Yes, I’m A Gamer

Of sorts. When I was a young-un all the cool kids had these things called Atari’s. We never had one because we didn’t have money for such things. I was lucky to have a bicycle, a few board games, and a baseball and glove. I made do. Most of us did. Every once in a while I’d get a cap gun and I’d blam blam a few unfortunate imaginary foes until I ran out of caps or the cheap gun broke. By the time I was 10 or so I did finally get a single pump BB gun which was awesome (no I didn’t shoot my eye out), till that time if wanted a gun I’d have to substitute a stick from the yard. Ahh the good old days.

I did later get a dirt bike to ride (which I was paying for with my paper route) but I never really got into the gamer thing until I was married to my first wife, with kids and had a mortgage. I had picked up a computer a 386 SX and it came equipped with 2 entire gigs of Ram. It had even been upgraded with 1 extra gig! (Anyone remember Win3 and DOS 6.0?) Well at the time Kings Quest games were the thing and we had one of them, then I bought another for the kids. Well it came with a freebie trial for a new online MMORPG (Massive Multi Player Role Playing Game) called simply The Realm. It was by the same company that did Kings Quest, Sierra. Well I did the free trial thing and I was hooked. I have played that game on and off for several years. In the beginning it had a lot of people and was a very fun game to play. I have quit and gone back a few times, as of right now I don’t mess with it much. It has run its course I think.

Well with little desire to get into the pay to win games that have flooded the world today, and bored with my old game of choice, I thought I’d look for some sort of brain food. I like things that challenge my poor dilapidated noggin and when I’m not too busy mechanic-ing, or dealing with the everyday neccessities, I like to do SOMETHING with my brain. Mahjong which came on my computer did the job for a good while, I still play it, but was looking for something…new.

I learned how to play Cribbage a long time ago from my great uncle Leo. Leo had been captured in WW2 early on in the war. He was in the battle at Faid Pass. The Germans advanced, engaged in battle, then did a tactical retreat. The Allies thinking they had them on the run gave chase. It was a trick. They advanced into a trap and were blown to hell. Uncle Leo survived, was captured, and spent a lot of time in a concentration camp. Many of his companions were Brits. Brits love Cribbage. Leo learned from the Brits. I learned from Leo. So long story short I like a good game of Cribbage. So I set upon a course to find a free to play Cribbage game. (Yahoo used to have a really good one but they nerfed it) I found a decent one here:

I played that game for a while, until I realized the game cheats. It always plays the game so that the opponents hand hits the upcard. Way too much to be a coincidence. I can still beat it, but don’t care for being disadvantaged. So, I decided to snoop around on the site and have found quite a few interesting, free, did I say free? Yep free games to play. No you won’t find the latest greatest anything at that site, but there is a lot to look over and try out. And it’s FREE! Yes there are a few ads(Which I just resize my window so I don’t have the distraction, don’t tell anyone) And some of the games are limited play before they want you to buy it. But you can still play the game without chucking any cash at them so what the hell.

Right now I’m really liking the game Alpha Assault, it is under the word/trivia category (All the categories can be seen at the link). It’s basically Scrabble with a twist. You have to make words to eliminate tiles threatening your position. It’s quite a bit of fun, somewhat addicting, and satifies my desire for brain food. And that is what matters I think🙂

There are a few poker games I have tried. Governor of Poker was fun, and still is, but it moves a little slow and I pushed it to the point where they urged me to buy the game. Which I don’t want to do. There are a couple more good poker games there as well, and a host of games I have yet to try. But I’ll get there.

So, why am I posting this at all? Just in case there is another pour soul out there that needs a brain food fix. Someone up for a challenge. Someone as cheap as I am. If that is you then check that link out. You may or may not like the site but you sure won’t complain about the price!


Bicycles, Boats, And Go Carts

That’s what Ive been up to. My youngest son decided to take MY bicycle for a ride, and proceeded to smack the derailleur (the thingy that moves the chain on the rear gears) right against a table leg, destroying the derailleur. I just happen to have an old carcass of a bike out back and the derailleur was still functional, so I have been in the process of switching them out.

