Monday, February 26, 2007

Procrastination Pays Off

Yesterday I did not start on my homework as I intended to. Instead we watched part of a movie. (Oliver Stone's JFK: Special Edition is 3 hours and 24 minutes long.)

I have been trying to spread the assignments out over 3 days each week so a single hw session doesn't take too long. My thought last night were along the lines of M-T-W. When I am feeling motivated I usually try to do S-M-T. Maybe a little bit of review on W, but not necessarily.

Well I let S slip by and now I will probably let M slip by as well. Once G' gets home from work, I have to go back to work. It will probably be a long night. So now it is looking like it will be a S-M-T-W week.

There is a very small chance that I will feel like working some Probability and Statistics problems when I get home. What are the odds of that? Not.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Persistence Is Futile

To answer Terry's question, No. I did not get the piece blasted as I intended.

I got started yesterday morning at 9:00 am. I set up some saw horses in the drive way. Carried the cross member out. Rolled the blaster out. Pressurized the compressor. Ready, set, rain. Well not really rain, but it did start sprinkling.

There is not point in sandblasting a part in the rain. Getting it wet would cause it to start rusting again almost as fast I finished up.

I quickly moved the x-member back into the garage and went back out to grab the blaster, et al. Before I got it all back into the garage the rain stopped falling. So I started setting up again. I had it all setup and was doing some scraping to get some heavy grunge off when it started sprinkling again. Again I moved everything back into the garage and again it stopped raining. This time I decided to wait a bit to see what the weather was really going to do.

In the mean time, I did a little cleanup and organization work in the garage. My neighbor dropped by and we talked cars, trucks, and motorcycle for a while. He helped me move the truck bed floor. That thing is heavy.

After about an hour without a drop from the sky I decided to give it another go. I setup again. This time I got as far as turning on the blaster. I made about 5 minutes of progress before the rain started again. This time I had to really hustle because I needed to sweep up the sand before it got wet. Wet sand is not good.

At this point I decided to call it.

At around 3 pm, after 4 hours without a drop, I decided to give it one more try. You know the drill. I drag everything outside, get everything setup, it starts to rain and I drag it all back inside. OK, this time I really give up for the day.

Today instead of dragging out the blaster, I just used a small pick, similar to a dental pick, to clean some gunk out of the many nooks and crannies on the cross member. I did this for about an hour before I put it way again. All the prep work is done. There is nothing left to do but the actual blasting. Someday the weather will cooperate. Someday. Maybe next weekend. Cross your members fingers.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Super-Ultra-Uber-Meta-Misc

Glad to see Brian got his blogger's license renews. And who would have thought a lame entry on cookies and milk would have generated any comments.

Sometimes I leave myself cryptic messages in my blog to remind me about things later when I look back. For instance today's message is "Friday the Thirteenth". Want to guess what that means? Go ahead, I dare you.

In the mean time I will bring you up to date on the milk and cookies. Several months ago a gallon of used automotive oil mysterious showed up in the back of my Dodge truck. I eventually tracked down the source and recently I finally sent it back to the dinosaurs.

Last night on the way to school, David #17 and I stopped at a gas station to grab something to drink. He had a DP, I selected some white milk. We also bought a snack size package of no-name cookies to share. The cookies were not very good so we didn't eat them all. After arriving at the university, we parked the car and started walking to class. At that point we spot Chad's Pontiac Solstice with the top down. It was decided that instead of depositing my empty milk bottle in the trash I should place it in his car. Sort of a lame attempt at returning the used-oil-prank. After depositing the no-deposit-no-return bottle in his car we continued walking. A few minutes later David has a fabulous idea. "Don't you think Chad would enjoy some cookie with his milk." Genius idea. We turn around to head back to the car to get the cookies. About the time we are passing Chads car a second time, we here him call out behind us. We stop and talk with him a few minutes before heading on to finish our chore. David thinks we lucked out that Chad ran into us before we had retrieved the cookies. As we pass the car a third time, the cookies are deposited with the milk bottle.

Chad was gone when I got out of class. I doubt he knew who left him his gifts. Occasionally he reads my blog. I left the cookie and milk post as a hint to him. I did not hear from him today so I am guessing he did not drop by Obsession today. He will figure it out soon enough.

Chad should be glad David doesn't behave the way a friend of his did in high school. Don't ask.
Oh Yes Wyoming!

For the past few weeks posts have been slim pickings around here on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Last year, the same was true for Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.

What's up with that?

Let me start by addressing Friday. On Friday evening after getting home from work I like to embrace the weekend by doing nothing. Simple enough.

