Thursday, December 24, 2015

I've got nothing...

I have nothing of my own that I feel worthwhile to post, so I'm re-posting something from a friend's blog.
This video is pretty well done.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

May you have an awesome Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Weekend not as planned

"Men make plans and God laughs."
Heard that line in a movie once and I suspect it may be quite accurate.
I was going to take advantage of a good weather forecast and head out to a friend's farm and cut some more firewood.  Yeah.  That didn't happen.  But, I did get some much needed seasonal change stuff done around the house.  Got the lawn equipment stowed for the winter, moved the snow thrower to the door of the shed and got some larger items that didn't need to be in the garage into the shed.
I also got a phone call early in the afternoon from one of the guys from the fire station.  Most of them were at a nearby community's parade and they forgot about making arrangements for access for some folks who were renting the station for a Christmas party.  So I headed over to the station to take of that.  The folks showed up later than expected, so it was about an hour and a half before I got back home.  Finished up the loose ends and called it a day.
Sunday was expected to be the typical schedule.  Had read about old nfo's send-off lunch and wanted to attend, but the logistics just weren't going to pan out.  Then I saw Murphy and found out the situation was not quite as I understood it to be.  It didn't take much goading on his part for me to make some last minute arrangements to take care of my remaining obligations and responsibilities of the morning.
We met for lunch and I believe it it safe to say a good time was had by all, particularly by us at the antics that the waitstaff had old nfo do after Murphy convinced them it was old nfo's birthday.  I believe there is photographic evidence, but after threats of silent death by Ninja, we are more likely to see paperwork from Whitewater real estate deals.
After lunch it was off to Big Box Store to buy some toys for Toys For Tots.  I'll let Murph elaborate more on that.
Twas a good time and it was good seeing everyone that attended.  I only regret that I didn't have opportunity to get to know old nfo before he moved away from this area.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Number 3

Where did he go?
The thought crossed my mind listening to the news reports the morning after the latest terror attack.  There was no mention anymore of a 3rd shooter attacker.  The most I heard was a "person of interest" was shot and apprehended running away from the proximity of the SUV shootout.
I heard that question being posed by a talk radio host also.
But like most folks, out of sight/ out of mind and I semi-forgot about it, chalking it up to the witness error in the heat of tragedy.
Then I read this article today.  In my mind, the witnesses are too sure of what they saw, unlike some of the conspiracy theories around the Colorado theater shooting.
So why are we not hearing more about this?  I'd like to think the FBI is keeping it quiet for surveillance reasons, but after the fiasco of scene compromise at the home of the (known) attackers, I'm not too sure.
From some of the witness accounts, it sounded like 3 men, although dressed as they were, all of them being male is certainly open for dispute.
So what if...?
There were 3 men in the building and the wife stayed in the get-away car?
Where are the other two, then?  Back into hiding for the next opportune moment?  There was certainly time opportunity to part ways before the street shootout.
If that scenario is the case, are the authorities and media trying to keep a lid on it to prevent panic and hysteria?
Don't know and I guess time will tell.
I wonder if they got the extra insurance on the SUV when they rented it.

As a side note, a small bit of rare wisdom from Hollywood.  Don't know anything about Kurt Russel's political leanings, but he's right with these comments.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday funny

 My nephew had posted this to my sister's (his mom) book of face recently.
Being somewhat of a closet neo-Luddite, or at least hating our sometimes over-dependence on technology, this gave me a bit of a chuckle.
So I  had to share...  I hope it gives you a chuckle as well.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday funny

Free Dog!

My neighbor has a dog he wants to put up for adoption.
He says it's a great dog, very affectionate, stays off the furniture and beds, completely housebroken and great with the kids.  Never barks unless some one comes onto the property.

He has to get rid of the dog because his wife says she doesn't feel very comfortable around the dog.  She says that he is always following her around the house, uncomfortably close, and stares at her while she's in the shower.
So if you want a good dog, let me know.  Below is a picture.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Hoping that all who peruse this blog have an enjoyable Thanksgiving Day.
We have much to be thankful for, in spite of current events.

As a believer in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, my thanksgiving goes beyond tangible things, though I have much to be thankful for in that realm as well.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Funny Fridays?

I'm going to try something.
With all the latest current events and the world in general going to hell in a hand basket, I, for one, could use a little levity.
We already have  Saturday Man Movie and Wordless Wednesdays
Why not Funny Fridays.
So here ya go.  I'm not endorsing these products, have never had them, but their advertising cracks me up!
There is a plethora of these on the tube of you.  Enjoy! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Constitution is racist

Who knew?  Who would have suspected but for it being pointed out by this enlightened group.
 No surprise that they have ties to Islam.  Which I find rather interesting that the group makes this statement:
" The U.S. is a country that was founded on slavery, genocide, rape, and white-male patriarchy,”
Really??  Apparently they have not been paying attention to the "activities" of those wanting to enforce Sharia Law. Granted, the Arabs wouldn't be considered "white", but everything else fits.
In my opinion, this is an example of the culmination of  entitlement.  I read one time that a true "right" does not cost anyone for you to have it.    Unfortunately, I do not think we have yet seen the pinnacle of this mindset.  
Only time will tell when folks have had enough of the demands made on the backs of those willing to do an honest day's labor.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Stormy Seas

Reading the blog posts over at The Range and The Shekel reminded me of a story that was told by the instructor of a surface/ swift water rescue class I took a few years ago.
He started the class by telling the tale of a couple who went out for a cruise on the Chesapeake Bay.  The weather was lovely when they started, but suddenly and without warning, drastically changed for the worse.  The waves got higher, the wind blew stronger as they tried to make their way back to port.  Suddenly and without warning,  a rogue wave came across the deck and swept them both overboard.  Through a struggle that seemed an eternity, the man was able to climb back aboard.  He scanned and searched frantically for his beloved wife, to no avail as the storm continued to intensify.  Reluctantly he headed the boat for safe harbor.
When he arrived in port and notified the authorities, he was told there was nothing more he could do and to go home and try and get some rest.  He would be notified when there were any developments.
A few days later, representatives from the Dept. of Natural Resources, clergy and Medical Examiners office went to the mans home.
"Sir," they said, "We have some god news and bad news.  The bad news is, we found your wife and sorry to report that she is deceased.  The good news is, when we pulled her in, she was covered with #1 male crabs and we're going to pull her in again tomorrow!"

