Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bigtime Oops

After a little help, figured out the fuel pressure regulator on the Blazer was bad. Bud went and got a new one, and as I was removing the fuel-line keeper, lost a little 8mm nut.

Unfortunately, the little nut went down an intake passage I'd neglected to cover.

More unfortunately, that particular nut is one of TWO on the whole damn engine which is non-magnetic.

Long story short, I wound up having to pull the intake manifold, find the nut (resting on top of an intake valve, just WAITING for the thing to open so it could wreck the valve and/or piston), then reassemble the manifold and everything that is associated with it.

Good news - I've ridden this rodeo recently, so I was able to get it done pretty quick.

Still, a big, ugly OOPS.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Teasing Og...

I'm going to have to pick peas tomorrow... the pods are long and fat, and won't wait much longer.

I broke one open today, and it had (in only one medium-sized pod) 8 peas that looked almost good enough to eat raw.

I'll most likely fill two Wal-Mart bags with pods better than that tomorrow.

C'mon down here, Og... enjoy the guest room Rivrdog blogged about, and eat peas!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Running Blazer!

Thursday, I bribed Uncle Alex to come help me figure out what I was missing in the Blazer's electrical system.

Uncle Alex is a professional mechanic, pretty much the best mechanic I know - even Daddy would ask for his help when he got stumped.

I was fully prepared to have Uncle Alex spend about 5 minutes looking at the Blazer, and say "Well here's what you did wrong, you doofus!"

After two hours of double-checking all my work and finding nothing wrong, HE had to call one of his buddies for some advice, utilizing a seriously expensive piece of troubleshooting software.

Come to find out, unlike many (most?) vehicles, a '97 Blazer doesn't run system power (basically everything that's controlled by the ignition switch) through the starter terminal - it goes through the alternator terminal. And since, inexplicably, those power leads are BLACK and not RED, I'd forgotten since disassembly that they were hot, and had bolted them to ground. IE, no power anywhere.

Once we figured that out (thanks Frank!) it was about 5 minutes to having the truck running. Now I only have to warm it up, change the oil, flush the coolant, and let Bud have it back.

Then a good shooting session - lots of fun, although I'm not a fan of the trigger on Uncle Alex's Ruger Security Six. The GP101 seems to have a much better trigger, but I'm open to trying both of them out more :) Uncle Alex also has much meatier hands than I do, with shorter fingers, so our tastes in grips are quite different. I found the grips on the Security Six to be TINY, but they fit his hands just fine. Yay for diversity!

And the bribe wasn't bad - some beer, firewood I don't currently have a use for but Aunt Gail loves in the winter, some of Texas' Best BBQ, and some collard greens from the garden. Aunt Gail doesn't like, and apparently won't cook greens, but Uncle Alex should be able to get his Mom (Granny) or sister (Aunt Liz) to cook them up for him.

All in all, a good day - Littlest Alex behaved pretty well (he napped more or less when needed, so didn't fuss much) and Uncle Alex and I had fun.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


One of the recent storms that came through North Texas took down half of an OLD tree in our backyard. We were very lucky that it only glancingly hit the house; it could have caved in part of the roof had it hit solidly.

So, I've been working on cleanup. Chainsawed the downed wood into two categories: Brush, and Firewood.

Today, I started loading Firewood into the pickup to go store. Unfortunately, some of the larger pieces are too big to split with just a maul... so I had to load some BIG TREE-TRUNK size pieces of wood.

Most were probably between 150-200 pounds. One I'm guessing was about 300 pounds.

Honestly, I'm kind of impressed I could lift it onto the tailgate. I did cheat a little though; I had the truck squatted some from the weight of the other big pieces lifted in. I've probably got about 1500 pounds in a half-ton truck right now.

Yes, I'll be driving slowly tomorrow, with lots of following distance. Yes, I'm on plenty of OTC painkillers. No, I'm not sure I'll be moving well tomorrow morning.

But all of the really big stuff is out of my backyard; I may actually be able to mow soon.

Ted Kennedy

Og said it quite well. I think I'll leave it at that.

Picture by Bud

Good friend Bud took a couple of pics of Alex a little while back; he finally got around to sending them to me. Nice camera, good pics :)

Here's a sample:

"Yeah, yeah, it's a camera, so what?!?"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

This is for Family and close Friends....


I've lost track of the number of times family members have told me they read one of my posts, or looked at pictures here.... and yet those posts have ZERO comments.

If you read this blog to keep up with what's going on with Lisa, Alex, and I, you're going to be a bit short of info, as I'm pretty bad about posting regularly.

