Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day

Thank you to all our Military people, especially in these troubled times.

And mere "thanks" cannot express our gratitude to those who gave their last, full measure.

God Bless You All....

Blog Tinkering, Part Deux....

At the request of a very good friend, I've bumped up the font size to 16, and changed to color to black.

I'm completely open for ideas as to color and size, as *my* eyes aren't all that good anymore, either.

Frankly, I'm surprised I can hit the target at 100 yards with the iron sights on my Marlin 336 or 1894, let alone get it in the black better than 90% of the time!

Guess I had some pretty good teachers, and the lessons stuck.

And for those that have asked, I'm feeling better, haven't had a cigarette since May 10th, and my caffeine intake is about 5% of what it used to be.

And I have the gouges in the Radio Room walls from trying to climb them to prove it.......

The hives have disappeared, thanks to a medication/dosage change, but I still get the "itchies" from time to time.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

If *I* Could Play The Electric Guitar.....

I'd want to be able to play it like this......

You know I smoked a lot of grass.
Oh Lord! I popped a lot of pills.
But I've never touched nothin'
That my spirit couldn't kill.
You know I've seen a lot of people walking 'round
With tombstones in their eyes.
But the pusher don't care
If you live -- or if you die.
God Damn! The pusher.
God Damn! The pusher.
I said God Damn! God damn the pusher man.
You know the dealer, the dealer is a man
With a lump of grass in his hand.
But the pusher is a monster
Not a natural man.
The dealer for a nickel
Goin to sell you lots of sweet dreams.
Ah...but the pusher will ruin your body;
Lord he'll leave your mind to scream.
God Damn! The pusher.
God Damn! God damn the pusher.
I said God Damn! God damn the pusher man.
Well now if I were the president of this land
You know I'd declare total war on the pusher man.
I'd cut him if he stands, and I'd shoot him if he run,
And I'd kill him with my bible, and my razor and my gun....
GOD DAMN! The pusher
God damn the pusher.
I said God damn! God damn the pusher man!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kids Are Gone, Dogs Are Gone, Wife Is Bawling Her Eyes Out......

And the house is strangely quiet......

Between the NO cigarettes, NO Diet Coke, and now NO dogs and kids, this place is starting to feel like something Rod Serling should give the voiceover intro for.

Cue music...........

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beretta To Leave Maryland And Kaliforniastan To Tax Ammunition

And I say good for them.

Read the whole thing here.

And my wife's retirement, and our departure from Kaliforniastan, grows closer each day.

Just hope we can hold out until then.

Kaliforniastan to tax ammunition.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hives Again........ARRRRGHH!

WELL....changing from Brilinta to Plavix didn't get rid of the hives, and the Prednisone hasn't done anything, either.

Since I have to drop by the lab today for some blood tests, I'll swing by the walk-in to see what they say.

I was up and down all night long, and I've got to stop scratching the damn things because I don't want to get an infection.

I'm gonna need an ocean,
Of Calamine lotion..............!

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Amazing Omegadrill

Every bust a tap in a hole you were threading?

Ever bust off an E Z Out while trying to remove a busted bolt?

If you have, then you know what a PITA it is to get a broken tap out of a hole.

Sometimes you can break the tap up into individual pieces and pick them out, but what if you can't?

When I worked at Hughes Aircraft, if somebody broke a tap in one of the very expensive milled aluminum housings we used, we'd strip the housing down to bare metal, and send it out the have the tap "burned" out with an EDM process.

It worked beautifully, but was expensive and time consuming.

I happened to find several references where guys were raving over how good The Omegadrill  worked at an automotive website I like to visit, and it looks like somebody has come up with an answer to the busted tap problem.

They're not cheap, at $175 for a 9 piece set, but if they get you out of a jam, they're could be money well spent!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Geez....maybe I should start a "Drjim's Medical Blog"....

Anyway.....when I was showering up yesterday I noticed an area on my right bicep that was covered with little red "pimples". I didn't think too much about it, and went out for a short walk.

Still not up to the Grand Walking Tour of the neighborhood, but at least I can go down to the end of the street and back without any discomfort at all. Still not up to getting dragged around the block by one of the dogs, but we'll get there....