Saturday, November 7, 2015

What a pain

The other day, my 15 yr old step-son came out of the shower and handed me the spout off of the tub.
Apparently a bottle of shampoo slipped out of his hands and landed on it.

Stuff happens.  I could have done without the cavalier/ flippant attitude about it, though.  But he's 15 and has never been held accountable for much, if any, responsibility in his short life.  Therefore he has no appreciation or clue about what it takes to get things done.  I would welcome the opportunity to teach the boy, but that's another issue I won't go into right now...

The house was built in the mid 80's.  Rather surprising how brittle the CPVC has become over the years.  Fortunately, 98% of the plumbing is easily accessible.  Unfortunately, this is in that 2%.

The tub backs up to a shower stall on the other side of the wall, with a utility chase in between.  I thought I could gain access by cutting a hole in the wall of the other bathroom.

Yep, it's the 80's plumbing color decor.  

Turns out I was wrong.  Looking in the freshly cut hole showed the diverter valve every bit of 3' inside the chase.  My Go Go Gadget arms don't stretch that far.

What in the world were they thinking when they built this place?  It certainly wasn't anything concerning future access.  What to do, what to do....?

I ended up cutting a hole in the floor, from the basement.

Because of the floor joists and framing of the chase, I had an access hole a whopping  10"x 14".  It was tight, but I was able to squeeze one arm, my head and a shoulder up into the void.  At one point I needed both hands and was able to squeeze through the hole, arms first and rolling my shoulders.  The fitting was pretty close to the stud, so that was a little tight, too.  But I eventually prevailed, with no shortage of colorful language.

To hopefully prevent this from happening again, I put it back together with copper.  Sharkbites are  awesome when you're not in the ocean.

Now to finish off with a gratuitous picture of Maggie.
The stuffings all out.  I'm going to rest now.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Carburetors. GRRRR!

After several months of working on what was expected to be a long weekend project, I finally got the Jeep in a condition that it can be driven.  Notice I was careful to state it was not done.

So.  The good news; All the various modifications I needed to do to put the 304 in are out of the way.  Transmission cross member re-fabrication, modifying an engine mount, having the rear drive shaft rebuilt (it needed it) and lengthened, having to "adjust" the shifting levers (main transmission and two transfer case) modifying the transmission tunnel cover, moving the fuel line to the other frame rail... What else...  I"m sure I'm missing something, but you get the point.
I discovered that the oil pan has a rust pinhole in the side, above the static oil level.  So, when it's running, it spews oil almost on par with the Exxon Valdeze.  I have another pan to replace it, but have not had an opportunity to do so yet.  In the meantime, I try to keep a Prius handy to sop up the ecological disaster as it's happening.
But that gets me back to it running... and carburetor adjustments.  Something I have never had a real solid grasp on.  I understand the principles of it, but knowing the nuances are trying my patients just a wee bit.  There is a fine balance of fuel, air or choking thereof to keep the engine from stalling or flooding at inopportune times.  So far, I have not deciphered the secrets of life to find that combustion Shanghai-la. 
So keep trying I will.  Because someone other than me likes going for rides.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The art of listening

What does it take to listen?
It has been my experience that few people give their full attention in conversation.
Is it a symptom of our society's increasing "me first" mentality, our too busy lifestyles or just typical human selfishness that has existed since the day that piece of fruit was consumed?

I am referring to the art of listening to someone as they speak in conversation. 
Perhaps its a friend or acquaintance that just needs an ear to which to vent about something.
Perhaps its a dialog with both parties contributing.

I have been in groups and/or business type meetings where seemingly everyone feels the need to express their thoughts, with everyone talking over everyone else.  Any meaningful input soon becomes lost in the din of noise, like so many whirring tires on a busy highway.  In those times, I sit back, observing, listening, perhaps catching a salient point.  But usually the result is a whole lot of words get spoken, with almost none of them worth the air to express them.

So, do you listen when engaged in conversation? Or do you semi-listen, thinking of what you're going to say next?

Friday, September 11, 2015

A day of remembrance

I won't opine too much on this topic, as there is no shortage of commentary for the tragic events marked by today's date.
A staggering thought that was relayed by a fire dept.  instructor was that the amount of equipment and emergency personnel that was lost in NYC alone equated to ALL the fire equipment and one complete shift of Baltimore City.
When I watched the towers drop, I knew there would be great loss.  I just didn't know at the time just how much.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Safest place on the planet.

My wife wanted to go to the movies Sat evening and see the recently released "War Room".
It was a good movie, albeit with some bad acting, but nonetheless, well worth watching.  But that's not the topic of this post...

The movie was not playing at any theaters on our side of the river, so we had to go into the Not-So-Free state to a theater in Frederick.
I saw a blog in the last few weeks that talked about some theater's new "policies" regarding patron security, safety, blah, blah, blah...
I had forgotten about it until we walked up the entrance, and there a new sign greeted us:

As we entered the theater, the ticket-taker did a cursory look into my wife's purse, as he did to the lady in front of us, paying no attention to me.  I wasn't carrying at the time, knowing that in that state, simply exercising one's right can turn one into a felon very quickly. 
So let me think about this;  We are standing in a state that effectively does not allow the carry of firearms outside of one's domicile.  Couple that with the implication that "they will find weapons you're trying to smuggle in" and that leaves me with the warm fuzzy feeling that I'm in the safest place on the planet, because we all know that signs and laws stop criminals and evil-doers, right?
Of course, the sign does not say that they are looking for weapons, so maybe I'm reading in between the wrong lines and they are trying to protect me from unauthorized snacks and beverages?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Water, water, everywhere, finally some to drink!