But if you see something about us you think is neat, PLEASE POST A COMMENT! Occasionally, I can get a little bit of a discussion going... and you might wind up making a new pen-pal friend :)

So... Mom, HonorableStepDad, Uncle Alex, Aunt Gail, Aunt Susan, Aunt Liz, Granny, Granddaddy, Cap'n Mo and MissMo, and anybody else who's reading this I don't know about... register, and start leaving comments, please!

Friday, May 16, 2008

'80s Retrocool

Car Craft Magazine has an article this month (not currently available online, or I'd link it) on a 1970 Dodge Challenger - beautiful musclecar.

It was rebuilt in the early '80s, and was a CC cover car in June of 83. It has the 80s-era gloss black basecoat, with near-neon angular stripes along the side, and mirror-image crossing stripes on the hood.

And that's what I wanted to do with my '74 Maverick when I was in high school. BADLY.

And you know what? If it's not overdone, that still looks good today, 25 years later. When I rebuild the Mav (my first car, and still in my possession), I think I'll go ahead and do it '80s retro, just for fun. Of course, the powertrain will be something more modern (probably a late-80s 5.0 V8 and 5-speed), but I'll go for the look that was so popular back when I was in high school, driving the car every day, and working on it most days.

Interesting quiz

h/t: Rivrdog

How Long Could You Survive Trapped In Your Own Home?

I didn't count the produce coming from the garden. Not what I want, but I guess it's a decent start.

Something the quiz doesn't account for is stored water; I have nowhere near 239 days worth of water stored.

McCain addresses NRA

Theme: "I don't like you, you don't like me, but I'll screw you over less than Obama or Clinton"

h/t: Instapundit

Bleh. I'd really like to have someone to vote FOR, rather than using process of elimination deciding who I really need to vote AGAINST.

Busy, busy....

Got the Blazer back together this week, but I've missed something apparently - nothing electrical will power up. Still have to figure that out.

Alex has two new molars I hadn't noticed until today - he has to have his head tilted WAY back, and his mouth wide open to see them. Found them today while he was examining a tree.

Lisa got a pretty good amount of mowing in between work and dark - I had to replace the idler pulley on the deck after the bearing for the old one seized and melted the pulley; seems to work fine now.

Tomorrow is picking up some railroad ties for my rifle backstop, and moving a refrigerator for my youngest brother.

Busy, busy :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Growin' Groceries

Garden is coming along nicely - did a lot of weeding yesterday, and Lisa picked our second batch of collard greens!

The sweet peas are doing very well, considering they got smashed by horizontal hail a few weeks ago. This is basically all new growth:
If all those flowers become peas, I should have quite a lot of peas.

Potatoes are also coming along just fine:
I'll be thinning them out soon, and hopefully bringing some new potatoes home for dinner when I do.

Corn, sweet potatoes, okra, green beans, onions, cantaloupe, squash, and cucumbers are all doing nicely. Tomatoes are doing ok; hopefully they'll take off soon. Lettuce is still smallish - not sure it'll do much before it gets too hot. Cabbage did not do well, unfortunately, and I mis-counted rows and planted sweet peas over the top of the spinach and only got a few spinach plants to come in. The carrot seeds washed all over the place, so are scattered, but are coming up pretty well now.

Lots of fun, and I'm looking forward to greens for dinner one night this week :)

Alexander the Great Explorer

Alex learned to crawl in grass today. Until now, he didn't like the feel of grass on his legs or hands... but since it was relatively cool today (low-mid 70s), I had him dressed in jeans... and he got used to grass on his hands.

And once that barrier was broken, there was no stopping him (short of picking him up and putting him back into baby-jail (ie, playpen).

Gotta watch out for ants, as he doesn't understand them yet. But he crawled to and from the garden, to the steprails on the truck, to Mommy's car, back to the truck, and all around... exploring the world around him :)

We'll see what happens when the weather turns hot again, and he's in shorts with bare knees. Somehow, I don't think he'll be slowed down for long, or very much.

Background to these shots are potatoes, sweet potatoes, collard greens, green beans, sweet peas, jalapenos, and (distantly) corn.

I promised Granny (my grandmother, Alex's great-grandmother) some pics of the garden... I have a few, but I think I'll post them in the morning. Kinda late here, and my (as-of-yesterday) eleven-month-old son wore me out just a bit today :)

Busy little boy... and tons of fun :)

Garden pics later Tuesday. I may just make Og jealous, maybe :)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Lisa Rocks!

Lisa's been mowing over at Dad's - she kind of enjoys mowing on the riding mower there.

Friend Bud has been helping too - I did a little, when I didn't have Alex to take care of.

We got started early this year, and have been able to keep up. Yesterday, Lisa mowed about 3 acres in less than two hours, including some that was pretty tall.

Only a few areas are still tall; they'll get knocked down pretty quick and then we'll have the whole place neat and trim, and keep it that way, reducing fire hazards for the 4th of July (which we'll celebrate on the 5th, as it's a Saturday this year).

