Tuesday, January 31, 2012


CoolChange has a little project he's looking for ideas on. I posted mine. Go check it out and offer some thoughts.
I've re-purposed all kinds of things in my career, door hardware combined with micro-switches and Ipe wood keys to make "pianos" that play water features, floor drain grates Kynar finished to make refrigerant exhaust vents, you name it.  One of my favorite things to surf on the web is real life hacks. If you've never done so, google search "real life hacks" and go read.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Oh, yeah...I almost forgot

The world is supposed to end...again.  This coming December.
The Mayan Calendar is round. Even if you carved really really really small symbols, eventually you will run out of circle.  Considering how long ago this calendar was carved, it's a safe bet when the Mayan stone carvers ran out of circle, they figured it was Miller Time and they wouldn't have to worry about the calendar again in their lifetimes.
Then, the Spanish showed up and offered to smuggle them through Mexico to high paying jobs the Gringos were offering, off the books, cash..no really, the streets are paved in Gold. (Ok, I'm paraphrasing history a little there).
So, it just happens that when the Mayans ran out of space, the last date happened to land on Dec. 21, 2012.
The only calamity likely to happen is that the descendants of Mayans, still extant today, are likely to exclaim, "sunuvabitch! it's time to carve another one of those damn things!"

How to tell when you've experienced something amazing

Yesterday KX and I went to the opera.  It was my very first time to see an opera and I chose La Traviata as the one that I wanted to see.

The waves of emotion that I felt during that performance was almost overwhelming to me.  I laughed, I cried, I was so impressed with the performers sometimes I would say under my breath, "oh my god!"

The reason that I chose La Traviata was because I have heard some of the music from it before and I wanted my first one to be something somewhat familiar.

I was not disappointed in the least.  The two lead characters' voices were astounding.  Violetta (Albina Shagmurtova) and her amazing soprano brought tears to my eyes when she sang in that powerful voice, "Love me Alfredo!"  and then at the end, "Oh Joy!" just before she dies.

Alfredo (Bryan Hymel) was just as impressive with his amazingly powerful tenor.  At one point, he was backstage singing out of view and all I could say was, "wow!"

This production, Violetta at the end, walks to the light which signifies her death.  The way that it was done just really moved me and I don't think that there was a dry eye in the house.

The after glow of the opera carried over well into the night and when I woke up this morning, I realized that I had a dream about that very opera and that my friends, is how you can tell when you're experienced something amazing.

That is one day that I will never forget.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Bluesun inspires another post and reminds me of more calamities I've survived without the Nannystate legislating me into a rubber room for my own protection.  It was the delayed pain aspect that brought back the associative memory.
Sometimes, when you stub your toe, it hurts like an em effer right away. Sometimes there's this delay, just long enough for you to think, "crap, here comes the pain."  Bluesun sidles off into the miracle of the healing process and in few words makes a connection to the Milky Way Galaxy, or something.
Waitress!, I'll have what he's drinking...
From my own experience, I've learned that some toes are more important than others.
Aside from sprained ankles, I've egregiously jammed my right big toe twice.  I recall the hobbling around for days on end. I recall the event that caused the hobbling for one of them. The other I've completely sublimated.
The event I recall involves a soccer ball.  To set this up, I needed a visual aid. I've seen these things hundreds of times and I realize I have no idea what they are called.
So, I go on a google search..let's try "metal balls on strings"  Hmmm, "Ben Wa balls", maybe that's it.
Yeeaaah...No. That's definitely not what I'm looking for. Ah, there it is.

In the midst of the Publik Schule Physical Education class, taught by three coaches, two of which were retired Marine Drill Sargents (I am not making this up, there is another whole post there now that I think about it) all of us gangly middle school boys were playing soccer.
Somebody booted the ball almost straight up into the air and it landed far outside the shin kicking herd.  Immediately, I broke away. At the same moment the other "fast kid" did as well. The field was open, it was just him and I.  We arrived at the ball positioned exactly 180 degrees from one another, relative to the ball.
If you grab two of the balls (assuming you are not a TSA "agent") from each end of newton's cradle and release them at the same time, they will bounce in opposite directions, and the center ball will not move.
We kicked the ball at exactly the same time. We both did a reverse Lindy and face planted on the field. The soccer ball did not move. After catching my breath, I learned that your big toe is very important in the process of walking. I was reminded of this concept for some days after that, every time I took a step.
I've found that really jacking up your little toe hobbles your walking ability as well. The little toe seems to provide yaw control, and when it is not functioning quite correctly, you may find yourself walking in large radius circles. But, that's another post I suppose.

