Saturday, May 31, 2008

My amazing wax job

So we have the new car. I washed it today. I do that. I hand wash our cars, and that monster F250 Super Duty. People find out that our 10 year old truck, is ten years old and are amazed. One of the first questions is always "When did you get it repainted?". They are then astonished when they find out, it's still the factory (just look at the stone chips on the leading edge of the hood). Anyway, factory paint still on it. I then washed the truck, the daughters Corolla. I decided to wax the new car, as it was built a year ago and has been in service at the dealership for six months. I start using my normal wax, which is great stuff and usually does a great job getting off the gunk. Except after I got the roof of the new car waxed, it still felt "gritty". I know what that is. Pollution, and other environmental fall out sticking to it. I get out the Meguire's clay bar and go to work on all the top surfaces.
Then, wax that car down. It's as smooth as a baby's bottom now. And my arms are tired....

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

That was the wrong photo.....

In my most recent blog. No, we didn't snag a Mercedes SL V12. We could have! Honest, they really had one at the dealer. Sorry for the confusion. What we got was a 2008 Corolla with 4073 miles on it for $16999.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Prom-Mobile is no longer with us

Goodbye to a faithful family member. Yes, the Prom-Mobile is no longer part of the family. I think we voted it off.
It was truly on it's last wheel. One tire, will wear off the edge every 15,000 miles. It was leaking and burning a quart of oil a month. There is no clue where the oil in the supercharger was going. I don't think the supercharger was working anyway. The carpet had a lot of burgers and fries in it, the cup holders in the back were full of chewed up Dubble Bubble.
I went shopping at the closed up car lots. I found a few cars and priced out the new one's that the wife would like. Mostly, she was focused on CHEAP to fuel. We got on the CarMax site and found some good prices on used cars. CarMax has a great site, very fast, up to date, good prices. While my truck got new shoes put on it, and I worked on trying to get the Prom-Mobile safe to drive one last time, the wife got on the phone to a very large Toyota dealership. She listened to their normal "come on down little lady" BS. But then she got on the Internet and browsed their used cars. She called me over. I couldn't believe what this Toyota dealer had on the used car showroom floor!

Wife would be super styling in that bad-boy! I could play "Bond, James Bond" while picking up Burger Street! Yousa! Wrap that car up!
They'd totally messed up the pricing and had it listed at $16994 when they meant $19994. See, the car had only been in service since September 2007 and had been a "loaner car to our special customers". It only had 4073 miles on it! It still has that new-car smell (the second most expensive smell known to man). It would get great gas mileage also.
So, we do the deal. The used car manager is not happy, but he has to do the deal, as it was on the Internet at that price. Hey, he'd screwed up! So they appraise our Prom-Mobile at $300. Yes, $300 dollars. We think that is sort of funny. So does our car salesman, as he knows we are getting the deal of the month on the used car.
We finally get the paperwork signed, or most of it. We'd not brought the title to the Prom-Mobile.
That bad boy is in the garage now!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stress reduction?

In the break room at work, we have a small refrigerator, the coffee maker, two ice machines, a soda vending machine and a candy vending machine. We used to have a small basketball backdrop. I didn’t take a picture of it before they hauled it out of here. It had three small balls, which had lost most of their air, but still could be tossed through the hoop. There were two sides to it, so the balls mostly stayed in the game. People would toss some balls while they made coffee, hung out, talked. It was good for some stress relief or a change of pace from writing code. They hauled it out of here and replaced it with a blood pressure checking machine!

Those things stress me out! Only thin worse is when the vampire nurse goes at me with a blood drawing needle!

I’m wondering if they are not going to hook it up to some corporate health care database, and then use that to cut off the employee benefits when their blood pressure goes up due to stress, salted snacks, sugar water drinks. I’d be tempted to get all jazzed up on the coffee and then check the old heart rate!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sometimes, your arms hurt

It's May. In May and October, I put a coat of wax on my truck. It's a Ford F250 Super Duty, four door. That means, it's large. Add a camper shell to that. I use some great wax, call Nathan's Liquid Lustre. Goes on easy, wipes off and last six months. So this past Saturday, I get after waxing the truck. It takes me about three hours, including my goofing off time.
Saturday night, we get home late and there is a message about playing drums for children's church. So I decide to go do that. My arms were sore! And then, Monday nights is another band practice and we decide to try and get some recording done.

