Generator is fixed — I think

The guy at the repair shop is an idiot.  If he had accepted any of my money I would post his place of business (he is the owner) here.  He replaced the fuel line, which needed replacing, but he routed it wrong such that when the throttle/choke lever was in the choke position it would pinch the fuel line off.  It should have been obvious because the lever wouldn’t go all the way into the full choke position.  He lost one of the screws that holds the housing on.  He didn’t position one of the hose clamps right and a different fuel line came part way off while I was working on something else and leaked fuel all over the steps to the house were I was working on things.  And he put a bracket on slightly wrong such that the kill switch would only be engaged if the throttle lever was in just the right position.  I rerouted the fuel line and had to cut three inches off of it so it would fit.  I adjusted the bracket, but I didn’t have any metric screws to replace the missing ones (one was already missing).  And I put the clamp on properly.  The generator now starts and runs just fine.  I’m a bit worried because choke doesn’t seem to be adjusted quite right.  After it is warmed up I used to be able to choke it enough to kill it.  I can’t do that now.  It will run richer, but not enough to run really ‘ragged’.  I’ll try it again tomorrow morning when it is cold and see if it chokes enough to start.

Generator troubles

I went to pick up the generator.  It wouldn’t start while in the shop.  He didn’t charge me anything.  I tried to pay him something.  I know he did work on it, but he wouldn’t take it.  Said he never wanted to work on it again.

I’ll tinker with it some more tonight and if I can’t get it started I’ll just buy another one.  I’ve had starting problems with this one for years.  The next one will have at least 1200 Watts of power, double my current generator capacity.

John Kerry on the 2nd Amendment

I knew I wouldn’t be voting for Kerry because of his desire for more gun control, but until I looked at his web site I didn’t realize what a hypocrite he was.  This is from :

Strongly Supports the Second Amendment & Gun Owners Rights – John Kerry is a strong supporter of gun owners’ rights and will work to protect common sense gun laws.

His definition of “common sense gun laws” includes all Federal gun laws currently on the books.  And to the best of my knowledge he has never voted against a gun restriction.  So in just one sentence he contradicts himself.  What part of “shall not be infringed” doesn’t he understand?

Of course Bush’s stated position isn’t much different.  The only thing better about him is that it’s possible to believe he is just giving lip service to the gun banners viewpoint.  Kerry has a long history of voting for Second Amendment restrictions.

Grrr… politicians.  Can’t live with them, can’t shoot them.

On the home stretch for Boomershoot 2004

I almost have the last of the supplies for Boomershoot 2004.  I may need a few more stakes to mount the targets on and I know I need to buy a 100 or so brown paper lunch sacks.  I won’t know about the stakes until Sunday when I do an inventory.  This Sunday May 1st we will also start manufacturing the first targets.  We will be testing new tools and techniques for mass production.  Then on Thursday May 6th with the methods prefected some we will finish off the targets needed for Friday.  Friday things will open with booms and fireballs (I hope).  It is always my fear the targets will be duds on the day of the event.  But it has always been just a fear, sort of like Ry’s nightmares, more imagination than reality.  We are changing things again this year.  We have new containers for the targets, a new target mounting method, a new shooting position, and a new mixing process.  We think everything is an improvement, but one never knows until we do the actual event.

Oh, one last item that is isn’t in place, but I am assured will be soon is that my generator still hasn’t come back from the repair shop.  Friday morning they said it would be done that day, but they never called back.  I’ll call them today to see what the status is. I have a backup plan if it doesn’t come through but one is always concerned when you are running on backups — there is no room for errors.

Xenia is Princess Prim

The Missoula Children’s Theather comes to town every year and Xenia has gotten some great parts over the years.  She keeps doing better and better.  She had the lead female role (again) this year and did a great job.  This year the directors nominated her for a position in the theater summer camp.  See all the pictures of this year’s play here:

Up Against Fanaticism

Someone at work just sent me an editorial by Phil Lucas, Executive Editor, Panama City News Herald. The online version is here:

There are some interesting points that I find difficult to refute and uncomfortable accepting. I’ve pretty much accepted the basics for some time, but the larger picture painted by Mr. Lucas is disturbing. He says,

We could fill the newspaper every morning with mobs of fanatical Muslims.

They can’t get along with their neighbors on much of the planet: France, Chechnya, Bosnia, Indonesia, Spain, Morocco, India, Tunisia, Somalia, etc. etc. etc. Can anybody name three ongoing world conflicts in which Muslims are not involved? Today, where there is war, there are fanatical Muslims.

We might quibble about who started what conflicts, but look at the sheer number of them.

And goes on to say,

Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state and feckless appeaser who helped get us into this mess, said last week Muslims still resent the Crusades. Well, Madam Albright, if Westerners were not such a forgiving people, we might resent them too.

Let’s recap the Crusades. Muslims invaded Europe, and when they reached sufficient numbers, they imposed their intolerant religion upon Westerners by force. Christian monarchs drove them back and took the battle to their homeland. The fight lasted a couple of centuries, and we bottled them up for 1,000 years.

Now, a millennium later, Muslims have expanded forth again. Ask France.

Ask England. Ask Manhattan. Two-and-a-half years ago fanatical Muslims laid siege to us. We woke up to the obvious. Our president announced it would be a very long war, then took the battle to the Islamic homeland.