The Unimportant Toe:
I have umpteen busted knuckles, scrapes and cuts from working on cars over the years. A toe injury is unusual.  I had worked the better part of Saturday, diagnosing and replacing parts under cloudy skies in a vain attempt to get the Astro Beater Van running again.  Saturday night, it rained.
Sunday morning I got up, bed head and all, and went out barefooted to think about the problem. I got into the driver's seat of the van and sat there for a while thinking about the symptoms of the problem.  I decided coffee would help so I shifted and put my left foot down in the well of the door, not thinking about my wet feet. I pushed on my left foot to turn for the exit and my foot slipped.
I kicked the inside of the door, pretty good mind you. You have five toes. You might have stubbed the Big toe, and certainly the little toed and perhaps by collateral damage the adjacent toes, but under what circumstances would you ever stub your middle toe?
I found it.
It hurt, sort of, after a delay. By the end of the day, the whole toe had turned black..well there was some purple in there too. So I'm thinking I need to go to the Doc. Surely it's broken. Conventional wisdom says there's not much to be done for a broken toe though. Tape to it's neighbor and get on with it.  Try not to walk in circles.
What I discovered is that it did not impair my bipedal motion whatsoever. Over the following days, it got to looking worse. I was pretty sure is was going to dry up and fall off. But, like Bluesun noted, the healing process is a miraculous thing.
It's still there, fulfilling it's role as the filler between the toes that hurt when you stub them.

From the Department of Poor Planning

3 accused burglars caught when Jeep runs out of gas

The title in the article from the Houston Chronicle pretty much sums it up.
Although a couple of things caught my eye.

All three are accused of kicking in the doors of two homes, according to a Harris County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.
The first break-in happened about 9 a.m. Tuesday at an apartment in the 900 block of Ashland. After kicking in the front door, the suspects were confronted by the residents but still managed to get away with a television, authorities said.
(a small TV I surmise) 
They are lucky they didn't end up in Jay G's DGC
With more and more Americans exercising their 2nd Amendment rights these days, the odds that burglars will find residents unarmed diminishes as each day passes.


Money in Politics

You know, all this campaigning that our politicians do is very expensive.  They spend millions on television ads.

This guy running for the Indian parliment has a great alternative!

Who Knew?

Who knew that bowlers were so much fun!

Last night I had a great time at the bowling alley.  The team that we bowled against were really a lot of fun.  One of them was an Army retiree one once still in the Air Force reserves.  They were great bowlers and beat us; however, it was the best time I've had in ages.

Last night my average was set at 107 which isn't all that great, but my handicap will be around 75 pins.  I know that it will only get better, especially after I get my bag, ball and shoes.  The house balls are not drilled to fit my thumb properly.  They have various sizes available so I have to use a 'best fit' scenario.  Unfortunately, I'm an in between size and so one size is a little snug, the next size up is way too big and  I can't controll the ball.  So I had to go a little snug, which causes my thumb to swell........    the horror!

I'm really looking forward to next week though, I figure that it can only get better.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Overheard............ Cake

Today at the office, a mysterious cake appeared in a small bread pan.  None of us have touched it yet and we have no idea who brought it.

So overhead at the office

LJ:   Did you bring the cake?
Me:  No I thought you did.
LJ:  Honey if brought cake, it wouldn't be the size of my foot!

New Ways To Have Fun and Memories

Tonight, I embark on yet another way to have a little fun.  I start a bowling league.

I typically bowl only once a year, when KX59's office holds their annual bowling tournament.  I typically bowl anywhere from the high 90's to the 135-140 range which, considering how little I bowl isn't too bad.

A few weeks back, a girlfriend of mine called me up and asked if I would bowl with her, her new sqeeze and her son in a league.  After mulling over it and checking with my better half, I said, "Sure, why not!"

The league lasts about 12 weeks and at the end of the season I will receive a free ball, bag and a pair of bowling shoes.  Not too shabby if I don't say so myself.

Tonight is week 1 and while I did play darts last night so I'm a  little sleepy, but I'm really looking forward to it.

When I was little, I practically grew up in the bowling alley while my parents bowled so I have some nice and fun memories.  I find that when I hear the ball hit the lane and roll down, crashing into the pins it brings back so many memories and as is usually the case, it makes me think of my dad.

My dad was a very good bowler.  I can remember his stance, his approach and finally his shot, right down to the 3 small hops that he made right after he released the ball.  He had a hook in his shot that would hug the edge of the lane, then hook into the center and hit the pins with authority (or as Cartman would say, authoritah).  I can remember how excited I would get when I would see those pins explode, leaving none standing for a resounding 'strike'!

So yes, I am definately looking forward to tonight and hopefully, with a little luck, and a little help from dad, I will bowl well for my team.

So now, I'm creating a new category for bowling..........   

Too Smart For Her Own Good........

Yes, I'm talking about my oldest granddaughter, Scooter.

Scooter is in kindergarten and she was recently tested for the gifted and talented program (Horizons) at her school.

She went through a series of tests over several days.  I have a feeling that she probably did pretty well because she is really a very smart child.  Her vocabulary has always been way advanced, when she was two, she used big words like 'exactly' or 'practically' or 'particularly'.  Also she understands the concepts of math, and she has a very good sense of humor.

After the tests were finished, her mother asked her how they went.  This was how the conversation went:

Mommy:  Scooter, how did the test go?
Scooter:   Fine.
Mommy:  Just fine?  Was it hard?
Scooter:   (eyes rolling)  No mom, it was easy.  It's not rocket science you know!

