Friday, November 28, 2014

Just a bit of Fiction

The Smallest Moment

Brenda played the stay at home mom bit, but in reality she was a bit of a trophy wife that sort of looked after her husband’s kid.  She was a star in volleyball at collage and her legs got her invited to the right kind of parties to date rich men.  She played her cards well and now she has the beautiful house, hardwood floors, granite countertops, and the life of leaser that she believes she deserves. 

Jon does well at school, doesn’t get into trouble, and always wants to please… even if he seems to be a bit of a nerd.  Brenda knows that if he was her biological son, he would definitely not be such a nerd, but that can’t be helped.  As much as she would like a child of her own, it is better this way as she is approaching thirty now and a child could totally ruin her body and that just can’t happen! 

Her husband, older than her by ten years, is a VP in marketing for an automotive parts manufacture.  Not that he knows the first thing about cars, but he did well enough at the B-school to get a good starting job and is ambitious and status conscience enough to make his way up fairly quickly.  In actuality, he is pretty good at developing talent of the people that work for him but his one flaw is that he never recognizes talent or a good original idea until someone points it out for him.  After that he can take it and do amazing things.

Jon comes home from school carrying an oversized piece of paper very carefully. He doesn’t want it to get folded or crumpled up in his backpack so the whole way home on the bus he kept it in his hand, making sure nothing happened to it.  It is a drawing of a skeleton that he had made in art class.  The assignment had been to make a still life… but behind the still life in the classroom had been a medical skeleton so he drew that instead.  The drawing would have been impressive had it been done by a trained illustrator let alone an eight year old boy.

Paperclipped to the picture was a note from Jon’s art teacher.  “Jon is an absolutely amazing artist!  I have never in 40 years of teaching seen someone with such an eye for detail and the ability to put it to paper as well as your son.  I would like to submit this in the state art fair next month but I wanted you to get to see it before I sent it off as sometimes the art is not returned.  Truly AMAZING! –Edith Nellis.”

After setting the picture and note on the kitchen counter, Jon went excitedly to find someone to show!  Brenda soon came into the kitchen just home from yoga.  Not noticing what was on the slightly cluttered counter, she set her starbucks coffee and muffin down on the picture as she texted on her iphone 5.  As luck would have it, just as Jon came back in the room she picked up both her coffee and muffin and set them down closer to the sink. 

“Hey Brenda!  Look at this!” he said excitedly as he pointed to the picture sitting on the counter.

Looking up from her phone, Brenda glanced at the picture.  “Ooooh!  Very scary!  Did you draw it at school?”  then when back to texting.

“Look at the note from Mrs Nellis!”

Again she looked up, saw that there was a note clipped to the picture… “yes, put it on the frig so your father can see it in a few days when he gets home.”

A little disappointed that she didn’t read the note, Jon put them up together on the refrigerator with magnets so his father would see it.  The front of the refrigerator was stainless steel so magnets didn’t work there, but for some reason they worked fine on the side so that became the family bulletin board.

“I am going out for a few hours, be good for Maria.  She will feed you dinner.  Do your homework before you watch TV,” Brenda felt good about the last comment, made her feel like a responsible mother… though she knew he probably would have anyway and it wouldn’t even occur to her to check if he had.  Second graders don’t get any homework anyway…

Jon sat down at the kitchen counter and started doodling in the corners of the newspaper.  Happy thoughts going through his head about what his father might say when he showed him the note from his teacher.

About an hour later, Brenda came back into the kitchen dressed like she had stepped out of Banana Republic window display. “Where is this new place Jen wants us to meet at tonight?” she said into her iphone?  “no, you shouldn’t text and drive, just tell me the address and I’ll write it down.”

She moved about the kitchen opening drawers and closing them… 

“I even forgot what book we are supposed to be reading, Hahah!” she laughed, holding the phone with her sholder.  “As long as Lisa isn’t there, no one will even notice.”

Closing the last drawer with a pen in hand, she spun around and plucked a piece of paper off the side of the fridge.  Folding it in half to give herself a clean white area to write on, she started taking down directions from the phone.

“OH!  This is just where the old Zink used to be!?” she stopped writing. “Well, then I don’t need directions to that.  I’ll see you soon!  Bye bye.”

Looking at the unneeded directions, she carelessly folded it over again, popped open the trash compactor, and dropped the paper in.  Glancing around the counter, she picked up her mostly empty starbucks cup and half eaten muffin and dropped them in as well.  With the toe of her pump, she pressed the trash compactor closed and pressed the “COMPACT” button.  After a few moments of clicking the motor began whirring with the gratifying sound of the trash crunching.  With her domestic duties satisfyingly complete, she walked out to her Lexis and never thought of that incident again for the rest of her life. 

The next thing Jon ever drew was a small bit of a mural in the basement of his frat at Michigan State.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving trip to the farm... so far arrived.

So there I was...

L. and I were going up to her folk's farm in Alabama.  Given that we were going up there for the better part of a week, someone had to feed all our cats and dogs while we were away.  That someone was us because we were going to drive the five hours up there and bring the two cats and dog in the jeep.  Cats can not be trusted to run out into the parking lot and into the car, so we stuffed the two cats in individual cat sized mesh duffle bags to take them to Alabama. (they really are legit cat carriers but effectively they are mesh gym bags. The dog Mijo was happy to jump into the car and take a ride so he obviously didn't have to be stuffed into a duffle bag.

The plan was that after we were moving down the road and had gotten gas, we would let the cats out of their gym bags and they could roam the car and look out the windows as they liked.  Well, we had just gotten fuel and I made a terrible terrible terrible mistake. Rather than let the cats out so they could roam around, etc... I advocated leaving them in their cat carrier bags a little longer.  (They were finally being somewhat quiet and I made the mistake of interpreting that as the either becoming content or that I was winning somehow... so wrong.)  I didn't want to disturb the equilibrium that had developed.

Suddenly with the most olfactory violence I have ever felt in my life.  My nose was assaulted with the most horrendous smell ever... yes ever!

