Sunday, April 30, 2017

Gumpin It

 I started blogging five years ago when a buddy was doing it. I expressed some interest and he encouraged me to start this blog. It started out as a simple report about my motorcycle activities. When that content is thin I write about work related crap. When that is too boring I move on to everyday experiences. Stuff like cheesecake.

 I had to take it home because multiple old fashioneds, prime rib, scallops, spuds and such had already filled me up. Ya my wife and I snuck out for dinner last night. I don't remember if this has ever happened before but we each ordered something different and when it arrived to our table we just switched plates. I'm not high society and I do better with menus that have pictures of the food, although I didn't need a pic of cheesecake to know it would be yummy. Locals will easily recognize the tavern where this pic was taken. Good food for sure. I can remember when I was in high school coming here at lunch time for a sandwich and a beer. Looking to my left or right I would sometimes spot a teacher doing the same thing. Times have changed.

 The blogs I follow are mostly simple like this one. Just people talking about daily shit or their mechanical escapades, no real news and not an endless barrage of ads. I force myself to post twice a week but not to drive ads or gain an audience. I just told myself if I was gonna do this and not quit, these were the rules. Twice a week and no politics or religion. I've read two different blogs this week talking about followers. One claims blogging is up and the other not sure if anyone at all reads it. For me, if nobody reads this I'm ok with it. I sometimes go back and read it myself just to see what I was thinking or up to. If you do get something out of it in the form of knowledge, inspiration or enjoyment, well that's just a bonus!

 You'd never guess I do fertilizing and weed control apps at work by looking at the who's who of weeds in my yard. I leave it that way so I can practice weed identification. Ya that's it. Yesterday I decided I should do my best Forrest Gump impersonation and get on my little rear engine rider and knock down the high stuff. Unfortunately for you I have nothing exciting to say about motorcycles this week.


Sticks, we just griiiiiind em up.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Painting Exercise

 I was sitting in front of my BSA tipping back a few cool ones and trying to decide what direction I want to go with this build. Every so often I think I know what I want then something happens and I think I need to go in a different direction. While looking at the tank I thought it would be nice to have a splash of color instead of just a gloss black paint job.
 I don't know how to do that. You saw what happened to the sportster. It's a friggin mess of color and shapes that were just created with some stencils. It looks like a third grade art project.
 I can't airbrush a design. I don't have the tools or skills. I wondered how hard it would be to tape off a design and paint it so I grabbed an old fuel tank that was collecting dust, wiped off most of the dust and got to work. This was to be an exercise to learn what will and wont work doing this type of painting. After squirting some black and letting it dry overnight, the rest of the project took about an hour and I learned a lot of "don'ts".

 That's not the fake stuff, no sir. That right there is genuine Rustoleum gloss black fizz bomb paint. I taped off an area and drew a semi complex design on it. The first lesson I learned is you can't easily cut through more than one layer of masking tape without pushing through to the bare tank and leaving deep scratches.

 The next lesson learned is to plan the pattern out in detail. After I started with the razor knife I realized there would be no going back. If this were a for real project I would have quit early on when it was obvious this was gonna look like shit. It's not a real project, it's a chance for me to learn. After I sprayed the white and pulled the tape I could see some areas that weren't cut square or I left a piece of tape. I scratched some paint getting too aggressive removing the tape and I just flat out stuck my fingers in wet paint. Later on some of it wet sanded out. I played around seeing how much sanding could be done before removing a top layer and also found out I could remove a layer of paint with the buffer.

 You can see all the flaws I pointed out. That blurry area on the two lowest white squares is where I buffed right through. Go slow, be precise and patient. OK, that probably won't happen for me so the biggest lesson learned is that a solid color will be fine for the BSA.
 On a positive note, the paint booth proved to be a winner. It's nice to have a clean, well lit and ventilated place for these projects. No dust and no stink. It has also encouraged me to try some more of these painting experiments and see if I can come up with something that doesn't look like shit.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