She is just too funny sometimes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Wow, I could'a had a V8! What ev.
I like my little tC just fine.  Although I have a real soft spot in my heart for the Jeep Cherokees.
Jeep has a new concept Grand Cherokee.  They need to fire their designers.
I bet I'm viewing at least $35k of unmitigated ugly.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Yes, I'm still on the right side of the grass.  Haven't posted much lately.
I've been dealing with the minutia of life.  (mellifluous enough Big Guy?) 
New car purchase, dispensing with the dead Jeep Cherokee in the driveway, fixing the leak(s) in the one and only son's Jeep moonroof, fretting about the leak above the windshield in the Astro beater van, helping second oldest daughter with IRS problems (money grubbing assholes) she's all of 22, IRS problems? Nastygram from the IRS? Really?
Fortunately, my older Sister is a CPA that eats IRS agents as horse doovers. ( that's Hors D'oeuvres for those that don't speak George W.)
Dealing with the Homeowner's Association over annual dues, whose acronym is "C.I.A.", buncha busybodies with nuthin better to do.
Pissed actually inspired this post.
 I've made it this far without any broken bones, but thought I'd post up a list of the stupidity and random happenstance I survived as a child (adolescent, legal adult)
And all this with not one iota of help from the federal government no less. Amazing, I know.
Chronologically, more or less:
1)  Age 3 (or perhaps4):  I dragged a chair over to the counter, climbed up and retrieved the bottle of iron fortified Chocks Vitamins from the upper kitchen cabinet. Ate the whole bottle. Hey, they were chewable and tasted like candy. I don't recall my mother being home at time, but she appeared out of nowhere, dragged my ass into the bathrom and stuck her finger down my throat. I requested that she stop doing that, because it was making me throw up. Response was negative.  As I was told much later, she called the doctor and was instructed to do so. Iron poisoning was abated. The only side affect was that my little butt broke out in a rash.
2) Age 5 or so, I got interested in my mother's Singer sewing machine. It was not plugged in, but I thought it was interesting how when I turned the wheel, the needle thing went up and down. In slow motion no less, I managed to nail my left thumb to the base with the needle. In a brief moment of panic, I tried to pull my hand away to no success. I credit myself with the presence of mind to turn the wheel the other way and free my thumb. I've never spoken of this before, not even to the Lovely Belle. I share this in the deepest of confidence.
3) Age 6, 7, 8: Mom was a smoker. She used to send me down to the 7 Eleven with 50 cents to get her a pack of Menthol Salems. The clerk got used to this.  Being 1966 to 1968 in the confines of the Elm Lawn Pen with no video games, internet and only 5 TV channels to watch, my buddy Mark and I hatched a plan. We scraped together 5 dimes by collecting returnable bottles and I bought a pack of cigs. We high tailed it down to the "ditch" and smoked the whole pack. I didn't know you were supposed to inhale, so I just got a nasty taste in my mouth, but boy did we feel all badass and cool.
4)  Age 10:  Genie Smoke. We used to peel firecrackers to get to the gunpowder. We'd collect it in a bottle cap and once full, we'd light it up for a big flash and a lot of smoke. I made the mistake of picking up one of the bottle caps right after ignition.  Rather hot, n'est pas? Blister on my index finger and thumb.
5)  Age 12, 13, 14...lost track:  Firecrackers.  Blew up my fingers a few times trying to throw black cats with short fuses. ( I come by it honestly, my Dad blew off his fingernail handling a ladyfinger firecracker)
6) Age 15 to 18: In spite of the myths about white men, I could jump.  What I could not do well, was land.  I've lost track of which was which, but I sprained my ankles 5 times. On three of the occasions, I turned it so hard, I abraded my ankle bone. On the fifth and final event which ended my pickup basketball career, I heard something pop. Went for x-rays on that one. I was 6'-2", 180 pounds with the ankles of a Ballerina. (Well, a 180 lb. Ballerina)
7) Age 16 to...:  Car wrecks. First with no seat belt. Yes, I'm that old. This post is long enough.
8) Age 48, or was it 49? I forget, at least I'm trying to:  I saved the best for last, so far.  Replacing the rear leaf springs on the the beloved Jeep Cherokee. Leaf springs arrive with no rubber bushings in the eyes, so I order the bushings and do some interwebz research on how to wedge those tootsie rolls in there.
Beware the interwebz.  One process I find involves wedging a screwdriver in the gap at the end of the leaf spring eye to open it up so the round rubber bushing will "slide right in".  This was working fabulously for about three quarters of the bushing. Then it came to a grinding halt. So, standing over the leaf spring, screwdriver wedged, with a rubber mallet, I commence to drive the bushing in. So far, so good. What I did not realize was the screwdriver was starting to back out. The screwdriver found the "critical mass" point and shot out of the leaf spring.
Had it rotated 180 degrees, I'd not be making this post.  The handle of the screwdriver shattered the right lense of my glasses, cracked the bridge of my nose, and bruised my right eyeball. I had a gray spot in the vision of my right eye for about two months hence. There were cuts and profligate bleeding. I could not see out of my right eye, and...I was home alone.  This was one of the very few, "oh my God, oh my God" moments in my life.
Two days later I went for an eye exam for new glasses. My eye doc had a confused look on her face. Still had the gray spot in my right eye field of vision, but I'd made my appointment some weeks prior, and needed to get this done and done. I have to work after all. No rest for the weary.
I left out all the oyster shell cuts, fish hook impalements, the scar on the back of my right hand a sixteenth of an inch from a bulbous vane, knife cuts, abrasions to the bone, etc etc etc.
Still on the right side of the grass.
All you occupiers with your iphones are a bunch of pussies. Pick your self up and get on with it.