No easy feat. There are no master links on multi speed bike chains so you have to bust a link to remove the chain + derailleur. No problem. I can do that. But I don’t have a master link to put the chain back together. Amazon to the rescue! I got the new master link a couple days ago. But…in the process of fixing this bike I noticed some busted spokes on the rear wheel. Every one of them is on the gear cluster (or cassette if you prefer) side, which means you have to pull the gear cluster to replace the spokes. Which as it turns out means you need special tools to do. Welcome to my life. No act large or small ever goes smoothly, there is always trips to town, internet searches, Amazon purchases, cuts and bruises, sweat and blood. Nothing is ever easy. The tools are on their way.

Then, as I was pulling the axle on the rear wheel, I notice the damn axle is bent. So I have to fix that too. Jeese Louise.

While I was ordering a master link for the bicycle I remembered the old go cart out in the shop. The go cart just needed a master link to make it go, so while I was ordering master links I got one for the go cart chain. But again nothing is ever easy. I put the link in the chain and soon realized I was out of room for adjusting the chain. It was too loose. So I took the chain off and busted a link out of it and tried again, too damn tight! So now I’m scratching my noggin trying to figure out where to go from here and I realized I could shim the motor so it sits higher on the frame, thus tightening the chain. Well I have a lot of 1/8 inch steel around here just because you never know when you might need some steel, and have to start up the welder to make something you need. But I figured 1/8 ” thickness would mean I’d need to make 2-3 plates and weld them together, which I could do, but didn’t want to, so I called my neighbor. I knew there was a chance he would have heavier stock and he did! We found some 3/8″ thick  x 5″ wide flat steel in his scrap pile that was perfect. He used his band saw to cut me a piece 7″ long. I took that piece home, after thanking my friend and neighbor, and used an old (like new though) 5 hp Honda engine I have lying around, as a template for drilling the holes in my new shim. The shim worked perfectly! But remember nothing is ever easy🙂 The bolts were now too short to bolt the engine back on! Okay they are 5/16 bolts, and I have a drawer full of bolts, washers, wire, doo dads, brackets, and whatnot, I got lucky and found 4 bolts of the right size, but they are too long. No biggie I measured how long I’d need em and cut them to length I needed. Whew! It all bolted up.

Now it’s time to crank this old piece of shit. This go cart has a 5hp Briggs and Stratton engine, I HATE Briggs and Stratton engines. They are literally the definition of “nothing is ever easy” This motor has sat for a few years and I knew it would be a bitch to crank. I looked in the gas tank first, a little old gas in there, being the kind of guy I am I just rolled the cart over on its side and let the nasty gas drain out. Then I put some fresh gas in. I pulled the plug, grounded it on the engine, and had my son pull the start rope to verify spark, spark verified. Then I took off the air filter and dumped a small amount of gas in the intake. Then began the pulling. I must have yanked that starter rope 50 times, all the while proclaiming “I hate Briggs engines!” or “I’m gonna put the Honda on it!” Finally after an eternity of swearing, sweating, and a lot of catching my breath, the engine hit for a second. Then it cranked and died. Then it cranked up! I took the cart for a quick spin to verify everything was working, then parked it and took a break. The ride of the cart was rougher than I remembered, quite a jolting ride, so today while I was in town I found a nice dense foam seat cover to put in the drivers seat. I got that done and added some foam pipe insulation to the roll bars. I had the pipe insulation left over from where I had to redo our well about a year ago… Anyway it was all worth it, as I watched my son having a great time tooling around on the cart as I was cutting grass. Seeing his hair askew and a smile on his face gave me a great sense of satisfaction. Some things are worth the trouble.

Boats, yep I still have a boat in the shop. I’m still compounding (using a dual action sander, with a foam pad, and a compounding solution which is like a thick soup of grit) when I get the time and/or it isn’t 105 degrees in the shade. We have had cooler weather in spurts, like a couple days here and there, then it gets back to humid and 90 degrees+. So I get out there when I can and get a little done here and there. This is a job of 10,000 things to do. I’ll do them one at a time until I get her ready to go.

In the meantime I will continue to visit my blog friends when I can, and I’ll drop in and post at least once in a while. I’m busy, but I still think about y’all.  :)



What? No Jumper Cables?

