Sunday, August 31, 2014

That Was Interesting. Now with postscript.

Seems I found a way to pinch the Vagus Nerve

stopping my heart of a few seconds. Did it two times Friday causing me to faceplant. Took a policeman, three paramedics and an ambulance crew to convince me to go to the hospital. That, and a housemate threatening to slash the tires on my vehicles if I didn't.

Long story short, now have a pacemaker. I'm home, but not back in battery. Took my several minutes to figure out the reason I was having trouble focusing on the monitor was one lens had fallen out of my glasses.

Thank all of you for your kind thoughts. Guess I won't be scheduling a flight physical now.

Need to wait several days for the facial swelling to go down. Then, the doctors will reset my nose. They say it is quite painful, but they will give me a strap to bite down on.

Fuck me running.

Have a new client that contacted me for a new assignment.. Said job is a 93 mile 1 1/2 hour round trip for me, so compensation negotiation was in order. Also, sent him a picture of my face. Sort of the whole "professional image" question being involved. Stout fellow, no problem, just get me the photos, please. Looks like a Wednesday am trip to the People's Republic  of Boulder.

A note about the photos. I'm no pro, the camera does all the work. They just need to be somewhat framed, in focus, and show the areas of interest. Main camera is a simple Olympus point and shoot with a 12.5x zoom. For a lot of assignments, I must remain on public property, but need details like the property address and roof damage. The other camera is a Canon Rebel SLR.  Everything is JPEG.

Didn't get a tablet. That potential client left out some important information in his recruitment. I'm too damn old to be climbing in and out of grain augers, and wouldn't if I were younger and fitter.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Handsome Man

Been fighting a bug now for three days. Fainted this morning, and face planted into a burlap upholstered rolled up futon. Loosened two teeth. Think it may curtail my social life for awhile.
 Always look at the bright side. My friend, Dirty Al Imhoff, fainted and hit his temple on a sharp corner, killing him.

If anyone is interested, you now know what I look like close up.

No, I haven't sought medical treatment. I'm a man.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

911 Dispatcher Instructions

Over at The Truth About Guns there is a kerfuffle going on about following the 911 Operator’s instructions.

By good fortune, I’ve never been in a situation involving a firearm but did have one bad experience. A driver had a seizure and crashed. When I approached the vehicle, I could see him flopping around, but held in place by his seat belt.

 The 911 Operator started giving me instructions.

“Sir, you need to keep him from swallowing his tongue. I will talk you through the process. We are trained to do this”.

“Lady,” I replied, “Get the ambulance here. In this day of AIDS, I’m not putting my finger in any stranger’s mouth”.

She was offended. What I knew was the fire station was eight blocks up the street. They arrived while he was still having seizures. Had he started turning blue, then I would have acted, maybe.

Around 1970 going to college, I had a night job at an air freight forwarder. Smelled smoke and stepped outside where I observed flames on the roof. Went back inside and told the manager, Tom. He quickly called the operator (pre 911 days) and shouted, “The fucker is on fire! Send a fire truck,” and hung up.

“Ah, Tom,” I said, “You might want to call her back and give her our address”.

I’m predisposed to not do what I’m told to do, so any dispatcher “telling” me what to do will probably be ignored. I may ask for advice, but I will be the one making the decisions on the spot. YMMV

Sunday, August 24, 2014

California Wine Crisis

Reading about the drought in California, and now an earthquake, may impact price and availability of California wine. This is what I drink, with an occasional venture into Merlot. Think I should stock up now?

Yes, yes, I'm an uncivilized redneck. Single malt and Dr. Pepper? Why are you yelling?

Colorado Produce

Colorado grows some excellent foods and my favorites are Olathe sweet corn, Rocky Ford cantaloupes, and Palisade peaches. Summer treats.
Today I'm enjoying some Palisade peaches, picked ripe from the tree, along with some pears from the same place.

Sadly, the cantaloupes may soon be a memory. A listeria outbreak last year hurt their reputation. Hail storms this year. The biggest threat is Front Range municipalities buying up water rights. 