My reason for as of late for Wednesday and Thursday is the same as it was last year for Monday and Tuesday. On the second of the two days, I have an evening class at a nearby University. The night prior to that, I am usually trying frantically to finish up all the home work I should have already done. By the time I am done, I am usually ready to call it a day. I am getting better about starting earlier and spreading the work out over a few days, but no promises. I may lapse back into my old ways any day now.

Today was a good day. The moderate temperature started the day out nicely. Couple that with it being a Friday. I have big plans for tomorrow. Besides doing four loads of laundry, I intend to spend part of my day doing a little sandblasting out in the driveway and then painting in the garage. This next piece has been in the queue for a while and it is the last piece required before I can begin reassembling the front syspension and steering on the truck. This is quite the milestone for me and I am very excite about it. You probably can't understand this but that is ok.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cookies And Milk

Yada yada yada. Chips Ahoy! and chocolate milk. Yada yada yada.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bloggers Block, Take III

When leaving work this afternoon, I realized just how nice it was.

Step I: Drive home with the sun roof open. The thermometer in the car said 73. Can this be true?

Step II: Any reason plausible reason whatsoever to go outside. Oh yeah, it's nice outside. Reason enough.

Step III: Find something productive to do outside. Ok, maybe I will just skip this step. Maybe I will just put that screwdriver away. That counts, right! *nodding head*

Step IV: Enjoy the pleasant temperature. Oh, yeah.

Weekend Weather Update: High 60's, only a 30% chance of rain. Bring it on.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Formula 1

...season starts in 26 days. I am hoping Felipe Masa and Kimi Raikkonen have a good season. I suspect there are going to be some new Ferrari fans this year.

Zoooooooooooooooooooooooooom!
What Happened To The Weekend?

I noticed earlier today that I hadn't posted in a few days. I guess I was busy. What was I doing?

Wednesday, February 14th was the last post.

Thursday evening I attended school. I got my test back from the previous week. I did better than I thought I did but not as good as I should have. I should have made a 100%.

Friday the family headed to Memphis and left me home alone for the weekend. Friday night I had take out for dinner. My choice was a Whopper Junior from BK. I watched a little bit of the Barrett-Jackson auction I recorded back in January and then fell asleep with the light on while reading Cobra In The Barn.

I woke up about 6:30 Saturday morning. The wife left her alarm clock set and it woke me up. I listened to it for a few minutes before I decided that I couldn't block it out and decided if I reached over to turn it off, I might as well get up. I decided to start the laundry early to get it out of the way. Upon opening the washing machine, I discovered a load of wet towels probably left over from Thursday. I gave them another spin to freshen them up. Once they were done I moved them to the dryer and put the whites in the washer. Once the whites were done, I discovered I had forgotten to turn the dryer on. Those towels sure were putting up a fight. So much for getting the laundry done early.

About 8:45 AM David, no not that David, one of the other Davids, called to request some help. He is building a reciprocating nose. His wife is stage managing a local production of Pinocchio and he either volunteered or was volunteered to make a remote control nose. Each time I hear the story, it changes. Regardless, he came over and we spend about half the day building a drive mechanism for an extend-o-nose. He had already modified a servo to be free spinning. I machined out a case using several pieces of polyethylene. These were fastened together using machine screws and then a 1.5" hole was bored through the center. This hole contains a reel with a piece of metal tape fastened to it. I fabricated a metal plate to fasten to each side. If you can picture it, imagine something similar to a remote controlled measuring tape. Once the box was complete, we called it a box and quit for the day. It is always amazing how many hours you can put into creating something.

David invited me over to his house for dinner. In one of my many past lives, I practically lived with David and Penny. My first year out of college I probably ate dinner there no less than five times a week. Penny still calls me her first son.

Dinner was great. I stopped at the store on the way over and picked up a jar of Hot Pickled Okra and a bottle of Piesporter Michelsberg (German wine is my favorite). When I arrived we cracked open the pickled okra and Dave made a big bowl of Guacamole (3 avocados, a small lime, and some Frontera Guacamole Starter). The Guacamole was excellent (Terry, you would have loved it. We will have to make some next time your in town.) Penny handed me a chilled bottle of muscadine wine and a fancy cork screw and put me to work. The wine was good, and you could definitely tell it was muscadine. Dinner consisted of grilled ribs, baked sweet potatoes, green beans, homemade mac-n-cheese, rolls, and coconut cake, complete with a chorus of Happy Birthday.

