• Father’s Day

    Hi Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

    Yes, I miss you. It’s been over two years since you passed away. I hope you know that I was planning on stopping to visit only a few weeks before you died, and I regret missing the opportunity to see you.

    I want to thank you for the opportunities that you gave me, my sister, and step-brother, and hope that we’ve made you proud.

    I want to let you know that I think of you often, especially when I go to the garage and use the tools that I saved from your shop: tools that you used many times and have worn a patina on.. And when I walk by your old work desk, and china cabinet full of your old shooting trophies.

    Yes, I miss you. And hope that you are happy and at peace.

    Happy Father’s Day, one and all.

    And OldNFO, thanks again for letting me post about Dad on your blog. I’ve grown up and got one of my own now, but thanks anyway…


  • Fun Show This Weekend!

    In prep for Appleseed training in a couple of months (blogged here), I’m headed to the Fun Show in Dulles Expo Center tomorrow morning. Ammo and magazines. And anything else that fits into my budget.

    Though it won’t be the same without OldNFO and Lagniappe’s Lair in the area. And looks like MillerMeister went today. Phoo.

    Well, we’ll see what the cat drags home…


  • Peace in the Kingdom

    Been busy at the hacienda lately, between work at work along with work at home. Vehicles, kitchen, etc. But peace has settled at the hacienda, the Wife is OOT for a week for work. Time for me to get stuff done, like revenge on the cats.

    And peace in the kingdom means time to read. I just got and consumed OldNFO’s science fiction short story Rimworld:Stranded. Short but fun read! For those involved in the military or police, it’s the folks behind the scenes that keep things working for those on the pointy end of the spear. Rarely celebrated, often maligned. And usually kept at a great distance from polite company. Jim’s main character is just such an individual: making poor decisions left and right, but because of his make-do skills and the tools he’s trained and familiar with, becomes a hero. The hero is not a bumbling idiot or made to be a comedic centerpiece, but is just like the low-rank folks that maintain the aircraft, weapons, and ship’s systems in any military. Kind of like Bill the Galactic Hero, but not meant as comedy. And a nice interlude from Jim’s already popular Grey Man series. MOAR!

    Now to read some new books by Peter Grant...


  • Guess the Party

    So, all of a sudden in the course of a Holiday weekend, Illinois State Senator Terry Link proposed to radically alter the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which significantly restricts use of biometric data collected on its citizens. Basically, the law requires permission for online services to scan images of you and add them to their biometric recognition algorithms. And Illinois is suing major online players for violation of their law.

    But now the good State Senator is trying to change that law by using a rider to another bill, and weaken Illinois’ citizen’s privacy. And mysteriously (unexpectedly?), the Senator’s Party is nowhere mentioned in the above article. Wonder why!?!?!

    Because he’s a Democrat, that’s why. From the Senator’s official web page.

    Wonder who’s paying him off…


  • Memorial Day 2016

    To all of those who served and survived, thank you for your service and commitment.

    For those who did not return, you will always be on my mind, this day and always.

    My father, my both grandfathers, my kids and assorted cousins and nephews, thank you.

    Enjoy this holiday, but keep in mind, it is not our holiday, it is to remember those who have put their country before their own lives.

    That is all…

     


  • RV Gets Better

    Some of this is repeat, but with more info and Picture!

    I may jinx myself, but the RV from Heck is getting better and better each time that we use it. It may have been so obstinate after we bought it because it was driven and used so little in the past. Which means that there may be more hidden surprises here and there. Like last trip, the engine-driven AC decided not to AC any more. Fortunately, it wasn’t too warm on the drive. I dropped the beast at our local bus/RV repair shop on a Friday. A week later they finally got back to me: The cooling fan on the condenser was locked up. The AC would kick on, the condenser would get hot, signal the fan to turn on. When there was no fan cooling the condenser, the AC would shut off again. The shop told me it’d be a real pain to find the fan. Right. Turns out, it was a generic 16″ aftermarket electric fan like you’d put behind the radiator of a car. I pulled the fan off Friday afternoon, picked up a universal replacement the next morning, and a few hours later the AC was working again. Though there’s something strange with the ducting or switch now that I have to investigate. Maybe something didn’t get hooked up again under the dash.