It's now Wednesday and my arms are finally recovered.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You left your coffee cup.....

People forget where they leave things. It happens to us all. You set something down in an unusual place and forget to pick it back up.
Yesterday, someone left their coffee cup in the men's room. Here at work. They left it at lunch. The cleaning people have left it alone. It's just sitting there on the sink counter. After a few hours, it started producing bubbles. It could be a science experiment. It could be a terrorist attack. Our crack security people either don't check the restrooms or they also ignored it.

Update! I left yesterday before the bubbling coffee cup exploded. Today, I got a better look at it. It is still sitting there. It quit bubbling. I'm not so sure of the cup. It has a southwestern theme to it. It has the classic desert sunset on it. With a silhouetted cowboy. And his horse. Except the cowboy is KNEELING before the horse. I don't know if he is worshiping the horse. Maybe it is a Brokeback Mountain type of cup. Could be, with the sunset rainbow colors and all. And the cowboy looks to be either begging forgiveness for using the "whip", or he's proposing marriage.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy Victoria's Secret Day!!!

I just glanced at my Day-Timer and noted that it is Victoria's Secret Day! All the men are rejoicing.
I'm not so sure the ladies do. I mean, one of the pressing questions to mankind is just who really looks like all those Victoria's Secret models?
Glancing at ABCNew's today, they are also running a photo blog about how bad Hollywood ladies look when they are running out to grab an extra long Chili-Cheese Coney at Sonic at 1:33 AM. They look just like the rest of us do. Without a $1000 make up job. Or a $400 hair cut on the guys.
Wait. I just checked. Seems this is Victoria Day for our Canadian friends. Shoot. Lets change that to Victoria's Secret day!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dude, drink some water...

This happened one day last week at work, but I was too busy to blog.

I've dealt some with the paper towels being flushed, the hand washing rituals, the automated towel, soap, water dispensers and door openers. And that about fifty percent of our building, probably have only seen indoor plumbing since arriving to our country. I head in there one day and every urinal is taken and all the stalls are also in use. Must have been a rush on! I pause for a moment and one person finishes up. I pause one more moment, to allow the automated flusher to figure out that he's left and it is time to flush. Except I'm not waiting long. Meanwhile, the dude heads out the door. No hand washing for him! I walk up just about the time the flusher starts up. I glance down and WHAT! This guys urine was freaking ORANGE! I don't mean a little, I mean dark orange. Like this guy hasn't drunk any water in three days. About that time, I catch a whiff of the flusher trying to dilute this piss. WHOA!!! I now know what it must smell like to work for the waste water plant! This stuff was rank. I try to hold my breath, but this is a Catch-22. The longer I try and hold my breath from this stench, the more I'm going to have to gasp! Thankfully, the guy next to me walked away and I could turn my head and grab a breath. Unfortunately, it still reeked of this guy.
Dude, the water is free. You can even melt some ice with it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


No, it wasn't Superman either. IronMan maybe. No, more like Aluminum Man. I decided if I walked tonight, I'd get rained on. Walking in the rain is fun. Light rain. No thunder or lightening. Tonight, storms are predicted. My 5 mile walking route is UNDER some of those super-high powered power lines. Shoot, they crackle and fizz at me when it is too dry! Or too wet. Or when a bird flys by. Anyway, I decided to get out about 7:40 PM on the 14 speed bicycle. I did about 8 miles, which seemed like a lot when I've not ridden much in 20 years. My Cat Eye even worked (See yesterdays topic). Anyway, pulling up one last hill, in the gathering darkness, I heard an airplane overhead. Not that unusual as we live about five miles north of Dallas Fort Worth International, so air traffic is constant. I looked up into the gathering clouds and mist and saw a neat thing. The plane was fairly low, under the clouds, but just right under them. It was streaking out a contrail! Looked like you could reach up and touch it. It was a white streak in the gray clouds. Neat.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