L. immediately looked at me with horror and accused me of farting.  I, of course, denied and counter accused.

L. opened the window to air out the terrible smell.  All that did was somehow magnify the smell to a horrid intensity that made think I probably shouldn't armor-all this car for a while incase some of the smell molecules were embedding themselves into the plastic dashboard. I would hate to lock them in under the armor-all.

We figured it must be a terrible smell from rural Alabama that was coming in through the open window so the window was immediately shut.  Still... it kept getting worse! L made inspired comments about how terrible factory pig farms were... but shortly it became clear, the smell was coming from inside the car... not outside.

Mother-of-god!  The smell kept getting worse!  At this point it was starting to be obvious that the jeep was the epicenter of some sort of terrible natural disaster. I had always considered cats fairly clean animals and assumed that they would never shit in their own cat crate.  Well, turns out I was terribly wrong.

Lets take a moment to consider cat poop.  Normally cat poop comes several days old and dried out in a litter box.  It is approximately as unpleasant as a power-point presentation. You know, something that must be endured but you get through it by pretending you are enslaved by an evil alien race and plot your escape to your home-world.  Well, fresh cat poop is a totally different animal! Fresh cat poop has got to be one of the most terrible substances on this earth!

We pull over, open up the back door, and pull out Amaretto's cat carrier.  Though I am not a religious man... "Oh Lord..."

She had shat all over the back of her gym bag and spattered the most terrible substance of slime and smell all over her carrier... and the entire back half of her body.  (Deep deep into her long fur) Let me set the scene.  The cat is covered in shit, the bag is full of shit, and we are sitting on the side of the road in alabama, and the cat is fucking pissed in a way that only a shit covered pissed off cat can be!

"RRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWW.....HSSSSSsssssssss~! swipe swipe swipe.  Claws out.

I held the cat...ish, and L emptied the bag as much as that is possible using a pine cone. Then we put the cat back in the bag and got back in the car.  You can't really clean poop with a pine cone and a cat in a poopy cat carrier is not a happy camper.  Also, the smell was so intense I am pretty sure that it actually was worse when my eyes were open.  L. made the comment, "I wish I hadn't been feeding them leftover fish for the past three days..."

Yea... it was bad.

We needed to fix this!  Fast!  The only option I could think of was that we needed to clean that bag and cat.  The thing is, no normal gas station is going to let you take a yowling shit bomb cat bag through their store with out question to obliterate their bathroom.  We needed an old school abortion ready gas-station bathroom.  You know, the kind of gas station where you have to take a key tied to a truck hub cap out and around the side of the building to the bathroom and nobody bothers you for the length of the procedure.

Luckily being on a back road in Alabama, the next such gas station was about fifteen miles down the road.  I'll leave the actual cleaning of the bag and cat to your imagination.  Every terrible thing you can imagine about holding a pissed-off shit covered cat under a tiny dirty faucet with no hot water in a tiny dirty bathroom on the side of the road is totally true.

Put it this way, we stopped in the next town to clean ourselves up in the local McDonald's bathroom.

Luckily we are now up at the farm and far away from anywhere that poop related events could possibly happen.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mermaid inspires decade long tryst with sports car.

Like these things do, it all started with a mermaid named Tina.

(I swear I am not making any of this up... I can provide photographic or reliable corroborating whitnesses for all of it.)

Like I said, a mermaid named Tina... When I lived in Great Falls, Montana (some of you might remember that as when I used to update this blog more than once a fiscal year...) Anyways, I got to Montana and soon met a girl named Tina.  As it turned out Tina was actually a mermaid and found work at the Sip-N-Dip Lounge slinging mer-drinks. (The Sip-N-Dip was actually an underwater bar in the O'Hare Motor Inn.)

This is a typical mer-drink! It is 5ish gallons... mer-people drink like fish!  ...obviously.

Tina the mermaid.

Though, now that I think about it, the Sip-N-Dip is probably most known for "Piano Pat."  She is pretty much the Eric Clapton of the piano... unfortunately she only has an organ in the bar to play, but she more than pulls it off!

I am sure you can find better clips on youtube of Piano Pat... but this was on my computer somehow so you get this clip.  I think someone was playing with my phone while I was in the pool.  Also, note how she syncopated musical phrases to keep the riffraff from singing along with her! Genius!

One day, Tina and I got talking about cars.  This is obviously true because that is one of the two subjects that I ever talk about.  I showed her a picture of my old Triumph and she told me that she drove a car just like that in high school.  (well it turned out she drove a Fiat Spider not a Triumph Spitfire... but close enough for females! In her defense, she knew she drove a Fiat, she just didn't know the Spitfire wasn't a Fiat also.) She told me it ran when she parked it and was currently sitting in her parent's driveway as we spoke... just it was in Cut Bank, Montana!  After a short amount of negotiations, the promise of five hundred bucks, and a drive to the edge of the world. (Cut Bank, MT) I now had a Fiat Spider to call my own!

The reason I needed such a car was because my friend Dirty Timmy had just gotten me into SCCA racing.  Just so you know, SCCA stands for Sports Car Club of America... and the only thing I had to race at the time was my 76 Buick Electra, "The Millennium Falcon!"  (I'll get into that name in another post.)  Short story... a 76 Buick is not a sports car in any sense of the word so I needed something to race that had at least half a chance of being fast when turning was required. (Buick is plenty fast when curves are not involved.)

One of the early Fiat races.  Not bad, but don't click it if you have a short attention span. Like I said, it wasn't that fast yet.

So now I had a Fiat.  I don't actually have any pictures of her in her original configuration because the first thing I did was pull off two hundred plus pounds of bumper and change out the terrible 13 inch wheels for some decent rims and rubber.

An early pic.

These are some of the oldest pictures I can find of her... Still with new rims and sans bumpers... and not all that fast.

In fact one of my early races, I ended up ripping off the left front wheel in slow motion and didn't drive it for a year while artisans in Italy made a new front cross member out of goat cheese and iron mined by virgin nymphs.  Pretty sure the blog-archaeologists can find the post about all that. 

