Sunday, July 29, 2018

Buzzed Blogging Is Drunk Blogging

 Its Saturday night and I'm trying to write this blog entry whilst enjoying a prettty good buzz. My wife and I just returned home from a dinner date. I guess thats what we do now that the kids have flown the coop. Actually its kind of nice to be looking back at having raised a family rather than worrying about getting the kids pointed in the right direction so last night was her turn to enjoy martinis and tonight I enjoyed quite a few old fashioneds.

 What does this mean to you? Well, I could babble on about some nonsense or just narrate a few pics. I choose the latter.
 Lets start with my Automower named Mowby Dick. He lived up to his namesake twice this week when he drove off the curb in front of my house. Once while I was home and the other time when I was at work. I drove home to rescue him because I didn't have my security cameras set up yet and didn't know if he was in the street. According to the neighbor he was in the street and that was confirmed yesterday when he pulled the same crap while I was home. Of course this isn't his fault. I had the wire buried too close to the curb but hes still a dick.

 On the same topic, these mowers are the hot ticket in the Husqvarna world and are getting updates all the time. Here I'm feeding Mowby a fresh set of 1's and 0's.

 In work related news, we got another new to us truck. This one will pull the tent crew trailer around. Its amazing how tight these medium duty trucks will turn. If you crank the wheel while going forward, the cab and the trailer will hit each other. Thats pretty impressive.

 Not sure whats happening here but I gots me a pic of it.

 And finally for the pics I offer you this:

 I don't normally wear my reading glasses while standing at the toilet. At my age I know where to find everything without having to look, but I had to put them on when I thought I noticed some writing on this roll stacked on the toilet tank lid. Sure as shit (see what I did there) someone wrote on it. I feel sorry for the guy that felt the need to write the message. Its just another case of young punks that don't have their mommies here to wipe their hiney and clean up after them.
 Enough of the pics. I've been thinking about this used truck purchase coming up and realized I'll be heading south in a few weeks for vacation where the trucks are not as rusty. I think if I'm still in the market then maybe I should take advantage. It would give me something to do between rides and I'd be happy enough truck shopping while on vacation. The part I can't quite work out is the logistics of getting me, a truck, and my bike all home together. See I've been looking at short bed trucks and even if I found a way to get my Ultra up into a bed, I would need an 8 footer to haul it. Of course there are other options so for now I'll just roll with it and see what happens.
 Finally, I want to wish Deena a very Happy Birthday from Scotty too Hotty!


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

New Phones

 I'm a techy kind of guy so when my wife dropped her phone and cracked the screen I have to admit I was a little excited. Not pissed off excited, rather "time for new phones excited". See I've figured out that my wife and I need to have the same phone so I can answer any questions or show her tips I've learned. Not that she can't do these things on her own if needed but I'm already actively seeking these things out so why not take advantage of that. BTW, "techy kind of guy" can be translated to "sucker for gadgets".
 Monday after work she texted me to stop at the cellular store and "pick up some new phones", as if it were as easy as running through a drive up window. I really wanted to just go home and lay in my recliner. If you remember I fell out of the rafters of my garage and I was still feeling like I had been tackled by the Green Bay Packers defensive front line. Then she called and I gave in to her request but insisted she stop at the store on her way home. With the price of phones and extras I really felt we should make these choices together.
 You never know who yer gonna get as far as experience level when you plop down in the chair in front of the phone geek salesman. Some are new and just need a job. Some are experienced and rush you through the process but we got the guy that had a pretty good clue and wanted to make sure we had all our questions answered. Cripes the whole thing lasted an hour and none of that was wasted deciding which phones to get. I asked which was the latest and greatest android phone out there. He said the Galaxy S9 plus and I said, "two please". Mines black and hers is purple. I don't know if these guys work on commission but if they do then he ate good that night. With the cost of phones, screen protectors, cases and wireless chargers, I could have bought a really nice used bike...or fixed the dent in the BMW roof or painted my house roof. I'm not complaining, just pointing out that this crap is a big drop in the bucket. I, and many of you, use our phones all the time. We do stuff on them that was unheard of when our parents were our age. I don't mind dropping a little coin on something that is always within arms reach and ready to serve. Of course it sucks that the technology usually is obsolete before the phone plan expires but they got us techy people by the balls. If you want the latest and greatest then you gots to pay.
 No reviews. The phone has been out long enough that if you are into it then you already know what it does. The camera is awesome, it has more storage than my S7 and the screen is nice and big to compensate for my aging vision. Actually, the phone is kinda big and when I whip it out I feel like I'm sporting a boom box on my shoulder. Look at me and my big phone.
 The worst part of a new phone is transferring your apps, pics and stuff from the old phone. They've made advances in this over the last few years because it went fast this time. The next worst thing is trying to remember all those log-ins and passwords to access those apps. One other thing I found out about some of this new technology is that its not always very good. Here's a pic of me.