In the years we lived in Washington State, I would send my sister a box of Walla Walla sweet onions and she would send me Rocky Ford cantaloupes. Most assuredly made no sense economically. One year UPS lost track of the melons. When the box was finally delivered, the melons were a bit ripe, as in, dripping from the box ripe.

For now, will enjoy the day and the good food it brings.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Close Call, Mobility Divison

Me, westbound. Her, eastbound on her mobility scooter on a busy street, not on the sidewalk. Cell phone planted firmly on her ear. Small dog in her lap. Suddenly, she swerves in front of me, and into a driveway. She gave no indication she saw me. The dog did. Stood up, and was ready to jump. Stupid bint!

I understand an elderly person doing this. This woman looked to be in her fifties. Oh well, hadn't done anything all day to raise my pulse rate. Think I should thank her?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What The ^*+# Is A Tablet?

Another company is considering using me as an independent contractor. One of their requirements in an Android device. which I have, in the form of a Samsung “Smartphone”. This is a requirement for another company for whom I do some work.  Now, I really dislike the Smartphone, and only use the app for their operation, and, of course, as a cell phone.

The volume of work the potential new client wants, combined with bifocals, fat and fumbling fingers, patience deficiency, and a small screen, has me looking for alternatives. Being totally cheap, I shopped the various pawn shops in the area. Looking online, there are many choices under $100. Craigslist has many sellers. What to do?

Next stop was Best Buy, where I encountered a Salesman, an eager young man whom I would instantly hire if I still ran a car lot. He did tell me they are on salary at Best Buy. After listening to my needs, and working through my technology Luddite skill set, he started with their cheapest tablets.

“Why are the screens blank”, I asked?

“They don’t last very long”, was his reply. “We have problems keeping them going, as they are on all the time”.

Then he took me over to some Samsung tablets. Large, bright screen, better construction, and, he assures me, much more durable. My fat fingers easily worked the screen, and my aging eyes had no problem reading the displays. $179.00 plus tax, but including inland freight, handling, pack, croak and choke, and mop and glow.

“What about a protective case”, I asked him?

“About $80”, he replied, “But for $40, you can get a two year warranty. If you drop it, you get a new one”.

Wow, he was good, but not yet top notch, as I left without purchasing.

Anybody have advice? What I will be doing is checking inventory (floor plan checks), where you have a list by serial number, and you physically put your mitts on each item on the list. The recruiter is excited because I’ve done these thousands of times over a thirty years period selling cars. Most of the work is outside, in all kinds of weather. You need three hands, since a magnifier may be needed to read the serial number, and a small ladder to reach a reading level (think Ford F-550 4x4). Thus, you are going to drop something at some point.

My other concern is, how much time will I be working? This will be the fourth, “part time, supplement my retirement income”, job I will be doing. The numbers the recruiter is quoting sounds like close to a full time job.  Then there is the oopsie.

“Ah, WSF, can you drive down to ___________ and do six checks? We will pay you extra, of course”.

Oh well, until I win the lottery, money is attractive (and needed). Win the lottery? Some Fairchild 24 will have a new owner. I’m too old, and fat, to climb into the cockpit of an F-86 Sabre (not to mention that pesky need to have appropriate skills).

And this describes my morning after visiting relatives last night.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Colorado Democrats $21 Million Mistake

From Colorado Peak Politics.

Colorado Progressives greeted marijuana legalization with great joy as a new tax stream. A "sin" tax that would painlessly raise great sums. Lower law enforcement and prison  costs as drug dealers were forced out of business because their customers would flock to the legal outlets.  Hasn't worked out like they planned.

One problem is the still illegal status under federal statutes, and the reluctance of the banking industry to service the pot businesses. The other problem, not talked about, is the already established illegal pot dispensing business.

Street prices for weed, I'm told, is about half the retail outlets. Weed dealers will deliver right to your home. Depending on the dealer, credit may be extended. Dealers will accept goods for payment, without all the pesky paper work of more traditional fences, i.e., pawn brokers.

The dealers do face obstacles. After all, they are criminals, and don't restrict their illegal activities to being unlicensed pharmacists. That, along with their douchebag personas, bring them unwanted LEO contact. That is about the only way they get caught.

One clear lesson, at least to me, is enterprise will beat regulation, every time.

