Thursday, September 09, 2010

New Sheriff in Town!

Spotted this ad on a phone pole while taking the dogs for a walk. Those Russkies will know not to mess with these parts!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

To hell with all that other shit to talk about, JEEP!

I know it has been a shit ton of time since I posted anything original on here. All sorts of completely mind blowing and life changing things have happened to me over the last few months... but I don't want to talk about any of that. I have a jeep to tell you about.

That's right, after about eight months of work I have finally put the jeep on the road again. It is running for the first time in what I estimate to be about 40 years.

In the last few weeks I had finally gotten the the whole thing put back together. The engine and all the running gear was in. Everything was hooked up.

Rebuilt engine going in:

Engine as I found it:

Engine after being rebuilt:

You can imagine the anticipation as I was about to hot wire the thing and it was going to turn over for the first time. In my head I am thinking about all the things I might have put together wrong. The things I am pretty sure I did right but don't know for sure. About all the things that I will have to redo if I fucked it up...

With Chestocrates as my able-bodied assistant I connected the starter for the first time!



What the fuck?

"That is not enough noise. The engine isn't even turning."

The guys who had rebuilt the starter had put the wrong direction drive in it. When I connected it, the gear didn't engage the flywheel at all.

Another week.

OK. Now it is all back together. It should turn right over. So, I connect it all up again. This time when I engaged the starter.... it went


That's it... and some sizzling sound from the starter...

Obviously something is still wrong. No problem I try various things and figure out that for some reason the starter is not powerful enough to turn the engine over. I had just rebuilt the engine so maybe things are a little tight. I consult Amateur-Sophist and a few other experts... Most seem to think the starter is still the problem.

I take out the starter again and have the starter shop look at it again. They say the did it right this time... and imply the size of my battery cable is insufficient to get the job done.

I assure them that that is not the problem...

Eventually I end up back at my house stumped. I built the engine totally to specs (I think), I didn't leave a wrench in there... what the fuck is the problem.

The transfer case mid-rebuild:

Finally I have an idea!!!!

Obviously I need more power!!! The easiest way to do that is to up the voltage to the starter. The jeep is a 6 volt system. I decide to take the battery out of the Buick and try that. It is 12 Volts, Don't worry, the internet seems to say it should be OK for the starter. So I took that battery that I got for turning a cold V-8 Buick in Montana and put it in the jeep. We are talking 4 digit cold cranking amps here!

It was like a wild animal loose in the house!

It worked quite well. It worked better than I could have ever expected. Sort of like when you discover the right tool for the job and that tool is a chainsaw... and the job is cutting up phone books!

Assume there was maniacal laughter!

It is running in this picture: (You may just have to trust me on that one.)

Soon after that the engine was running great though with the Buick battery in it. There was some other small quirks to work out... and now that it is a little broken in and lubed up on the inside, it only takes a reasonable 6 Volts to get her started.

As some of you may remember... success will soon follow. "Who thinks I can make it through that puddle?"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Email from my Dad

Appropriate for Father's day, I got this email from from my dad today. I have posted it here with his permission...

Also, I will be posting again myself soon:

"Well we knew this would happen, I finally got to see the inside of a Saudi Police Station. It’s ok, I’m out now. Some little misunderstanding involving me, a tanker truck with no brakes, an excitable truck driver from Sudan, 6 squad cars, and a mystery arab.

There I was, driving the site, having warm thoughts of success as I observed a road crew with hard hats, retro-reflective vests, shoes, safety cones, (the works). Just then, a fully loaded tanker truck blew through at about 100 kph leaning on his horn. I was somewhat incensed so I took off after him to slow him down and give him the old impromptu safety lecture. I pulled in front of him an began to slow down. He moved left, I moved left. He moved right, I moved right. Still at a high rate of speed with horns blowing and arms waiving. I finally got him slowed down after another mile or so… I stopped my car in the middle of the road to get out and enlighten him when, BAM!!! He hit me!!. If I wasn’t excited before, I sure was now. I met him as he was climbing down the steps of his semi truck. The conversation was made easier because he only spoke Sudanese and I only spoke arm-waving, sputtering English. After a bit of this, he reached into his truck and showed me that he had very little in the way of working brakes on the truck. Great, I just threw myself in front of a speeding tanker truck with no brakes. I’m lucky the guy didn’t drive over me. By now, having looked at my somewhat shorter car, I’m beginning to rethink things.

