Neon Diaries 3

Neon Diaries 3Here is (I think) a 1960 Chevy Impala from the little car show we stopped at on Saturday with my new favorite filter “cartoon” applied.

When I dropped off the Miata at the body shop last Monday they said they were allowed 5 days to fix the car (I’m guessing that is the insurance company telling them that) and they would call me Friday (4 days later) to tell me how they were doing. Friday came and went with no phone call. Monday was business day #5 with no call saying the car is ready. Today was day number six without a peep from Satcher Ford Motors’ body shop. I have been holding off calling them, but I guess tomorrow I should check in, if only to just let them know I’m still interested in getting the car back.

Filled up the Neon with gas today. Two hundred ninety five miles and it took 9.5 gallons of regular fuel, netting 31.5 MPG. Not bad.

Started up, still up.
Neon Top Transitions since 04/24/06: 0

Good Thing I Called

Good Thing I CalledAnother photo from this past Saturday’s car show. Early 50’s Ford?

Broke down and called the body shop today. They said that they have been a little backed up in the paint booth recently, but the Miata will be ready tomorrow. Kind of reminds me of that old joke about the shoe repair ticket…


ASCO was recently awarded the biggest contract ever in the company’s history. Caterpillar has picked us to make a series of 4 valves that will go on every one of their diesel engines starting next January 1st. The government has tightened the diesel emission regulations and our valves will take the sooty exhaust and send it through some sort of afterburner to clean it up. The folks from Caterpillar have been in the plant for most of the week going over how and where we will build their product.

On Thursday they gave us this huge flag/banner about 9′ x 15′ in size with the Caterpillar logo on it. Early Friday morning it was given to a couple of the maintenance guys to hang from the ceiling at the end of the hall leading into the assembly area. A couple of minutes after they had finished hanging it I walked by on my way into the cafeteria. There were a couple of other people looking up at it, so I did too and this is what we saw:


I walked into the back and asked the maintenance supervisor about the TAC flag. He said, “You mean CAT?” I replied, “I thought that was what it was, but the flag was hanging backside out and upside down, so it looked like TAC. Maybe we should get it hanging right before the Caterpillar representatives come in, see it and decide maybe we weren’t really capable of assembling their valves correctly.”

Soggy Sunday

Soggy SundayI took one last picture of Neon in the company parking lot on Friday. Tried a couple of panorama shots, but those really need a tripod to work well.

Pretty much spent the day inside because of the rain. We did venture out around noon to get a Firehouse Sub and then do the weekly grocery shopping. The sun made a brief appearance around 3 PM, but didn’t stay long.

There is a threat of a car drive after the West Wing at 9 PM, but that is dependent on the rain staying away long enough. (It did.)

Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/06: 128

Global Warming – Bah!

We just came back from a friend’s son’s baseball game. Donna had turtleneck under her jacket, I had two t-shirts on under mine and we sat huddled under a blanket. The temps were in the upper 50’s and it was misty, so we left after the 5th inning because we were c-c-cold.

We still rode home with the top down though (the windows and the windblocker were up, plus the temp knob was 3/4 of the way hot.)

Started down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/06: 128

Hope She Thinks They’re From Me

plantSub-Titled: That’s The Last Time Donna’ll Let Me Do That Unsupervised

It’s coming up on Mother’s Day, so if you’ve got one, better start planning a gift. It is time for us to pick out some flowers or a plant to be delivered to my Mom in Connecticut. We always used to do flowers, but somewhere along the way Mom mentioned she hated to throw away the flowers after they got all ooey. She suggested we get her a plant, something that could be transplanted and enjoyed for more than a week or so.

For the last couple of year’s we have been buying and sending the Mother’s Day plant using the internet. Usually we do this together, because being a guy, I can’t always be relied upon to pick out the best gift. This year Donna let me try on my own, after all it is for my Mom. Not being much of a shopper when it comes to these sort of things, I usually pick whoever has an ad running on the front page of Yahoo. This year’s lucky recipient of our business was I picked out a nice large 6″ potted Ventricosa Heather plant in a decorative tin basket for $30 (+ $10 for delivery.) When I showed Donna what I had bought she was pleased. Then she asked me what I put on the card I told her, “Happy Mother’s Day, what did you think?” She then replied, “Did you put ‘Love Brian & Donna’ on it?”


Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/06: 130

It’s An Action Figure, Not A Doll

From the trailer to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest due in theaters July 7th.

Elizabeth Swann: There will come a moment when you have the chance to do the right thing.
Jack Sparrow: I love those moments. I like to wave at them as they pass by.

The merchandising is already starting to crank up. We were in Target the other night looking for a swim cap for Donna. She wanted to go to our health club and swim in the pool and didn’t want to frighten any other swimmers with her recently shorn pate. We found a couple different ones to choose from and opted for the more expensive silicone one over the vinyl. Right next to the sporting goods was the toy section where the end of one aisle was loaded with boxes full of “Talking Mr. Cotton’s Parrots” and skull & crossbones alarm clocks. I wandered further down the aisle and found some TDPM II action figures. There was a sword slashing Jack Sparrow that I just had to have, it was destiny, Cap’t Jack was $7.99, exactly what the swim cap cost…

In other movie news: This September you will be able to step back to 1977 and relive the greatest movie of all time the way it was presented back then. That’s right, just in time for winter solstice gift giving season, the Star Wars Trilogy as they were originally run in the movie theaters arrive as “bonus” material on 2-disc DVD sets of each title.

Started down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/06: 136

Why Is The Rum Gone?

Standing Jack

Captain Jack Sparrow came to work with me on Monday. Posing is limited and standing on its own is hampered by the built-in sword slashing action mechanism, but this doll action figure is not too bad for eight bucks. Definitely not McFarlane caliber, but he wasn’t making them…

Jack couldn’t stand up too well on his own to begin with, but with the angle of the monitor top it became near impossible. I decided to get him some help, a little double stick tape to plant his feet on and everything was just fine.

Passed Out Jack

When I came in this morning Jack was flat on his back. Apparently drank too much rum on Monday night. Or I need some better double stick tape.

Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/06: 140

Davy Jone’s Sock Locker

Davy Jone?s Sock LockerWe went out this evening to buy a few things, I needed some new tan work socks and some quarter high sneaker socks. Donna wanted a couple of bits of garden art to replace her rapidly deteriorating 3 wooden flower flairs and some bird seed to fill up the feeders in the backyard. We figured our best bet to get all the items we needed was Target. First we went to the guys section for my socks and then headed across the back of the store to the garden section. We just happened to pass right by the toy section…

We did manage to get some bird seed, but we will have to wait until tomorrow or Sunday for the garden art. Target’s selection was slim to the point of being threadbare, so a trip to Lowes and Home Depot is called for.

How are we going to pay for all this shopping we are doing you ask, here is how, I’ll sell my domain name. According to LeapFish, is worth a base value of $291, but its estimated actual value is $14,114. Try it and see how big an internet magnate you might be:

Started down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/06: 146

Great Expectations

When we first moved to Aiken in 1989 to shop in an enclosed mall you had to drive to Augusta, but they were building one here that did open a couple years later. It took more than ten years past that to get the mainstay of mall-dom, GAP, to open up a store in it.

When they did open the store did a huge business, but it trailed of rather quickly. Last year after maybe 3 years of doing business they shut the doors. Don’t worry they told us, we are going to remodel and open up as a GAP Outlet. The “outlet” has been open for a few months and they really most have expected a huge swing in shoppers. There is one central cashier station at the back of the store and they have the nylon strap equivalent of velvet ropes in front of it that is two 15′ sections folded on each other, probably hold a dozen shoppers.

Admititly it was a Tuesday, but Donna and I plus another couple were the only shoppers in the store. We were outnumbered 3 to 1 by sales associates who mostly stood around behind the cashier’s station loudly trying to one up each other with retail job interview stories. Maybe the Saturday before Christmas they might get a dozen shoppers in the whole store, never mind checking out at the same time.

The Taurus Diaries – Act II, Scene II

Surprise, surprise, the Miata wasn’t ready. I called at 3:30 to see if I could return the Taurus and pick up my car. I was told, “I have a man working on it. We hope to have it ready for you tomorrow.” I almost believed him.