Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Whats Up?

 Dunno but I'll tell you whats down. My mileage. It has been a busy summer so far and that has kept me off the bike. Riding to work happens less due to the need to haul stuff back and forth. The rat is still parked in the living room and the sporty is waiting on a paint job. Oh sure I probably have more miles on in the last few months than most bar hoppers do in a year but my personal pace is down. That bothers me because I know how short our season is here in Wisconsin.

 The BSA sits on a lift in the shop and is surrounded by bits and pieces of other projects. You know how precious flat spaces are in a shop and all of mine are full of stuff. I wonder if I'll have that bike ready for the show in September? Dunno.


Saturday, June 16, 2018


I'm writing this Saturday night and I can tell you that tomorrow morning I'll wake up in a strange place. I know that for fact because I'm in a motel north of Milwaukee but not sure what city or even what road.
We rode the bike down to Cedarburg to attend a fund raiser that involved a bunch of my wife's relatives. We missed the official ride but had a nice hour and a half ride of our own getting there. Once there I was surprised as my wife had made arrangements for some of our kids to be there.  We had a nice visit. At one point we walked out of the bar and discovered it was beginning to rain. A lot of riders decided to leave and so did we. The loose plan was to ride four miles down the road and stay at one of the many hotels except they were all booked. To make a long story short, we spent the next two hours in misery being turned away at all stops. One place that was recommended we couldn't even find. Later we got stuck in a back up. It was that kind where you can't completely let the clutch out without having to pull it back in again before tagging the car in front of you. Fun times.
When the rain appeared to be picking up I decided to get some fuel. My wife took the opportunity to use her smartphone to find a place and book a room. We ran inside and grabbed some snacks and beer then followed her phone back north away from milwaukee. Things started looking familiar and sure as shit we ended up making a huge loop that ended up at the place we couldn't find earlier.
At least the hotel is nice and clean.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Husqvarna Automower 450x

 As you know I've been installing an Automower in my yard that will take care off all my summer grass cutting chores. I'll still be responsible for some trimming and leaf cleanup. The trimming will eventually be eliminated through the use of creative landscape layout or Roundup. Not much I can do about the leaves.
 The idea is that it is out there much of the time just cutting a small amount of the grass blades at a time. This will eventually reduce the thatch layer and is much easier on the grass than letting it get long then wacking half the plant away. It should also keep the weeds down. In the end I will have a healthier lawn.
 The mower is kept in the yard through the use of a wire that carries a signal, similar to a dog fence. I buried most of the wire but that wasn't necessary. I could have just stapled it to the surface if I didn't have access to a cable laying machine like this one:

 A number of safety and security features are built into the unit that prevent it from leaving the property. If the loop signal goes down then the machine stops. If someone lifts the machine an alarm goes off and if it leaves the property I can track it with gps. The gps can also be used by the mower to determine if it has covered all areas of the yard, and if not then it will mow in those areas. Pretty smart for a lawn mower.
 There are a lot of advanced features on this model like slope control, spiral cutting and a weather timer feature that cuts back on mowing when it determines the grass is slowing down, to name a few. One feature they don't mention in the owners manual is that this thing is curious. Every time I go check up on one at a job site it comes over and gets under my feet. Actually its kinda a dick. If there is a trouble spot on the lawn it seems to know it and drive right over to sniff it out. At home last night I grabbed a beer and a chair to watch it work the lawn. Sure as shit the first thing it did was try to get me. When it hit the boundary wire I laid around a downspout it found another way around.

 There are three razor blades under this things that can fold away when they hit something. I wasn't too worried about my shoe but you wouldn't want to stick your hand under there while the machine is running. If you were to pick it up the blades would stop spinning right away.
 Initially my plan was to connect the front and back yards through a passage behind my garage. The problem is that I have no rain gutter on the back side and there is a rut formed that the mower would have likely been stuck in and certainly made a mess when wet. See, the automower will mow in the rain no problem and we have many units out there doing the 24/7 routine. As an installer I wanted to try a few different things to witness for myself how the machine would respond. One of those things was to create a passage across my drive:

  The three grooves each hold a wire. The two outside wires are boundary wires and the center one is a guide wire. The guide wire is used for quickly finding its way to the charging station but can also be used to send the mower out to specific areas to start mowing. In my setup I have a guide wire in the back yard and the machine cuts back there 55% of the time. The front and two sides have there own guide wire and the machine exits the wire in three different spots, 15% of the time each. Its still too early to know if those percentages will need tweaking.
 Thats enough infomercial for now. I'll keep you posted on the mowers progress. BTW, we still didn't name it. Hell we can't even decide on its gender. My wife says its like a hard working woman. I said what? Its slow and random. Maybe it is a male.


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Random Schtuff

 I told you about installing an automower in my back yard. Its been running without issue for a week and today I'm gonna work on extending my boundary to include the side and front portions of my yard. This will require the use of a few tools I don't have to include a concrete saw. I'll need to run some wires across my drive and I'll use the saw to create some grooves for the wire. I'm anxious to run to work and grab those tools along with some crack sealer so I'm gonna cut this post short.
 How about some random phone pics?

 James got boo boo to his hand and hasn't been able to run a spray rig. This means I've been out more than usual but it also means my back has been sore from bouncing around on these things.

 Don't you hate this? Somebody cranked this ratchet strap tight without considering that the crank lever needs to open all the way up to release. Grrrr.

 I know the guy that wrote this book. Well, not really but I used to work with a guy that we joked had a big book of excuses. Some of em were whoppers.