In case inquiring minds want to know, my last toke was around 1970.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Norwegian Jokes

I was married to a first generation Norwegian, and have always appreciated Norwegian jokes, mainly because she doesn't.


You have heard of Evil Knievel. Have you heard of Evil Larsen, the North Dakota farmer who tried to jump three combines with his John Deere?

Ghastly wreck, but most of the spectators think he would have made it if he had raised his plows.


The Stanwood, WA Sons of Norway recently lost six members and a backhoe in Puget Sound. One of their members died and requested burial at sea. It isn't known if the fire truck brakes were fixed.


We didn't get along, but her relatives were fine people who went out of their way to make me feel welcomed.

"Oh, you're the husband of the grand niece, ya sure".

When we moved to Seattle, we first rented a house in the Magnolia neighborhood, across the ship canal from Ballard. After her first visit to Ballard, she told me she had been in a neighborhood where, "Everyone looks like me".

Some more Scandinavian humor.

Boondoggle In The Desert

What follows is my view, and only my view. I have NOT discussed this with any family members. My son is 110% OPSEC, as is his spouse, and we do not talk about anything not family and grandkids related.

Youngest son, and family, are at Dugway, UT, so I follow the news there closely. Their electrical power comes from a coal fired plant, with backup generators on site. Last year a range fire burned part of the power line, and the power was off for four days. So, maybe, this makes some sense.

Looking past all the “horrid” military stuff going on at Dugway, this is a Progressive wet dream.

     . Solar!!!
     . Small Business Set Aside *
     . Cut the legs from under a COAL FIRED power plant utility.
     . No chance for pesky outsiders watching you when you are
       inside a restricted access military base.


This firm qualifies as a “Small Business”?

OK, WSF, you are a cranky, cynical old fart with too much time on your hands. Once in awhile the government might get it right. After all, a stopped analog clock is right twice in twenty four hours. Bite me.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Million Veteran Program

Received this in the mail. While I'm automatically skeptical of anything from the government in general, and the Veterans Affairs in particular, I also know not everything from them is evil. Participating in something that could potentially help veterans appeals to me. Therefore, I carefully read all the material.

The section highlighted concerns me. We all know, or we should know, that the VA is quick to add your name to the back ground check database that prohibits owning a weapon. So, on to the questions.

Question 39 is a problem. Wrong answers will put you in the data base. Page 7, Nervous System Problems, looks like another mine field. Will this survey be utilized that way. My bet is it will.

For me, I'm not participating. What is your opinion?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

NFL 2014

Nearly all my relatives are Bronco fans, including my daughter in law, FDIL.  She transcends “fan” to fanatic. All have been suffering terrible since the Super Bowl. My youngest son, married to FDIL, and I are Seahawk fans. We have had a lovely few months gloating and rubbing it in. Now a new season is upon us.

Two key date. Preseason, three days from now, the Hawks play the Donkey in Denver. Then, September 21st in the regular season, the teams play in Seattle.

I’m not sure the kinfolk will survive the Donkeys losing again. Of course, if the improbable happens and they win, some fifty or so folks will be gleefully coming after my hide.

Love can conquer all. Two years ago FDIL bought my son a very nice leather Seahawk jacket. In turn, around her, he restricts himself to a few quiet smiles. I'm not as restrained. Of course, I don't live there.

August 14th should be interesting. My cousins have an annual gathering to watch fireworks during the town’s founder’s day celebration. Will it be my Little Bighorn?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Thoughts On Lawyers

Many people go through life never needing a lawyer. That doesn’t describe me. You can bad mouth lawyers all you want, until you need one, then you bad mouth the inept, uncaring, and unprofessional one you selected. Rightfully so. Since I spent thirty some years as one of those horrid used car salesman, I have some empathy for lawyers.

My first long encounter with the legal profession was when a contractor, doing demolition work they weren’t qualified to do, managed to dump a large structure into a building my employer was using. The contractor then compounded the problem by sitting on their collective asses for a few weeks. My employer’s law firm, Clusterfuck LLC, displayed such incompetence, other than generating billable hours, that I wouldn’t have trusted them to properly procure a pet license.