He reached in his pocket and drew out his cell phone and I drew mine… he was quicker though. He got his manager at Saudi Ready Mix Concrete Company, I got a wrong number. But then, I called the Xxxxx’s Director of Safety and Traffic Management so I trumped him by a mile.

Two seconds later, about 6 squad cars showed up and easily a dozen police jumped out and surrounded the poor Sudanese guy. One of the cops walked over to me and said, “don’t worry, he’s guilty”. By now I figured I would be home for cocktail hour. No such luck.

A little custom over here is that everybody gets to go to the police station to settle things and pick up a police report (no police report, no repair shop will fix your car).

So off we go, me, the cop, and the truck driver to the nearest police station on the other side of about 30 miles of sand dunes. 45 minutes later, we roll up to a rundown beige brick building with a bunch of barefoot guys in uniform sitting on a rug smoking and drinking tea. They looked at me and went on with their work. After a bit, a guy who had 3 stripes got up and told me to sit down. He had to remove a pair of black socks from the chair and kick some sandals out of the way, I thanked him for his hospitality. He asked me what my nationality was.. believe me, I ran a few possible answers through my head before I answered USA. Then he asked if I worked for Xxxxx… yes I do. Saying you work for Xxxxx around here is like “open seseme”. The skies opened up, the sun shone, bluebirds began singing, etc. All the cops disappeared and I was there alone. Got a little creepy after 30 minutes. Then a rather highborn Saudi guy in white thobe and checkered guthra walked in, said “How do you do.” (not a question really). He disappeared. After another long wait, he reappeared. He asked me if I would allow him to pay for all damages and repair my car. Uh, sure? “Thank you, good bye.” He grabbed the Sudanese guy and they both disappeared down the street. A lot of disappearing going on. Now I’m standing in the cop station all alone again, the sun is going down, call to prayer starts and not another person in site. I walked out of the station and my car was there with all the papers and the keys. I did the obvious and jumped in and went home.

I learned today that I don’t have the authority to stop trucks and yell at the drivers. That’s ok because I don’t feel much like doing that again anyway.
That’s more or less what happened.

I am looking forward to coming home in 7 days… I will be on my best behavior until then."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Warp-Drive is almost fully functional!

This is the warp-drive out of my jeep. I think it is my favorite looking part in the whole car. Once I couple it to the subspace-dimension-collapsing gear that UPS should be delivering today I should be able to travel at a percentage of light speed in about a week!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Blackfly Song

This reminds me of my time in the forest service... actually anytime in the UP.

Mosquitoes too...

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Is that rust in your gear box: or just happy to see me?

Here is the freshly rebuilt 1942 Ford GPW World War 2 jeep engine. Rebuilding it didn't go quite according to plan... but now that it is finished, the only thing left to go is the transmission and transfer case.

No worries, here it is... I am sure it is pristine on the inside right?

Ah shit... well, that will buff out. Rust is no problem in a transmission right? It is like salt on a steak!

After a few hours, that is my tranny in a box... Just a little bit of rust. I am pretty sure I can remember how it all goes back together. After a bit of wire brush work, the gears cleaned up pretty well. I was just starting to think I was going to be able to put it back together with a few new seals when I pulled out the old vernier caliper. :-( <--- an="" anyone="" art="" because="" beyond="" br="" every="" f="" face="" for="" gears="" in="" is="" know.="" let="" limits.="" me="" much="" nbsp="" needs="" old="" part="" pretty="" project="" sad="" there="" worn="">

Break break.....

So, a funny thing happened to me at the junkyard.

I had to go visit the local junkyard to get some parts for the caddy. I told an associate of mine that I planned to spend Saturday in the junkyard. She mentioned that she had never been to one. I offered, "well, I think they are fun... you are welcome to join me."

So she did.

I was a little apprehensive because except for in a porno, I have never actually seen a female in a junkyard...

So we went, who knows, it might turn out like that porno right?

After signing in we started looking for the right model Cadillac that would have compatible cruise control components to mine.