 This is how I posed when I took a pic to create an emoji of myself. Its a new feature of this camera. This is how the phone translated it:

 Who the hell is that supposed to be? The eye color isn't even right. I like the "get off my lawn!" version in the first pic better although you will catch me throwing out a peace sign every so often.


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Dumb Stuff

 Sometimes dumb stuff just happens and other times its more a result of laziness or stupidity. You're wondering what I'm talking about so I'll give you a few picture examples.

 Using a fire extinguisher for a wheel chock is just dumb especially when you're jump starting another vehicle, an act that could actually require that fire extinguisher should something go wrong.

 This just pisses me off. A bag of grass seed was left in a wheel barrow and then left to be rained on. Oh well, they're just an employee and it won't cost them anything to be lazy. What happened to when people used common sense and actually gave a shit.

 I went to a big box electronic store yesterday and picked up some batteries for the key fobs of my Ultra. All I bought were those batteries. Can you see them? They are about the same size as the "U" in BUY. That's the bag the wonder nerd put them in. A: I didn't need a bag. B: Are you sure the bag is big enough?

 This is a property where we have four Husqvarna Automowers cutting the grass. We didn't get the weed control and fert contract because they were still locked in with a large national contractor for this year. We had really hot and dry weather and anybody with any common sense stayed off their turf but not these guys. Look at the damage they did. Is this laziness or stupidity or more a case of greed?

 This pic is of my garage rafters. Some stupid knucklehead (me) was walking around up there yesterday while trying to run some wires. That broken particle board is whats left of where I was standing when it gave out. Lucky for me my wifes BMW was there to break my fall and lessen the distance to the ground. Who knows, I may have broken a hip. The car and I both suffered scratches and the car has a dent to boot. That dent is inches from the sunroof. Oh well, dumb stuff happens.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Search Is On

 I still don't know what my used car budget will be when a profit sharing investment matures later this week but that hasn't stopped me from poking around at whats available out there. I've looked at hundreds of vehicles online and have cruised most used car lots in a fifty mile radius. Those vehicles range from pickemups, big ass suv's and some regular size suv's. To this day I've only test drove one.

 I don't know why this is the only pic I took of it or even why I took it. There are plenty of pics online. This one is a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 5.7 v8. It fits all the basic requirements of what I'm looking for and did fine on a test drive. I guess because its the only vehicle I've test driven that its currently my top choice.
 I saw this window sticker yesterday. Yikes. I don't think my house is worth that much. Certainly out of budget but a nice looking truck.

 So the search continues. Theres a v10 powered f250 I want to take a closer look at and also a Yukon. I wonder if I'll find something I really want or if I'll just settled for a fair deal. Either way, the search is fun.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Time For A Battery