    Then changed oil, oil filter, and fuel filters. All five gallons of oil. Filter is about 18″ long and 7-8 inches in diameter, not your average car filter. Two fuel filters, one inside the rear bumper and the other up high, just under the cylinder head, in an awkward place (for an RV). But thanks to Dad and the tools I brought home after he passed away, the oil filter strap wrench mated to 1/2″ extensions worked beautifully to pull all of the filters. Thanks Dad.

    Also did oil change on the Zombie Truck, it was overdue. And funny thing, the Zombie Truck oil change, specifically the filter, was much messier than the RV. Go figure. Just sloppy was all.

    But the big thing was changes in the interior. Right after getting the RV, I’d pulled both CRT TVs out of the interior, one in the bedroom, the other in the console over the driver/passenger seats. Crazy spot as anyone in the sofa would have to turn sideways to watch. I mounted a flat panel TV over the main cabin door on a removable mount, much better for viewing from the sofa and captains chairs. The now-empty hole was pretty big but had a tilted floor, to point the TV downward. I pulled the plastic liner and floor, re-did the floor to be level in the hole, added sides, back, top, and front (not pictured), and am calling it nearly complete. Just need to put fabric to cover the interior, and it’ll make a good cubby for something, like laptops and such when not needed. Yes, the photo is correctly oriented: Windshield below, ceiling above.

    RV_former_CRT_TV_hole

    The bigger project was revamping the pantry. The RV had a closet and plumbing across from the fridge for washer/dryer which were never installed. The one shelf, about knee-level, was coming loose and tilting, and was in general an impractical space. So I pulled the one shelf, put boards on both sides both vertically and horizontally, tweaked and reinstalled the old shelf and added a second shelf. Both shelves got front lips to prevent sloshing. And mounted the paper-plate and plastic bag holders (not pictured). Works much better now. Heavy stuff like the bottled water, toaster-oven, and such stay down low, plastic/paper/decorations up high where they’re more reachable. And food-stuffs as well, getting them out of the cookware cabinets.

    Upgraded_Pantry

    Next on the agenda: some minor mods to the Zombie Truck to make towing easier. I’ve ordered an LED strip tail/brake/turn/backup light and trailer wiring. Will permanently mount the LED strip below the tailgate and plug it into the trailer light hitch on the Zombie Truck for normal use, wiring up the backup lights. But I’m also going to run a wiring harness underneath the truck, next to the trailer plug, that runs from the rear of the truck to the front bumper. That and a four foot pigtail will allow me to disconnect the LED lights from the trailer light plug, and connect the LED lights directly to the RV trailer light plug. No more attaching/dismounting the magnetic lights on the back of the Zombie Truck for towing!

    After nearly two years, I’m finally working out operations: outfit prior to travel, undock and travel, post-travel bed-down. Yay!


  • 2016 NRA AM After-action Report

    Well, I survived one day of the 2016 NRA AM. That was enough for me, I was pooped and back was hurting after just five hours in the exhibition hall. But walked all 11 acres and saw lots of neat stuff. So here goes:

    Entering the Expo Center, after hours of waiting to get onto the grounds, then waiting to park. But nobody got nasty or obnoxious. FYI, note the two silhouettes on the roof. There were several helicopters hovering as well, including one old Hughes NOTAR:

    2016_NRA_AM

    These guys had the right idea for traversing the Expo: Electric bar stools! Converted convenience scooters, they modified the steering mechanism and added bar stools as seats. Gives them an eye-level rather than belly-button level view of their surroundings and easier get-on/get-off:

    Electric_bar_stool

    Magpul had tons of gear on display. Look online or in any good gun store to see what they make and sell. But what I really wanted to see was their converted bus. Too many ideas for the RV, none very practical though. It was pretty crowded and these are the best of the few that I got.

    The in-bus bar:

    MagPul_in-bus_bar

    And the in-bus arsenal. Now, I need a compartment on the RV that’s accessible from both inside and outside, that I can thoroughly reinforce…

    MagPul_in-bus_armory

    Some toys I’d love to get if I a) won the Lottery, 2) had time to go shooting more, and III) didn’t live in Maryland.

