Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nearing the End

So over the past two years, my buddy Ken and I have had some fun times riding motorcycles, shooting or just sitting around and BSing over coffee. The stories he has about being in the Special Forces in Vietnam are incredible; incredible and sad... just to be clear. Some of the stories he tells me, I can plainly tell that he wishes he couldn't remember those painful images.
He told me about a time where he had to sneak into a village and dispatch the sentry, a teenage boy, with his knife. He talked about holding the boy as he bled to death over about a minute. His detail was amazing, heart-wrenching and sickening in a way. I understand why he had to do that; the boy with the AK-47 was ready to kill the Americans who were in his country and they simply couldn't allow that. Not to get into politics with this is hard, but I will just say it is a sad series of events.
While I try to keep him off the subject of warfare, it is actually hard being that it is one of the things he and I have most in common with. I can see it in his face and eyes when he talks about certain parts of his experience where he goes somewhere else. His eyes glaze over a bit and sometimes get to the brink of tears, but they don't flow out. It is hard to describe, but he goes to another place in time and his actions get more animated while he speaks. This is a man with passion, training and a lot of horror that never left him.
So, a while ago we were supposed to go on a motorcycle ride and he told me that he was having a tough time with the clutch lever so he wanted to move it back. His hands were beginning to curl in like a fist almost; it is the way a soldier will hold his hands at the Position of Attention. He went to the VA to see what was going on; the results came back with sad news.
The doctors at the VA told him he has ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) and that is what had been causing many of the issues he had been having. For me, it made sense why he would systematically jump from subject to subject and routinely repeat himself several times in one sitting.
Due to the illness, that is progressively getting worse, he had to sell his motorcycle, he sold his guns and can not even open a door knob. Yesterday I went over and installed some new handles on the garage for him so he can at least get into his beloved shop for tools. I am more than happy to help him in these ways; I can only hope my sons or perhaps grand kids, would be there to help me when I am old and dying. Ken's son has not spoken to him in years, so for whatever reason that is it means that the help is not coming from him.
Anyway, I was happy to pick up Ken's Glock 22 (yes, another one) and am trying to sell the old 30-30 Winchester for him. He's a good guy who is a real pain in the ass to deal with at times; being stubborn is a trait not well-suited to one who is incapable.

Guest Post: Jeremiah

Jeremiah: I love bacon. That is all.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Really Morbid

I wake up most days thinking about how someday I’ll die. Is this normal? I don’t feel a sense of fear, per se, but rather a sense of motivation to “make it count”. The next thought is whether this is what everyone thinks of or if it is a phase for me. It hasn’t always been this way though. I guess it is good in a way so I get to choose what is important to me now, and what can wait.


Meh. There have been lots of days I was shocked to have lived through and yet here in my safest place in my life thus far, it sneaks back in. Odd really. I have an awesome life though, so I lump this in with “First World Problems”

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Manual Tranny swap days 1 and 2

There are no pics because this is a sort of Top Secret project. Most people who want a manual Volvo either buy one that way or just live with the auto-tragic one until it dies and then end up buying a new car. On day one, out came the sub-frame, axles, all but three bolts that hold the tranny to the motor and various bits all around. We went to Tacoma Screw to get some bolts and was impressed with how awesome that place is. There is a guy who works there that used to work where I work in the same department, except that I was 2 when he worked there.
We only worked for like 4 hours total and got a lot done on day one. Day two we had the help of my little cousin who is an engineer at Boeing, so I assumed he would have some real help, but it was a learning experience for him too. The tranny came out straight away and then we tore out the auto brake pedal assembly, the shifter (taking special care to not anger the grey, anti-theft wire) and bolted up the new flywheel and clutch assembly.
After getting the new shifter cables run and installing the clutch slave cylinder, we attempted to install the new transmission, but clearance was an issue. I think maybe we will get the car a little higher up and lower the motor a bit more than we did. It was dark and getting late, so that was a good stopping point. All in all, everything was nice and smooth.
Day three should be everything for the swap and we just put it all back. YAY!

Sorry, no pics… go cry….

Thursday, January 5, 2012

¡JB Weld Al Rescatè!

So I have a methanol injection nozzle plumbed into my car's intake tract and it's loose. It has been fine for about 5 years, but I can see there is a little gap between the threads and the plastic. Our other car is in the shop right now getting it's 105,000 mile service done and they are having trouble. The car was used in New York for a few years so there is rust everywhere!! We are now waiting to see how much worse the repair gets. I'm really happy I didn't try to tackle this myself, because it would have been way worse. Fingers crossed on overnight PB Blaster soak and some TLC from the techs. Tomorrow I do the second Volvo manual transmission transplant that I've gone. I'll try to get good pics; it's not interesting unless you want to do it or you just appreciate the effort.
Working on your car can be awesome, but it can be a horrible, hellish nightmare. :)

Here is a pic. The grey is the JB Weld and the metal deal sticking upright is the methanol injection nozzle.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Oh Tom...

Me: Yeah man, this salad is great. You take some arugula or spinach; cover it in pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, walnuts and vinaigrette dressing. So good; David’s fiancé made it for the beer tasting.


Tom: Yeah, you know those huge boxes like the ones they would deliver a washer or dryer in?


Me: Yeah.. why?


Tom: If you took one, and filled it up… I mean ALL the way up to the top with AIDS, it still wouldn’t be as gay as what you just said.


Me: …….

A Dark Past and Bright Future

In his young years, he spent his days roaming the mountains of Southern Afghanistan looking for scraps of food with his family. As each slow step sunk slightly into the coarse sand, the effort seemed nearly fruitless at times, as it would take the better part of a day to go a short distance. Having been born a half decade before the United States ever brought war to the region, Torry learned to avoid the common pitfalls such as unexploded ordinance and landmines.