Still the Fiat in Montana had many adventures.

Like the time she decided to not work any more in the middle of winter on the Great Plains.

Luckily I fashioned a new fuel pump out of ice and we were soon on our way!

Then there was the time I tried to learn electrical theory by reverse engineering an Italian electrical system.  (As far as I can tell, there are five wires required for any electrical device and four of the wires are labled "Cazzo!"

And when I had to use my trendy downtown Great Falls loft apartment as a garage before I had a downtown Portales, NM garage to use as an apartment!  Either way, bath tubs and solvent tanks are pretty much the same thing as far as I can tell!

Also there was some SCIENCE!  like when we learned about air temperature, density, and horse power!  Basically the fiat is like a motherly science teacher. Half Mother, half test mule! 

But the Montana adventure couldn't last for ever. so eventually I had to put her in storage in Gladstone, Michigan.  The bad part was having to drive her across the country in winter.

Here she is on her frozen trip across the continent. Just looking at this picture you can see her Mediterranean heart freezing and her perfect italian teeth chattering with cold!

Only to find herself stuffed into storage for years awaiting a hopeful future adventure.  This was her home for nearly 4 years!

Actually I brought her back to Gladstone and gave my Mom the keys hoping that my mom would take her out every once in a while. I think I ruined that when I was showing my mom the quirks of the Fiat by taking her through an intersection sideways Tokyo drift style.  She never touched it again.  


I would take her out when I was home on leave... you know, just to keep the top end lubed up and what not.  That was usually a Christmas Treat.  

If I came home in the summer I would do some little improvement!

Like adding this rattle can Abarth carbon fiber hood and trunk!

Eventually, I came home from Afghanistan... again, and washed the storage dust off her, (Not washed yet in picture.) and dragged her to New Mexico in an epic road trip.

Turns out the road trip was detrimental to the rear end... once I got to New Mexico, the rear end had catastrophically failed.  She couldn't be driven without the risk of iron shrapnel going through your kidneys.  Sure I drove it to work and sometimes to impress floozies at Club-B's but the impending death really took the pleasure out of driving it for me.

So, for about three years, she sat in my garage never going down the road. However I did get drunk one night and built a 60's Ferrari style driver-only roll bar for her. 

The only real difference in my mind is that the fiat is left hand drive and this is right.  Otherwise, this really is what the fiat looks like in my mind's imagination! 

I won't go into the details of 79 Fiat rear ends... but put it this way... it takes years and three-to-make-one to finally get a working fiat spider rear end together.

Well, happy days!  I finally have the Fiat complete and back on the road!  She is about to become the daily driver as I am putting the Buick into dry dock for a few weeks to change out the fuel system.  

Here is the Fiat in her new fastest and most awesome configuration ever!
Fully back together and road worthy!

For aerodynamics and coolness, I decked over the rear of the cockpit with aluminum sheeting and then made a tonneau cover with marine vinyl.  

custom tonneau cover... look at that sweet steering wheel bump... and the snazzy snaps! 

Then I used a sleeping bag zipper to basically make driving it down the road as close as possible to flying a ww1 figher plane!

Look at that forced smile!  I haven't seen such a happy fake smile since I quit stalking sorority girls on facebook!  (The only time she smiles for real is when she is wasting 5.0 Mustangs off the line in street races! The rest of the time, it is just for the camera.)

This is the pigeon's view.  Just incase any of you fecalpheliacs need like to imagine what a bird sees when he is pooping!

Last of all, now that there is an open space in my garage.  The Buick Electra, Pride of the Fleet!  She is going in for dry dock.  It has been a lot of years at sea.  She just passed her hundred thousand mile mark, the Florida salt air is developing her "patina" a lot faster than I would prefer, so she is getting to celebrate with a whole new fuel system. I pulled the fuel injection system off a 89 chevy truck and plan on installing it in the next few weeks.  The internet says it should practically bolt right up!

(I know what you are all thinking... damn... that guy takes a lot of pictures of his cars... Well true... but only because submarines are not as photogenic!)

Friday, July 04, 2014

Life saved... Drive shafts are mindblowingly awesome!

Happy 4th of July!

"So there I was," in the passenger seat of my GF's Miata rolling home after wings and an ordering mistake that left me on the far end of buzzing (some might call it drunk)...  Anyways, we are driving home and about two blocks from our house we spot a little sparrow (or maybe a finch) hyperventilating in the middle of the road.  We are on Old Scenic 98.  It is the road right along the Gulf of Mexico so on the 4th of July it is pretty much the busiest road on earth.  That little bird was right there in the lane basically lined up to be hit with tires.  Lindsay pulls up next to the little bird, stops the car, opens the door and grabs the little bird and runs off toward the side of the road.  I am sitting there, the world is happy and blurry, my GF is off saving the life of a little bird... when I look at the rear veiw mirror... and pretty much there was about a billion cars all backed up behind us.  This is a two lane road.  One lane for each direction. There was a backup about two miles to the east behind this miata with the door open, right in the middle of the road.

In super slow motion, the Sheriff rolls up from the opposite direction.  He is also stuck in traffic, just in the opposite direction.  He looks at me with a face that says, "What the fuck dude?  You are going to sit there and block traffic today on this road, in this place, at this time, in my county?"  (he was very eloquent with his facial expressions...)  Either way, I knew he wanted an answer even though he didn't ask a question.  Though by this time, he had turned on his lights.  I shout across the traffic... "There was an injured bird in the road, my GF is saving him right now!"

This seemed to satisfy the sheriff to the point he turned off his lights and started rolling slowly away.

Lindsay got into the car, sweared at me for talking to the cop... and started driving the last two blocks home.  Over the course of these two blocks she went from happily satisfied that she had helped this little bird to she hadn't done enough and the bird was probably dehydrated and going to die imidiately and it needed to be collected, brought home, and taken to a shelter.  Despite what I thought was logical arguments that the bird was either a goner anyways, or you saved it's life already... she was still quite distraught about the little bird.

