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  • Word of the Day: Techniguess

    Was attending Powerpoint briefings all day today, and was presented with your next Word of the Day (misspelling of the plural of “technique”):



    An highly technical opinion presented by a Subject Matter Expert. Ranges in accuracy somewhere between a Wild-Ass Guess (WAG) and a Shitty Wild-Ass Guess (SWAG)
    OTOH, life has been busy, between working on the house, the car, the Zombie truck, the RV, and work in general. Am healthy and reasonably happy. Just can’t wait till after Election Day, to see which way our Country shifts politically.
    And Fool on the Hill is slowly healing after getting triple-bypass surgery.
    Also, Appleseed training was a real blast. Highly recommended. I didn’t do great, what with an unproven rifle and scope. Planning on doing again in the near future. Do it! (Appleseed Info). No, I’m not getting compensation for this…
    Finally, I’m overdue on book reviews, though book reading time has been cut considerably, I hope to take care of that this weekend.

  • 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.


  • Stardate 122920151851

    Well, lots of goings-on around the homestead. Didn’t run out of town for Christmas, spent it at the house with the Wife. Been working on vehicles a lot lately. We exchanged a few gifts but didn’t spend a lot of time wrapping and such.

    The CheapGP just got new rear shocks. All four windows got new regulators that connect the window to the track for the electric motor. Windshield got replaced last week. Front shocks (struts) will get done next week along with new spark plugs. And use a rattle-can of paint and repaint the steel wheels. It’s done unless something crops up during the inspection, once the kids fess-up the title.

    The Zombie Truck got a new hand-made boot for the transfer case shifter. Going to make another one for the transmission shifter as well. Made it out of the same material that covers the center console, tan Naugahyde. Looks really professional, just have a chrome trim ring around it, blends right in. Otherwise, the Zombie Truck is about done too. Nothing on the radar for it other than sorting out the heavy smoking that it does when I start it in the morning.

    The RV from Heck got covered with it’s cover yesterday. I also poked a hole in the roof and ran the XM radio antenna into the interior, just need to finish running the wire to the center console. And check the batteries and hook them up to the charger.

    Bigger news: I decided not to saddle myself with five more years of vehicle loan. I found a nice 2011 BMW 335d diesel sedan in good condition, but after looking at it and thinking for a while, changed my mind and am passing on spending a big chunk of more money. The MINI will go to Carmax or our local base’s Lemon Lot to get rid of. In the meantime, I’m buying a very used 1999 BMW 540i/6. 4.4l V-8, six-speed manual transmission. The previous owner’s daughter had let it go and hence Dad has dumped a bunch of money into it getting it to the point of being sell-able. He’s keeping the wheels and tires, knocked a few hundred off the price. It needs new tires anyway and I didn’t like the later-model rims on that particular model. So I’ve got a nice used set of tires and wheels on the way, along with a bunch of other parts that it needs for inspection and registration. So I’m going to be a wrench-turning fool for the next few months. Pictures to follow when I get it after the New Year.

    Weight is now down to 193 lbs! I’m feeling much better than before, am eating a bigger variety of foods and better, but still small portions. I’m lucky that I don’t have any sagging skin, I wan’t so overweight to leave sags. And the clothes that I purchased before Thanksgiving are starting to get big. Very slowly, but give it another months and they’ll be getting too big. Oh well, that’s why I’ve been haunting the Goodwill/Starvation Army and discount stores.

    Work is a big Meh right now. Nothing exciting to report.

    And things going on to report next week, stay tuned!

  • Dash-ectomy

    Well, the CheapGP lives! As mentioned last week, Wife and I got a free Jeep, needed help. And help it’s gotten!

    New struts to support the hood. New struts to support the back window. Remove, clean, reinstall the throttle body and Intake Air Control servo to fix an idling problem. New battery. New radiator and hoses. New rear window regulators so the windows work. Will need the windshield replaced for cracks, the right front window regulator is buggered, and fluid changes.