    IWI x95. Follow-on to the Tavor. Improved ergonomics, trigger pull, rails, etc.:

    IWI_X95

    Semi-auto SAW (M249). Good way to pump bullets downrange. Not necessarily for long-range targets, but fun none-the-less:

    Semi-auto_SAW

    Several cool armorer/shooter tools. The one on the left is a general-purpose weapon-maintenance tool with tips for small fasteners, push-pins, very small allens (on the other side), barrel bushing, etc. The right hand tool is AR-specific, with cleaning scrapers, file, and a bunch more attachments. Wanted but didn’t spring to buy at the moment:

    Real_Avid_weapon_tools

    Did not necessarily want to buy, but definitely gawk at: Arsenal AF-2011 double 1911. Big, heavy. Dunno why other than it looks crazy. Would be better serving as a movie prop, otherwise I absolutely cannot think of a practical purpose. But it does exist in a number of calibers and finishes:

    Arsenal_AF2011

    Very heavily modified Arctic Cat 4-seater. Would be great to play with given the off-road area to do so:

    Off-roader

    And the final word in tacti-cool: a tactical-T-Rex. Fitted with the latest in NVGs and LBE. Cute, very cute. Right up there with “Sharks with Friggin’ Lasers” cute. The ultimate “I’d hate to meet this in a dark alley”. Though I’m trying to figure out how he’s going to handle a weapon. It’d be real easy to “stay out of arm’s reach” with this guy…

    Tactical_T-Rex

    Tons of other stuff on the floor to go with the above pictures. AR-based parts out the wazoo. Some very nice antique rifles and pistols on display. Lots of accessories, and just about as many businesses selling partially or completely finished weapons. Hunting safaris, classic weapons, safes, you name it, someone probably brought one (or three) to put on display.

    Two benefits of driving the Zombie Truck to the show:  the number of folks wanting to talk about it at the show and the campground that we stayed in, and people letting me change lanes/enter queues ahead of them, because it was unique. Thanks all! Even to the point that someone, I think the owner, of Outlaw Precision Weaponry, LLC, stopped me to give me a sticker while I was in line to get out of the parking lit. Good luck to them and thanks for saying “Hi”.

    Very relaxed atmosphere, wish I’d had more time and other folks to travel with. But OldNFO was late getting in, The Shekel was in training all Friday, a handful couldn’t make it, and others had schedules that didn’t work out. Oh well, there’s Atlanta next year!

     


  • Louisville NRA AM First Report

    In spite of terrible traffic complications, I had a good time today at the NRA Annual Meeting. I’d left my drivers license at the RV and couldn’t do the Press area. Oh well. Still got to enjoy a few minutes outside visiting with OldNFO after he finally made it to the show, many hours later than planned. But that’s his story, not mine.

    Found lots of neat stuff that I want, but either can’t afford, don’t have a real reason to purchase, or simply cannot own in the communist state of Maryland.

    Flash note, good deal: if you go to the Appleseed booth and register for a training course, the $60 fee is waived. So I’m signed up for an Appleseed event in my local area in a few months. Read up on the Appleseed program and think about saving a few dollars, and help defray the price of your ammo.

    Met lots of nice folks, everyone was friendly in spite of the parking situation. Lots of interesting weapons, accessories, clothing, and info available. Electric bar stools, a tactical Tyrannasaurus Rex, the double-barrel .45 in various incarnations, and a few other oddities.

    Internet service is slow here and I’ve got to transfer photos off the phone. Leaving for another destination tomorrow (Saturday) and with all of the driving, may not get pictures and more extensive writeup done till late next week. So be patient.

    Also, hat tip to our neighbors in the campground. Ken with the FJ, and Dennis and his wife (who’s working at the Barrett booth). Enjoy the rest of the show, sorry we couldn’t spend more time visiting.


  • Worst Traffic Evar

    I’ve dealt with lots of traffic over the years and thought I’d seen some terrible traffic. Up till now the worst was several incidents in Arizone, when the Highway Patrol shut down I-10 to investigate the numerous fatal collisions. Have been caught several all times when the Interstate was shut down for hours.

    But events today take the cake. It seems that the city of Louisville, KY either doesn’t know how to handle a crowd like the NRA Annual Meeting, or intends to make the meeting the most frustrating experience possible for those who support the Second Amendment and shooting sports.

    My first attempt early Friday morning to get onto the Kentucky State Fairgrounds had me sitting in the Zombie Truck for over an hour still on the Interstate 1/2 mile from the exit to the Fairgrounds. After an hour of sitting and only moving 100 yards, I gave up and drop over back to the RV. Picked up the Wife and hit a local Goodwill, got some more pants.