What you can find on the intermess, I mean Internet. I have an old (1983??) Cat Eye Solar CC-2000 bicyling computer. It fits on the bike and records MPH, wheel speed, pedaling speed, odometer, all sorts of things. Well, I got it working with new batteries and sitting in the sun for a day. Mind you, this was after it sat on the bike for 20 YEARS gathering dust. Well, it was recording in Kilometers and not miles. So I searched my records for the instruction manual and can't find it. Somehow in the last 20 years, I must have misplaced that. Most unlike me. Anyway, I get on this here intermess and find the instruction manual! I follow the steps and reprogram it for Miles, wheel size (27 inches). What fun! I'll try it out this weekend.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Imelda Marcos, eat your heart out

Imelda Marcos was the wife of the leader of the Philippines. When he died, she took over. She had a "thing" for shoes. Lots and lots of shoes.

I don’t like to shop for clothes. Shopping for car parts, drum parts and some electronics is OK by me. I will occasionally spend a fair amount of time shopping for something. Some years back, I decided I needed some better walking shoes and shoes that could double up and be used in Orienteering also.

I went to a sporting goods store and shopped for about an hour before I found some great feeling shoes. The first set I purchased, I wore the fabric off the heal cup in the shoe. The second set of the same shoe, I purchased some Dr. Scholl’s Mole-Foam product and would cut that to fit in the heal cup of the shoe. This works just great. I wear out the mole-foam about the same time I wear out the soles in the shoes.

Now you need to know that I walk about five miles a night. That is about thirty miles a week, or about 780 miles in six months time. So every six months I go buy new shoes for walking. This past weekend was the REI anniversary sale. That is where I buy my shoes at. It is one store that I actually like to walk around in. I get the shoes and hiking socks and silk sock liners. So I had a 20 percent off coupon that would expire on Sunday, I needed shoes and socks. I always hit their back room, which has close outs. I found a nice sports shirt I can wear orienteering, walking, even bike riding. I went down and checked on a new seat for my bike, but decided to wait on that. The store was doing a great business but was also checking people out fairly fast.

When I got home, I cut new mole-foam for the shoes and put them on. AHHH…new sport shoes feel just great.

I use my old worn out shoes, for knocking about the house, for mowing the lawn, washing cars and such. I decided to gather up all my old shoes and make a pile. It would have made Imelda Marcos proud. And this isn't even all of them! I've tossed out about two sets after I wore them completely out.

And for your viewing pleasure, I took a shot of the tread on a new shoe and an old. If you look close you can see a small white dot on the one heal. That is the tread worn completely off!

My shoes have no sole left. Or is that SOUL!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Biker trash

I hear some people talking about what trash some bikers can be. I’m a biker. Well, not really. I used to be a biker. Well, that’s a stretch also. I used to bicycle. I used to ride in high school for fun. Before I got a drivers license, I used to bicycle to my job as a lifeguard at a pool. After college, I decided to get a state-of the art bicycle and bike for fitness. For about four or five years, I used to ride about six days a week and ten to twenty miles a day. I had some great and horrible times on that bike. Getting caught out on skinny race tires in the rain. Watching Joe Pool Lake fill up. I even got hit by a car. I saw the idiot coming. He was bombing along on a gravel road off Joe Pool Lake. I was doing about 20 miles per hour and had the right of way, not that it mattered. About the time I realized that I couldn’t even slow down, he realized that he better hit his brakes for the stop sign. Try doing about 20 MPH on a gravel road and then lock up the brakes. It’s like slowing on marbles. He slid through the intersection and clipped my rear wheel in the process. Somehow, I didn’t get knocked off. But the idiot nailed the accelerator and took off! My wife came upon me sitting on the grass looking at the pretzel that was my rear tire.
I still have the bike, but have not ridden much in 20 years. Marriage, kids, building onto the house, no place to safely ride, all played a part in my bike sitting for 20 years.

About 10 years back, I did spend a few boring weekends and rebuilt my bike and my wife’s. I took them apart, cleaned them, put in new grease in all the bearings. They then continued to sit, but it was good that I rebuilt them.

