Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fishing at Silverbell

We went fishing at the Aaron Lodge #49 Masonic Family Picnic that was held at Christopher Columbus Park. A fine time was had by all and there was a nice turnout. Don't laugh at my little fish as I believe that it was the only one of the day!
There may a trend developing here in that I must take a picture of every teeny fish I catch when going out. I am sure that I will do the same if anything notable (in a larger sense) is caught.
I am having fun with the teeny fish pictures.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Back to Chicago - Part II

Once again I found myself outside the windy city in the hamlet known as Kingery on the 15th to visit with daughter #1 (D#1) and fiance (F). The F and I went to Bass Pro on Friday to talk to the guys in the fishing department about where to go and to buy 3 rods/reels along with the appropriate tackle box and terminal tackle. Yes, there were a few lures thrown in there along with a book on fishing in Illinois. F spent the usual amount of time, for a first time visitor, admiring the myriad of mounts and displays. I remember the first time I went into a Cabelas/Bass Pro and how impressive it is. We had lunch at the Islamorada Fish Company and headed back to the homestead to prepare for Saturday.

Saturday found F and me at Heinecke Lake for our first stop. This is a man-made elevated lake that serves as cooling water for a power plant. There is a lot of rip-rap posing as a shoreline. The guys there were mainly fishing for catfish although there are bass, sunfish, and some walleye. We were a bit late in the day for Walleye fishing but did not care as this was an exploratory trip. We wet a line and proceeded to hook up on the rocks with a few hooks being lost. A few nibbles were encountered without any serious strikes.

After Heinecke, we went to check out Whalen Lake which is closer to the homestead. This is pleasant little lake in one of the many preserve areas of Illinois. Again we wet a line and proceeded to start playing with bluegills. I had a great time roaming around with F.

Sunday was a stand-down day. We got a paper in the AM, ate breakfast, looked at the paper and then returned to Bass Pro to get D#1 a fishing license. We picked up a few things that I thought would be handy for the next day fishing. Later, we went for a walk to the little waterfall in Waterfall Glen Preserve. No, it not named that because of the waterfall. It is actually named after Seymour Waterfall who was an early president of the Districts Board of Commissioners. The waterfall is man made. Zoey, the guard dog, went with us to keep us safe. She was hilarious as when D#1 was going to set her down in the water, the feet were going like she was swimming before touching the water.

We were off to Whalen Lake on Monday morning for all of us to play around. No one caught any large fish but due to my extreme expertise  and endless patience, I was able to catch the smallest bluegill and this very small gobie pictured below.
There really is a fish in this picture! Note the amazement on D#1's face that I was able to accomplish this almost impossible task. I am proud to have my picture taken with this elusive hermit of the lake.

The 18th was D#1's birthday and the 20th was mine. We split the date difference and went to Cooper's Hawk that evening. Cooper's is a winery and restaurant. It was excellent. Good wine, food and company. There is not much more for one to ask for!

On Tuesday D#1 and I returned to Whalen to play around with some more fish. My last day there went too quickly as always.

I was off to the airport Wednesday morning to wait out a thunderstorm to catch my flight. I thank D#1 and F for the hospitality and putting up with the "old man". I believe that I will switch modes and start fishing for the largest fish on the next trip!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Diet of Hope VII

It has been almost 2 years! This program was started 9/24/2014. I have been on maintenance for about six months. Maintenance means that you basically stay on the diet with a slight increase of the regular diet food. You may also break the diet once or twice a week. So you can have anything you want for dinner on this break but you are not to skip any of your regular meals coming up to that dinner. I say once or twice a week as you will need to see what works for you in keeping the weight you want. For me it is once a week I can have a dinner of my choice. The diet has become second nature so I am quite comfortable with it.

My Sunday morning walks have continued along with my PT exercises and other work outs.
The walk keeps getting longer and have grown into a 10k event. I have gone further but there is not much need for that. It is my time for the 10k that I am working on to decrease. Best time so far is 1 hr 50 min. No running is to be done by me due to the lack of cartilage in the knees and the lower back damage.

I had lost 135 pounds on the diet but I am now 130 pounds down as I am intentionally building back up some selected muscle groups. I am a little heavier than my lowest weight but actually look trimmer due to exercise. I started at 372 pounds and weighed 239 this morning. The weight floats around the 240 mark. I feel good and have plenty of energy.

