower without having my foot in a sandwich bag.
And my present supervisor has given me my release, so when I come back from the Holidays I will be reporting to my new job. On days. Right now I am negotiating for four tens, with Mondays off.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New job

Today I officially accepted the job offer for a new position. It involves a change of organizations, but physically I will move about six feet.
The new job is Liaison M.E. instead of ECAT. ECAT is wiring shipside support, Liaison is everything else. Like structures and hydraulics and ECS.
I should get a report date in the next couple of days. I kept telling my boss that I would do whatever was necessary to get out of working second shift. Either they didn't believe me, or didn't care (or both). So now I have done it. The agreed to report date is after the first of the year, but my current manager has not yet turned loose of me.
Still fighting the infection on my toe. I have to go in tomorrow and get it looked at again. I sure hope they give me a clean bill of health, but since I can't see the toe for all the bandages, I have no idea how it looks. Got my fingers (and toes) crossed.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Stir it up

My toe is not healing the way the wound specalist would like. The swelling and redness has gone away, but a hole remains. They insist that it needs to remain open and heal from the inside out. So when I go in, they scrape off any scab that has formed. Lots of fun there.
Seems all we do lately is go to doctors appointments. They hope that it will be healed by next week.
I was offered a job today, and will take it. If anything I am overqualified, but it is on first shift and I will only have to work every third weekend. The hours are kinda flexible, so we will be having a discussion about four tens or nine 80s or midshift when we get together next. But I took the offer, so I will report to days after the first of the year.
And my daughter has been missing for three days.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Vanaru/Subagon

I finally got the Westie back from the shop. Good to have my toy back.
It was in having a propane heater installed so we can go camping year round and not freeze our butts off. They built it in under the back seat where the stock back seat heat vent went, and built a box to surround it. The vent comes out right in front of the rear jacking point on the passenger's side.
While they had it up on the lift, they noticed on of the front tires had some "cupping". That means there is uneven wear with come spots showing appreciably more wear than the rest of the tire. It is an indicator of worn suspension parts. Since I had noticed a distinct shimmy starting at around 65 miles an hour, I knew something was wrong up front. This diagnosis fell perfectly in line with what I figured. New tie rod ends and bushings and several hundred dollars later, the problem was fixed.
I am pretty much finished upgrading the Westie (for now).
2004 Subaru 2.5 Liter fuel injected computer controlled 175 HP engine.
New brake system all around.
New tires.
New canvas for the pop-top
New 37 quart refrigerator/freezer (12/120 volt)
New awning
New second battery to run 12v accessories, with wiring to isolate it from the main battery but charge it when the engine is running
Wider window in back to allow 110V air conditioner to be used, box to contain the unit.
New windshield.
New air conditioner.
New back bumper
New propane heater.
New 12V outlet on sidewall of driver's seat mount.
Rebuilt front steering.
There are still a couple of things I am playing with, but need some time to think through.
I have a Honda 2000e Super Silent generator. I think it would be neat to build in to the interior of the vehicle. There is a spot under the cabinets next to the engine that might be big enough to fit it in, but you would need to make a lockable door for outside access to start it since it is pull-start. I suppose a different answer might be to work out a starter motor drive of some kind, but so far it is just a concept, not a plan.
Other than that, there is the possibility to make it four wheel drive, but right now the conversion is a little steep. Not necessary, but it would be nice for when we get off of the pavement, or when it snows.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Toe Wars

The week before Thanksgiving, I noticed a sore developing on my second toe. A red raise area, sore to the touch.
It kept getting bigger and more painful, so on the Monday before turkey day, I went to the doctors. They weren't sure of a diagnosis, but most likely either gout or an infection. So they treated it as both. Gave me both gout medication and an antibiotic.
On T-day when I got home, the sore had burst, and the whole end of my sock was saturated with liquid. I spent the rest of my four day weekend with my foot elevated, and basically kept off of my feet. It didn't get any better. although it did make a scab.
I am diabetic, and have had three relatives lose lower limbs because they neglected to take care f themselves, so I was pretty worried.
Sunday, the scab split an my toe oozed out a lot of black blood.
This Monday I went back to the doctor. My regular Doctor was not available, so I told them I didn't care who saw me, but somebody needed to look at my foot.
They poked and prodded, and sent me to the wound treatment center, where they tortured my for a while. Tweeezers, scissors and scapple. Tell me if you can't stand the pain.
I did ask them to stop once to give it a rest when the sweat started on my brow.
They cleaned it all up, bandaged it and sent me on my way, with some more intibiotics.
I need to go back tomorrow to have them check it.
It has quit huring so bad which means it is either healing or has gone into gangrene, but since it doesn't stink, I am going to go with healing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Always Something

I heard from North Westie today, and of course the news was not real good.
It is in having the heater installed under the back seat. And the water system worked on, and some other minor stuff.
They had it up on the lift, and they noticed cupping on the driver's side tire. Not good. Those are brand stinking new tires. So they got to looking around and found a bad ball joint and some worn bushings.
I had noticed when we were above 65 it had a shimmy in the steering, and figured it was a wheel out of balance. Not so. Tack another 300 bucks on the bill.
V called this week and asked if he could move back in. I had to tell him no. After giving us total disrespect and fighting every thing we asked of him for the last four years or so, why the heck would we want to give him the opportunity to disturb our home life again.
I adopted him when he was 6 and raised him through High School. My duty is done. The fact that I don't want him living with us again is based on his consistent prior behavior. I see no reason to believe that he has changed in any fundamental way. It was not easy telling him no. I love him, just don't want to live with him.
I think he should volunteer for Military Service. It would grow him up in a hurry.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Not Much

I started back on second shift on Monday. Very unhappy about the shift change.
Must stay focused.
I have a high end job. which is challenging.
I enjoy my job.
Lots of people would kill to have my job.
I am respected in my profession.
#$%^&*(ing second shift.
Bought a sketch pad the other day and am getting my hand back into art. It's been about ten years since I have done anything. Right now I am just doing some preliminary work for a picture I have in my head that needs to get out. Skills are slowly returning.
The Westy is in the shop having the independent heating system installed and a few of the bugs worked out. Since the Westy already has a propane stove, the heater will be plumbed into the same system. One step closer to having things the way I want them.
I have my resume' in for a different job. Still on the P8-A, but in Liaison M.E. rather than ECAT. but a first shift job. only have to fill in on second shift when the regular second shift guy is on vacation or sick leave. It means giving up my lead position, but at this point I don't care. My home life is much more important to me than having a n "L" after my name on the org chart.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tree Frog

