Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Scruffy Gets Stuck

Or more correctly, sticked. I considered titling this post 'Trouble with the Trees II'. I seem to be doing Scruffy posts fairly regularly, and here goes another!!! This weekend were were driving on the freeway when I saw it. Two cars ahead of us, a stick in the road. It probably started life as a 2x4, but it's had a lot of the edges knocked off. A little more than three feet long. The first car rolls over it, and the second car starts hitting his brakes... but there's nothing to be done, and nowhere for me to go. They roll over it, and launch it into the air!!! I thought it was going to go over us, but no!!! Right into the windshield it goes!!!

I've had windshields broken before, but never in as grand fashion as this!!! Of course it was loud, and I had to adjust my inside mirror afterwards. We kept driving along, but I was wondering how bad it was damaged, besides the actual windshield. The headliner was bent down about an inch, and I was thinking it had actually bent the roof. If that were the case, I was going to call it totaled.

When we got there, got out and took a look. Ended up to not have damaged the roof, and the headliner extends a couple inches into the windshield, so it was just pushed down.

Here's an odd thing, though, the very corner was also badly damaged, along with the outer frame area being cracked. At first I was thinking it had created a shock wave and kicked that portion up, but I'm thinking that the stick must have hit there, too.

See the close up shot??? Look at that, it actually embedded wood into the glass!!! One of the younger's friends looks at it and says, "that's a strong window!!!"

Last shot is before I stepped out, all these glass shards all over my pants!!! Things could have gone way worse, so thank God they didn't!!! Just a couple hundred to get it replaced, and we're back on the road!!!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

There is Trouble With the Trees

Happy New Year!!! I can hardly believe I haven't done ONE post this year so far!!! That changes NOW!!!

WHY?

Question: Were you threatened by the trees beauty?? Were you?

Why? Why, oh why? would someone, ANYONE, chop down a perfectly 200 year old healthy beautiful tree, that was a home to animals?? Why?

Dear tree, on behalf of stupid humans, I'm sorry

That's the text from the sign hung on the fence by the stump of said tree. This was back in July of last year, and I've been meaning to post since that time regarding this. This is heading into the tract I live in, and I'd noticed the lack of tree driving past prior, but one day I actually stopped and got a look, as well as these pictures. You can see the candles and shrine made up in the middle of the stump.

So I took the shot a little wider... and maybe THIS has something to do with it!!! You can see the damage it's done to the curb, raising it and offsetting it more than it's own width and height!!!

And that's not all, folks!!! Farther along you can see more damage to the curb, and the whole street past there!!! You may have noticed there's a manhole cover there, too, so I'd bet it's encroaching and damaging that, too!!! This is one area that, if there's no opposing traffic, most drivers will swing wide around to avoid excessive wear on suspension parts. This was prior to an election, of course, when they start doing a lot of tearing up roads to prove how effective the use of your tax dollars really is or something. I had the idea that they were probably going to fix up this section of road and sidewalk, but around nine months later it's exactly the same. Of course, the election is over, so... Of course, we all know how quickly municipalities get things done. At any rate, I think that is a pretty answer to the question "WHY??"

Oh, and my neighborhood was built around the mid 1930's, and there's a lot of those trees at regular intervals along the original streets, so I'm thinking probably the tree is around 80 years old.

We're all sorry you didn't get to hug your tree one last time.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Scruffy Swallows a Water Heater

A few weeks back, I was doing some dishes one evening. Towards the end, I start running out of hot water. Hmmmm.... that usually doesn't happen!!! A run down to the basement confirmed my worst fears: the water heater had sprung a big leak!!! The good news is that apparently it happened right then, and it hadn't fully flooded the basement!!!