One of the major projects that has been on my plate is now 99% completed.  That undertaking was to install a water treatment system.
When I bought my house 4 1/2 years ago, there was a cursory water test done as part of the sale, as the house is on well water and septic.  The results, which I didn't see until closing, stated that the water was potable.  That was pretty much the extent of it.  No numbers or values for anything.  I wasn't very impressed, but that was not going to be a show-stopper.  The "documentation" for the test that was done stated that the well was shocked, (pouring a gallon of bleach down the well) and the next day the water was tested and no bacteria was found.  Ya think?
We would simply drink bottled water until such time I could have a proper test done.  When I did have a proper test done, by an independent lab, (Don't ever use a water treatment company to do your test.  They won't leave until they sell you something.)  The results were disappointing but not surprising, as there was a water softener and a U.V. light system in the basement.  Although the U.V. light was not plumbed in and the water softener was on by-pass.  The water hardness registered around 19 grains and Coliform bacteria was found to be in excess of allowable amounts.  That too, is not overly surprising since I am surrounded by farmland and the geology is riddled with caverns and old quarries.  Who knows what my aquifer is tied into.
Let the research begin!
There are two main ways of treating private residential water for bacteria.  U.V. light and chlorination.  Each has it's pro's and con's.  The U.V. light is simple and doesn't take up much space.  The downside is the bulbs need to be replaced every year, which can be very expensive.  Depending on the system, they can be anywhere from $60- $150.  It is also possible for bacteria to "hide" in sediment passing through, so once past the light, it's free to do whatever it is that bacteria does.  If the power goes off, so does the light, which may be a non-issue unless one has a back-up power source for the well pump.
The other method, and the one I chose, is chlorination.  It's relatively inexpensive to operate, but space is needed for retention tanks to allow "sitting time" for the chlorine to do it's thing.  Unlike the U.V. light, the chlorine will get everything down line as well.  So all those years of having contaminated water flowing in the pipes is mitigated.

I now have two 120 gallon retention tanks in a corner of the basement.  I rather like the idea of having 240 gallons of treated, usable water on hand for the occasions that the power goes off.  The less time I need to run the generator for the well, the better it is.
At the time I ordered the equipment, I was unsure of the age of the existing pressure tank.  So I ordered a new one  Turns out the tank is only a couple of years old.  I have seen tandem pressure tank installations before.  Did a little research and found that it's not a bad idea, as it minimizes the amount of time the well pump has to kick on, increasing the life of the pump. I now have two pressure tanks.

Tanks in order, from left to right; Solution tank with injector pump.  Typical chlorination mix is one gallon of unscented household bleach to 14 gallons of water.  Next are the two pressure tanks, with the pressure switch, pressure relief, drain and main shut-off.  Being that the pressure switch moved about 3' to the right, the incoming power line was just barely long enough.  It works, but I'm not happy about it looking like that, so I purchased some additional wire to tidy things up a bit.

I thought I took a picture of this area completed, but you get the idea.  There is the water softener tank, carbon filter (blue) for removing the chlorine and the reverse osmosis system higher up on the wall. This is to remove the sodium from the water from the softener, as it's not healthy to drink sodium-laden water.  The r.o. supplies not only a faucet on the sink, but the refrigerator and ice maker as well.  WOO-HOO!

It was a lot of work (and money!) and a lot of thought on planning the layout of plumbing lines, but having the peace of mind of having potable water was very worth it.

Sigh....  Now maybe I can get back to getting my Jeep running again....

Friday, July 24, 2015

Twas a full day

The fire department dispatch tones/ pager went off around 3:15 a.m.  I was in the process of getting ready to go to work and thought about responding, but I was scheduled to be part of a crew for a task at work.  We were already a little short handed which is why I was pulled from my normal work duties.  Project schedules can be rather tight as well, therefore I didn't think it would be well taken for me to not show up.  So I left for work, all the while listening to the fire ground operations (until I got out of range) on the operations channel of my issued radio, regretting that work commitments prevented me from responding.  As I headed out of town, the fire quickly went to 2 alarms for manpower.  Then 3.  Most units were responding understaffed, with only 2 personnel or driver only.  Responses were called from multiple locations, some quite a distance away in the tri-state area.  And I continued on to work.
I got to work and opened the website for the county's live feed to continue listening.  Conditions were not improving.  Opened my email and saw that the task for which I had been scheduled had been postponed.  Figures.
I continued listening for about 2 hrs, expecting that the situation would soon be wrapping up and units would be going back in service.  But no.  Fire in the attic spaces of an old, remodeled numerous times building was proving to be difficult to access.
I couldn't stand it any more and notified my supervisor that I was heading home.  It's too bad my commute is an hour and a half.
I expected that the situation would be done for the most part, but these guys had been working hard for 5 1/2 hours so far.  At least I could help with clean-up and get things back in service.  I arrived on scene about 9:45ish.  Final overhaul was being done, taking care of the few hotspots that could be found.  We cleared the scene around noon time.  The guy who drove our engine had left earlier, taking my vehicle back to the station so he could go to work. I drove the engine back, stopping to get fuel and have the breathing air bottles that were used filled.
Once back at our station and about halfway through getting everything cleaned and back in service, we were dispatched to assist MD with a river rescue on the Potomac.  Responding for that certainly had its aggravations; between trying to figure out where they wanted us go and maneuvering through construction related traffic congestion filled with knuckleheads that didn't want to move over.  We finally succeeded, to stand by on the bank of the river with a boat that was yearning for the water.  (OK, maybe it wasn't just the boat...)  At least when we were put in service, the road work was done for the day and traffic wasn't bad getting back.
We hadn't been back at the station very long when we were called again, this time to assist for a re-kindle at the original fire.  Wasn't much, just a little smoke coming from one of the top floors.  A little bit of work from our aerial ladder and some water  took care of it.
It was about 7 p.m. when I finally got home and was able to get a much needed shower and some supper.  A full day, but worth it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

It just never stops.