Pistol Packing Round 2

Okay, I made it home from the office and thought that I would show off my new holster.

I wore my pistol all day to day and I find that at first, because of where I had it placed on my body, it caused the butt of the gun to poke into my ribs and was very uncomfortable. Once I found the right position for me, I found that it was not too uncomfortable. Naturally I know that I will have to get used to wearing it.

Here is a picture of my holster

What I love about this holster is that can be carried either IWB or OWB whichever you prefer.  Another thing that is very good is the fact that it's a nice snug fit on the gun and the trigger is inside the holster, which prevents a shooter from accidentally discharging his/her firearm when drawing.  Of course that doesn't mean they can't do that when holstering the weapon, but at least when they are taking it out, they are not likely to shoot themselves in the foot.

I really urge anyone out there who is looking for a holster to go to www.dragonleatherworks.com and order from there.  The customer service is fantastic, they actually answer your emails and the holster that I received was a perfect fit for my firearm and it's very well made.  Naturally it needs to be broken in, but that's something that time will take care of.

I did notice that this morning when I went to draw my pistol that it hard to get the gun out....  however, this afternoon when I got home, it was a little easier and that was just from wearing it all day today.  I figure it can only get better.

I can tell that I have a good product on my hands, though I'm not an expert on the subject, but I can tell when something is made well and with care.

My holster was also very reasonably priced, and no Dragon did not send this holster to me for free in exchange for this blog post.  He had no idea that I would be posting this, and he had no idea I was even a gun blogger until this morning when I emailed him to tell him thank you for the great service and pointed him to my blog.

In any case, I am very well pleased with my holster and I can't wait to start my tactical lessons in about 8 weeks.

Pistol Packing.........Question on New Holsters

Well, my new holster from Dragon Leatherworks arrived yesterday. It's a perfect fit for the gun and I can tell that it's very well made.

I went with the Quantum because I can wear it IWB or OWB. I'm wearing it IWB.

Today is my first day to actually wear my gun on my body and I have to admit that it's a little uncomfortable, but I know that it's just something that I have to get used to.

Like any other new leather product, be it shoes, handbag or a baseball glove, you have to break them in. My question for you all today is how do you recommend that I break in my holster?

It's currently a little slow to release my pistol when I unholster my weapon. I hate to think that if I needed to draw it, it would fail me.

My guess is to draw it and put it back, draw it, put it back, etc. etc. Any other suggestions?

Saturday, January 21, 2012


After 15 years, KX59 finally got a new car.

He was well over due. Be sure to stop in and tell him congrats!

It's a nice little Scion tC, black with a charcoal gray interior, fully loaded.

I'm envious, but he deserves it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Get Your Wookie On!

Okay, I saw this commercial today and found it in you tube and I just had to post it here.

The dogs are barking to the Darth Vader theme song...   look for the wookie dog making the wookie noise...

Full of Win.

Music to my ears........

Imagine my wonderful surprise when I looked at the blog this morning to find that my hubby is going to be buying a new gun as soon as he recovers from the massive amount of cash we dropped for the kids' tuition and his new car.

Personally, I want to start hitting gun shows because I am on a quest to find a cheaply priced Mosin Nagant that fires the same rounds as my Tokorev.  Mosins are a dime a dozen and so they typically cost around $100 for one in good condition.

With a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye, the thought of my dearest buying a pistol for himself and to top it off with wanting to possibly buy an AR-15?  It just gives me a nice, warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Musings and questions on Ammunition

Belle has her 9mm XDM.  Once we recover from this semester's college tuition and a down payment on a new car, I'll be looking to get a pistol as well. Most likely I'll get a 9mm.  Mostly from an economic standpoint. One caliber, bought in bulk for the two of us.   The other thing on my bucket list is a really badass Evil Black Rifle.  Bluesun bought a wicked looking .308 (I think it was) not too long ago, which elicited an almost inaudible "oooooooh, waaant!" from kx59. (geez, so many posts, where they heck is that?  oh, finally, there it is.)
But my mind runs to economy and availability.  I want a caliber, with which, I can go to the range, fire many many rounds and not walk away with acid reflux each time I go.  Practice makes perfect.
So, what's the most economical caliber with midlin range and stopping power?
Another stray thought that has been bouncing around my brain, where rifles are concerned, is; if the shinola were to totally hit the fan, as in zombie apocalypse, what would be the most ubiquitous rifle caliber that could be scrounged?

Calling Computer Geeks, Linux question

I am wondering if any of my blog buds out there who knows anything about Linux Ubuntu can answer a question for me.

If someone has upgraded from Ubuntu 11.04 to the new 'buggie' Ubuntu 11.10 but 11.10 is not running right and is screwing up other programs, is it possible to get rid of the upgrade and roll it back to 11.04?

If so, how?


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Just in time to see Texans Lose

Kudos to them for getting as far as they did under the circumstances.
The man child and I finished up resealing the moon roof on his jeep in time to catch the 4th quarter.
Resealing for the second weekend in a row. Kx59 selected the incorrect sealant the first time. Worked ok through the rain last week, but wasn't going to hold up for the long haul. A few drips made it through.
Windshield adhesive sealant this time.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The most Wonderful Thing in the World?

