New Years Resolutions.

This is the time, every year, when people traditionally resolve to do all the good things they shoulda been doing all year but never get around to it. I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to making big promises I can’t keep about how I’m gonna lose 50 lbs, do wonders in the community and so on. Maybe this year.  Lord knows, I could stand to lose the 50 lbs or so, last time I stepped on a freight scale it said I was the correct weight— for a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. So, a halfway decent exercise program would be a great start. For the rest—- maybe some resolutions we can actually keep would be in order. Like the following, as an example:

today i will

Hey, it’s a good place to start anyway. What are you promising that you CAN keep, and what are you promising that you know you’ll break before the sun goes down tomorrow? Comments are open, only absolute spam will get trashed— everything else will get approved.


Laptop camera spy-guy stuff.


Late last year and earlier this year, we had some kerfluffle about the NSA and other spook organizations getting into our personal stuff and, amongst other things, turning on web cameras and microphones to spy on us without our knowing. Above, see what the built-in camera on my laptop sees. Not terribly exciting is it? OK, ladies– please take a number and wait your turn– but otherwise not all that exciting. Me, in all my work-clothes glory, in my “home office” on this machine. For those interested– yes the photo is recent– a couple of days ago in fact– taken while I had some time and was curious about what this machine can do. That same camera does video, so when I upgrade here I’ll be able to run actual video from this camera “for what it’s worth”.

Now, I guess the actual point is that for most of us, the privacy concern really isn’t all that great. You can’t imagine anything less interesting for a spook to have to look at day after day after day than the photo or video above. Wild guess that most stuff within range of a laptop camera is gonna be like that. If I could get a peek at you sitting by your machine,– yeah, unless you’re a real heart-throb and you’re running your laptop in a pleasure-room, it’s probably pretty boring to look at what your camera puts out too.

So— when discussing NSA spying on you’nme, my wild guess is that we’re actually talking of the SPIRIT behind unauthorized snooping, and not any actual danger of getting caught doing something. But— that spirit behind unauthorized snooping is still important– so important that it’s forbidden in spirit in the Bill of Rights, and is not to be casually dealt with.

We trash our right to privacy at our own peril, and once we let our government trample our rights it won’t be so easy to get those rights back.

OK— having said that– I’ll probably post a couple of photos right here on the blog, and of course anything here is publicly view-able, so obviously a bit of license is given to government snoops who see a photo posted right out in the open here. That’s my thought for the moment.


End of year stats.

The year is coming to an end and as so often happens, folk decide to see what the old year looked like and what the new year might look like. The server-monkeys have put together the stats of these sites so you can see what happened here in 2014.

First, it’s not quite accurate. Not all the server-monkey’s fault, but it seems that a few more visitors got counted than actually showed up. One visitor in particular has used multiple variations of his name so he shows up a lot in the comments, but under different names from different spots on the Web. Of course, I speak here of Josh. He has the most comments under three or four different variations of the name, I come in second, after that it’s a long way until you find the next person who said anything.

My blog started here a little more than a year ago, as “My Opera” got ready to toss the lot of us in that community into the street, so to speak. They gave us a few months to find other places for our blogs and photos, after a bit of searching for the most likely spot I chose this one for the blog and, as it happens, a good place to put photos. was chosen for a few photos too, but it turned out not to be a good choice because it made sharing photos very difficult. To this day, I would have a fit trying to place a photo from there onto a forum post, as an example.

Speaking of forums— oh, boy, this year has been a rocky one for that. My Opera forums bit the dust in March, they have a new forum up but I’m not terribly impressed with it. Vivaldi is up, I don’t play there much so can’t tell you much about it. DnD is up and running, we seem pretty solid there so maybe — just maybe. That takes care of the My Opera community and its “lifeboat” offspring.

Now we come to the forums that actually bother me a bit. I was on Christian Forums for a few years, but their moderating became problematic so I decided it was time to leave. A few of us went to “Friends Without Benefits” which lasted for a few weeks before it ran into problems brought about by personal issues with some of the members. FWOB folded, then those of us who were left of that went to “A Quiet Place”. AQP is still in business, but I had a falling out with them over goings-on that I personally couldn’t stomach— I’m inclined to hold my peace on it so don’t ask– and so I’m not there anymore.