Scientists at UCLA have developed and used an ultrasound technology to stimulate the brain of a man in a coma. The results were astounding. Within 3 days after the treatment the man had improved dramatically, I’ll quote: “Before the procedure began, the man showed only minimal signs of being conscious and of understanding speech for example, he could perform small limited movements when asked. By the day after the treatment, his responses had improved measurably. Three days later, the patient had regained full consciousness and full language comprehension, and he could reliably communicate by nodding his head “yes” or shaking his head “no.” He even made a fist-bump gesture to say goodbye to one of his doctors.”

Now granted this guy already had very limited cognitive ability to start with, but I’d say the immediate improvement is quite noteworthy. They did however take a cautious approach with this statement: “It is possible that we were just very lucky and happened to have stimulated the patient just as he was spontaneously recovering.”

This looks to be promising tech with a bright future, or it could have been a fluke, but definately worth watching how this plays out. If this proves to be as good as it seems this would be a breakthrough technology. Being the kind of guy I am I hope it works on a regular basis.  :)

Are Bloggers Narcissists Then?

A study out from Brunel University claims that Facebook posters habits tend to give away some of their personality traits. Which seems logical, I know I can get a vibe from the way a person elaborates about themselves, and when that vibe is picked up on it’s usually a bad indicator. Not always though, the internet being what it is can leave one wondering if someone is just an asshole or if maybe they forgot an emoticon.

Anyway, the article makes sense in its conclusions, at least to me. For instance people who tend to post a lot of status updates tend to be suffering from low esteem. And people who post about their children tend to be conscientious, okay then I can see that. Then it goes on to discuss the narcissist, and  I quote:

  • Narcissists more frequently updated about their achievements, which was motivated by their need for attention and validation from the Facebook community. These updates also received a greater number of ‘likes’ and comments, indicating that narcissists’ boasting may be reinforced by the attention they crave.
  • Narcissists also wrote more status updates about their diet and exercise routine, suggesting that they use Facebook to broadcast the effort they put into their physical appearance.

Okay, that all kinda makes sense too…

But the thing is then, what about bloggers? Is our drive to post some sort of window into our personalities? Are we the ultimate narcissists? Looking for likes and appreciation from our blogging peers?

I know I have asked myself that question on more than one occaision. Especially when I’ve been in a posting drought. Next thing I know I start feeling guilty, then tell myself “hey man, you have been busy, the blog will still be there tomorrow.” Then I begin to wonder about my inherent duty to the blog. I’ll tell myself “If you are going to have a blog, you damn well better post something before the end of the decade!” And then the question. The one I dread, even though I’m pretty sure the answer is no “Do I really need the likes and the comments so badly I have to post something?”

At least I think the answer is no. If the answer is yes then someone needs to tell me “Well yes, but in a good way!”


This Is My Life Today

Some of you may know I recently restored an old flatbottom boat. Mostly it just needed a paint job, which in itself was an excercise in frustration, and a great deal of work. The paint specifically Duralux Aluminum Boat Paint (almost 100 buck a gallon!), was very difficult to work with. It was way too thick to use the HVLP spray gun, having many years of experience as a custom home finisher (quality painter) in my younger days, I decided to brush it on. That was a disaster. The paint was so thick it wound up sagging terribly (I had cut the paint with MEK already to its maximum recommendation) so I had to spend a couple of days sanding that out. My expectations of a good finish are very high. So with spraying out, and brushing out, I decided to try rolling. That worked. But it took a great deal of time and effort to get there.🙂

That was a few months ago (during my blog absences) but a few of weeks ago I found another boat to adopt. This one is a 1978 Terry, it’s 15’5″ long, tri hull design (which I love, they ride like Cadillacs) nice and wide, and has a solid floor. Terry manufacted boats of very good quality back in the day as evidenced by how solid this boat is today. The boat had a 1978 80 hp Mercury on it, that as it turned out runs good. Though the lower unit needs seals. $200 fix. But wait theres more! I also got a 90 hp Mercury, newer model, unknown running condition in the deal. I did a compression test it looked good, all 3 cylinders at or around 105 lbs cold. Also verified spark at the plugs. With those conditions met I figure I can make it run. Also and this was important in me deciding to get this boat, I have another Mercury engine identical to the 90. This one is a 70 hp but they are pretty much the same except for carburation, which mostly accounts for the added hp. My old 70 can be a parts engine for the 90, or if I can’t get the 90 to run as it should, I can use the 70. Or I could fix the 80 that was on the boat when I got it. Decisions, decisions. All to be determined by the running condition/or not of the 90. But I have to a lot of gelcoat restoration to do, and I need room to work, so I have to wait until I get the boat shiny again before I can slap a motor on it and begin the process of making it work.

