31 July 2009


There are no limits to human ingenuity. Or human stupidity, depending on your point of view:

And here I've been buying tires and rims like a sucker. I coulda just bought a pair of heavy-duty casters!

All I had was two flashlights, wire, a bit of tape, and some ordinary household bleach...

New from Yankeedog-the 'Vise-Grip' faucet line. Simple yet elegant.

Our fire department's had some cutbacks.

This is my air conditioning retrofit kit. It works on any vehicle. I'm still working on minaturizing the air conditioner, generator, and fuel tank, though.

Why waste all that air blowing out of the vents?

One for Steve. The Buicksaki Basic Motorcycle Trainer.

Some workers might use a patch and rivets to fix a plane. Or they might use carbon-fiber bonding agent. The FAA might insist the winglet be replaced. But I prefer the maintenance worker's secret weapon-duct tape!

I think I've had my car loaded like this at times.

This is my entry in the Mad Max Cross-Country Rally.

SCOTT (excitedly): Cap'n, I've rerouted the warp power through th' Pringles cans!

Most people don't know that a wooden utility pole will heal in about six weeks if you put a splint on it...

YD's Flea Market Special-Hot Off The Truck! Pentium Dual-Core Computer. $9.95.

Natalie! I got your guitar fixed. You owe me $350!

The 2015 Cadillac. A 'green' car for a new era!
Cheers all!
yankeedog out.

28 July 2009

Summer nosh and other tidbits

I'll tell you what, class-this summer has flown by. I've been busy, obviously.

So how's it going, then?

It's been very unseasonable here for a Midwest July. A couple of mornings it's felt like early October-the air cool and dry. One almost expects to see the leaves turning color when it's like that outside.

Still working on cleaning and sorting the parents' place. We've made progress-most of the rooms are navigable, if you discount all the boxes lying around. I think we're going to have an auction to get rid of a lot of the stuff. A ways to go-but a hell of a lot better than 2 months ago at this time. It's still depressing to me, fighting all of the crap. But what are ya gonna do, hmm? Mom has done her best to do small tasks, and I'm not too sure the work isn't a bad thing. It keeps her busy and rebuilds stamina. We're fighting a delaying action, because assisted living isn't terribly far away-but every little bit of independence helps in that fight.

My brother's house is taking shape. The upper floor (except for the bathroom) is for all intents and purposes done. The turret is finished except for window trim, which won't take terribly long. His big project over the past month was getting a flight of stairs built. And a first in the whole history of do-it-yourself-they came out perfectly the first time. We still need to side the garage and put in a door. That should wrap up the big outdoor projects there. Still a fair bit of work on the lower floor, but if we can get the place sided and buttoned up, the indoor stuff can be done when it's -20 outside if necessary.

As for me-still working 32 hours/week. Not that the day off hasn't been a godsend because I needed the time badly, but I'd certainly like to get back to 40 productive hours/week. Reckon it beats 0 hours/week working, though. Oddly enough, there hasn't been a lot of leisure time.

Evidently I got into some poisonous plant a week or so back as I've a nice itchy, scabby mess on my left shin. I had the same thing back in 1992, and it brewed up into staph cellulitis. Spent five days in the hospital for that, and the doctor told me that it's entirely possible to lose a leg if that sets in heavy. If staph gets really bad, it'll kill you deader than Salt Lake City on a Monday night. Lesson learned this time-a course of Keflex and some big-named topical cream for me. It doesn't hurt, but it itches. Rather a shame.

You bunch of singing potatoes have helped keep me sane over the past few months. Thanks much, everyone. Good to read that Havock is working on getting a new gig. It's been great reading Therbs's account of his trek across Europe. Hopefully he missed out on the Techno Twins in all of those hostels. Bangar's struggles with The Leech have been interesting-Australia's a rather big country and it's a shame Leech can't get lost in it. Al has been doing some cool stuff on pirates and privateers. Yarbo has been better than ESPN as far as his sports coverage, though that's faint praise since ESPN doesn't do all that well sometimes. Our Nat appears to be back with cool writings as well. Murph's writing and teaching appears to be moving forward. So many people and not enough time or space to mention them all. Well done to all of you!!

