Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Humans walk on water!!!

No, really. In recorded history, there is only one occurrence noted in the Bible.
This past weekend there were a lot of people standing on Lake Tyler State Park, Texas. I took a picture just to show the wife. She thinks I make up all this weirdness that I see. I was so awe-struck, I only took one photo and only when two people were walking on the water. Earlier in the day, there was about 30 people out there.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oil change time

I think the dealership hired the guy in the photo to change peoples oil.
We bought a new/used car last year. They "threw in" three free oil changes. We've used two of them. None were free. The dealership always managed to find something else to do/charge us for.
I've been changing oil in our vehicles for about 35 years. I do the two Mustangs and the daughters car once a year. The Mustangs over Christmas break and the daughters Corolla, Memorial day, because that was when we bought it and I first changed it. She doesn't put that many miles on it, but once a year is a good idea. The Mustangs are the same, not many miles a year.
My F250 diesel and the wife's car, get a lot of miles. I keep spread sheets of maintenance. The wife's Corolla was due an oil change. 3000 miles were up and the "MAINT" light was on. Except I was fed up with the "free" oil changes. I bought a WIX oil filter and four point two quarts of oil for the car. We have about three very busy weekends lined up, so taking the car in for the "free" oil change, was going to be hard to schedule. The dealer takes an extra hour to find if they can charge us for something! I can change the oil and be cleaned up and done in 45 minutes. Last Sunday night, I started at 8:15 PM moving cars about to get a shop bay open. By 9:15, all was done. It took an extra 15 minutes because the dealership hires gorillas to install the oil filter and drain plug! They must not be able to read. Put the filter on until the gasket makes contact and then HAND turn it 3/4 turn more. Trust me, you can hand tighten it past that, but there really is no point as the gasket would have sealed. Hers was put on so tight, I had to use two tools trying to bust it free. They'd put the drain plug in so tight, the gasket for that was practically welded into the oil pan. Again, hand tight with a hand wrench would have done it.
You hit the Odometer reset button and page through the two trip counters to the odometer. Then, hold the reset button in, turn on the key and wait. That resets the "MAINT" light.
Oh, I also replaced the Cabin air filter. One of those items the dealer wanted $50 to do. I got the part for $14.99. One screw holds it in. 10 minutes tops.
And they wonder why we avoid them.....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I had to build a bed

I had to build a bed for my orienteering compass's. Yes, I have more than one. Five, that I cared enough about to make a bed. Two NTOA events back, I had a bit of trouble getting a good compass reading. In the photo above, the strange looking compass in the middle, with the green elastic strap, is now my main compass. It has been for a year now. It is a "thumb" compass. It actually fits on your thumb, my left one. I hold my map in that hand also. You orientate the map and compass and then use the compass clear pointer, to move along your map as you journey through the woods. The issue I had was that there was a route on the map that was right on the edge. I couldn't get the compass base plate to align on the paper. I had to sort of guesstimate my bearing. I tried a trick, which is to rotate the map 180 degrees and "shoot backward". That has worked for me in the past, you just have to remember that North is now South! You have to go 180 degrees opposite of your compass setting. It's not as hard as it sounds. As I was following my guesstimated heading, I realised that one of my older, full base plate compass's, would have been perfect! But I'd quit carrying those types of compass's last year. Mr. G was always in the habit of taking an extra compass. I decided to do so at the last orienteering meet, up at SID scout ranch. I got to SID and pulled out two Silva base plate compass's from my orienteering bag. They BOTH read 180 degrees off! They gotten too close to a magnetic car key holder that I'd tossed into the bag. They had reversed polarity! I had to take an older compass that hadn't switched.

On the drive back from SID, Mr. G mentioned that he's had a few Silva's do that also and there was a place to send them off to and get them replaced. I waited a week, wondering if I should really bother. It was my fault they switched polarity. One day I called the place up and fessed up. I was hoping they would tell me some way to switch them back. Nope. But they DID say send them back for FREE REPLACEMENT!
While on the phone, I asked about the best way to store multiple compass's and not have them screw each other up. They suggested a hard plastic box, which would keep them away from any magnetic source.

So I sent the two compasses off and one day stopped by The Container Store. I shopped around for 15 minutes and finally found the perfect hard, seal able plastic box for orienteering compass's.

