Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Still crazy after all these years

I thought mercury was cool as a kid.

It still is.

Yeah, you might be a geek if...

Monday, March 30, 2009

You might be a redneck if...

As noted before the weekend we celebrated (belatedly) our 25th by going to a weekend marriage conference/workshop.

Well after a day of rassling with some heavy thoughts, deep emotions and working out some calcified marital joints so to speak -- Saturday night's "assignment" was to go on a date together. No, NO, don't throw me in that br'ar patch!

I knew we were close to Rancho Cucamonga had a plan in mind for just such a contingency. Cucamonga? You thinking what I'm thinking? I'll BET you are!

BASS PRO! Boy howdy, we done gone out on the town big time!

Hey, don't look at me that way. They had my wife's favorite on the menu in the restaurant out front -- macadamia crusted Mahi Mahi. Color me a hero. /heh

Call me a redneck. See if I care, but, never let it be said I don't know how to show my best gal a good time.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Unanswered prayer (Sunday humor)

The preacher's 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father Always paused and bowed his head for a moment before Starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why.

'Well, Honey,' he began, proud that his daughter was so Observant of his messages. 'I'm asking the Lord to help me Preach a good sermon.'

'So, how come He doesn't?' she asked.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Understanding Engineers

Been busy coupla' days. Baby's being born (and lost/stillborn) in our circle of fellowship (actually delivered unexpectedly right there in our guest's RV parked on our property -- firetruck, ambulances, sheriffs all lit up at night in our drive).

Heavy stuff like that. Trying to tend to those grieving and so on. Not much bandwidth left for posting.

Gotta hit the road early. Ya may ha' noticed we celebrated our 25th last week.

Now we're off for a marriage conference "A Weekend to Remember."

Let's see if we can save this thing... /heh

On a lighter note (and perhaps in poor taste), this being Friday...

What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?

Mechanical Engineers build weapons, Civil Engineers build targets.

That's it for today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Baa Baa Be Bad

Born to be Wild...

or "Bored, Tubby, Mild."

Givers keep. Keepers lose.

These verses stuck with me from this morning's reading. One from Old Testament passage. The other from the New Testament.

Interesting how seemingly unrelated passages of scripture in a daily reading can parallel each other so strongly...

Proverbs 11:24
One give freely yet grows all the richer; Another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

Luke 6:38
Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.

What we keep we lose. What we give we keep.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Lord is my Shepherd

A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter.

Little Ricky was excited about the task - but he just couldn't Remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely Get past the first line.

On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 In front of the congregation, Ricky was very nervous.

When it Was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly,
'The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know.'

Out of the mouths of babes, eh?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

(not) My Side of the Mountain

Old friend rebuilding from the Cedar Fire got hung up with final inspection sign off this week. Has to hustle to work off a punch list. He's been building this up in the mountains for about 5 years now. Finally on the home stretch.

No way he was going to get it all done by himself in a week before getting reinspected. He's up against his permit expiration date so the pressures on. The big pressure was to finish up some retaining walls. The blocks are stored up that hill behind the house.

Oh, did I mention it's on a hill at 6000ft ASL? What folks east of the Mississippi would call a mountain? It's 60 miles to the coast -- and high enough you can catch a glimpse of the lights of San Diego at night.

First up,figure out the rise and logical location to dig footings to mesh with the slope and boulders.

Next, move piles of blocks down and round to the sidehill and start setting up a couple walls.

Then to get the gravel from down below up the hill and backfill the walls.

Miller Time anyone?

We were able to lay off the pool project for the day and get in a few hours of neighborly barn raising. The son&heir did me proud. Piled in the car for the hour drive and when we made it to the top of the mountain jumped out ready to work and led from the front like a man.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Comprehending Engineers

Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said:
"Where did you get such a great bike?"

The second engineer replied:
"Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a
beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the
ground, took off all her clothes and said, 'Take what you want.'"

The second engineer nodded approvingly:
"Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."

Meeses! I hates Meeses!

Last night was boys night out with tools. We finally got around to hanging the projector at the back of the auditorium. This goes hand in hand with the chapel projector install and screen move last fall. link

This will allow the musicians and speakers to see what's being projected behind them without having to have a PC with them up front or turning around to peek at the overhead screen.

