Exclusive: Obama authorizes secret U.S. support for Syrian rebels — well, it was a secret.
Exclusive: Obama authorizes secret U.S. support for Syrian rebels — well, it was a secret.
We had a blood donation drive at the Valve Store© today and they have had signs posted all over the plant about a month now reminding folks about it.
The last time I gave blood, when they were done bagging the pint, I sat up and then promptly passed out right back into their recliner thing. To wake me up they had to pour ice water on me after calling my name and lightly slapping my face didn’t work. Deep down I know it was probably a one time thing, but that was about 6 years ago and I haven’t donated since. I used to feel bad about not donating, but that has since worn off. So much so that when ever I saw one of the posters for donating all I really saw was:
It did almost make me want to try it again…
Ed. Note: Glad I didn’t, I just found out there were Munchkins, not actual DONUTS.
Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1163
Here is the nutritional information for the Big Mac from the McDonald’s website:
This morning we didn’t go to McDonald’s for breakfast, but our usual haunt, DD. I have made no secret for my love of Dunkin’s Coffee Cake Muffins and coffee here. Also, Donna is a big fan of their hot chocolate and a toasted bagel, so there is no resistance when one or the other suggests we get our morning meal there. I’m betting we average eating there twice a week. Doesn’t hurt either that it costs us less than six bucks. It is no wonder that muffin is so good; here is its nutritional info from the Dunkin Donut’s website:
Pretty close, huh? The Mac is way over top with sodium, but the muffin is way ahead in sugar (the new nutritional evil), but otherwise almost a tossup. Add in my small coffee with cream sugar and we have a winner.
Of course you can’t get a Big Mac for breakfast, but you can get a Sausage McMuffin and a small coffee with cream and sugar:
For comparison, my usual at home breakfast of Frosted Mini Wheats, 1/2 a banana and a 1/2 cup of 2% milk.
My new favorite Olympic spectating sport is Women’s Water Polo. Not only do you have to tread water or swim while controlling the ball, but there is some serious pushing, shoving, dunking and grabbing going on. It is not so evident in the usual overhead camera angles, but when they show the action using an underwater camera you really get a great feel of what is really going on.
I was watching a match yesterday between Spain and Great Britain and during one of those underwater views, when there was a bit of grabbing going on, I almost got a view one of the player’s naked boobies. Forget the bikinis of the women’s beach volleyball, they leave too much to the imagination.
It seems like this is not so rare an occurrence as wardrobe malfunctions have been captured at least two other times in the course of these games, on 8/1 during a US vs Spain match & yesterday during Australia vs China.
When I discussed this suit grabbing thing with my wife she felt that it was cheating and had the perfect way to prevent it, make ‘em compete in the nude. Sound like an awesome idea to me.
After work Donna and I renewed our Driver’s Licenses. The longer we live in South Carolina the longer the span between renewals becomes. At first it was two years, then 5, then 5 without having to actually go to the DMV (they reused your photo) and now it is up to 10 years.
At each visit over the past 23 years it seems to get a little better organized and dare I say a little more efficient each time. All in all today’s experience wasn’t too bad as we were in and out in less than a half hour.
Now, when you walk in you are triaged by a woman at a desk before even entering the main room. She checks to see if you have the required paperwork and its completeness before giving you a ticket with your code, depending on the services required, and a sequential number. There were ten 10 stations with clerks (7 of which were manned) and one camera station for pictures. Each time a clerk completed their task, a computer generated female voice would announce the next person’s code-number combination. There were 4 big LCD screens scattered about the waiting room, with a running list of which clerk was handling what, so you could get an idea of when you would get called.
For our renewals (letter C if you are interested) the process went, see a clerk, pay the fee, return to your seat, get called over for a photo, return to your seat, pick up your license, exit through the gift shop. As we sat waiting, we watched someone go through these steps, so we knew about how much time we had after paying our money, before we were out of there.
There was only one thing unusual about this man, he had to be led slowly by the elbow by another person through each step.
Fearing for our lives that we might be riding our bike one day on a road this man frequently drove, when I received my license from the photo person, I asked her about him. She told me he wasn’t getting a license, just an ID card…phew.
We filled up the Miata tonight and with the sticky pump handle trigger and the over $3 a gallon price, I missed getting it stopped on the even dollar by two cents. And I was too far away to make the cents match the dollar, so I just left it there at $35.02.
When I figured out the mileage for the Miata on this fill up it came to 28.35 MPG, not bad for an old Emperor.