This year has not been overly good for my participation in forums, it seems.

About this blog: I keep saying I’m going to upgrade, and soon it’ll happen. The ability to post videos, the increase in storage for photos– and videos when I do that– and upgrading the general appearance of the place- I have to admit this place is a bit too “plain jane” to be really attractive– is becoming too much to resist, so the upgrade is coming sooner rather than later. With it, undoubtedly I’ll open up at Facebook too— for the purpose of increasing traffic here if for not other reason. Maybe I’ll even plague Josh over at his FB site– he’s been asking me to join him after all– which is something I can’t do until I do open up at FB.

We’ll see what the new year brings, in the meantime here’s what the old year here looked like:


A Soul Constantly Bruised

Positive Outlooks

Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won’t tell you about themselves if they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they will end the friendship. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings. They are tortured souls that are not able to live with hatred or being hated. This type of person needs the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing and the ones that often become activists for the broken-hearted, forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved. — Shannon Adler

Man walking at sunset

Gifts of encouragement for the coming New Year.
Be in…

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North Korea trying to ban a movie–worldwide??

By now, everybody and his brother knows that the FBI and the CIA are convinced that North Korea is behind a hack attack and threats of terrorism in an attempt to stop a movie from coming out, and at least for the moment Sony has capitulated and chosen not to release the movie. I wonder how well that effort would have worked IF the movie had been released.

The reason why I wonder this is because I live near Chicago, and I am old enough to remember a dust-up when our own “Fearless Leader” at the time– Richard J Daley, Mayor of Chicago, tried to get a book banned. The book was “Boss”, written by newspaper columnist Mike Royko.

See here:

Now, when Mike was asked what he thought about the attempts at banning, he is reported as saying he was thrilled, and wanted it to happen more. See, absolutely NOTHING is better for book sales than getting people enraged enough to ban your book. Unless maybe it’s getting people enraged enough to burn your book. Folk want to know what is so “out there” that the powers-that-be will try to ban it, and of course we have the “Hip” culture that will buy anything that is “out of the mainstream”

So— it’s possible— just possible– that this attempt to ban a movie will have the opposite effect to the one desired by Dear Leader and his fellows. If the movie IS ever released, it might have sales way in excess of what it otherwise would have gotten IF North Korean hackers hadn’t tried to terrorize Sony into not releasing it. Because of the hack attack, now people who otherwise wouldn’t have wasted time–let alone money– on the movie will now consider it one of their “Must Haves” when/if it comes out. Because nothing—- absolutely NOTHING– is better for sales than a good banning.

So– supposing I ever DO write a book, I see that great writing, editing, a publisher and marketing are all important. Seems I need to figure out how to get somebody angry enough to try to ban it, too. If I can get my book banned somewhere, I’ve got it made!

Edit; add-on: OK, so how did that attempt at banning work out for you, North Korea? Let’s see—- hmmmm….. “The Interview” probably won’t play at certain major movie houses for a week or so, BUT– it has been released to a number of “Indie” movie house for Christmas Day, it will probably be released on DVD for home viewing— and it can be viewed right now on You-Tube.

Nothing— absolutely NOTHING— is better for a movie release than an attempt at banning it, or so it appears. I’ll have to remember that if I decide to make and release a movie. Gotta get it banned somewhere, sales will skyrocket even if the movie really stinks.


Wet weather woes.

Well— at least I THOUGHT I was going to church this morning. Nope, didn’t make it. The Grey Lady started OK, seemed to be running stable, but I hardly got to the street before I knew I had trouble. The engine missed like crazy and had no power to accelerate. I got it back home after a trip around the block, got the engine to clear and tried it again. No good, another trip around the block, back into the driveway and rev the engine a few times to clear it. Call dispatch to say I’m out of service because of this trouble, and thank God it happened here and not on the road.

So– manage to get to the auto parts store and buy a new distributor cap and rotor. One thing about it, when you have this sort of trouble in damp weather it’s invariably an ignition problem. This old beast needs a tune-up pretty bad anyway so the trouble isn’t entirely unexpected.

