28 July 2010


Lately the IT gnomes at work have been tightening up on the old Internet usage. Used to be that Firefox was relatively unshackled, but all that has changed.

What is surprising is how some sites are classified (or not, as the case may be). For instance, I can still get to Ace's place (on mu.nu) as long as I don't care to see any comments (which are on minx) because they are classified as pornography. (If you have ever participated in some of the epic Over-Night Threads you might see how this is somewhat justified, but for the most part Maet keeps a pretty close eye on things.) McGoo's place, however, is completely unblocked (even the one that should be - oh yeah, that's definitely an NSFW link).

Social networking sites like Facebook and Photobucket are blocked for being social networking sites, as is Blogger's own photo storage site Picasa. Blogger itself is OK though, as are most of the Blogger sites (such as this one).

The biggest shocker though is Brigid's place. A click from work on her link gets a blocked message for...


illegal drugs????


Something tells me they don't let the IT gnomes out of the cage much.

27 July 2010


The toll is now three strap wrenches. I got a chain type that the plumbers use for the next try, I'll bet that one won't break. As soon as this timing belt gets done the PM on the Subaru will be complete until the next scheduled oil change in 3000 miles.

The second key for the Mustang showed up today, so now I have both of them. I had to drive it to work again, oh darn. The Firefly keychain got hung up in my pocket the other day and it's gravity rotor housing (the part that goes up and around the middle and extends along the tail section) got pulled off. I glued it back on, but now I'm carrying the second key on another keychain.

TDP will wait until we get back from vacation next month.

26 July 2010

The Fun Continues

The Banana Boat's planned maintenance is underway. So far two strap wrenches have been sacrificed to the cause, they are being used to hold the crankshaft pulley to remove the bolt but the ones I got from the local parts store haven't been up to the task. I went to one of the big tool stores and got one that will hopefully be a bit more robust.

I also got a Sirius radio for the Boat today. When I called in to activate the one in the Mustang I found that the dealer had already completed that particular task for me, but I went ahead and ordered one for the boat as well. It's a stand-alone unit that plays through the existing FM radio, but I'm going to put an antenna switch in for it.

For some reason the boat's right rear speaker doesn't work. It's just an annoying problem, but maybe I'll find something when I pull the radio out to put the antenna switch in. If not, I guess I won't miss it much.

At any rate, I drove the Mustang to work since the boat's engine is apart for the timing belt replacement. Middle daughter got her crack at the Mustang as well, I sent her downtown for a few things and let her drive it. She came back with no scratches and a big grin so it worked out well.

I guess she likes it.

25 July 2010

At The End Of The Week

TDP still will not start, all of it's timing components are verified good and in the right place. It's not building compression, so it looks like the engine was interference fit after all and will need to have it's head taken off and rebuilt. So, off with it's head!

The banana did fine towing the trailer to Middle Daughter's house and her lawn is now cut. Mine is as well. Youngest son had a ball driving the lawn mower, so that worked out well, too. The riding lawn mower's deck just barely fits on the 4ft wide trailer, there is absolutely no room side-to-side to play with.

The new tent has been dried and stowed away, we were going to test it this weekend but decided not to. We did get some fishing in yesterday after the lawn work but only managed to terrify a few worms. No fish were harmed - or even mildly annoyed - in the process.

Today it's back to work.

21 July 2010

Even On My Days Off, I'm Busy

Eldest Son has had TDP apart twice in the past two days, the timing chain looks right but the engine will not start. It acts like it wants to, and if you try a full-throttle start it will catch for a few turns and then die with a BANG and puff of black smoke from the tailpipe. It acts just like the valve timing is off a couple of teeth. Tomorrow he's going to pull all of the gears off and make sure they haven't broken any locating pins.

I installed the hitch on the 'boat today and got the trailer for it. Installing a Subaru hitch on the Subaru Baja is a snap, as it should be, and the trucklet hauls the trailer well. Anything that won't fit in the bed with the bed extender will certainly fit on the 4x7 trailer, and if it doesn't I guess I didn't need it anyway.

The other day I was backing the Subi out of the driveway, being very careful of that bright red Mustang, and I rubbed the left front corner of the Subi against the right front corner of Middle Daughter's Mercury. The only thing that happened was a little paint transfer, but when I went to get some touch-up paint the parts store didn't have any Subaru colors. Fortunately Chrysler's Radiant Silver Metallic is a dead match for the Subaru silver.