Entering the debit amount into the Money check register I noticed that when I filled up the Sonata last it came to $40.02.
Maybe I’ll just start aiming for that two cents over at each fill up from now on.
Started up, went down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1165
What does this sequence of numbers represent?
3, 22, 27, 46, 51, 70, 75, 94, 99, 118, 123, 142, 147, 166, 171 & 190
It is my FFL draft order for staffing the Purple Whales this year.
If you look in the Seattle picture, the Space Needle and the building to its right look a little hazy while the new 200′ waterfront Ferris Wheel and it surroundings are sharp and bright. Every shot I took of the Seattle skyline on the ferry ride that day had the same dark hazy area on it in the same area.
The next to the last day on vacation when I was taking pictures I noticed that blade-like the lens cover wasn’t retracting all the way. The only way to fully open it was to give one of the bladed a helping push with a ginger. Once home and I saw the last day’s photos I thought I must have left a smudge on the lens from manually opening up the lens cover. I pulled out the camera and looked at the lens cover and there was something sticky looking on the bottom half. When you the camera around in a back pocket or you are near kids or s’mores there is no telling what might come in contact with your camera.
I took the camera to work to try and clean it off. Lens cleaner and a cloth would not get the sticky stuff off so I got some mild solvent we use for cleaning circuit boards to spray on the metal shutter blades that make up the lens “cap.”
The solvent melted the shutter blades and sealed them shut like I used super glue on the edges. I quickly tried to pry then apart thinking that if I could get them open all the way, the camera might still be useable. Well I only got them part way open before they totally melded together. As a bonus, the solvent did clean off any smudges that might have been on the lens, but it did that at the expense also removing any lens coating.
Needless to say I felt like Herb Tarlek, “I swear to God Big Guy, I thought turkeys could fly!” I swear to God Donna, I thought those blades were metal.
One of the Emperor’s recently (6/19) installed shocks has flat-lined.
In hind sight it is no surprise. From the first few times driving the car on the new shocks it didn’t feel like much of an improvement over the old ones that were replaced. After I cured the socket rattle things were fine for a couple weeks, but then started noticing a slightly lower pitched sound from back there when hitting certain kinds of bumps. I kept meaning to tear apart the trunk and check for other loose tools or stuff that I keep back there, but never did.
Last week a high tone rattle appeared to go along with the occasional thunks, so Friday I did what I should have done before. I removed the faux carpet, the fiber board spare tire cover, the small tool kit,the air pressure gage, the flashlight, the small bottles of quick detailer & glass cleaner. I pulled out the pair of mechanic’s gloves, the paper towels, the umbrella, the rolled up Zoom Zoom picnic blanket and the cargo net holding the Garmin GPS & Cool Breeze Scoop. I pulled out the 10 disc CD changer and the plastic cubby holder on the left side. I then removed the three plastic beauty panels, 2 sides and back exposing access areas to the shock mounts.
I found nothing extraneous, but if you grabbed a hold of the big nut holding down the top of the driver’s side rear shock it was easily shook. And when you did shake the shock, it sounded off with that tinkling cymbal sound that I had been listening to for the last few days.
I filled out the contact form on the Moss Motors site, where I bought the shocks, and within an hour someone from there called. The shocks have a lifetime warranty and the way they handle a situation like this is I have to buy a new shock, but if it does turn out to be a manufacturer defect, they refund the money. Moss also is paying for the shipping of the new shock to me and the return shipping of the defective one to them, so not bad.
The new shock arrives tomorrow and gets installed on Thursday. Hopefully things will be a lot smoother (pun intended) after that.
I was listening to the FRS online for a while and in the fourth inning they were leading 2–0. I went away and when I came back to the Red Sox home page to get Gameday tab, so I could check up on the game without listening to it. The first thing you see on the site is a picture of tonight’s pitcher Aron Cook with the headline, “Cook’s No-Hitter broken in 6th.”
I look down at the line score and it is the Orioles leading in the bottom of the 6th 5–2. Cooks no-hitter was gone alright, but so was the lead and his tenure on the mound for the evening.
The Emperor has a new right rear shock.
He didn’t need it though.
The one that came out is perfectly fine. I made an assumption and you know the old saw about what that means.
At around 60,000 miles I replaced the worn OEM shocks with some Koni Yellow Sport adjustable shocks. When it came time to to replace those worn Konis, I went with some Koni Orange STR-T non-adjustable ones. I had two reasons for this, one, I adjusted the yellow sport shocks once, to the mid-point where they felt fine and two, the orange non-adjustable shocks were half the price at $70 vs. $140 each.