We are going to redo the lighting in the Kitchen this winter. The ceiling is one of those "Hanging ceilings" that is suspended about four inches below the real ceiling.
Lighting is provided by three four foot long florescent fixtures that are just laying on top of the framing. Pretty cheap and cheesy.
The setup was already there when I bought the house, and it was never worth the amount of work required to switch them out.
Problem one is that they go through florescent bulbs like crazy. Way sooner than they should. It is because the fixtures themselves are the cheapest you can possibly buy.
And they are now failing. Two of the spots will now not work at all. So we have decided it is time to do something about them.
We went down to Lowes Hardware to check out the stock and look for new ideas. I found some oak cased lights with a wooden gridwork that will match the kitchen cabinets, and they take four florescent bulbs each, so they ought to provide plenty of light.
While we were wandering around the middle f the store looking at lights, I caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye.
There, on the cement floor, a hundred yards from any exit, was a tree frog.
He was covered in dust bunnies.
So I went and caught him, and cleaned him up by taking the dust bunnies off of him. A couple of employees were walking bu so I asked them "How much for the tree frogs?"
Of course they looked at me like I had lost my mind. "Huh?"
I cracked my hand open enough that they could see the frog. They were all fascinated. One announced that it was a Spring Peeper, but as spring peepers, also known as green tree frogs, live only in the southeastern U.S., that was pretty unlikely.
When I checking out I showed him to the clerk and she wanted to touch him, but couldn't quite bring herself to do so.
What to do?
I went to the (outdoor) Garden Center and asked them if the had a home for the frog, but they said they were in the process of shutting down for the winter. There were no woods near, only the planter strips in the parking lot. I didn't give him much chance of survival if I just dumped him off there. So I stored him temporarily in an old empty Cassette case. He rode in the storage area below the radio, peering out the whole way home.
I let him go in the Tibetan Magnolia in the front yard.
But how the hell does a tree frog get out in the middle of a warehouse hundreds of yards from the nearest tree?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bravery

A while back I related the story of Earl Pleasant, and several people made the comment that what I had done was brave.
I disagree.
I did what was necessary to save someones life. I did not at any time consider what I was doing or why I was doing it, or the possible consequences.
To me, Bravery is when you are scared as hell, and go ahead and do the right thing, fully knowing it might have severe consequences.
Which brings up the following:
We had a patient in the Psychiatric ward at Camp Kue. He was Paranoid Schizophrenic. He was in the Air Force. Because he was a troubled person, he caused a lot of problems in his unit. The answer for this was to give him a weapon and have him patrol the perimeter of the base at night. He ended up unloading a clip in the jungle at imaginary people.
He came to visit us, and was still suffering from paranoid delusions.
He decided that he wanted to go play pool in the open part of the hospital, and was told that he was not ready to go out among the general population.
His reply was to go get a chair and throw it through the window. He then loudly asked "Can I go play pool NOW?
Same answer, so he threw another piece of furniture. Same answer.
Then he ran back to his bunk and pulled out a 12" diving knife and asked "CAN I GO TO THE DAY ROOM AND PLAY POOL NOW?.
Same answer.
We called down to the Emergency room for the "Goon Squad" who were supposed to take care of any such situations.
They came up to the ward, Looked into the common area where the patient was menacing the other patient and staff with his knife, took one look and said "Hell no", turned around and left. That left a couple of us enlisted guys.
We looked at each other, and someone said "Well. we got this to do before he hurts someone. Who's got a plan?"
We decided on our plan. We would slide around the outside of the common area and get a mattress of of the nearest bed, then rush him and keep pushing until we had him pinned against the wall. One of us would go for the knife and another other would get him in a choke hold. We could control him until until a nurse or doctor could get in and give him a shot.
Knowing fully well that if things did not go well, these might be our last moments alive, or that we could be permanently maimed, we grabbed the mattress and went for it.
The plan was executed perfectly. The one guy got the patient in a choke hold, and cut off the blood supply to his brain, while I immobilized the knife hand.
We choked him until he passed out, then yelled for the doc to get in here. We would let up until he began to struggle, then put him back under. After all we didn't want to harm him, just control him until he could be sedated. Eventually a doctor gave him a tranquilizer and he went under.
This was a defining moment for me. A lot of people wonder how they would hold up in a situation when they are faced with possible death or injury, and most. thankfully never have to find out.
If I have ever done anything brave in my life it was that moment.
But I was still just doing what was necessary even though I was scared to death.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Updates

When I went in to renew the tabs for the Westy, the clerk said that they couldn't do it because it had been sold.
Huh?
It seems it had been reported as sold. As I was standing there with the registration showing myself as the legal owner, as well as a current insurance card and drivers license, they let me fill out an affidavit stating I had never sold the car. I guess that was why I never received notification that the tabs were expired.
Oh well, it's taken care of now.
The new locking gas cap came in and works just fine.
I ordered a new drivers side rear view mirror, but haven't gotten it in yet, despite a couple of e-mails to the vendor, despite the fact that I TYPED IN CAPITOL LETTERS.
What a joke.
We took the Westy out for a drive up Snoqualmie Pass last Saturday to look at the fall leaves and stomp around in the woods looking for mushrooms. The fall leaves at the falls on Box Canyon were magnificent. I really regretted not bringing along the camera.
I paid off the car and the Visa bill this week, so we are going out tomorrow and splurge on dinner. The Red Lobster beckons.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

OOPS!

When we got home from our trip, I was unloading and straightening out the Westy. I went to close the back hatch, I glanced down and saw that the license tabs expired last March!
That's right, over six months ago.
A good bit of that time it was in the shop, but still. Five states, six National Parks, and about 3500 miles, and no one noticed that the tabs were expired.
Guess I'd better take care of that.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