I decided "ok, I''ll go bring back the bird and we can take him to the vet."  So when we got home, I got a shoe box out, Lindsay filled up a glass of water for him... (I pulled out some tuber-ware and filled that with water and left the glass of water.)  The plan was, I'll go find the injured bird, put him in the box, give him some water if he wants... then when I get him home we will take him to the vet or the wild life rehabilitation center that she is a volunteer at.

(she had to get ready for work)

I walk back to the tree where she left the bird.  When I got there, the bird scampers away... I turn to get the shoe box to put him.  When I turn back I can't find him.

Some old couple start shouting at me from the balcony of a condo, "Hey, that baby bird flew away!"

After some shouty discussion, it was ascertained that the bird was safe up in a tree, they saw my GF running across the road and putting the bird in the grass under the tree, but now it flew away.

Good enough for me...  Good work Lindsay!

Also, the old blue buick has been having some vibration problems for the last year or so.  I have been ignoring it because it didn't seem to much life threatening.  Well it has gotten worse in the last few months and a few days ago I desided it was to scary to drive the buick to work anymore.

Not to get to deep into the details, there is a magical spring with a ball bearing in my drive shaft.  When they get worn out, the buick shakes enough to change radio stations on you.  That was where I was.

The AMATEUR SOPHIST always complains that i don't have any tools...I always disagree, but if I am honest, I basically have a welder and a few rocks as all of my tools.

So there I was, looking in the repair manual and it tells me that I need a bench vise to press the U-joints out of the drive shaft. As crazy as it is, I have never owned a bench vise.  So, I decide to take this opportunity to buy a new tool.  Still cheaper than taking it to a shop.

So I buy a bench vise.

As I am rebuilding this driveshaft, I discover that it is much easier to just pound out the U-joints out rather than press them out with the vise. So... imagine me, in the garage... dimly lit like a cave, pounding on my driveshaft with a mini sledge hammer.  (I would have used a bone or rock, but it is florida and the bones rot to fast and there are no rocks here.)

Turns out bench vises are still useless.  I wasted my money.  I should always stick to my favorite tools.  Hammers and rocks!

Also, in my trying to figure out how to rebuild my drive shaft, I watched the following video.  I know it might be a little nerdy, but think about the fact that shafts that are solidly coupled can spin at different speeds at the same time!

Yea... I am right with you... I can't wait till I can smoke pot and watch old high school shop instructional videos too!

Until then... gin.

So, I guess what I am getting at is that, "Lindsay doesn't give a fuck, she will inconvenience the shit out of thousands of people for a swallow... and driveshafts are much more complicated than one would expect."

Also... I have the buick drive shaft back together and is is so smooth... (I forgot how smooth the buick electra can be...)  basically driving the buick is like drinking Malibu Rum with a straw looking at a freshly exfoliated stripper's ass.

That's right... the Buick Electra is that smooth!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Maybe we should go easy on the radio waves...

I have made the paper again...
The article was on the second page of the print version.  Ironically the first page had an article about an F-35 catching fire on take off... and an article about algae.

Also, another great post from  I have to admit that my gut got a little tight when I read it.  

Sort of like my body knew it was true.  Creepy

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Is this thunderstorm put together backwards?

So... there I was... watching Top Gear on youtube when I heard the distant rumbles of a thunderstorm.

I decided to take my excellent atmospheric-scientist-in-training with me, Mijo the Dog, to "observe" this incoming thunderstorm.  He's a grad student so mostly I make him carry the gear and take notes.

He is half dachshund, half chiwawa, and half wolf. Look at the steely blue eyes!


As we are walking out to the beach to look at the incoming thunderstorm, some old lady yells down to me from her condo balcony.

"Hey... do you know how TVs work?"  while I think I can answer a solid yes to the question she asked, I was a little worried that she actually meant, "can you make my TV work?"  Which is a solid "probably not."

I can make TVs that I set up work, but the madness that some other clown cobbled together out of DVD players, VCR's, cable, and maybe even antennae... probably not.

Needless to say, my assistant and I were invited into the old people's condo to unfuck their TV.  Granted, I really know jack shit about making TV's work but I think it might be bad luck to not help old people.  Sort of like telling off a nun... it just isn't done! The knight in me wanted to be chivalrous and help the old people with their TV... the Viking in me hoped they would have a hot daughter.  (that was impressed with me making a TV work and walking my girlfriend's dog...)

So there I am in the living room of this condo on the beach when I can hear the mating calls of the thunderstorm that I actually want to be hanging out with rumbling in the background.  I eventually figured out which of the ten remotes in the place made the TV turn on... and called it a success. I explained how the guide button worked and how to scroll up and down. DONE!  I am out!  As thanks they gave me a pocket full of dog treats and a coors light.  Also, they had no daughter.

Finally SCIENCE!

We get to the beach and look out to the gulf.  There is literally a wall of rain on the horizon from as far as I can see to the south to as far as I can see to the north.  All about 5 miles to the east.  AND THE LIGHTENING IS FUCKING AWESOME!!!!!  There are old men leaning on railings talking about how this one is going to be a real "humm dingger" and thirty year old women still wearing their sorority letters commenting how if it wasn't Florida they wouldn't feel safe with their kids so close to a natural disaster... all watching this storm move across the horizon.

God damn I love thunderstorms...

I spot what looks like a wall cloud! but I think to myself, "that is on the wrong side of the storm..."

(There are three things that pilots must always keep on the tip of their awareness. First of all, the wind direction.  Second... the fuel in the tanks as measured in Time x Speed = Distance. And by far the most important, the nearest bar that it wouldn't embarrass your mother if you died in it.)

Being a pilot and all, I realize that the wind direction tonight is backward from normal, and in fact nature got this one right again.  She put the wall cloud on the correct side of the super cell thunderstorm. I think I was probably the only one surprised by the wind direction tonight but, you know, that is how I feel alive and stuff.