Because they came from the same manufacturer I thought they would be plug & play, but nope. The yellows because the adjusting mechanism runs through the shaft it is slightly larger in diameter at 12mm, than the stock shaft’s 10mm, so the hole in the top plate of the shock mounts had to be enlarged to accommodate it. The new orange shocks are meant as a slight upgrade to the OEM units, so its shaft is 10mm in diameter.
What I thought was shock failure was really the new smaller shaft poking through the enlarged mounting plate hole. My mechanic used a metal shim/washer with a 10mm hole in it to make things work. We are good for now, but we’ll take the car back to him next week and let him do the other three prophylactically.
Started up, went down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1168
Last Sunday after we had returned from a bike ride I was sitting peacefully on the living room floor watching Sports Center while I stopped sweating when I heard a scream from Donna in the kitchen. Thinking it was just a visit from another Palmetto Bug, AKA Giant Flyin’ Cockroach, I hurried into the kitchen with a rolled up magazine from the coffee table in my hand for a weapon. It wasn’t a bug, but a quickly forming puddle in front of the fridge.
I hightailed it out the front door and shut off the water to the house. This wasn’t the first time, nor even the second time this kitchen appliance has decided to water the floor. We soaked up the small lake with some towels and I pulled the refrigerator out from the wall. I went outside, turned the water on part way and ran back inside to see where it was leaking. It wasn’t coming from the inlet line right at the back of the fridge where it had the last two times, but it was coming from somewhere near the front. Back outside to turn off the water, return inside to look under the front. It looked like the water was coming from the back of the cylindrical water filter that is impossible to reach unless you can turn the refrigerator on its side (which I had no intention of trying.)
A plastic water line comes up through the floor with no shut off valve and attaches to the refrigerator using a 1/4″ Brass Compression Union, so we agreed the easiest thing to do would be to cap one end of the union and live with ice cube trays. Home Depot is only mile away so I drive over and look in the plumbing aisle and they have a 10′ row of hooks filled with 1/4″ plumbing fittings. There is one hook that is empty leaving a glaring blank spot. Yup, that is where the 1/4″ ends caps should be.
Two miles down the road was Lowes and they had plenty of caps. I wrapped some teflon tape around the threads and tighened up the cap. Outside, water on, inside and inspect the capped union. It was dripping pretty good into a bowl we had placed to catch the water. Outside, water off, back inside to unscrew the cap, wrap more tape and tighten the cap down again. Outside, water on, back inside. Drip, drip, drip, %$@*&. Outside, water off, back inside. Upon inspection I noticed the cap was butting right up against the cent hex portion of the union. That has got to be why it is leaking. I dig into the miscellaneous plumbing bits draw and come up with a chrome union that has a slightly longer distance between the end of the threads and the hex portion. Problem solved…or so I thought.
Wrapped the threads with teflon tape and and tightened the cap as well as I could and there was just a touch of daylight between the cap and the hex. Outside, water on, inside and there is still a drip, drip, drip coming from the connection. Plan C is hatched. We have a few pieces of rubber diaphragm from some discarded ASCO valves that we had around for who knows what. I could cut a small diameter circle that just fits inside the cap and tighten the union up against that. That’s gotta work. Button everything up, go outside, turn on the water, come back inside to…drip, drip, drip.
At this point Donna and I discuss leaving a 5-gallon bucket next to the refrigerator to dangle the dripping water line into that could be emptied once or twice a week. I say let me try one last thing. Outside, water off, inside. I go back to my plumbing spare parts draw and get one of those white plastic compression rings. I remove the rubber diaphragm piece and put in the ring. This time I don’t tighten the cap ’til I can’t turn the wrench any more, instead I give it about 3 turns and stop. Outside, water on, inside. SUCCESS, NO DRIPPING.
As I’m buttoning everything up, I trace out the waterlines under the fridge and notice that after the union the hose went to the leaking filter fixture, then out of the filter and into the back of a single inlet valve with 2 outlets, one to the in-fridge water dispenser and the other to the ice maker. This gets me thinking, why don’t I just bypass the filter, that way we still can have a working ice maker. But the plastic 1/4 line going into the valve doesn’t have any screw type connections, just a plastic collar. I Google search the interwebs and find out this is some sort of quick connect mechanism. Cool.