I cannot say enough good things about the Diet of Hope and the people who work there. I do not go to the office anymore and have not for some time as there is no medical necessity. I am going to visit just to say hi. Thank you Diet of Hope!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Working on the Bronco

A couple of weeks ago I went out to start up the Bronco as it had not been run in a few weeks. I got in, stepped on the brakes and the pedal went almost to the floor. Holy crap Batman, I thought , the brakes were fine the last time. The brakes kind of worked if you stood on them. Guess that I will just idle in place for a while.

I called around and found a reman for the booster and master cylinder and picked them up. After changing these out, I called upon my better half to check if the brake lights were functioning correctly. They were not working at all. I could depress the switch and get them to work so the circuit was fine. Play around and try it again but no change was effected. My sweetie told me that the right rear fixture looked askew. One of the mounting studs had broken off. Oh well, we just figured that could wait as I did not have brake lights yet. A new switch was picked up and it worked exactly the same in that it did not work. The clevis or connection from the booster to the pedal was just a slightly different shape. A 0.016" brass shim folded around the switch contact surface and all was well for both the new and old switch. Now to the light fixture.

Upon removing the offending fixture, it was discovered that the black plastic backing was all warpy if that is a word. The lens side looks fine.

I was able to get the backup light socket out after clipping a bit of material out around the area that was already split. The running light removal required the use of a hack saw blade to make an opening, expand that opening and remove the socket. Both sockets were undamaged. The left side fixture was not warped. I am thinking that the old exhaust system did not stick out far enough and the plastic was attacked by the fumes since the other side was fine.

I finally have brakes, lights and a fixture that I could change out a bad bulb on the road. Thank heavens I did not lose a light driving and try this on the roadside!

Monday, August 08, 2016

Cthulhu for 2016!

Go visit the Cthulhu for America site.
Fun items to purchase for the upcoming election such as stickers, shirts, mug, etc. With great slogans like the below, how could you go wrong?
The Stars Are Right!
Why Vote for the Lesser Evil?
No Lives Matter!
Heck, put the Great Old One on stage with the other candidates and he might turn out to be the best looking and the most appealing or alluring creature on stage. But don't stare at him too long as insanity follows! If you follow none of this then you have never read any of H.P. Lovecraft's work and I must say to you, "I'm sorry."

Another fun site to visit would be The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society website. this is the spot I go to get the latest H.P. Lovecraft inspired Christmas Albums. Daughter #1 was home over Christmas. We were having a good laugh as we played Left for Dead and listened to one of these albums. How appropriate.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

I May Have to Quit on the 22s!

I found another inexpensive charmer at the Shrine's gun show. A little Iver Johnson TP22 which is a knock-off of the PPK. This one is yet to be fired. I may have to quit buying the 22 pistols/revolvers as I am gathering a few but there was there one I saw the other day that was pretty interesting......................

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Back to Michigan, Again.

February was a good month and a sad month. Mom-In-Law passed as she had enough of dialysis and quit going. My better half bailed off to MI to see her Mom and during that time period, our first grandbaby was born in Okinawa. Mom then passed leaving another estate to close out. I had closed my parent’s estate in 2011/2012.

I flew to MI on the 16th to meet with my brother-in-law so that we could empty the attic, meet contractors, meet estate sales people, and get with a realtor. Normally this would fall to my wife as it is her mother and estate. To say that she and her brother do not get along would be huge understatement. I ended up playing mediator as he will work with me if remember to be polite and don’t tell him what I really think. I would not care to be here again.

It would normally be closer to fly into Toledo but there was an airshow going on that weekend and decided to fly into Detroit. I hate flying in/out of Detroit as you always have to add time for the “Detroit Factor”. I do not know if the whole darn place is unionized or just slow on purpose. On arrival, I took the shuttle to the Avis Rental. I needed to go to the counter as I had a fistful of corporate free days. There were about 15 people ahead of me and three people manning the counters. Oops, make that two as one just left. It must have been his end of shift. The keys to a vehicle were finally in my hands about 1 ½ hours later. Detroit Factor!  

My in-laws lived in the same place for about 60 years. The attic was impressive in the ingenuity required to load all the historic treasures stored there. I don’t think anything was ever thrown away as it might come in handy later. We took about 5 hours unloading the attic. There was no organizing of anything at this time. It’s hot so just get the stuff down for organizing later.

A few items, that were carefully selected, were tossed out the bedroom window down to the driveway so that they could immediately make their way to trash. I organized a bit later so that I could vacuum up a bit. All those old plastic storage bags disintegrated upon touching them.