April Showers Bring May Flowers

 I guess that saying is supposed to mean that a little bullshit now will be rewarded with beautiful things later. Screw that, I want to ride now. Riding in the rain has never been an issue with me unless it means getting wet on the way to work. I'm not interested in standing around in wet pants half of the day. It makes me grumpy(er).
 I shouldn't entirely blame the weather because my leg has been giving me grief and I'm afraid if I instinctively put that foot down to balance the bike, the big cruiser would tip over. That would bring April moisture in the form of big tears from me. Even if my leg was strong, lifting that beast would be difficult.
 I did find some time for a quick ride on the sportster yesterday. Only a few miles but sometimes that's all it takes to ditch that itch that nags a guy to get out and ride. The forecast and my to-do list look promising for another ride today. Before I do that I need to bolt a few things down. It's gone beyond "the nature of the beast" and "a little annoying" to a new level of suck where I can't concentrate on the road. My mind wanders to a place that can't comprehend how two pieces of steel vibrating against each other can produce such a dreadful noise. I'm thinking of encapsulating the entire bike in spray foam insulation.

 If you need to launch your boat in the river these days it really shouldn't be a problem. The water level is up into the road.

 This should be a garbage pic but I only took a few shots and the rest of them were worse. Looking into the bright sun I couldn't even see the phone much less notice the big shadow I was creating. In these days of smart phones, everyone is an amateur photographer. It's easy to separate the hacks like me from folks that understand terms like depth of field, shutter speed and white balance. I didn't even get all the subject matter in the shot. One good thing has come from this pic. I just noticed those turn signals are hideous. I'll change em up after the headlight vibrates off which should be sometime soon.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Window Shopping

 Easter Sunday I found myself in downtown Milwaukee. My wife, our daughters and a couple of their friends had just finished having brunch and we were waiting for an arcade/bowling alley to open up. Ya, our new Easter tradition includes bowling although I wouldn't be knocking down any pins. I hurt my leg last week and was walking with a cane so I would be limited to pinball, pool and poking at shit with my cane. I didn't like having to use a cane but I could see having some sort of "swiss army cane" or some other Macgyver type of walking assistant if I needed one all the time. Of course it would need bluetooth or wifi and gps tracking for sure. Anyway, on the slow journey down the city sidewalk we passed a barber shop that had a few haircut posters in the window. I wondered if I were forced to get a haircut (like if someone shot me in the foot and then pointed the gun at my nuts and threatened to shoot again) which style I would choose.

 I guess some aren't that bad in a "please ignore the rest of my faults and only concentrate on the hair" sort of way.

The "Executive Contour" (top poster, top left) isn't too bad I guess. It would be easy to deal with until you get on the bike and then it turns into "The Ted" (bottom poster, upper right). That right there is a two for one deal if there ever was one.

 Considering what a barber would have to work with, any of these styles may be too much of a challenge. I don't spend much time looking in the mirror (for obvious reasons) but I just noticed in this pic there seems to be a lot more real estate between my eye brows and my hair line.

 Don't leave any comments about how I never smile. I am smiling in the top pic. I think for now I'll just keep sporting the stocking cap look. My hair is actually pretty long and the cap keeps it in check. What really needs attention is that mess hanging from my chin.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Two Paths

 Every day we are faced with choices. Whether or not we make the right choice can sometimes only be answered after the fact. At first glance, it would seem the coffee drink on the left would be the better choice to start my work day. Alcohol and chainsaws aren't a good combo no matter how good an idea it seems after a few brewskies.

  Was the coffee drink still the right decision even though half of it is on my pants and boot?

 Of course it was. Things don't always go as planned. Make the hard decisions in life and quit taking the easy way out. Whether you see it or not, it's hurting the people closest to you.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spray Room Tour

 The idea of a spray booth came a few winters back when I wanted to proceed on a bike build but had no warm place to do any painting. If I take pieces to my place of employment they are subject to dust and curious fingers that seem to need to check if paint is wet or dry. A few weeks back it occurred to me that if I moved a large shelf system out of my little shop that a wall could go up for a painting booth. Very little working space was lost. The shelves were 30 inches deep and the new spray room is 48 inches deep.
 This was a low budget project. I have $38 of my own money invested. Closer to $80 if you count beer expenses. Thanks to Craig and Waylon for the sliding door. A swinging door would have been a disaster in these tight quarters. Thanks to my dad for the air filtration unit, the center piece of the entire project. Thanks to Kenzo for a Menards gift card back at Christmas. Thanks to my wife for being patient. Thanks Al for the ceiling light. I know Tommy gave me some hardware or something but I can't remember what. If you contributed and I didn't mention your name, get over it. I can't be expected to remember every little detail. Left overs from a recent bathroom remodel contributed to the rest of the material list.
 The spray booth isn't complete yet, I suppose like everything else it will be improved upon as needed or when I figure out something is major screwed up. But, it is close enough for a short tour. 


