30 June 2016

And Then There Was One

David Thatcher, tail gunner in the seventh plane on the Doolittle raid over Tokyo Japan in WW2, passed away on June 22, 2016 after suffering a stroke on Father's Day.

The last remaining survivor of the Doolittle Raid is Doolittle's co-pilot Richard Cole who is 100 years old. Cole attended Thatcher's funeral on the 27th of June.

Farewell and Godspeed SSgt Thatcher. Thank you for your service.

26 June 2016


is the million dollar smile that caught my eye a little over a year ago.

When I saw it, I told myself that the right sort of fellow would make her smile all the rest of his life just so that he could see it, and at the end of that life would discover that he had not wasted a minute of it.

Much to my stunned surprise, she decided that I was the right sort of fellow. I've been working hard at keeping up my end of the bargain ever since.

She's not really fond of having her picture out in public, but since these have been posted on the Book of Faces I don't think she'll mind, just this once.

19 June 2016

Father's Day Weekend

For me the "weekend" started on Wednesday.

I put slotted rotors on the Mustang on Thursday.

I played trains with my grandson on Friday.

Yesterday we had a cook out in the back yard and made s'mores over the fire pit.

Unfortunately today it's back to work.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there.

16 June 2016

Blazing Sword Project

I may not agree with your lifestyle choices. In fact, your lifestyle choices may squick me out entirely from time to time. But there are two things about your choices that will always remain true:

1. I am not involved in your choices, nor have I any legitimate input in them as long as they do not involve me. As long as you are not taking someone's health or wealth through force or fraud you should be allowed to do or be whatever you want, regardless of anyone elses opinions, including mine. (Of course the reciprocal of that is also true, which is sort of the whole point.)

2. I will defend your right to make those choices with my life if necessary, and I will help you learn how to defend them yourself in any way I can.

Yes, I'm on the map.

Learn more here.

11 June 2016


When last we spoke of the yellow beastie it was to document this occurrence.

At the time I speculated blown head gaskets, since it is a common Subaru item. Unfortunately...or maybe fortunately since it was the least expensive of the available options...this speculation was proven to be true. Yes, that is coolant pouring out of the header when I unbolted it, the water was getting in to the #1 cylinder.

Having neither the time nor the money to fix it, and having another car to drive, the poor Scooby has sat unattended for a few months. Recently I've been able to scrape the cash together to get things started, though, so by this weekend the Scooby should be on the road again.

Last week the trucklet came apart and the heads went to the machine shop to be checked out and resurfaced. On Tuesday they were ready so I went and picked them up and then went to the parts store for the needed materials.

In addition to the head gaskets I am also putting on a new timing belt with the associated components as well as swapping out all the accessory belts, fuel lines, heater hoses, radiator hoses and vacuum lines. It's also getting a pair of O2 sensors since they don't do well with coolant baths, and I've had a bad one for a while anyway.

 I'm 15K miles shy of the scheduled timing belt change, but since everything else is apart it's a good time to get it done. I sprung for the whole kit this time, which includes the water pump and all of the pulleys. The accessory belts were done 90K miles and six years ago, so it's time for them as well.

I've been smelling fuel on the cold mornings for a while, which is another common Subaru occurrence caused by deteriorating fuel lines, hence their replacement. As far as the other hoses, they have never been changed since I've owned the trucklet and some of the vacuum lines were getting a little soft, so I figured it was a good idea to change them all out as well.

All told the final cost, including labor, is going to run me right around one and a half K, which is still cheaper than replacing the entire motor or having to buy new heads for the darn thing (but not by much). Since I have already done the clutch, struts, ball joints, drive axles* and center drive I am hoping to get at least another 100K out of it before having to do anything else.

Eldest Son is doing the work for me. I could do it myself but I'm getting to the point where I'd rather pay him to do it.

*And strut bearings, which was why the truck would start to pull one way or the other right after a sharp turn in that direction.

10 June 2016

In the Spring

a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of...


And in that vein, I have acquired new motive power...well, new to me anyway. While poking around the local hobby shop with the lovely and gracious M in tow I ran across this little gem.

That is a Pennsylvania Railroad class K4 heavy Pacific steam locomotive, a mainstay on PRR passenger trains from before Dubya Dubya Eye right up to the end of mainline steam operation. In N scale there are exactly two manufacturers who have ever produced it, Bachmann with a brand new offering with digital controls and sound and everything, and this classic Minitrix offering.

Right out of the box it runs horribly because it only picks up power on one side by way of two tender wheels, which means it stalls whenever it hits any type of power interruptions (such as the plastic parts of the switches) on that side unless it is running at ludicrous speed. However, with the addition of all wheel pickup on the tender wheels it runs fairly well for a vintage locomotive (with it's vintage not-very-good electric motor). I have a remotoring kit on its way, but until then the tender truck swap has it capably heading up the Pennsy passenger train that runs through my layout.

And since we're talking trains, and since it is a new month, let me present this month's offering.

Apparently this is Samantha Abernathy. Relax, I think we're in good hands.

All aboard!