Through the week I sorted out what wife and brother-in-law might desire and cleaned up. I met with contractors etc. Finally, it was time to leave. I went to the airport extra early on the 23rd to account for the Detroit Factor. They could not close out the vehicle at the return lane. The note said to go to the counter. So off I go to the counter to see one person working and five people in line ahead of me. Detroit Factor. When I finally get to the counter, they cannot close it out either. A manager will be required who is not present. Detroit Factor. Took a copy of my return receipts and left to go to the airport. I still had adequate time as amazing as that seems.

I got on the plane and was waiting for the barbarian hordes to get settled in. Looking around, I could feel my IQ dropping. Have you ever gotten that feeling that you accidentally got on the short plane reserved for those who recently escaped the institution? Here comes one really, really obese lady down the aisle counting as she looks at the row numbers. You can hear her say, “sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen”, while bouncing her fat ass off of everyone in the aisle seats. She then loudly complains, “Where the hell is row 24?” Yep, I am definitely on the short plane. Thank heaven I was in the exit row and the obese one was not next to me. As I gaze around at my fellow passengers, I realize that this is the homeliest most overweight bunch that I have ever had the misfortune of being near. I was happy to see DFW to shed myself of that particular group. I picked up something to eat and then finally Tucson. Yeah! Home again.

But Detroit Factor! My Avis bill is still not closed out. I contacted our corporate representative and he is still trying to get Detroit to respond. I suggested a Taser to get their attention or at least the one still standing. He has now opened a case number with customer support to try to get Detroit’s attention. I wonder if Avis is headquartered in Detroit!

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Look Out Chicago!

Another whirlwind trip is completed. I flew to San Angelo to help Daughter #1 (D#1) pack and load up over the Memorial Day weekend. It was time to go meet up with her fiancé. Things were in good shape so there was time to relax a little too. Nothing like relaxing to season two of Daredevil! I also became acquainted with the Sherlock series and found them to be highly entertaining. We packed most of the stuff on Monday evening with the valuables (TV, document box, etc.) getting loading on Tuesday morning and off we went. The wastelands of central Texas seem to be very similar to the western side as in they both sucked equally. About the only interesting part in Texas was near Wichita Falls where it rained quite hard if you want to call that interesting. A little north of Wichita Falls, Daughter #1 waved goodbye to Texas with a double one finger salute and said some last words that included good riddance.

People in the hick town of San Angelo figure that if a woman has short hair that she must be gay as God did not mean for girls to groom that way and would offer to pray for you to regain the correct sexual orientation and hairdo. Seriously, they would actually ask if they could pray for you. Innocently ask them why and they would hem n haw and stumble along to saying something like, "Well, you know, your hair." D#1 would ask questions like, "Oh my God, is it falling out?", just to watch them squirm further. Hick town religious morons. A lot of medical professionals do not like having long hair for a myriad of reasons but no excuse should be needed for any reason. Hence the FU to Texas on the way out.

We traveled on to Joplin without any real difficulties and stayed there for the night. We had some rain in the AM but nothing in particular and drove out of it on the way down to St. Louis. An interesting sculpture was at the Missouri visitor center.

Not every state uses construction markers as the basis for their art display. Hope they did not have to pay too much to the artist. I must say that Missouri has the greatest amount of road signs such as ads for the Candy Factory and Worlds Largest Gift Store, Route 66 Museum(s), Jesse James Museum, and caves. Lots of caves in Missouri to explore. This provided us with some amusement during the drive. There were all kinds of neat places we could stop along the way.
I must say that AZ probably has the record for the longest distance from signs to the location as there are ads for "The Thing" all over the state. I even saw one in NM in between El Paso and Las Cruces.

I was disappointed that when we crossed into Illinois the road signs disappeared. How boring it was, I think that I will write a letter to the chamber of commerce complaining about the lack of road ads.

We arrived into the Chicago area about 4 PM and only had stop-n-go traffic for the last couple of miles before our turnoff. We arrived just fine and D#1 took the fiancé's vicious guard dog
for a walk and then we unloaded the SUV. The beagle took a shine to me right away due to my glowing and kind personality. It had nothing to do with the treats I was carying in my pockets! I basically goofed off on Thursday and hung a few pictures as requested.

 Friday was a nice day and we went for a walk at the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve that is right across the street from the apartment. It was decided to walk to the waterfall and have a look see.
I commented that it was probably about two feet high as I did not see where the terrain was adequate for much more. Boy was I wrong as it was at least four feet high! Kidding aside, it is a nice preserve to hike around in.