This was on a Wednesday, so I had my wife call Home Depot about installation, which they have on their page same day if you order before noon, or something. The units I was looking at were around $500-$700, or alternatively there was a tankless for $1,000. She checked, and the price for the former jumps up to around $1,300, and around $4,000 for the latter!!! Nope, nope nope!!! Guess I know what I'm doing on my day off!!! Oh yeah, online all of them were shown as "ship to store". Come on, I KNOW you got 'em there!!!

So, we load up Scruffy with some rope (and empty out all the various other stuff that accumulates back there) and head off on Friday. Sure enough, there's a row of 'em there, so we load up and off we go!!! In the second shot, you can see the hatch just ALMOST making it closed!!! Ran the rope around the hatch, and we were on our way!!!

It took a little doing, but between the younger boy and the one armed wife and me, we got it moved up the steps from the street and into place. Not nearly as difficult was disconnecting the old unit, but for a leaky old thing, it still had a lot of water in it!!! I had it draining through a hose for quite a while, and there was still more!!! You can see it still flowing out in the third pic, as well as the way it stood, looking all like that tower in Pisa!!!

All in all, it came together without any major hassles. Don't remember exactly, but I know my dad helped me with the last time I'd had it go out, and it had to have been at least ten, maybe twelve to fifteen years ago, so we got our money's worth out of it!!! Also seems like it was under $200!!! I didn't opt to get the WiFi enabled one so my water heater could take part in the next DDoS attack. It does, however, have a little blinky LED on the control panel, I'm going to have to look at the manual to see if the battery is replaceable!!! After I got it all installed, I went up and took a much needed and well earned warm shower!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Scruffy Finds Her Voice (Then Gets Radical Rhinoplasty)

Something I've wanted to do for the longest time, and finally managed to get taken care of a month or so ago. I got a 512 Labs exhaust system like I have on Sat3 made up for Scruffy!!! Quite a while ago I had got myself an actual glasspack muffler for my car (at the time it was on Baby) and welded it up with flanges in the same position as the original (actually it was a junkyard replacement for a can-type factory muffler, but you know what I mean) and saved that original for Scruffy.

When I put the glasspack on Baby, I don't remember the sound changing that much. After I'd gone through the time and effort, I remember thinking that it was kind of a waste since it didn't seem to quiet it down much at all (not that I'm complaining, it sounds pretty sweet, but was doing it out of consideration for the neighbors) but having my old muffler on Scruffy, there's a decided increase in volume. Has a bit more of a harsh bark to it. Yeah, it sounds good!!! It cost me $20 more than when I had the original made up, and I don't think I got a better job done for my money. You can see instead of being a piece bent to shape, he used a bunch of pre-bent lengths, and welded 'em at compound angles. The outside mount, instead of being to an actual rubber insulator, he welded directly to the suspension mount!!! Discovered that after we'd left, or I sure would have made him fix that!!! I've been thinking of how to remedy this... and to be sure, it's the last time I'm going to this place!!!

The only thing I really like is the tip they made up for it, it appears to be stainless. Needs a little deburring.

Took a shot of the original muffler and intermediate silencer. If you look, you can see the black marks that all Saturn rear mufflers seem to have, from scraping a hole in them. The silencer muffler is shorter from Scruffy, something I'd never noticed before. Saved it to (probably, eventually) add flanges to it and see how it sounds. Mileage seems a bit better, but not so good as I've seen before.

Then, just this week, my wife does THIS to her!!!

Good news, no one was hurt, and it didn't set off the airbags. Probably because the sensors for 'em are in the bumper!!!

She was on the freeway, and traffic stopped and she went under the back of a full size pickup truck. Of course, not her fault. Also amazing, besides a couple scratches on the front bumper, the hood was the only panel affected!!!

Last hood shot is of the insulation pad from underneath, where you can see the print of the twin cam cover, and I've added in a couple of strange pink arrows pointing out the print of the canister for the AIR injection in the front, and the oil fill cap in the rear. I took a hammer to the hood and put some clearance back into it.

As soon as she started talking about insurance, they bailed, so more good news!!!