Anyways... disappointingly there was no Tornado.

Luckily it is still hurricane season!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter at the grocery store... Dad needs a cat for Christmas

So, my folks came down to visit.  This is the first time that they have both come together to see me since I graduated pilot training.  Not that I think they were opposed to visiting, but I think a trip to eastern New Mexico to stay in a dusty workshop is less likely to make the schedule...

Anyways, it was kind of like taking your vacation with Italians. Most of their time down here was spent in grocery stores, discussing going to the grocery store, and the various merits of all nearby grocery stores...  As it turns out, dinner is an excellent time to discuss what to have for breakfast. Also, my dad is now friends and comrades with the butcher at the Winn-Dixie down the street.  They became superfriends when they got into a discussion about how it helps now days to grunt when you get up.

As it happens, this was the first time that my parents and I had really discussed my going to Mars in person. My mother was not a fan!  Her first protest, was that she would miss me to much.  Though it made me feel bad, she could see it wouldn't sway me.  It made her even more opposed when I told her that skype doesn't work because of the distance.  Her second objection was that I would never give her any grandchildren if I go to Mars.  I told her I would try to make some there for her... also, no good... to far to visit.  Though after a few moments, she reconsidered.  After asking a few questions about how long it would take to get there, what living conditions would be, the possibilities of ever returning to earth... she decided that she would stay in shape and healthy long enough so that she can come visit and maybe even move to Mars too.  This caused Dad to look up from the third book he was finishing this weekend and comment that "she will probably do it too." Grandmothers have been dragging their husbands "downstate" for years to be near their grandkids so I guess this is just a bigger version of that.

Dad mostly thought it was a good idea, especially while watching the news.  Actually he thought it was a great idea when ever the news featured a politician talking.

Also, in other news, it turns out my Dad likes cats!

 It started with Amaretto the cat coming up and tricking him with happy fuzzy purrs... 

Soon they lured him onto the floor by offering to share their favorite cat game.

After a while they were discussing politics and how much the authorities are over reaching into honest hard working people's lives.  Though dad is talking about the taxes and the cats are referring to me not letting them out to kill lizards.  Either way they all agreed... too much government!
(Yes... that is FOX NEWS they are watching at full volume in the background)

Also, all my mom wanted to do was go to the beach and lay in the sun and maybe play just a little bit in the water.  Unfortunately it rained the whole time they were down here.  Except for about twenty minutes while we were here next to this lake.

She didn't get in...

EXPERIMENT UPDATE:  I have to start the rice mind manipulation experiment over.  I opened up the jars and set them on the porch to add a little contamination to move the experiment along. There was a massive storm right after I did that and the jars flooded out.  Stand by for round two.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Positive energy turns out just a reinvention of "Little House on the Prairie" style food preservation...

So, I know that many of you are waiting with baited breath for the results of my mind manipulation of physical matter experiments...

After a month and a half, here are the results so far:

Yea... so... it seems that there has been almost no change.  I have several hypothesizes on why all three jars of rice balls have had such little change so far.

First, that my diligent experimental methods have kept all contamination from the rice and thus the rice is sitting there in a totally sterile environment.  The positive and negative energy from my mind have not been able to have an effect on the rice because there is nothing to protect or preserve the rice from.  (I have just re-invented canning.)


Second, is that my house has so much positive energy flowing through it that nothing bad can happen inside it to include the molding or rotting of food.  Even when I try to project negative energy into the bad rice ball, it is overwhelmed with such positive vibes from my being that it can't possibly be consumed by mold or rot in any way.  (Though I had a few bagels I threw away last week that punch a pretty big hole in that theory.)


Third, maybe the sealed glass jar is keeping all my positive and negative energy away from the rice so that it has no way to be influenced and has thus stayed static.

Experiment Phase II:

So with no discernible change at all after a month and a half, I am going to change the experiment slightly.  The first hypothesis seems most likely so I am going to unseal the jars for a few days  (assuming they don't stink) and let the world interact with the contents.  I will still project positive and negative energy at the rice during this open to the environment few days.  After that, I expect some sort of natural contaminants to enter the jars.  If I can influence things...  all jars should be about the same amount contaminated and I will reseal the jars.  After that, my positive thoughts should protect the good rice ball and rot the bad and uncared about rice.

Stay tooned!

I will admit that this experiment has made me MUCH more conscience of when I am being positive and negative with the world around me.  What I have found is that I can very significantly effect the people and animals around me with my positive and negative energy and outlook.  I have been doing some experiments on people at work and I can change the entire mood in a room or my cockpit with just a few comments or a smile and a greeting.  It feels crazy powerful to do this... Like I am a puppet master or movie director or something.  I will of course continue to use my growing powers to try and make the world a better place, but I still want to be a wizard that can rot rice with my mind!  More practice obviously!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Manipulating the physical world with just my mind!

I just had the first article about my going to Mars published in the online version of Discover Magazine.  here!

So... I am doing an experiment, actually more repeating one.  It supposedly demonstrates the effects of human intentions and consciences on the physical world.  I have a lot of theories about how this might happen but will have to do more experiments myself.

This is a quick overview of the experiment.  There has been a lot published on these experiments.  We will see.  I want it to work!  It would make the universe a more interesting place, but this kind of thing needs verification!

If it works, I plan to get really really really good at blasting my intentions all over the place!  I'll be like a wizard or something!

So far, my own experiments have not progressed beyond the "Hmmm... they all still look the same" stage.

I started off sterilizing all the apparatus.  (Pasta sauce jars) Actually I guess I started off eating pasta, I had to eat it every meal for a week so I would have enough jars.  Not a hardship for me at all!  Anyways... I wanted to make sure that everything was done to stand up to any investigation of my methods. As little room for erroneous results as possible.

Boiling Jars and Lids.  (The sugar, flower, and frankincense containers on the right came with the place... don't think I have become so domesticated that I went out and bought them myself!)

Then I made some rice per the previous experiments, and placed them in labeled jars.