 My Ultra is just over three years old now with something like 36k miles on it. Lately I've noticed that when hitting the starter button the engine doesn't always crank over with the same gusto it once did. With a nine day out of state bike vacation coming up I figure some good preventative medicine would be to replace that battery with a fresh one. I mean this bike has an awful lot of electronic gizmos including the air compressor I've added for the air ride suspension so I'm not gonna take a chance.
 Or am I? Five or six years ago, I had the same idea when I swapped out the battery on my Aprilia Futura right before a bike vacation. At work we are a dealer for a popular line of batteries and I can get a fair deal on them so why not, right? I did the swap, rode the bike locally for a week or so and then went on vacation. One day while on a ride with my buddy Bill my bike wouldn't start. The battery wouldn't take a charge and I was SOL. To us we were in the middle of nowhere but Bill and I removed the battery and he loaned me his bike so I could venture off in search of a replacement. I found a service station with a suitable replacement and left my junk battery with them as a core which is pretty standard. Besides that I had no intention of hauling a dead battery back home nine hundred miles away. I returned to the scene of the crime, swapped in the new battery and enjoyed the rest of my vacation trouble free as far as the battery is concerned. In the end that replacement battery lasted years in the bike so we know the bike wasn't the issue.
 Upon return to work the following week I told the battery supplier about my problem. He had no desire to credit me for the bad battery because I couldn't produce it. I guess this is where good or bad customer service is decided. A reasonable person would understand someone not wanting to deal with hauling a dead battery around while on a motorcycle vacation. Hell if I had enough room to pack a dead battery then I might have actually packed clean underwear or deodorant. As a reasonable person myself I know companies have policies and employees don't always get to do what they think is right. I wasn't gonna get a credit for my defective battery until my boss found out about the story. Bottom line was this. He told the battery supplier to credit me or get all his shit out of his store. I got my cha ching back and we still sell a shit ton of that brand battery. In fact I ordered this battery from the same guy that sold me the first one and he even gave me a little break on the price.
 So the short version of this post is to tell you that today I'm gonna swap a new battery into the Ultra.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Dans Ride

 So yesterday coworker Dan comes up to me and he says his bike is effed up but he's not sure whats going on. The description started out like a possible clutch issue or maybe something in the primary but as more questions were asked and answered it became obvious it wasn't something simple.

 A test ride was in order. At first I wasn't sure if I'd need to take it out on the road and torque the crap out of it to find a problem but when I gave it the first little twist I noticed right away that the back wheel wanted to go in a different direction than the front. Its funny how a half inch of movement can feel like the wheel is exiting the fender. I went less than a hundred yards and nursed it back to the shop. He'd been riding it this way so long he didn't even notice the issue. Or...maybe because I'm so spoiled on the Ultra that any little deviation from normal is grounds to question whether or not I can take advantage of that extended warranty I paid for.

 It looks like the transmission is cast with a long hole that the swing arm bolt passes through. This hole is completely broken in half lengthwise and the arm is allowed to flop around between the frame bushings. This looks terribly dangerous to ride and I'm surprised he has gotten away with it for this long. I couldn't stick around long enough to find out if any other problems were found but I did learn something else that shocked me. Here we are with ten guys standing around shooting the shit and the subject of using the front brake comes up. I felt alone on an island preaching about front brake use and only hearing back that the front brake will cause you to drop the bike or whatever. Come on, its 2018. Aren't we all past that? The news has been out for decades. Yes if you lock the front wheel in a slow turn you could have problems but thats not what we're talking about. In an emergency you need that 90% of your stopping power to stay alive and you'll never use it if you have trained yourself to always use the back brake. The harder you apply the front brake, the more weight you transfer to the front tire. The more weight on the front tire means you have more braking grip with that tire and the road. Do it. Practice it.
 Yes there are times when the back brake is appropriate like greasy stop sign intersections, some rain situations, slow speed maneuvers and gravel. Some squid type riding in the twisties may also call for feeding in a little rear brake but that's something completely different. If you need to stop from hiway speed in a hurry and you don't step hard on the pedal then odds are good you'll hit whatever you wanted to avoid. If you do step hard then odds are good you'll lock the rear and go into a skid. I guess then you'll be able to say "Dude, I couldn't stop and had to lay it down".
 Do yourself a favor and train your muscle reflex to include squeezing the front brake lever when you want to stop. Using both the front and rear is acceptable also but remember as the back end gets lighter from using the front, it will want to lock easier and you'll have to ease up on that rear brake. Your concentration is better used focusing on how hard you can use that front brake without locking the wheel.
Lecture over.