Now, you KNOW this isn’t going to be easy. The distributor in these old Chevy V-8s lives in the rear of the engine. In vans like mine, that means you get at it from inside the van.

First, you have to remove the combination glove-box/cigarette lighter/cup holder/center console. This contraption is held in by 6 fasteners.


Removing this uncovers the “doghouse” which is held in place by a couple of spring-loaded straps, which I had removed before taking the photo. No problem removing these– they’re spring-loaded after all, a gentle pull on the strap and you get it unhooked from the fastenings, then set it aside.


This, once the straps are removed, slides back and lifts off. Not too formidable as long as you’re at home. That reveals the rear of the engine, where this trouble lives.


In the photo above, I have removed the old cap– on the right side- and placed the left-side wires on the new cap. The rotor is the sorta-white circular object near the center of the photo. Held on by two screws, gotta be careful because it IS possible to put the new one on backwards– and that would just wreck your whole day (trust me on this).


Placing the new cap on is sorta difficult. There are two screws to hold it on, and one of them can only be removed and replaced by feel– it’s hidden back there. Then, I took the wires from the old cap and placed them on the new one, then started the engine. Runs stable for the moment. I took it for a short cruise, seems OK “for now”. Tomorrow I’ll have it in for a proper job, the spark plugs and the ignition wires are old as the hills and need replacing too But, the cap and rotor get it so I can get it to the shop without having to be towed in.

Here’s where the problem lives.


This design is subject to corrosion and condensation problems, and a note that the distributor has poor ventilation exacerbates the problem. You get cross-firing and shorting within the cap.

OK, got it running for the moment– still not “safe” for a long drive, so into the shop it goes tomorrow.

Edit; add-on: It was wet and messy this morning. (Monday) Seems my job yesterday worked, the engine ran with a little bit of miss– most likely caused by a wire arcing to the exhaust manifold– but it worked smoothly enough to drive the few miles to the mechanic. As long as it’s in I get several things done. The front brakes needed attention, they’re getting that. Plugs and wires– replaced. Carbon blown out of the engine– that too. Rear axle seals are getting replaced. Oil change. It’ll cost me a little under 2K to get it all done, but at least I have it without worrying about how I’m gonna cover all that’s needed.

Note that all of this comes under “ordinary maintenance”– nothing extravagant. This van has 516,000 miles on it, and it’s a ’98. I hear so many people saying their cars, less than half as old and with less than 100K on the odometer, can’t be trusted to go just a few miles— this one gets loaded with 2,500 lbs of freight and I’ll put upwards of 1,200 miles on it on a trip. Now it gets general maintenance, and has– well, you tell me and then we’ll both know– miles left in it until it’s scrap.

Edit; additional add-on: Thursday evening, 12/18/2014. I got the van back Tuesday evening, finished putting it back together (I removed a bunch of stuff before taking it to the mechanic and all that stuff had to be put back) Wednesday morning. Yesterday evening, dispatch gave me a run going to downstate Indiana, about 250 miles one way. The van ran smoothly, so– at least in cold dry weather it seems OK. New plugs, wires, cap and rotor should help even when the weather does turn sloppy, but I’ll have to wait and see on that.


I wanna hide!

Now would be a good time.

I just got a call from the ex-wife. Nothing too formidable in her request, she needs me to send her a copy of the divorce papers because she lost her copy. OK, that’s easy to do and I can have it done tomorrow morning.

The issue of WHY she needs the copy……. oh, boy. Her son burned the house down in a fit of anger. He’s in prison again, arson being the crime it is. Everything was lost. So– call me for a copy of the divorce papers, and I reckon she’ll piece together the rest of it.

Seriously, I thought this was all done and over with last year. Shows what I know, eh?

Edit; add-on: She called back since I wrote the above. It stands as is, nothing to be changed or I would change it. I will say in her defense that she was decent tonight, so I have no cause for complaint in her behavior tonight on the phone. The copy of the divorce papers have been made (these all-in-one printers are something else, I used to require three machines to do what this one machine does today) so all that has to be done is to slip the copy in an envelop and mail it.