Now I send happy loving thoughts to the one with the smiley face on the left and all the negative energy I can muster into the unhappy one.  Also the control is there to see what happens with no human conscienceness involvement.  (I know the control jar is different... if the results of this experiment show potential, I'll do more and more rigorous experiments to include the same size jar for the control...)

It has been about 10 days since I started this experiment and so far all the rice looks the same in all of the jars.  I would post a second current picture, but it looks exactly like the one above.  I'll post anything as it develops.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Shoe closets are the environmental disaster.

So... many months ago I promised my gf that I would build her a shoe closet.  While the original plans were to be a magnificent synergy of engineering and showmanship not seen since Monticello, assuming Liberaci lived there... unfortunately the cost of tempered glass, mirrors, and tract lighting brought it into being much closer to a basic pine board bookshelf that might eventually have doors... as long as I don't have another vehicle that blows a head gasket. (good wood is expensive) Anyways, so there I am in my parking space about to paint this bookshelf for shoes when I decide try something different.  I have a spray gun that is designed for painting cars... but I figure it might work for bookshelves too if I thin out the paint enough.

It turns out it does!  It works great! I was using water based "Lowe's paint the baby room" brand paint.  I had to thin it down pretty good to get it to go through the gun, but it was working fine... until I got the air hose snagged on a corner of the shelf.  I had just taken the top off the feed cup and had just topped off the thinned paint.  The air hose at the end is basically a big rubber spring so when it released it sprung... and I tossed the whole container of paint up into the air.... way up into the air...!  Luckily about half of it landed on my head.  The other half unfortunately landed on the pristine dark black blacktop of the parking lot.  (did I mention it was white paint?)  Yea... so there I was looking at what should have been a small spill spread across the dark black parking lot like it was fucking nanobots consuming the earth!  I had thinned it out enough that this small cup of paint was spreading across the dark surface in a way that seemed to defy reality.  Well no problem... it is water based paint, I can just mop it up.

NOOOOOOO!!!! So I attempt to mop it up, but the added water from the mop just feeds it.  It starts spreading more!  Though it seems impossible, I now have covered about twenty parking spots with white paint.  Remember I live in Florida in a condo.  For everyone here, their parking spot is like their yard used to be before they retired.  They don't keep a pristine green lawn anymore, they keep a shiny black parking spot... and I am spraying everyone's yard with bleach!

I have the parking spot right next to both the complex manager, and the president of the condo association so I can't even pretend I am not the epicenter of this disaster. I am already the asshole lowering property values with shit cars that leak everywhere that I start loudly at 6 in the morning to go to work.  Now, I am going to be the asshole that ruined the beautiful parking lot too.

(Not cut out for condo life. Makes plans to move to Montana ASAP and become a hermit.)

Shit shit shit... It keep spreading.  I have now accidentally painted about half a football field of parking lot with a single cup of paint.  I am the god damn Jesus Christ of paint, who needs your fishes and loafs... I got a cup of white paint... I'll make the world look like Greece! For some ridiculous reason, it seems to be applying ten times better to the oiled asphalt than it was to the sanded wood shelf but I don't have time to think about that now.

SUDDENLY, Some old Canadian Snow Birds Stop to Talk...
"Hey! what you do'n?  You decide to wash everyone's parking spot?"

I don't have time for this right now. I am trying to reduce the number of letters I get from the home owner's association per month!  This isn't going to help... but no one can refuse a polite conversation with Canadians.

So I go with, "Nice work in Sochi, I spilled some paint... enjoy your evening!"  I then run past their Ontario plated Cadillac with a push broom and a hose.  (Everyone already thinks of me as entertainment around hear anyways, oh well.)

I change tactics and decide to advance in a new direction.  No more moping, I'll just filter this shit on it's way to the ocean.  I threw some rags in front of the drain then took a hose and flooded the whole god damn parking lot. I figured the paint will just float along with the water, the water will go to the drain, and the rags will pull out the paint.

Thank god that finally worked, though for a moment it seemed I had made it even worse if that was possible.

I literally washed the whole parking lot and just filtered the paint out with rags before it left for the ocean.

Fuck me... now back to painting this damn shoe shelf...

I did get the first coat of paint done, but then I had to move off to other adventures for the day like walking the Chihuahua and metal detecting for treasure. (only found a quarter)  I still need to put a second coat of paint on the shelf so I might as well leave it close to where I can paint it. Unfortunately, it is really big... too big in fact to fit in the garage anymore.

As an aside, if I learned one thing from the Ukrainians while I was there, it is "build it BIG!"  By nature, I tend to overbuild.  I wanted to leave the shelf in the parking spot overnight for convenience,  but need to put it in the garage to protect it from the rain, but it didn't fit. Yes, that's right... the shoe shelf wouldn't fit in a 4 car garage.  Like I said, it is to big. So, I just put it in public the hallway for now... should be fine right?

Ukrainians go BIG. This is Ukrainians version of the Iwo Jima monument.  A 5,000 foot giantess of victory. It also does not fit in the garage.

Also... these guys did the math... enjoy the statistics.

Graphic from

Mars One Shortlist

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mars-One, Pooping on the Internet, and Growing new body parts:

Ok, so I know I am stumbling around the internet like a big dumb animal... sorry if I am leaving big dumb animal turds in all of your inboxes.  I have just started a twitter account, as well as a google+ and linked in.  Actually the last two I might have had without really knowing I had them.  It seems google just signs everyone that walks past a computer up for a google+ account and I have really no idea why I had a linked in account.  I have been trying to not click the "Carpet Bomb Everyone You Have Ever Emailed" button when I sign up for these sites... but sometimes they trick me.  So my apologies to your inboxes if I filled them with unwanted mail.

"So, Nick, why the heck are you pooping all over the internet?" you might ask.

Well, it all comes down to the Mars-One Project.  It is becoming more and more clear to me that the only way for this project to succeed is for all of humanity to get behind it AND stay interested in it.  So, I need to shit all over the internet to try and get people aware of it and interested.  Also, and more selfishly, I want you and all your friends to both want to send me and then keep me alive once I am there on Mars!  It would be pretty dire to get up there, then be subject to budget cuts...

