Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

It looks clear and frosty white outside right now. Brrr!

I doesn't seem like much of a Halloween, but I guess that's because I live alone and I'm still sorta used to seeing the whole house transformed into orange and black like Teresa does every year. I haven't heard a peep from Sarah about carving a pumpkin this year either. Although it's her style to not communicate well and she waits until the last minute on most everything she does, I think it's more of a boyfriend thing this year. I'll stop by after work and see how it's all going.

I stopped on the way home last night and bought a few things to make up a special Halloween good bag for little Kailey next door. She's my special 3-year old neighbor. I bought her a fancy blinky toothbrush, a set of washable Crayola markers, and a little goodie purse with a candy necklace in it.

I didn't get anywhere near the amount of goodies that I got last year to hand out to trick-or-treaters. Last year was a bust and it was even good weather like they're predicting for tonight. Now watch me get swamped this time...

I bought one of those 5-foot tall glow-in-the-dark hanging skeletons the other day to hang in my little window that faces the driveway, but I still haven't hung it up there yet. I need to carefully put a screw in the top of the window frame to hang it on. Although it's glow in the dark, it's not going to glow unless it's "charged" by a light or has a black light shining on it. I highly doubt that I'll be flipping my light on and off to recharge it all evening, so I'll just hang it and let it be.

I think I'll ride the bike to work this morning. According to the web reports, it's 30 degrees out there. I can see it's plenty frosty, but it looks nice and clear. I wouldn't ride if it was foggy because that means icy roads. It's kinda weird--Although it's much more comfortable to ride in a nice warm car, sometimes I'd rather ride the Harley than scrape the windows.

At least this way I'll get a nice sunny ride home after work!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Weekend Winds Down

It was a good one. Sure, I could have probably found any number of "Halloween" parties last night, but I chose not to go out. That was due partly to the fact that I ate a huge dinner of leftovers and was somewhat lethargic, and partly because I really didn't have any particular direction to go.

The reason I put the word Halloween in quotation marks is the fact that it's not Halloween yet--It's this coming Wednesday this year. My way of thinking is that if someone has a party celebrating any event that isn't actually on that day, it isn't really the event, and for that reason I put it in quotation marks.

It's just one of my quirks.

I spent much of yesterday out in the garage. I know, I know--I should have been out on the Harley on such a beautiful day. The truth is, it was very foggy in the morning and really didn't get all that beautiful here until about 1pm, so it's not like I missed much. I chose instead to open the garage door (see, I was still sorta enjoying the day!) and work on my truck's steering column that I have out on the bench. I managed to get it almost finished, so I can get it back in before too much longer.

Today however, I was on the Harley. Weather-wise, it was a much better day than yesterday was anyway, so it's just as well that I waited. Debbie called at about noon and asked if I wanted to go for a ride. Her timing was perfect, because at that time the day was looking its finest and I just needed a destination. No arm-twisting required. She is going to be filling in for someone this week at a different branch of her office for three days over in Silverdale, so that's where we went. I have to say that when it comes to that sort of thing--It's always nice to "case" the layout in advance so you know where you're going when it comes time for you to show up for work. Today was a perfect day for it too. Sure, the ride to Silverdale from here is mostly freeway and can be boring, but when possible we detoured a bit to break up the monotony.

Today was the first time I had ever seen the new Tacoma Narrows bridge that they just built too, and that was pretty cool. Okay, paying a toll (it was $3 for bikers) kinda sucks, but it's not like you can do anything about it. Anyway, it was a great ride. It's been a while since I rode with anyone else, so it's good practice keeping pace with them and stuff. It's kind of a "watching out for each other" thing when you ride with more than one bike. It helps keep you from doing erratic & irresponsible riding and it insures that you make more deliberate moves and signal plainly.

At least to me it does...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I Cracked Up!

Let me tell you about Sue, our office administrator.

I think I may have briefly mentioned her a time or two in the past, but not really in much detail. She is a Jehovah's Witness. She doesn't "push" it on anybody, but neither does she hide the fact that it is part of her life. She is divorced, and has had a rocky time in the past, suffering the wrath of an abusive alcoholic husband. The as pulled herself up by her bootstraps and has become a survivor. She isn't an outgoing lady at all, and some consider her to be somewhat standoffish and cold. I understand her though. I was one of the few people that ever said anything to her, and I didn't care that I seldom got a reply--I still chose to greet her and talk with her whenever possible. Because of that persistence perhaps, she and I enjoy a friendship that nobody else at work has. By my standards, it's not a very close relationship at all, but for all I know it's near the top for her. We have talked about about many things and have shared many stories and anecdotes about our families and experiences. She has a very infectious, high-pitched laugh that is very easy to hear a little ways away. Yesterday we both had tears streaming down our faces from laughing.