So I get out an X-acto knife and blithely chop off the union that I have spent the last hour and a half trying to, and finally succeeding to, stop dripping. I pull on the collar, pull out the line from the filter, push the plastic inlet hose in to the valve, go outside, turn on the water, return to the back of the refrigerator and no drips.
And now that I think back to my first trip out to Home Depot, one of the things I did see while looking for the out of stock end cap was a plastic shut off valve for seven bucks with those same type of quick connect ends. If I only knew.
Started down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1168
Donna had a colonoscopy today. She needs to get one every 2 to 3 years due to her Ulcerative Colitis. This is because of the increased risk of colon cancer in UC sufferers. Everything was peachy internally, but externally, that was a slightly different matter.
In what turned out to be an omen of things to come, it took two tries to get the pre-procedure IV started. She had an 8 o’clock start time and by 8:45 I was called back to see her in the recovery area. After she was almost entirely lucid they needed to take a couple vials of blood for some tests.
Donna has always had issues giving blood, as she has small veins and to complicate matters, the chemo she received as treatment for breast cancer in 2006 made those small veins more fragile. Now, cut the number of available arms for sticking in half, because of the lymph nodes removed from her right arm during the lumpectomy back then. Piled on top of that, she was dehydrated from the prep and not being able to drink anything past midnight, so you are really talking big challenge finding a nice vein.
The recovery nurse tried first with no luck. She went and found another nurse who tired a couple sticks without results and she left. The fellow who was her anesthesiologist checked in, noted the trouble and offered to give it a shot as he worked his way through medical school working in a lab. He too failed a couple of times. They were running out a spots to try because they needed to stay below her IV.
Nurse #2 returned and they started trying to get a vein in her left foot. No dice. Now the anesthesiologist left because he had to go put somebody under for their procedure, but he was replaced by one of the doctors on staff at the surgery center. After another failed draw from a foot vein, the three of them concocted another plan. Seeing as they were done with the IV they thought they could flush it and then draw the blood from it. This too, predictably, failed.
By now I am watching from across the aisle in another curtained recovery area lounging in one of those hospital recliners. I can’t get anywhere near the proceedings as there are 3 to 4 medical staff surrounding Donna and her bed is littered with syringe packaging, gauze pads, unsuccessfully filled vials of blood and rubber band tourniquets.
Fortunately for all involved, Donna is still slightly loopy from the anesthesia and is keeping her sense of humor in the forefront. The head nurse for the surgery center shows up and after a confab they try sticking her in the top of her left foot. But because he has been stuck so many times before they opt to give her a shot of lidocaine to dull the foot first. As you can guess, two sticks and two small veins blow out after doing nothing more than coating the inside surface of a vial.
Yet another different nurse appears and Donna asks, “Are you here to stick me too?” “No,” she says, “I’m here to report something to her (pointing at the head nurse.)” In an act of desperation, the staff doctor convinces Donna to let him try getting blood out of the taboo right arm. She agrees because what he said makes sense. You would never want an IV in that arm because the compromised lymphatic system would have trouble draining the fluid, but taking blood out of a vein would not be a problem. The logic was sound, but the results were not.
The original anesthesiologist, now through with another person, wanders by, looks in, and keeps on walking, shaking his head like a beaten man.
The staff doctor and nurse are not about to admit defeat, it has become personal. They are tapping on limbs, tying rubber tourniquets hither and yon searching for a spot they haven’t tried yet. A new player arrives, a slightly older man in scrubs. What magic does he bring?
Donna asks, “Are you here to stick me too?” “No,” he says, “I’m the director here.” He came to apologize for the trouble she was having. She graciously accepted his apology and complimented his staff as they we all very nice, and dare she say, fun to deal with during this whole episode.
Finally the Doc and the nurse found a vein on her left arm that they stuck and very carefully using a syringe, slowly and steadily managed to get a vial full of her blood. Originally when they started they were supposed to get two vials, but everyone in the whole surgery center knew that that was never going to happen. So they took the vial, placed it in some ice and got an aide to hand deliver it to the local lab and instruct them to be careful.
After too many needle punctures to count (best guess being somewhere between 12 & 15) they wheeled Donna out the door at about 10:30 AM.
When I entered the Win/Loss Contest over on a The Joy of Sox blog I was feeling a bit pessimistic about the Red Sox Chances this year and picked 89 Wins & 73 Losses. The site owner chided me for my dim view, but boy it is looking like those totals are now pie in the sky optimistic.