I'm known to make comments about people locking up their wheels and "flat spotting" their tires. After I took the hood shots, I noticed that it appeared to have an example (somewhat) of just that, except it made a pattern of perfect stripes!!! Wonder if it was grooves on the roadway.

Final shot is of one of the motor mounts from the Falcon, since I'm always putting motor mount pics here!!! In the interim the starter in Scruffy had given up, and I moved the Falcon out to make room to change it. I'd bought the new mounts months ago, and just yesterday finally got them in. When I was moving it out, I drove it over and bought $20 of gas since it's been a LONG time since I have, and the tank was way low and gas was way cheap. I'd goosed it a few times, and floated the back tire for 50 feet or so while I was driving it about, and when I got home it was leaking gas again!!! That had been my last Falcon project, rebuilding the carburetor because it had been leaking from the accelerator pump. This time, turned out to be from the motor flopping over and ripping the line from the body to the fuel pump!!! During the course of changing the mounts, managed to lift the engine enough that it ripped the upper radiator hose!!! Always something...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Halloween: A New Era

Happy upcoming Thanksgiving!!! Before it gets even farther along, figured to to the belated Halloween post!!!

The new era alluded to in the title refers to this being the first year where the older was not in the vicinity, so it was just the younger.

First up is a shot of the Jack-O-Lantern. For a change, they didn't have the carving contest at work this year. Just the one this year, as it seems time always gets tight this time of year. Based on Papyrus from Undertale. The youngest drew it out and I carved it. considering the challenging design, I think it came out quite well. Didn't do it that far in advance, either, so it was in excellent shape for the traditional early November mayhem. You can catch this year's here.

Next up is a construction shot of the most complex portion of the costumes this year, a pair of glasses. Involved was some Plexiglas from the dodecahedron project (worse for time, the protective paper had bonded fairly well onto it!!!), frames from some old sunglasses, much epoxy, and some even older than the Plexiglas window tint film. The black piece was a cardboard mock-up repurposed to hold the bows apart while it was being epoxied.

A couple of new shirts were in order. I did mine with the same technology the the older had previously used for his Vriska costume, a cardboard template and spray paint. The youngers' was made up with an iron on print, on an orange sleeved shirt. I never saw an image of this shirt with the orange sleeves, but hey, artistic license!!!

My costume was yet another Homestuck character, Lil Cal. Also involved was a gold tooth cap I'd had for more than ten years ago. My wife was a huge help locating it. Where is a good place to store such a thing??? An old ball cap and gold chain completed the look. To finish it off, I shaved off my mustache and beard and drew on the cheek spots and jaw opening. I wore it into work, and I think I was the only one in my department this year that dressed up.

The boy had his costume based on Dirk Strider, who of course, is closely linked with Lil Cal, so that is where the inspiration for my costume came from!!! Glasses, shirt, and an old wood sword fresh painted silver on the blade comprise his costume. I'm of the opinion that wanting to have the glasses and an orange shirt were primary motivators to his choice of costume!!!

More of the Jack-O-Lantern, this time on the cat tree. I don't think awesome cat much cares for his heiarchal position at the top of the tree being usurped.

Something cool, I have so many vacation days now, that I happened to see they had a half day available on Halloween, which of course I took. Nice, as they have moved the start and end time of my shift 15 minutes later, and it had already been a late get home time. We trick or treated around the neighborhood, the streets behind our house, then over to what had looked to be a promising area.

One place had this sign up on their gate... I feel vandalism coming on!!!

There!!! Fixed your sign for you, mister!!! No treat, here's your trick!!! Haha!!!

When we had headed over two weekends before, we'd spotted what looked like a walkway at the end of the dead end street we'd walked up. We had walked down it to another cul-de-sac in the valley below. This was the previously alluded to promising area. There were several houses with Halloween decorations, and while we were there we witnessed a mother and child having a Nerf gun war. It was pretty far on in the evening by the time we made it over there, though, and it wasn't as good as it had looked, though there was one guy we caught pulling into his garage who dug out a three year old bag of tootsie rolls and dumped a good quantity into our sacks.