I was at work yesterday morning and was sitting at my desk when she had just come out to use the paper cutter that resides in my workspace. Her work day starts at 8am, so she had just gotten to work a few minutes earlier. My leather jacket and helmet and stuff was sitting over by the paper cutter, so she commented on my riding in on such a cold day. Here's kinda how it went:
"You rode your bike today?" she asked incredulously, "It was kinda cold wasn't it?"
I leaned towards her for emphasis, and said in a mock sheepish expression on my face, "Yeah, it was so cold I couldn't pee for like an hour after I got here."
She erupted in laughter as she turned to the paper cutter. She was standing there and was just about to start cutting, and she again erupted in fit of laughter, this time more intense than the first.
"What?" I asked turning towards her. I hated to miss out on a good chance for conversation between us when she was in such a good mood.
"I was just thinking that..." Suddenly she erupts in laughter again, doubling over instead of cutting paper. In between laughs she manages to get out, "I was thinking that you need to get one of those things they put over faucets in the winter!" With that she cracks up again.
"You mean those styrofoam cup things?" I asked.
She nodded, still laughing herself silly as I joined in. Both of us laughed and laughed at the thought. Then as the laughter was starting to die down, I just had to rev it up again:
"I dunno--I think I would have to wear it on the outside, and imagine the people pointing while I'm stopped at the traffic lights 'look mommy, what's that man have on him?'"
We laughed and laughed and laughed... By the time we were finished we both were wiping our eyes and others nearby were wondering what all the ruckus was. As to not embarrass Sue I didn't explain it to anyone else until after she had gone back inside. It was truly a special moment to get my Friday workday going.

After I got home from work I got a call from Teresa, wondering if I would go to Lowe's with her and help her look over some weatherstrip choices to fix the back door threshold on her house. She came and got me and she bought a "scrubber" weatherstrip that screws onto the bottom of the door to eliminate drafts, and also bought one of those plastic window kits that you use your hair dryer on. I took the back door off and put on the scrubber thing, which worked fine. She was happy about that. One draft eliminated. After that we put a layer of that plastic stuff on the back door window (yes, same door). It worked pretty cool! The window is only about 18" x 24" or so, but it's single pane and it definitely sweats in the winter. All in all, she was happy with what we had done in a short amount of time.

Shortly after I got back home Debbie came over, staying until about 9:30 or so. When we are together we yak incessantly about every little thing. I really enjoy her company a lot and we seem to be "clicking" pretty well!

What's this? Rick is "smitten" by someone?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Being a "Biker"

You know, it's funny... I never considered myself to be a "biker" and I still don't. I love motorcycles and always have. My balls are the same size as most other guys' are I'm sure.

Here in the Seattle area it rains a fair amount, but not like other places in the U.S. When it rains here it's like "slow motion" rain. Sometimes it's just drizzle and sometimes it's just sorta "falling".

First of all, let me preface my blurb by saying that I work from 6am to 2:30pm. That means that I leave home at 5:30-ish (also known as Oh-dark-thirty). When you walk outside at that time of day, you can't really tell what the weather is going to do because it's still dark. Because of that, I use online weather forecasts. I never rely on just one--I usually use at least two and average them out and look for commonalities.

Wednesday of this week I rode to work (I rode before that too, but this is when the weather came into play). The forecasts called for showers throughout the day. BFD. To me, "showers" means that whenever a dark cloud happens to be full enough, it will dump for a bit. That doesn't mean rain all day. When I rode in that morning, I got all sorts of comments from folks. Things like:

"Whoa, you are hardcore, buddy"
"I was gonna ride my bike in today but it was supposed to rain."
"What are you, crazy?"

I don't get it. Okay... I get a little of it: That last comment was mostly geared toward the fact that my rear tire is about shot (more like bald in the middle) and I don't use a windshield. Throughout the day it did rain off and on. But when I left work it was fine just as I knew (hoped) it would be. Had it not--Oh well.

Today it was the same thing though, but for a different reason. The forecast was for a sunny day. Here in western Washington in late October, if it's going to be clear and sunny during the day, it's going to be clear and COLD during the night. Bottom line. So I was going to not ride to work because it was so cold in the morning? No way! How the hell else do you enjoy a beautiful ride home in the crisp fall sun after work if you don't ride to work?

This morning was definitely cold. When I walked outside, it wasn't just "frost" on the car windows--It was ICE. The bank sign I later rode by in town said 30 degrees. No problem--I had on my extra layer and my "head sock" and my chin/neck warmer.

Among today's comments after I rode in:

"Fuuuck, you're hardcore man."
"Eskimo biker."
"You da man."

Okay, I admit... It's cool to get comments like that and I enjoy it. Who wouldn't? But just because I don't like to let Mother Nature tell me when it's okay to ride? Nah. Okay, I may be crazy sometimes--Riding on that rear tire for example. I didn't look at it as dangerous--After all, it has good tread on the sides for cornering. I looked at it like it was just more fishtailing throttle fun I could have on the straightaways!