Recently we went out to lunch with some friends at a locally owned diner.  My wife was interested in the tamales.
Wife, asking the young waiter: "What's in the tamales?:
Me, interrupting before the waiter could reply: "No one knows what tamale holds!"
Waiter, after a brief pause, gives a drawn out "Wow."

The sad part was that Murphy's Law was not there to enjoy endure it.
I sometimes just can't help myself.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

WAY too busy

Just when I thought there was a hint of being able to stay on top of things that need to be done/ want to get done, the bottom blows out and I end up being busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest. (Or a one armed paper hanger, take your pick.)
A couple of weeks ago I started the engine swap in the Jeep.  Ran into a few snags.  Did manage to get the engine mated to the transmission by myself, but it still sits in the garage with many pieces still needing to be un-pieced.  My "one weekend" project has become considerably longer.
If that wasn't enough to require time and effort, I was finally able to buy the water treatment equipment necessary to get my poor quality well water potable.
Chlorine injection pump, new pressure tank, two storage tanks (to allow sitting time for the chlorine to work) water softener, carbon filter, reverse osmosis filter (consuming sodium-laden softened water is not healthy) and because it's old and showing rust around the bottom, a new water heater.  I have some plumbing to do.
This past Saturday ended up being rather unproductive.  Started working on planning my attack on the plumbing when the tones dropped for a transformer fire, which then became a possible structure  fire, as the homeowner heard popping and a smell of smoke inside the home.  Fortunately the extent of that was a blackened outlet.  The pole outside with the transformer on was burning, though.  Not much to do until the power company gets there but make sure it doesn't spread.
Once I got back home, took Maggie to the dog park, then off to the local hardware store.  Came upon a two car collision that had just happened.  Fortunately the injuries were very minor, but I was on scene for that about 45 min or so.
There are some at work, and I've said it from time to time myself, that I need to go to work to get some rest.  Yeah.  That's not happening.  I'm even busier at work.  Perhaps one of these days I'll elaborate a bit on what I do.
To quote something my dad used to say; "No rest for the wicked and the righteous don't need it."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Engine swap

Today was not nearly as productive as I had hoped.  I did manage to make some headway on a few miscellaneous items that also needed to be done, but never really got into "the groove".
A few of the items that I did manage to take care of; Replaced the brake master cylinder.  The one that was there was starting to show signs of wetness around the master cylinder/ booster interface.  That's not good.  I had another one in the shed for just such an occasion.  with the exception of line fittings being a bit stubborn to break loose, that swap went pretty easily.  Now comes the fun of filling it and bleeding the brakes.
Also tidied up some of the wiring, removing a few that were not used anymore.  Also zip-tied the wiring harness for the TBI together in a tidy bundle.  The 304 has a carburetor and vacuum advanced distributor, so that's what I'm going to use, at least for the time being.  Not ready for the extra expense of what I would need to do to make the TBI work with the V8.
Out comes the old....
Today had it's share of frustrations, as well.  Of course, as soon as I set the old engine on the floor, all the anti-freeze that didn't drain decided to glug out in copious amounts all over the floor.
The V8's use a different engine mount than the 6 cyl. on one side.  I thought I had it.  Apparently I don't.  I might be able to modify an existing mount to work.  Not sure yet.
AMC used at least two different variations of power steering line connections.  Of course what I had and what is on the 304 don't match.  Swapping out the pumps would seem to be the simplest plan, but getting some of the bracket off of one of the pumps may be more difficult than meets the eye.  That's where I decided to call it a day.
I doubt that I will work on it any tomorrow.  Will likely have to wait until Monday.

Decisions have finally been made

When I did the rebuild of my Jeep in what seems to be oh-so-long ago, I put a 258 "crate" (meaning commercially rebuilt) motor in it.

It did just fine around town and on the trails, but with the stock 3:54 axle gearing and 33" tires, it lacked the "umph!" (That's a technical term) for long grades on the open highway or pulling a trailer.
Ultimately, I put a 4.0 head on the engine. 
Difficult to tell in this picture, but there is a difference.

The ports are angled, so it breathes better and gives a slight bit more compression.  It certainly made a noticeable difference.   Another modification was the addition of the GM Throttle Body Fuel Injection.  A glorified, computer controlled carburetor,  but it started in the cold and didn't stall on off road hill climbs.  That was a painful learning curve, but that's a story for another time...