Sunday, July 8, 2018

4th of July/Princeton Flea Market

 What a screwed up week this was. For crying out loud we had two Mondays this week. The second one being Thursday after having Wednesday off for the holiday. Thursday really did suck in so many ways and Wednesday felt like a Sunday. Here's the deal. Its Independence Day so lets drop the whole 4th of July monkey business and celebrate Independence Day on a Monday or Friday so more of us can do a three days in a row vacation. This work two, take one off and then work two bullshit has got me constantly checking to see what day it is. I was surprised when I got a paycheck on Tuesday because it was actually Friday. I totally missed out on a fish fry because I thought it was Tuesday. After all this I'm sure next week is gonna feel like a nine day work week. Yesterday, (Saturday) I felt like I was playing hooky because I normally work Saturdays but had this one off and it felt like a Wednesday due to the 4th feeling like a Sunday. There was no Thursday and I can't even tell you what happened on the actual Monday or Tuesday.
 On top of all that, this entire summer is flying by so fast I can't keep up. Every time I blink its a month later except next week of course which will feel like an eternity. OK, rant over.

 So I told you that I had Saturday off. What did I do with it? Not a dang thing. At least nothing productive. The Day started out with my wife and I taking a stroll through the Princeton Flea Market.

 Its amazing the time some people will take to set up and display some of this crap. Don't get me wrong, there is some cool useful stuff to be had but much of it is pure dumpster material. I guess they're taking a chance that the initial shock of a piece of crap will trigger a purchase. I admit that some of the pieces in the following pics made it back to our home.


Monkey business

Cheese curds for breakfast? Yep!

High tech.

No thanks. Too much of a chance of zipping up something important.

These are now on display in our home. My wife says its art. I say creepy.

A twisted drive shaft. I wonder what the story is behind it?

This is my favorite shirt. My wife said it was too wrinkly but I wore it anyway. What a rebel.

 So after a day of flea markets, garage sales, antique malls and truck shopping, the evening ended on a farm in Wautoma and a good time was had by all.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Day Off Photo Dump

 Day off in the middle of the week. What to do. I may wander off and search the used car lots for a replacement pickem up truck. The problem is that every truck that catches my eye is triple my potential budget. Oh well, it doesn't hurt to look.

Todays mini photo dump includes this hole in the roof of an enclosed trailer. Of course the driver has no idea how this could have happened. What we know for sure is that the trailer was moving and the door was all the way open when that cable broke, whipped around and bitch slapped the roof.

 I got a notice on my phone that the automower at the shop had a problem. "No drive" was the error message. When I investigated the problem the mower looked fine until I lifted it up and discovered it was dummy hung on this weird little piece of wood. These mowers are wonderful little machines but you really need to make sure the crap is picked up in your yard.

 And speaking of automowers, I was participating in what will become Americas new favorite pastime...tipping back a cool one and watching a machine manicure the lawn. As it came to the driveway edge a few clippings shot out onto the blacktop. I couldn't help but notice how clean of a cut this thing was making, even on this weedy grass. You don't always see this with a conventional mower.

 And finally a bit of bike related content. I may have mentioned that I had ordered a new "up" valve for the air ride on my Ultra. I installed it the other day and also removed the air tank to check it for moisture but found none. I know some dirt was getting in that valve so I also have a filter to install. I'll need to get some fittings before that can happen. Until then we'll just keep riding the beast and stop to clean the valve if it plugs up again.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Farewell Old Blue... barbaric hunk of junk. Gone are the little piles of rust that you shit on the driveway every time I close the door. Gone is the need to put you in drive for a moment before you'll even think about moving in reverse. Gone is the need for a 1200 watt sound system just to overcome the road noise from the street mudders and air leaks around the doors. You are gone and out of my life. Lets just leave it at that.

 So moving forward the search is on for a replacement. We've been putting money into a profit sharing investment that will end in a few weeks. I don't even know what my budget will be yet but I do know it will be at least ten grand. I'll find something in that range because we have no interest in a loan payment. My needs are quite simple. I need to be able to get to work even if the roads are snow covered at 2am. I need to be able to pull my 6 x 12 enclosed trailer on a limited basis. Anything else like heated seats or nicer trim levels are just wants and the budget will decide how far we can go with those. Half ton short bed pickups, Tahoe/Yukons and Grand Cherokees are the ones I've been eyeballin at the used car lots. Let me know if you see any deals out there.