3417 Miles

We just rolled in last night from our trip. 3417 Miles in 15 days.
It was a wonderful trip, we went so many places and saw so many wonderful things. The only thing bad was that we didn't have enough time. We would have to have taken at least a month to cram everything in. The itinerary was like this:
First day, a short trip just to get used to being on the road. First night at Paradise Point State park. It may have been a Paradise at some time, but not recently. The park is maybe 30 yards from the freeway, so all night it was listening to semi's putting on the jake brakes. It would have been a nice place except for the traffic noises. The other thing was that Mrs A got stung by a hornet withing five minutes of our arrival. For some reason, hornets like to sting her. But she isn't allergic or anything, so it wasn't too bad. Got our first chance to use the on-board air conditioning, and it was great. The temperature outside was in the 90s, so it was great.
The second day we went up the gorge of the Columbia, with our main stop at Maryhill Mansion. It is this incredible Art Museum out in the middle of nowhere. After the museum we stopped off at Stonehenge, a scaled down model for the original, which was built as a memorial to the seventeen young men from Kittitas County who lost their lives in the First World War. The drive from there up the Columbia Gorge was nice, but it was incredibly hot. That night we stayed in the campground at Immigrant Springs in Oregon, a stopoff on the old Oregon Trail.
The next day we went up to Craters of the Moon in Idaho. Craters is the biggest lava flow in the contiguous United States. It was very bleak and fascinating. Splatter cones, lava tubes and all sorts of lava formations. That night Mother Nature put on quite a light show, in the form of a lightning storm. Lots of cloud-to-cloud lightning, It didn't rain very much, but was real entertaining.
The next day we just went as far as Twin Falls Idaho, grabbed lunch and booked a room at Shilo Inn. The room was incredible. We wanted to get cleaned up because the next day we were stopping in at Brigham City to see our son Rick and his wife and their kids.
The visit was nice. We took them all out for dinner at a BBQ place. It was supposed to be great, but I wasn't impressed. I do better ribs at home.
Next it was off to Zion National Park. We had two nights and days there. It was a great couple of days, other than the fact that the thunderstorms followed us, and we dodged them both days. We never got caught in one, but we couldn't take the hike up the Virgin River. The canyon is so narrow that you have to hike right up the river, and it was in flash flood status. But we saw some beautiful country and went on a couple of very nice short hikes. We went into town for dinner and had some very good pizza and split a bottle of wine. So far we could not have a campfire because of the dry conditions.
The following morning it was off to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. The campground was great, and they allowed camp fires, so we got to grill some burgers over the fire for dinner. Nothing like food grilled over the campfire. We hiked about a mile out to Bright Angel point. The view was 3,000 feet straight down and ten miles across to the other side, and the hike back was right along the rim of the canyon. It was cool there temperature wise, but I had packed some warm clothes, so we were OK.
Next it was off to Bryce canyon for a couple of days. We stayed at the Best Western Hotel in Bryce city. We got a room with a Jacuzzi in it, right next to the pool. Very nice, but the food was marginal at best. We caught the shuttle out to Bryce Point, elevation 8300 feet. We hiked the trail down to the bottom. The down part was fine. The back up part was a little more challenging. I was surprise at how well we managed the hike back up, but there were a lot of stops. "We will make it to the next switchback, and then take a rest." Lots of rests, but we never got really winded. Some very incredible scenery.
Off the next morning to Capitol Reef. We weren't able to get a camping spot, so we had to backtrack and get a room at Best Western. I was not impressed with the room, and they wanted to charge us $7.95 for breakfast. No thank you. After we checked in, we drove up Capitol Wash, which was about 20 miles. The drive was well worth it. The walls of the canyon slowly closed it until they shut the road down. Back in the 20's the road went all the way through, but it is closed off now. For dinner we went to a restaurant right across the road from the Motel, and it was a real surprise. I had a steak with a cranberry demi-glaze. It was Divine. The best steak I have had in a long time. The dressing for the salad had never seen the inside of a bottle. Out here in the middle of nowhere was a world class chef. I would like to take a couple of days just to explore the menu.
The last stop on this portion of the trip was Arches National Park. When I was making the reservations for the trip, the campground was booked full, but I kept checking back a couple of times a day, and eventually got a one night reservation. I really wish we could have stayed longer. The campsite was really great, and a trail took off from right next to the campsite. We took a real nice hike off into the desert, but there were a couple of other hikes I would have loved to take, but we just didn't have the time, because it was time to head back home.
Next day, it was back to Brigham City for the night.
Then get up and head for home We made it as far as Baker City for the night. An average place. Then the final push for home. One note: Do not ever go to The Hungry Redneck Cafe. As a counterpoint to the best steak I have had in years, they had the worst. So tough I could not even cut through the gristle with a steak knife. Amazingly, the soup of the day was clam chowder, and it was very good. The final push home was long and tiring, but it was good to pull up in front of the place and get out. It was so good to sleep in our own bed.
As a little aside, I managed to lose the gas cap to the Westy along the way. At first I made a make-shift one out of a Coke can, but when I tightened it up, one of the tabs off, so I used a piece of plastic wrap and a couple of zip-ties, and it worked great. Of course the Westy has a very unusual size of cap, so they didn't even list a cap at the local NAPA stores. Hope I don't have to get stuck using plastic wrap for too long.
So the trip was a complete success. Too short, but long enough that we were really glad to get back home.
And tomorrow I have to go to work.

Friday, September 09, 2011

I BE Trippin'

In my spare time the last couple of days, I have been figuring out our trip. The plan is:

Day 1 Home to Paradise Point State Park
Day 2 Paradise Point to Emigrant Springs
Day 3 Emigrant Springs to Craters of the Moon
Day 4 Craters of the moon to Brigham City to see family
Day 5 Brigham City
Day 6 Brigham City to Zion National Park
Day 7 Zion National Park
Day 8 Zion National Park to North Rim, Grand Canyon
Day 9 North Rim to Bryce Canyon
Day 10 Bryce Canyon
Day 11 Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef National Park
Day 12 Capitol Reef to Arches
Day 13 Arches to Brigham City
Day 14 Brigham City
Day 15 Brigham city to somewhere
Day 16 Home

With no side trips, that is 2889 miles.
We do not have reservations at several of out destinations, but that's OK. We'll figure something out.
I pick up the Westfalia tonight. I am anxious to see how all the improvements turned out. Added heat, air conditioning and refrigeration. Updated electrical system, new pop top canvas and headliner, new batteries. new windshield, new rear bumper, new antenna. This will be a heck of a break-in trip.
I can't wait.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Car Show & Stuff

I managed to make it to the annual Boeing Employees Car Show. Even better, I made it home again without a disaster. The car did divest itself of some coolant after going up the big hill on Renton Ave. I think it is more that the radiator cap is worn out that it is overheating.
I didn't win any trophies this year, but that's not what it is all about.
To me it is about participating, and getting a chance to talk cars with people who understand the language.
When I try to talk cars around home, I get a blank look and a "That's nice dear".
I actually had one guy in his thirties come up. He was from England and was extremely surprised to see a Jensen Healey. Double surprised when he saw the "Before" picture.
Best of show was won by a 1953 Dodge Power Wagon Pick-up, military version. It was incredible. I swear there was not a speck of dirt on it anywhere, and of course the power was updated by Modern Mopar. I have always wanted one of those. Almost bought one a couple of years ago, but rebuilt and updated my S10 pickup right before I saw the Power Wagon. Been sorry ever since.
I visited the Westfalia in the shop last Friday, and things are coming together. The material for the replacement canvas came in today, and things look OK for it being ready for the 9th when we pack up to hit the road. The new refrigerator/freezer is in, the top is off getting new seals and headliner, and the luggage rack has the new stainless steel tie-downs installed. Oh, and they were putting in the new defroster fan switch and rewiring the radio (there are limits to what duct tape can do).
Still to go: new windshield and rear bumper and end caps. The only thing that may not get done is, I have asked that they figure out a way to mount and vent my Honda Super Silent generator inside the car, but that is something that doesn't have to get done right away.
When we get back from the trip I will have to look into getting it painted.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Been a while