Their current record is 59W & 65L (not counting tonight’s in progress game), so for my prediction to be correct the FRS will have to finish the season out by winning 30 and only losing 8 more games. I’m betting the the odds of that happening are less than 1%!
The worst record picked by anyone was 85 & 77 and if the Sox play the rest of the way at the same winning percentage as they have until now, their record will be the inverse of that worst pick and be 77–85.
Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1169
Last night was our Fantasy Football League draft. I made a suggestion to last years Commissioner about how it would be more fun if we could play everyone in our division twice. Because we all work in the same department it would be better for smack talk pre and post Sundays, so he made me Commissioner for this year.
Anyway, allow me to introduce the 2012 Purple Whales: Philip Rivers and Carson Palmer are my QBs, with LeSean McCoy, Ahmad Bradshaw, Willis McGahee, James Starks and Robert Turbin as Running Backs. Wide Outs are going to be Andre Johnson, Pierre Garcon, Malcom Floyd, Nate Burleson and Randy Moss. I also drafted Brandon Pettigrew & Jared Cook for Tight End with Kicker Rob Bironas and the San Francisco 49ers Defense/Special Teams.
Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1170
A short bike 10 mile ride. Breakfast at DD. Grocery shopping at Kroger.
Lunch. Wash the Purple Whale.
Afternoon spent watching the Weather Channel and listening to the FRS on the internet. Which is more related than you think in that they are both like rubbernecking at a car accident on the Interstate, horrible to see, but you just can’t turn away.*
Evening spent blogging and surfing the web.
Try and reel in your jealousy.
*On a related note, I just got an email that offered MLB.TV on my Roku for the rest of the season for a measly $10, so that if I actually wanted to see that wreck…
This is a photo of the second “cake” the folks at work had for Donna today. Her Department commissioned this one from a co-worker who does cakes on the side. It is a white cake with raspberry flavor and iced with lemon frosting. Mmmmmm. There was even vanilla ice cream to go with it. Her Supervisor sent out a 10:30 AM meeting request for everyone in the department, there was no agenda, so most were not really sure what the meeting was about and were as surprised as Donna. I got an invite to attend as well even though I am not in her department. The supervisor was covered in case anyone, even Donna, noticed my name on the attendee list as folks are forever sending us things meant for the other.
I said second cake, because about 30 minutes before her department had the birthday meeting, the Shipping Department threw an impromptu party for Donna that included cup cakes and ice cream. Donna works with them closely and she often volunteers to bring something when ever they have throw a shindig (which is quite often.) If the Princeton Review did a survey of which of the Valve Store’s departments was the Partyingest, Shipping would definitely come out on top.
To finish things off, we went out tonight to eat at Chili’s where if it is your birthday and you have joined their email club, you get a free brownie with ice cream dessert. Thanks Joan for taking us out and for helping us eat the brownie…
Somewhere between Columbia, SC and Charlotte, NC the Purple Whale surpassed the 21,000 mile plateau. We are on our way to the State of Maine, but first we have a stop in The Plains, VA to watch some of Donna’s cousins play bagpipes in a Scottish games there. When I was driving and we were not near any large cities in Virginia I would opt to drive on US11 which parallels I-81. It is a lot slower, but much easier on the eyes and senses. Along this back road we must have past by over 21,000 Civil War roadside plaques without so much as a sideways glance.
We stopped in our favorite little town in Virginia, Lexington, and took the Lewis Loop walk along the Woods Creek Trail and back through VMI and Washington & Lee, passing by right by the burial place of Stonewall Jackson which we have never visited. We even parked across the street from 318 South Jefferson to start the walk.
We had dinner at the Southern Kitchen in New Market. It has been open since the middle 1950’s and the only thing that has changed is the prices. The booths along the wall have those personal jukebox things, the is a soda fountain counter on the other side. The menu choices are probably the same and judging by the age of the clientele they are probably the same people who ate here then too.
After dinner as we continued north on US11 I spotted a sign that said Covered Bridge, so I turned off to investigate. I drove the Sonata through one way and then back the other before we pulled into a little parking area nearby. We walked down to the river beneath looking for a vantage point to get a photo, but they were few and far between. I did manage to get this one of Meems Bottom Covered Bridge.
I walked to the other side to see about another vantage point and when I looked down, this one is for you Mark, I saw a dead cow! I didn’t go down there, I’m not that much of a diehard photographer (groan.)
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