Monday, April 28, 2014

Toyota Leaving California For Texas

Toyota's been in Torrance for 57 years, and now they've pulled the plug for all the Usual Reasons.

Read the whole story here.

I wonder if when Honda will go, too.......

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I'm Out Sick Today

Wife was sick last week, so I blame her.

All congested, headache, achy body, and all I want to do is sleep.

I'm going back to bed......

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Glad It's Tursday!

As this has been an exceptionally BORING week at "work".

We have a morning meeting informing us of the progress in getting the launch vehicle back together, and then.........NOTHING.

I've read all of the books I have on the Iowa

I've read every "Hammer Time" post over at The Truth About Cars

I've re-read all of the books I have on the care and feeding of an M1 Garand

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.......


And I still have four months until retirement.......


We've heard the ships will be going in to "Cold Layup" at the completion of this launch campaign, although there's a faction fighting to keep the command ship in "Semi-Warm Layup".

And one of the IT guys told me they want to shut down the building where all us payload guys are cubicaled (is that a word?) to save money. The problem is, there's not enough floor space in the building they want to use to house all of us.

I expect a Reduction In Force to occur a few weeks after the ships are back........

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Brunch On The Battleship Iowa

Well, my jaw has recovered 90% or better, and no signs of swelling, so the wife and I went down to the Iowa for the Sunday Easter brunch.

The food was catered by the San Pedro Brewing Company, and was typical breakfast fare, with eggs, potatoes, sausage, BACON!, and a lot of other items, and it was quite good.

After eating, we took the self-guided tour again, and saw some of the areas that have been cleaned up and open to the public since we first took the tour before the ship was opened.

And we saw the Plank Owner's wall, with the teak plate inscribed to the memory of my father, who served in the Sea Bees from 1941 through 1945.

One of the really neat things the restoration crews found was in the Officer's Wardroom.

As they were cleaning off some peeling paint, they found a beautiful map, hand painted on the wall, of the South Pacific Theater of War.

It was very similar to the map on Wikipedia, reproduced below, but was painted in differnt colors, and had much more detail.



Since they can't find any photos of this map in their extensive archives, it's still a mystery as to when it was painted, and who painted it.

My wife was very surprised that I could point out all of the places my Dad had been to, and frankly, I was too. He was like a lot of our Veterans, in that once their job was finished, he came home, and didn't care to talk about it much. Sometimes he'd start to talk, and just when it was getting very interesting, and I'd ask some questions, he'd clam up. But seeing that map, with names of places in use at the time, brought the memories flooding back to me.

And we stopped by Turret 2 to see the memorial to the 47 who lost their lives 25 years ago. I didn't make it down there yesterday to help with the "Radio Activities", but at least we got to see the memorial while it's still there.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Back from The Dentist

Well, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, and I learned a ton about how teeth are extracted.

The tooth in question is/was "#31", the last molar on the lower right side. I'd had a filling fall out some years ago, and like a dummy, I just ignored it until it really started to hurt. My own dental insurance had gone away after I was laid-off from Boeing, so I went to the Dentist my wife uses.

He wanted to just pull the tooth, but I figured it wasn't that bad, so I went back to my own Dentist who examined me, said I needed a root canal and a crown, and no, my wife's insurance wouldn't pay for it.

I also got a lecture about what would have been a $250 filling replacement had now turned into a $2200 procedure!

ANYWAY.......that was about 5 years ago, so I guess I got my money's worth out of the crown.

During a previous cleaning they noticed something was odd, but couldn't decide what was going on, so they told me not to worry about it, but to contact them immediately if I had any problems.

WELL...during the cleaning I had a couple of weeks ago, they noticed that the tooth appeared a bit "strange", so they took and X-Ray, and found the front root had separated from the rest of the tooth, and declared the tooth would have to be removed, which we did this morning.

The worst part was getting stuck with the needle (God, I HATE needles!) to numb it out, and the actual extraction and cleanup went very smoothly.

There were NO problems apparent with clotting, despite the fact I'm taking Plavix and an 81mg aspirin per day.

I was in and out in an hour, and then came home and took a bit of a nap.

So far I'm just kind of "generically sore" in the jaw, and taking it easy, as I don't want to interfere with the clotting/healing that's started.

I had planned on attending the Battleship Iowa memorial service tomorrow for the 47 people that lost their lives in the Turret #2 Explosion, and then operate the radio station for the event we're having, but I think I'll pass on it. One of the things the Dentist told me to do was NOT talk a whole lot, and since I operate on Single Sideband, that's kind of hard to do!

Sunday the wife and I will be going to the Easter Brunch on the Iowa, so at least I'll spend a little time there this weekend.

Think I'll head back to the rack for a little while.......

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bundy Ranch Video

Supposedly Facebook is has banned this video.

Several commenters have said they post it, and it just "disappears".




And for those that don't understand why Mr. Bundy refused to pay his "Grazing Fees", here's another rancher's explanation of it all.

All the big city folk that cry and fret about a supposedly endangered desert tortoise, while eating their Big Mac, don't have clue where the beef comes from.


And then there's this story about a planned Fed raid on the Bundy's home.

As much as I'm happy the Feds pulled out (or were pushed out), I certainly don't think this is The End Of The Story.

Bullies have a way of returning, you know......

Friday, April 11, 2014

I'll Be Busy On The Battleship Iowa Saturday

We have a bunch of Scouts coming to the Battleship Iowa on Saturday to take the test for their Radio Merit Badge, so I'll be there all day running the radio, and coaching the Scouts.