 I hadn't watched a movie in a while and was looking for a laugh. This classic did the job for me.
Ok, gotta cruise. Need to get some work done today.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Need A Name

 I don't know if the younger generations are just spoiled or if the fact that they weren't spanked is the reason for their piss poor behavior. They act like they are entitled to whatever they want without having to earn anything. Responsibility for ones actions seems to be a lost notion. I don't know anymore. The older I get the more I feel like the old man yelling "get off my lawn".
 Is it me getting old? How about this situation at work. We have an eyewash station near a sink. I covered the station with clean towels to keep dirt and dust off of it. I had to use it once and the thing was nasty because some lazy fux kept grabbing those towels to wipe off their dick beaters. I had to put a sign on the thing to keep them from taking the towels and someone inserted the word "please". No. Not please. I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. Someones eyesight may depend on it.
 Now we have a paper towel dispenser near the sink and of course a garbage can. It just pisses me off but apparently close is good enough for these lazy fux.

 I vented and put up a sign. Things got worse and they just started hanging garbage from the sign.

 Sometimes I like to have some ranch dressing handy at lunch time so I bought a bottle and put it in the fridge. Apparently I'm not the only one that likes ranch because I used it like twice and the next time I wanted it there was nothing but an empty bottle in the fridge. Not almost empty but more like licked dry. Why would you put that back in the fridge?  The situation needed a sign.

 It may be hard to read but it basically tells the children that there is no such thing as a ranch dressing fairy. No winged entity with a magic wand sneaks in at night and restocks the fridge. People buy that stuff so they can use it when they want. Blah blah rant over.

 I last told you about wanting to install an Automower in my yard. This is one section now cleaned up so the mower can easily pass over the sidewalk. I still need to lay the wire in this section...

...but the back yard is wired and the mower ran flawlessly the first day out.

 Watching this thing roam around the yard is mesmerizing. Its fun to guess which way it will turn next after reaching a boundary wire or bouncing off a tree. After the first day I can see where I might relay some boundary wire to lessen some trimming and fill in some areas I left out. The other thing that needs to be done is to give it a name. Initially we called it Squish because it was monster trucked and all the plastic (and much of his guts) was destroyed. The demo mower at the shop has been named Squish2.0 so maybe we could keep the name Squish Ver1 or something. Dunno yet. Gonna watch it for a while and see if it does something stupid that earns it a name.


Sunday, June 3, 2018


 I don't really have much to report this week. Somehow it just didn't feel like a short work week. Basically Tuesday was a Monday at work, meaning you get to deal with all the crap that happened over the weekend no matter what day is the first work day of the week.
 I didn't ride the bike to work at all this week and I can't blame the weather. Sometimes things just don't feel right so I will just pretend I saved myself from some horrible fate by leaving the bike parked. Instinct? Gut feeling? I don't know but I'm over it now.
 Maybe I'm just loosing it. My wife and I were at the store and I wanted to pick up some lemonade.

 I saw this bottle and right away thought "hmmm, non-carbureted, must be injected." I guess its impossible to set aside the gearhead in me even when grocery shopping.

 I'm still working on cleaning up the yard. My plan is to install a Husqvarna Automower and my landscaping needs to be changed up to allow the machine access to all parts of the yard. I'll talk more about the mower in future posts but for now I'll tell you we sell and install these at work and I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have about them.

 Here is one example of how I need to clean up the landscaping. A long time ago I laid these paver blocks as edging around a mulch bed. The mulch has broke down and disappeared a long time ago only to let grass and weeds take over. The bed ran from the shovel to the drive and you can see where I removed some pavers. There are pavers on the other side of the walk as well. The automower could monster truck through the mulch I suppose (if I remulched that area) but instead I'll relay the pavers where I have painted the white line. I plan to finish this area today and clean up a few other spots that really just need attention. I'm burnin daylight.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

No Progress

 A welcome cool down is on the way but man its been hot. On Sunday my wife and I spent the day on the bike. It was a scorcher. We got home at 6pm and it was still 94 degrees. We were looking forward to the relief of our central air conditioning but when we walked into the house we were greeted by temps in the 80's and two pissed off cats. A quick check of things made me believe the ac compressor finally took a crap. Its been making noise for a few years now and was 20 years old before we bought this house a few decades ago. Monday we were laughed at by store managers when we inquired about window air conditioner availability. Apparently everyone was sold out. My wife made a post on facebook about our situation and her sister came through with a new in the box unit she was hoarding and friend Chris came through with a deal on a 12,000 btu unit she wasn't using. Thanks ladies! Its not cool being hot and Scotty Too Hotty was over heating.
 While my wife was chasing down ac units, I was messin around in the paint booth trying to get my true fire flames to look true. I don't think I made much progress but I don't think I'm going backwards. I need to come up with a style that fits me and I suppose that will come with time. I watched one tutorial video where the dude claimed he had about 130 hours practice before he was happy with his work. Screw that. If I don't see progress in the next few attempts then I may have an airbrush setup for sale. Here are attempts 3 and 4. I think my next try will be of some long thin flames or at least something that is wider at the point of origin than at the tip. At the very least I want to add some dimension to these flames where the layers interact with each other, rather than just lay on top of each other.

 The more I paint these things the more I realize that the ones that should look like true fire are not necessarily the ones I like. Maybe thats just because I'm not good at them yet or maybe because I've always liked old school  hot rod flames. I have a feeling my "style" may end up somewhere between real and fantasy with more freehand and less stencil. We'll see.
 Ultimately these flames will end up on the sportster tank. You may remember when I told you about taping off some flames to hide a blemish in my paint job. The tape reacted with the clear coat and left it looking like shit.

 You can see some irregularities in the paint by the reflection of the light.

 I wet sanded and then buffed the paint and the marks went away. I suppose I could just bolt the tank on and ride the bike till I'm ready to paint it but I may hold off on that for a while. I'll keep you posted.