Nights in the valleys were cold and the days were hot, but he carried everything he needed to survive on his back. Following the traditions of generations of other nomads like him, he found joy in the smallest of things. Crawling on his belly over the jagged rocks to avoid being seen while looking for food, his neck, legs and arms showed scars from years of such activity. He had many siblings as well as extended family all living in the same four square miles.


They all grew up without running water, electricity or even a roof over their heads, but they were happy. One after another, his siblings left the area they grew up in, never to be heard from again. One day, Torry was out looking for his food near a ridge when he was grabbed by two large men and thrown into the covered back of a truck. It was dark and the smell of excrement stank in the noon sun. The truck rumbled along as Torry struggled to find a way out.


After what seemed like several days, he was taken from the truck and given a piece of fruit and a small amount of water. His captors had treated him rather kindly compared to some others captured in the region. He was loaded into a crate with a few others who he recognized. There they waited to meet their future. None of them knew what was to happen once the crate was opened. What had they done to deserve this? Where were they going?


Fast forward ten years: Today, Torry lives in America where he no longer has to work as hard to find his food. He lives alone, but has a large house and all the amenities. He no longer worries about stepping on a mine or unexploded rocket, but he does get lonely as there are no others like him nearby. Torry, my Afghanistan Tortoise is awesome… so he deserves a badass story. U mad?

Monday, January 2, 2012


I have known Tom for about 15 years and we used to hang out all the time. We would get together with a bunch of our friends and play Warhammer 40k or D&D (STFU and keep reading!) while drinking Coke and eating McD’s cheeseburgers. Remember when they were 39 cents each on Wednesday? Yeah! That was amazing for us then.

Anyway, over the years, we naturally spent less and less time as the group of friends we once were, but a few of us still stay in touch via email or whatever. Tom is the only one, who really has spent much time with me over the last few years. Although I still value the other guys, they are busy living their lives too, so I can wait. Tom stayed local for the most part and my oldest son calls him “Uncle Tom” which is a pretty badass title to be someone’s uncle and not be blood.

Well, we had a beer tasting a few weeks back and I never heard from old bald-ass and I was being pissy about it. The beer tasting came and went and finally I heard from him; he was all doped up on pain meds after having been in a pretty bad truck accident. Black ice into the median basically sums it up.

In a nutshell, Tom was sick of never having broke a bone, so he thought it would be great timing. Hit icy roads in the afternoon, careen into the median of I-90 in a full-size Chevy truck and not have the airbags deploy. His left leg was twisted all over the driver’s footwell and ended up being broken in several places. He then crawled from the truck onto the pavement in the twenty-something degree weather waiting for help to arrive.

Luckily for Tom, help did come and he did get treated. The cost of the hospital stay, treatment and ambulance ride (What a little pussy, he should have walked) are somewhere along the lines of the difference between his yearly wage and mine…. Basically, Tom has to live like poor man Jack for a bit to pay off those pins, plates and screws in his leg. They are pretty gnarly though.

This all happened the second week of December and I was happy to have spent the last couple days hanging out with him. We had dinner the 30th, he came over to celebrate New Year’s Eve and then we went to brew some beer on New Year’s Day. All in all, it was substantially better than the previous few weeks. He has been going mad sleeping at his parents’ house and reading books drinking smuggled in whisky and vitamin water.

I tried to convince him to write a guest post about his hospital experience and the trippy ass dreams he had on all the pain meds. The ghost cat under the bed sheets was an especially interesting part of the story. We will see if he comes through with that or not. Anyway, here is a pic of Tom with the only facial hair I’ve ever seen on him. Give him a red hat and yellow ear muffs and he could be Yukon Cornelius from “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

Is it you?

If, as you read this post, you think "well, that could be me" then I'm sorry… It is written for one person. They know who they are… That's right. You know I'm writing about you; little lazy bitch … and YES, I am the end-all, be-all in living healthy *sips coffee*


You use complicated handshakes that nobody else understands to greet friends you've seen only days before. You mask your natural scent with what smells like a combination of lemon Pledge and Raid, which makes my sinuses close up after a few minutes. The shoes you wear trying to be cool are ridiculous and nobody thinks you are edgy or cutting-edge for doing so. Knowing about music that is "underground" doesn't make you cool, it makes you have one less thing to talk to people about (which you whine about all the time).


When you slam on my hobbies, house, job or anything else about me, it really highlights your lack of drive or sense of self worth. To me it sounds like a cry for help…. Remember my last response to your weak-shit insults about my job? As I recall, I said something like "Well yes (some of your points are valid, but dick-ish), but now I'm about to go home on my brand new motorcycle to my huge house where my kids and wife are and where we have two turbo cars in the driveway, chickens, beautiful mountain views and a I'm going to have a few drinks of scotch… (it went on for a while)". Remember how bad you felt when I just shoved your face in that proverbial pile of dog poo?


This description makes my wimpy friend Brian sound like a saint. Brian may be a wuss, but at least he's nice and mostly accurate in his insults. I love destroying people in a way that others can watch and I am still justified in doing so. Also, the smoking… lots of people smoke, but seriously, when are you going to quit smoking those stupid fucking things? Do you think anyone in the smoking area wants to hear about what an asshole your boss is or how stressed you are? I don't think you'd know a bad boss or legit stress if they were standing on your neck. Hell, I have not worked under, around or near a manager or supervisor in several years that I would make a special point to complain about. Go work for my old platoon sergeant and his 70 IQ points and then see what you think.


Maybe this post will trigger something in your mind, which will fix the above-mentioned irritants. Maybe you will just ignore it… we shall see.


Does anyone know someone who sounds like this?