A few weeks back, I got the idea to start riding some on weekends. I thought of this instead of my daily five mile walks, which is yielding sore feet and ankles. So I decide to get a new helmet and gear. I drag out my old biking shoes and find them dry rotted. I look at the tires and they are UV rotted. I purchase new tires, inner tubes, shoes and other gear. I then go about taking my bike apart. Except as I disassemble things, everything is found to be in great shape due to my rebuild some ten years before. I do have a time getting the old tires off, as they were so rotted. I also find my rims just a bit out of true and have to remember how to adjust the spokes to properly true up the rims.

So after a few nights and weekends cleaning, greasing and adjusting, the bike finally got ridden for 15 miles.

Meanwhile, the wife got wind of this project and requested her bike also be rebuilt!

Then she batted her eyes at me.

Here’s a shot of my bike trash. And a photo of the rebuilt bike.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Two and one half inch nipples are not big enough

I was messing around with two nipples. They were both two and one half inches (2.5). You would think that would be big enough. These nipples were a nice color and all hard. I guess it depends on what they are attached to.

These were attached to a new forty gallon gas water heater I got to install.

I’d gotten home from a Monday Night Band practice so it was late, about 10:30 PM. I was already exhausted, as my work had phoned me at 4:15 AM to fix a problem. Around 10:45 PM, I went to get a shower and turned on the hot water. The master bath is about the farthest from the water heater, which lives in a closet in the garage. I waited. I waited some more. After about five minutes, I quit waiting and went and asked the wife if she’d gotten any hot water. I was thinking that the dishwasher ran late, a load of clothes was washing when I’d come in. I know the middle school kid had taken a long bath. Maybe we were just out of hot water. Forty gallons only goes so far. The wife said she’d not gotten any hot water and had given up. Since the middle school kid was still awake, I asked her and she said she’d gotten hot water……….but not much. This didn’t sound too good. Out I head to the examination room in the garage. I knock and enter the examination room. The tank is not well. He’s got a bladder issue. If he had a leak, there should be water in the drip pan, except I didn’t have a drip pan. So he’d been slowly relieving himself on the examination room floor. A slow drip. At first I suspected some bladder infection. I quickly ruled that out with a quick glance under him. Then I suspected the worst. Yes, a STD. You know, I’d heard a few strange noises from his room in the garage. And perhaps he’d even opened that garage door and snuck out into the night. Into danger. Into the arms of some floozy hot water heater. Who knows what all had been in her. It could have been lime, salts, shoot even fluoride could have caused his slow drip. I continue the examination as to why the slow drip has caused the patient to experience chills. I shine my flashlight under the patient and see that the slow drip has extinguished his flame. What a sad ending to an old friend. Terminal Leakess, flame-us interuptus. I guess he died happy, as he was 15 years old. Old age for water heaters. I hope when I die, I don’t dribble in my shorts. Here is a photo of the old heater, the flex pipes, the busted cut off valve, once I’d gotten it all out.

So I lie awake for a time and run through my mind all the parts and steps needed to remove the dead corpse of the old water heater and to install a new one. I’d even installed the dead one about fifteen years before. I’d also installed a thirty gallon electric unit in my work shop. I’d installed a thirty gallon gas unit in another part of our home. I’m an experienced water heater installer! So I fall asleep with plans to stay home from work and replace the heater. Except I already knew there would be at least two issues to overcome. The cut off valve at the water heater didn’t function any more. The cut off valve to that part of the house, worked, but the handle was about 75 percent rotted away from moisture. So I figured to get the family off to school and work and go purchase the new tank, drip pan, brass nipples and ribbed flexible connection fittings. I even bought a fresh bottle of lubricant. Pipe fitting lubricant. Once I had everything in place, I’d go to the water meter and cut off the water to the entire property. My first priority would be to get the old tank out of the way, the old brass connections cut away and a new cut off valve put on. Then, I could turn the water on to the rest of the property and at least flush the toilets and wash my hands.