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Upon Further Reflection...

I think the "plant ethicists" are secretly awaiting the arrival of our New Vegetative Overlords, some kind of sentient plant from outer space.

Honestly, their arrival would do a couple of interesting things:

  • Monsanto would become the largest US Military supplier (thus guaranteeing that the US Military would save the world, AGAIN)
  • "Plant Ethicists" could finally have something somewhat useful to say

Following which, we could solve a couple of the world's problems:

  • Feed POWs from the intergalactic war through Salad Shooters, and alleviate world hunger
  • Feed Plant Ethicists through meat grinders, and reduce the food bill for lions for zoos around the world.
Hey, everybody wins! Well, except for the Intergalactic Green Beans, and the Plant Ethicists.... but who cares about them, anyway?

I don't even know how to title this.

This is simply INSANE.

Not just the insanity of "plants' rights"... these Eurotards (Swiss division) have gone so far off their collective rockers, it's obvious judging by their confusion and equivocation that they KNOW they're completely off the reservation, they just don't know WHY.

This may be the best explanation I've seen so far:

Why is this happening? Our accelerating rejection of the Judeo-Christian world view, which upholds the unique dignity and moral worth of human beings, is driving us crazy. Once we knocked our species off its pedestal, it was only logical that we would come to see fauna and flora as entitled to rights.
Note that this is NOT mentioning a rejection of religion - that's another issue for another post. It specifically mentions the rejection of the "Judeo-Christian world view", the world view which largely developed Western Civilization. And yes, our rejection of it is driving us, as a civilization, crazy. As in:

Rising to the task, leading bioethicists argue that for a human, value comes from possessing sufficient cognitive abilities to be deemed a "person." This excludes the unborn, the newborn, and those with significant cognitive impairments, who, personhood theorists believe, do not possess the right to life or bodily integrity. This thinking has led to the advocacy in prestigious medical and bioethical journals of using profoundly brain impaired patients in medical experimentation or as sources of organs.
At least in some jurisdictions in the US, this defective thinking has been soundly rejected - as evidenced by people being charged with murder for deliberately causing a woman to miscarry, or double murder charges against criminals who kill a pregnant woman. And I'd feel sorry for the next-of-kin of anyone who tried to tell me that Alex, as a newborn, didn't have the rights of a "person".

I'd like to meet a few of these "personhood theorists" (What the hell do you major in at college to be a "personhood theorist", anyway?) in a dark alley sometime - they sound like excellent candidates to generate some profound brain impairments in, so they can "ethically" be used for "medical experimentation or as sources of organs".

Gah. Like I said, these idiots are so wrong, they KNOW they're wrong. Their values, however, have been so twisted around, inside out and upside down, they can't figure out WHY they're wrong.

Here's a clue, using logic rather than morals, for these retards to have. Free of charge, this one's on the house:

Plants eat way-tiny stuff in the soil. Animals eat plants, and other animals. Animals shit, shit breaks down into way-tiny stuff in the soil. IT'S CALLED THE CIRCLE OF LIFE, YOU FUCKTARDS!

Sorry, I was going to try to keep this post pretty high-level; can't do it.

Look, "respect for the dignity" of a bear or an eggplant will not protect you from either being eaten by the bear, or the eggplant sending its roots into the rotting corpse of what the bear leaves when it's full.

Respect is a two-way street, and nature ain't showing much respect for us. Screw 'em, if it's tasty, eat it.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day

Screw Communism, it's dead. To Hell with all the illegal aliens protesting today, and the organizers trying to register illegals to vote should all be arrested.

'Nuff said about that.

I've been married for four years, as of today. That's a lot more important to me than a bunch of commie sympathizers and vote fraudsters.

Lisa, bless her heart, took today off and took care of Alex. I took the dogs to the groomers (since without Alex to take care of, I could put them in the back seat of the truck) and Lisa and I got the garden virtually weed-free, built 18 tomato cages, got several of them set up, and gave the garden a good watering. I also got my first real sunburn of the year (wearing jeans and a t-shirt, so it will be an actual farmer's tan).

Found a lot of carrots I hadn't noticed - apparently one of the storms that happened shortly after planting washed a LOT of the carrot seeds off their raised rows and down into the valleys between the rows. Which meant no hoeing; weeds had to be trimmed from between the rows by pulling them out by the roots. Sore hands, and hopefully bountiful carrots, are the result.

Tired and unromantic dinner of pizza; Lisa and Alex had blueberry muffins for breakfast though. I had just enough time to bake them before having to hit the road to get the dogs going for their summer haircuts.

Busy May Day; lots of good stuff in spite of the commies and border-jumpers.