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    Monday Projects - Fix it Day

    Sometimes you take two steps forward, but then you end up going one step back.  That's what I'm facing today.

    Yesterday I met up with a friend for cheap taco Sunday at Taco Tico.  Michael had beef nachos and some tacos.  I had several tacos (finished Michael's last two...his nachos got the best of him).

    We headed back to his house where we filled up the Pathfinder with two Pentium 4 IBM Netvista computers that he salvaged from work, a Canon Ink jet printer and boxes of computer stuff that his uncle gave him while he was cleaning things out.  You know the stuff...old monitor, old Toshiba laptop, speakers, programs, etc, etc.

    I had planned on spending today putting the best parts of the IBM computers together for something to use instead of my aged Compaq Celeron PC.  My Dell XPS needs a new motherboard.  :(

    But I have even more to fix today.

    Yesterday I fired up the smoker to smoke some split chicken breasts and pork butt.  It was late afternoon by the time I had unloaded the Pathfinder so didn't take the time to mix up more rub.  I had enough already made for the pork butt, so I seasoned the chicken with some granulated garlic, salt and pepper, Spanish paprika, and some hot dried peppers (left over from a take out pizza).



    I had picked up the meat at our local grocery store for a bargain (with the ol' "reduced for quick sale" sticker).  The chicken was $.79 per lb and the pork butt was $1.59 per lb.  I got the pork butt on the smoker, then took out the chicken.



    I got everything loaded up.



    Closed the lid and took a picture with my handy dandy Olympus Stylus 600 All Weather digital camera.



    Well, that turned out to be the last picture of the day.  I came back outside later to check on the temperature of the smoker.  OH THE HORROR!!!  One of the legs on my old tripod had come loose and the camera took a header onto the hard concrete from about 6 feet in the air.  The fall scratched up one side of the camera, cracked part of what looks like the All Weather seal, and now the lens cover is loose and the lens won't come out when it's powered up.

    I'm not a camera repairman, but it looks like some sort of spring mechanism is damaged.  I'll try taking it apart later, but if it isn't an obvious fix, I'll be sending it in to Olympus for repair.  No more pictures for a while, unless I get lucky.  One more thing to do today.

    The meat turned out good, though...

    The other thing I want to try to do today, besides mowing the yard, is to put a logo on my website.  I made a favicon for the site by using Gimp (an open source alternative to Photoshop) and liked the way it turned out, so I spent yesterday morning trying to come up with a logo of sorts.  If you see a logo on here later, you'll know I figured it out!

    I am building this site by myself, so it's learn as you go.  I better get going.  I'm burning daylight!



    Out with the Old

    In with the Not So Old.  As I mentioned before, my old washing machine gave up the ghost over a week ago.  It was filled with dirty clothes and soapy water when it did it's final agitation.  I can't complain.  It lasted about 13 years.  It was the cheapest one available at Circuit City (when there was a Circuit City in Topeka).

    I needed a washer and dryer when I moved into my house.  My sister had a pickup at the time and drove 45 miles to take me to Topeka to go buy them and help get them home.  We went to Best Buy first.  They had a sale.  They had a dryer.  But all they had for the washer I wanted was the floor model.  They would not sell it to me.  Guess it would have been too much trouble for them to unbox a new floor model when their new shipment came in 3 days later.  I had a truck now.  I couldn't come back in 3 days.

    They pissed me off with their attitude.  If they have a policy of not selling floor models, fine.  But don't get short and pissy about it.  And don't try to push a dryer on me and tell me it's no big deal for me to come back in 3 days to pick up a washing machine.  Screw your attitude.  Screw you.  Come on sis.  They didn't sell me anything.

    We drove 3 blocks to Circuit City.  Saw their offerings.  Bought the cheapest thing they had.  I mean really, how fancy of a machine do you need to wash jeans and T-shirts?  They were Roper brand.  After getting them home I saw the metal plates on the back stating Whirlpool Corporation.  Made in Mexico.  Guess Whirlpool bought out Roper and turned it into their foreign made cheapo brand.

    Fine by me.  I paid $188 each.  Exhibit A:  Roper washing machine.  Exhibit A and 1/2:  The edge of the Roper dryer with a laundry basket on it (and a dent in the top from when I was using it like a ladder, but that's a whole other story).



    No various water levels.  No "Delicate" or "Permanent Press" cycle.  You had 2 choices.  Warm wash/cold rinse or cold wash/cold rinse.  You had one knob.  That's it.  So simple my kid could do the laundry...and he did lots of times.

    The only regret I had was that I always bought Cowboy Cut Wrangler jeans from the Farm & Home store.  I always bought the same size.  I never had to try them on.  They always fit great.  They had plenty of ball room (as a trapper friend in Alaska use to say).  Only one problem.  Since they weren't pre washed, or stone washed, or acid washed, or drug behind an electric car by a yuppie texting on an iPhone while drinking a Starbucks, there was one washing requirement.

    That requirement is the same today as it was 13 years ago.  Turn them inside out and wash in HOT water the first 3 times you wash them to set the dye.  Crap!  My washing machine doesn't have a HOT wash setting.  Double crap!!