After dinner, David, Ben, and I watched part of The Parent Trap remake on the tele. Ben is about 10, maybe 11. During the show, there is a scene in a wine cellar. Large barrels of wine running the length of the room. I pointed to the big corks sticking out the top of the barrels and asked Ben if the know what they were called. He didn't, but I did. I had recently learned what they were called while watching the discovery channel. The cork is called a bung. Next I asked Ben if he knew what the hole was called that the cork was placed in. Again he didn't know and again I shared it with him. David and Ben were laughing hysterically. Of course the answer is a bung hole. Why is that funny? It's not. Unless you were there. Later Penny asked me to explain to her why it was funny. I explained simply that it was just a good example of 12 year old male humor. I still think that stuff is funny. ***attempting to straighten my face***

Before dinner I said something else really funny to David. I have never seen anyone laugh so hard. I wish I could remember what it was. Actually I was on fire that day. This audience hadn't heard most of my material.

Around 10:00 PM I headed to the house. They wanted me to stay and watch a movie, but I am not a night owl. Once home, I went on to bed, and once again fell asleep reading.

And guess what. I forgot to disable the alarm clock on Saturday. Doh! That is how Sunday morning started. This time I did manage to ignore it and went back to sleep. I did finally get up around 8:00. At this point I put the last load of laundry in the washer. Two hours later and it was finally done.

That is where most of the weekend went.

Have you ever had muscadine wine and pickled okra?
Seventy Two

The 10 day outlook shows a forecast of 72 for Saturday. Sign me up. Unfortunately they are predicting rain also. Saturday is far enough away that everything could change.

I am putting my request in now for 72 and sunny.

Please, please, please.

Can I Borrow A Buck

I had lunch with a friend of mine today.  Let's call him David.  Let's call them all David.
 
Right after we sat down, David asked if I could loan him twenty dollars.  "Sure, not a problem."  I had just been by the bank and he has good credit with me.  So far. 
 
Forty minutes later when we had finished our salads, the waitress came by and said "Is this together or separate."  David quickly spoke up and said "Together".  And then "Happy Birthday".  I graciously accepted. 
 
And then he started laughing.  A deep rumbling laugh.  I quickly caught on to what was so funny.  He had borrowed money from me to buy me lunch.  It took him another five minutes to regain his composure.  I hope this doesn't affect his credit rating.
Squeaky Clean

The Miata got a drive thru car wash on the way back from lunch today. January/February is typically the rainy season here in North Alabama and it is difficult to keep the car clean. This wash was long overdue. Fortunately the sky is clear so it may stay clean for a day or two.

(And the bird badge is now gone.)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tag

I got tagged. After looking around it appears that everyone else has already been tagged so I am afraid the buck stops here. Except for maybe Mike, Brian, and Carol. You folks are now tagged. Tag five others and then write a list of...

Five Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me

4. I want to have a whole fleet of cars. Maybe about a dozen. They don't necessarily need to be high dollar or exotic cars, but they do need to be interesting (to me). I sometimes refer to them as my collection of thousand dollar cars.

3. I don't like to get dirty. I don't mind being sweaty, but dirt and sand bother me and grease even more so. I suspect the grease thing goes back to working at the Golden Hiney for a couple of years in high school. Initially this made working on the truck very difficult. Have you ever seen a mechanic who washes his hands every 15 minutes?

2. I have 3 guitars and no musical ability. None. I enjoy playing, but no one has ever enjoyed listening. Also, I briefly sang as part of a trio in church while in college.

1. I like to work with my hands and I enjoy learning. I started woodworking after taking an evening cabinet making class at a local technical school. Several years later I went back and took and auto body class. I want to take a welding class and a precision machine class, but these will have to wait until our schedule allows it.

0. Today is my Birthday. I am 38 years old.
Catching Up

Saw this earlier in the week. A new roadster convertible from Dodge. Brian said he thought the back end looked like a Nissan 350Z. I would have to agree with him

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Madison County Woodworkers Guild

While I am rehashing old material, take a look at some of the furniture I built in the past. (Ok, David made some too.)
300 Baud

Arg, matey. The pirates are plundering for topics again.

Brian was reminiscing about the glory days so I thought I would whip this out. Somewhere on this page you will find a picture of my first modem. Three hundred baud. Blazing fast. If you go read this page you may find out things you didn't already know. But you won't be any smarter when your done.

What's another name for pirate treasure?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bombs Away

I went by Express Oil to have the oil and filter changed in the Charger today. Total miles on the clock: 6171. They even cleaned the bird droppings off the windshield. Nice.