First personal encounter involved a complex financial situation. My wife and I fully disclosed all the facts, and clearly stated our desired outcome. We negotiated a set fee for the service, and paid 75% in advance. When the matter was resolved, we immediately paid the balance due. The law firm then tried to bill us for additional fees, arguing the case was more complex than they thought, and that they had spent far more time on it than anticipated. We said no. That dispute went to arbitration with the bar association. My wife and I prevailed.

One of my sons decided it was cool to drink and drive. Three arrests later he finally got his head straight. The lawyer I paid to represent him kept him out of jail, got him into the right kind of probation programs, and got one charge dismissed. Horridly expensive, but the lawyer delivered.

Yes, I know, tough love; let him suffer the consequences, yada, yada. Walk in my shoes first.

The next one involved child custody, and getting my grand children away from the birth mother, permanently. Took months, and thousands of dollars, but the lawyer my son found won custody for him. Later, another lawyer got her parental rights permanently ended, and made it possible for my daughter in law to adopt them. Again, thousands of dollars spent but the end result was worth it.

Onward, after my mother was moved into a long term care facility, real estate speculators, in collusion with a building inspector, tried to grab her house. The city, with no notice, cut the power line and shut off the water. They had a demolition contractor standing by. Once again, a good lawyer helped us stop the action. The house is still standing, and the greedy ones still haven’t turned the block into a strip mall. In fact, an office building the built across the street was vacant for four years. Made my heart glad every time I drove by. The political fallout was large. My sister, who makes an enraged pit bull look tame, used her years of building political influence to bring doom on the city employees.

I worked with a man who put himself through law school while selling cars. Spent years driving from Denver to Laramie, WY to the UW Law School for classes. I was cited for 84 MPH in a 65MPH zone. Mega dollars, and worse, mega points. Monte gave me the “brother in law” rate. Got the charge down to driving too fast for the conditions (dry and 90 degrees!) and three points. Still at lot of dollars, but the points were critical to me. Later, Monte handled a pesky failure to appear on a seat belt violation for my youngest. Seems the seat belt deal was a secondary offense, and the officer didn’t note what prompted the traffic stop, nor did he issue a citation for anything but the seat belt. Of course, my son shouldn’t have blown off the court appearance. He did have a good excuse! Once again, the application of dollars made it all go away.

When I deal with any professional, I will clearly state my desired outcome. “You’re the doctor, you’re the lawyer, or you’re the insurance agent”, isn’t happening with me. I hire them to tell me how to achieve what I want, not to tell me what I should do. The good ones don’t mind. The drones do, and that helps me weed them out.

Would I like to have all those dollars spent back in my pocket? Damn right, I would. Would I want to live with the consequences of not doing what I did? Hell no.

Don’t like your outcome? Bitch. Start with the state bar association. They want to keep their self regulation status, and they will investigate. They may not find In your favor, but it will go on record, and it just may prevent the s.o.b. from ever becoming a judge or magistrate.

My version of hell on earth is to be in a situation where the opposing lawyers have no interest in settling, so long as they keep generating billable time, and their client has no skin in the game, i.e., a public or government entity.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

$17 Solution To A $148 Problem

Being extremely cheap (not frugal, cheap), replaced the Mass Air Flow sensor (MAF) in my Escort with a salvage yard part. A new MAF is $148+, a remanufactured one around $85, and the one I installed cost $17 from a pull yourself salvage yard. Came with a thirty day exchange.

The job is easy. Detach the hose from the MAS, remove four bolts, and disconnect one electrical plug.

The MAS has two small wires that can become coated with grime. When you replace the air filter, you should give them a quick shot of electrical contact cleaner. This is a terrible photo, but should give you an idea of what to look for.

Some time is required to walk around the salvage yard looking for the right year and model. The place I use doesn't have an inventory list beyond,

 "The Fords are in that row".

It is sobering to see all the wrecks, especially the windshields broken from the inside out above the steering wheels.

I was lucky to find the exact year and model I own. The part solved the driveability issue. Other than dropping two bolts under the car, and finding them in the grass, didn't even have a reason to curse.

Retail for that repair, depending on the integrity of the shop, is $230 or more.

Today, I'm a happy camper.