Some may call me a biker, but I don't see it that way.

I'm just an enthusiast.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Would Like to Hope...

...That this may be a turning point. I spent about 3 hours outside after work troubleshooting the water leak in my car. How could I not? The weather today was phenomenal! At any rate, I have finally found the source of the water leak and spent plenty of time digging all the old crap out of the area before resealing it. I then used some different stuff than I did before--Stuff that was given to me by the windshield guy that came out to look at my car a couple weeks ago at work.

Did I fix it? I should know tomorrow, because when I finally narrowed it down I was able to see where it was coming in by pouring water in a certain spot. I'll do the same tomorrow while I'm holding my breath...

It was so nice today I couldn't believe it. Obviously I rode the Harley to work, knowing it was supposed to be nice today, but I wasn't prepared for how nice it actually was when I walked out to my bike after work ended!

I had spent all day yesterday and today at the back of the shop sitting in a chair doing silver solder work. Essentially, it's a form of brazing (which is like welding but not quite) but uses a specialty brazing wire that's very expensive, called silver solder (pronounced sodder). The reason we have to use silver solder is that I'm working with stainless steel, and regular brazing rod won't do the trick. These are little things that heart surgeons use in O.R. to restart hearts after they stop them during surgery. We make the rod and the round disk end both at our shop, and I'm one of the few people that knows how to attach them together and do a good job at it apparently. Job security? Nah, but it's at least a change of pace from my normal job.

Well, if it's not raining in the morning I'll ride to work again.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I'm turning into my dad! It seems to be apparent, and I don't like it one bit. Although there are many aspects to being my dad, I'm only talking about one particular trait that he possesses:

Fixing things that aren't broken.

Whenever he "fixes" things around the house or on a vehicle, he causes more problems than he started with. There are many reasons for it I suppose, and among them:

  • Not troubleshooting things correctly to begin with (me)
  • Not doing investigation before jumping in with both feet (me)
  • Lack of patience (me)
I suppose that I could come up with all sorts of things like that given enough time, but I don't have the patience for it. It suffices to say I've recently caused an awful lot of extra work/expense over things that never should have been "repaired" to begin with.

Let me see if I can come up with a few things to illustrate my point...
  • This last summer I totally gutted my car to fix what I thought was a leaky heater core. Was it leaking? I thought so, but maybe it wasn't. Did it fix the water leak? Fuck no it didn't, and I'm still fucking around with it. And that's after I spent $60 on a new heater core too. As of this very moment, I have a wet floor, the blower motor is out, and the whole top of the dash is still off of it. Add to that the fact that I've had two people out to work to "fix" what I thought must be a leaky windshield. Maybe it isn't? Who the fuck knows--Certainly not me because I'm "my dad" now.
  • I have not been able to figure out why my truck only starts some of the time. Instead of really troubleshooting it methodically, I've just been doing the "remove and replace" method. Is it fixed yet? Fuck no... I'm "my dad" so I obviously can't fix it. So far I have bought a new distributor cap, rotor, ignition module (it goes under the distributor cap), spark plugs, and ignition switch. When I removed the ignition switch, I couldn't get the new one back on. I stupidly (underline that) couldn't get the new one on, and little by little ended up delving deeper and deeper into it. Right now the whole steering column is out of the truck and on the bench in my garage, half torn apart. Will I get it back together? Who the fuck knows. All I know is, I bought a new ignition switch (fortunately fairly cheap), and a specialty tool for steering wheel disassembly that I didn't need. Why didn't I need it? Simple--I'm my dad and I tried to put the fucking switch in wrong. Instead of really investigating the problem, I assumed that a linkage had slipped when I took it apart, causing it to not align correctly to allow for reassembly. Wrong. There are a lot of parts in a GM tilt-wheel steering column. Key switch, turn signal switch, dimmer, ball bearings (I found 12 out of 14), tilt wheel linkages... What a mess. And all I had to do was open my fucking eyes...
  • The famed Harley shocks fiasco. I spent over $200 on shocks that have caused me nothing but trouble. Did they actually help the ride? Fuck no. What should I have done? Put some new tires on it. Instead of starting with the right things first, I lit the bottom of the fucking candle. Why? Duh... Obviously I'm "my dad."
  • Yesterday I went up to Federal Way to buy some more memory for my laptop. I took the old chips out and looked at them, noting their speed. I "assumed" that I should buy the same speed (pc2100 @266mhz for you geeks following this) to play it safe and make sure they would work, even though all the newer RAM is faster speed than that. I got home and plugged em in. Did they work? Fuck no. I could have easily taken my laptop with me and installed them on the spot, but nooooo.... I can't do anything right. Now I have to go back up there and get my $100 back (if I'm lucky). Just call me "my dad."
I could go on and on. It's plainly a case of me losing my ability to fix things, and because it has happened little by little, it's taken me a while to realize it. I'm not happy about this one bit. I can't see well, I can't hear well, my patience has been sliding for some time, and now this. I find it extremely frustrating. I don't make enough money for me to keep pissing it away "fixing" shit that was never broken to begin with.

