• 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.

  • Decision Time

    Well, time I must make a life-altering decision. I’ve got five resumes that are up for review for Government positions at various places around the US as well as an opportunity to rejoin an old company I left a few years ago, doing the same work as previously, but in a different location in the Midwest US.


    I just got a call from a company I know of, had worked with their employees previously. Interview next Friday. Have been recommended for the position by the GS-15 that I used to support from several years ago. And the office does some REALLY NEAT STUFF.

    The work: The Gov jobs would be mostly doing what I’ve been doing – Information Assurance (IA) for DoD systems. The new opportunity would take me out of IA and into a more challenging field doing more system security analysis, working with lots more people, lots more travel.

    The locations: Four of five Gov positions would be out of state (NC, TX, AZ, NV) along with the Midwest one (about two hours away from OldNFO and others). One Gov in DC area, and the new one in DC as well.

    The stimulation: Where I’m at is a non-player. Not stimulating at all. The Gov positions would be more stimulating, more challenging. The Midwest job would be back to a grind I’d left but new area. The new opportunity – big challenge and learning curve.

    I’ve wanted to move out-of-state but Wife has just started in DC area, good money, excellent position, but a long commute for her.

    Option for us to split households is there, but I hate to do that to my Wife, and it crimps the budget some.

    I’m tired of waiting for Gov positions to decide, but if I went Gov, I’d have the option of recovering time I’d spent in USAF towards retirement, and other Gov benefits (Big BX?). Contractor position pays more than most of the Gov positions.

    I’d love to get out of Maryland, but it’d be a tougher commute from NoVA to the new site.

    My initial inclination is Suck It Up, move closer to DC, take the new position doing more challenging work, and quit kvetching about Maryland.

    But turning down the benefits of Gov, that’s the killer if one ever came through. Taking this new opportunity and then bailing would burn some serious (GS-15 level) bridges.

    And I’m too old to keep jumping positions, I need to settle down and plan towards retirement (10-15 years or so).


  • Stuff in General

    Well, life’s been busy here, but I figured I’d drop in for a moment and throw some thoughts your way.

    First, it was pointed out on another blog (that I cannot find again) why our current DoJ is in a HUGE conundrum about bringing charges against Hillary Clinton. In 1999, Loretta Lynch was appointed to the position of US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. She left the position after two years to work for a law firm, and at the same time served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In 2010, she was re-appointed to the  position as US Attorney for Eastern NY. In 2014, she was appointed to the position of Attorney General of the US as the replacement for Eric Holder.

    Her 1999 appointment to US Attorney for East NY was done by then President Bill Clinton. The subsequent reappointment to US Attorney for East NY was done by President (gah) Obama, who then made her Attorney General in 2014.

    Soooo, who’s side is she more beholden to, the Clintons who got her the cherry position the first time, or Obama, who put her back in that position and pushed her higher in the food chain. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to decide if she’s going to prosecute her former benefactor.

    The above info can be found on Wikipedia.

    Another ugly thought: My current position is as BlackBerry Server God, or at least Chief Minion for the BlackBerry Servers. In the business setting, BlackBerry servers connect to the Exchange email servers to receive and sent emails. But BlackBerry Enterprise Servers (BES) do not send the email directly to the BlackBerry phone, iPhone, or Android phone, we should be so lucky. BES servers int eh office send the emails to the BlackBerry system in Canada, where the email/calendar/messaging traffic is then routed to the appropriate cell service provider for the user’s BlackBerry. Which means that Hillary Clinton, the same one running as the (barely leading) Democratic Candidate for President, her unclassified and classified email traffic left her unsecured server in the bathroom, traveled to the BES server in an unknown location, thence to the BlackBerry Enterprise system in Canada, and finally to the BlackBerry device pictured here:








    And a few hundred other places. Same blue BlackBerry. CrackBerry, as they are know. Trust BlackBerry’s encryption? I don’t. That’s why Another Agency souped one up to handle anything above Unclassified. I’ve seen and used a Secure BB in another life.And the little blue BB is NOT a secure BB by any stretch of the imagination. Wonder who built and maintained her BlackBerry Enterprise Server, and where it was secured. And if the BlackBerry Enterprise servers in Canada were secured…


    On the other hand, this giggle was stolen from The Lonely Libertarian:


    More another day. It’s been car-crazy here.

  • Update on US Navy Personnel

    Obama and world politics dodged another big one. The US Navy Sailors were released by Iran this morning. Iran keep all of the goodies (weapons, boats, electronics, GPS, crypto, etc) but our boys are back and safe.

    No comments about our political babbling class at this time. But beware, the sanctions on Iran’s nuclear development are lifted this coming Monday…

  • History Repeating Itself

    So 10 US Navy Sailors are now guests of the Iranian Republic. Why do I feel like 1979, when over 60 US citizens became the guests of Iran for 444 days? Lemme see: weak president, check. Lame duck president, check. Weakened US military, check. War in the Gulf, check.

    I wonder how long these sailors will be held. Will Barry try to use our SF folks to rescue them if this drags out (probably not)? Will Iran use this as an opportunity to force our hand and relieve the sanctions? Could this happen at a worse time? Will we wind up trading something of incredible value for their release?

    I predict that Barry will whine and bluster and either lift sanctions (very bad) or just do nothing (almost as bad). And the we’ll get (pray) Trump or Cruz and the Iranians will roll over after the 2017 Inauguration.

    Either way, not good. Pray for the Sailors safe and expeditious return.

  • 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?

  • Going Away Party

    Well, OldNFO is officially retiring. His organization Roasted him last night, and he apparently learned much more about his coworkers than he realized.

    This afternoon was his blog-community going away. Six of us met at an undisclosed location and had a great time swapping stories, solving world problems, and generally basking in OldNFO’s glory. Following lunch (and sightseeing), we followed our regular tradition of community support and retired to the Walmart, where a basket-load of toys were purchased and donated to Toys-for-Tots. Guestimate around $200-250 was spent and donated.

    OldNFO has re-established permanent residence in the Free State of Texas, and while he will still be blogging, I for one will miss getting together in person to share his wisdom, humor, and stories. Then again, there’s still next year’s NRA Annual Meeting to get together.

    Present Arms!


    Ready, Front!