Since I posted anything here.
Part of the reason is that Kelly's death hit me real hard. He was a year younger than me, and we were in the process of putting together a visit.
I am still bummed.
At least I have some nice artwork to remember him by, and some great memories of the stuff we did together.
Tomorrow is the annual Boeing Employees car show, and I have been persuaded to bring Framkenhealey to the show. It is still not complete, mainly wiring problems, but I have no turn signals or wipers. I finally got the headlights working, but one only works on high beam. Shouldn't be too terribly difficult to track down a junction that has a loose connection. I need to go home tonight and clean it up and get it ready to drive tomorrow. I drove it around for several miles on Saturday, finally have the idle set properly, and the mixture seems right. It is only about 4 miles to work, so it is not a big deal.
But I will have my fingers crossed anyway.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Kelly Smith (Mulford) 11/22/1949 - 07/27/2011 RIP



Kelly was my cousin. We were very close when we were growing up. He came very close to being my brother, and I have lots of wonderful memories of the stuff we did together.



For my 15Th birthday, I asked my parents to take us up into the Cascades and drop us off at Scatter Creek Campground above Salmon La Sac in Eastern Washington for two weeks. We packed a Boy Scout pup tent a couple of sleeping bags and enough provisions to keep us alive. I made sure to pack butter, corn meal and salt and pepper and a skillet to fry fish in. We survived on oatmeal, dried apples, fish fried up fresh out of the river, and a few scavenged berries. We hiked all over the area, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.



Kelly's dad was a world War II Vet. He had been shot through the jaw. They managed to patch his face back together but he was missing part of his tongue, which made his speech slurred. He was a very smart and talented man. He was fiddle-footed, so they moved up and down the coast. Kelly said he could claim no home town, as he had never stayed in one place long enough. One December 10 days before Christmas, Uncle Steve put a 30.06 under his chin and blew his brains all over the wall and ceiling. He left a wife and six kids behind.



Kelly was the second. He was a very talented artist and had started selling his art in his teens. He and I would get together on the weekend and do Beattle Portraits in black and white and sell them for $5 apiece. It kept us in spending money.



When he was a junior in high school, his mother had a massive heart attack and died. I think she was 41.



Six kids orphaned. We spread them out among the family, but my Aunt on Vashon was their legal guardian. Kelly came to live with us. My parents had agreed to adopt Kelly, so he became my almost brother. I clearly remember that Kelly and I and my dad were partitioning off a section of the basement for a bedroom for the two of us when the call came that Kelly would not be joining out family. My Aunt had found a couple that wanted to adopt the kids, but only if they got all six. All or nothing. While on one point this was incredibly generous, the other condition was not. There was to be no contact between then and their relatives. Just like that, he was gone from my life.



After High school, he wandered or several years It was about 10 years later that he got in touch with my Aunt and Uncle on Vashon, and I got his phone number.



He landed in Bellingham, Wa, and became a pivotal figure in the scrimshaw community there. He made his living doing scrimshaw, and was known all over for his incredibly detailed work.


I included a picture of one of my favorite pieces.


We visited back and forth for several years, but eventually he got tired of scrimshaw, and moved to Texas to manage some properties for his step-parents. He did well, bought a house and was involved in the local old-timey music scene. He was a talented fiddle player, also played harmonica, guitar and squeeze box.


When he moved to Texas, we lost contact, but when I set up a Facebook page, I searched for him, and found him. We started corresponding again by e-mail and phone. When he was up here the last time he spent a couple of days with us. We had a great time. I organized a small family reunion on Vashon, and a bunch of us cousins went over there and had a potluck and told outrageous lies.


The last words he said to me in person were "I had a great time. It was like we were all teenagers again."


Last Wednesday he was doing some maintenance on a rental property. He decided to take a smoke break. He went out to his truck and lit up. He had a massive coronary and died on the spot.


So long old friend. I loved you and will remember you for the rest of my life.


Every time I visit Salmon La Sac I will think of you and smile.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Westy in the shop

Not for anything that HAS to be done, but for some upgrades and improvements.
First of all, because we want to use it year round, I am having a propane heater installed.
The fridge was about worn out, so I am having a different one installed (used).
Since the tent portion of the pop top has a couple of holes and tears, I am having that redone. New rear bumper (no I did not run into anything, it was that way when I bought it).
New windshield.
Some wiring improvements.
The defrost fan switch is missing, so I am having that installed.
Nothing as pricey as the motor conversion, but I will still be into it for a couple of grand.
Then all there is left is to get it painted and a couple of dents pounded out.
Well, there is the idea of making it four wheel drive..........

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Camping Outing

The camping trip in the Westy was a complete success, which means it did not pour rain on us. It did rain during the night one time, but none of it made its way inside with us. To have a three day camping trip on the coast of Washington in June and not get rained on is a statistical anomaly.
The kids loaded up the back of the truck with firewood, so er had a campfire going all three days all day long. We did all out cooking over the campfire, even though I had filled up the propane tanks in the Westphalia. I guess there is something about camping that demands wood ash in your bacon and eggs.
The sleeping are downstairs is adequate for two if they are friendly, and the upstairs is reasonable comfortable if they are not. It is a lot nicer in that regard than the Airstream was. Lots of clearance for sitting up and getting in and out. The upstairs sleeping area under the pop top could use a little more padding, but is good enough.
The west got about 18 miles to the gallon with the Subaru engine in it. I probably could have done better if I kept my foot out of the accelerator. After all, pushing a big box down the road at 75 mph pushes a lot of air.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Vanaru/Subagon

We are going camping next weekend in the Westfalia. This will be the first overnighter for the Westy since I had the Subaru motor transplanted. We have taken it out on a couple of day trips and it has performed very well. Now comes the first real test of how comfortable it is to use for multi-day outings.
There are a few bugs to work out yet.
If you are going down the road with the radio on and turn on the turn signal, the radio turns off. When the turn signal finishes flashing, the radio comes back on. As long as you know it is going to happen, it's no big deal. It has to be a bad ground in one of the circuits. I suspect the radio, since it is an aftermarket stereo, and the instl is kinda funky. It won't hold the channel presets, and turns itself off sometimes. I probably need to pull the radio out and figure out how they have it wired. Probably not wired to an always on circuit, to keep the clock and presets working.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Still Here

