New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Friday, May 29, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Here Are All My Secrets, well not all but at least some

This is my desk at 2000 on Friday May29, 2009. For those of you that are 24 hour time impaired that's 8 pm.
There is a lot of information here and some of it is misleading.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Life Support Power Panel

The latest addition for monitoring the electrical grid in my hovel. This was a square meter from the front panel of a portable generator. The generator was damaged in transit (UPS can sometimes be so indelicate) so the seller sent me a new one and told me to keep the old. Most of the parts on the old one were still usable. The bezel is the ring from portable led lamp that went sour because of my inattention (it will give light for 72 hours on 3 AAA batteries but if a battery goes bad and leaks it will kill it in a heartbeat). The meter is held inside with silicon. It is mounted on a box that held the buzzer under the dashboard of my 22 year old Ford. If you have an vehicle less than 40 years old you know the buzzer I'm talking about. It buzzes when you leave the key in the ignition, fail to fasten your seat belt, leave the headlights on, don't hold your mouth just right and when it just damned well feels like it. Annoying. It is the first thing I take out when I get a vehicle. The finish is wipe on brass stuff from the craft store.

It is a voltmeter and It is for monitoring the line voltage in this spaceship.

The "Panel". There is another panel in the cockpit but this one is for the life support system. From right to left there is the new meter showing 115 volt AC. Below the AC outlet the red and black terminals are for 12 volt DC. The first meter left of the light switch is monitoring the 12 volt DC at the red and black terminals. It's due to be replaced with something that more fits the theme. It is a Sears multimeter from the 1970's and still works quite well. Left of that is my first "volt/ohmmeter". It is an early 1950's or late 1940's attempt at miniaturization. I acquired it in about 1960. It worked fine until a couple of years ago when the meter itself failed. There are no transistors or tubes in it. There is not even a silicon diode just big resisters and cloth covered wiring. I keep it for nostalgia. I will repair it if I ever stumble across a 2 and 7/8 by 1 and a half inch meter. By today's standards that's huge.
In a larger context with 12 volt led lamp in the foreground.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Time Speedometer

This is a wrist watch I bought long ago for some unreasonable or other. I guess I thought I needed it but I don't know why. In any event I like it's analog looks and have used it as a speedometer to tell how fast I am traveling through time. So far all is well and I am still going at 360 seconds per hour. It's a nice speed and is about the same as my heart rate. It seems to me I am going a lot faster than that but numbers don't lie.

I have been leaning, laying or otherwise mislaying it on my desk for sometime now so in a moment of aggravation I took 20 minutes of my valuable time and bent this hanger for it. 20 minutes is a figure of speech in this case as in all things it got more complicated. First you can't get the pins for the wrist strap in this back water I live in. I tried five stores but no luck so since I don't need something that strong, because I am never going to wear a wrist watch again, I just made do with some seizing wire. The stuff is stainless steel and even in this small a gauge it is, unlike myself, really stiff an strong.

Let my explain about never wearing a wrist watch again. It isn't entirely true. I will wear my Lionel train watch for dress up (like I ever dress up) because it has a train whistle. I will wear a wrist watch that has an invisibility shield built in or a force field or just injects drugs into my skin that makes me feel good. When Timex comes out with that they have got a customer.

So I made that part in 30 minutes or so. Now I need a stand. I looked at some wood, some aluminum from an old lava lamp(looks like a rocket ship nose cone) and random bicycle parts but settled on the simplest thing which was some more seizing wire. Another 45 minutes or so.

So now which seizing wire. It comes in lots of gauges but I found a piece I had saved and it was the heaviest I had so I went with that. 20 minutes.

Bending it to the correct shape took 5 minutes.

Adjusting it to suit me took another hour.

So you see, 20 minutes. It sort of like I am going to the hardware store, I'll be back in 30 minutes. Yeah right.