When I got home, I tossed all my compass's into it. But then I realised that each compass was also effecting the other compasses in the box! Brainstorm time. I remembered that I had some sheets of neoprene rubber out in the shop. I got them from McMaster-Carr. So I went and cut out rubber blankets to go between each compass. It worked great! Compass, sheet of rubber, compass, sheet.... Each compass when it is placed into the plastic, sort of looses it's mind and quits pointing North! The next one, with the rubber sheet, keeps them from affecting each other.

The photo:
On the left is the box, lid, and compasses in it.

In the center with the green elastic band is my primary thumb compass.

Above it in a Zip-Lock baggie, is a magnifier that can be added to the thumb compass! Very handy on my old eyes. I usually just keep the magnifier in my pocket, as I don't use it all that much. Plus, the magnifier broke when I fell off a cliff one day! I fixed it also, but decided to not attach it again.

To the right is one of the base plate compasses laying on it's rubber sheet.

To the bottom, is a rubber sheet.

Good thing they don't have a bed wetting problem!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Now That's funny right there

I was out for my afternoon leg-stretch walkabout the parking lot. A car pulled down beside me, looking for a parking spot close to the building. They came a tad close to me. I noted their hand up to their head, cell phone talking.
Their bumper had a HANG UP AND DRIVE! sticker on it.....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Alas, poor Yorick!

"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite
jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a
thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is!
My gorge rises at it."
Billy Shakespeare, a long time ago in a Galaxy....wait

I had the follow up at the podiatrist. I took in my 13 year old orthotic inserts. We discussed the options to rebuild them. I have another pair that I use.

Doctor then decided that my trim job on my banged up toe, needed his better trim job. He first went to work with a battery Dremil tool. That led him to look at the nail and decide to try the cutters on it. When he had trimmed off half the nail, it became clear that only the back corner was still attached. He used some lock pliers on it, some really cold stuff so I couldn't feel much, and he carefully removed what little nail I still had. It didn't hurt much and feels better.

I go orienteering again in 10 days, so it is good that it is gone. As the doctor said, the next toe stub and it would traumatically remove what was left of the nail!

I went home and soaked it. Then, actually removed some of the dead skin from where the nail used to be.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fun with the Goobermint

I was out washing the cars on Saturday morning. We live at the very end of a dead end street. A small white pickup truck drove slowly down the road. They stopped in front of two different houses, both across the street from us. The driver and passenger seemed to be casing the houses. No one had a yard sale going, so there wasn't much reason for them to be casing the places. After the second house, they came to the end of the street and did their best to turn around on the dead-end without actually pulling into any one's drive way.

About ten minutes later, they came back down the street, repeating their earlier stopping points. Once they made the end of the street, the driver parked the truck, left it running and got out and headed my way. He identified himself and asked me if the house across the way had anyone living in the building in the back.

I decided to have some fun. I told him no. That was a two story meth lab. And the building in the back yard of the other house, the converted garage, was storage for the finished product. If he went back and knocked three times really fast and then said "Orangutan", they'd give him a free sample. But if he knocked too slow, they shoot first. If he wanted to try the coke, to knock five times real slow and then say "Hillary's my hottie", they'd score a free coke blow. If they knocked eight times real slow, and said "NASCAR sucks doode", they'd score some top grade weed.

By this point, his eye's were spinning in his head. I told him I was sort of busy washing my F250 truck.

He was a census worker.

No, I really didn't tell him all those fibs. But I thought about it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

You want to drill a hole in my WHAT!

So the pain and swelling in my toe got to be too much. I presented myself to a podiatrist. He took two X-Rays looking for any fractures, and then decided to bore a hole into my toe nail. I didn't watch. It hurt for the 10 minutes he spent expressing out the blood, clear fluid, milky fluid, blood, dark blood, clear fluid...
He took another X-Ray, looking for any other issues. My left foot has quite a few. The main toe knuckle is "flattening". Probably due to the axe that went into that joint when I was 14. The toe also has a spiky thing, making the toe hurt that much more. There is the inner edge of the nail, that was removed 30 years ago.
It continued to weep fluid until bed time last night. But, it feels much better.
I get to go back in two weeks and we see if he needs to remove the nail.