As we were walking past a Toyota Rav4 that had obviously been in a massive roll over accident, my associate exclaims, "Hey, that car is still full of luggage... HEY! IS THAT A COACH PURSE!?!?!... it better be a knock off!"

after examining it...

"HOLY SHIT IT'S REAL! Why would someone leave this in here?"

As things turned out, this car was right next to a 76 DeVille that had just the parts I was looking for. So as I scratched around in the rust and dust disassembling this caddy, she was rummaging through this car and all the stuff inside. It looked like it was equipped by someone on a long road trip or was moving. Shoes, clothing, paperwork, etc...

Well as it turned out, the car was full of letters from it's former owner to God. There was several dozen letters to God expressing all of her thoughts and emotions.

There is a reason that I have never seen girls in junkyards... it seems girls find it boring to stand around surrounded by acres of slowly decaying immobile machines, but what is effectively the personal diary of another woman is very interesting to them.

My associate proceeded to read me aloud these several dozen letters to God.  Effectively it was her diary.

What they showed was her entire emotional, psychological, and physical state. (Actually the medical records and clothing showed the physical state.) Anyways, it sounded like her life totally sucked.

By the numbers her life was horrible. Money problems, guy problems, self-image problems, her mother just died, and her brother was a jerk, in and out of rehab, etc... Christ it was heart wrenching. Well, after reading all of these letters, we probably knew her better than anyone on earth. From what it sounded like, there was no one in her life that she was close to... though she did say that her grandmother was very nice to her.

On the way out of the junkyard I stuck my head inside the wrecked car... mostly to look for blood or something on the ceiling or somewhere. There wasn't any, though I had the thought that it still smelled like death but I didn't mention it at the time.

Eventually I had all my parts and we went home. I was in the driveway futzing with the cruise control of the caddy, (still doesn't work if you are curious) and my associate went inside to find out more through the magic of the internet.

As it turns out, the woman that we had gotten to know so intimately over the past few hours had died in that car a few months ago. From some of the letters, it seemed like she had just gotten out of rehab and was going to visit a friend who lived in Nevada. (We had read the invitation to her to go out there for the same date she died.)

Again through the magic of the internet, we read her obituary.

Turns out she was buried about 15 miles from here.

OK, I might get some weirdo points here... but whatever, this is how it went down.

Might as well give her grave a visit, I mean, we did really feel like we knew her at this point.

This was probably the most interesting cemetery I have ever been to in my life. It was a completely do it yourself cemetery. Whatever grave marker you want to put up for your dead is what there was. Everything from completely unmarked, to small wooden crosses, little tiled mausoleums, Dallas Cowboys themed plywood houses built on the graves... all sorts of crazy stuff. There was even a grave that was only marked with some plastic pink flamingos. It was a far cry from all the antiseptic cemeteries I have ever seen. This was no uniformed mid-western cemetery with identical grave markers that were designed specifically for ease of lawn mowing and maintainability...

This was not in the swanky part of town. The bank on the corner is were you buy plots to this place. It has some nice views... in case the residents care to look around.

Well, using some logic and detective work, we found our girl. Nothing on the grave more permanent than a few plastic flowers, the bank plot marker, and a few small rocks laid in a cross and a heart.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Monday, February 01, 2010

Where the F have I been?

Well... shit, I have been spending most of my time in the garage. That jeep is a time robbing whore. I am still in love... Actually, I would post some pictures, but to be honest, it still looks like a pile of rusting metal. Turns out you can put shit tons of time, money, and effort into a 68 year old car and it still looks like you haven't done anything. I just like to think that I am keeping her as a sleeper! I expect with some of the internal engine mods I have done she will be pulling about 70 horses at the crank! So no pictures till I waste some 5.0 Mustangs.

I kind of have a mechanical objects fetish. (Not like that you sick bastards!) I mean like watches, cars, guns, typewriters, aircraft, outboard motors, steam engines, and motorcycles... (This is why I am always going to need a bigger garage.) Basically I love anything that has small metal parts and can rust. The only exception to this is the bicycle. I haven't been interested in bicycles since I first figured out that you can slide a 92 Ford Explorer sideways through empty University of Washington football stadium parking lots. I am pretty sure my dad saw a spike in tire wear when I got my license. Either way, It wasn't that I wasn't interested in peddle bikes before. I even rode similar bikes to the cars I eventually would lower residential property values with. When I was in High School, I used to ride a 1940's bike all over Seattle and had about the same reputation as I do when I do rolling a 1976 Buick. Just imagine the wicked witch bike from the "Wizard of Oz" and you will have exactly the bike I used to ride correctly in your mind. What I am getting around to saying is that since I could afford to operate self-propelled vehicles, I have been totally neglecting the bicycle as a fetish object.