    And the biggest job: replace the blend air door servo-actuator. Jeep Libertys are renowned for having a blend air door problem: Either cold-only, or heat-only. Usually cold-only. The heater core always has water flowing through it, but the blend air door controls whether the AC or the heat flows into the car. The actuator notoriously fails on the Liberty and a number of other Jeeps. Most other Jeeps don’t require much work to replace the blend air door actuator. Not the Liberty though. Complete steering column and dash removal to get to the actuator. Six hours to remove the dash, four to reinstall. Two minutes to replace the actuator once it could be reached.

    Here’s what a Jeep Liberty looks like without a dash, only the heater box and pedal support brackets:


    What the dash looks like outside of the Jeep:


    In truth, I could have done the job without fully removing the dash, just leaving it hanging in place, held by a few wires. But it only took a couple more minutes to remove and I felt better with it not leaning over hanging by wires.

    Everything went together smoothly. The new actuator works, I can hear it buzzing and the door moving! Success! I had to take the instrument pod back out, I couldn’t find where a wire tie hooked up, but that was the only re-work I had to do. I’m missing one screw, minor thing, and have one small piece of plastic that I can’t figure where it goes. But it’s not an important part, it looks new and unused. Maybe something leftover from something else? But everything on the Jeep works – lights, engine, windows (with new regulators), transmission, safety equipment, radio, etc.

    Now, can I bill my wife for the $1000 that Jeep would have charged her for the work? Or just suck it up and be thankful that everything worked successfully?

  • Stardate 121220152036

    Well, it’s been busy here. Wife and I took the RV about five hours away, spent the weekend shopping for clothes after giving nearly all of mine away. Post-surgery, I’m now down to 200 lbs, size 38 (maybe 36) pants, much smaller dress shirts. Good trip, the Zombie Truck in trail.

    Spent Thanksgiving with kids, grandkids, and in-laws. Went back the next week and got a free Jeep, the kids’ old Liberty. It needs TLC, and I’m happy to fix it up for the Wife to drive. So far: radiator, hoses, thermostat, battery, window regulators, fluids, cleaned the Intake Air Controller, new hood and rear window struts. So it’s an investment, but a good buy. I call it the CheapGP, but the wife wants GP-GP.

    Work is a big Meh for now.

    And the world is turning to poo. Politics sucks right now, or leaders aren’t leading the country, they’re wandering off wherever the money and benefits are.

    Matt Drudge posted this picture yesterday:

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a town hall meeting Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in Waterloo, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a town hall meeting Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in Waterloo, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)


    Scary right? Compare and contrast with this:

    Emperor Sidious. A.k.a. Darth Sidious

    Any resemblance is just circumstantial. I hope…


  • Stardate 101020152054

    Several thoughts going on:

    Hillary is in deeper trouble. As I described previously, classified data corrupts absolutely, and the FBI is now looking at State Dept. computers trying to find out how classified data made it to Hillary’s email server. More backups are being found. And it turns out that someone outed an undercover agent by name. Seriously classified stuff. How Hillary and her pals stay out of orange pantsuits is beyond me.

    Something funny to think about, though I forgot where I stole it from, sorry…:hillarysurprise2

    There’s a BlogShoot at 340 Defense in a couple of weeks, but I won’t be able to make it. I’m getting bariatric surgery done the day before the shoot. I’m tired of either weighing on the high side of 250+ lbs, or having a terribly restricted diet just to maintain 240 lbs. So I’m getting the Gastric Sleeve performed, where a major portion of my stomach will be lopped-off. No resection of my small intestine like my wife had with her Roux-en-Y operation five years ago. That was a life-saver for her. I’m nowhere near as unhealthy, but want a better, more enjoyable lifestyle. And eliminate the growing problems of diabetes, high blood pressure, constantly changing wardrobe, etc. Will pass more info on that later. So think of me while y’all are out there having a real blast. I’m sorry to miss the event, for sure.

    The Zombie Truck is back together but has a terrible noise. The noise happens when I’m not entirely on the throttle, but not entirely off either. Really annoying – the transmission and transfer case were both professionally rebuilt just a couple of weeks ago. I pulled the rear axle cover off, dumped the fluid, and saw no damage to the rear ring and pinion, so repackaged with new gasket and fluid. If it’s not the transfer case, then I may have a damaged axle shaft. Sigh.

