Monday, January 28, 2008

Last nut in the can

I was talking to the Love of My Life today and I figured out why it sounds so empty in here.

I'm the last nut in the can, rattling around with nothing to do.

Great big hollow echo, with a pinhead bouncing off the walls.

That would be me, folks.

The most important part of my life is a continent away.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


What the heck happened to the California weather you see on Babe Watch? I've been riding rodeo in the Mobile Survival Facility. The wind is bad enough to make it feel that I'm on the road behind the truck.

Last night I would wake to the roaring of the wind, then it would hit like a solid blow to the walls, and then shake the place fit to roll me out of the bed.

A little bit ago I was trying to type, and started to feel queasy because I was shaking and looking at something too close to my eyes.

It's rained enough to produce spot flooding, and snow down to about two thousand feet.

I want to see the weather you always see in the movies!

Yep, that'll help.

Over due for Blog Love

I am an under motivated worm, I can only ask forgiveness. There are several bloggers that I should have added to my blogroll months ago. They're a great read, and people who have an interesting outlook.

Phlegmfatale, a hoot to read, with some interesting insights.

Crystal McKnob, always empty your hands and mouth when reading Boobs, Injury's and Dr. Pepper. Class one beverage alert perpetually in place.

The home of Matt G. writer and police officer extraordinaire. As shown by the collaboration with Babs and AD an excellent writer and family man.

These are a few of the good ones I read regularly.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Avila Beach, Ca.

Another day in the life of a Road Wh......Tech

I have finished my training except for practicals. Things like anti-contamination clothing, fall protection, and Human performance training. I have a while before my next class, I get to eat today, and will finish early.

I think it's time to start the accounting process for tax purposes next year. That means adding up the bills for now and organising them in files. Thousands of receipts would make the job pretty rough to do all at once.

I am 250 miles from San Fransisco, I would give more than I care to think about to have the Love of My Life with me. We spent a few of the best days we have had in SF. I have a three day weekend starting Friday. This would be an opportunity too good to miss.

I looked at the ocean today, where the waves were breaking on rocks near the surface, and I thought, Leviathan.

The most beautiful site I have been to.

Monday, January 21, 2008

New Job, new place, new scenery

I'm in California at the Diablo Canyon Plant. My soon to be function is leak rate testing. That means I use mass air flow instruments to determine the leakage through primary containment valves. Leakage sounds bad, but actually its a matter of degree. Total allowable leakage per hour amounts to less than a couple of minuets heavy breathing.

These lovely people are going to pay me hideous amounts of money to do very little, luckily, I do it very well.

Today I grew square eyeballs doing computer based training for a long list of things I either already know, or don't really have to know. OK, pay me!

This plant is the first I have been to that is in a populated area. Every thing I need is with in a few miles. The most distant required location is the plant, four miles to the entrance and seven miles of drive way. The drive on the access road is the prettiest I have seen. The Pacific on one side and beautiful hills and desert on the other.

I have found out that there is a nekkid beach right down the road. Fear not, I have no plans to embarrass my self, or entertain the neighbors. I took some pictures of the cliffs and beach to send to the Love of My Life, and some of the locals were neglecting to display modesty garments. It's a little odd, from a half mile or so away it's not obvious, but it attracts your attention. I have 20/16 vision, and I couldn't see proof positive, but you know anyway. Why is that? I don't care, its their neighborhood, and their life.

What happened to the "Southern California Weather" ? It never rains in southern California? Well it was pounding on the "Mobile survival facility" a little bit ago. It's unpleasantly cold and damp right now, I'm hoping for improvement soon. Just cold would be good.

Spell checker is a punk, I don't like some of the options.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Most Interesting Trip

I have completed a twenty eight hundred mile trip in three days.


It was about as much fun as a root canal sans numbing. I have added a third fuel tank to my truck, so I can carry a hundred gallons of diesel with twenty of that in reserve in the rear tank. The weight of the rig, truck and camper, something over thirteen thousand pounds, that translates to about ten mpg, depending on the grade. I saw seven pounds of turbo boost and twelve hundred degrees of turbo outlet temp. I was afraid I would melt something off the exhaust. I had to downshift four times for load and once for temps. A thousand miles is about fifteen hours in the seat. Add the usual opportunities and it gets near eighteen hours.

Murphy lives, but only until I find him.

Nadine the Navigator (GPS), or less pleasantly known as "The 8itch in the box", drug me through; Butt Crack Georgia, Armpit Arkansas, Anus Alabama, Carbuncle California, Goose Pimple New Mexico, and a whole raft of places that don't even bear contemplation.