The headrests came in for the Mustang, and they don't fit. The headrest posts for the 10/11's are thicker and set closer together. No one seemed to know this before, but now I do. It only cost me a pair of Franklins to find out (grrrr). Hopefully I can find someone with an 05-09 that wants a set of tilting headrests in black, if not there is always Ebay!

I bought a new tent and put it up to Scotch Guard it. I did the rain cover separately, and wouldn't you know it the rains came down while the rain cover was off of it and went right into the open mesh top of the tent. So I had a bunch of water to get out of it. Out comes the shop vac!

The shop vac lasted just long enough to get the water out, and then the motor locked up. It's been going for a while, I'm just surprised it lasted as long as it did. I went down to the hardware store and got the next size bigger to replace it.

On the menu tonight, spaghetti with meatballs. On the agenda, a couple of beers and then a nap.

And that's what I've been up to today.

On The Reading List

My favorite author has a new book ready for pre-order.

You should go reserve your copy.

20 July 2010


She would have been 46 today.

Happy Birthday Boo.

19 July 2010

Car Maintenance

TDP's problem turned out to be a brand-new chain tensioner that is binding up. This tensioner was put on as part of a timing set not too long ago, so we didn't even suspect that we had a problem with it. Of course it can't be warrantied out because it was part of a set.

Anyway, a new one has been ordered and should be in tomorrow so TDP will once again be operational. It's Middle Daughter's car now in all but the names on the title, she will take it home with her when it's running again and will register it in her name whenever. Until then I guess she will drive it on my dime. Some things haven't changed.

The Subaru will get it's timing belt right after repairs on TDP are complete, along with a tune up and a full round of fluids. It should then be good for another 105K miles on the timing belt. I got a couple of key fobs for it the other day so now I can lock and unlock it remotely, aren't I special. I haven't figured out if it really has an alarm system or not yet, if it does it's stuck in the valet mode.

I also got a call from the Subi dealer saying the hitch is in, so I'll go get it on my next day off. When it gets put on I'll go get a small 4x7 trailer to carry the things that the bed is too small for. I'll order the cover for the bed this week also, and when it comes in and is installed the Subi modifications (such as they are) will be complete.

It's kinda nice doing stuff to cars cause I want to instead of cause I have to.


I am now registered with the GT/CS Registry!

My particular car is number 350 on the 2011 GT/CS catalog, it was built on April 1, 2010 with the factory sequential blend number of 5889 (I have no idea what that signifies).

Yes, you have seen all of these pictures before.

In other news, the headrests should be arriving on Wednesday, so I'll know then if they are going to work or not.

UPDATE: They don't. Anyone need a set of adjustable tilt headrests for a 05-09 Mustang?

18 July 2010

Driving The Blue Ridge

On the way back from Roanoke Youngest Son and I took the scenic route. We caught the Blue Ridge Parkway from Exit 120 at Roanoke down to Exit 150 near Floyd. It's a beautiful ride and I plan to drive it this fall at least from Asheville NC to Roanoke VA.

The car performed magnificently, especially when I figured out enough to turn the overdrive off. It's a real joy to drive this car in the twisties, and having the convertible so you can see everything just adds to the experience.

Next weekend we take the Baja fishing.

17 July 2010

Lighting The Fires

Yesterday we were watching Firefly on DVD. Last night B-I-L and I went riding in the little red rocket ship.

As I was pulling away from a stoplight I couldn't resist the urge to demonstrate the acceleration. B-I-L looked over with a big grin and said "Let's moon 'em!"

So we did.

Bob Gets A Ride

Last night as Sister, B-I-L and I were heading to the store we passed a car dealer. B-I-L was telling me about a truck he was looking at, and Sister chimed in that there was a Mustang convertible that was almost the exact same color as the truck. The dealer was willing to sell them as a package, but they didn't have the money for the down payment.

A little red-headed angel whispered in my ear "My brother needs a truck."

They pick their cars up today.

16 July 2010


Youngest Son and I took the car to Roanoke today to see my older sister.

Older sister and I took the car across the Blue Ridge Parkway here in Roanoke. It was a beautiful ride.

Older sister picks up her Mustang sometime this week, maybe as early as tomorrow if she can get the insurance straight. It's a lesser car, a 2000 with a V6, but it is a convertible so it has that going for it.

I ordered some adjustable headrests for the car today. They are for a 2007 so I don't know if they will fit the 2011. Something must be done about the horrible headrests that came with the car, hopefully this will do the trick.

It's been a pretty good day all the way around.

15 July 2010

No Post For You


Know what I mean?


I think you do.

14 July 2010


That's how many hours are left on the Mustang countdown.