    Finally, I’ll be out of sorts next week. Heading out to get some learnin’ done. Training and testing for Certified Ethical Hacker. Yeah, a real oxymoron if you ever heard one. But a cert that’s sure to help my career in the long run.

    So, if you promise to clean the cat litter box and take the dog out daily, I’ll make sure to stock the freezer with some chocolate-chip cookie dough ice cream. And tuna-flavored  ice cream for my few Kzin friends out there.

  • Busy, Busy, Busy

    So things have been busy here.

    The Zombie Truck is finally being put back together. After some wrangling, I got a completely rebuilt NP208 transfer case and 700R4 transmission. The NP208 was tricky, I needed the version for the automatic, and I had a free one for a manual transmission. Phoo. The transmission was a pain as well, the diesel version of the 700R4 is heavier around the bell housing in the front. Another search mission for that. Finally, I tried to use the factory adapter between the transfer case and the transmission, instead of the custom aluminum that I’ve been using since I put the truck together in 1999. The custom unit rotates the transfer case counterclockwise about 30-40 degrees, giving better ground clearance and putting the front drive shaft alongside the transmission. The factory unit hangs the transfer case lower, and would require a different body mount, and the front driveshaft would not fit below the transmission, it would be an interference fit. So unbolt the transfer case, remount the adapter, and bolt it back up.

    But now the truck is finally back on the ground, on all four tires. There’s still a lot to do, first is new or rebuilt drive shafts front and rear. Finish bleeding the brakes (new longer brake lines), put fluids into the transmission and transfer case, clean up, and go for a drive. Hope that the rear axle ring and pinion are OK…

    Went camping again with the RV. No major problems to report, yippee! Had a good time, went to the “Largest RV Show in America” in Hershey, PA. Camped out at the Old Mill Stream Campground in Lancaster, PA. Right next door to the Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park. The park is set up for kids of all ages, not many rides that they cannot enjoy. No pool at the RV park, but that’s not a problem. There’s tons of shopping within a couple of miles of the place, so Wife was happy. At the RV show we found several RVs that we’d love to have, but we just aren’t up to forking over $1/4 to $1/2 million. Had some friends come up, they are actively looking for a fifth wheel trailer, and of all things, there was a get-together in our RV park of the brand that they were looking for. So the got some good inside information! Had a good talk with someone who was pulling their fifth wheel with an old semi-tractor (what I call a Prime Mover from my USAF days). Interesting though, but again, lots of $$$. Just not worth it.

    More travel coming up in the future again. Weddings to go to.

    And surgery! I’ve been working at having bariatric surgery done for over a year. Specifically, the gastric sleeve. My weight has gone from 170 when I joined the Air Force to nearly 270 recently. I can control the weight by doing a very low-carb diet, but I cannot enjoy anything. So the surgery is my tool to lose weight by limiting portion size, and to a certain degree, limit what I can eat. No bunches of cookies/cake/ice cream/junk food after surgery. But at least I’ll be able to enjoy some foods that I’m restricted from in the interest of weight loss…

    It also means that I’ll miss the Blogshoot next month! Damn.

    And watching politics and the world get crazier and crazier. But that’s for another post later this week…

  • Why It Has Been Quiet

    It’s been quiet here for a little while. Life, or more accurately, the Rescue Squad, intervened. I was asked, and accepted a position in our “little” organization. The busiest volunteer rescue squad in Maryland. As Lieutenant, one of the responsibilities is rounding up people to fill out the weekly schedule. This is a one-week operation, rotated between Lieutenants, each being in the barrel 5-6 times through the year.

    I tried to do the job, honest I did. Started last Sunday, two days before officially assuming duty, trying to fill the schedule. By Wednesday, things had gone from bad to worse. And I discovered that I just didn’t have the heart to be the P.I.T.A. that the job really required. If I was at work, I was using the Lieutenant phone to contact members and answer questions. Not at work, I spent literally every minute contacting people, trying to fill the schedule, to the detriment of my family life. Wife, cats, house, cars all suffered.

