Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Grill... mount

We went to the local building supply the other day and saw a tailgating grill as above. The only thing I didn't like was the price, $300!

I immediately went to conniving mode and started running the idea through my mind. I took advantage of the first opportunity to visit a local muffler shop (run by friends) and get a little pipe work done.

We, the entire family, are beach engineers. We carry a load of things with us to make the ocean side more comfortable, tents, large coolers, grills and enough food for a small army. All this takes space and it's nice to have it outside and easily available rather than in the bed of a truck or back of a jeep. The answer to the problem is a cargo carrier, that can be used for other things as well. Like fishing, for example. The thing about fishing is the rod, long spindly thing that is easily broken and terribly awkward. The solution is a rod rack or rod holders.

My cargo carrier has long been modified to carry fishing rods.

Now, it has additional duties. I took a little trip down to the pipe bender boys and in short order had a tube bent to a right angle with a piece of tubing welded to the long side perpendicular to the tube. A short piece from the scrap bin that would insert into the welded tube would be the base for the grill. A short drive to Harbor Freight for two PTO pins and a trip to a fab shop for a 1/8 inch steel plate was all I needed to finish the job.

I slid the tube over the top of an existing rod holder and drilled a hole for a pin to hold it in a storage position, rotate it and drill it for a cooking position. Weld the plate to the mounting tube and repeat. Place the grill, one that I already had on the plate and drill the feet to bolt it down, and you have this.

It has had a field test that worked out well, and is about to get another. Cost, a little over $36.

Does it look as cool as the other? Only if you look into your wallet first, then it looks better.

The next question is.... what next?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

DAV Ride

One of the things I missed this last job was riding the bike. I didn't have a good way to haul it (working on that), so it didn't go along. Eight weeks with no scoot, sucks!

Howsomever, I am riding a lot more and have located the Facebook site that allows me to find out who is riding where.

Saturday the local DAV was having a fund raiser, a poker run from a local bike shop to a local dealership, via the scenic route.

TLOML didn't care to ride so I asked the youngest to ride, as a healing for a difficult time. She agreed and after getting her up early, for a Saturday, we went for breakfast and then signed up for the day.

The total was about 116 miles with an eclectic group of folks that only have one thing in common, motorcycles.

I didn't win anything, at least I don't think so, we didn't hang around to see. We were tired, sunburned, and ready to go home, so I gave my tickets to someone who would donate anything I won back to the fundraiser and called it a day.

Now it's time to check on the next one

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I went to the village torture chamber, uh, excuse me.... Dentist for an overhaul the other day. You know, the usual, fill the cavities, clean the roots, and replace the crown that disintegrated when I chewed a french fry.

Yep, bit down on a semi crispy potato stick and developed a mouth full of eggshells. I took the gross mass out of my mouth and tossed it out the window. No problem, after all, I'm not going to save it for several weeks and a four hundred mile trip for show and tell when having it repaired.

Wrong! That would be exactly what the warranty on the crown requires!

Notably, I had never even considered that there was a warranty on one of these things, or that it is only good for five years, not to mention that it has to be inspected every six months. Now lets toss in the idea that the insurance company doesn't want to cover it unless it is over five years old. The highly trained medical professional that I pay for all this, failed to mention any of the above.

Must have been a busy day.

This device will cost $982.

I've driven cars that cost less, and they lasted longer. Interesting to me is the crown adjacent to the expensive hole in my head has lasted for thirty years with no problems.

Let's see, I have no input to the choice of suppliers, no information regarding the warranty, no idea that this isn't a permanent fix, and no idea that the "lab" has had quality control issues.

However I am financially responsible.

As expected no one will assume responsibility for the failed component, by default it comes to me.

Imagine that!

The remaining pleasure was the "deep cleaning". Deep is a relative term, African gold mines are deep, some oil wells are deep.

Digging in my gums with sharp metallic objects is deep when I walk into the room.

Six or so syringes of numbing later,a very nice young lady spent an hour scratching under my toenails from inside my mouth. I thought I was going to have to clean blood out of my boots.

The cavities, I hardly noticed, a little drilling a little probing and four hands in my mouth at the same time, no problem there.

At the end of the morning, a bill for $1600 and a small bag of floss and toothpaste.

Don't you just love our health care system?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New title

I am now a full time employee, salaried and sitting at home, for a short while.

I just finished a stint at a plant in the south, testing their primary containment. I had eleven techs working with me, and supposedly for me.

Supposedly, because the little dears seldom accept the authority of any human living or dead.

It's a good thing they don't let me carry a club, or frustration might have led me to make a mistake. Not really, but I can dream, can't I?

We were testing the leakage from primary containment at design pressure in Loss of Coolant Accident conditions. The testing itself is pretty simple, put air in a pipe and see if it stays, if not, it's a maintenance problem.

The complexity comes with the accuracy required. We are testing in Standard Cubic Centimeters per Minute, and the Leak Rate Monitors are very expensive and accurate. The effects of temperature and changes in pressure will drive you to distraction. You can actually warm the plastic test line with your hand and change the leak rate. The leak rate tech needs to be able to understand the changes and decide when the leak rate is stable enough to take data.

All my problems were due to the personnel who were on the job. Slippery individuals that they are, some want to wander around when they should be available, that would be with out communicating with me. Not to mention, I had a few who were actively trying to undermine me as supervisor. Don't forget the one who didn't show up, or the one who showed up to get a badge, and get paid mobilization money, per-diem, and hours for getting a badge, just to "drag up" and go to the next job. We were staffed at sixteen techs, and ended with twelve.

The name of the game is roll with the punches, and we pulled it off. After several painful, for me, conversations with the little lambs, we got settled in, did the job, and left a good memory behind us.

Now I have to see if I can build a team and find us some more work.

Bin Laden dead?


Seal team six, one of the most storied and best trained spec ops groups in the world, who have been refining the "smash and grab" for forty years, have strolled into a compound and whacked the highest value target around.

The body is respectfully buried at sea, so there can be no shrine, and coincidentally no body.

Very convenient, don't you think?

It might have been better to grab the bad guy and wring him dry then bury him at sea, the end result would be the same, except Al quida could be disassembled from the top down.

If I can think of that scenario, I'm sure the pros can too.

Sorta' makes you think doesn't it?