Sweet little wife came home about 1630, and sometime later I went into the bedroom to get the hand-carved bamboo back scratcher my Dad brought back from "somewhere" in the South Pacific during WWII.

As I was scratching my back through my shirt, I noticed my back felt "bumpy". I asked my wife to come look at it, and she said it looked like the worst case of measles she'd ever seen!

My back was covered in little red pimples/bumps, and was itching like crazy.

I called the Doctor's office (it was 1730 by now), and got the answering service who took down all the info, and then transferred me to an "ER Nurse" who took it all down again, asked me a bunch of questions, and (probably following a script or "expert system") said it didn't sound major, and to contact my Doctor directly ASAP, meaning this morning when the office was open.

About 30 minutes later, the Doctor's office called to say one of my insurance forms for work was completed, and I could pick it up. Since it was my Doctor's regular nurse, and I had him on the phone, I went ahead and told him about the hives. He checked his computer (the info from my call was already there!), and said he'd tell the Doctor.

About 2015, my Doctor called (does this poor guy ever sleep?), talked to me for a while, and decided to take me off Brilinta (Ticagrelor), and put me on Plavix (Clopidogrel).

He's  pretty sure that switching drugs will stop the allergic hives, as well as help with the shortness-of-breath I've been having.

And it's been FIVE WHOLE DAYS since I had a cigarette!

I still want a smoke, but my wife's decision to "allow" me (huh?) ONE can of Diet Coke per day has helped. Coming down off caffeine AND nicotine at the same time is NOT fun.

Oh, to the pharmacy. My stepson is going to drive me, even though I think I'm perfectly capable of driving the 1.8 miles round trip.

Gee...I could probably WALK it if I had to!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thanks, Everybody

For all your support.

I really appreciate it!

I had my first post-op meeting with my Doctor this morning, and we discussed all of the ramifications of having a heart attack, and the changes in lifestyle, and new medications, that are required for a continued successful recovery.

One of the things I didn't know was that continued smoking can cause my brand-new, shiny stents to clog up in a remarkably short time.

If all goes well, these new type should be good for at least ten, and more like 15, years before a replacement is needed.

In 15 years, there may be something entirely new, although with the current state of the economy, I won't hold my breath.

We spent some time clearing up the confusion/consternation I had over one of the new meds, and the "banning" of one of my older ones, Benadryl.

As far as the stopping smoking goes, all my friends (and my wife) who have quit tell me the first 7~10 days is the worst, and once I'm past that, my chances of staying "quit" increase dramatically.

BUT....between the NO cigarettes, and NO caffeine, I'm going to call the Doctor tomorrow and ask him if there's something mild he can prescribe to help me slide through this.

I'm getting a bit antsy, and I have a feeling I might be climbing the walls by Thursday or Friday!

And I've lost about 7 pounds, which I suspect was mostly retained water, as I'm no longer drinking 8 or 9 cans of Diet Soda per day.

No, I'm not comfortable, and I'm still pretty sore (and bruised) where they made the incision to get at the femoral artery, but I guess I'm in a whole lot better shape than I was 5 days ago when the pain came on, and stayed with me until I woke up after surgery Sunday afternoon.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Back Home Again....

And really tired.

And slightly short of breath.

And I'd knock down someone's grandma for a cigarette!

I also have a headache from the various meds, and 4 new ones to take.

One "anti-platelet" to prevent the stent from clogging up, two for "high blood pressure" which I've NEVER had (gonna talk to my regular Doctor about that tomorrow morning), and a different cholesterol lowering drug.


NO more smoking

NO more caffeine (we'll see about that one..)

GREATLY increased exercise when I'm able to get around better

LOSE ~50 pounds

NO driving for a few days (dear wife is taking me to Primary Care Provider tomorrow)

NO heavy lifting for a few months

NO stair climbing until cleared to do so (cool....keeps me OFF the launch platform!)

And a dietary change.

Since I married my sweetie, I *have* been eating much better than when I was by myself, so these coronary artery blockages probably go back years, and have been steadily closing down, and finally caught up with me.

Some of the weight gain I attribute to the workplace accident I suffered last August, which cut down my mobility in walking long distances.