The car is actually at the dealership right now, apparently the driver of the rollback got to the New Jersey dealer before closing time last night and got an early start today. The car is in for final prep right now, getting it's state inspection and a wash and polish.

The GT decklid trim panel did not get here yet, but as it is a dealer installed option it shouldn't take long to put it on so I'll bring the car back to them next week for that.

I pick it up tomorrow at 4:30.

UPDATE: The GT decklid trim panel has been canceled. After seeing the car in all of it's bright red glory, I realized that it was unnecessary.

Revenge of the Toyota

So it looks like Sudden Acceleration Syndrome was caused by "don't know what pedal your damn foot is on" after all.

The study does find one case out of seventy five fatal crashes where the pedal was trapped by the floor mat, causing an accident that killed a California state trooper and three occupants of the car.

Toyota has acknowledged issues with floor mats and accelerator pedals that don't immediately return to idle, but in no case were any other defects found. Several lawsuits have been filed blaming malfunctions in the electronic throttle control systems.

Funny, that. Ten years ago it was Audi getting hammered, and it turned out to be caused by the same seat-to-pedal interface malfunction.

Which leads us to the main problem with our bubble wrapped society. The idiots don't get a chance to kill themselves off nearly often enough.

HT: Ace of Spades HQ

It's That Time Again

Because you know you want to.

Day By Day fundraiser.

Donate money.

Get stuff.

Do it now.


I'm separating the blogs that I visit from the websites that I visit. It's going to be a long and lengthy process since I have to depopulate one list and populate the other. I'm sure that some brilliant web designer somewhere could show me how to do this quickly and easily, but for now I have to do it the hard way.

Please excuse my construction.

(Re-starting the countdown; 38 hours until Pony Time!)

NOTE: Ace of Spades HQ will be remaining in the links list because of an annoying insistence by Blogger that some sort of tag get added to the URL when attempting to put it in the blog list, thereby rendering it 404.

13 July 2010

Another Unavoidable Delay

The rollback left Wake Forest, NC this morning on it's way to a dealer in an undisclosed location in Maryland with a car on it bound for that dealer. When it gets there, that car will get dropped off and another loaded on.

With the second car loaded, the rollback will proceed to Butler NJ, arriving after the dealer there has closed for the night. The tired driver will stay the night and go on to the dealer in the morning, where he will drop off the second car and load the Mustang.

Wednesday morning, after the Mustang is loaded, the rollback will begin it's return to Wake Forest NC, arriving sometime Wednesday evening, very likely after the dealer in Wake Forest has closed up for the night.

Thursday morning the Mustang will be unloaded from the rollback and go into the shop at the Wake Forest dealer. It will get the GT rear decklid trim panel installed and then get washed, waxed and detailed.

Thursday afternoon Middle Daughter will drop me off at the dealership around 4:30PM where I will sign the final papers, write the final check, and drive away in the Mustang. Daughter is disappointed that she will not get to drive the car on Thursday, but she will survive the ordeal.

So that's the new plan. I certainly hope God is done laughing now.

12 July 2010


No Mustang for me today.

It all has to do with emissions. New Jersey requires more strict emissions than North Carolina, so the dealer here had nothing that would meet New Jersey's emissions standards to trade with the dealer in New Jersey. As a result, the dealer here wasn't able to get the car from New Jersey.

All is not lost, however. Somehow a dealer in Maryland got involved. They have the more stringent emissions and wanted a car from the North Carolina dealer. They were selling the car to a customer in Virginia so it doesn't need the more stringent emissions, but all their cars have it for their in-state customers.

So in a round-robin type horse trade the Maryland dealer is sending a car with the more strict emissions to New Jersey for the Mustang, the New Jersey dealer is sending the Mustang here, and the North Carolina dealer will send a car to Maryland.

The rollback leaves tomorrow for New Jersey.

The new date is Wednesday the 14th.

Weather Check

A quick look at the weather shows rain in the forecast for the next ten days.

Twelve hours before I pick up the ragtop. Yeah, that's about right.

Oh well, I guess I get to find out how well the AC works in the car.

11 July 2010


The new owners took the Rampage home today.

I picked up the gaskets for the third foray into TDP's timing chain cover.

I ordered a timing belt for the Subaru, the book recommends changing it at 105K miles and it has 103K now.

I'm getting ready to go to work in the Baja.

The pony ride begins sometime in the next 24 hours.

Memorial Grove

Eldest Son and I went to the home improvement store today and got 24 more bags of rock for the memorial grove.

The area of the grove calls for 80 bags if spread 2" deep, but with the twelve bags from yesterday I think this is going to do the job.