Saturday found us at the Museum of Science and Industry. If you get a chance while in Chicago - GO! It is a great museum and I would definitely go back again.
 There were trains and planes and bridges (Lego) and games and submarines (U-505) and bicycles and robots!

I had one of these games!

This too!

 And electricity!

I always wanted to be an engineer!

We had a lot of fun. The following day found me at the airport as it was time for me to return to Tucson and work. I was sad to leave.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Another Trip Through the Wastelands for Graduation!

Daughter #1 graduated last weekend. We headed across the wastelands of Southern New Mexico and West Texas for probably my last driving trip to San Angelo. It doesn't mean that I won't see these wastelands again as we will head to Albuquerque in July for another function. The trip there was not too bad this time as we traveled the high wind areas in the morning before it kicked up. Daughter #1 and her fiancee brought goodies to the motel room when we arrived. Chick-Fil-A was brought for Mom and I had Fireball. I wasn't going anywhere so it sounded like a good idea at the time and was! Good thing we arrived early enough as the sidewalks get rolled up early in this town. This is kind of surprising for a college town but that's the way it is.

Friday night was the awards banquet where we had some nice brisket, chicken, sausage, beans w/jalapenos, salad, a bowl of jalapenos, and some other sides. The food was quite good. Daughter #1 continues to impress.

  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award for the DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) Program
  • Academic Excellence Award (Only 4.0)
  • Research Award for Excellence in Research
  • Certificate of Excellence - Outpatient Orthopedics
  • Certificate of Excellence - Rehabilitation
  • Authored Three Scholarly Publications
  • Provided Seven Scholarly Presentations
  • And......wait for it........... Did not show up in the Friday night banquet slideshow being skunked at a bar!!!
The moron (another student) that put the slide show together included pictures of them partying at the bars. There really aren't that many bars in town but some of the restaurants do serve. There was heard from one table, "You were in a bar?". I assume that was from the Southern Baptist contingency. Daughter #1 was usually too busy prepping for the next event to go carousing and wasn't all that fond of a couple of the party people. It was a very nice evening unless you were the one being chastised by you parents. 

Saturday was a fine commencement. I like it when the main speaker starts out with, "America is one of the greatest countries in the world!". I would have had to choke back the bile if listening to some politician's speech. 
 While waiting for everything I spot this. That's my daughter, boots and muscle tights!
 Getting hooded.
See my hood! Let's get out of here! 

We headed back to the apartment to do some steaks and then what is appropriate after that? 
5 hours of Star Wars Monopoly! We gave up and called it a tie. As daughter and I had basically broken the bank and had enough cash that it was just going back and forth.

We had a grand time visiting with everyone and were sad that the trip was about done. Sunday morning found travelling back across the wastelands. Then we stopped at a few of the Bowlin's tourist traps as the hunt was on for grand baby clothes that were unique.  I found some nice Ass Kickin Ghost Chili Hot Sauce and we will see who the first victim is. 

We found all the high winds and were detoured off I-10 at Lordsburg, up to Duncan, over to Safford and then back down to I-10. I would like to see a class action lawsuit against the Phoenix conglomerate that owns the land that was just grubbed out that is causing this mess on I-10 right now. If you can prove you were on the highway, it would be appropriate to charge mileage for excess. What corporate shill decided it was a good idea to clear the land at this time of year? It could not have been a farmer. 

All in all - it was still a fine time!

Congrats to the first Doctor in the family that I know of!!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Win 24 Part IV

I took Friday off from work to go with a friend to chase his dog and some chukars. What a great day! Dad's Win 24 SxS 12 gauge ready to go, a Brittany Spaniel working ahead of you and chukars on the ground all make for a fine morning. I have been working out the shotgun by firing numerous time into the snap caps and was looking forward to some live rounds to try loosening that action since the cerekote refinish. It was still tight after all these years prior to the refinishing and it was really tight afterwards.

Two birds were put out to start with. I shot the first at about 25 yards. My friend shot the second about 15 minutes later. While waiting for a couple of more birds, I ran about 8 rounds through the gun to attempt to get it so that it would lock up easier. Seems to be working! Another box or two aught to about do it. After the other birds were put out, my friend shot the next one. My first shot missed the last bird but I still shot the bird on the second shot (full choke) at about 40 yards. A few times I got to borrow this shotgun for pheasant hunting in Michigan if Dad wasn't going and always found that combination of the Mod/Full choke great for larger bird hunting.