Robin and Ian got the wiring routed through the overhead whilst Travis measured rafters and purlins for a couple stage light mount bars he's planning to fabricate.

The major entertainment for the evening was provided by cousins of Jerry and Mighty Mouse.

Former occupants left behind a substantial offering in the sanctuary walls. I had the pleasure of discoverying it as I cut open the wall for to route wiring down under the floor to the sound board (and opportunity to jump back in nick of time before it filled my shoes).

In between wiring/projector stuff we took time to tape outline of estimated stage area for a stage mod we've been considering. Helps to visualize the possibilities and challenges. That would double the usefull area for the musicians and allow a row of pews to be reinstalled up front.
Seating is pretty constrained in our main service so getting seating for another 20+ bottoms looks pretty good. An expanded stage would allow front pews to be better utilized as well. Currently they get cluttered with monitors underfoot etc. That's about a 10% increase in seating.

Let's hope and pray these changes (rear wall projection) don't take as much cultural and emotional adjustment for the congregation as did the front projector.

We just last Sunday got the disposable coffee cup size changed after nearly 2 years of explaining, persuading, tasking and encouraging. No more 6 oz styrofoam coffee shot glasses. We're bigtime now with 10 oz stryofoam and caps. Yee-haw! Progress! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

That's all to say I'm guessing any mod's to the stage are a ways off in the future. /heh

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Morning light & water

First wave has already lifted and rolled up the hill and over us. Another layer of moist air has layed into the valley between us and Mt Merritt.

It's not quite a morning on Lincoln Creek with Dad but it recalls memories of those morning calms...

La Coulter's finest yet

She's out done herself with her eulogy for Ron Silver. There goes a fine man -- one who refused to slip into the Spiral of silence.

[quote]One thing you cannot say about Ron's magnificent speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention is that he did it to go with the flow in Hollywood, to take the path of least resistance, to win easy applause. Ron did lose work, lose friends and lose his entire social apparatus. [/quote]


Ron Silver, RIP.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

6 pallets full

minor excitement today with a flatbed semi driver who had to figure out our hill for a delivery of keystone blocks. Got him settled down, parked at bottom of hill and had him run 'em up to our lot with his jitney.
I sorta committed to using this interlocking block system to the point of no return on walls around the pool. Hindsight being 20/20, I'll go back to what I know -- spend the money for wood, build forms and pour the remaining walls needed on the lot. I'll do it old school with plywood, 2x, stakes and duplex nails.

It'd be about a wash on materials even if I couldn't reuse the forms elsewhere on the lot (I can/could have). The savings would come in time and labor expense. Setting these blocks so as to get a wall that runs level and true is more tedious (and heavier) work than I anticipated. It's the bottom couple courses that take the time -- and seem heavier since you're bent over working down in a trench to set them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

25 years today

My how they've flown...

'Who is this that grows like the dawn,
As beautiful as the full moon,
As pure as the sun,
As awesome as an army with banners?'
SS 6:10

"You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride;You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes,With a single strand of your necklace.
SS 4:9

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Moses and the Red Sea

Nine-year-old Joey was asked by his mother what he had Learned in Sunday School.

'Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind Enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his army build a Pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then he radioed headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved.'

'Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?' His Mother asked.

'Well, no, Mom. But, if I told it the way the teacher did, You'd never believe it!'

Saturday: turned and burned (out)

Retaining wall 101:

Start at the bottom. Work up and around from there.

That's some nasty soil to dig in. Actually it's not bad if you can break it up w/ a jackhammer and spade bit. Not like it's clay or rocky. It's just that it's a high % decomposed granite. When prepping the site for the poole we cut it out and refilled/compacted to 90%. It required copious amounts of water and a D6 Cat rolling it out lift by lift (level by level). You might recall from earlier posts...

Up and around to the northside. This footing runs due East/West. Tricky digging and piling the tailings -- on a 1:1 slope that's compacted, dry and therefore slicker 'n spit on a doorsnob.

Robin setting the cornerstone at the low point on the NW corner.

Lucas winding down at the end of a day of heavy lifting. This patio area was a good 2' higher at the start of the day. He and the other men are recently from Burundi. What they may lack in refined efficient skills with a shovel and wheelbarrow they more than make up for in enthusiasm. Solomon said "A man's hunger urges him on." Yup. I'd say so.