Finally, now that there is one in the neighborhood, no Halloween night would have been complete without a visit to a haunted house...

"And they say the old man's body was NEVER FOUND..."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fired Up

Last Thursday I was in the front room of our house, and I heard sirens. Getting closer. I sat up and looked out, and up our street came a couple of fire trucks. Hmmm, that doesn't happen very often, and it's always troubling when there's an actual fire going on up here. Of course, fire trucks don't always mean there's a fire, but not too much longer, here comes another pair of fire trucks. Shortly after, another vehicle, the size of a fire truck, but more boxlike with "Urban Search & Rescue" on the side.

None of this sounded good as far as there actually being a fire, and sometime in there, a fire helicopter joined the party. Instead of having a spotlight, it had forward facing lights, and when it circled towards us, you could see billowing smoke. Fortunately, while the area surrounding us were experiencing high winds, it has been calm in our area, so no red flag days for us.

I was curious, and was considering trying to walk to where it was going on, but never did. Fell asleep before the news came on that night, but caught it the next day.

A six room,9,100 square foot, six room house. 10 to 15 people living there. The house was apparently in foreclosure. I've walked by the place before, I remember admiring the octagon turrets. Might even have actual pictures of the place on the hard drive from my old Toshiba laptop. The before pictures are from Google Street View.

After I got home from work on Saturday, the younger and I went over to see what we could see. The street does a loop around, with houses on each end and a wide dirt trail on an undeveloped side of the hill with the namesake Sea View. Not knowing exactly which end of the street it was on, we figured it out in a hurry. Two days later, the street is still blocked off with a lot of the fire trucks, and a mobile command center on the opposite side (which is the same style of vehicle that the Urban Search and Rescue had). Parking enforcement was there, guarding the end. Asked if the street was blocked to pedestrian traffic as well as vehicles, and was answered in the affirmative. I asked how we were supposed to rubberneck then???

We walked back, and took off down the next street over, a dead end that has something of a view across the canyon, and it turns out we were able to see a good amount of the property from there.

Unfortunately, there's one person unaccounted for, an 84 year old man. One story I read said he went back in for a litter of puppies. An old guy died last time there was a structure fire up here, too.

Last stories I read, they still hadn't determined the cause. I'd speculate that with that many people, someone may have been using a hot plate in their room. Could be a smoker, too, or some other reason for all I know.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

ReCovery 2.0

Finally a follow up with a post I alluded to!!! A post about a post, as it were!!!

In my last post, I mentioned the cat post getting ratty, and not in the way cats like (although, the cat didn't seem to have any qualms about how bad it looked). In the first shot, here's a trick the guy does, he'll leap right up on the top of the post, but never in a direction where he's good for a picture. Once again, you can see it's come undone.

So, as I did three years back, it was time to re cover the post!!! Next shot is the remains of the old rope removed. This time, instead of just bolting the post down on the rope, I cut a little groove into the bottom of the base to hold the rope. Came out a lot better, but it still has a bit of a tilt.

Instead of the hokey bent over nails on the top, I cut another slot on the top and secured it with a couple of steel straps on the top. I'm still planning to make up a new wood square to finish off the top, but I could tell the absence of a claw post was disturbing to the cat, so it's sitting in it's place as is for now. Also, I had considerably more rope to work with. Quite a while back I re-did the perch in the laundry room, and added a 2 x 4 claw post to the end employing the same rope wound construction. I purchased enough rope to make that one and have enough to cover the original completely. Unfortunately, none of the cats took to clawing much at it. Sometimes, though, when the cat is riled up, he'll run in and run up the side of the post, climbed to the top with his ears back.

Hey!!! I think he likes it!!!