    However, all was not lost.  As you see in the picture above, the water lines were connected to the side of my mega furnace.  Simple enough...whenever I bought a new pair of Wranglers I'd just reach over the washer and turn off the cold water supply line, resulting in nothing but hot water filling the tub.  That's right.  Uh huh.  I'm bad.  Oh yea.  No wearing Wranglers without the dye set.  No turning my underwear blue.  Oh, no!  Um huh!  High five!

    This story has a happy ending.  My computer guru friend offered me his old washer because he bought a new bigger one.  (He likes to do laundry every month or two...well actually he hates doing laundry, so he bought the biggest, baddest one Sears sells.  That way he can put tons of clothes in it at a time or a circus tent, I suppose.)  He even loaned me his dolly to get his old one in my house.  That's what friends do.  He is a good friend.  I would tell you his name but then you might horn in on the next thing he doesn't want anymore!

    Ta Da!  A vintage Sears Kenmore 60 Series Heavy Duty.  Three water levels:  Low, Medium, High.  Three wash & rinse temperatures:  Cold/Cold, Warm/Cold, Hot/Cold.  Five wash cycles:  Pre-wash, Cotton/Sturdy, Permanent Press, Knit, Delicate.  Ain't she a beauty!



    It took some work to level it because the adjustable legs were kind of seized up.  And I had to modify the drain hose.  My son helped me so it didn't take too long.  I did 5 loads of laundry that night and it worked like a champ.  Nice and quiet.  Just the way I like my slave equipment...and no more turning off the supply line the next time I buy me some Wranglers!


    "Her clothes are old but never are they dirty.  Living just enough, just enough for the hum"    Stevie Wonder




    It's finally Saturday evening.  I worked 116.5 hours in the past 10 days (with 1 day off).  I was suppose to go get a washing machine today from my friend Michael.  I was too tired.  I had a note on my door yesterday that a woman here in town is having trouble with her computer (I help people with their computers in my spare time).  I am too tired.  My Red Delicious apple tree blew over in a storm 2 days ago and needs to be cut up with the chain saw.  I am too tired.  I see a theme here.

    Tonight (right now) I am going to grill some stuffed skirt steaks a la GYSC style.  I will post the results. Thanks GYSC for putting Shooter Jennings on your Friday night blog.  It was awesome!  Will report back Sunday...right now I'm going to put on some Willie Nelson and appreciate having a Saturday night where all is healthy and happy around here.


    Just A Summer Day Off

    I'm sitting in front of a cheap Lasko box fan.  The 2 window AC's can barely keep up today.  It's been a hot summer for the bulk of the country and it's no different here.  It's late afternoon and I stepped out on the back porch to see the current noon it was 102°.  Well, well, 108° in the shade.

    No wonder I've been sweating most of the afternoon.  This is the first day off I've had since last Monday.  6 days on, 1 day off...and the timesheet says...68.75 hours for the week.  And it's back to work tomorrow.  What did I do today?  Glad you asked.

    I got up around 10am because there was a catered BBQ lunch at work today that I needed to go to.  My body was exhausted from the long days I had been putting in at work.

    My normal morning routine is to sit at the computer and have a couple of cups of green tea while I wake up.  I've been out of tea for a couple of weeks, so I stumbled out to the kitchen in my underwear and plugged in the under appreciated Cappresso coffee maker.  There was still enough beans in the hopper to make 4 cups, so that's what I made.  While the beans were grinding and the coffee brewing I went to my computer to check out some websites and blogs.

    I always start my day checking Yahoo Finance, The Reformed Broker, Kid Dynamite's World, Economic Disconnect, and  At last count I have about 175 bookmark favorites in my browser, but I always start my day with these sites.  Nothing exciting this morning on Yahoo Finance.  Going for coffee.

    Mmm...that first sip is always the best.  A slow deep breath.  Thoughts of camping, fishing, relatives long past gone, my late mother, my son, and the dogs.  I am grateful for what I have.  Now on to TRB, KD's World, and GYSC.  They're still in their parts of the world and all is right.  I made a few comments on their sites.  Will check back later today.  Finished that cup of coffee, on to cup two and a shave.

    I need a shower.  I need a haircut.  I don't need to go sit for a hour at our small town barber shop.  I have clippers and a semi-steady hand.  I'll do it myself.  I've done it before.  I'll do it again!  (I cut my son's hair the entire time he was growing up, that is until he got in high school.  You should see his Senior picture.  Hair down to his these days.)

    I cut my hair with the 3/8" attachment.  It was easy.  I'm going half bald anyway.  I hollered at Jacob, my son, and had him go over the back and trim my neckline.  Done.  A shower.  Done.  Another cup of coffee with the towel wrapped around me.  Done.  Dressed for the work lunch at 12:30 pm.  Free BBQ from a chain restaurant called Dickie's Bar-B-Que.  They advertise on our TV station.  How bad can it be?  It's no GYSC pulled pork, I'm sure.

    Still got a little time to kill so went out and picked a few tomatoes.  I need some time to do something with them tomators.  6 more today to go with the other 2 bowls full and the random ones in the crisper drawer.

