APRIL 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

This evening was a stroll down Memory Lane. Circa forty years ago I was a founding member of a performance group, The Star Spangled Banner of Yr Mind. Tonight the current version of the group, including two other founding members, presented an evening of poetry theater with words, music, and pictures inspired by film noire. I was there with my trusty camera and got some pictures.

Michael Campagna provided music.

SSBYM foundng member Herb Schmidt with Vicki Abelson.

Founding member Michael C. ford with Karole Foreman.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I hung out at Herb's place, doing the crossword, playing on the computer, and otherwise putting in a lazy day, then I set out for the Inland Empire. That's what they call the area east of Los Angeles in western San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. I was on my way to dinner with somebody I hadn't seen in almost thirty years. Johnnie Moore is a former student who I last saw as a sixth grader all those years ago. Johnnie was one of the most memorable and remarkable people I've ever met. At ten years of age he was more of a man than some people are at twenty or thirty. He wasn't  flashy, not the life of the party or the center of attention, but he quietly took care of business more impressively than just about any kid I ever knew. At the beginning of fifth grade I gave the kids a reading test, and his score was on grade level, fifth grade. The following spring I gave them the follow-up test to see what progress they had made. Johnnie scored tenth grade plus. Amazing. So now, all these years later, he's an engineer at an aerospace firm. He met his wife Trena when they were both working at an IT company. With a couple of smart parents like that, I imagine little Solomon will turn out to be a pretty sharp kid. We had dinner at a Japanese grill in Rancho Cucamonga and spent the evening  catching up on what we've been up to, mostly what I've been up to, since we last saw each other.  It was a great evening, and I aim for us to get together again before another thirty years go by.

And here I'll digress to comment on L.A. area traffic. I always tell people that the traffic doesn't bother me because I was raised in it. That's true, in the sense that it doesn't scare me. I know how to drive in it and deal with it.  But I must say it is getting to be a bit much.  Driving from the west Valley to Fontana this evening was a bit of a shock.  The road was filled all the way  to Pasadena, but  there wasn't a lot of slowing.  But east of Pasadena
the Foothill Freeway, which had hardly any traffic on it a few years ago, was jammed full with stop and go in several places on a Saturday afternoon. The forty mile parking lot has been a rush hour staple for decades, but the stop and creep jamming is expanding earlier and later in the morning, earlier and later in the afternoon, and on weekends.  I don't mind driving in it  during occasional visits,  but it's one of the reasons I'm so happy not to live in California anymore.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Today I went and saw my old friend DeEtte for the first time in three years. She introduced me to the Mongolian grill, and I seriously tied on the feed bag. Tomorrow I head home.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I was up early and on the road at 3:30 AM Pacific Time. With my self-imposed speed limit of 55-60 mph I was in Tempe by 1:30 PM Mountain Time. I went to the nearest U-Haul and rented a trailer, and went to pick up my new Fordor sedan. I had it loaded in an hour and a half and was under way again a little after three. A couple of hours later I stopped in Benson to eat. In the mood for some comida Mexicana, I went into a likely looking place and took a look. There wasn't a Mexican in the place, and there were no bottles of hot sauce on the tables. My Kansas experience told me those are not good signs, so I went down the street and had Chinese. A little night driving had me about fifty miles into New Mexico, where I bedded down in the back of the Suburban at a rest area.