I got the new tank home. I slowly and carefully remove her from her cardboard clothes, and plastic wrapping. In her nakedness, was beauty. I examine all the parts with it. At the hardware store, I’d purchased two, two and one half inch long, ¾ inch brass nipples. They were beautiful! All shinny and hard. I almost regretted lubing them up with Rector-Seal. I go ahead and install the new brass nipples in the expansion valve and also into the water inlets. Once I put them in, I realize that they were a bit small! Too short really. Shoot, another trip to the hardware store. Except there seemed to be some size issues. They have the 2.5, but no 3 inch nipples. I opt for four inch nipples. Real men always opt for the bigger ones.

Just after lunch I call a friend to stop by and we hoist the new heater into place. He was on a time crunch, so I work around the new tank to get the valve in place and the new connections soldered on. I leave the cut off valve in the off position and turn on the water at the water meter and rush back to check for leaks. No leaks! I then turn on the hot water in the kitchen sink, just inside the door, and turn on the water to the new water heater. She begins to emit some groans of pleasure as she fills with cool water for the first time. After a few minutes I shut off the water in the kitchen, but then I begin to hear an ever loudening hissing noise. I double check, but the natural gas is still turned off. Has the new water heater already become displeased to be hissing at me? Usually it takes women at least 10 minutes to start hissing at me. I start lovingly caressing her ribbed connection tubes. Does she not like the ribbed action? I find the hot water out tube, has a pinhole in it! It was defective from the factory! The hissing is the air fleeing through the pinhole. I’ve heard of condoms with holes in them before. I shut everything down and fire up the plumbers’ torch to remove the tube to return it for another. I just hope this is the only glitch in this process.

I finally get back with the new hose and solder it on and connect it to the heater. I hope she likes this one better! It seemed to have the same ribs as the last hose, but what do I know. I start filling the tank again and this time there is no hissing noise. I then busy myself connecting up the natural gas connection and start trying to turn this lady on by lighting the burner on this baby. Our old heater took the old standby method using matches to light the pilot light. This new one has a pieso igniter. You rotate her switch to PILOT, push her button to start the flow of gas, and then punch the igniter button and watch for the pilot to ignite. I try this for about five minutes with no luck and no flames. This is one cold woman! I then suddenly notice that she has also started to cry! SHOOT! The hot water nipple seems to be leaking! I try tightening. Still leaking a lot. I switch that nipple with the other one, to rule out a busted nipple. Still leaking at the hot water nipple fitting! I come to the sad conclusion, that this mother is DEFECTIVE! By this time, the day is shot and I’ve still not got this baby on fire. I call the hardware store who says they will gladly exchange it. What a lot of work to remove the new one, and return it! But, I have no choice. I begin to drain the 40 gallons and disconnect all the pipes and fittings.

Thankfully, they took it back and with all new fittings on, everything came apart easy and within two hours, another hot water heater was in place and ready for a test. She fired right up on the third push of her igniter button, lighting off with a roar. I still had a very minor water leak on that same Hot Out nipple, but nothing like the first leak! I mop up the leak, tighten the nipple a bit more and hope for the best. Two hours later, we had hot water for showers and the leak was almost stopped. I guess the cast iron insert in the water tank, had to get all close and comfortable with my shiny new brass nipple.

I hope she is happy for fifteen years! By then, I will opt to let the professional plumber come and have his way with her old dead and worn out carcass.

While typing up this blog entry, I was listening to Robert Palmer’s (RIP) Addictions (VOL 1). Addicted to Love (which my band had been working on), Some Guys have All the Luck, Bad Case of Loving You, Simply Irresistible and Some Like it Hot. All seem to be strangely appropriate songs when dealing with nipples on water heaters.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Danger Will Robinson!

Sometimes, it really is Monday. My Monday started at 4:14 AM. Yes, AM. Work called up with a production problem. By 4:20, I had it figured out and started issuing a command to speed the data recovery up. By 4:25 AM, I have the recovery job submitted. By 4:45 AM, the job has done…………nothing. Zip. It’s asleep, which is what I should be doing. I call operations back and tell them to watch it and when done, they can kick something and they would be back on track. I head off to bed, but don’t sleep much before DING! 6 AM and time to get up! I hit snooze at least twice. Until operations calls again, tells me why my job was asleep when I should have been, why it now failed and could I please try and fix it again. OK, up and off to work.