It may seem strange or silly to some but there a little wave of euphoria and sadness upon taking that first bird with the first shot with Dad's gun. Memories flow and dang I miss that man.  It is also the first shotgun I ever shot. I would tag along with Dad when he was hunting even when I was too young to hunt myself. I would also nag the crap out him for me to shoot it, even just once. I was usually told that it was bit too much gun for a little guy like me. This is nothing but a challenge to a small boy so the begging continued until one magical day Dad said yes. We found an old tin can and set it up. I could hardly hold the shotgun up but you were not going to get any help. Either you can do it or not. I missed the can and about sat in the dirt. Dad asked if I wanted to shoot it again and I answered that I did not want to right now but would the next time we were out again. He laughed as I expected that answer was anticipated. My shoulder was so sore. I remember Mom wanting to know how I got bruised and was told of the sterling event. She commented to Dad that I might be a bit young. I believe the rejoinder was that I was old enough and it didn't knock him down. What bragging ensued among my peers as I got to shoot the big gun and had the bruise to prove it!

It is interesting in that I have the first shotgun that I ever shot and the first one that I ever owned (Sears bolt action 16 ga.) Hmmm, might be some more ice cream in stories about the 16 gauge.

Winchester Model 24 SxS

Monday, January 18, 2016

2016 Blogshoot

The 2016 Annual Central Arizona Blogshoot organized by The Smallest Minority was a fun time as always. Thanks to Kevin for going "early" to set up targets to share. It was a bit cold in the AM but a far cry from last years Blogshoot and Firearms Wind Tunnel Testing event.

I had the opportunity to test out modifications to the Yugo. It had some light primer strikes in the past which I associated with the replacement firing pin which changed it from free floating to having a spring. It was assumed that the trigger spring was too old and weak for the new assembly. A new spring pack was ordered with a couple of different strength main springs. That was not the issue. Upon dis-assembly, I discovered that I had not gotten all of the cosmoline out from inside the spring. It was apparently still compressed enough that the carb cleaner did not take it out and you could not see it until after full dis-assembly. The original spring was cleaned and everything re-assembled. Well, 140 rounds later and no light strikes. I guess I have a couple of spare new springs. Have I mentioned that I think the original iron sights on these are awful?

I had two 22 revolvers with me. The H&R 999 Sportsman (love those top breaks) had a touch of a light hammer strike on the rim of the cartridges and would sometimes require a second hit. A spring pack had been ordered from Numrich and the main was replaced. It is flawless in operation now. This is the second time I had this one apart as I replaced the ejector cam some time ago to allow for proper ejection of the 9 shells. 

The other revolver had not been shot and it is a High Standard Sentinel. This is a swing out 9 shot cylinder double action. It shot well without any difficulties. It was about time to try it out as it has been resting in the safe for about 6 months since I purchased it.

The Hawkins 54 cal smoke pole that was recently assemble from an old kit shot well. This was was purchased for a screaming deal from a fellow whose uncle had never assembled it over a lot of years. I do not know when Cabelas went from their kit guns being made in Italy to being provided by Traditions. I always want to provide some appropriate smoke on the firing line for the event so I tend to take a black powder weapon. You would think that everyone would thank me for using Pyrodex instead of the real thing! It was amusing to hit one of the steel gongs on the first shot seeing as this had just been assemble. I had thought that I would probably have to go to paper in short order however it seemed to be good on windage and touch off on elevation. Not too bad. I decided to wait for another time to actually paper it a 100 yards as I was having too much fun shooting and playing with the double trigger set.

There were no takers to shoot my little Leinad Cobray one shot derringer. Dang, they are crudely made and operate about the same. I had heard that the 410 shell kicked harder than the 45 Long Colt. This is true but not by much. What a handful! I shot 3 - 45s, 2 - 410 slugs, and 2 - 410 buckshot. It is a sure thing that I hit something (dirt) out there but I could never tell where. I had tried to shoot a dove earlier in the hunting season. It was put away after the first shot. I patiently waited along a brush row for a dove to fly close enough and one finally did. I shot behind it (big surprise) and had two thoughts. This thing kicks badly! The next one was that hearing protection is required as my ears rang for about a half hour afterwards! I will reconsider after I get another set of electronic muffs that have the back neck band as I want my hat on for UV protection while hunting. 

I would thank everyone that was there as all were pleasant to speak with. What a fun time and I look forward to next year. Be for-warned, I will bring the real deal next year for the BP guns so you should save me a space downwind of everyone else!