So... the five of you that read this blog, please tell your friends.  Hopefully it will snowball, and I will come across as interesting enough that you want to read more of my blog updates as I explore Martian caves and talk about the night life in the first extra-terrestrial village ever.

I guess what I am saying is... Tell your friends to read this... Also, sign up for my twitter account so I can let you know when I have had a few drinks next to my computer and wrote some more stuff on this blog.

Sign up for my twitters at @NickNoreus.  Actually I am only mostly sure that is my tweet account.  If I am dicking that up, someone please let me know.  I am still trying to figure out how to get my flip phone to make tweets.

Alright, this is starting to sound too much like an NPR pledge drive... so let me tell you a story about a shower I took this week!

After work, I cam home, got into the shower... then had this really weird feeling that some other dude had been in my shower!  At first, I couldn't tell why I had that feeling, but after a little bit of investigation I realized that I could smell him!  Academically I knew no dude had been in my shower, but I really could smell this guy and my body tensed up for a fight because it was sure that there was some dude in my shower.

I looked around to see that there was nothing out of place or added to the bathroom...  but still I could smell this guy.  What the FUCK!?

Then I realized... it was me!  I was the stranger in the shower!

That morning I had gone to an emergency back up supply of deodorant and was not used to that smell. (It was a shitty gas station brand deodorant that I used to keep in my glovebox incase I forgot to put it on before work.) When I took the shower I smelled unfamiliar man and my body didn't like it... My body totally went into fight mode.

Then, as a coincidence that is too good for me to even make up, there was a little finch on my Buick that was defending his nest from the reflection of himself in my rear view mirror.  Unfortunately I don't have a picture or video of the finch, but just imagine a little bird very intently blustering on the mirror of the Buick sure that he was in a fight... but still by himself.

Also, XKCD is really bringing it strong recently for the Atmospheric Science crowd these days.  I would prefer not to post so much from the same site, but he is doing a bang up job.

Personally my favorite chart was always the Skew-T Log-P... and also some experimental one I remember from Penn State, but I haven't seen it in years.

Finally, I just want to bring this to people's attention:
Do it yourself cloning kit. Just a bottle of roses lime juice!
After you reed it, consider the implications... Wow!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Roller Derby Babies and Hot Yoga

So last Saturday I got tricked into going to a roller derby practice.  It was supposed to be a practice bout, (roller derby matches are called "bouts") but in reality it turned out to be girls practicing solid roller derby fundamentals like stopping, falling, and skating backwards.  (Turns out they don't wear fishnets and miniskirts for practice either.)  Useful I'm sure, but probably closer to watching a pitcher practice his curve ball than watching batting practice prior to the home run derby if you don't mind my using a sports analogy to describe sports.  Luckily for me it was held in a building on the Fort Walton Beach fair grounds so I started to wander off to look at the old farm machines.

Suddenly a girl skates up to me, hands me a crying baby, and tells me; "Here... Take him outside if you want." She then skated back to practice.

Holy SHIT!! A baby!?!?!?  I am qualified for many things, but being handed a crying baby then left unsupervised is not one of them.  Usually I hand crying babies BACK!... anyways, I figured I like "outside" maybe this kid and I will get along.  As I started walking toward outside... the intensity of the crying increased exponentially.  It got to the point where I was worried about him bursting the top of his head off if I took one more step toward the doors.  I wasn't going to risk that sort of thing so I went back into the practice room where the crying was about what I would consider an intense whimper.

Somehow, I ended up with all the lost children of the roller derby girls, and I was their peter pan!

No not really... basically I just ended up surrounded by the kids and felt vaguely like the only adult and somehow that made me somewhat responsible for everyone's safety. The only game the kids wanted to play were karate and run in front of the track...  perfect...

Eventually a large piece of paper and a dried out set of markers won the day.  I drew a pirate ship... so then everyone decided to draw bigger better pirate ships.  It kept them alive till I could relinquish responsibility for all the kids.  Also, I drew a dragon that was immune to pirate cannons so I also feel like I won the drawing too.

Yesterday I didn't have to go in to work till the afternoon... so bright an early I get asked the age old question, "Do you want to come to yoga with me?"

At first I thought it was a terrible idea... but after a few moments I realized I didn't have any really good reason not to, so I went.  I asked what to wear and was told "as little as possible."  I went with ranger panties and a band shirt I had from high school.  (a marching band that I was in... not ACDC or anything...)

I have never been to a yoga class before.   Apparently there are different types of yoga and this is what they call "Hot Yoga."  Let me describe it... We got there and an old hippy lady rents me a rubber mat for 2 bucks.  The way they clean this mat is not totally apparent, but whatever... Then I go into the "studio."  It is sweltering.  Like breathing butter.  Probably this is part of the experience to simulate the open air yoga studios of the interior of India.  That is how I rationalized it anyways.  Also, it was filled with beautiful young women wearing skin tight cloths.

Immediately I started to worry!  Why would my very possessive and willing to slap me in public girlfriend bring me to such a place?

Admiral Ackbar knows... "It's a Trap!"

The next hour and a half was watching the old hippy lady perform feats of strength and then failing to emulating them.  Also sweating... did I mention that rubber mat?  When you combine that much sweat and a rubber mat, you have effectively made a Slip'N Slid.  Yes, so all the balancing has to be done on a slip'n slide.

So... Hot yoga  = doing feats of strength surrounded by girls in tight clothing while playing on a slip'n slide.  I'll probably be attending again soon.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

XKCD hits another homerun for Atmostpheric Science

So, I haven't been to work for two days.  The panhandle of Florida is under about a quarter inch of ice and because of all the bridges being closed, I couldn't drive to work even if I wanted to be there.  I talked to my brother up in Alaska and he tells me it is like spring up there and totally lovely.