Now I'm going to have to go into my Real Me page and change some shit. The fact that I "can fix almost anything" is now history, and who know what else I'll find...

Friday, October 19, 2007

What's Next to YOUR Toilet?

Those of you that know me, know that I have a little electronic Yahtzee game next to my toilet. In my opinion, it's the perfect thing to have sitting there.

Well, the perfect thing that's not reading material that is...

Obviously if you're female and you're just going to sit for a quick pee you probably are just going to be there for mere seconds. I'm not talking about that though, I'm talking about the classic #2.

When we (both sexes) use the toilet in a sitting mode we like to have something to occupy our time while we're sitting there. Face it, when we sit down there we don't always know how long we're going to be there do we? In a perfect world, our visits to the porcelain throne would be somewhat predictable, but as we all know, that's not the case.

I tend to think that most of us don't have anything near the toilet to occupy our time. For those that have reading material, the perfect things would be People magazine or Reader's Digest. Why? Well, both of those publications have things to read that vary from teeny paragraphs to multi-page articles, and everything in between. So if you sit down and intend to only be there long enough to read a couple of "Humor in Uniform" anecdotes but things don't quite go according to plan, you can always switch to a "Drama in Real Life" story.

Where am I going with this? Well as I was saying, I have my little Milton Bradley Yahtzee game and that's what I use instead of reading. The games are just the right length of time, and if necessary I can play more than one. This morning I beat my all-time record of 606, and it had stood for a few years. Notice the 4 little electronic hash marks below the Yahtzee?

I know what you're thinking: "This guy seriously needs to get a life!" Well, the way I look at it, this was a good way to start my day, and a Friday to boot!

Too bad I have to work tomorrow...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Catching Up

I probably shoulda posted yesterday, but I obviously didn't. I'll see what I can do about catching up with stuff.

Tuesday was my nephew Jesse's 21st birthday. Being a drinker, how could I possibly not go? My sister (his mom) said that they were just going to have a little dinner/drink thing at a family restaurant in Burien called The Elliott Bay Brewhouse & Pub. When I got home from work I went online to find the phone number of the place to make sure it was a "family" place so I could take Sarah. I was actually planning to find out from my sister when they were going to start eating and then just pop in for beers afterward. When I logged on however, there was a message from Jesse in MySpace that told me his mom had invited me to dinner with them. I texted Sarah and told her that if she'd drive us up in her car that I'd top off her tank for her. She picked me up a little later and away we went.

You know what? Her car has phenomenal sound in it! I have heard plenty of radio playing in it, but never a cd I guess. She had a cd of Fantasia playing, which for all of you that aren't familiar with it, is classical music. I was blown away by how clean and rich and full it sounded in her car! It was the best sound I ever ever heard in a car. Seriously. I told her I wanted that car back. Hahaha.

I was teaching her little bits about reading traffic patterns and when it was okay to speed (i.e. if everybody else is) and it was a pretty smooth trip. We got there about 5 minutes before they did. Besides myself and Sarah, it was just Jesse, his girlfriend, his sister, and his parents. It was great food, and what a heaping plate of fries that came with each one! I had a blackened ahi sandwich and it was great. I ordered the house brand Hefeweisen to drink, and Jesse and his parents followed suit. It was obvious that they didn't really care for it though. I was the only one that finished mine. Okay, okay--Both of mine. Jesse was plainly disappointed when we ordered though. He didn't get carded! Here it was, his 21st birthday, and he wants to produce his license with flourish and confidence, and nada. Nothing. I almost went over to the waitress and told her, but decided against it. Oh well. He'll get carded plenty of times in the future I'm sure. We went over to their house briefly afterwards for ice cream, but didn't stay long because Sarah had homework to do.

Right near my house we stopped and I topped off her gas tank. I was surprised--The gauge showed about 3/4 of a tank of gas, but it took $21 to fill it! Wowsa. Good thing it wasn't empty! When we were on our trip, it took somewhere around 40 bucks to fill it most times. Obviously, her gauge isn't very linear. No gauges are accurate from top to bottom... They always move faster at the top or bottom.

Teresa has been in almost panic mode lately about heating her house. The bill she just got was $152 for both gas and electricity, which I don't feel is that far out of line. For crying out loud, her house is 1500 square feet on the main floor and 1500 square feet in the basement. The best thing she could possibly do to ease all her worry are two things that she won't do: Get rid of the 2000 square feet of shit that she is hoarding, and downsize into a smaller house. Neither will happen because they are directly related. She won't get rid of anything at all if there's the slightest chance she might get a dollar for it "at the next garage sale," and because she has so much shit, she can't downsize. She's going to have to face that reality one day in the future though when Sarah moves out... Anyway, she's been running all around trying to seal up furnace vents in the basement and stuff like that. She called me last night all concerned about the furnace filter. I told her even if it was clogged it's not going to affect her usage any that she would notice, but I would blow it out next time I was over there if it would help. I think the smart thing to do would be to buy an insert for the fireplace. We moved into that house in 1998 I think it was, and although there is a fireplace in the living room and one in the basement big room, neither have ever been used.

I spent a few hours last night completely reloading my laptop. That's the one that sits on my coffee table downstairs, and it's what Sarah uses to do her homework on when she's over. I had removed the antivirus software I had on it a while back--Mainly because it slowed it down so much. I also wasn't that worried about it because there wasn't anything really on the computer except Microsoft Office and some web browsing stuff. Sometime in recent history she got something on it that screwed it all up. Who knows how those things get in, but it was enough of a problem it rendered the computer practically useless. It screwed up a lot of things. After all the time I spent reloading everything last night, I opted to put the antivirus software back on. I only considered whether or not I would have anything to lose if it contracted something, but I failed to consider how much time I would spend reloading it. It's at a perfect spot now, so maybe I should look at "imaging" the whole hard drive. That way I could just reload the whole thing all in one step.

I think I may be onto something there...

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Rest of Sunday

It was a good day yesterday. Even though I awoke with a headache it was a good day.

After I posted in my blog yesterday I felt inspired to write a little poetry once again. Even though it's currently residing on my biker site, I thought I'd go ahead and put it here too:

Full in the Face

Deafened by noise and pasted by bugs
the windshieldless biker rides.
Neck strained from wind, face numbed by cold
is the ride-style that he decides.

Some may opt for their comfort zone
behind their Plexiglas shield,
while others like myself may not...
Preferring scenery unconcealed.

The fall and winter months will show
a rider's grit and spirit.
Many riders, even those with 'shields
Will park and not go near it.

I, too, may opt to not go out
and ride in weather cold,
but I don't "mothball" my bike
when summer's sun grows old.

Sometimes the cold and moist fall air
is exactly what people need,
and having it blast you full in the face
is living life, indeed.


Debbie came down for a visit on her bike yesterday during the afternoon. That's the first time I had actually seen her bike. It's not a Harley--It's a Yamaha V-twin (I forget the model), but it sure is a nice one! We visited for a few hours and had a good time shooting the breeze. When she left I hopped on my bike and blasted up to my sister's house in Burien. It was her husband's birthday so I had a card for him.

When I left their house I had a testosterone/showoff moment: I did a full throttle burnout when I left--Holding it open through second gear too. Probably not the best thing to do in a residential neighborhood... Besides that, when I grabbed second gear I damn near slid off the seat...

Hopefully I didn't get blacklisted...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Sunday Morning Report

I hate it when I wake up with a headache. It's even worse when you have nothing to show for it (i.e. party the night before, etc). It's one of those "behind the eyeballs" headaches. I took an Excedrin--Hopefully that will take care of it.

I did end up riding the Harley to work Friday morning. I looked out that morning to drizzle, which wasn't a good sign, but after checking online to confirm that the weather was still expected to make a steady improvement throughout the day, I went for it. To my knowledge, it's the first time I've ever actually left on a bike ride with any form of rain actually happening. I must be getting well-seasoned. The ride was great even though I had to baby it somewhat. My rear tire isn't worth a shit and should have already been replaced. When you couple that with wet roads and lots of power--It can be fun or scary depending on your level or experience. In my case it was just fun. To put it in perspective: At one point I was running about 45 and hammered the gas hard to pass some traffic. The rear tire spun and the bike fishtailed slightly the whole time I was accelerating. It was cool!

When I got to work everyone thought I was nuts. A coworker came by my desk as I was getting my leathers off and said, "Oh you're the crazy one." One other Harley rider (who's a little goofy anyway) came up to me and the following exchange took place:
Him: "I was going to ride my bike in today, but it was raining at my house."
Me: "Yeah? So?"
Him: "It was raining at your house too?"
Me: "Yeah." (I said it like DUH!)
Him: "Oh."
At that point he turned and walked away, obviously losing that one. Just like I told everyone that morning, the weather turned nice and all their head-shaking that morning turned to jealousy that afternoon when it was quitting time and the sun was out. It was good to ride again. On the way home I stopped and got the new brake light switch I needed and installed that when I got home. It was an easy fix and it was only $14.

I took Sarah for pizza at Round Table for dinner to cap of the day. It was great pizza and a great visit.

Yesterday was slated to be a nice, sunny day. It started out foggy just like they said and turned to sun just like they said. I was going to take a bike ride, but opted to take the ignition switch out of my truck. It was no small undertaking because it was mounted up on top of the steering column, and that had to be dropped down to access it. Aren't any vehicle repairs easy any more? Jeez. Anyway, I bought a replacement for that as another step in finding why my truck refuses to start half the time. I only wanted to get the old one out to match it up with the new one. I may put it in today... Maybe not. At least I have it.

Early afternoon... Time for a ride. I had a destination in mind: My ex brother-in-law's house way out in the boonies between South Prairie and Wilkeson. He was married to my oldest sister for a number of years, and yesterday was his birthday. They divorced many years ago (not sure now how many, but quite a few) and I haven't seen him since. He is a great guy and I've been meaning to look him up for a long time. We still do the Christmas card thing, so I have their address (he remarried right after he was divorced). I looked it up on Google maps and wrote out directions. It was a beautiful ride, and I found his place relatively easy (only one wrong turn near his place) but as I expected, nobody was home. I thought that would be the case and really didn't care--I just wanted a destination. He and his wife are working on a cabin somewhere over near Ellensburg, and I suspected that with a nice weather weekend they would probably working on that. Anyway, now I know where they live and I can go visit any time I feel like it. They have a beautiful place! From there I swung over to the vacation place of one of my coworkers on Ohap Lake. He is there on weekends all the time off and on, but not this time. That was okay because I was enjoying the ride. Lots of fall leaves falling everywhere and plenty of sun. Back home I went, with a quick stop at my brother's house after I went by and saw him out front doing some work with his weed whacker.

It's supposed to be warmer today, but not as sunny. Debbie (my new biker friend from Federal Way) said something about coming down today on her bike, so maybe we can go for a ride. I guess her boyfriend is doing something today that she wasn't in on or whatever. At any rate, it will be good to see her again.

Hey what do you know... My headache is gone!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's Kind of a Heartbreaking Thing...

There I was at 5:30 this morning, the Harley sitting there idling... Warming up in the chilly early morning darkness. I was looking forward to riding to work this morning, knowing that the weather was going to be okay for it. I had my chaps on and had just put my jacket on when I happened to look out the garage at Harley sitting there in the driveway.

The tail light was out.

Dammit, and I had just replaced it the night before because one of the filaments (the bulbs have two filaments--One for brake and one for tail light) was burned out. Swearing under my breath, I grabbed a screwdriver and headed out there with a new bulb. When I got out there I noticed that the headlight was also out. WTF? I jiggled the high beam/low beam switch on the handlebars, and the headlight came on momentarily on the bright setting, only to go out in a quick flash of blue.

I know was that meant. When a bulb flashes once and looks bluish, that was its last gasp--It's toast.

Obviously there was more there than just a bad bulb, so I shut it off and rolled it back into the garage. I felt like a whipped puppy as I took my leathers off. At this point I didn't have time to dick around or I would have been late for work, so I didn't even have time to go upstairs and exchange my boots for shoes. As I got in my car and drove off, I felt momentarily happy that I had at least filled up the gas tank on it the night before. Something told me that even though I was planning on riding the bike I'd better fill it up anyway. At least that worked out.

Well, I troubleshooted the problem tonight after work. Both headlight filaments were burned out (weird!), and one tail light filament was burned out. I came back after going out and buying new bulbs, installed them, and was outside running the bike... Making sure everything was right. All the lights worked until I got to the foot brake. The hand brake lit the brake light up, but the foot brake didn't. When I started tracing the foot brake linkage back to find the switch that activated it, I found the source of the problem. One of the two wires on the switch had broken off the switch, leaving it bare and bouncing off anything near it. How do I know? I saw it spark when I touched it. I immediately shut the bike off so I wouldn't blow my new lights, and unplugged the broken part of the switch from the end of the wire so it wouldn't touch anything until I can buy a new switch for it after work tomorrow. I plan on riding it to work tomorrow, and the fact that I have no brake light when I hit the foot brake is moot. I always use both brakes when I stop, and if I'm using the hand brake the light will come on fine.

I have to wonder how long it's been like this because it has been going through an awful lot of tail lights in recent times...

I'm just lucky it didn't happen on the way to work this morning instead of the driveway. No lights at all is hard to work with when it's dark out...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Back in the Wind

Yep, back on two wheels and back in the wind--The negligent Harley mechanic mends his booboo!

I started working on the Harley again as soon as I got home from work last night and one thing led to another. Before I knew it, it was dinnertime. At that point I had it almost finished so I figured it would be foolish not to go ahead and do so.

My parents drove up right when I was finishing it. They had wanted to come over and meet my mannequin. It's actually about the best time for them to visit--When I'm in the middle of working on something. For some reason, my dad doesn't feel confrontational then. Of course, I get subjected to one question after another about what I'm doing and why, but that's the lesser of two evils when it comes to dealing with him. Mom wondered when I was going to name her...

I had the manager from the glass company show up at work right before lunch to look over my car. I already had all the interior trim removed, so his job was made a lot easier. He was much more thorough than the last guy was, but could not find a leak. I'm tempted to think that it's not the windshield either, but at least he did offer to remove and reset the windshield glass. "Just say the word... It doesn't matter to me." he said. He would have had to get another windshield to have on hand in case this one broke during the process, so he couldn't have done it yesterday anyway. I thanked him and told him I would do some more digging first. At least he gave me a tube of sealant before he left. A freebie is a freebie.

I'm very tempted to take the bike to work today, possible rain or not. I still haven't test-ridden it yet though, so I dunno...

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Monday Morning Report

So here it is--Monday morning, and I don't feel like writing. I feel I should though, so I'll pen a few things.

The windshield repair never happened. Some guy the glass company farmed the repair out to came by work, but didn't seal anything. He was only there about 15 minutes, and supposedly "air tested" the seal and didn't find a leak. After arguing with the lady at the glass company for a few minutes afterward, she said she'd send her manager out to talk with me today. On the plus side, I did isolate the leak down to the driver's side lower corner of the windshield. If I don't get any satisfaction from them, I'll try to seal it myself.

Sarah stayed over on Saturday night, but she didn't show up until almost 8 o'clock, so it wasn't much of a visit. She and her mom were out shopping up until then, so she just dropped her off on the way home. She picked her up about noon yesterday. Sarah was up late watching Saturday Night Live, so I had to wake her up at 10 or she would have slept all day.

The Harley is going together nicely. Because it's rainy and shitty lately, I'm taking my time doing it. I'm making little tweaks and improvements here and there as I go. Little things like brackets and such.

I swapped places between my couch and love seat the other day. I decided that I would like it better if their places were exchanged. You know what? I do.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Wednesday Roller Coaster

Yep, it was a series of ups and downs... All day long. For example:

I got in a wet car first thing in the morning and as usual, more water came cascading down when I turned onto the street But that was okay because I was going to have the windshield resealed later in the morning.(up)

The guy showed up and was there maybe 15 minutes and didn't do jack shit.(down) He wasn't even one of Cascade Auto Glass' people--He was someone they hired the job out to called The Windshield Guy. After I wondered about that for an hour and a half, I got a call from a lady at the glass company. She said the tech tested and couldn't find a leak. I asked her how the hell he could possibly know that in under 15 minutes and she informed me that he used air to check for leaks. Bullshit. I argued back and forth with her for 5 minutes. She obviously knew nothing about water leaks, but she is going to send her manager out on Monday.(up) Meanwhile, I'll drive my waterlogged car around.(down)

I went home, made myself a drink, and headed right out to the garage. I got the affected (aka screwed up by yours truly) part off the bike, chucked it in the bench vise where I could work on it, and managed to get all the threads that I ruined all straightened out again.(up) Although I could put it back together now, I want to find out if I can buy bolts with a slightly longer thread on them for better contact first. I'm not real thrilled with how few threads the bolts have in contact.(down)

After dinner I decided to go over to Fred Meyer to buy a birthday card for my brother Denis. I called Sarah to see if she wanted to go but she had homework she hadn't finished yet. I decided to take my truck if it would start. Hooray! It started!(up)

I shopped for about 15 minutes and came out to leave and the truck wouldn't start.(down) It turned over like you wouldn't believe, but nary a pop would it make. No way. I walked back home (it's only across the street basically) to put my stuff in the fridge, grabbed an umbrella, and walked over to my brother's house and visited for a while.(up)

I walked back to Fred Meyer and the truck still wouldn't start.(down) Fuck it. If it's still there after work today I'll try it again.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Finally? We'll See...

I don't know why it took me this long, but sometimes I do things totally backwards.

I came home from work Monday and got into my file cabinet, and after a few minutes I found the receipt from when my car windshield was replaced 5 years ago. It turns out that Cascade Auto Glass has a lifetime warranty, so I called them at their 800 number and set up an appointment. Back when they replaced my windshield they came out to my work to do the job right there in the parking lot. Today they're coming out to reseal it--Again, right there in the parking lot.

How cool is that?

I hope it works, because you can't believe how much water came out of there when I went down my driveway Monday morning after a whole Sunday of downpour. Holy crap!

I'm getting tired of having to travel with a terry cloth towel for a window defogger. I had to take my heater motor out so I didn't fry it. I want it back. I want a nice, dry, comfortable car like all cars should be.

On the plus side... I'll be able to grow mushrooms in there soon...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Change of Pace

I've decided to stop the beer drinking. Not permanently... But for a while. And not all drinking--Just beer.