I haven't been around much lately. Lots going on.
First is the fact that I am finally back on first shift, after nine months on second. I am due to be on first shift until the end of October. I am thinking of jumping ship to a different group before I am supposed to go back to second.I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens in the next few months.
I finally got the last of R's stuff moved out. I need to take some time and reorganize the basement. I also need to start cleaning up the library. I need to prune the dead stuff to make room for more books.
I need to get out and start getting the Westfalia ready for it's first camping trip the end of this month. First I need to get rid of a bunch of junk, then start figuring out EXACTLY what I will need for a couple of weeks on the road. It takes some time and planning.
It's all good.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ivan Doig

I am re-reading some of my collection of Ivan Doig novels. Nothing I like better than curling up with a good book after work.
And his works are better than just good books. Believe me I can tell the difference, having read several thousand books. Most popular books are like hotrods. A lot of flash and sound and motion that hold your attention as long as they are in your immediate view, then soon gone.
The wordsmanship in an Ivan Doig book is like a stained glass window, Each sentence is a little jewel, polished up and placed just to in the framework of the whole, each complimenting the next, but making the whole so much better than a bunch of words herded together in one place.
I can not only get lost in the stories themselves, but am always aware of the craftsmanship. These sentences did not get assembled in this inner and outer order by chance, but every bit by intent.
I think maybe they are better the second and third time around, because you know the shape and content of the book, so you can mentally step back at any point and look at what you have just read in relation to the whole. Studying on the one piece wile holding the shape of the whole in your mind gives you a greater appreciation for the hand and mind that guides you along on your way.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Just Wondering....

I worked both days last weekend, so I am a little deagged out at the moment.
The lovely Mrs A brought me home a 5 hour energy drink to take to work today.
When I look at it to open it up, there on the seal it very plainly says: "Do not drink if seal is broken"
So how am I supposed to get at the contents without breaking the seal?
Just asking.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Osama Bin Hidin'

Last night I removed the black stud ear ring that I have worn in my left ear for almost ten years.
I put it in shortly after 9/11 in memorian of the over three thousand innocent people who lost their lives in the despicable terrorist attack on this country.
I put it in with the goal that it would stay there until the cowardly insane bastard that was responsible was dead.
That day changed the world in a terrible way. Our lives changed for the worse. Everyone's lives. Rich, poor, black, white, Christian, Muslim, all thrown into chaos by the twisted sinister machinations of one sick individual.
My measure of a man in this world is : Was the world a better place for his having lived? In this case the man was a waste of skin. The world would have been a better place if he had never been born.
I do not celebrate his death, for it diminishes us all if we celebrate even his death. I am glad he is dead. But I will not celebrate his death any more than I would celebrate the end of any other odeous chore, like cleaning out the crap in the chicken coupe. It was a nasty chore that needed to be done, and now it is over, and while there is a certain sense of satisfaction in his passing, I don't feel compelled to celebrate.
His death will not bring back the innocent dead, or even begin to repair the great holes he ripped in the world community. He was a twisted, evil, bitter monomaniac.
And I'm glad he is dead

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Bunny







For those of you who were wondering what happened to The Easter Bunny.



I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but.......





Sorry

Friday, April 08, 2011

Plannin' a Trip

We are planning on going on a trip this fall. A couple of weeks of wandering around the countryside in the Westfalia, no real schedule or destination, just some general ideas of what we want to see, stay at parks and camp out, see the sights. So far that looks a little like this: Start out with going up the Gorge of the Columbia, catch the Maryhill mansion and Stonehenge replica. Spend the night somewhere, Cross over the Northwestern corner of Oregon into Idaho and go see Craters of the Moon, spend the night somewhere. Drop down South into Utah and see the kids for a couple of days, then head South and see Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. Wander around that part of the country for a couple of days, then back home. Two weeks total. This Saturday is our anniversary, so we are going to REI to pick up maps and look at equipment and then go to dinner. I love perusing camping gear. It will give me a chance to think about what I want to get to outfit the Westy. And lots of cool gadgets. I am also taking a few days off at the end of June to go camping. It will be our first camping trip in the Westy, so a kind of trial run to get everything sorted out. We will be going to Twin Harbors State Park outside Westport, Wa. we have been there before many times, so it is a fairly close and comfortable destination, about two and a half hours away. Then I will have a couple of months to get everything ready for the longer trip. I would like to get the West into the kind of shape that we can just drop everything and climb in and take off wherever we want, whenever we can.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring My ASS

A couple of mild sunny days to suck you in, then back to more of the same excecpt maybe worse. The couple of decent days we had just got you to believe that winter might be ending, but the forecast for the next two weeks is soggy at best. Every day has some sort of precipitation involved. You know how they say that the eskimos have two hundred different ways to describe snow? Lattelanders have a whole lot of different ways to describe precipitation, depending on the frequency, rate, individual drop size. I think they have used most of them over the next two weeks. I WANT SUN!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring at last

The weather turned halfway decent today, and here it is only the second day of Spring. I have been needing it bad for the last week or so.
A bunch of the early flowering trees and shrubs are beginning to bloom, The early plum and cherry blooming fairly well, the forsithia sowing it's histerical yellow blooms.
I actually got out and worked on a car for a little bit today. The truck needed a new headlight, but I have been waiting for time when I wasn't tired and the weather was nice. Today was that day.
It had clouded over by the time I had to go to work (2:00) so I didn't mind going in too much. Tomorrow, however is another matter. My bad sholder tells me the barometric pressure is changing quickly, and since it has been way low, that can only mean that tomorrow is going to be a beautiful day. Either that or a tornado.
But I'm betting on nice.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Flooring


Here are a couple of pictures of the new flooring in the music room. The pictures didn't turn out that great because I couldn't get the lighting right, but you get the idea, Still have to find baseboards and trim strips.
And work both days this weekend.