At any rate, it was hot work and I'm glad it's done.


Sister In Law and I rounded up two of her grandkids and Youngest Son, and off to the skating rink we went.

It's been 25 years or better since I wore wheels on my feet, and Youngest Son was all excited about seeing the old man hit the boards. Literally hitting the boards, I mean. He assured me that he would show me everything about skating I needed to know, and it would be OK if I fell down.

I'm happy to say that his fondest dreams were dashed. My posterior never touched wood (although it was certainly a close thing several times). I am certain that my lower back and leg muscles will be having rude things to say to me tomorrow though.

Before we went skating Youngest Son and I went to the home improvement store and got nine castle-wall blocks and twelve bags of pea gravel. The blocks went the rest of the way around Memorial Grove and the gravel got spread out around the hibiscus all the way up to the bench. It will probably take another 40 bags or so before the area is all covered, and maybe more still to cover to a depth that will keep the red dirt from peeking out. Pics later when I have time.

41 hours remaining on the pony car countdown. Not, of course, that I am counting or anything.

Middle Daughter is all excited about that. Monday night I'm going to pick the pony up on the way to work and leave the Banana Boat at the dealer for the night. Tuesday morning she and I will go get it. Since she can't drive a stick, she will get to drive the pony back. With the top down and the radio blasting, I'm sure.

I have a dry-erase board on the fridge where we both write down our work schedules. For Tuesday the only thing she has scheduled, all day, is "Driving the Mustang!!!!"

I hope she realizes that this will not be an all-day affair.

10 July 2010


Since I got the Subaru I have been casting about for information on them, specifically online forums where I could get all the inside scoop on common problems and the like. The Subaru Brat and Baja each have their own online forums at scoobytruck.com where all of this information can be found.

Of course the obvious question (besides who cares) is why the heck are they called "Scoobytrucks" anyway?

Apparently all Subarus (Subarii?) are commonly referred to as "Scooby" this or that; it's a play on words. Subaru sounds like Scooby-doo, Subaru is commonly shortened to Subi, Subi sounds like Scooby, so there you go. Since the Baja and Brat were the only two Subaru (Subi) trucks, they are Scoobytrucks.

This concludes your trivia lesson for the day.

09 July 2010


The pony is in Butler, New Jersey.

I will have it Monday.

OK a few more details. This morning I went first to the Subaru dealer where I completely forgot about ordering the fuel door cover but did order the jack that is missing from the car and a trailer hitch. On the way back I stopped by the Ford dealer.

I was planning on ordering the car and not seeing it for a couple of months, but the sales rep said "Not so fast, let's do some checking around. The new shipment of cars went out this week."

First they found a maroon one like the one I have pics of, it has all the options I wanted plus one that I didn't (remote start). I could have lived with the different color and the extra option, but it had been damaged as it was being taken off the transporter. Grrr!

Next they found a race red one, it has all the options that I wanted and none that I didn't. It is exactly the car that I would have ordered if I was going to order the car I wanted, and it was available to be shipped to the local dealer.

The only problem is that it's 400 miles away in New Jersey, so it won't be here until Monday. They are sending a rollback after it (they usually just have someone drive it, but for that distance they will transport it). I told the sales rep that I wasn't planning on having the car for 4-8 weeks, so a couple of days is nothing.

It's going to be a long weekend...

08 July 2010


A Marine 4 star General has been named to replace Gen David Petraeus as Commander, US Central Command.

GEN James Mattis will take command effective immediately.

GEN Mattis is probably best known for his statements regarding the enthusiasm that he approached shooting bad guys with. I think my favorite came in the spring of 2003, during the first of his meetings with recently defeated Iraqi military leaders, when he famously said: "I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f*ck with me, I'll kill you all."

OOHRAH GEN Mattis, good luck with your new command.

Photo by Charlie Neuman/San Diego Union-Tribune/ZUMA Press/Newscom

HT: Ace of Spades HQ

07 July 2010

The Baja Has Landed

Today I caught a ride to the dealer and purchased the Baja. (This guy would probably have something rude to say. Actually, he's already pretty much said it.)

It has been christened Banana Boat by Youngest Son due to it's yellow color.

Tomorrow I will arrange for TDP to get towed back to the house. I will also get plugs, wires, oil, and a full round of filters for the Baja and re-base it's maintenance cycle. The engine is incredibly clean and the car runs well, but there is a bit of a sputter in the lower RPM ranges. No telling how long the plugs and wires have been on it.

UPDATE: It cost me a C note to get TDP back to the house, this was after the tow insurance paid off what they cover.