Sunday, April 9, 2017

We're Back

 I rolled the Ultra out of the garage yesterday and rode it to work for the first time this year. For me that is the official sign that winter is over and regular warm weather activities can resume. After work I rode to my favorite mexican food joint, Grand River Oasis, for carryout. It's about a fifty mile round trip and I saw a lot of bikers on the road. I'm sure they were all thinking the same thing I was...hell ya, we're back in the saddle!

 I won't bore you with an update pic of the spray booth but I will tell you that more progress has been made and I'll fill you in later.

 In work related news, we've been busy. This is the time of year when things can get crazy and if there is a chance for a little fun well then we take it. A while back we hired a guy to help around the shop. This dude would lay on a creeper to work on a push mower rather than tip the machine on its side or put it on a bench. After he quit working here we would joke about it and even exaggerate the act just to get a rise out of the rest of the crew. Friday somebody (I know who you are) decided my freshly cleaned work area would be a good place to store floor jacks. I really don't need a floor jack to fix a chainsaw... or do I?


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

This Sucks

 A couple hours here and there has allowed me to make a lot of progress on the spray booth. I did get a set of sliding patio doors and I have them installed. I also made a trip to the lumber yard for some screws and 2x4's. I still had some stuff left over from the bathroom remodel this past winter so that saved me a few bucks. The wall is up and the means for securing furnace filters above the door is in place.

 Yesterday I worked on the exhaust fan mount and duct. I wanted to use the Jet air filtration system so I had to get creative with mounting it. This is the hole where my air conditioner was.

 The plan was to set the fan unit on its end, vertically so it would be pulling overspray down. This also shortened the wasted space that would have occurred if I mounted it horizontally.

 Basically I have a six inch duct for the air to escape. A close look at the top of those 2 x 6's and you'll see a groove the fan unit sits in to help seal it.

 Some may scrutinize the work here but because I was trying to use up scraps from our bathroom remodel, I just had to make some stuff work. Besides, I'm ok with it so piss off.

 I ran the fan and it seems smooth and draws nice with no excess laboring. I mean, I just didn't know for sure until I built it. I'll know more once I finish the outer wall and seal things up. I also need to build a turn table, hang some hooks, figure out lighting and move that speaker.
 I need to thank my wife for being a good sport. She had every right to blow a gasket, but remained calm, when I started this project in front of another project we had in mind. Thanks Honey!


Sunday, April 2, 2017


 Update on the spray booth. Progress is slow but ideas and procuring materials is still alive. I was working on the Jet air filtration system mentioned in the last post. I had it sitting on a plastic garbage can in the shop when I gave up on it for the night. When I came out the next morning I discovered the unit had fallen off the can and ruined a 32" lcd tv that was sitting near it. Seems when the shop furnace kicked on it blew heat directly on the plastic can and allowed it to collapse under the weight of the filtration unit. I don't have a time machine so I'll just have to get over it.
 Today I am going to pick up a sliding door for the paint booth. I know nothing about the door but the price seemed right so why not. Yesterday I tried to remove the old air conditioner from the shop wall. It has to come out so I can use the hole for a vent. It's glued in and wont budge. Gonna need a sawzall but I don't own one. I do have an ax, sledge hammer and hi-lift jack so I'm confident I'll get that sucker out of there.
 After raking the beds around the house yesterday, I got the sportster out and went for a ride. Felt good. The bike does need some attention. The amount of rattling from loose or broken pieces ready to fall off overcomes the sound of the exhaust. That's a lot of rattling.
 In other news, We're gonna cut the cable. I ordered an Amazon Fire Stick and have been using it for a few days now. There's a lot of stuff to watch but with no guide to see whats playing, it can be frustrating. I'm sure we'll figure it out. The remote that comes with the firestick has voice activation. Her name is Alexa and she aint too bright or maybe I'm just not asking her nice enough but getting acceptable results from her is frustrating at times. At one point I wanted to throw the remote at the tv but instead gave her the command to "self destruct". This is what her reply was:

 She's a freakin comedian.