    A couple of hours later I made another attempt. Our next-door neighbor in the campground gave me a recommendation that saved me an hour of waiting to get into the Fairgrounds. But it still took 45 minutes to get from the entrance to finally parking in B.F.E.

    At 6pm when the exhibition hall closed, the situation was reversed. Took 45 minutes to travel the length of the parking lot, onto the main road and out the exit to the Interstate.

    Nobody was directing traffic to speak of. Amazing. Thank goodness the crowd was composed of people who are not predisposed to fits of anger and stupidity!

    Nashville was nowhere as bad, hope that Atlanta won’t be either.


  • More Workings

    Well, got a lot more done around the house and vehicles!

    The kitchen that’s on an extended remodel plan just got drywall done. I was going to go the easy route on painting the changes, and use the same colors as before but Wife 1.0 has different ideas. Though she still talks about moving, she wants to change the wall color in the kitchen, the whole kitchen. Bah. So I’ll do painting in parts: first the new area along with stove area, which will cover about 2/3 of the kitchen, then follow up with the remaining sink/countertop area later. But it’s a major step. Traded lots of vehicle work for the drywall work.

    The RV has had some work done too. Found out that the chassis (engine-driven) AC wasn’t working right on the last outing. Got it troubleshot and turns out that the condenser fan was dead, causing an overheat in the AC, shutting down the compressor. Fortunately, the fan is basically an aftermarket universal auto radiator fan. Got one locally, a few hours later the AC is working again.

    Also adjusted the front bumper while underneath, and replaced the busted fog lights. And did some woodworking inside as well – made a storage space up front where the old tube-type TV used to be in the front overhead, and put sturdy shelves in the pantry. The pantry is where a washer/dryer could be if I wanted to dump the money and lose the storage space, but I choose storage over the very occasional use of the washer/dryer. Shelves are a huge help in the space, stuff was just tossed in otherwise. And cleaned the refrigerator burner flue, that had a lot of soot and dust in it, so the fridge/freezer should work much better on propane.

    And hitting the road this weekend for Louisville, the NRA AM and other places. Zombie Truck in-tow. Joy!


  • Traveling Again

    I normally don’t post about leaving town in advance, but I’m going to be at the NRA AM, Friday-only. Got another engagement on Saturday to attend.

    Just curious: For those 2-3 readers of this humble blog – I haven’t seen as much traffic this year as there was last year.

    Wasn’t able to get Press credentials, I’m not high enough on the food chain for that either. Oh well.

    But if folks are planning on getting together, or meeting at a time/place Friday, holler in some fashion.

    If I don’t hear, I’m still hoping to run into some of the old gang!


  • Is It Even Worth It?

    The current Presidential Election cycle has proven very… interesting. Any number of similarities to other elections have been made, but none seem to cover all of the variables in play this time.

    Both main political parties are in trouble and are reacting in ugly fashion, in direct contrast with what the public wants. The populace is giving the big F.O. to the political parties preferred candidates, and the parties have reacted by giving the middle finger to the afore-mentioned populace. So each party’s choices have boiled down to two candidates: the party’s choice that the populace is not interested in voting for, and a candidate that the populace likes, that is out of control of the party.

    In the run-up to the national conventions, there’s going to be lots of ugly name-calling and politicking. What’ll be interesting is seeing whether the parties bend to the will of The People, or if they intend to force the issue with the candidates that they like.

    I hate to say this, but this is a major turning point: The parties can decide that they represent The People and choose the popular candidate, or they can rig the rules, and pick the candidate that they want. Choose wrong, and the parties show that this is no longer a Republic of representatives. The people either revolt, or decide that the Republic no longer represents their interests and decide to ignore the rule of law.

    This has been developing for a while now, but I feel that it is coming to a head in the run-up to these elections, and am hugely concerned for our future. I’m almost reluctant to vote, seeing as how there are plans for others to choose who they want, rather than who we want to represent our future.

    What with this and the way the economy/jobs is going, I totally understand why the number of suicides is going up, and life expectancy is going down.

    PS: I totally understand the Electoral College, and have no qualms with that process. I’m greatly concerned over how our choice of candidates is being manipulated by the parties themselves.


  • FotH

    Fool on the Hill, former coworker, friend, one-time poster on this blog, just had emergency triple-bypass surgery done. Best wishes a quick recovery. This was a big concern of his recently and makes this an even bigger surprise.

    Like diseases such as prostate cancer, there’s various tests for heart blockages. Take care of your body, it’s the only one you have.

    FotH, contact me, I’ve lost your info…


  • The End is Near

    I have nearly completed the BMW, affectionately known by my wife and I as “Frankie”. The merger of one running, but ugly, and one non-running and bent, BMW 540i/6 sedans is nearly complete, and the end product is full of WIN! It’s now taken nearly five months from acquisition of the first BMW, to the final inspection. The second 540i, the blue one, is now a driver. I put in a new drive shaft and that fixed the vibration and bumping under the floor. The safety inspection turned up three problems: The driver’s seat wouldn’t work, the tail lights had been tinted, and there was a worn suspension arm on the front end.

    The driver’s seat is a mechanical monstrosity. Five or six motors in the seat, and two more in the steering column, all protected by one 30A fuse, and the fuse would blow every time i put weight on the seat. Hence, it didn’t work. The fuse wouldn’t blow if I put a new one in and didn’t sit in the seat, but just moved the seat from outside. The fix was to remove the zip ties that held the wiring harness to the springs under the seat. Putting my weight in the seat with the wires all taut would pull them and cause a short somewhere. So the wires are loose under the seat but don’t get tangled in anything, they’re pretty secure anyway. Problem is that, like the rest of the car and BMWs in general, pulling the seat meant messing with lots of fiddly bits. And the seat must weigh 80 lbs, and was tough to wrestle from the car. But wrestle it it did, and won the contest.

    The tint on the tail lights was removed with acetone, quick fix. I was going to put the lights from the green car into the blue one, but found out that European tail lights with white lenses over the turn signals don’t match electrically or mechanically with American tail light assemblies. So the Europeans are shelved for now.

    The previous owner of the first (green) car had put a lot of new suspension components in before I bought it from him. I’d already robbed the rear locating struts and the front brake calipers and hoses. So I grabbed the two front lower locating arms for each side and transplanted them several days ago, fixing the problem with worn ball joints.

    Took the BMW to the dealership this morning for an alignment, and what a difference! Driving up there, the car felt a little squirrel-y, not wanting to keep a good center on the lane. The drive home was a real joy: the car didn’t wander, and any movement of the steering wheel was promptly rewarded.

    I have been getting some misfire errors for the first few minutes of driving, until the fuel injection goes into closed-loop mode based on the catalytic converters. I’ve already replaced the spark plugs and tried swapping coils to no avail. Based on dealership recommendation, I’ve cleaned the air idle valve and MAF sensor, will see how that works. That, and the mis-matched paint are the only two hangups on the car. Paint doesn’t affect performance, but the misfire is an annoyance.

    The real fun thing I did for the car today was change the front kidney grills from chrome (the only chrome on the car) to matte black. Popped the grills out, popped the chrome ring off each. Several coats of black peel-off paint later, and it looks like $65 worth of new matte grills. Much better!

    Last thing to do is the re-inspection and final registration, and that’s already scheduled for next weekend. I be very very happy. Now I have a comfortable car to drive to work, instead of doing the single-car thing with the Jeep, or driving the Zombie Truck. The truck does rate the looks and comments, but is not the most comfortable and doesn’t set quite the right impression.

    Nothing like getting the BMW running, running through the six-speed gearbox attached to 4.4 liters of German V-8 engine! Yeehaaaaaa!

    Pictures to follow…


  • Democratic Party = USSR

    So… Those of us old enough to remember, and those of us who got a good education in European/Asian history may remember this about the good old Soviet Union, and China as well: In both of these countries, you had several levels of people – the proles, who did the labor and suffered the most. The Party members, who had a better opportunity for jobs, food, housing, etc. based on their commitment and membership. And the Leadership itself, with the best of everything, as long as they were in favor.

    Why bring this up? Think about the Democratic National Committee, and the flailings that are going on between The Bern and Shrillary. Based on popularity, The Bern is in the lead for the Democratic nomination, but Shrillary has a lock on the DNC’s superdelegates. So here’s what’s interesting. The superdelegates hold the key to the DNC nomination. The superdelegates are not committed to state voters. They are independent of what the voters want. Who are superdelegates? Democratic politicians in office, former politicians, and distinguished party leaders. In other words, Party members. Which means that Party members hold a significant sway in choosing the Presidential candidate, and can essentially override what the voters have chosen at the primary elections.

    Not that the Republicans don’t have the same issue either, but the number of superdelegates is significantly reduced and does not hold as much influence in the final decision. But things are getting interesting, what with the entrenched leadership of both parties trying to sway and decide who they want to represent them in the election. Not who the proles people want to represent them as their President.

    If it weren’t for my bariatric surgery (down to 173 lbs now), I’d be stocking up on alcohol and popcorn, then sitting back to watch the fireworks at the Conventions later this year.

    Sounds like Animal Farm: All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

    Debate amongst yourselves while I work on the BMW in the garage…


  • Computer Security Update

    Just a couple of notes: In addition to Certified Information System Security Profession (CISSP) and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), I’ve now completed the test for Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI). The last was probably the easiest of the three certs for three reasons: Good testing material provided by another student/friend/former coworker, experience having worked with a number of folks in the field (cube farm right next to mine, hard not to listen and observe), and having been part of an investigation long ago (on the good side).

    And food for though: A USB drive that steals information, encrypts what it doesn’t, uses some unique methods to generate encryption keys, and hides itself very effectively after the fact. Story right here. Remember, Practice Safe Computing. That flash drive you found laying on the sidewalk or handed to you by a vendor may lead to bad things…


  • Fixin’ cars

    Well, this weekend was a three-day-er for me, having accumulated some extra hours at work the last few weeks. So what did I do? Work on cars. Lots of cars. At one point, I think that I had all three of our main cars out-of-commission.

    The Zombie Truck got a new seal on the rear axle housing, stopping a leak there. Drained a pint or so of fluid out of the transfer case to lower the level, it had been overfilled when fixed by the shop and was leaking out of the speedometer sensor housing. I pulled both front seats, which have gotten butt-sprung, and fitted a pair of aftermarket buckets, with recliner mechanisms. They don’t match colors but I just don’t care, they’re more comfortable. Scraped some old sealant from the front windshield gaskets and applied new clear sealant, to stop the windshields from leaking as bad at the top. And did a trash run with the truck. Had to order a new set of seat belts for the driver seat though, the old ones were pretty ragged and needed help. Tightened a few loose bolts, checked and put oil in the engine, good look-over.

    The CheapGP got new rear rotors and pads, and had to replace the parking brake shoes once I removed the rotors. That meant another run to the parts store, and a delay by an hour or so. Also replaced the mismatched lug nuts with a complete set of new ones, all 20 of them. Minor thing but makes me feel better. Ordered new speakers for the front doors, they were fried badly by age, and a new window regulator for the front passenger door. That door has a knock-off POS regulator that is failing. Junkyard replacement is on its way, and will get installed when I do the speakers. Also removed sticky-stuff from the side windows, leftover from the duct tape I used to hold the windows up when I rebuilt the regulator-to-window connectors several months ago. And found the POS regulator at that time.

    The BMW… Well, it’s partly torn apart again. I botched installing the rear rotors and pads several weeks ago and destroyed the right rear rotor and outer pad. Can’t get just the rotor and pad, so had to order and install an entire new pair of rear rotors and pads. But put on a much better set. While driving the BMW, the drive shaft was hitting the floor under the center console. Pulled the exhaust, heat shields, and drive shaft, and yes, the shaft was hitting the floor just behind the center support bearing. The U-joint was doing the hitting. In the meantime, looked at the shifter rod from the shifter to the back of the transmission, realized that I’d installed it backwards and it was being bumped at times by the rubber donut (Guibo) that connects the transmission to the front of the drive shaft. So I think that my drive shaft woes are a combo of several things: A centering bushing in the front of the drive shaft that’s worn out, keeping the shaft centered on the Guibo donut; the shifter rod bumping the Guibo donut, and my not pre-loading the center support bearing about 2-4 mm forward when installing the drive shaft. Little things. If that’s not it, time to order a new (rebuilt) drive shaft. There’s literally no other user-serviceable parts on it. Pulled the air breather box and MAF sensor tubing. Pulled off the right side valve cover, did a little alteration to the seals for the front timing cover that sit under the valve cover, and hope to have solved another small leak on the engine. While I had the valve cover off, I replaced two of the spark plug ignition coils that may have been causing a misfire, will have to see next time I drive the car. Replaced the last of my power steering hoses. I’d ordered the correct one but got the wrong part, had to re-order to get the right one. But the supplier did right by me.