Thursday, March 6, 2012

I got started again at 5:00 AM and spent most of the day crossing new Mexico. Strong winds from the south gave me a good tailwind, and my mileage rose to 10.6 mpg and 11 mpg from the numbers like 8.4 and 9.7 the Suburban usually gets pulling a trailer. After a stop in Amarillo to eat about 5:00 PM, I kept going until 11:35 PM Central Time and slept on the Wal-Mart parking lot in Enid. Again, the price of accommodations was perfect.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It was a short two hour drive home from Enid, and I was here at 7:30 in the morning. Daisy was so glad to see me she piddled. I spent most of the day unloading the sedan, returning the trailer to the U-Haul in Ponca City, unpacking, paying a few bills, picking up my mail at the post office, and grocery shopping. It was a good trip, but it was good to be home.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Yes, I returned yesterday morning from my trip to California. While out there I bought a laptop with the intention of keeping up my website while on the road. Unfortunately the Windows machine refused to open my web pages and I had to wait until I got home. Maybe before the next trip I can find software that will work. Meanwhile, I'll resume keeping the blog reasonably up to date, and I'll fill in a few items from the past three weeks. That means there will be occasional new posts between February 14 and March 8 as I do a little catching up.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Today I did a little catching up on reading the local papers that came while I was gone, then started getting the new sedan ready to run. The battery was dead, so I put a charger on it. The battery was so dead it wouldn't even take a charge, so I borrowed a battery off the mowing tractor and put a charger on it. I'll let it charge overnight, and maybe get the car running this weekend.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The day started with laundry (three weeks' worth), then I went to check out a couple of auctions. In Wellington, Ken and Rick weren't selling much that interested me, so I moved on to Mulvane. There the Brazles weren't doing much better. I made bid on a couple of items, but others wanted them more than I did. I did spot something I wanted in a pile of stuff somebody else bought, and I gave him a dollar for a Nash wrench. Now I have car company wrenches from Ford (dozens), a couple of Cadillac, a couple of EMF, a Mitchell, and a Nash. Back home I started to install that battery off the tractor in my new car, but didn't have the proper bolts to fit. Naturally, the local Ace didn't have them either, so I'll wait until Monday and try Fastenal. We used to have a real hardware store here, but we voted with our dollars to get rid of it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Never went off the place today. I spent a wet chilly day inside staying warm. I sorted sox, then wrote a letter to the manufacturer pointing out that a lot of their new sox develop holes on the first or second wearing. This is a brand that used to last for years. In fact I'm still using some that are several years old and still good. I spent some time making hooks to hang up car parts and get them out of the way. I sorted and organized receipts which I'll record and file so I can keep track of expenses. Tomorrow is supposed to be dry and warmer, so maybe I'll get out and see if I can get that new sedan started and see how it runs.

Monday, March 12, 2012

No big jobs done today, but a lot of activity anyway. With warm weather coming on I started the day with house cleaning. There's no guarantee that I won't need the fireplace again, but I cleaned it out and started on the living room. I won't get that all done today, but I did take out the boxes I've been using to bring in firewood, did some sorting, tossing, and straightening up, and vacuumed some of the firewood debris off the floor. This afternoon I got busy on trying to start that new car. I tightened the terminals on the recharged battery, got in, and turned the key. The coils buzzed the way they should, and the starter turned the engine. And turned. And turned. Not even one cough. So I stole the carburetor off my touring car, because I know it works, and put it on the Fordor. The car started right up with no trouble and ran very nicely. After a few minutes I started backing the car toward the barn, intending to use the compressor there to air up the tires. I went about a hundred feet and it died. Again, not even a cough. My guess is that a little bit of debris from the tank has clogged a passage in the carburetor. Tomorrow I'll take the carb off and clean it out, and see if that's the problem.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

No, that wasn't it. Cleaning out the carburetor made absolutely no difference, so I suspect an ignition problem. At least I'm getting plenty of practice removing and installing carburetors. I pulled the stalled car back into the carport where it will wait until I have time to get back to work on it. I need to get ready for another trip, this time a short one. I'm off to the Chickasha prewar swap meet in Oklahoma for a couple of days, and may stay for a big auction near Oklahoma City Saturday morning.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I arrived at the fairgrounds about one and found lots of vendors already waiting for the gate to open at four. There's always some dealing in the lot, and today was no exception. I picked up a pair of good Hayes demountable clincher rims for $20 each.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The first full official day is always the biggest, and I did a lot of shopping and sightseeing. Here are three pictures of the many I shot today.