Why so much trouble? It's analog, so even though most of the time I can see it without my glasses in those times when I just can not focus I can still see what time it is. Why is that important? It's not. So why? Just cause.
Besides it's radioactive and I can see it in the dark.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Steam Punked bike

I thought I had shown this bike in a prior post but I can not find it so maybe I did not . The bike itself is one and a half junked BMX's and other assorted salvaged parts. It was a experiment to see if it would work and it did. I built it a couple of years ago I think.
The light is an idea toward a steampunked bike. It's 2 and 3/4 pounds of brass and heavy glass but first.
It has not changed much from the original finished project. That is if any project is ever really finished. The front sprocket is now as big as it can get (frame limit). The rack is a 50's vintage child torturing device that has been modified to haul groceries. It was much cleaner when first put on the road but has been neglected and now has much more rust. Everything rusts here or it mildews or grows moss. I have 10 ride able bicycles and I only care about one so I have a hard time keeping up.

This bike rides well and was my main ride for a while. It's nice for just cruising around looking a things bike. It gets lots of attention, which means people talk to you, especially kids. You can relax because when you stop you can just put your foot down and you have a comfortable seat. You look cool. For me it's as cool as a gray haired old man can look.

Back to the front head lamp. It is a start at steam punking this bike. I plan an red oil lamp like what used to be used on trains. for the tail light. I left one of those in Mexico when I escaped. Of course I never ride at night so this is just an art project. I want the frame to have a black iron look but I may settle for rusty since I'm already half way there. I'm thinking of trying my hand at making wooden fenders but I probably won't for this project as it doesn't really go with the industrial metal look.. I have some old growth cypress that came from a water barrel that would look good but we'll see.

Steam? I have an idea for a real steam whistle. Who needs a bell if you have a steam whistle. I make train whistles but they require a lot of pressure so I have to solve that problem. That would surely Intimidate the dogs around here. heh heh

Let us see how it works out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Happiness is a Tidy Shop

There is no one happier than a journeyman tinkerer with a tidy shop. This actually happened day before yesterday but lately I have found it hard to get motivated.As you can see the first new project is on the hook and is as finished as it is going to be for now. It needs a tear down and repaint but that can wait. This 94 cent rattle can paint I put on in 2004 has held up quite well. Sun Yellow it's called but I think I might go to Fire Red next. I am partially to red. This 1976 Chicago built Schwinn is my main ride and is mostly original. I have modified and remodified it until I love the way it looks and the way it rides. It fits me.
You can see the set back on the saddle that I made from a bar end. It was said (by internet experts on the Bicycle Forum) that it was unsafe and would break but after over 500 miles it is just fine. That and the handle bars that reach back a little further than stock was my attempt at "Dutchifying". It lowers the seat and puts my legs in front of me where they belong and I ride fully upright instead of in the ready to breed crouch. As it should be. At my speed streamlining is not important.
The saddle is worn out so I thought I would make a new cover from a piece of leather that I saved for just such an event but alas that leather tears like old paper after being stored for 30 years. Time fly's. Oh well I'll make another plan.Ready to go again and will probably go for the summer at least. I know the saddle looks uncomfortable but it's just fine after 20 miles which is about my limit. This is a 10 speed bike but I only use 3 sprockets on the rear and the only time I shift from the small ring on the front is just to make sure it still works. Works for me.
The original rims are steel Dunlap's made in England. The brakes are marginal but "I don't need no stinkin' brakes". They are good enough for what I do here.
Test run to the grocery store and packed on 40+ pounds of grocery's and other sundries. Smooth as silk. I've carried as much as 60 pounds but it starts to get squirrely above 40 pounds especially when I load the front. Since my bike path on the highway is only abut 18 inches wide I need it not to be squirrely.

I know that the way the bike is locked is not secure but this is not New York here. The only reason it's locked is so that some asshole doesn't push it over. It has happened.