All was finally running pretty well, I was fairly content with performance.  Famous last words.  I was driving to work one morning when it coughed and sputtered a couple of times and left me sitting on the side of the road.  Another long story, the distributor drive gear on the camshaft got wiped out.
What to do?  What to do?  With time and money being very short, I replaced the motor with another 6 cylinder that a friend had sitting in his garage for one of those "One day projects".
Supposedly, the motor came out of a '72 CJ5 and only had 20,000 miles on it.  The Jeep was used for plowing snow and the salt carried around in the back gave it an earlier than usual demise.
Of course, being 12 years in difference in engine blocks meant having to fabricate brackets for the brackets for things like the power steering pump.  I got it done and the engine installed, only to quickly discover that something was amiss in cylinder #3.  There was either a stuck or broken ring.  The spark plug had to be pulled every 800 miles or so and be replaced or cleaned.  It would be so fouled with gummy oil build-up that it wouldn't fire.  Also, this engine didn't seem to come close to the power the previous engine had and the fuel economy (for a Jeep, anyway) was worse!
For the last several years, I've just dealt with it, as it didn't get driven quite as much as it did originally.  In the long term, I wanted to replace the motor, probably with a V8.  There's no replacement for displacement, as the saying goes.
I bought a "mostly" complete 304 motor from my friend. (The one who gave me the current engine)
With all the additional items I would need to find for it, all the brackets, flywheel, etc., in addition to the cost of having it rebuilt, that option literally sat in the corner of the garage for the last couple of years.
As I grew more weary of dealing with this current engine issue, the decisions that needed to be made were not taken lightly.  Rebuild the current engine?  Rebuild the 304 and find all the missing stuff? 
When I say rebuild, I mean take it to a shop and have them do the rebuild.  I don't have the tools, time or gumption to do that work myself.  I don't consider another crate motor an option after my previous experience.  I don't know the quality of components they use in their mass rebuilds. 
During this time of waffling more than an Ihop on Sat mornings, I came to realize that the curent engine might not be a 258.  It might be a a 232, which was very prevalent in early CJ's.  The 258 is a srtroked 232.  Cylinder diameter is the same but the throw is different.  That would certainly explain the lack of power and poor fuel economy, as the TBI is programmed for a bigger the 258.
I missed out on the opportunity of obtaining a fuel injected 4.0 engine because I drug my feet.       However, the same guy made me a good deal on a complete, ready to drop in 304!

So this week end, while several folks I know are having a good time at the NRA convention, I'm getting my hands dirty.

Starting on getting the current engine out.  Good time to do some housekeeping of wires that aren't used anymore.  Also need to redo all the plumbing for the on-board air, as the existing rubber lines are dry-rotting.
                                      Ready for the last few bolts and out comes an engine!
To be continued.....

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Resurection Day

The message this morning was on the text found in John 20.  For me, anyway, there were a couple of prominent take-away thoughts.  John (as also found in the other accounts) describes how the stone used to seal the tomb was rolled away.  I have heard over the years how this would not have been an easy task, given the typical size and weight of the stone and that there were Roman soldiers guarding the tomb.  This was not done for Christ to be able to get out.  He didn't require it, but for our sake to get in.
Also, John describes in chapter 20, verses 5-8 how he stopped and stooped to look into the tomb, but did not go in until after Peter.  He then went in and believed.  We cannot stand at the doorway and just look in.  We must go into the tomb to believe.  An add-on thought I had to that is the analogy that we must enter the tomb and leave our unbelief in the grave.
It has been a good day weekend of remembrance.  Of what Christ has done and accomplished for me, so that I could be reconciled to God, to give me a new identity.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I've got nothing....

...But this joke....
Did you hear about the dog that was a self-proclaimed computer expert?  He really wasn't very good, so in this case, his byte was worse than his bark.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Snow day

A few hours later than predicted, the rain changed to snow, around 5am rather than midnight.  But when it did change to snow, it accumulated quite quickly for landing on very wet ground.  It was the heavy, fine snow, the kind that experience has taught that it means business.
Maggie was acting very much in need of burning off some energy, so around noontime, off to the dog park we went.  I typically take the Jeep to the park for several reasons; Maggie loves riding in it, particularly when the sides are open, its a vehicle that's accustomed to mud, wet, debris or whatever on the interior.  Something that is frequent when returning a dog from the dog park.  One of the reasons why the floor is Herculined. 
But yesterday it was certainly needed. Only about 5-6" of snow had fallen at that point, but the roads had not yet been plowed.  The mud terrain tires aren't the greatest in the snow, but they are adequate. 

We arrived to discover, as no surprise, the road gates were closed and the drive hadn't seen a plow yet.  Fortunately the outside fence gate was unlocked, so we could still access the park area.  Needless to say, we were the only ones there.

Maggie had a grand time galloping through the snow and wrestling with my step-son.

We finally had enough of the cold and blowing snow and headed home.  Not far from home I crested a small hill that has a slight curve before it gets steeper leading down to an intersection.  As I crested the hill I saw a small dump truck with a plow stopped on the edge of the road.  This is a narrow back road with now shoulder.  I thought perhaps he got off the edge of the road and got stuck.  I stopped about 30' behind him and the Jeep immediately slid sideways on the sloped snow-covered road to the edge and finally came to rest on the berm at the edge of the road.  The first falling snow had melded with the rain-soaked roads to create a thick slush that turned to ice which then become covered with the subsequent snowfall.  It was slicker than pig snot on a worn fence rail.
The truck ahead of me had stopped because there was activity ahead in the intersection.  A car had slid into a snow bank and was being unstuck and there were two state plow trucks working the intersection.  As the one plow truck came past, it was my friend Vince.  He said he had gotten stuck for an hour and a half on another section of road about 5 miles away.  You know it's bad when those guys get stuck.
The road conditions had not improved any when I ventured out again in the afternoon after the snow had stopped. I'm thankful that my fire station didn't receive any calls for which we would have needed to respond.  The tires had been chained, but attempting to drive a 40,000 lb. truck expediently on slick roads would have been nerve wracking.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Crime comes to visit