The gelcoat (fiberglass finish, topside/most sun exposure) was beat down, oxidized, and felt like 80 grit sandpaper when you ran your hand across it. My first line of attack was wetsanding with 800 grit, then 1000 grit. Then I had to buy some supplies. The recipe for restoring fiberglass finish in rough condition generally requires a good adjustable speed polisher, $200 for a good one, buffing pads of various grades, and some finishing compounds. Well those finishing compounds were $200 too. This is getting expensive quick.

I have a dual action (DA) air sander and a 60 gallon air compressor so I thought I’d look into making the DA work, instead of investing $200 on a tool I’d use for one job. And lo and behold I can (and did) get the buffing pads and backing pad to make my DA do the job of the pricey polisher. It will take more work because the DA has a slower speed at its highest running capacity than the polisher has at its lowest setting. Which means I have to go slowly, and use pressure to generate some heat. A little heat is the trick in bringing out a good shine, and/ or some long lost color. And elbow grease doesn’t cost much🙂

So after wetsanding I went to a wool pad on the DA and some 3M super compounding polish. Componding polish is much like liquid sandpaper and with the wool pad is its most agressive. I got the topside (really the worst area due to constant exposure) compounded, and have recently moved to a finer grit polish this time 3M Finesse It II and a heavy foam pad on the DA. I did that run, and made another pass with a finer pad and the Finesse It. This time I am pulling some color out of that old finish and it is starting to look and feel glassy smooth. I understand I will never get the original finish back out of this boat, but I’m happy enough with the color I’m getting, and I don’t have to have it perfect, darn good is good enough for me. So that’s what I’m working for.

I know a  lot of my friends probably have little interest in some old fool restoring boats but with all of my years working out of a boat I guess I became a boat guy. So you’re just going to have to put up with me…

You should know the heat and humidity has been horrible, just a few minutes in on anything I try to do has me soaked with sweat down to my knees. One day I was soaked to my shoe tops. As a result of this hard labor I contracted a good case of heat exhaustion! Gee that was fun. Fatigue, light headedness, woozy, headaches, night sweats. For three days I was barely able to get around. That was tough. Good news is I have lost darn near 15 lbs. from all of this. All sweat and hard work. I’m back down to 201 from darn near 225. But had to pay a price to get there. The thing is I’m just that kind of guy. I see a job that needs doing I get in there and hammer down till the job gets done. A side effect of having been self employed for most of my years. That and seeing progress is somewhat addictive. I just can’t help myself. But I see now that I need to take it a little slower. And a little smarter. That bout of heat exhaustion was miserable, I’m only now getting over it, and do not want to experience that again.

So, during my time with my mistress, I mean boat, I found the first serious issue I did not see whan I bought it. In fact I even asked the seller “any issues with the through hull fittings leaking?” He told me no. He lied. A below the waterline through hull fitting (someone decided that for a live well system on a boat that through hull fittings were a great idea, I strongly disagree) for the live well system was bad. Very bad. The wood in the transom (back of the boat, very important) was rotted away for about three inches in every direction from the fitting. I found the stuff I need to fix it, 100 dollars worth of stuff, on the net. I have it on hand and am really looking forward to that job. Well, not really. The plus side is I got the boat and 2 motors on the cheap and know when I am done this thing will last me the rest of my days. So spending a little here and there doesn’t bother me too much. I knew what I was getting into🙂

I’ll try to get a few pics and put em up. Sadly I have not taken any before pics, so you just have to trust me when I tell ya it was pretty rough when I picked it up. It already looks much better, but a long way to go.

So that my friends is where I have been lately. Out in the ole shop, working and sweating, bleeding occaisionally, and mildly obsessed with getting this job done. I try to get around and see what y’all are up to, but my blog posting will likely continue to be light until I see this job done.



Well I have watched the RNC and the DNC, taken some time to digest it all and have come to some conclusions.