It seems this car is a bird magnet. It has already been targeted more times than the Dodge pickup was in the 8 years I had it.

Birds prefer reds.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Saddle Up!

This afternoon the temperature moved up into the forties with very little wind. Standing in the driveway, it seems almost warm. Saddle up!

I backed out the car, dropped the rag top, closed the garage, and headed out into the wild blue yonder.

On the way out of the 'hood, I stopped and picked up Brian. He had already been out in the Mustang with the top down, but he was up for another ride. We headed in a general NW direction toward the TN state line. I have been meaning to locate another route but this one works.

At the line I usually turn around. Sometimes I stop and get a drink: Diet SunDrop, Milo's Sweet Tea, Chocolate Milk, Diet Dew, whatever strikes my fancy. Today Brian suggested a milk shake. He is as crazy as I am. Lets go for the brain freeze, my ears are not completely frozen yet. The girl at Sonic was amused by the two old guys, in the convertible, ordering milk shakes on a cold day.

First of all, it wasn't that cold once the car was sitting still, and it does have a heater, and Brian won't be 40 until February 21. Ha!

I can't believe I drank the whole thing. Mine was chocolate. His was strawberry.

Yes, I can. I love ice cream. I scream, you scream, we all scream ...
Freebird

Last summer a neighbor asked me who cut my yard. I gave him a phone number and moved on with my life.

When we bought our first house many years ago, I bought a mower and used it exactly one time. While I was out mowing the yard work the first time, Mike the yard guy showed up and offered to write me up a bid on the yard work. His price was too good to be true and the bid included cutting, edging, blowing the clipping, trimming the bushes, and even the occasional gutter cleaning. I accepted his offer and rolled my mower back into the garage where it sat unused for a couple of years before I finally sold it to a friend.

Mike though reliable with cutting the yard is impossible to get a hold of on the telephone. His modus operandi is to cut the yard and occasionally leave a bill on the front door. Sometimes he goes months without leaving a bill.

After a while Mike became successful with his business and started running multiple crews. This presented a problem. We could always tell after the yard had been cut whether he had done it himself or one of his helpers. I complained and so now he usually does it himself.

Mike is a very friendly guy and quite a talker, just like the other Mike. When I catch him here mowing he talks my ear off. This has always seemed odd to me that he would spend much time talking because he is a hard worker, and time is money. Mike and his crew waste no time getting the work done. At times Mike will show up alone, other times he may have 4 other guys with him. My next door neighbor once told me that he timed Mike doing my lawn work. He said it was exactly 12 minutes from the time he rolled up till his truck pulled away. The times I have been here, it hasn't taken much longer than that. This is why Mike can charge such low rates.

The other neighbor who asked for Mikes number was startled by the way Mike does business. Last summer he called Mike and left a message asking for an estimate. Mike came and cut his yard, but forgot to leave and estimate. When he finally got the estimate, he agreed on the spot. Mike hits his yard right after he does mine. Several other of my neighbors have used Mike in the past also. In my last neighborhood, I think Mike was cutting close to 25% of the yards when we moved. That might be an exaggeration. Maybe not. I do recall seeing the mower run the length of four yards before turning around to make another pass.

Wednesday neighbor #1 calls wanting to know the best way to get a hold of Mike. Apparently his phone had been disconnected and he was worried. He wanted to get Mike to do an estimate on the front entrance for our neighborhood.

I believe Mike has been cutting our yard for over 10 years. He has always been difficult to contact and it seems he disappears every winter. But he always shows back up when it is time to cut the yard. And he just does it. I don't think we actually have a contract with him officially, though I remember we did one year, many years ago. When the yard needs to be cut, Mike will be there.

This is driving my neighbor crazy. I suspect he will get use to it, or return to cutting his yard himself. In the mean time, I am laughing my head off as he gets all wound up.

As usual I am stealing, er, borrowing other folks topics. Thanks Carol. Freebird, Freebird!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Roger Roger

When watching The Phantom Menace on the big screen I recall hearing a battle droid say roger, roger. For some reason this struck me as funny. I recall that I laughed out loud. This was the only laughter in the entire theater. Why was it funny? What does it mean?

It turns out 'Roger' is the term for the letter R from the old JAN alphabet (Joint Army/Navy). This sequence went Able, Baker, Charlie, etc. The modern or NATO phonetic alphabet use the sequence Alpha, Bravo, Charlies, etc and uses Romeo for the letter R.