What isn’t explicitly said, but bothers me so much, is that we might be in a position such that we have to declare on a planet wide scale that there is a religion that we will not tolerate the existence of. Wherever, whenever a sufficient size group of fanatical Muslims exist we are compelled to imprison and/or kill them to preserve our lives and freedoms. And if that is true how can we avoid sliding down the slippery slope in regards to some other group of religious (or non religious) people and justifying the use of our military against them? What is the criteria that we can use unambiguously such that when we use force we are justified? This isn’t the same as declaring war on a nation state. These people exist in nearly all nations and are willing to use force, suicide bombers in public places, car bombs in the basement garages of office buildings, and nearly any means you can think of to kill the unbelievers. We can’t fight just the people wearing Swastikas on their hats and when the central government collapses declare victory and go home a few years later. This is a much, much different type of war than we have ever had to fight before. How do we win this fight without risking the loss of the freedoms we are fighting for? Do we plant eavesdropping bugs or informants in mosques and/or churches to see if the clerics are advocating violence? And when they realize their houses of worship are bugged do we put bugs in their homes? Everyone’s home?

Does anyone have any good answers?

Body counts

The target bodies (as Ry calls them) for Boomershoot 2004 need to be assembled.  They are short tubes with lids on each end.  One end can be glued into place before we put the ‘interesting stuff’ inside.  My daughter Xenia did another 54 of the 4” targets today.  I did 144 of the 8” targets.  And Sami and Nick just completed the 550th of the 6” targets.  We are getting close to having all we need.  Next weekend should put us over the top on the target bodies.  The following weekend we will start filling them.

Boomershoot nightmares and reality

Ry is having nightmares about the Boomershoot.  Reality is a little different — at least so far.  I picked up the t-shirts yesterday.  They got the order wrong.  All the general t-shirts had STAFF on them, all the staff t-shirt did not.  I salvaged what I could and they took the rest back.  They should be ready by next weekend.

STILL more repairs — Jeep and pickup

Kim called last night.  The pickup is leaking radiator fluid and big clouds of water vapor come out from under the hood.  I asked where she was and if it was overheating.  She was in town and it wasn’t overheating.  I told her to park it at the auto repair shop and tell them about the starter problems too.

A couple hours later Barb calls to tell me when she had the oil changed in the Jeep they told her it was leaking radiator fluid.  Not as bad as the pickup apparently.  I had her make an appointment with the same repair shop for Friday.  I’ll take a look at it tonight and if I can fix it easily we’ll cancel the appointment.  In the mean time Barb will use the van to go to work.  I’ll be on foot again this Friday as I handle getting all the repairs done.

I wonder what’s next…

Pickup fan belt, 2600 pounds of ammonium nitrate

Yesterday Barb and I went to the farm to deliver the potassium chlorate stored in our garage for Boomershoot 2004. We had just barely left the house when this terrible screeching sound would happen when I would speed up the engine. Arggh… another repair. I turned around and came back to the house. The alternator belt was loose so I tightened it. I put my toolkit in the back of the pickup. With our luck the last couple of weeks we would need it before the day was over. But we didn’t. We made it there and back without incident.

We dumped off the 550 pounds of potassium chlorate, rearranged a few things, measured power cord lengths (I need to buy some short extension cords), measured the output of the solar cells (about 180 mA at 3:00 PM). Barb convinced me to lie down on the ground and just experience the fresh air of spring for a few minutes. It was very pleasant, we love the springtime in this area. I put a new lock on the shed, then we drove to Mom and Dad’s place, gave Doug his lock back, said hi to my parents and borrowed the fertilizer truck to go buy the ammonium nitrate. I wanted about 2500 pounds and because of their lack of control in the loading of the truck ended up with 2600 pounds. That is fine, I will be able to store the excess for next year. We drove back to the shed with the truck and off loaded about 700 or 800 pounds into the empty containers. We ran out of time and drove back to visit with Mom and Dad some before we came back home. Ry and I will go back on May 1 or 2 to build a bunch of targets and off load the rest of the AN.

The vehicle repairs just keep coming in

Last week it was the brakes and idler arms for the van, today it was the windshield for the van, the pickup transmission was rebuilt yesterday, and today the brakes on the pickup had to be repaired.  It just seems to keep coming in.  Glad the credit card company increased our credit limit.  We will get it all paid off next month but it’s still very painful.

Barb reminded me that last year about this time she got new tires and new brakes on her Subaru then Kim totalled it.  Kim drives the pickup now.  Hope she doesn’t total it now — as Ry put it, “You are married to that pickup now with all the money you put into the transmission.”

Boomerpins and vehicle glass

On Sunday Ry and I tried out a new shooting game.  Ry’s brainchild — Boomerpins.  Very much like a bowling pin shoot.  Man-on-man (we did have one female shooter so maybe it should be ‘person-on-person’) single elimination event.  As expected, this being a beta test, we had a few glitches.  We recovered fairly well (sorry Don, you got screwed when that target fell apart).  Here is a video of one of the matches:

We discovered a few months ago with Ry’s van that if your windshield has a chip or crack the nearby explosions will cause the crack to propagate.  We rediscovered that with my van on Sunday.  It had a small crack from a rock chip that required the windshield be replaced but I hadn’t gotten around to it.  After Sunday’s game the crack had expanded to nearly the entire height of the windshield.

I have an appointment tomorrow to have it replaced.

Last week it was brakes all the way around plus the idler arms.  This week it’s the pickup transmission and the van windshield.

Kim and the pickup

Last Saturday we discovered Kim had taken the pickup to Spokane with a friend. The rules for her an the pickup were that she had to stay in town. Spokane being about 85 miles away did not qualify as staying in town. I tried to gently talk to her. She quickly got in a huff, packed up and left. Great fun — now we have a runaway. We found out where she was staying and we weren’t too worried, just very sad. She finally came back about midnight on Tuesday.

While in Spokane the pickup transmission lost reverse. It had them pretty worried but they made it back into Moscow just fine and tried to get it fixed on their own. No simple fixes so they told me it was not working and I took it in to have it’s transmission rebuilt.