This device is a cheap BELL Wal-Mart buy and what a waste of money. It wasn't much but anything is too much as it looks good and sounds right but after less than a year the hose rotted off. Even after fixing the hose it will not put air in a tire. I have two other BELL pumps floor pumps one works the other is missing some key parts. Junk. I really should have tested them sooner I guess. At least I didn't get this revelation on the road somewhere. Pissed would not have even started to describe it.

Guest bicycle. I bought this for five bucks a couple of years ago. It's a 24inch something or other. The rear fender is missing but it has hardly been ridden. It had a flat so I pulled the old tube out and found that I had patched it 6 times already. One of the patches (wal-mart the Chinese store) had torn. I put in another tube. Everyone loves this bike. My bride and first choice for a date (shewhomustbeobeyed) will even ride it and was glad to see it out and about. I like 24 inch bikes. They fit all us midgets.

I have 3 spring clean up bicycles to go. There are ten all total but the rest are OK. I really need to get rid of some.

It is supposed that I can fetch my Princess tomorrow. I won't be able to sleep tonight. She's only 10 years old but she is the most important woman(child) in my life. I do not want to disappoint her. All I have to do is figure out where to get a car.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Zen and the Art of Shop Cleaning

So there I was getting close to the bottom of the dirt, clutter and debris in this house of dung when I discovered my shop stool (I uncovered my folding chair yesterday and I did need it) so I immediately sat on it and drifted away from cleaning and decluttering. After picking lint and bug wings from my navel for an unknown time I got busy again but of course in a completely different direction.

I could not decide which "to do" box to put this kitchen knife in so I made a handle for it from some of the downed oak I have. I don't know why I did that as I have at least 500 kitchen knifes and this is a cheap Chinese blade. However this cheap Chinese blade happens to hold a really sharp edge for a long time so I'm not sorry. Besides it cost 99 cents. Well It looks good in the picture but it is a really botched job. I won't go into detail just trust me it is botched. I will do better next time.

I then finished my latest cane. This one is Wild Black Cherry. I let it sit out in the weather until the bark mostly came off naturally and it gave it a mottled look. It's kind of springy and very comfortable.

After that the anemic AAA battery cell ran down in my Player/Radio so I decided to remedy that by bread boarding a bigger power supply that would utilize some of the D cells I have that are almost run down but that would still run this Player/Radio for some time. See how easily I am distracted. I'm sure glad that I am not flying passengers around in big airplanes anymore. They are probably glad as well.

It went quickly except for getting good contact at the positive end of the battery adapter. I fiddle futzed around with that for an hour but finally came up with a "boat fix". The adapter is made from a cheap plastic hanger that a garden hose repair end came on. I snipped it to the correct length then put a automobile spark plug repair end (the end that goes into the distributor) on it for the negative end. So far so good. The other end is recessed so I put a screw in it and snipped it off but it just would not make contact. Frustration!... I went to lunch (sprouted green peas from the garden, fried 3 day old meatloaf with homemade salsa and new potatoes with butter). Yum.

Coming back from lunch I brought a piece of aluminum foil, wrapped the end of the adapter and stuck it in. Works perfect.

It ain't purty but it sounds purty. I have a set of amplified speakers plugged into it. It's good enough for my stiff old ears.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Look at all that crap

Since mothers day I have been hiding under the bed sucking my thumb. It all started the Friday before with a bad experience with PEOPLE. Rude assholes. It was all downhill from there. So under the bed I went and into my mouth I stuck my thumb. I also took drugs. The details of the whole thing I am trying to forget with "Shop Cleaning". I am not disposed to depression but I can see how it kills people.
So I decided to clean a little spot in the Laboratory "shop" for therapy. It snowballed and soon I could see the floor. I haven't seen the floor for over a year.
Here is some stuff I found.