Fortunately, it didn't come to visit at our home.  Instead it happened in the parking lot at our local big-box mart.
The Mrs. had done some shopping and had a cart full of goods that she had just started to load in the trunk.  Her purse was in the top seat section.  A red pick-up truck  pulled up next to her and the driver reached out his window, grabbed her purse and took off.
My lovely bride has a way of always seeing God's positive influence in almost every situation.  This is no different and as violated as one can feel given the circumstance, it certainly could have been worse.
Fortunately, this opportunistic slug of flesh was content with a simple snatch and run and not accosting anyone.  My wife tends to be a fighter when cornered and her first instinct was to get in the car and chase after the guy.  But when she went to get in the car, her son (14yrs old) was not there as he should have been, as he stayed in the car while she was shopping, but had wandered off to another store in the plaza.  Without him being in the car, she wasn't going to go anywhere, which was good, because pursuing after this scumbag would not have been a wise idea.  God looking out for her.
Another thing, this past weekend she had cleaned out and organized her purse, so she had a pretty good grasp of everything she had in it and a refresher of all the various cards (bank, discount, credit) that she needed to cancel.  God looking out for her.
When we bought our house three years ago, she had attempted to change the address on her drivers license, but being post 911 security silliness, WV requires 5 generations of family name history, birth, death, marriage and divorce documentation and a utility bill in your name with current address, so she got frustrated and put it off for a later time, which had not yet come.  The address on her drivers license is an old address, should the purse snatcher decide to try and up the ante.  God looking out for her.
She doesn't think there was anything else with easily identifiable  location info in her purse, but the health insurance card did have all our names on it.
Of biggest relief, her phone was in the car and the car keys were in her hand.  Had the thief absconded with her phone would have been a nightmare of almost epic proportions.  The amount of personal and work related info on that thing is scary, even though it's password protected.  I'm sure the NSA would not be willing to give us the back-up info, either.  God certainly looking out for her.
Of the biggest disappointment, the purse was a Coach (I guess that's a nice one?) that was a gift from her co-workers.  I guess by now it's probably been tossed into a ditch along the road somewhere.
The take away lesson is to always be vigilant of ones surroundings.  She had turned her back to the cart for only a moment, to quickly get things in the car in the pouring rain.  This is certainly a case against the concealed carry purses that some women use, but I'm not a fan of off-body carry anyway.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I'm still alive...

Haven't posted anything due to several reasons, in no particular order.
  • Haven't had much time to be in the bloggosphere.  I see there are numerous posting for me to catch up reading.
  • Haven't had anything worthwhile to share.  If I'm not impressed with my mundane thoughts, surely no one else is either.
  • Have been busy just doing normal life, so there has not been anything even remotely noteworthy to share.
 But until my next post, here is a target that can be printed out and taken to the range.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Redefining Terrorism?

I place very little faith and even less trust in this current administration and its agenda.  They do have a history of changing definitions.  I really have to wonder (it's not a very long stretch of idea) if the recent "Summit on Extremism" and this president's refusal to acknowledge the base behind the current slaughters is just another step in redefinition.  I don't see it as much of a side step to suddenly include freedom loving people willing to defend the Constitution and people willing to profess the name of Christ (no, it's not a cuss word) under the ambiguous umbrella of extremism.
Of course, if the SPLC declares someone or an organization as worthy of being watched and scrutinized, then it has to be accurate.  Right?!

And the effort to convince us that what the terror groups really need are jobs for them to lay down their weapons?  Please.  Spare me the diatribe.  Then Marie Harf goes on to claim that the administrations position on this is "too nuanced" for us to understand?
We understand, alright.  We understand.

All of this makes me think of Paul's letter to the Ephesians 4:13, 14:
 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Back on the saddle again

I used to do a lot of cycling.  Not logging as many miles as some of the modern die hards do, but at a time before cycling was "cool", it wasn't uncommon for me to log 1200 miles a season.  Not too bad considering I was in western PA and there was likely snow on the roads from November through late March.
Ahhh, but time marches on.  We get older and life responsibilities takes it's toll on available time, forcing our priorities to change to meet the demands of adulthood.  I still cycled as I could, but not riding nearly as many miles as I once had.
Still, there were times of binge-type riding, as situations allowed.  One such situation was almost ten years ago when I spent six months in Boulder, CO on a project.  I think that was some of the best riding I had ever done.  Even though Boulder is one of the liberal bastions of the state, full of old hippies and young hippie wanna-be's, it was still a pretty awesome place to spend a summer.
I had purchased a hard travel case, since I would be transporting my bike back and forth on a commercial airline.  The first trip out, however, was not on a plane.  My bike, packed neatly in it's hard case, was on the tractor trailer carrying the spacecraft payload that myself and the team I was on had spent the last numerous years building.  All boxes and containers were required to be labeled.  The label on the bike case stated; "Gyroscopically Stabilized Endurance Test Equipment". 
The hard case had proven it's worth, as I discovered craft beer in CO and never made a return trip without the hard case being packed carefully with not only the bike but good beer as well.
....But I digress...
One method of maintaining some semblance of fitness in the off season/ bad weather not suitable for riding is rollers.

Rollers not only give you various resistance, depending on gear selection, but also hone balance, as the slightest movement of the handlebars or slight lean can send the rider careening off the edge.
The rear wheel is nested on the two rear rollers which has a drive belt connecting them to the front roller.  The front wheel sits on top of the front roller  It is by the gyroscopic effect that keeps the rider upright.  It is a pretty good work out.  Typically the target pedal rate rate is around 90 r.p.m.  I had rollers before the "spinning" fad came to the gyms.
I  brought up a Hickok45 video to watch as I rode and was quite pleased with myself, staying on for the duration of the 20+ minute video.
But, it's been a few years since I've been on this ancient torture device and needles to say, my dismount is a bit rusty.  I failed to twist my foot enough to disengage the cleat from the pedal and quickly found myself doing an Artie Johnson tricycle impression.
I managed to break a cleat and get a little raspberry on my knee.

So what's that saying?  As easy as falling off a bike?  Yep.  I have proven that.  But persevere I must.  There is some excess baggage that I've acquired over the years and I must not let it get worse.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Alarm clocks

I have had various alarm clocks over the years.  Currently I have a Bose Wave that usually works well.  It's one that I married into and it has numerous nice features, such as two different alarm settings.  That works well as my wife and I get up at different times.  It also sounds pretty good too, on the rare occasion we play CD's or the radio.