Friday, March 18, 2011

New flooring

I just today finished installing a new bamboo floor in the music room. I'm not sure what it will do to the acoustics, but it sure looks (and smells) a lot better than the old raggedy, pet stained carpet that used to be in there.
It is ginger bamboo, which is a couple of shades darker than just regular, and it matches beautifully with the moss green walls and white ceiling.
I still need to buy and install moldings and a trim strip to transition between the dining room and the music room, but that will have to come a little later, as my poor ancient arthritic body is already complaining loudly about all the bending and sawing and such.
If I can remember, I'll take some pictures tomorrow and post them.
As a reward I get to work both days this weekend.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Help Youself

I was partly raised on a rural farm. You learned to do without and do yourself. Being trained as a combat medic, I received a smattering of medical training, so I have performed a couple of small surgeries on myself. Just removing warts and cysts and stuff like that.
When the temporary metal cap on one of my implants fell out, I saw no need to run to the dentist to have him screw it back in. After it is only a funny shaped screw going into a funny shaped socket.
But I do draw the line at other Dental repairs. Unlike the guy they were discussing in the Dentist's office the other day. He had a three tooth bridge. Which came loose. He had broken the underlying tooth.
So he put it back in with superglue. And left it.
The first time it lasted for six months.
The next time it lasted for six weeks.
The last time it lasted for six days.
When he finally gave up and went to the dentist, it was in pretty bad condition. It seems superglue ATTRACTS decay bacteria, so his tooth was merrily rotting away underneath his super glued repair.
By the time he got to the dentist, the tooth was rotted away to below the gum line.
When they mentioned super gluing a three tooth bridge in I thought "Yeah, that would work. I could see myself doing that."
As a temporary measure.
Until I could get to the dentist.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Today is a Good Day

That has become my Mantra lately.
Because it's true.
No one is trying to kill me, wound me, maim me, or harm me.
I have the ability to satisfy all of my basic needs without worrying about how I am going to accomplish it.
I have a good job that adequately compensates me for what I do, and has benefits.
No one is trying to suppress me or deny me my basic human rights. I am not a slave, a serf a peasant or an untouchable.
I am free to come and go as I please within reason.
I have a wife whom I love, and loves me in return.
I own my own home and several cars.
In the whole History of mankind it has been a real recent phenomenon that a person such as myself could live a life free of want.
So: It is a Good Day

Saturday, March 05, 2011

One Day Weekends

I pretty much work six days a week, some times seven. This was going to be a seven day week, but they asked me to give up one day so another guy could have a day of overtime. I know this particular guy is putting his son through College, so I gave up Saturday. Mainly because Sunday is double time.
I will need the money because I am finally getting the caps done where I had the implants put in a year ago. The first thing I am going to do is go buy a big bag of beef jerky. Not for a couple of weeks though, because Monday will just be to take impressions. Then the lab has to create the caps. I am getting impatient to have a full compliment of teeth. This process is pretty expensive, Hence the overtime. Some day I will be able to blow any overtime money on entertainment, but for now it is buying down debt towards retirement.
Also this week will be a visit to the Optometrist. I cannot see properly out of my left eye. I think this is partly because they prescription is wrong, partly because they didn't sync the lenses properly. I already went to the Optical dispenser to have them check that they cut the lens per the prescription and they say it is dead on. I know the astigmatism factor is wrong, because lights become "V" shaped in the distance. A single point of light, like a streetlight looks like a "V" laying on its side.
I had my annual Employee Evaluation this week. Of course I have the highest retention level possible, and I got a 3.1% pay raise. Better than a Vitrectomy (or a poke in the eye with a sharp stick) My boss was very complimentary of my work. I doubt she has any idea what I do, but I won't complain.
I had a very nice one day weekend. When you only have one day, you have to cram a lot into the time you have. I'm not going to go over the morning, but lets just say a good time was had by all. This afternoon we went and saw "The Adjustment Bureau" which was very enjoyable. It is an adaptation of a story by Philip K. Dick, one of my favorite authors.
Well time to get to bed. Got to go to work tomorrow.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Leading the Way

I suppose just about everyone knows by now that Boeing won the competition for the Tanker. It is a pretty big deal. The total order is for something like 179 aircraft, based on the 767. It only took 10 years to get here.
First Boeing won the bid, but Financial improprieties were discovered, which eventually let to jail time for a Boeing Executive. They threw the bid back open, and this time EADS (Airbus) won. Boeing protested because of improper proposal/bidding. Their protest was upheld, and the bid was opened again. This time it looks like a win for Boeing.
The win was based strictly on economic reasons. The Boeing proposal was significantly lower.
Why?
In part because of the P8-A.
The traditional way Boeing had done derivative aircraft was for the Boeing Commercial Aircraft to build a "white tail" aircraft and deliver it to Boeing Whoever.
They would then tear it partly apart and install the structural components, control surfaces and systems to support whatever the mission was. A very expensive proposition.
When the P8-A was proposed to the Navy we threw all that out the window and rethought the entire process. We spent several years before the first aircraft started production figuring out how to install the structure, controls and systems during production. It was a very intensive process, and the first several aircraft were watched very closely. There was a great deal of scepticism that Boeing would be able to pull it off.
We did.
I think it was more important than even the P8-A that we proved that we could perform well in a joint exercise.
Need I point out that the P8-A program has provided a single successful implementation in a pot of boiling crud.
Having proved we could work well in unison, Boeing bid on the Tanker Program using the business model that had been proved out by the P8-A. So I like to think that we led the way, and proved out the Business Model. Without this established Model, I don't think Boeing would have succeeded with their bid for the Tanker Program.
But then again, I might be just a little prejudiced.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sittin' on a wad

I sold an intake manifold and carb setup for a Jensen Healey engine today for $1,000.00 Cash. So I am sitting a little taller in my chair at the moment.
As a part of my restoration of Frankenhealy, I buy up spare parts whenever a good deal comes by. The Jensen came stock with Stromberg carbs, which although reliable are also ugly power robbing high maintenance carbs. Preferable are the Dellorto's which were only available in Europe.
So I bought a couple (make that three) manifolds, and a couple (also make that three) sets of carbs. I have the best set on the car and was restoring a second set for the engine I plan to build up.
A guy at work was walking by, stopped and asked "Say is that a Jensen Healey engine?" because I had the engine compartment of Frankenhealey as my screen saver. I said "You got a good eye. I don't think one person in a thousand would know what that was." He asked if I knew where he could get an intake manifold to fit the Dellorto carbs. "I have three" How about the carb setup and linkage "I have spares. Tell you what, I will put together a complete setup for you for a grand."
He said he had been looking for years, I said look no farther. I needed to finish up putting them together and needed to locate a couple of parts, but I finished last weekend. and we exchanged Carsh for carbs today.
It's not like I made a bunch of money. I had over $700 into the setup, and $300 isn't that big of a profit considering the amount of time I spent getting it all together, rebuilding and rejetting the carbs. But it was all doing something I love.
Knowing I had these sold, I bought another set of Dellorto DHLA40 carbs for the spare manifold in the basement, using the profits from this exchange. The overall plan is to rebuild and sell spare parts and eventually pay off the investment in the car. After selling the spare manifold and carbs today, my total investment is around four grand.
After I rebuild and sell the other spare manifold, it will be down to around thirty five hundred.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