    It took a lot, but I handed back the equipment and position. Not something I did lightly, as it merely shifted the problem to someone else. But I found out that I did not have the capability to do the job.

    Hence the lack of postings till today…

  • Blog Dinner June 2015 Pre and Post-AAR

    I live several hours from the Nations Gun Show and even farther from the Blog Dinner, so these are all-day events. Made it to the Show with an hour to spare till closing, no thanks to traffic on I-66. I don’t play Toll Road very well, I don’t have a pass, and some don’t do cash, so Interstate it is. The show was good, not too crowded. Found a number of items I’ve been looking for, and some to add to the wish list. Such as this shelf unit with hidden storage:


    Can’t see the hidden area, can you? Hint, you can fit a full EBR in it and a handful of magazines (pr0n or weapon, your choice)

    Also saw some neat steam punk items, they’re having a show at the NRA Museum next weekend (June 13 time frame)(Sorry about the glare):




    Closing time came, so I packed up my Ill Booten Gottey (ill gotten booty) and hit the road for the Dinner.

    Got to the restaurant quite a bit early. What to do between the gun show closing at 1700 and the dinner to start at 1900? Dawle around on the way to the restaurant, stirring up trouble along the way. Several folks taking photos of the Zombie Truck along the route, and two photogs at the gas station wanted to talk. No problem, that’s why I built the truck, just for fun.

    Restaurant didn’t know JayG nor know how to spell his last name. But the table was ready well in advance, so parked my carcass with a beer. Folks started showing up on time, and we wound up with about a dozen folks in toto, good crowd. JayG, OldNFO, Lagniappe’s Lair, Stretch, Arizona, Nancy, Thunderbolt, MillerMeister, and a few others I know/recognize but haven’t gotten as acquainted with. Apologies to those not individually named.

    Among the tall tales and feats of daring, OldNFO had the Galley Proof of The Grey Man – Changes, of his latest tome, all 400 pages. And that’s after cutting out 7000 words according to Himself. Even better, he was well prepared to carve dinner for us:

    OldNFO's Stickers

    Detail is poor, but these are a pair of beautifully crafted Damascus steel hand-made blades of his, along with the accompanying hand-tooled leather holster in his hand. Two different Damascus folding patterns. The larger is a ladder pattern and the smaller blade more of a diamond moire pattern. And according to OldNFO, very useful tools.

    Which, of course, led to “That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife”, where everyone brought out their EDC. That’s why the restaurant puts us outside away from the “normal” folks…

    And we had non-band entertainment. After eating, we noted emergency vehicles coming up the road past the restaurant in increasing numbers, size, and variety. A couple of us, LE and EMT-types, cruised up to the corner, peeked around, and spotted a nearby a-burning. Well, more like smoking badly by that point. Found a news article: Crews Respond To Downtown Leesburg Fire. We were hoping that there was a jailbreak or something, we were more than ready to volunteer for the Posse…

    In all, we didn’t solve world hunger, bring peace to the world, stop Global Warming/Global Cooling/Global Extortion, destroy ISIS, or secure the Nation’s computer systems. But jokes were passed, tales told, movies quoted, beverages drunk, contacts exchanged. Food was good, service was slow, band played well but in cramped quarters was loud. Overall a great time was had by all. Till next time….

  • I’m So Tired

    With all due respect to Madeline Kahn in “Blazing Saddles”…

    Baby’s got a new set of shoes. While on the way to visit Family this nice long weekend, Wife and I went a little out of the way to a used tire shop and I got a set of used HMMWV tires. This’ll be interesting. Several months ago I found someone selling a set of Chevy 6-bolt 10″ wide 16.5” diameter rims, which I snagged with the plan to get a used set of tires to match. The set of four used tires was under $550, no patches, 95% tread. New tires in a similar size (37×12.5-16.5) would each be around the price of all four. So when I get home, time to get these new shoes mounted and try them out.  

     Can’t wait to get them done. The current tires are worn down pretty well, and are making lots of noise, typical of off-road tires. Time for a change…