So I arrive at work about 7:30. I work on the second floor. You have to flash your badge at the security reader and listen for the KLunKK, which means the door magnet has released and you can enter. I hook it in and the first floor double doors sense my barely awake presence and open the doors for me. See we have these automatic door openers. Except I just turn and head up the stairs where the second set of automatic doors await me. Except either I’ve fallen asleep walking up the stairs, or the door sensor is asleep. In my groggy state I’m trucking along while my brain is trying to cope with the un-normal act that the doors are NOT opening. DANGER WILL ROBINSON!! DANGER!!! I get about one foot in front of the outward swinging doors, which are not opening, before I get my body stopped and try and comprehend just what action to take. Should I write some code? Should I stop and start a rescue fire? Should I call the mother-ship? Wait, I remember. Reach out, grab the handle and open the door! Yeah, that works.

So a while later, after tea, water, coffee, and my brain informs me that it is time to return the rental deposit on all the fluid intakes. Remember we also have Open Sesame doors on the restrooms, but you have to wave your hand at it. So I head over to the men’s room which also takes you close enough to the magic doors that they always sense you and open. They don’t open. Must be still busted.

So on the way out of the men’s room I wave at the towel dispenser, which does work. I wave at the Open Sesame deal, which also fails to work. I’m thinking that my entire electro-mechanical field is in serious trouble, except NONE of the magic doors seem to be working.

It was after lunch before Robbie-the-Robot got the doors all working again.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Public Introduction to the PROM-mobile

We survived our daughter's first high school prom. I'm not sure she did.
So most everyone knows that the Pope has a Pope-Mobile. The bullet proof, mostly glass car he gets driven around in. We have a 1995 Toyota Previa mini-van. We bought it when the daughter in high school was about four and her sister was one. So there are still odors coming out from those back seats that were left over happy meals, there are balls of bubble gum stuck in all the ash-trays and cup holders. There are stains in the carpet......I just don't want to know. In it's day, the Previa was a stormer. It has the supercharger on the motor and could burn rubber. After being trashed by the kids, well it isn't pretty.
When now-junior daughter started asking about driving a car, I told her that we should probably buy her mom a newer car and she could take over the Previa. I didn't know a kid's eyes could pop out of their heads that fast! After a few more discussions about cars, I named the Previa the Prom-Mobile. This did NOT go over at all well. I stuck to my guns. The Previa seats seven, so does a limo. It is easy to park, a limo isn't. It doesn't require a hired driver. The van has lots of chips in the paint. It has some small hail damage. The paint on the roof is flaking off. The supercharger drinks oil like a drunken sailor. There are a number of oil leaks, all have been fixed at least once, and continue to leak. The seats are ripped. The plastic wheel covers are cracking from UV, they are scratched from hitting curbs. One is even missing for that "white kids from the ghetto" look.

I guess I shouldn't complain much. That Previa has over 200,000 miles on it now.

I lost. She got a 1999 Corolla.

And a few photo's from the prom. Six kids went in the limo. Eight came back and played Apples to Apples, and watched Blazing Saddles until 5 AM. Daughter and her date. Both looked stunning. All the kids did.

And the "secret agent" spy photos.

And loading up the limo, on a dead end street (limo driver used the drive ways to turn around and then backed down the street)

And the kids having fun.

Sunday, May 4, 2008 that you?

I was driving over to help out a family friend and the local golden-oldies started playing a James Taylor tune. They are playing Fire and Rain. They sometimes also send over the stuff that displays on the radio face plate, the station, the call letters and the song name and artist. I'm a bit tired, with Prom weekend and all, but this had Station number, Station call letters, and "JA MES" for the song. I just thought of Governor Schwarzenegger.

Friday, May 2, 2008


It's prom weekend. We live on a dead-end street. It is 18 feet wide, but the poor limo driver gets to pick up eight teenagers at our place. That should be interesting. Then we get asked that at 1:30 AM when they get dropped back off, that some of them get to hang out. OK.... Better than some club or someplace. Throw in a dear friend of the prom kid, is also back in town and staying with us.
I might go sleep in the garage.....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

You did a search for what?

I got some poor slob who did a search to find out about their "bleeding skin pores". They landed on my blog. I hope they seek a doctor and not my stupid blog.