So 'roger' is simply the letter R but still what does it mean? Apparently it was a term used by WWII pilots to signal they had received a transmission. And roger wilco means message received, will comply.

But that still does not explain why it was funny. Perhaps it was the context of use in the movie. Perhaps the droid was scared or malfunctioning. I don't recall.

We bought the kids a Nintendo Games Cube for Christmas. One of the games they have is Lego Star Wars. This games is amazing (if only they would let me play too). During the game, you often hear a battle droid say "Uh oh!" or "Roger roger". This tickles me too. Perhaps it is just the computer synthesized voice.

Did you know the term droid started out as 'droid, an abbreviation for android.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Warning:

You have reached the end of the Internet.

Slower Traffic Keep Right.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Peanut Gallery Has Spoken
On Friday I went to the store to buy a couple of calculator batteries. The calcuator is a TI-83+. The required battery is a CR1616 or a CR2016. Either will do.

A friend, let's call him David, has the same calculator and needed to replace his battery also so I volunteered to pick up a spare.

Before going to the store, I wrote down the battery number so that I would not have to be concerned with forgetting it. Actually I wrote down both numbers. At the store, Wal-Mart, I looked over the battery selection and found the CR1620. Wait a minute, I thought it was a CR2016. Did I transpose those two numbers when I wrote it down?

I decided to call David and have him verify the battery number for me. No answer at this office. No answer on his cell phone.

I went ahead and bought the batteries which I discovered upon arriving home were definitely the wrong ones. I had not transposed the digits. Doh! "Oh well, I thought, I guess I will return them and get the right ones tomorrow."

As is the usual case, tomorrow rolled around the next day and while I was out I swung by Wal-Mart to get the correct battery. Only I forgot to bring the wrong batteries with me.

One this trip I did get the correct batteries. Why did I not spot these the first time? On the first trip I went to electronics (where the calculators live). On the second trip, an associate recommended I check in the jewelry department (where the calculators don't live).

What was the point of this story? Nothing, but iMike complained about there being no new posts in a while so I had to come up with some filler. Hope you liked it.

And the top was up on the Miata. I am still waiting on a warm breeze to blow through.

And I did my taxes last Saturday so that is one less thing. What are you waiting for?

And for the record, the whole elbow kissing thing was not my idea. Some other creative soul created that mischief. I simply got blamed 30 years later.

And the snow. I didn't even mention the snow last week.

I think I am all caught up now.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

When we change our clocks

Since 1966, most of the United States has observed Daylight Saving Time from at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of April to 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October. Beginning in 2007, most of the U.S. will begin Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and revert to standard time on the first Sunday in November. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time. {source}


History of Daylight Time in the U.S.

Although standard time in time zones was instituted in the U.S. and Canada by the railroads in 1883, it was not established in U.S. law until the Act of March 19, 1918, sometimes called the Standard Time Act. The act also established daylight saving time, a contentious idea then. Daylight saving time was repealed in 1919, but standard time in time zones remained in law. Daylight time became a local matter. It was re-established nationally early in World War II, and was continuously observed from 9 February 1942 to 20 September 1945. After the war its use varied among states and localities. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 provided standardization in the dates of beginning and end of daylight time in the U.S. but allowed for local exemptions from its observance. The act provided that daylight time begin on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October, with the changeover to occur at 2 a.m. local time.
During the "energy crisis" years, Congress enacted earlier starting dates for daylight time. In 1974, daylight time began on 6 January and in 1975 it began on 23 February. After those two years the starting date reverted back to the last Sunday in April. In 1986, a law was passed permanently shifting the starting date of daylight time to the first Sunday in April, beginning in 1987. The ending date of daylight time has not been subject to such changes, and has remained the last Sunday in October. With the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the starting and ending dates have once again been shifted. Beginning in 2007, daylight time will start on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November. {
source}

DST was Benjamin Franklin's idea. In some parts of the work DST, is called Summer Time. The purpose was to move an hour of sunlight from the morning to the evening when it would be more useful.

Here in North Alabama, during the summer, with DST, the sun may rise as early as 5:33 AM. Without DST, the sun would be rising at 4:33 AM during June. This would certainly make some of you cranky. You know who you are.

Myth Busted

It is a commonly held belief that we observe DST so that kids don't have to wait in the dark for the school bus on cold winter mornings. The clock is on standard time during the winter, so DST does not alter the sunrise schdule.

Did you ask yourself why the dates are changing this year? The rationale for the earlier date in the spring is energy conservation The delay of the fall change is to allow Trick-or-Treaters more light while gathering candy.

See the sunrise schedule for your town here.