It doesn't show but the Son&Heir and the other men wheeled a good 2 tons of rock and another yd of fill dirt from down below to fill and level the base for the deck above the raised pool wall.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Morning: Turnin' and burnin'

It's a pretty good "grunt" up the slope from the pile in the lower drive with a loaded wheelbarrow up to there.

Meanwhile at the other end of the world's most expensive coyote blind...
Using a jackhammer and spade bit to dig the footing for another retaining wall. This one on the downhill side of the main pool deck/patio. Need to be able to square that area out and get it level with the pool. All this so we can get to doing steel and pour the flatwork around the pool.

President with a math problem?

The Department of Defense briefed the president this morning and told President Obama that two Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq.

To everyone's surprise, all the color drained from Obama's face.

Then he collapsed onto his desk, head in his hands, visibly shaken, almost in tears.

Finally, he composed himself and asked, "Just how many is a brazilian?"

This is especially enlightening since he obviously has no understanding of a billion or a trillion either.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Comprehending Engineers

A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a
particularly slow group of golfers.

The engineer fumed: "What's with these guys? We must have been
waiting for 15 minutes!"

The doctor chimed in: "I don't know, but I've never seen such

The pastor said: "Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a
word with him." "Hi, George what's with that group ahead of us?
They're rather slow, aren't they?"

The greens keeper replied: "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind fire
fighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire
last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."

The group was silent for a moment.

The pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer
for them tonight."

The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my
ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them."

The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"


That's what I been. Slammed. Maybe I see light at the end of the tunnel now. 'cept I haven't started prepping taxes yet, done FAFSA for son's college loan eligibility, made much progress on pool deck retaining wall or flatwork...

Got funds wired out yesterday to wrap up a re-fi on the house. That effort got messed up and I had to send them back to fix a $4K error on the closing doc -- just in time. Was down to the last day to keep the rate locked at 4.75%.

My primary commute car's been in the shop since last Wednesday -- fixing all the stuff the guy who R&R'd my engine last summer did wrong. Plus replacing a turbo that's been making scary noises. That bill's going to hurt today.

Hey life's good. Nothing to complain about. Still got all my teeth and what hair I thought I'd lost actually just moved down to my back.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quo Warranto

Anton Scalia.
Standards vs. fear and (misplaced) compassion.
Moral courage.

God bless him.

"I gave him the books to sign and asked, 'Tell me what to do, what can I do, those soldiers [her plaintiffs] can be court-martialed for asking a legitimate question, who is the president, is he legitimate.' He said, 'Bring the case, I'll hear it, I don't know about others.'"


Monday, March 9, 2009

Understanding Engineers...

The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?"
The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"
The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"
The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with

Especially in this economy.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Perfect Union

Just got this (cleaner) complete copy from the videographer of the Divine Miss M singing Jan 3 at cousin Jack and Tiffany's wedding. I'd posted a partial back in January.

The song was written by Mathew Ward. You might recognize that name if you grew up listening to 2nd Chapter of Acts like I did.

Audio levels aren't too bad. Some clipping but pretty good quality considering the simple video equipment used.

The joint's been jumpin'

This weekend we enjoyed a whirlwind overnight visit by big Sister, Nephew and his family (2 wee ones under age of two). Left the afternoon. House is quiet again but it leaves a hole -- esp. when the wee ones leave.

Wife and two of the girls were away at camp for College/Career age group winter retreat. They just pulled in...

Delta Whiskey, Blackeagle 603, out.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday "batching" it

Just the Son&Heir and I home this weekend. Getting some honey-do's cleaned up...

Been to the autoparts store and two different hardware stores before lunch.

The sink disposal quit working earlier this week. Causes a bit of a crunch at the sink when it's not working -- worse than not having one at all since that side doesn't drain well w/out the unit running. It still turned freely by hand. Something told me to check on the wall switch before pulling it out.

Sho' nuff! The switch was shot. MUCH cheaper fix -- if a bit messy working in that old wall box.

Next up. The '97 Montero brake lights which died recently. Both sides. I figured the Son&Heir drives it so maybe we just hadn't noticed one light being out for a while before losing the light on the other side as well. Nope. No such luck.