I also need to find a dentist tomorrow because I broke a corner of a molar off today.

So, busy day today and a busy day tomorrow. Friday I go order the Mustang.

06 July 2010

And Now, Something Different

I have been reading the "Dies the Fire" trilogy by S. M. Stirling, and one of the main characters is a Finn. In the first book he was singing a little ditty about fighting with knives, so when I saw this cartoon I had to laugh.

The artist has a spot on deviantART.

The accompanying post was very informative. The Finns seem to be the most sensible Europeans left.

I think I love those guys. In a very manly way, of course.

Give Up What!?!?

Yep, I did.

I smoked my last cigarette this morning on the way home from work. I'm not a heavy smoker as it is (a pack will last me 2 or 3 days) and we had extinguished the smoking lamp in the house when the wife brought oxygen tanks home. We had noticed how much better the house smells now, so we had decided to continue the practice.

I intend to do the same for the new cars - the Mustang goes without saying, I don't know if it's even equipped with an ashtray, but I didn't look for one when I test drove the Subaru either. So, since I can't smoke in the house or in the cars I figured I might as well just lay the habit down.

I'm sure my doctor will be pleased.

Men Plan

And God laughs.

Tonight as I was wheeling into the parking space at work TDP died on me. It looks like the timing chain has skipped a tooth.

I was going to get the Subaru on Thursday, but it looks like I will be getting it tomorrow instead. This should be a surprise to the dealer as I have already called and confirmed that I was picking it up Thursday, but I'm sure they will take my money a day earlier.

Fortunately I have friends who have time and equipment, so tomorrow I will catch a ride to the dealer with a friend, and at some later point the same friend will show up with his truck and trailer to tow TDP home to be fixed.

The funny thing is that as I was pulling into the parking space I was thinking to myself "This will be the very last time I drive TDP to work." Mere milliseconds later it proved me right.

Looks like I picked a bad day to give up smoking.

04 July 2010

Happy Fourth of July

My older sister came down from Roanoake VA, we had burgers on the grille and some "safe and sane" fireworks (which is all North Carolina will allow).

As an added bonus, the check cleared. I paid off a loan and a couple of credit card bills and am now ready to get my new wheels at the end of the week.

I hope everyone had a great holiday.

02 July 2010


Today (Thursday) I went to the bank and dropped the insurance settlement check in. Two business days and I'll be able to draw on it, unfortunately with the long weekend that means Wednesday morning.

At any rate, as I was pulling back on the highway I had to make a hard left turn. When I did so the transmission on That Damn Pontiac (henceforth and forever to be known as TDP) slipped. I had to pull over and add another quart to the transmission, so there is definitely a leak there that was being masked by the power steering leak that we fixed earlier in the week (that popped up as soon as we fixed the massive engine oil leak, that happened as soon as we got the head gasket fixed (and put a new timing chain set on to replace the one that started rattling after we replaced the head last year - more on this later), that happened right after we fixed the first power steering leak, that happened as soon as we put struts on the damn thing a couple of months ago, which is where this round of car fixing started).

I tried driving the Mighty Rampage to work last week and the carburetor shelled on me again. The carb has been a constant problem for almost two years now. It also needs a driver's side CV axle and a clutch, and the transmission slips out of second if the revs aren't right when you let the clutch out.

TDP has a familiar rattle in the timing cover again as well. The last time we replaced the head, a little over a year ago, the timing chain started rattling soon afterward. We let it go for a while because we didn't drive the car that much, but when Laura started going to Rocky Mount we decided to fix it. Of course the head gasket blowing on the car hastened its fixing. We put a whole timing chain set on it, but when we opened the cover we found that the tensioner bolts had loosened, and the rattling was the chain slapping against the case.

It sounds like the tensioner bolts have worked their way loose once more. This means we have to pull the timing cover off again and this time we will apply a ton of Locktite on the bolts. TDP has not run trouble-free for a couple of months now, every time we get one thing fixed something else has popped up right away to take it's place.

While reflecting on all of this, I came to a decision. I'm tired of fixing cars. So, while I was in the neighborhood of the bank I dropped by a used car dealer and did a test drive. When I got home I called one of Eldest Son's friends and told him to come get the Rampage. I'll fix the Pontiac and Middle Daughter can have it as a backup (her Mercury isn't in very good shape either).

Next Thursday I go pick up the car in the picture, and a week from Friday I order the Mustang.


Word on the street is that there will be a Medal of Honor recipient from the Global War on Terror that will be given in person, and not posthumously.

The CMOHS website has nothing on it yet.

I'll keep you posted.