Friday, March 16, 2012

The second day is fairly busy early, and quickly winds down around noon. By evening almost all the vendors have left. I did more shopping and found a few more bargains.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I stayed in Oklahoma another day for an auction in Piedmont. It was mostly Model T, with some Model A items, and almost nothing else. I passed up large items because I didn't want to go home to get a trailer and come back. As it was, the old Camry was riding pretty low all the way home.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The main activity of the day was unloading and putting away swap meet and auction plunder, then a trip to town for groceries.

Monday, March 19, 2012

On a rainy Monday I spent the day inside, mostly slaving over a hot computer editing and posting swap meet and auction pictures. Here are a couple of links:

Chickasha swap meet

Piedmont auction

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another rainy day started out dry enough for me to get in my morning run. I did the three miles in 32:14, which is not great but not as embarrassing as some of my really slow times earlier. By ten the light sprinkles were under way, and kept up most of the day. While wetness continued outside, I slaved over a hot computer writing a letter to my federal senators and my representative suggesting a way of saving money currently being wasted. Here's the letter:

   We Republicans love to gripe about waste and inefficiency in government. Recent media reports have brought to my attention an instance of federal waste that I think would be relatively easy to correct. ABC News, NPR, and I presume other media organizations, have reported on huge piles of dollar coins  that the mint has been ordered to produce but which aren’t being used. The implied point of all these stories has been “Oh, what a terrible waste of our taxes, making all these coins that aren’t being used.”
   As often happens, the media folks have got it wrong. In fact, they have it exactly backwards. The mint should be making all those millions of dollar coins, which last in circulation thirty years or more. The federal government should stop wasting millions of dollars printing paper one dollar bills that wear out and have to be replaced in a year and a half.
   I think simple grade school arithmetic will show that the cost of one thirty-year coin is much less than the cost of  the twenty paper bills it should replace for those thirty years. I see this as an opportunity for you to introduce legislation which will in fact save millions that are currently being wasted.

We'll see if anything comes of it. I expect nothing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another wet day had me indoors again, spending a big part of the morning filing receipts and organizing files. The wet, chilly weather is supposed to continue tomorrow, then clear for a sunny and warmer day on Friday. There's plenty to keep me busy, indoors and out, but I'd like to have some dry weather that will let me sand blast some rims and get them ready for galvanizing. I want to get a  good set of wheels on the touring car so I can tour. This afternoon I got back to sanding primer on one of the steel felloes for my new rear wheels.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More indoor work while the wetness continues. It's supposed to let up tonight. I spent half the day trying to make a new business card. I can't just reprint the old one because my email address has changed. Unfortunately my computer has changed too. That means a lot of what I learned to do no longer works. I finally got a pretty good looking card on the screen, but printed out it's a sorry piece of crap. Maybe I'll figure out this machine before it's "obsolete" and I have to start learning a new one.

Friday, March 23, 2012

This morning I bought a router so I could remove the wire connecting my computer to the modem and go wireless. I had already downloaded the manual from the Netgear website, and thought I had a pretty fair idea of how to set it up. When I opened the box I found that the installation CD mentioned in the manual wasn't there, and wasn't included on the list of items that came in the box. So I went to the Netgear website and looked up their phone number. Based on my previous experience with "help" on websites, I didn't even bother to look at the FAQ's or other stuff there. I wanted to talk to a responsive human who could talk me through the problem. The technician knew his stuff, and eventually we got the thing working. I had to make the poor guy say everything two or three times before I could understand what he was saying. The problem wasn't him. It was the rotten sound quality of the phone system. Most companies have the miserable sound quality for the hold music, but in this case it extended to the live speech. Anyway, the router now has me wireless and everything's up to date in Parkerfield. The one downside is that I was hoping the wireless coverage would extend out to my workshop so I could use the laptop for internet out there. Unfortunately the signal reaches only about halfway there. So you win some, and you lose some.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