One would have thought this would be a great two days to catch up on some garage projects.  I have my girlfriend's miata engine half disassembled in the garage ( I am pretty sure she thinks I murdered her car, she had never seen pistons in a vehicle she owns before), I have a flying motorcycle that needs everything, I have a cadillac that is leaking tranny fluid and needs to be converted to diesel, I have my girlfriend's shoes pretty much everywhere with a shoe storage closet only a figment of my imagination... but unfortunately everything is parts + X. (X=time in hours) I got the + now, but not the parts.  You either got time or you got money/parts... but never at the same time it seems or the same X for that matter.

Thanks to amateur-sophist I happened to have an old school balsa model of a hellcat to build.  A nice indoor project that only involves super glue and exacto knives!

I ran out of super glue...

waiting for elmer's to dry...

elmers glue drys really damn slow...

five gimlets in...

decided to write a post!

You are WELCOME! :-)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mars, it is getting real! Wear you damn safety glasses!

So I had my first interview about going to Mars today.  To be honest, I wasn't completely sure how it was going to turn out.  I tried asking myself reasonable questions about going to Mars ahead of time to prepare so that I would have some sort of answer queued up in my brain... but as it turns out, there are no reasonable questions to ask about going to Mars.

I thought the interview went well, and I don't think I gave away launch codes to nuclear missiles... We will see when the article gets published.  Anyways, Carl Engelking from Discover magazine interviewed me and I'll post a link to the article when he publishes it.

(Why is my father's goodbye saying, "Don't let me read about you in the paper tomorrow!" ringing in my head.)

In other news:  Think about the worst sound you have ever heard in your life?  I have one worse!  And I heard it twice last weekend.  It is undoubtably the sound of a bolt breaking off in an engine block... where you could never ever get to it without taking out the whole engine.  I was fixing an oil leak in the jeep and putting the oil pan back on.  I wasn't torquing it oddly or anything when one of the pan bolts went, "CLICK"

Oh god.... no.... NOOOOOOOOOOO

Yea, so I snapped a bolt off in the bottom of the engine.  Shit...  well, not to big a problem (I rationalized), it isn't a corner... maybe the seal will be good enough... maybe I can ignore it till next time I pull the engine... probably ok...

(There was no way I could get a drill aligned in there or remove that bolt with out removing the engine...)

I'll just put the next bolt in and not worry about it.

So there I am.  Just finger tightened the next bolt.  Put my wrench to it...


It is the kind of sound that makes you wish you could dial back time just a few seconds!  It was so OK just seconds ago... now it is so terrible!  Please can I get a do over of the last 8 seconds! Please!!!!

Well, I have no idea how that second one broke off because the bolt stem was still loose in the engine block.  I could jiggle it with my finger nail.  I have no idea how it broke instead of turned.  Anyways so I figured I could retract it by banging it around with a screw driver and a hammer by hitting it just right to turn it out.

So there I am laying with my face 5 inches under the broken bolt, a screw driver poised against the broken bolt, and a hammer ready to knock it around... when I think to myself, "This is exactly when I should be wearing safety glasses."

What did I do?  Get safety glasses? No... I hit that damn screw driver!


You can guess the rest.

The chunk of metal stuck in my eye was large enough that it could be picked out with a pair of needle-nosed pliers.  It was large enough that I thought looking down and jumping would make it fall out!

Anyways, wear your safety glasses!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

An Overdue Update:

Well... a lot has happened.  Three years might be a little long to build anticipation.   I doubt there is anyone still reading this thing, but maybe it can be resurrected.

Reading my "recent" posts I'll start with an update for those.  The Buick needed it's engine rebuilt.  The Cadillac that I had planned on turning into an electric car, has been put back together as a gasoline car again for now.  It was a beautiful day and I thought to myself, "I wish I had a convertible to drive around on such a beautiful day!"  then I looked over at the piles of orange parts scattered all around the shop and said, "Holy Shit!  I do have a convertible to drive around on beautiful days!"  So I temporarily put the electric car project on hold and put it back together with the massive 500 CI/8.2 L monster engine it originally came with.  One trip to the gas station and over a hundred bucks later I remembered exactly why I was going to convert it to being an electric car... 6-10 mpg will do that.  Not coincidentally, within the next few weeks I am pulling that engine out again and will be replacing it with a duramax diesel engine.  I love the car, but 6 mpg is really undrivable.  My plan is to do the engine swap right in the middle of my condo parking lot.

The caddy hiding coyly because I am talking about her upcoming engine surgery in public.

Duramax Diesel: The soon to be power plant of the caddy.

Speaking of wrecking property values... I have moved out of the garage in New Mexico and now live in a condo in Florida.  It is a pretty sweet place apart from all the crappy cars parked all over the parking lot!

In other news, I have made it through the first round of selection for the Mars One project!  This is a public world wide project to send astronauts to colonize Mars.  From what I understand they started with about 300,000 applicants and are now down to about a thousand.  This will be a one way trip.  Right now we are in the preliminary medical screening and initial announcement phases.  I'll post updates as I progress through this project.  So far I have only told a few people... but no reason to keep it a secret.  I already told my mom... she wasn't particularly thrilled.  Maybe I didn't convey the awesomeness of this through my text to her.

Oh yea! and I bought an old ultralight gyroplane from some dude out in the desert and taught myself how to fly it by watching youtube videos!  It is not much more than a lawn chair with a snowmobile engine!  When I look straight forward while flying, I can't see any part of the aircraft at all.  It is like I am flying with just my face!  Soon after getting reasonably good at flying it around Portales, it became obvious that it would be a lot more fun if I could bring someone up with me.  So I am building a two person version...  but here is the thing, I also don't like trailering it to the airport.  So the version I am building will also be a road legal motorcycle.  Literally a flying motorcycle!  What could go wrong?!?!   (Fast forward ten years: "DRUG RUNNING MOTORCYCLE GANG SWOOPS IN FROM THE SKY TO TERRORIZE SMALL DOWN WITH BOOZY ACROBATIC ANTICS"  Yea, ok so besides that?
Flying motorcycle project: