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.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend

 If you're celebrating Memorial Day this weekend, why not take a minute to think about the meaning of the holiday. Too many people just take advantage of the time off and don't even know what its about. That's all I'm gonna say about that.

 Yesterday I had to work. The store was busy. People needed their landscape supplies to complete their Honey-Do lists and they needed parts for their lawn equipment. We're also a rental center and with the great weather a lot of equipment went out.
 Great weather? We reached record highs and will again today. It was really only great weather in the fact that it was sunny and didn't rain. The heat and humidity really kinda sucked and my Duluth Trading Buck Naked boxers had a hard time meeting the challenge butt in the end held up well.
 When I got home it was time to do some more of that yard work I started telling you about last time. A small tree had to be cut down and I wanted to load it in the back of my Dodge. Old Blue ain't run in a while and the battery was dead. It took all the extension cords I had to get the battery charger to the spot in the drive where it was parked. Once started, it wouldn't keep running. I think the idle air control unit is on the fritz because it wouldn't stay running on its own. This was frustrating as I was trying to back a trailer into a small space in the back yard. Later after the trailer was in place and the branches were loaded, the truck wouldn't start again and I was further away from my max extension cord length than before. Its frustrating when you have to spend time dicking around with shit that isn't getting the actual task at hand completed. Rant over.

 Last night might have been a perfect warm night for a dinner ride but I was just beat. We ordered in food and my wife even made the beer run for me. What a gal.

 Todays plans include a breakfast run, bike wash and day ride. Its gonna be hot but it should be a relaxing, care free day.
 Be safe out there.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Big Knife and a Beer

 When we bought this house like twentyish years ago I did a little landscaping in the yard. Nothing fancy, just mulch beds and some paver edging. Right now everything looks like that was the last time I touched it and this year I feel I want to clean it up a bit. It'll be kinda like putting lipstick on a pig because there are a lot of other things going on that need attention, but as you'll find out in future posts, I have a bigger plan.

 One task that needed tending to was edging the sidewalks and drive. I brought home a stick edger from work but what I really needed was a larger walk behind unit because of the depth of the sod hanging over the walks. In the end I just used a big ass knife and kept things lubed with a few cool ones. In the end I still had ten fingers and ten toes so everything turned out alright I guess.

 I'll need to get the pressure washer out and clean the walk and porch. I also need to bring the rig home from work and spray the lawn. Ya know, besides being the two stroke tech at work, I also run a crew that does this crap every day. My yard really should look better than it does.

I received a gift from a friend the other day. All it needs are a few squirts of oil and it'll be ready for service.

 Thanks Chris! I'll give it a good home.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Friday Night Flames

 I had a chance Friday night to putz around in the spray booth again and practice true fire flames. My first try was ok I guess if you squint just right but more important is that I learned a lot. This is my second attempt and while its obvious I need work with the layout of the flames, I am happier with the colors. My yellow isn't green this time which is a good thing. Red in the background is ok but my orange could be brighter.

 I quit before adding the last layer of flames or highlights so it looks weird but as it grew I realized something was wrong. I'm not gonna paint a campfire on my sporty so why am I practicing these vertical flames? Next time I'll lay them out horizontal and stretch them out as though the bike is on fire and haulin ass. Thats really the traditional look I would like to be able to paint. IF, and thats a big if, I get to the point where I feel I'm ready to put them on the bike then maybe I'd like to add something in the fire. Not sure what, or if I want it to be obvious but I think something should live in there. Maybe Waldo or better yet the rat from my stickers.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

True Fire?

 I found two hours Tuesday night to experiment painting true fire flames. After watching a few videos I figured "how hard can it be?" It's hard. I wasn't gonna post pics of how crappy a job I did because those of you that couldn't possibly think less of me, will. After sleeping on it I realized that it might make a good "before" pic if I happen to create something presentable. Mixing reds and oranges was easy and I liked the shade of those colors. For whatever reason my yellow turned out green after applied. I mean, I'm looking at straight yellow in the cup and its laying down green. That's not the beer talking. That's a fact.

 Look who jumped up here to help me write this blog. Oliver Rodenzo himself. Rodenzo because he looks like a rodent. If ever there was a two faced back stabbing cat, this is the one. He'll snuggle up and purr looking for a treat then he's out of here. If you don't give him what he wants then he'll mess your shit up. Rat bastard. If he gets too chummy I'll give him his helmet and we'll play "launch the kitty".

 I painted a piece of sheet metal all black and hung it on the wall. All my paint just sat on my makeshift turn table and life was good. That can of black will get some use today as I plan to cover up my first session and practice some more. So here is the first failure. It looks like shit but I learned a whole lot about this process.

 The flames I like the best make heavy use of stencils which is why I thought this would be easier. Some of the stuff in the dead center of the pic uses stencils and I can see that once I get the hang of using them then maybe things will look better. Or maybe not. I also need to understand better the use of light colored highlights but all of that may come with practice. I may or may not keep you posted.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Busy Week

 Its that time of year again when keeping up at work is almost impossible. My wife is on an extended weekend vacation to Florida so I've been putting in a few extra hours to try to help the situation. I may even go in today and spray a couple lawns. I guess I'm not the only one feeling rushed because yesterday I found our spray trailer with a crushed pallet under it. It must have been used to raise the trailer off the ball. I wonder if it collapsed when they unhooked the trailer or later on.