SHIT! Now that I think about it, they are still telling stories about my sail bike at the Gladstone yacht club! WHAT HAPPENED TO ME!?!?!

Anyways, Bicycles recently came back into my life...

So there I was, drinking... when I get the call from UPS, "Dude, where are you? Come out and drink as it is a day that ends in "Y"!" How could I argue with that logic... unfortunately like I said I had already been drinking, and a bright orange 75 Cadillac ElDorado attracts cops like hornets to baby formula. I couldn't drive to the bar... what to do?!?!?

Stoke of GENIUS!!!!!

I borrow my associate's bike!

Holy shit!

I had forgotten how fast you can move on a bike! I was at the bar practically before my text that said I was on the way. No problems with parking, you can go a more direct path, don't have to follow arterials, etc. Many advantages! In addition it was a lot more fun that I had expected.

So, to sum up... with the exception of riding a bike with a flat tire to a bar in Dearborn Heights I haven't ridden a bike since high school. Now, I am in the market for a bike again. I would ride one every day to work except for that stupid base helmet rule.

If only I knew someone with knowledge about bikes... Oh well, I guess I'll have to figure it all out for myself. All I know is that I don't want any carbon fiber components in a bike and batteries explode.

And totally unrelated, I discovered through the magic of Facebook that a friend of mine from Garfield high school lives only a few blocks from me here in Albuquerque. She invited me to her and her husband's house for post-hangover-Sunday-Brunch. You don't have to have a hangover to attend, I didn't infact... but it is kind of a theme like Pirate parties... (I know, you all are wondering what happened to me that I didn't have a hangover on a Sunday morning. What can I say, I am getting old, but you can assume I am just getting really good.) Right here in the city she and her hubby have a Branch-Davidian style compound... right here in down town Albuquerque complete with dogs, workshops, and defensible walls. They even have chickens! I know were I am going when the zombies come. Surprisingly, she has hardly changed at all since high school... she said the same about me. It felt remarkably like a high school lunch with better food.

All hail FACEBOOK...

Well, those few tidbits hardly explain where the hell I have been for the last few months. I have also been part of an imaginary air campaign in the made up country of Cimaria. I swear I am not making that up... they are even paying me to do it.

For various reasons most of my CV-22 Osprey training is done in the simulator. To make things a bit more interesting the missions they have us do in the simulator get progressively more more complex... basically harder. Also, it follows a scripted campaign in the imaginary country of Cimaria. (I thought we should invade Limnathia but apparently we are now allies with them these days.) It is a lot like the flying video games where you have to fly missions all through WW2 or something like that. Start off getting bombed at Pearl Harbor and fly all the way through the end of the war... Anyways, the situation seems to be deteriorating in the imaginary country of Cimaria. We started off just flying milk-runs of humanitarian aid and doctors around the country, but we just had the class on how to run the defensive systems of the Osprey and I think the shit is about to hit the fan. The last few simulator missions haven't quite been taking medical supplies to refugee camps anymore. I hope the government of Cimaria gets there shit together or I am going to have to actually study how all these electronic doodads work in this flying tupperware computer-lab.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I know this isn't whitty commentary on life,

but, it has hot chicks and machines... so it is almost like a normal post for me.

Audi Driver: Hey Girls, wanna go for a spin in my fast ride?
Girls: ehh not sure, there's not even enough space for all of us
Soldier: Wazzup girls, in the mood for a joyride?
Girls: Yay!
Soldier: Join the army if you wanna drive a tank.
Soldier2: Jump in.
Audi Driver: Hey, what about the spin?
Girl: forget It, I want to drive something big!
Narrator: The Austrian Armed Forces offer unique opportunities for young people who are at least 18, everything else is just everyday life.

I didn't find it because I was youtubing "Hot chicks and tanks" I found it first on They get the credit. Expect a real post before to long.