Late July here means that the vegetables in people's gardens are starting to come in. My brother has some cherry tomatoes ripening nicely. And they taste like tomatoes-not like a tennis ball, which is how the store-bought types taste. He provided me with a couple of cucumbers, which are currently sitting, sliced, along with some bits of sweet Vidalia onion in a sugar-vinegar brine. In a day or so, I'll be having me some right good refrigerator pickles. How's a big burger or pork chop, refrigerator pickles, tomato marinated in oil, and locally grown corn on the cob sound? Won't be long until the Michigan peaches are ready (best in the country by my estimation), and the fall will bring apples from the local orchards. Right now I'm liking my Gala apples all the way from New Zealand, but I'm ready for the local crop to come in.

Hmm-house, house, work, leg, props, nosh. That about covers it.

Cheers all!

yankeedog out.

27 July 2009

Favorite ride

Not a great picture (seeing as it's a photo of a photo, since I don't have scanner capability), but this is yours truly back around 1988. The car is my favorite of all the autos I've owned over the years-a 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, with wire rims, whitewalls, the vinyl top that would eventually crack after several years in the Midwest weather-in short, all the best features of a car built in the late 1980s.

I'm really sure my Cutlass had the 305 V-8, which was technically a Chevy powerplant but some got stuck in the Oldsmobile line. It didn't have street racing speed but I could get all of the go I needed on the highway.

The Cutlasses of the late '60s-early '70s were cool cars (especially the 442), and the mid '80s version rocked. The mid-to-late '70s models and the Cutlasses built after '89-'90 were cookie-cutter-no discernible styling or performance to speak of.

I loved that car-drove it to death (nearly literally, as I had a long commute to and from work in those days) and I wish I had it today. My friend JP had an '84 Supreme that he drove from Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, back to NW Illinois (about 700 km one way) every weekend, until the engine finally burned up (along with the rest of the car) on one visit back.

Still, a solid design from the late Oldsmobile Division of General Motors. Nice work, ladies and gentlemen.

OK, class-of the vehicles you've owned, what was your favorite? It doesn't have to be the fastest ride in town, or the best looking-but what made it special?

yankeedog out.

20 July 2009

Yeah. Beat them Aussies!

A quick post. I'm watching women's softball on ESPN after viewing the Cubs receive a beating by the Phillies 10-1. Nice. Guess a four game sweep of the hapless Nats really didn't prove anything.

Anyway, this is the World Cup of Softball and the match features the US v. Australia, with the US up 3-1 in the 4th inning. C'mon, USA! Got too many Australians visiting here to have to hear about any big comebacks from the one or two citizens there that are paying attention to the sport.

We just got to hear the Australian coach complain to the umpire regarding a called third strike. Oddly enough, he kept the tone civil and didn't swear to the ump (who was miked up for TV). Given those parameters I'd question whether or not he was from the Land Down Under. Certainly a Havock or Nautilis would have let the hapless umpire have it with both verbal barrels, doubly so after the umpire kicked them out of the game. Coach Barlow needs to work on his talking to the umpire. Maybe something like this from the great old manager of those '70s and '80s Baltimore Orioles teams, Earl Weaver.

Good stuff, fast-pitch softball, men's or women's. Recommended for any fans of stick and ball sports.

yankeedog out.

17 July 2009

YD's big pink shaft

Made you look.

The downturn in actual orders has given me time to play around with the Pro/E some more. This is an input shaft for the transmission on some big piece of construction equipment, all decked out in a bright pink for your pleasure-err, viewing pleasure, that is. Pro/E has a 'marble' color/texture, which also looked cool on the model.

I can still draw a little! Below is the model in wireframe with hidden lines:

Drawing all of the ellipses and splines for the shaft is a hell of a lot easier than it was back in the day of manual drafting. I remember learning how to lay out ellipses manually and being ecstatic when I got a template to make the things. Drafting's come some way from 25 years ago, but a .5 mm mechanical pencil is a more elegant instrument, for a more civilized age.

We can do so much with computers these days.

I suspect most of you are aware of the computerized remasterings of the first three Star Wars films and of the original Star Trek series. It's kind of cool to see the ships 'move' realistically, and show a fleet of ships where the story has a fleet of ships in it. I personally don't mind the enhanced effects, and I'd guess the original makers don't either. They'd have done the same things if they had the capability and budget to do so.

But maybe it's time to go the other way-do 'low-tech' versions of our favorite shows, such as Star Trek and Space:1999. Smithers, fetch me my stereopticon and crank up the Victrola!

And since we're talking space and technology, let's remember that day 40 years ago when Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins flew Apollo 11 to the Moon. Well done, gentlemen!

yankeedog out.

15 July 2009

Running jokes

I believe that if you get two or more people together for an extended length of time, some silly thing or other crops up and it becomes a fixture of mirth and merriment. Other people might not get the joke-in fact they may think you all are a bunch of blithering idiots-but to that group that whatever-it-is always gets a laugh.

The running joke among the other designer at work and me is when we hear some odd word or phrase on the local morning radio show, I'll say "Hey, that'd be a good name for my band!" or similar. For example:

CALLER: I went to Catholic school, and if the sister caught us with gum, she'd make us toss it in the gum bucket...
YD: Gumbucket? That's the name of my band!

So far, I've gotten a laugh when 'Ass Tattoo' and 'Walrus Pecker' came up in various conversations. And I think those would be good band names, actually.

Maybe it ain't funny and you have to be there.

Families have their share of jokes and incidents which become legend after a few years. A couple for us when I was growing up were recalling the time my stepfather ripped the crotch on his pants (Superman!) and he tried to staple the pants back together instead of trying something odd like, say, stitching the seam back together with a needle and thread-or even using the tailor's secret weapon-duct tape. That'd be comfortable, sitting on staples and running a forklift for 8 hours!

The other one concerned Mom's cream of potato soup, which (at least the bowl I always got) always seemed to have loads of celery and mushrooms and not a lot of potatoes. So I took to reciting the recipe at the table:

"To make potato soup: Chop up 5 pounds of celery. Take one small potato and dunk it in the soup base for 3 seconds."

One night she served up the potato soup. I started the recitation. I then picked up the spoon and lifted up a large, peeled baking potato, cleverly concealed in the soupbowl. She said "There! You're always saying there's no potatoes in the soup!", to which I said "You didn't have to use the whole year's supply on me."

Again, maybe not all that funny to the outside observer-but a good laugh at get-togethers.

There's a few of my running jokes. Anybody got some of their own they'd care to share with the class?

All the talk of cream of potato soup has gotten me hungry. I may have to make me a pot of that this weekend-unsullied by the demon celery, of course.

yankeedog out.

12 July 2009

Songs and memories

There are some songs out there that always bring up memories, some pleasant, others maybe not so. And I suppose the tunes that bring up good memories you always like, no matter how much everyone around you hates the song after the 70,000th time you played it at the last get-together.

What are some memory-dredging tunes of yours, YD? you ask. Actually, you didn't ask and don't really care, most likely. Tough. You're here. So sit back and listen.

Yes, even you.

When I hear this particular tune, I remember riding around all other the back roads of Northwest Illinois in Mom's old VW Beetle when I was about 4 years old. We could get WLS-AM out of Chicago (back in the days when they played music), and the song was in the heavy rotation, which meant you heard it about once every 45 minutes or so. Hare Krishna. Hare Hare...

Now this particular song I was singing along to some years back at Charlie's Country Lounge when the lead singer for that night's band came over and stuck the microphone in my face. I really think I could've been a country crooner but for my lack of musical talent. I remember my dad having this song on 8-Track (!) back in the day, so that's how I learned it.

I had this one cranking in Driver's Ed class, 'round about 1982, as I was learning to parallel-park that most impressive of Detroit's creations, the Chevy Citation. Nervous? Oh, hell yeah. We all wanted that learner's permit and driver's license. Mechanized beats leg infantry.

Speaking of school, we had a unit of dancing in Phys Ed. Not a bad idea-it gets you used to being close to the opposite sex without falling to pieces. Unfortunately, the instructors evidently thought it was still 1958, as they played this one song to death. There are plenty of single-time swing songs out there, and in the early '80s, they could have played some Stray Cats stuff. But no, not to be.

Yes, but could you bust a move, Yankee? Most certainly.

Forward to college, which in many ways weren't great years for me. My folks were out of work and we were living on a shoestring. But this tune conjures up nights in the drafting lab, doing our semester project, designing and drawing a house-by hand. No CAD for the masses back then-it was paper and pencil and ink.

Oh very well. Yes, NatalieV played and posted the bassline for this tune last year. Check it out too.

1987 found me spending a lot of Friday nights at a bar called Lassiter's, which isn't there any more. I played a lot of darts-301, cutthroat, and cricket-to a song by a band with enough clout to overrule the orders of a Federation Admiral.

Finally, this song takes me back to 1988, and visiting my friend JP when he was in the Army at Ft. Campbell (Charlie Company, 3rd of the 187th-Rakkasans! HOO-AH!!). There was a park along the banks of the Cumberland River in Clarksville, TN where the troops and their main squeezes hung out at night. I distinctly remember hearing the song blasting from a Toyota pickup with big home speakers mounted in the bed of the truck. The music has changed since then, but I'd bet the Pukin' Chickens still call The Fairgrounds their after-hours home.

OK kids-your turn. Toss out some tunes and some memories that correspond with them. This I gotta see.

Oh yes, we've had an interesting race for Mayor here in Rock Island. We had the vote back in March, but the final tally was too close to call. After the usual round of recounts and legal challenges (in among which one man was actually sworn in as Mayor), a judge has ruled the vote a tie. The local news showed how the two candidates decided who would win the post. Wanna see it-here it is! And really, wouldn't something like that ensure that the best person wins the office?

yankeedog out.

07 July 2009

Some interweb domain names

The bad thing about website domain names (or the good thing depending on your point of view) is that something that sounds quite innocent in one language may not be so innocent in another. Or the letters may just run together in ways the website creator may not have intended.

Just a few examples from the blog www.11points.com . Go give it a peek when you leave here.


Officially: LesBocages.com, tree service in the Brittany region of France.
Unintentionally: LesboCages.com, your source for locking up your out-of-control local lesbian.


Officially: Freebase.com, a social database about things you know and love.
Unintentionally: Freebase.com, the online destination when you can't find your crack pipe.


Officially: SydneyTherapist.com, the website of Tanya Koens, a sex therapist in Sydney, Australia. (No word if she is affiliated with Tobias Funke.)
Unintentionally: SydneyTheRapist.com, home page of a guy named Sydney who just can't stop telling his stories about rapin'! (No word if he is affiliated with Tucker Max.)


Officially: NOBJS.org, North of Boston Jewish Singles 40+ -- "a great place to meet interesting, charming and enthusiastic single people with whom you can get together and have fun."
Unintentionally: NoBJs.org, the site for women in committed relationships.


Officially: BlackHatEbook.com, a guide to black hat SEO, "the technique of building and promoting a website using unfair, sneaky, sly and underhand tactics which often break search engine guidelines." (Just to stick it to these people, I made their link above a rel="nofollow".)Unintentionally: BlackHateBook.com, a guide to being a racist, for the rarely-seen literate racist.


Officially: OldMansHaven.com, cabin rentals in Old Man's Haven near Hocking Hills (Ohio) State Park, home of Old Man's Cave.
Unintentionally: OldManShaven.com, 'cause when they're dragging on the ground, they should be hairless.


Officially: NYcanal.com, a resource for info on and travel to all of New York's beautiful canals.
Unintentionally: NYCanal.com, a resource for info on and fissures in all of New York's less beautiful "canals."


Officially: AmericanScrapMetal.com, "a B2B-based scrap metal recycling expert" in Texas.
Unintentionally: AmericansCrapMetal.com. And we piss awesomeness!


Officially: ActionPaintballSac.com, an 880-acre paintball course located just outside of Sacramento.
Unintentionally: ActionPaintBallsac.com, which is either a Japanese game show or a high-energy booth at Key West's FantasyFest.


Officially: LaDrape.co.uk, a company that "continues to innovate quilted bedspread design and manufacture, leading the field for almost 20 years, supplying major hotel groups, cruise ships and interior designers internationally."
Unintentionally: LadRape.co.uk, where we rape guys while using properly British terms like "lad." After the rape's over we toss the little bugger's body in the boot, sod off to a bog and dump the duff.


Officially: Budget.co.ck, for all your Budget Car Rental needs on the Cook Islands.
Unintentionally: Budget.co.ck, because in this economy, who can afford full-priced cock?

yankeedog out.

06 July 2009

When the best weapon is a club

Some oops moments with weapons.

.50 cal

Torpedo malfunction

AT missile

Not a weapon screwup-but a classic bed trick.

Actually, I knew someone who had a hunting accident similar to these. He was using a muzzleloader, and somehow he didn't quite get the powder mixture right. Pulled the trigger and -pffft. The shot dribbled out of the muzzle and a tiny puff of smoke trickled out. Reckon that beats overcharging and blowing the barrel apart, though-unless you count the mortification that arises when the animal you're shooting at points and laughs.

yankeedog out.