Little by little, two things have happened that made me rethink things:

  1. I've grown accustomed to having good quality beer to drink.
  2. Because it's good beer, I tend to drink more.
It has occurred to me recently that I'm buying beer way too often, and at 10-15 bucks a pop, it's adding up. In all actuality I'm spending as much feeding my beer habit as smokers spend nowadays on their overpriced nicotine sticks. It's not unusual for me to drink at least 3 beers a day on weekdays (many times it's more). On weekends I may go through way more than that. Way more.

So I figured that I'll change my M.O. and go with mixed drinks for a while--Specifically (at least at this point in time) vodka/cranberry. I buy Skyy vodka, and it's very smooth and great stuff. Even at a slightly higher price, a big bottle (I like bulk) of Skyy will go a long ways, so it's way cheaper than all the beer I've been drinking.

There are a couple other advantages too. Mixed drinks don't have near the calorie count as beer does, and they are also way less filling. I predict better eating and sleeping habits as well. For one thing, I probably won't be getting up in the middle of the night to pee as often.

Of course I'll still keep beer in the fridge. I like to cater to friends that drop in, and I will still want beer whenever I might have pizza. It's not like I'm "anti-beer" or anything...

Anyway, just thought I'd share that.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Well, Let's See... What Did I Do This Weekend...

Actually, out of the whole weekend Saturday was the only day I did much of anything at all. I thought I was going to have Sarah over for dinner and a sleepover on Friday night, but that got changed to Saturday night, so Friday was an uneventful evening. I nice relaxing one though.

I started of Saturday morning by going shopping. I went up the hill to our local Kohl's department store which I had never been to. According to their online ad they had some sort of 12-hour killer sale going. Since I was in the market for some housewares away I went.

I was in the right mood for shopping. I was relaxed, the store wasn't busy, and I was exploring because I had never been there before. It reminded me a lot of most any big "mostly-clothing" store like JC Penney, but I didn't see much of anything there that made my motor whirl. I spent a lot of time in the bed and bath departments, but all I bought was a cool shower curtain. Check it out:

I also bought a bright orange Halloween t-shirt to give to Sarah. Although it was a very cool Jack o' Lantern design, I bought it because it was bright orange--One of her school's colors. Okay, it was very cheap too...

While I was up there I went next door to WalMart. I bought a bunch of little shit that I needed, and also bought a wig for my mannequin bitch. There are lots of em around for Halloween and they're all cheap. I finally settled on a black "pirate wig" just because it was about the right length. It was a pirate wig because it came with a red bandanna wrapped around it. It had a couple stitches holding it on, but it came off easily. Now I just need to get a little double back tape. Her head is too slippery to keep it on well. When I do that I'll take a picture.

After I got home I spent the next 3 hours making a marinade and prepping my barbecued shrimp skewers. I had a lot of little shrimps to do. With anywhere from 8 to 12 on each skewer, I ended up with 13 skewers of em. Sarah finally showed up at about 4:30. I wish she would have come over earlier--I could have used the help. Besides the shrimp on the BBQ, I also made us oven-roasted veggies. The whole meal was killer. I can always tell when Sarah likes something a lot by how much she eats. She almost matched me!

She didn't stay long though. She had a function to attend up at a friend's house up on the hill at about 7 or so. Such is the live of a teen. Busy, busy, busy. I'm so glad she's a popular girl. Her mom is too, but because she never was--She's living vicariously through Sarah.

The rest of the evening was spent yakking online. It was so great to have Mary, who lives in South Carolina join us in our Paltalk chat room! I can't remember the last time we all had such a consistently fun chat. I never seemed to really die off like it sometimes does. I hope she pops in all the time.

Yesterday? A nice, rainy naked day. I spent the whole day doing domestic chores in the buff. It's such a cozy thing to be indoors on such a nasty, rainy day. I did get disturbed at one point when a neighbor rang the bell to borrow something from my garage. At that point I noticed why I had heard so much water noise outside all night--My downspout was plugged and water was cascading over the side of the gutter that ran along above my entry door and making a waterfall onto the sidewalk. I was instantly wet from all the splashing when I opened the door. I was able to clear it easily with a piece of something I had in the garage bent into a "J" shape and reaching up with it. I didn't even have to use the ladder. When it cleared it was like a dam burst!

In between doing laundry and stuff I spent time tidying up my computer. I'm getting it ready for a complete reload to see if I can speed it up a bit. There are so many things that get buried on a computer over time... I found 8 movie images that I hadn't burned onto DVD yet, and lots of mp3 files as well. The more space a hard drive has, the more shit you end up putting on it. Add to that the fact that I like downloading stuff and it can get out of control.

Considering it rained all day yesterday, I'm scared to find out how much water is going to come out of my car heater when I take off this morning. I'd better take a big towel with me to put under it. I'm going to get some quotes this week on getting the windshield resealed. I'll start with the outfit that replaced it 5 years ago.