     I'll clean out that drawer later.  I have other fish to fry.  My washing machine broke down yesterday.  I did a load of clothes.  Put them in the dryer.  Loaded up some jeans and T-shirts in the washer at about 2 am.  As it filled with water, knowing my work was done for a while, I went to my room and sat down at the computer.  A little later I thought that damn washer was going to wake up the neighborhood.  Sounded like a left armed guy trying to shift gears in a one ton truck with a bad clutch.  The noise made me hurry from the back of house to the laundry room to punch the knob and make it stop!

    The cotton victims.

    The clothes are still there right now.  A friend offered me his old washer 3 weeks ago after I helped him go to Sears and pick up his deluxe, jumbo one.  We got it down his basement stairs and set up.  A week later I stopped by and he offered me his old one.  Unfortunately I had a pinched nerve in my lower back at the time.  I told him I would get it later.  Later is now.  I called him today and will go this Saturday to pick it up.  It's way better than the one I've been using anyway.

    This post is getting long and I haven't even gotten to lunch yet.  I'm sure you have stopped reading by now, so I won't worry about the spelling so much.  Hehehe  The ice has melted in my Vodka.  BRB

    Harumph!  That's better.  Vodka on the rocks.

    Now, to the lunch.  We've all been working day and night to merge some television stations.  I work for a company that owned the NBC affiliate.  3 years ago they bought out the local Fox affiliate and moved them in with us.  Now through various legal FCC loopholes, you might say, we are are going "manage" the ABC and CW affiliates.  I'll leave it that.  I value my job.  I'm not on the same level as James Altucher.

    We are just finishing the new master control room.  I put in lots of 12 hour days.  At one point some of the guys worked for 36 hours nonstop.  They really are a nice bunch of guys, even if they have a zombie look on their face.  I guess we made the deadline.  I took some pictures during the past few weeks.  Here's a sample.





    Heeeree's Justin...taking a break.  Been working evenings with him for a few years.  I took care of NBC and he took care of Fox.  We 've dubbed 1,000's of commercials, too.  Someday I'll post the Hardee's commercials that only aired for a day.  I made copies of them the night before they went on TV.  I knew we wouldn't air them long...A Hole vs B Hole.  They are a riot!  Guess their biscuit balls should have been called something else!  Hahaha  I only mention Justin 'cause he can't stop me, don't know about the rest of the guys.  :)

    Some of the engineers were brought in from sister stations (our company owns several stations around the country), and of course consultant types, etc.  Anyway, come tomorrow I'll be working in a new control room, with new servers and ways of doing things.  It's a work in progress.  The bottom line is that in Topeka you can watch PBS, CBS, or us!  Our schedules will probably be changing.  I'd be happy to keep mine because I have 3 day weekends.  I am usually off Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, then work an 8 hour day, two 12 hour days, and an 8 hour day.  It helps make up for the pay.

    But all this is why we are getting a free BBQ lunch.

    Dum, da dum dum, da!

    We had our lunch.  The chopped brisket was good.  The pieces of smoked chicken breast were good.  The rest tasted like it came out of a can.  Not good.  But not bad for free.  That's all I can say about that.

    I then headed off into the heat to Sam's Club.  Filled up the Pathfinder with gas...$49.40.  Went into Sam's Club and refilled a generic prescription of Metformin (for Type 2 diabetes)...$10.00.  Got 10 cans of Skoal...$34.08.  Got 47 lbs of dog food (whatever happened to 50 lb bags?), 12 rolls of paper towels, 1 gallon of liquid hand soap (was $6.48 for 2 half gallon bottles, but found 2 dented bottles on the discount shelf in the back of the store for $4.52...had to put the pretty bottles back), a box of green tea, 5 lbs of Sharp cheddar cheese, 3 pack of Dawn dish soap, and on and on...meat, veggies, mixed nuts.  Basically we were out of everything.  And forgot my list at home, so still need to go to my local grocery store tomorrow to get the rest of the stuff.  Sam's Club total for food...$155.21.

    Now I'm heading home.  NO!!!!  Now I go to Petco to spend $20 on some ear wash for one of the dogs because he keeps getting ear infections.

    The ear offender: Kita

    Oh, OK, can't forget the other dog, Juliet.  She has cataracts, lost 90% of her hearing (I use sign language for most things, or scream at her (no, I'm not being mean, she just can't hear worth a sh*t), and her back legs are really giving out on her.  Then there's the bad part, she has been going to the bathroom in the house, #1, #2, take your pick, but she can't help it.  It's like having an elderly relative that's just plain losin' it.  It will be a sad day if I have to put her to sleep.  She follows me from room to room and Jacob says she will lay looking at the front door for hours at a time while I'm at work.  She is a good dog.


    Got that ear medicine.  Now I'm going home!  And I did.  Just a summer day off.

    Maybe I'll get drunk and eat some mixed nuts.  Or not.  I can do what I want.  I did my chores for today! 


    And so I took a nap...

    I was feeling really tired.  The rest did me good.  Unfortunately, over a year went by.  Rip Van Winkle style, you know.  Boy, do I need to update this website and get a shave!