Another nice feature and one that I really appreciate, is the gradual ramping up of volume of the alarm, therefore not jarring one out of sound sleep and starting the day off badly.  The snooze time is adjustable as well, which is great, because I, to my wife's chagrin, am a snooze alarmer.  I sometimes think that I get the best sleep in between alarms.
As much as I like this alarm clock, I have noticed over the last few years that it occasionally decides not to work.  Most notably if the alarm is not turned off and then back on, it may not trip when it is due.  Something must have gone wrong in the sequence of the smoke circuits last night/ this morning because my wife woke me about and hour and a half after the alarm should have gone off.  Grrrrr.

So I sprang out of bed, dashed through my morning routine and headed down the road to work.
Usually I have a pretty flexible schedule because most times I work independently.  That is to say that there is no one watching when we come and go (typically) and there is no time clock to punch.  This morning was not one of those independent work days.  I had gotten sucked back into a prior project to help make some repairs to an item that failed.
Even though I was later getting to work than usual, I wasn't as late as I expected.  And that got me to a sad realization about my job and it's location.  I wasn't so much concerned about being late.  What annoyed me was that by being and hour and a half later than usual meant that I was going to be in much more traffic, which meant the increased odds of being at the whim of the consequences of some idiot's poor driving skills.
But fortunately my concerns never materialized and except for a considerable amount more traffic, I arrived at work with no incidents.  Glad this didn't happen yesterday when we had a bit of freezing rain. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Every now and then...

It may seem a little silly, but every now and then I will do something to remind myself why a particular action/ activity is not routine.
  • Smoking cigars.  Fortunately, I have never been a smoker, although I did try cigarettes as a teenager.  That is until my eldest sister smelled it on my breath one evening, grabbed me by the ear, hauled me out onto the back porch and gave me the what-for's.
  • Traveling I270 and the C(r)apital Beltway for my commute.  Fortunately, there are other routes to be taken.  I will venture that route only during off-peak hours and always regret it.  During prime hours, I think a day doesn't go by that there isn't at least one traffic incident that happens.
  • Driving PA route 30 east of Breezewood.  Not an issue anymore since that is really out of my way now, when traveling to visit family, but it used to be an option to avoid the PA Turnpike, which has it's own well deserved reputation.  It is two lanes that have some pretty steep grades that wind up and across the mountain ridge.  There is a reason trucks are prohibited from traveling that section.  It might be fun if one were in a small go-fast car, but I always seem to have older vehicles that can't get out of their own way.  So even if I did have a small go-fast car, I would likely end up stuck behind someone like me.
  • And finally, the event that made me think of this whole thing, ordering food from one of the fast food chains near work.
          I needed to work today to make some progress on machining some parts for a project.  Finished off the last of my lunch supplies yesterday, so no big deal, I'll go through the drive-thru at Burger King.  Place my order and make my way to the window.  I think the only English words the girl at the window knew were "yes" and "thank you" because she would just give a dumbfounded look whenever I would ask a question to verify the order.  Needless to say, what I ordered I did not get.  But I was in a bit of a rush so I did not want to take the time to go into the store and straighten it out.  Besides, I was already back out on the road.  So I had chicken strips instead of a burger.  They even messed up the drink, according to the receipt.  It was supposed to be a Coke.  I got Sprite.  Yep, raising the minimum wage is going to correct all of those problems.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The storm that wasn't.

Apparently quite a few folks are miffed about the meteorologists getting it wrong, as some are now apologizing .    Yeah, I was bummed that we didn't get slammed and a little annoyed that I burned a vacation day I really didn't need to so I wouldn't have to deal with weather-increased traffic.  My workplace had a liberal leave policy in place for the day.
If that were the worst of my problems, I would be so fortunate.
On the positive side, I took the opportunity and made a phone call to see if Belle and Murphy wanted to meet at the dog park.  The three dogs had a grand time chasing around and doing some much needed burning off of some energy. 

Ironically, the roads were worse this morning than they were all day yesterday.  I woke up to about 1 1/2" of snow on the driveway and the roads to get out to the main road were barely touched by plows/ salt trucks.  Even the interstate roads had a few areas of being covered.
Fortunately, I got to work and through the gate before the guard had the center's updated operating status, which was a delayed opening.  I would have been denied access and would have ended up hanging out somewhere for a few hours.  But I made it in and used the time to catch up on some administrative stuff.

Maybe the next "storm" will bring us some snow.....

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sad day for CA law enforcement

The San Jacinto Police Department suffered a LODD late Wednesday of one of their canines.  Sultan, a Belgian Malinois-German shepherd mix was shot by a felon during a standoff in Riverside county.  That felon's actions ultimately resulted in him assuming ambient temperature.

From the news report, it looks like Sultan will be treated by the department as any other fallen officer, as he should.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Sultan's handler, Deputy Mark Wallace and the rest of the department for the loss of a family member.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Day at the range

Spent several enjoyable hours at the range today with Proud Hillbilly, Murphy's Law and a neighbor of his.
Speaking purely of myself, managed to poke a bunch of holes in paper, some of them even where I wanted them to be.
After increasing the mass and density of the pistol range berm, we headed to the 100/ 200 yard range, where I was able to do some final tweaking of the scope on the G2 Recon.

The rifle comes stock with Magpul furniture and BUIS.  I mounted the Nikon M308 4-16 scope and Harris bi-pod.  And just like window stickers make a riced-out Honda go faster, I had to add Magpul rail covers to make it shoot better.
I. like. this. rifle.  A lot.  I think know it is capable of better accuracy than what I can manipulate.  But from being the novice that I am and using commercial reloads, I'm still pretty pleased.
100 yards, after a few rounds of tweaking the scope.

200 yards.  First round almost center-punched.  Then it was downhill hill from there.
I need to get back to another Appleseed event... or three.
The only downside of the afternoon was that we didn't have time to catch a bite to eat when we finished.  Another time.