When I was laid-off from Boeing back in 2009, and became a "House Husband", I dropped about 30 pounds, felt great, and my A1c was down to ~5.6 or so.

Within a few months of getting called back to work for the project's new owners, I'd gained the weight back, and my A1c was creeping upwards.

I respond very well to exercise to control my weight and diabetes, and I have to get back to the regimen I was on before I went back to work.

Early retirement is looking better every day.....

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Three Stents, No Further Damage or Complicactions.

Just woke up a few minutes ago.They installed three stents, and told me everything elses was OK.

Nice be able to use a real keyboard again!

I'm in the hospital.....

Had a heart attack Friday night. Getting an angiogram and stent or two todoay.blogger on the hone sucks.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Nest Is Almost Empty Today......

The stepson and his girlfriend will be moving to the Fort Collins area at the end of the month, and her Dad (a really cool guy) got down here Saturday morning to load up her car and most of her stuff to haul back later today.

"The Kids" have been working pretty non-stop all week sorting things out, packing stuff up, and help her Dad load the truck. They made a really big dent over the weekend, and I'm astounded how much stuff they got loaded.

Her entire car is floor-to-ceiling with her belongings, and loaded on the flatbed he towed down here.

The box of his crew cab dually is completely packed, up to about 6 feet! He had plenty of tarps and tie downs, but I gave him a 4-pack of ratcheting cargo straps "just in case".

So, now that we're back from dinner, the hands have been shaken, the hugs exchanged, and we waved them off on their way to Fort Collins.

They're going to overnight in Las Vegas, and then finish the trip Monday.

She'll be coming back out here in two weeks to be Maid of Honor at her best friend's wedding, and then she and stepson will load up the rest of her/his/their stuff, and motor on out of Kaliforniastan.

I wish them well, but DAMN....they're taking BOTH dogs with them.

Looks like we'll have to start the puppy search again.....

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Vacuum Tubes, a "Modern Aladdin's Lamp" by AT&T

Some of the early glass tubes used in transmitters were truly works of the glassblower's art.

When I worked at Fermilab, the RF Power Amplifiers used in the Booster and Main Accelerators used water-cooled metal-ceramic tubes made by Eimac.

They were 4CW100000X, indicating they had a Plate Dissipation of 100,000 Watts!

A quick look at the "Eimac" website doesn't show them listed anymore, so I'll have to get a hold of my buddy Dave who still works there and find out what they're using these days.

Anyway....a friend of mine sent me the link to this AT&T video about the Good Old Days.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Twelve Truths In Engineering

This was originally published as an April Fool's Day RFC, but I thought it was relevant to all of us who do geeky things.


The Fundamental Truths

   (1)  It Has To Work.

   (2)  No matter how hard you push and no matter what the priority,
        you can't increase the speed of light.

        (2a) (corollary). No matter how hard you try, you can't make a
             baby in much less than 9 months. Trying to speed this up
             *might* make it slower, but it won't make it happen any

   (3)  With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. However, this is
        not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they
        are going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them
        as they fly overhead.

   (4)  Some things in life can never be fully appreciated nor
        understood unless experienced firsthand. Some things in
        networking can never be fully understood by someone who neither
        builds commercial networking equipment nor runs an operational

   (5)  It is always possible to aglutenate multiple separate problems
        into a single complex interdependent solution. In most cases
        this is a bad idea.

   (6)  It is easier to move a problem around (for example, by moving
        the problem to a different part of the overall network
        architecture) than it is to solve it.

        (6a) (corollary). It is always possible to add another level of

   (7)  It is always something

        (7a) (corollary). Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick any two (you can't
            have all three).

   (8)  It is more complicated than you think.

   (9)  For all resources, whatever it is, you need more.

       (9a) (corollary) Every networking problem always takes longer to
            solve than it seems like it should.

   (10) One size never fits all.

   (11) Every old idea will be proposed again with a different name and
        a different presentation, regardless of whether it works.

        (11a) (corollary). See rule 6a.

   (12) In protocol design, perfection has been reached not when there
        is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take

Supras and Stereos.....

 The repairs on the Fisher RS-2010 are proceeding, but a bit slower than I expected. The failed transistor is an obsolete part number, so I ...