After doing laundry I was off to an auction a couple of miles south of Chilocco. I spent most of the day there, catching up on my reading and bidding when they got around to something I wanted. It was a pretty good one. Today's haul: a washtub wringer in excellent condition, $20; two and a half bags of charcoal, $2.50; a couple of dozen bricks, $5; a pail of trowels in various sizes, $3; an army blanket and a comforter, 50; and a big stack of lumber, $175. It was that last item that drew me there. This was a lot of good old lumber that was kept inside and is in great  shape. The same stuff new would cost well over $1000. I'll go back tomorrow with a trailer and start hauling it home. I don't know if I'll be able to move it all in one day.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The first job was taking out all the lumber that was stored on the north porch of the shop.

I think it will be safe sitting outside until I can move it back in.

I spent a lazy Sunday morning checking email and browsing the favorite websites, then got busy.  The first job was taking out all the lumber that was stored on the north porch of the shop, under the carport. With no rain in the forecast for several days, I think it will be safe sitting outside until I can move it back in. I cleared the porch so I can stack that auction lumber there, then I'll move this lumber back in next to it. I hitched up the trailer and drove down to the auction site, a couple of miles past the state line, to fetch lumber. I seems that when I bought that stack of boards I gambled and lost, at least partially. Everything was OK in the top of the pile, but down near the bottom I found termites and some seriously eaten lumber. So some of it will be good enough for building a tool shed or a wood shed, and some of it will be firewood next winter. I figure if half of it is usable I still came out ahead on the deal. I think what I loaded on the trailer and brought home today was about a tenth of the stack, so this job may last several days.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I thought I might move all that lumber home in a day or two. Silly me. This morning I started unloading what I brought home yesterday, and while stacking it in the carport I realized that I need to take a different aproach. Before I haul any more home I need to take it all out of the shed where it's stored and sort it by size and length. Given the size of the pile, that may take a couple of days. Once all is sorted, then I can start bringing it home and stacking it. That part may take another couple of days. If I have it all  hauled home and put away before Saturday, I'll be very pleased.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I arrived at my Kay County lumber pile at 8:30 and resumed carrying boards outside and sorting them on the ground. By noon I had the last of the top part out, and the cross pieces on top of the bottom part uncovered. By the time I quit abiout 4:30 I was well into the bottom part. I hope I can finish taking it all out tomorrow.   

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I think I got all the good lumber out. It was stacked on the dirt floor, and most of the boards near the bottom of the pile have termites. If I have time to take all of it, the termite eaten stuff will be heat next winter. In the morning I'll take the trailer down and start hauling home all the sorted lumber. If I get it all home before the weekend deadline, I'll use whatever time is left to bring the future firewood.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another day, another load. I brought home another trailer full of lumber and got most of it put away. That brought me to three in the afternoon. I had to run a couple of errands in town, so didn't have time to go for another load. Tomorrow is another day.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The rule that everything takes longer than you think it will is still in full effect. I was down at the auction site by eight. It took a couple of hours to stack a load on the trailer, and after a stop in town for groceries I got home about 10:30. It took me most of the rest of the day to unload the trailer and put a lot of the lumber under the carport. But there's more than will fit under there, so I'm going to have to stack some of it outdoors and put tarps over it. I'm planning a new tool shed behind the house, and I think I'll make it long enough for all this lumber to fit inside. But first things first. In the morning I have to go fetch another load.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Today's first order of business was a trip to Blackwell. I went to a garage auction, shopping for a cherry picker. It turned out that somebody else was willing to pay more for it than I was. When the price got close to the cost of a new one, I dropped out. There will be another one some other time. I left Blackwell about noon and went for more lumber. I put one more load on the trailer and got home a little after three. That's probably the last trip with the trailer. Tomorrow I'll go in the pickup, and I think that will hold all that's left.  



APRIL 2012