    So I’m waiting on a thermostat for the BMW, that should clear one of my codes. Also ordered a new bushing for the front of the drive shaft to replace the worn out one. The coil replacement should solve my other codes, hopefully making the car code and stumble-free.

    The only vehicle I didn’t work on was the RV, and that’s next, in prep for camping season to start.

    And in the meantime, went to my great-grandson’s first birthday party, and did some grocery-ing. Phone calls, tax stuff, etc.

    I’m pooped.


  • Apologies

    To my one or two readers, apologies for not doing more recently. Live has taken over for a while, negating blogging. The job-situation came to a peak and I was forced to decide between three options: Stay where I was doing Admin work with not much challenge, take a position in DC with attendant daily drive, or take a position out West and split households. The DC job came through first, and based on the recommendations that had been made to bring me aboard, that’s the option I took. So I’m now daily-driving about 2.5-3 hours. But the new gig is interesting and I’m getting to work with some really smart folks. As a few know, I’m not that smart, I just hang around with folks that are smart, and hope that it rubs off. It works most of the time, and tomorrow is my first solo test. Or as it was said in MIB2: “This is the last suit you’ll ever wear. Again.”

    The other time-suck has been vehicles. The CheapGP that I rebuilt for my wife has been a real trooper, other than an alternator that died on the road. It made it home and was a very simple and quick fix. On the other hand, the BMW 540i that I’ve been making from two (Frankenstein BMW) has been slow and tedious. Thought I was almost done, when I put a rear brake pad in backwards/upside-down, destroying both the brand new rotor and the pad. And I can’t buy just one rotor, the mate isn’t available and I need to match them by manufacturer, etc. So new rear rotors. And the driveshaft suddenly decided to bump against the underbody for some reason. So I get to tear the exhaust and heat shields out again to troubleshoot and repair. Fortunately, I’ve got about 4000 lbs of spare parts (the donor car).

    And with only one good comfortable car (I wouldn’t call the ZERT comfortable by a long shot), Wife and I are car-pooling to her bus stop, and I have to pick her up in the evening. Till I get the BMW fixed.

    For those going to the NRAAM in Louisville, I’ve got reservations at a campground in the area and plan to be there on Friday and Sunday. Have to be in another city nearby on Saturday for an event though.

    In the meantime, read some of the others in the sideboard. OldNFO and Bayou Renaissance Man seems to be doing well, and waiting to see how Murph is doing in LA (that’s Louisiana, not Lower Allgood, TN).

    Anyway, I’ll try to get more online soon, when I come up for air long enough.

     


  • Tennessee State Weapon

    Must laugh. I grew up in Middle Tennessee and love the area. Very cosmopolitan, lots of things to do there. Great schools, museums, lots of history, beautiful scenery, and fantastic growth potential. Several auto manufacturers have moved into the state in the last 20 years, Dell Computer is now there, and Beretta is moving to the state.

    But one weapons company has them beat: Barrett. Barrett started in Murfreesboro, just a few miles outside of Nashville. Been there years, started with their .50 BMG rifle and progressed from there. Now reviled by leftists and the Media (yeah, I know, one and the same). I’ve shot one round from one at one of Lagniappe’s Lair‘s blogshoots, and it was a “blast”. Huge weapon, not something someone would easily carry around. Also, one can see an early Barrett M82 in the original Robocop movie, dolled up as the Cobra Assault Cannon. In 1987. That’s at least how long the .50 has been around.

    So now, the Washington Post/Bird Cage Paper is breathless and beside itself now that the Barrett .50 is now the Official State Rifle. Found the note on Instapundit who linked to the paywalled WPO story. Congrats to the State of Tennessee for poking the eye of the anti-gun crowd!!!

    Also from Glenn’s post, the WPo notes that “it can destroy an airplane”. As Glenn notes, just about any rifle can do it when hitting the right location. But of more fun, LL of Virtual Mirage, in his book Bloody Mexico: A Novel of Cartel Wars (reviewed here), LL posits doing just so: Taking down an airliner with a .50. Who’da thunk it? Prescient or prior planning… I don’t want to know the answer to that.