At seven thirty 1-18-08 in Grants New Mexico, that would be today, it was four degrees with a fifteen to twenty mph wind. That puts the wind chill down well below zero. That sucks, I don't care where you're from.

The non professional drivers are as stupid as I remember them being, and the pros's are still a$$ holes. One of them is lucky I am more calm in my old age. He was screaming at me over the radio because my driving speed wasn't as consistent as he wanted. Instead of inviting him to pull over and get face to face, I had been watching him for a long time and continued to watch him for hours after, I just called him a liar and a fool, politely and a shade too subtle for him to realise it, and continued as before. Pounding some one who has to peer through the steering wheel just makes you look petty.

I saw a Golden Eagle for the first time, it is as big as a medium hound, sitting on the cross tree of a power pole in Arizona, looking for a Jack Rabbit I expect. Beautiful and unexpected.
The Ravens are the pimps of the crow family, they look like a crow the way the Sopranos look Italian.

I found out those big tractors that are burning up the road, only get .75 gallon to one gallon per mile. WOW!!!

I only turned the music on for a few minuets, one time. I was too busy listening to the truck.

And to end a long gruelling trip poorly, when I started to re crank the truck to pull forward a few feet, ALL power cut off, bad connection on the starter I believe, but aggravating anyway.

Monday, January 14, 2008


The happiest of Dawgs

The saddest of Dawgs

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Uncles

I guess I’m officially a geek. I have been coerced into taking the whole lot of grand babies to the park while the Love Of My Life gets her run in. So I brought my laptop with me to get a little blogging in. There’s no wifi here, but I can write and then copy the text to the blog. As long as the chillen’s don’t break anything or each other all will be well.

I’ve been thinking about the Uncles lately. They were all men who stood for family and each other. As I’ve said else where, grab one and you suddenly find yourself in a dog fight. Bring help and you find yourself surrounded by the pack. Their mother considered them to be one and family members provided for each other. My dad was in the European theatre in WWII, his brother Ralph was in the Pacific. Dad was one of those people that you never want to play cards with. He may lose occasionally, all smart card players will, but he will eventually take your money. He would keep out cigarette money and starter money and send the rest of his pay home to his mother, along with his winnings.

Ralph on the other hand, was the guy who always talked trash and then couldn't’t win a hand if he was the only one playing. He was always broke. And whiny and writing to his mother that he was broke and could she send him some cash. He was in the Navy, on a warship for cats sake, where was he going to spend money? There was no liberty in war time. She didn’t know I guess.

My Dad expected to come home to a nest egg to start his life over. The egg was on his face so to speak, not in his pocket. Their mother just shrugged her shoulders and informed Dad that they were brothers and one brothers money belonged to all.

Uh, no!

It wasn’t to long after that, Dad moved away to make his way in the world. He had an eighth grade education and a strong back. The latter earned him a living. He has talked of a lot of things that he did that were scams pulled on him. He survived it all and had no reason to hang his head.

Ralph never amounted to much, he was always working at not holding a job. He would sell scrap, drive a school buss, cut mining timbers, buy and sell anything that you wanted to deal on. Most of the time he was on welfare. That was where I got to sample dried eggs and other such outdated military rations.

His house didn’t have the gable ends closed in for years after he moved in, and didn’t have running (cold) water until I was in my teens. He would never work in the mines, but always had a wild cat shaft open for house coal. He worked in Detroit in the car mines for a few months a year several times. Somehow the family would always come home to the crack in the earth where they all lived.

Except Dad, he never moved back. My mothers influence I expect.

Watson did his military time in California after the war, was offered a job, but went home instead. He worked in the mines his entire life, and almost died there. He was an electrician, certified to work on low horse miners. That would be until some one forgot to properly lock out a tractor, I think. It rolled back and pinned him between two cars. It almost squeezed his liver out of his ears like tooth paste. He hovered between life and death until the surgeons reattached his guts to their moorings. He never worked again. The last time I visited he could barely walk, but he was still smiling and still doing what had to be done.

I never met my uncle Franklin, he was killed on his second tour of duty in Korea. He fell in love with an Asian girl and re-upped to be with her. He was convinced that he would not return to the front because he had served his time there. The fickle finger of fate department, US Army division, got involved and Franklin made his last mistake. He got the last laugh though, the burial detail of GI's had to carry him to the top of the mountain to the family grave yard. I've been up that path after it was "improved" with a bulldozer, and I'm pretty sure those guys would rather do another tour on the front lines before lugging another casket up the mountain. I bet the snickers coming from the casket was enough to let the funeral party know who got the dirty end of the stick.