 So I have this gallon water cooler that gets filled with fresh water, ice and about a teaspoon of lemon juice. I take it to work every day and when I work in the shop it sits on my bench or tool box. For the longest time I thought someone was messing with me because I'd keep finding the lid open on it. I know I had been closing the lid but for a little while I thought maybe old timers disease was setting in. Yesterday the cooler was in the truck and so was I when I heard a pop and saw that the lid flew open.

 Why is pressure building in my cooler? I don't know if its the ice melting and the temp rising causing the pressure to rise or if it has something to do with the lemon juice but it will happen multiple times a day. Its annoying and I'm afraid I'll take a gulp sometime and swallow whatever insects decided to take shelter in there when I'm not looking. Small ants or maybe a ladybug I'm alright with but if its got a stinger or eight legs then I'd prefer not to drink it down. I may have to buy a new cooler.

 I told you last time about wanting to try my hand at painting real fire with an air brush. I know this is gonna turn out bad but I ordered some candy paint anyway and if I get some time I may even start practicing later today.

 Those three bottles on the left are actually a red, yellow and orange. Why they all look like brown is a mystery to me. Actually, everything about this painting exercise is a mystery to me. Oh, if you never hear from me again about painting flames then you know I crashed and burned.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Slimey Crud

 Last Sunday was the Slimey Crud Run and the weather was perfect. Turnout was good in Leland so I had a lot of bikes to drool on. I took a bunch of pics but for whatever reason, most of them weren't on my phone when I went to look for them. Bummer.
 So what you don't get to see are some nice restorations, a few rats, a perfect Kawasaki three cylinder two stroke and a blown v8 Goldwing. What did save on my phone are a few airbrush paint jobs that inspired me.

 This flaming hog is cool. I hope to be able to do the flames some day but I'll probably never have the talent for the hogs head.

 Not sure about this one but I do like the flames.

 This one is cool but again, way beyond my skill set. If I ever get caught up on the 101 other things that need to get done around here then I'll start practicing something like this.
 In other news, Monday was our 30th wedding anniversary. If you're one of my kids then this may come as a surprise to you and you're probably having an "oh shit" moment right now. Anyway, the wife and I went out for dinner to a place we've wanted to try and had a nice meal. I'm ready for another thirty if she is.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Photo Dump

 Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself, WTF were they thinking? Take this wooden trailer hitch extension for example:

I suppose in a "git-r-done" scenario this would be ok for pulling a yard cart around but how many yard carts use a 2" ball?

 This week we got two, count em, two of these semi loads of snow plows. It just doesn't seem right to have to take these orders right after all the snow just melted.

 I have a customer with a chainsaw that doesn't like to follow starting procedures. He'll bring the saw in and complain about what a piece of crap it is and then we will review the starting procdures again. He'll be fine for a few months and then come back complaining it won't start. I made up a special set of instructions for him so there will be no more excuses.

I wonder if he got the hint?

Every time I get home before my wife this is what I'm greeted by:

One of them is scratching to get out and the other is waiting patiently. FEED ME! We never eat! I'm so hungry! Whatever. Those cats don't look like they're starving.
 And speaking of mischief, I'm not sure what these two were up to but they stopped as soon as they spotted me.

  This one is just pure false advertising:

 No treats in that bowl, at least by my standards.

Today is the Slimey Crud Run. Still not sure if I'm gonna make the trek, I still have a couple hours to decide.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Spring is Certainly Here Now

 The calendar said spring but the snow on the ground said winter, but no more. In two weeks we warmed right up and just the other night I rode home from work in 79 degree temps. Some rain may be on the way but these temps are sure easy to take.
 The sporty sits in the garage now. I rolled it out of its winter hibernating spot which was my enclosed trailer. The Flex-Seal I sprayed on the roof seams seems to have done its job. (you like what I did there? Sometimes I write these the night before after tipping back a few cool ones.) No signs of leaks this spring.

 You already know the bike is getting paint so I won't dwell on that. Other changes may or may not include a new headlight, different front turn signals and possibly ape hangers. I've been on a few bikes with apes and I guess they're all right for short runs. I think I'd like to give em a try. Besides, the bike will look much better with that style bar on it.
 In other news, the BMW had a weird sound/vibe coming from the front end. After the whole ordeal with needing a new front differential, you can imagine how excited we get anytime there's a new noise. The car has budget tires on it that the dealer hung on there and I wondered if one of them was the culprit. I decided to swap the front tire to the rear and see if the sound moved. I own one floor jack so the plan was to jack and then block the rear, then move the jack to the front. To my surprise the front tire came off the ground while jacking from the rear factory lift position. This made the job a lot easier.

  After the swap a test ride proved the theory of a bad tire as opposed to a wheel bearing, cv shaft, etc., although the front end may indeed need to be aligned. I'll throw that tire on the balancer at work and see if its out of whack.
 And finally, an update on the Subaru. After the timing belt disaster that bent all 16 valves while blasting down I94, the car has been running fine. I've been using it daily although that will taper off now that biking weather has arrived.