Cheese Pizza after the hurt from the wisdom tooth removal diminishes enough to eat actual food.
Boo is a happy young lady tonight.
We're watching "Burn Notice" on Netflix. Her "significant other" young man is here. ( good guy, got the Kx59 seal of approval)
Life is better.


Tebow Humor

A friend of mine saw this on You Tube so I had to post it here.  It's pretty well done and pretty darn funny.

It starts out with Jesus addressing Tim Tebow, then when Jim Fallon stands up, that's Tim Tebow answering Jesus.


P.S.  I know that many out there love Tebow because of his faith and all that, but I know that most of you out there have a great sense of humor as well.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm going to build a spaceship that travels at the speed of light

This guy is going to build a car that goes 1000 mph..or is it 2000 mph?
Young teenagers are very prone to constantly tell you what they are going to do.
Adults impart in conversation what they have done.
Apparently, the mainstream media has slipped back into adolescence. ("Coool Duuuude, you're gonna doo thaat? Rad!)
Really? A "news" piece about something somebody is going to do?
Yawn. Wake me up when it's over.

Teachable Moment

Boo, the second oldest girl child had her wisdom teeth yanked this past Monday. Three came out relatively ( I use that word loooosely) easy. The bottom right had to be split.
After the Novocaine wore off, the true pain set in.  The pain killers she was prescribed really haven't seemed to help all that much.
Over the past couple of days, she's cycled through periods where she was feeling rather perky, and then a little while later felt like hammered shit.
As it turns out, she's been cycling in and out of a fairly significant fever over the past two days.  Her body is working overtime on scant nutrition to heal the hurt. At first, I was thinking she had a secondary issue going on, flu, sinus infection, something like that. Her prescription pain meds, lame as they were, have run out, so we've switched to over the counter pain reducers. Her lymph glands are no where to be found, so secondary infection is not a concern. My personal favorite of over the counter pain meds is Doan's backache pills. Nucular, (Nuclear for those that don't speak George W.) aspirin.  Second favorite is Alieve.
Tonight, working with my daughter to break her fever got me to thinking.  Somehow, I know several methods to break a fever when the Tylenol or aspirin is not doing the trick fast enough. I don't recall my mother ever talking to me about this at all. I'm sure I've had several of them used to break my own fever when I was a child.  The thing that strikes me though is that somehow I remember them.
So, as I'm working on bring down my 22 year old  daughter's fever this evening, I was talking to her about what I was doing and why, imparting home brew remedies much older than myself.
We're not talking snake root tea here. Cold wash cloths, sipping ice water to bring down the core body temp, shallow luke warm baths wiping the skin with a washcloth. Things she could do when the day comes that she has her own little bundles of mayhem joy.
 I also imparted the Dad Field Manual temperature taking method. Hot forehead, condition yellow. Hot belly also, condition Red, your are running a fever.
In my upbringing, nobody ever thought to share a bit of this homegrown tech with me. Maybe it's one of those things that the womenfolk used to pass down from one generation to another. I apparently managed to pick it up by osmosis.
Given that the second oldest woman child was feverish, it appeared the perfect time to impart what I was indirectly taught... directly.
No lessons stick better than those learned by burn.
Her fever has broken. She has some unusual psychosomatic sensations going on, which I suspect are a side effect of the highly ineffective prescription pain killers she's been taking over the past three days. Or, it might just be that she just needs some TLC.
Got that covered.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Curses Mildred! My Tyre has gone Flat!

Resilient Technologies has the solution.

No embed thingy, so hit the linky

Hat tip to BJF via email


A Public Service Announcement

Usually I don't share emails that I receive; however, this one is just so funny I have to share.

As you all know, I have put together a couple of blog shoots, both times at Lockhart.

I was considering one near College Station in Hearne Texas but I promise you, I will NOT be organizing a shoot at this place.

My blog buddy YOF sent me this review of the place.

The range at Arrowhead in Hearne is a dump. Seriously, it's not maintained, the benches and overheads are falling apart, it's located in a sand/gravel quarry and hasn't been mowed in a long time and no cleanup has been done on the trash, old brass and shotgun shells. The only thing missing that would have made it a true "redneck range" was if the individual running it had come out in his boxers with a beer and scratching himself.
I was more worried about the possibility of snakes and whether I'd step on "something" than I was about shooting groups.
Just FYI.
See Ya,

I don't think I have laughed so hard about something in quite some time.  I keep reading it over and over again and it makes me smile every time.

Meeting with the boss

My boss decided to hold a very important meeting today.  He called us all in his office to watch this

I absolutely adore my boss!

Ron Paul has a good showing in New Hampshire

I was a little surprised by the results of last night's Primary vote in New Hampshire.

I did not expect Ron Paul to run a fairly close to second to Romney and I really didn't expect Huntsman to do as well as he did.

I like Ron Paul, his foreign policy aside.  I think that he's enough of a contrast to Obama that it would make for an interesting race.  Unfortunately, I don't think he could win against Obama.  People would still vote for Obama over Paul because they would want to stick with the 'monster' that they know.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Prayer Answered

"More, faster please, Amen."
Rained all day today. I haven't seen the totals yet, but it was good. Started at about 2am and woke my tired ass up.
Flooded around where I work, so I heard.
I wasn't there.
Took the second oldest girl child to get her wisdom teeth yanked this morning. Been riding herd over her recovery and working remotely.
Sun's trying to come out again. Not a bad day. Amazing what a child will admit to you while under the influence of heavy pain killers. :-)
I'm joking actually. She was a hurtin puppy, but never did get totally looped on the meds.
When I got mine out at the age of 20, I lost a good 48 hours stoned out of my mind on percodine (spelling?).  Bottom two came out in 6 pieces each. Not pretty. Only one of hers had to be split.
I've been joking with her about how I'm going to post up pics of her teeth, which she elected to keep.
Pretty gnarley. Her comment when she opened up the little plastic container earlier was, "Oohh, there's still drool on them."
We've had an interesting and informative conversation over the course of the day. One thing, which surprised me, is that when asked, she expressed an interest in shooting the guns.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Candle Lit to Stop Gun Violence

Light a candle to Stop Violence


It's 5pm Sunday

Time for "Guns Over Texas".
Listen on the web
Hit the "Listen Live" link up and to the left.

Fortunately, I'm in radio range. Highly entertaining and informative radio show.
These guys have way too much fun doing this show. There should be a LAW.
If you hurry, you might catch Belle on her call-in to the show.

Sun's out

Most of the day it was gray and overcast.  Then I heard the tin barn sound of rain on the chimney cap.
You know it's been a dry year when you feel compelled to go out on the front porch (bare footed no less)  and watch the rain.
It didn't last long, but it made me smile and spoke to the dirt farmer in me from only two generations back.
More, faster please. Amen.
We're about 2 feet behind on rainfall.

Need some Exercise

I might be able to handle this...


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Texans in the playoffs

I'm watching the pre-game show.  Fair weather fan here. Well, actually not a fan of professional sports at all.  Really?  It's a wonderful word. It sums up my reaction to all the commentators for sports events, or sports shows. They speak with such conviction, as if...as if any of that mattered whatsoever.
Do or Die, It's the end of the world, If they don't manage to, if such and such team wins (loses) they won't make it, it's a nail biter, oh the suspense.
In my opinion, football games could be boiled down to two minutes. No need for star quarterbacks, or star receivers and the heroic game turning pass.
Call out the special teams for a two minute drill, no huddles. More often than not, the game is decided in the last two minutes.
As I've noted before, I am missing the Vicarious Thrill Pro Sports gene.
Quiet down back there! I'm trying to watch the game.

Why is my Air Conditioning Running?

CoolChange has been posting daily weather reports, I suspect as a mild jab at our brethren much much farther north.   If we don't get a good January cold front pretty soon, I'm going to have to mow my lawn again. (damnit)
We had something akin to winter last year that froze the vine on the north side of the house all the way back down to the ground.  It's about half way up the fence again since last year. Today? It's T-shirt and shorts weather.
The Vine is not complaining.

Dead Goblin..or Something

Or perhaps, memory associations would be a better title.
Came to the turning point on some work I was doing today and decided to take a break. Hit the BAR blog to find this: Home Invader Fatally Shot, Police Say in the right sidebar news feed. Fresh kill, so I'm thinking perhaps an email contribution to Jay G's Dead Goblin Count.
So, I go and read and find that this occurred in South Houston. Not a great part of town anymore, thinks I, and not surprising.  As I read the short news story, it becomes apparent that this is not  DGC material. It is more likely Goblin on Goblin action. Extrapolating from the scanty reporting, it appears much brass was emptied with only the "bad guy" arriving at room temp.
I became curious about the specific location so I hit google maps. The very first thing that caught my eye was "Sunbeam Street". Then I saw South Park, and Martin Luther King Blvd, which in the first decade of my life was also part of South Park Blvd.
Turns out, the location of this "eating of their own" event is not far from where I lived as a child until 1969.
Really, the only reason I posted this at all is because not two days ago I was musing about the first house I could remember as a child. I can still recall the address. I couldn't really recall which part of town it was in so I started googling, and eventually found it, complete with satellite view.
$13,500 was the price on that first house my parents bought right after the return from Dad's 6 year stint in the Air Force. You could buy a VW Beetle for a dollar a pound back then.  We moved out as part of the demographic "white flight" in '69 or so.
Things have not  improved down there. I've not ever been back to that area. The one thing that hints of improvement is that "Sunbeam Road" is now named "Sunbeam Street", which leads me to believe that the dirt road that separated my neighborhood from the really creepy part of the neighborhood is now paved.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I know I haven't posted much lately........

I think that like KX59 the holidays tend to really stress me out, though less holiday related stress for me this year and more work stress.

I changed our payroll company at the office so that it will sync directly in to my accounting software.  I was having to make accounting (journal) entries each week for the payroll, then after having entered the hours for the pay period on the former company's website, I was having to go back and enter them and charge them to jobs in my accounting system.  It was highly inefficient and we were doing twice the work.

This week was my first run with the new company.  It went very smooth and now, once payroll is complete, all I have to do is go into my accounting program and sync with their managed payroll system.  Why it wasn't done like this before, I don't know.

Now, I can rest easy knowing for certain that I did the right thing.  My boss will be thrilled.

When I sit and think about it, I think that I've really accomplished an amazing thing.  I started with this company in July in very unfamiliar territory.  Unfamiliar accounting software, unfamiliar industry and I've never had to do the things that I have to do for this job.

When I got there, no one had sat in my position for more than a month.  I had to sit and figure out how to do things on my own.  I had to figure out the software, which fortunately is very user friendly.  I had to figure out the payroll journal entries, I had to figure out how to calculate worker's comp premiums and a gazillion other things off the top of my head.  I cannot believe that I've actually learned it all and have gotten so settled in to my job.

Now, my stress level has subsided some and hopefully I will have more time for fun stuff like blogging.

Checked in and ready to throw pointy things..........

Well sort of.  I got checked into the hotel and all that, but as luck would have it, I brought some work home from the office which is actually a good thing as it will give me something to do between dart tournaments rather than drink myself into a stupor.

I'm living it up this time, I was able to get a suite for the same price as a regular room for signing up with their rewards program, so I have a nice corner room with a sort of bay window with a beautiful view of the skyline (will take a pic and post it later), it has a living room, a bedroom and a wet bar..........   yay me!

Also, I get a 4G connection here so I can use the mobile hotspot on my phone and it works great!

Oh, and by the way, the hubby spilled the beans though he was sick of hearing me talk about my CHL but he posted that it came in the mail.  The fact that he posted it up tells me that really he was proud of me.  At any rate, thanks to the commenty love on that announcement.

I really feel empowered.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Woo Hoo! new record!

California is noted for massive car pile ups. I've driven that traffic, but that's another post.  Some years back we had a bank of fog on a Saturday morning sitting over the South 610 loop. The "accident" got little news coverage. The beauty of it's symmetry caught my eye. Two people, headed in exactly opposite directions on a freeway divided by a concrete barrier both did something stupid in the fog, almost simultaneously. Each managed to cause a 35 car pile up on their respective side of the freeway, for a total of 70 vehicles involved in the accident.
Beaumont, Texas today trumps that record with a 79 car incident involving 22 separate accidents on one side of the freeway.  Using fog and throwing in a little smoke from a nearby fire, they managed to best the South 610 loop incident and break it up into a nail biter of a wreck.
Kudos Beaumont!
snark meter just pegged.

Starting to feel "Normal" again

I think my stress level is almost back up to where it was pre-holidays. I'm almost back to warp speed reading of my favorite news and blog sites.  My snark factor is almost back to spec again.

Shhhhh...don't tell anybody

But just between you and me, Belle got her CHL card today. Mum's the word.

She seems to be preoccupied with the upcoming dart tournament this weekend and exhibits no interest in making a blog post, so....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Scion tC review

I test drove it this afternoon.  The salesmen asked, "so who you buying this for, Son?, Daughter?"  His eyebrows went up when I said, "me".
My general reaction is that is a really nice little car.  Two door hatchback.
I'm beyond the car seat, booster seat, running the kids to soccer practice stage of life. But, I'm also not at the stage of life where I can run out and drop 45k on a new Audi either.
The specs on it note the horsepower at 180 and the torque at 178 ft/lbs, both around 4000 rpm. I don't think I've ever run an engine up to 4000 rpm in my life, but there you have it. So my performance review resides in the 0 to 2200 rpm range via the kx59 derriere dynomometer.
The bucket seats adjust for height and length, and fit my bulky 6'-2" frame just fine. The steering wheel both tilts and telescopes.  Not much is needed in the way of options. The base car model is surprisingly well outfitted. The base sound system pumps out 300 watts, which is not a necessity for AM talk radio, so I left that off during the test drive.
The auto transmission is a 6 speed that can be run in full auto or semi-manual shift.
The tC looks a lot faster than it is. I thought it was a bit sluggish off the line, but it upshifts and downshifts through the gears pretty well.  More on the resolution of that later.
One of the key things I was looking for in this test drive was how well it handled on the highway at kx59 speed.  If memory serves from my research, this car has a curb weight of 2900 lbs, which usually translates to rather flighty handling on the interstate.  Cruising at 75 or 80, the tC feels like a much longer and heavier coupe.  It tracked well and felt rock solid. kx59 was highly pleased.  The ride is firm, but not teeth rattling.
In the pro vs. con comparison, the only two cons I have are the sluggish throttle response and the brake pedal being so close to the gas pedal.  I have the same problem with the Astro van with respect to the pedals (just call me paddle foot), but I adapted quickly.
Four wheel disk brakes, dual moon roof , 18" alloy wheels. Back seat lays down flat for more lengthy cargo room (ammunition, Belle's Tokorev, etc, etc, etc)
The sluggish throttle response is easy to resolve however.  To boost gas mileage, auto manufacturers de-tune the engine via the engine control module (the 'puter that controls everything and costs a butt load when it craps out).  Being the Great Entrepreneurial Nation that we are, serious gearhead aftermarket auto parts manufacturers have a solution. Its called a performance chip, which replaces the OEM chip in the ECM (l m n o peeeee). I just love acronyms.  Makes me want to sing the alphabet song.
I digress.
So the sluggish throttle response, I can solve for very little money, or time for that matter.
I'll miss being able to see over most of the other vehicles on the road, the ground clearance, and the lack of AC..and Heat....
mmmaybe not.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

old cars have a way of knowing

I think the Van suspects my infidelity. Over the past few days while I've been coming to grips with the reality that I need to get a new car, the van has been sickly. It started as a head light flicker at idle speed, so subtle I wasn't sure if it was my imagination or not. This morning, after having gone public with my intentions, the head light flicker was much more pronounced, and the amp meter was twitching while idling. I expected the voltage regulator to kick the bucket at any moment on both the trip to and from work, leaving me stranded.  But like the old champ it is, the beater van got me there and back.
I'm not pushing my luck tomorrow though. It's off to the nearby autozone first thing in the morning for a new alternator.  A couple of hours of wrenching and it'll be as good as new old. And, don't say anything to the van, but I'm going to test drive a new car tomorrow.

Update:  So as I noted in the comments, some testing pointed toward a bad battery. So off to autozone I go this morning to get a battery. The autozone guy squares up, puffs out his chest and grabs his battery tester. I'd already done this, but I'm like, ok whatever I'll humor the guy. Out to the van and pull the lever to pop the hood and...nothing. Hood does not pop. It sticks sometimes, but if you bang on it just right like the Fonz, it will pop loose. No pop this time. I swear I felt like I was trying to give cough medicine to a 2 year old, lips clamped shut.
Long story short, I got the hood open, cleaned up the latch and re-lubed it.  I can hear the van in the driveway as I type, "No, no, no, no, no, no!"

A Brand New Year

I wanted to take the time to wish everyone a happy and blessed New Year.

I've been rather quiet on the blog lately as I've just taken the time to wind down from last year so that I can have a renewed energy in the New Year.

A new year where I can have real hope and change that the puppet in chief will be voted out of office!

Last year was pretty decent considering that I left one job and found a better one and that I have yet another wedding anniversary under my belt, proving that my better half and I have and will withstand the test of time.

Life has been pretty good to me this year.

Do I have any resolutions?  Why yes I do.

First on the list is to really give up darts so that I can put down the cigarettes once and for all.
Second is to work hard at losing the extra pounds that I'm carrying.
Third is to begin my tactical training as soon as this dart season is over so that I'm not putting anyone in danger, should I have to draw my weapon to defend my life.

Speaking of CHL............   I checked the status on my CHL application and it says, "mailed".  I will be checking the mail box every day until it arrives.

Yep, life is pretty darn good.

All in all, I want to again wish you all a happy new year and thank you all for reading.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Car?

Car Shopping:
How do I Hate Thee, let me count the ways.
The current primary income transportation vehicle is the '89 Astro Van. The last new vehicle purchase, for me, was back in Feb. of '97, but that's a whole 'nuther story.
Belle said, "why don't you just trade it in?". The simple answer is that when I remove my little tool set, the cheap ass Bazooka subwoofer, and the stereo head unit, the value of the vehicle diminishes by a good 75%.  If it were stolen (snicker..a pox upon you), those would be the things for which I grieved the most.
The Coup de Grace:
The weather stripping on the back doors has leaked for some time now. Not terribly bad, just a bit of a drip. The only replacement source is the stealership for about $300. Not happening. The drip wasn't hurting anything, it would just get a bit humid inside after a good rain. Nothing a few open windows and a bit of 70mph cruising wouldn't take care of.
During the week leading up to Christmas, it rained. It rained pretty good I might add. The next morning Belle and I went out to mount up for the commute to discover we'd had a freeze. Ice on the windshields. So a bit of scraping and some luke warm water and I'm good to go. Exterior ice is removed, engine has been idling and is warmed up and ready. Windshield still looks a bit foggy thinks I, but not to worry.
I have the auxiliary defroster, known to non-shade tree mechanics as a roll of paper towels.
So I mount up and go to dehumidify the inside of the windshield to discover that...there...is ....ice on the inside of the windshield. The little rust pits at the top edge of the windshield, and I mean "little", were apparently worse than I thought.
That was the final straw.
I've driven little cars, pickup trucks, SUVs and vans. I'd like a new or even relatively new pickup truck, but boy howdy are those things expensive these days.
Belle mentioned again, "Well why don't you trade it in and see what you could get for it?"
Well, the no AC and no heat are a detriment I'll admit, BUT!   It is lightning slow and does get astoundingly bad gas mileage.  When you run a cash flow analysis on a vehicle you'd be surprised how much "bad" it takes to offset the cost of insurance, a car payment and the interest on the loan.
A pickemup is not in the offing. I have two Mercedes right now...both in college.
I'm going to trade the high horizon and ground clearance of the van for something small, efficient, quick and nimble.
After comparing compact cars, I'm leaning heavily towards a Scion Tc.
 2900 lb. curb weight, 180hp and 178 foot pounds of torque. (with AC and Heat...very important). A 6'-3" tall friend has one. He got it to commute in. His 10,000 lb 4x4 diesel truck was problematic for urban driving. I texted him for a review after having driven his Scion Tc for 8 months or so. His highly detailed and technical response was, "go-kart works good!".
So I'm going to test drive one soon. Then I'm going to work two or three salesmen for price via email.
No more being sequestered in a sales office for five freaking hours on a Saturday while the salesman pretends to talk to his manager about the price.