PIRACY

OK so I'm going to go all politically incorrect here, so if you are a sensitive soul, get out while you can.
We have become a nation of wimps.
A band of pirates attacks and murders US Citizens on the high seas, and murders them in cold blood.
What do we do?
After capturing them we dither around trying to decide where to take them to bring them to trial
What a bunch of horsepucky.
The trial should be immediate and the penalty inevitable.
I WILL PERSONALLY PAY FOR THE BULLETS.
The penalty for piracy on the high seas is death.
End of story.
Maybe these sorry assholes might be deterred from the path of piracy is they knew that the penalty would be immediate and final.
Who the hell are we trying to impress?
We stick our nose in all over the place where it isn't really even our business.
This IS our business, and we send a spineless answer to criminals and terrorists.
Are we afraid we might hurt their feelings?
I'll hurt more than their feelings.
Kill them all and let the devil sort them out.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jigsaw

One of the things I do in the winter, when the days are short and the nights are cold, and the cabin walls start closing in is put together jigsaw puzzles. Gives my brain and eyes and hands something to do.
My family has always kept around a good jigsaw puzzle to keep the cabin fever away.
One of the Engineers at work really got into jigsaw puzzles. He became obsessed with them, in fact. He was working a particularly challenging puzzle, he became so obsessed that he had to take some time off of work so he could finish it.
It took him a couple of weeks to finish, and when he did, he threw a party to celebrate his accomplishment. As a fellow puzzler, I was of course invited.
I suppose I shouldn't have expected as much as I did, but when I saw the puzzle, I asked him if this was the puzzle he had been so obsessed with.
He assured me it was, and I asked if it wasn't a bit much having a party to celebrate completing this particular puzzle, after all it had taken him a six weeks.
He looked at me with a puzzled (HA!) look, and replied "Well it says three to five YEARS right on the side of the box."

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Slow Boat to China

I have an opportunity to go to China for several months for the company. Company housing, Per Diem. It would pay quite well. And I want to go to China.
Real bad.
But I think I will turn it down.
Because I can't take Mrs A with me.
I would be very busy helping set up a production line to manufacture control surfaces for the 737, but would still have enough time off to do a little exploring, buy a few souvenirs. But I really don't want to spend that amount of time away from my sweetie.
Even if they would let her come with me, what do we do about the house? I really wouldn't feel comfortable having it sit there empty for five months. We would most likely come home to an empty shell.
R can't stay there since she has a restraining order against her, and I don't know that I would trust her, since she just got out of rehab for Heroin addiction. Not exactly a highlight on your resume'.
Oh well, if I want to go there, I will have to pay to go on a trip. I'll work it out somehow.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Sleepless in Latteland

So , what does the image at the left of this post have to do with this topic? Not a whole lot, and everything.
It's just that I have seen that exact same shit-eating grin before. And it's not the grin itself, but the eyes that strike a chord.
The story goes like this: I was a PFC in the Army, and had just joined the Psychiatric Facility on Okinawa as a Social Work Psychology Specialist. It was one of our duties to do pre-trial Psychological examinations to determine sanity for any major case.
Enter Earl Pleasant.
Earl had served six tours of duty in Vietnam, and wanted to go back for a seventh, but the Marine Corps decided he took a little too much pleasure in his duties. As far as Earl was concerned, it was the ideal situation. He was not only allowed to kill people, but he was rewarded for it.
He kept applying for a seventh tour of 'Nam, and his Commanding Officer kept turning him down. Finally in a fit of frustration, he barged into the C.O.'s office with a loaded M16 and demanded to be allowed to return to 'Nam. When his C.O. refused he, emptied a clip in him.
He was brought into the Psych Clinic in chains and fetters, guarded by three armed Marines, Our head Psychologist was to do the exam and interview. He demanded that the chains and leg irons be removed. At first the guards refused, but when he pointed to the twin silver bars on his collar and ordered them to remove the chains, they reluctantly did so.
I was on the front desk, and the interview took place in a conference room immediately to my right. I was answering phones and minding my own business, when I thought I hear some thumping off to my right, Then I heard a very faint cry for help.
I jumped up and ran into the conference room. Earl had the good Captain bent over backwards over the desk, his hands around his neck, squeezing for all he was worth. The Captain's face was purple and he looked unconscious. At least he was not fighting back or responding.
Since Earl had his back to me and was bent over forwards, I rushed up behind him and very quickly put him in a full nelson. After that things became rather confused, as he was trying to throw Me off of his back, and I was hanging on for my life. Literally. He was a trained killer, and his hobby was killing. If he got loose I might very well become his next victim. So I hung on and tightened my hold until I thought I might break his neck. After an eternity which probably lasted no more than 30 seconds, he gave up and said he was OK and I could let him loose. No way was I letting go until someone with weapons took over control of him.
Eventually one of the guards peeked around the corner and asked "Is everything OK in here?" I don't remember my exact reply, but it was enthusiastic and obscene.
I had to testify at his trial. During the entire time of my testimony he sat there with THAT EXACT SAME CRAZY GRIN on his face. He never said a word but kept his eyes on me the whole time. His expression said "Somehow, someday, I am going to find you and remove you from the face of the Earth"
I honestly say it spooked me, Even in court with armed guards, I was spooked. It is a moment that has never completely left me. It is stuck there in the back of my head with some other nasty stuff. Mostly I don't think about it, but every once in a while something will cause it to resurface.
And when I saw that picture, it all came rushing back to the forefront of my consciousness.
And I haven't been sleeping well.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

WAR

The Band War, that is.
They were at Jazz Alley, so I made reservations for dinner and the show. It was a great evening.
The food was good. Mrs A had the salmon, I had the Paella. Both were excellent.
When I mention the band most people ask "Who."
Until I mention a few of their hits. Lowrider. Cisco Kid was a Friend of Mine. Spill the wine. Slipping into darkness. Why can't we be friends. Oh yeah, they have been around.
Live they are really a kick. Very funky, humorous, exciting, great with crowd participation. They are one of the few bands that I have seen at Jazz Alley have people up and dancing in the aisles.
Unfortunately the second show was completely sold out. We really wanted to stay, but they hustled us out pretty quickly after the first set was over.
Oh well, we had a great time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Political Science for Dummies