Pulled bulb(s) and R&R'd on driver side. No joy. Got up under the dash and fiddled with the brake light switch. Yup. Intermittent switch operation.
$35 dollar part. /sigh

That's the bad news. The good news is a year ago my back wouldn't have allowed me to get under the dash so I would had to pay a mechanic to find/fix it.
This time we turned it into a training evolution for the Son&Heir.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Higher Power

A Sunday school teacher said to her children, 'We have Been Learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible Times. But, there is a Higher Power. Can anybody tell me What it is?'

One child blurted out, 'Aces!'

Yeah, believe it or not a lot folks go to church in Vegas... :-)

Yep, It does hurt

speaking of autoparts and pain$...

my '03 VW TDi is about to eat it's turbo and it's going to hurt$. that's the bad news.

The good news is the stock turbo and injectors are going to be history. /heh

I found a shop who fixed the injector pump leak much cheaper w/out replacing the whole unit as my regular shop recommended. That's the same shop who installed a reman'd engine for me last summer.

It turns out they also put the timing belt assy together all wrong so the injection system can't be timed properly. That would explain the fuel smoke I've been unable to troubleshoot. Sure the old shop will fix it free. As if they could figure it out. Sorry. I'll pay to get it done by someone with a clue this time.

This new shop does nothing but VW TDI's. He had a barely used oversize turbo and (new) larger injectors available. The turbo was left over from when he built a test bed for Garrett Airesearch. They used it for r&d on a later model/larger VW engine. Only 1000 miles on the turbo. He's giving me full warranty and a tune on the larger turbo and injectors for price of stock turbo R&R. Gale Banks eat yer heart out!

Going to be interesting to see what the net effect on mpg is. It should increase measureably. Of course so should the torque. /heh

The trick's going to be keeping the right foot out of the improved torque to see what the mpg does.

Fools rush in...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Obama Derangement Syndrome?

Or Quo Warranto?

According to the online Constitution.org resource: "The common law writ of quo warranto has been suppressed at the federal level in the United States, and deprecated at the state level, but remains a right under the Ninth Amendment which was understood and presumed by the Founders, and which affords the only judicial remedy for violations of the Constitution by public officials and agents.


Phffffft. The mainstream thinking makes me feel like a tin foil hatter just reading this stuff -- let alone posting it.

It's an issue that just won't die BUT would be soooooo easy to kill.

Why doesn't the "President" just pony up with the correct documentation?

It's no more than any of "we the people" have to do to get a Social Security card, let alone enlist in the military. Seems like a small thing to ask of the Commander in Chief.

this gonna hurt

Came out to the drive yesterday morning and noticed a damp spot under my car's engine. A closer look revealed it was diesel -- a couple drops were visible forming on the frame. Got it on a lift and could see it's leaking from/around the injector pump.

The whole timing belt assy has to come off just to R&R the pump or get it off to see if the leak can be fixed "cheap." Even if it can be repaired w/out replacing the pump (which is a $1400 reman'd part) it's over 5 hours labor.

Just doing my part to stimulate the local economy. /heh

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Keep your powder dry

There here intraweb thingie with it's free flow of pricing info has taken the peaks and valleys out of pricing for used goods. I dunno if it's lowered or raised the average selling price of things but it's tougher to find the really good deals/steals that make a thrifty Scots heart sing. However, there's deals to be had out there if you keep your powder (cash) dry.

Case in point I came across a fella who'z getting rid of his 9mm bootlitt casting and reloading stash. He didn't want to go on (Fe)ebay to sell and seemed to be looking for cash sooner rather than later (no waiting for auction to run it's course). Worked good for me this time Got a mess of 9mm cast boolitts (2400 147grain, 500 Lee 121 gr FP boolits) and 9mm brass (1000 1x fired) for ~30% below the going auction rate.

The Red, White and Blue truck of happiness dropped off the goodies Friday (or was it Saturday).

As he carried them to the shop door the Postman asked my wife, "What's (ungghh) in (ungghh) these (unnggghh) boxes?"

Said she, "My husband's making bullets (sic) and getting ready for Armageddon."

Nah, just a day or two at the range. /heh

Anyhoo, I finally got around to unpacking them in a spare moment this evening.
That's a mess of boolits!I'm set for 9mm for quite a while now -- or set with some good trading/barter stock.