Donald Trump is a God! Apparently. He can do anything and everything he wants to do, just by saying he can. That’s pretty damn impressive. I have never in my life seen such a narcissist that uses the word “I” as much a Herr Trump.

The entire RNC was pretty much dedicated to the derision of Hillary, a lot of wishful thinking, and a flaming narcissist with a god complex. If anyone actually believes Adolph Trump would do anything except line his (and others like him) pockets, they need their heads examined. Therefore many people need their heads examined.

The DNC was more or less dedicated to personalizing Hillary. There were plenty of jabs at Drumpf but most were class acts compared to chants of “Lock her up” from the RNC.  I found the DNC was significantly better presented overall with a much better tone. I walked away from the DNC with an appreciation for what politics could be. I walked away from the RNC completely disgusted, angry at the lies and personal attacks, and a renewed galvinization of the understanding that the R party is no longer in touch with reality.

Is Hillary the perfect candidate? No. But with her public office record she may be the most over qualified candidate for the office of president I have ever seen. I would have liked for Bernie to come out on top though, as I feel his ideas for changing what is screwed up in this country are good ideas with a lot of potential for positive change. But here we are, with a choice between an extremely wealthy asshole who made his millions with carefully planned bankruptcies, stiffing those who he owed money (that weren’t eliminated in the bankruptcies), and setting up a fake university to con desperate people of their savings. Or we have Hillary, an imperfect candidate to be sure, but in the entire history of politics in this country I don’t believe the choice between two candidates that in their own ways leave much to be desired, can be more clear.

I have no choice but to vote Hillary Clinton. I really feel like anyone that is not an ignorant beer swilling racist redneck has any choice but to vote Hillary Clinton. Despite that assumption, I fear this election will be closer than any rational minded person will be comfortable with. With that in mind I have been asking people I know if they plan on voting. If they say no I encourage them to get out and vote. I don’t try to persuade anyone as to who they should vote for. I do try to emphasize the importance of voting in this election.

So, are you going to vote?




Are We Civilized?

In the course of a couple of days we have two dead for being black and 5 dead with many more wounded in Dallas.

We have Isis. We have North Korea. We have had Stalin, Hussein, Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, Hitler, too many more to mention. We have an entire history based upon war, violence, and mayhem. What are we really? We are supposed to be the smart ones. The tool users. With the brains to figure out how things work, how to improve our lives, how to fix things. Why can’t we fix ourselves?

I have often thought of civilization as a thin veneer. The icing on the cake if you will. That thin outer layer is our so called civil society. The cake underneath is all the rest. All of the bad things we don’t want to talk about or admit we have anything to do with. Our predudjices, our desires, our dislikes, our fears. Dig a little deeper and you will find our hate, bigotry, racism, and other nasties that some of us do work at trying to overcome. Dig deeper still and somewhere in all of that ugliness that is the human condition, and you will find the desire and the will to kill. What? You say you would never do such a thing?


We all have the capacity and the capability to kill. It is the motive that differs. The situation. The particulars. Prisons are full of people who killed solely because they thought they could get away with it. Think the Hatfields and the Mcoys, revenge and pride are good motives. How about self defense? Would you react in a violent manner to save your own skin, or that of a family member? I would. How about grandma waking up one day and deciding she has had enough of grandpas shit and she whacks him a hammer. It happens. We are human. We react in anger and that anger sometimes kills.

It kills innocent black men, it kills policemen, it kills families, it kills populations.

Now that we have faced up to our true nature, what do we do fix it? Is it even possible to fix an ingrained human condition? I doubt it honestly. If history has shown anything it is our quickness to anger and capacity to kill. We are little better than the animals on the savannah. Indeed that’s where we came from. But despite all of that, we have become civilized to a point. We have huge teeming cities, extensive trade networks, friends and allies all over the globe. We have our neighborhoods, families, and friends. We have people coming together trying to console and/or offer aid those who have lost friends and loved ones, or their homes in times of tragedy. We have so much working for us. But damn it all there are days I think the hoarders with their bunkers just might be the sane ones.

I have hope for humans and civilized society. But I really feel like I am a living part of our history, a continuation of the history behind us. A testament to our true nature that gets swept up under the rug. Underneath the icing.