Uncle Arley started out as the "most likely to" whatever. Lord only knows what "it" would have been. Instead of making the best of his life he married Janie. She was the loving sort that would go out with the boys, start a fight with everyone in the house, then step back and let the uncles handle the heavy lifting.

She started it, her part of the entertainment was over.

Arley was a bootlegger, moonshiner, gambler and all around fun guy until he died. Sort of a "Johnny Cash" without the fame, money, or singing talent. He had some stories to tell and a little money to spend. As far as I know, he never hurt anyone, or did anything constructive in his entire life. He made a living and lived. Not too bad after all.

Some have done worse.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Growing up hillbilly

My Dad and his brothers, (not to mention the entire population in the area), were hillbillies. They were, God love them all, extremely under educated and totally unaware of it. They were as country as an outhouse, and so full of life that if one of them had needed burying, you'd have to beat his liver to death with a stick to get him to lay down!

My Grandfather died at an early age, leaving my Grandmother with five boys and two girls, in a three room house that a self respecting rat would by pass. The house was in such good shape that when she died, the family burned it to bring property values up.

This lot was as wild as any bunch of outlaws that ever went unhung. Needless to say, discipline was slightly unenforceable. When plans went awry, the boys would simply and literally run for the hills, knowing their mother would be unable to catch them. Some time later, when the lights were out and everyone was in bed, the perp would sneak in and join their brothers in the foolish belief that he had gone unobserved. After some time, when everyone was nice and comfy and warm, Mammaw would whip the covers back and beat the hound out of everyone she could reach, to be sure she got the right one, or to make up for the infractions (felonies?) missed during the day. The whole lot would scatter like a nest of rats out of any opening they could, doors and windows preferred.

They were a little rowdy. Naturally, someone set about helping with the discipline problems. The courts most likely. The boys were consigned to The Boys Home at Covington, Virginia.

When I was still a boy we went to visit the school and see Dad's records. Some of the records were written by my faher, who, it would seem, had an allergy to capitalization. The most common entry was E.P. XXXXX ran away.

The school I saw was so much better than what he was running to, it left me more than a little confused. Some times they would run to the woods and hide, and the other boys would bring them food until they were caught, or starved into returning.

Some times they got a little farther afield.

On one educational little trip they made it to Iron Gate. I saw Iron Gate after thirty years of development, it was still an armpit. I can't imagine it to be anything but "downtown nowhere" then. The boys were traveling broke in the Twenties. The only option was to sneak into a barn to get out of the weather, ounce again they were observed. Unfortunately for them there had been a bank robbery that day and the locals thought perhaps the boys were the perps. The sheriff woke the boys by poking them between the eyes, with a Thompson Sub machine Gun.
Dad said he opened his eyes looking down the barrel of a .45 caliber that looked like a stove pipe.

He said it was the most scared he had ever been. That included the invasion at Normandy.

Quite a start, I should think. He made no mention of the condition of his laundry, post awakening.

The boy's were ready to go back to the home.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Big Kid

Janurary Sixteenth Thirty One Years ago he was born. My son.
Happy Birth Day!

Getting ready,

The Love of My Life told me this morning that she isn't ready for me to leave for work yet. She isn't feeling good about it.

Neither am I.

I am a whiny little boy these days, I managed somehow to hurt my back, and I am finally about to go to the Shaman about it. I take few to zero drugs, for any reason, personal discomfort would be least among them. I've seen way too much of that for my mental comfort.

However, when it takes fifteen minuets to put on a sock, well, you should do something.

I was seeing some improvements, and now I'm not. I guess I need some help.

The stepson and grand kids are coming today. We will have a little Christmas again.

I am almost ready to leave for California, a few details remain, a few more little things to put in the mobile survival facility. Fuel in the truck, program the navigation computer, load the maps and pack the computer, secure the breakables in the trailer.

Muster the intestinal fortitude to leave the Love of My Life for a month, and then two more months. This is going to be tough, the mother in law is past eighty and has been diagnosed with uterine cancer and ovarian cysts. We don't expect good results from treatment. That means The Love of My Life is entering one of the toughest times of her life and,

I will be gone.

Worms probably feel better than me.

Too cute!!!

If your computer needs to be cleaned out here's the dude for the job.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Road Trip

Looks like I will be going to California around the sixteenth of this month. Any one want to meet for a cuppa?