DEMOCRAT
You have two cows.Your neighbor has none.You feel guilty for being successful. You push for higher taxes so the government can provide cows for everyone.
REPUBLICAN
You have two cows.Your neighbor has none.So?
SOCIALIST
You have two cows.The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.
COMMUNIST
You have two cows.The government seizes both and provides you with milk.You wait in line for hours to get it.It is expensive and sour.
CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE
You have two cows.You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.
BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE
You have two cows.Under the new farm program the government pays you to shoot one, milk the other, and then pours the milk down the drain.
AMERICAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO (Initial Public Offering) on the 2nd one.You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when one cow drops dead. You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses.Your stock goes up.
FRENCH CORPORATION
You have two cows.You go on strike because you want three cows.You go to lunch and drink wine.Life is good.
JAPANESE CORPORATION
You have two cows.You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains.Most are at the top of their class at cow school.
GERMAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour.Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.
ITALIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows but you don't know where they are.You break for lunch.Life is good.
RUSSIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.You have some vodka.You count them and learn you have five cows.You have some more vodka.You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.
TALIBAN CORPORATION
You have all the cows in Afghanistan, which are two.You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's private parts.
You get a $40 million grant from the US government to find alternatives to milk production but use the money to buy weapons.
IRAQI CORPORATION
You have two cows.They go into hiding.They send radio tapes of their mooing.
POLISH CORPORATION
You have two bulls.Employees are regularly maimed and killed attempting to milk them.
BELGIAN CORPORATION
You have one cow.The cow is schizophrenic.Sometimes the cow thinks she's French, other times she's Flemish. The Flemish cow won't share with the French cow.The French cow wants control of the Flemish cow's milk.The cow asks permission to be cut in half.The cow dies happy.
FLORIDA CORPORATION
You have a black cow and a brown cow.Everyone votes for the best looking one.Some of the people who actually like the brown one best accidentally vote for the black one.Some people vote for both.Some people vote for neither.Some people can't figure out how to vote at all.Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which one you think is the best-looking cow.
CALIFORNIA CORPORATION
You have millions of cows.They make real California cheese.Only five speak English.Most are illegal.Arnold likes the ones with the big udders.
VIETNAMES CORPORATION
You have two cows you have 300 people milking them. You claim full employment, high bovine productivity and arrest the newsman who reported the numbers.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lake Quinault Lodge



>This weekend wa one of the ways I pay us back for the long hours and continuous days I work. I got an e-mail from the Lake Quinault Lodge offering a buy-one-get-one-free weekend. Stay one night and get a second night free.

We love the Lodge, as it is quiet and peaceful, with lots of very nice hiking trails in the area. The Logde was built in the 1920's and is a beautifully crafted structure, with a lot of exposed log beam features in the main lobby, as well as a huget stone fireplace. It is in the Quinault Rain Forrest, so if you hate rain, this would not be the place to go. There is no cell phone service. The rooms do not have phones, and most of them have no TV.

There IS a very good restaraunt with exceptional food. The cedar Plank Salmon is exceptionally good, but the crowning glory of the place is the Marrionberry Cobbler, topped with top-shelf vanilla ice cream. The also have a seafood stew that is way above par.

This was monk's first time there, so he was beside himself with excitement. He has a little problem with barking at every noise the first night. It's a good thing he is so damn cute, otherwise I would have to strangle him. By the second night, he had gotten over his initial excitement, so we all slept better.

Saturday was an exceptionally nice day, as the sun was out, the skies were blue and the temperature was moderate. After all, this is the quinault RAIN forest, which holds the record for the most rainfall over time, like an average of twelve feet per year. We took the dogs for a walk by the lake and watched the sunset. It was so still you could hear the ducks quacking clear across the lake.

What a wonderful way to recharge your batteries.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Curmudgeonly

That's how I have been feeling lately.
Part of it has to do with the time of the year. I tend to withdraw this time of year. So just leave me the hell alone, already.
Part of it has to do with being stuck on second shift. I hate second shift. It totally screws up your life. I get home at 11:30 or so, take a couple of hours to unwind, usually get to bed around 2:00. Eight hours sleep get's me up at 10:00. By the time I shower, and get breakfast, it's too late to do anything before I report to work at 2:30.
Part of it has to do with working six or seven days a week, although there has been nothing to do. I sat here both days this weekend and didn't do a blessed thing except play solitaire, surf the internet and do some statistical reports. Well. I did bid on and win a set of Dellorto DHLA 40 carbs ( I know that is greek to most of you) , but that is hardly work related.
So, you there, get off the lawn or I'll sick the dogs on you (A Shi-Tzu and a Brussels Griffon). That ought to be a hoot.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Uncle Fred II

Well, the results were a lot worse than anticipated. They had to take Uncle Fred's whole foot to the ankle. The blood flow in his lower leg was so bad that the doctors didn't feel there was enough to support healing. That's one of the worst things about diabetes. I have seen people I love slowly be decreased because of the things that get amputated. First a toe, then a second toe, then the whole foot, then the leg to the knee, then the whole leg, and finally loss of life.
I just hope that Uncle Fred will rally and take it for what it is: A severe warning that he needs to mend his ways.

Hope he rebounds quickly.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Uncle Fred


I received the news through e-mail that my Uncle Fred is in the hospital. That's him in the picture, with his sister, my Aunt Mary Rose. He had injured his big toe, and not taken care of it, and it went septic. They have had to amputate.
Uncle Fred occupies a special place in the family. He never married, and kept the farm first with my grandparents, then with my parents.
I would trust Uncle Fred with my fortune if I told him to keep it and hold it for me. I cannot say that about any other person on this Earth. He is the most honest person I have ever known, and his integrity has never been questioned.
Unfortunately he believes everyone else is just as honest as he is, and has the same integrity. This mkes him one of the worst possible businessmen on the face of the Earth. I hate to think of how many times he got screwed in a cattle deal or was sold a bad milk cow with mastitis. Or got a "Deal" on a used peoce of machinery. It never changed his attitude or his way of doing things. He was what he was in an elemental way. Easier to change the weather than change Uncle Fred.
I sure hope his recovery is quick and trouble free.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

2010 will not ever be my favorite year. Way too much drama. two major eye surgeries, Three dental surgeries. Drama with the kids,
New year's Day has been the kind of day I hope to repeat many times in the coming year. Slept in, late mutual shower and and all. I made Tempura for dinner for Carol and I and my cousin Lynn. A quiet evening at home. A scene I hope is repeated often in the upcoming year.
We have been together for nine years, marries for almost the same, but we have never had the time to really explore our relationship. Hopefully we will have the time to just relax and spend some time together.
L and D were driving down the freeway the day after Christmas, and the driver's side wheel and tire departed the truck and crossed six lanes of traffic without hitting a thing. We had made plans to work on his truck on New Years Day. Guess we shouldn't have delayed. The noise he was hearing wasn't brakes after all, but a wheel bearing. He managed to stop the truck without hitting anything. Damned lucky.
So I have loaned them my truck until they can get theirs repaired.
Hope everyone had a nice Holiday season. Mine turned out to be pretty good. The new grand daughter has red hair and these incredible golden eyelashes. She has a good disposition, is mostly happy, but will certainly let you know when she wants something. Nothing I love better than holding an infant in my lap.