The unseen (unscene?) frame

Murphy's Law over at The Lair posted a video the other day of an officer jamming to a pop tune.
You may have to play it several times to finally catch it, but Murphy is standing watch in the back seat.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Banning guns works (sarcasm intended)

I don't currently have anything noteworthy/ original to share, so I thought I would post this list that I found somewhere some time ago. 
1.     Banning guns works, which is why New York, DC, and Chicago cops need guns.
2.      Washington, DC's low murder rate of 80.6 per 100,000 is due to strict gun control, and Arlington, VA's high murder rate of 1.6 per 100,000 is due to the lack of gun control.
3.     Statistics showing high murder rates justify gun control but statistics showing increasing murder rates after gun control are "just statistics."
4.     The Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, both of which went into effect in 1994, are responsible for the decrease in violent crime rates, which have been declining since 1991.
5.     We must get rid of guns because a deranged lunatic may go on a shooting spree at any time and anyone who would own a gun out of fear of such a lunatic is paranoid.
6.     The more helpless you are the safer you are from criminals.
7.     An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.
8.     A woman raped and strangled is morally superior to a woman with a smoking gun and a dead rapist at her feet.
9.     When confronted by violent criminals, you should "put up no defense — give them what they want, or run" (Handgun Control Inc. Chairman Pete Shields, Guns Don't Die - People Do, 1981, p. 125).
10.                        The New England Journal of Medicine is filled with expert advice about guns; just like Guns and Ammo has some excellent treatises on heart surgery.
11.                        One should consult an automotive engineer for safer seatbelts, a civil engineer for a better bridge, a surgeon for spinal paralysis, a computer programmer for Y2K problems, and Sarah Brady [or Sheena Duncan, Adele Kirsten, Peter Storey, etc.] for firearms expertise.
12.                        The 2nd Amendment, ratified in 1791, refers to the National Guard, which was created by an act of Congress in 1903.
13.                        The National Guard, funded by the federal government, occupying property leased to the federal government, using weapons owned by the federal government, punishing trespassers under federal law, is a state militia.
14.                        These phrases," right of the people peaceably to assemble," "right of the people to be secure in their homes," "enumeration's herein of certain rights shall not be construed to disparage others retained by the people," and "The powers not delegated herein are reserved to the states respectively, and to the people," all refer to individuals, but "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" refers to the state.
15.                        We don't need guns against an oppressive government, because the Constitution has internal safeguards, but we should ban and seize all guns, thereby violating the 2nd, 4th, and 5th amendments to that Constitution.
16.                        Rifles and handguns aren't necessary to national defense, which is why the army has millions of them.
17.                        Private citizens shouldn't have handguns, because they serve no military purpose, and private citizens shouldn't have "assault rifles," because they are military weapons.
18.                        The ready availability of guns today, with waiting periods, background checks, fingerprinting, government forms, et cetera, is responsible for recent school shootings, compared to the lack of school shootings in the 40's, 50's and 60's, which resulted from the availability of guns at hardware stores, surplus stores, gas stations, variety stores, mail order, et cetera.
19.                        The NRA's attempt to run a "don't touch" campaign about kids handling guns is propaganda, and the anti-gun lobby's attempt to run a "don't touch" campaign is responsible social activity.
20.                        Guns are so complex that special training is necessary to use them properly, and so simple to use that they make murder easy.
21.                        A handgun, with up to 4 controls, is far too complex for the typical adult to learn to use, as opposed to an automobile that only has 20.
22.                        Women are just as intelligent and capable as men but a woman with a gun is "an accident waiting to happen" and gun makers' advertisements aimed at women are "preying on their fears."
23.                        Ordinary people in the presence of guns turn into slaughtering butchers but revert to normal when the weapon is removed.
24.                        Guns cause violence, which is why there are so many mass killings at gun shows.
25.                        A majority of the population supports gun control, just like a majority of the population supported owning slaves.
26.                        A self-loading small arm can legitimately be considered to be a "weapon of mass destruction" or an "assault weapon."
27.                        Most people can't be trusted, so we should have laws against guns, which most people will abide by because they can be trusted.
28.                        The right of online pornographers to exist cannot be questioned because it is constitutionally protected by the Bill of Rights, but the use of handguns for self defense is not really protected by the Bill of Rights.
29.                        Free speech entitles one to own newspapers, transmitters, computers, and typewriters, but self-defense only justifies bare hands.
30.                        The ACLU is good because it uncompromisingly defends certain parts of the Constitution, and the NRA is bad, because it defends other parts of the Constitution.
31.                        Charlton Heston as president of the NRA is a shill who should be ignored, but Michael Douglas as a representative of Handgun Control, Inc. is an ambassador for peace who is entitled to an audience at the UN arms control summit.
32.                        Police operate with backup within groups, which is why they need larger capacity pistol magazines than do "civilians" who must face criminals alone and therefore need less ammunition.
33.                        We should ban "Saturday Night Specials" and other inexpensive guns because it's not fair that poor people have access to guns too.
34.                        Police officers, who qualify with their duty weapons once or twice a year, have some special Jedi-like mastery over handguns that private citizens can never hope to obtain.
35.                        Private citizens don't need a gun for self-protection because the police are there to protect them even though the Supreme Court says the police are not responsible for their protection.
36.                        Citizens don't need to carry a gun for personal protection but police chiefs, who are desk-bound administrators who work in a building filled with cops, need a gun.
37.                        "Assault weapons" have no purpose other than to kill large numbers of people, which is why the police need them but "civilians" do not.
38.                        When Microsoft pressures its distributors to give Microsoft preferential promotion, that's bad; but when the Federal government pressures cities to buy guns only from Smith & Wesson, that's good.
39.                        Trigger locks do not interfere with the ability to use a gun for defensive purposes, which is why you see police officers with one on their duty weapon.
40.                        When Handgun Control, Inc., says they want to "keep guns out of the wrong hands," they don't mean you. Really.
From a forum posting, Feb, 2008