Some of them are very good on the radio, and some are almost terminally "mic shy". Still, they man up, and talk on the radio, and we do our best to encourage them. Usually the more talkative types will go first, and if we're lucky (we usually are), and have a Ham on the other end who knows what we're doing, the other Ham will coach them along, too.

Last year we were very fortunate to stumble across a Ham in Vancouver, B.C. who was a Scoutmaster, and the kids had a great time. Signals were strong and steady, and he hung in with us for almost 4 hours!

This class we only have 10 Scouts, so we won't need the Propagation Deities smiling quite so broadly.

And our friends on the Hornet will be listening for us, to try and help, as they're doing the same thing.

Might be the first "Scout-to-Scout" AND "Warship-to-Warship" contacts ever made for the Radio Merit Badge program, so all us Old Greybeards have our fingers crossed!

We're also working out the details of a "Four Sisters" award that will be issued to Hams who contact the Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

As it is now, every time one of the ships gets on the Amateur Radio frequencies, they get swamped with people calling. This award will just make it that much more popular!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Oh, Boy.....Wife Got In Another Accident

She's OK, and the car isn't too badly damaged.

She was coming home from visiting her brother (great guy!) who's in the hospital, and was coming in to our little neighborhood when she got "gently" T-Boned in the passenger side.

She was making a left turn, with the sun to her back, and another car, with the sun in his eyes, didn't see her until he was about 20 feet away. He locked 'em up, put down about 15 feet of skid marks, and slid into her. Got the front passenger door pretty good, but it was all above the rocker panel, so hopefully no serious structural damage.

They both said they didn't see each other, and having turned left at that corner many times, I can understand it.

We dropped the car off at the body shop this morning, picked up her rental car, and she went in to work, while I'm staying home.

There were several witnesses who saw the whole thing, and they all agreed it was unfortunate, but probably unavoidable due to the traffic and angle of the sun in everybody's eyes.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What's Your Favorite "Car" Movie?

I had a new found (to me) car chase scene I posted a few days ago, and it got me thinking....always an activity fraught with peril.

What's your favorite "car" movie?

I'm NOT a big fan of car movies loaded up with CGI, and impossible stunts, like the "The Fast and The Furious" series, and some of the stuff done in the remake of "Gone In 60 Seconds", so I won't include those.

And movies with great chase scenes, like "Bullitt", and "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior", are great movies, but aren't what I'd call "Car Movies", where the cars are a big part of the entire story.

This narrows the selections down considerably, and the few that I know about, and like, would be as follows:

"Grand Prix" starring James Garner and others

"Le Mans" starring Steve McQueen

"Rush" starring Chris Hemsworth

"Truth in 24" starring "People You've Never Heard Of"


Now there are many other movies out there that the cars play a fairly big part in, but by my narrow-minded definition, aren't quite in the same category as the 4 movies above.

Some of those are:

"Heart Like a Wheel" starring Bonnie Bedelia

"Cars" by Pixar

The original "Gone In 60 Seconds"

"The Big Wheel" starring Mickey Rooney

"To Please A Lady" starring Clark Gable


And many, many more.

So which are your favorites and stinkers?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Update

GROAN....just got back from the Dentist, and found out I'm going to lose a tooth.

Bottom right molar, the very last one, (#31, I think) has a cracked root. I had a crown put on this one back in 2009 after the filling fell out, and I didn't do anything about it for too long.

What could have been a $250 filling replacement turned into a $2200 root canal and crown. This was while I was laid-off, and didn't have any decent dental coverage. The dentist my wife's coverage provided wanted to just pull the tooth, but I knew it could be repaired, so I paid for it out of pocket as my Dentist wasn't in her plan's network.

Oh, well....I got another five years out of that tooth.....

Funny thing is it doesn't hurt, which is good because it hasn't started to decay yet. They X-Rayed it back in November, and nothing showed up, but because there was some weird feeling in it, my Dentist said they'd watch it closely.

The launch has been delayed until the middle of May due to damage to the rocket and some equipment on the launch platform that happened last Saturday when they went to erect the rocket.

A very large panel with electrical and gas connectors, similar to the umbilical on a U.S. launch vehicle, didn't line up properly, and when they raised the vehicle, the connector panel on the rocket and the mating connectors on the launch platform were damaged.

In order to assess the damage, the complete launch vehicle had to be transferred back to the command ship, and the payload assembly/third stage demated. Now we're hearing all the damaged parts will have to be sent back to the rocket manufacturing company in the Ukraine to be rebuilt and recertified for flight.

AND....one of the export managers quit yesterday, and when I went to to take the original letter from my Doctor to the outsourced HR person who only comes in once a week for 4 hours a day, I was told "They no longer work here".

Hmmmm....no HR anymore?

WITHOUT any announcement?

SO.....I took the letter to the gal who handles all the legal stuff and maintains the paper files for all employees, and find out that she's out until next week. The payroll lady has the next office over, and when I asked her about the HR person, she hemmed and hawed for a few seconds, and said "If you have any issues, talk to your direct (manager) first". Then I help up the letter, she turned red, and said I could leave it with her, and she'd give it to the legal gal next Wednesday.

I think I'll keep it and give it to the legal lady next Wednesday myself.

If we're open that long..........

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

GREAT Car Chase Scene

From a movie I've never heard of, "Short Time" starring Dabney Coleman.