In the top of the picture is a finish saw that belonged to my grandfather Tom League. He was a finish carpenter and the saw is older than I am. He was the last to sharpen it and it is still sharp.
Directly above the saw is a coaster brake that I have never been able to reassemble. First time i've had that problem.
The small oil can just below the saw on the right side of the picture belonged to my dad. It is very old. I keep it next to the drill press to squirt on metal I am drilling to make some really good smoke.
Next to that is a M1 Carbine magazine, fully loaded with 30 caliber carbine cartridges. It is an inadequate round sent into service by people that would never be put in harms way. The M1 is one thing but the M1 carbine is a whole other thing.
The green thing is a wire wound 1.5 ohm resister, I found two of them, I don't know why I have them. Probably for a current limiter for some project or other.
Next to that all the metal parts to a really nifty hand cranked slicer. I'll rebuild it one day.
Between the two are some little silver things I call hog nails. I don't know why but they are used in upholstery
Below that a beautiful solid brass cabinet handle. I need to get a close up of that it's really nice. It has a butterfly on it.
The brass thing on the left is a peep site for a door. You have all seen them in hotel doors. Did you know that there is a device that reverses this peephole. Little tiny thing, put it up against the outside of the peep and see the entire room. I tape over those things.
The GM coach and Schwinn badges are self explanatory but the tool at the bottom is a complete mystery. It came in some bargain toolbox or other and no one I know can identify it.

I don't think I need to buy anymore of these and this ain't all. I've got them in tool boxes and drawers everywhere. I could start a store.
Aahh! The floor. So that's what it looks like. The bucket in the middle is for the drip. It is raining.
This is looking the other way. The saw is finally inside where I can use it for small jobs. I still have to take it outside for big jobs.
Directly in the corner is a lazy Susan with two different grinder motors so I just spin it around to get the brush or grinder I want.
This nastiness is next. It just looks cluttered to you but it has a solid layer of dead bugs and cat hair under the layer of things. Oh fun. I have so many things that people throw away but I just know I can use.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Mothers Day

Today is mothers day and I am not comfortable. I celebrate my mother on my birthday because that was when she thrust me into this world naked, bloody, screaming, hungry and with no job. Since my life has been mostly good I am grateful for that but if it had been crap I am sure I would have a different opinion. I have been a witness to a crappy life but I, gratefully, have not experienced it. Mom never talked down to me and she never nagged. What a blessing that is, however, it just makes me regret all the things I did that made her unhappy. I remember some of those things but I'm sure there were many others that I don't remember. She bore them with a smile and never a word of complaint or discouragement.

My birthday is a celebration of Mom. mothers day, for me, is longing for things gone past that can never be recovered. Mothers day for those with living mothers is a "whole nother thing" as a friend use to say.

Not all mothers are equal. Some torture and kill their children some are intelligent supermoms that know every answer and are able to apply that. Most however fall in between. The vast majority of moms are not perfect and have great short comings but they work their butts off trying to do the right thing and are willing to die for their children. They do that with great love in their hearts. Now those are MOMS.

I have had three life partners (It use to be called marriage) that were mothers. I am happy to say they were all perfect mothers, at least they seem so to me.

My bride is suffering this mothers day and I can not fix it. Half her children are dead and the rest seem to not care for her at all. Well I care for her and so do her grandchildren but today that does not ease her pain. She is not perfect but she does not deserve this. She has given much more than she has received.

The white carnation is for my mom. The yellow is for my sweetheart.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Another one down

Picture taken by me with a cheap camera about 1978 for the deck of the good ship "Serenity" in the anchorage at Lahaina, Maui. Another shitty sunset in paradise.

John Shuttleworth, Co-founder of Mother Earth News, 1937-2009 died in late march and Mother Earth News is just now getting around to reporting it. That's
Strange. I started reading the magazine when it came out in 1970 (I believe). For us that grew up before TV and in rural America it was inspiration. Oh well, John's dead and so is his wife but they were old enough to do that. Some of us who are his contemporaries still carry on at least momentarily and we appreciate their efforts.
The magazine? I still read some of the articles online but it is full of advertisements for things I just can not afford even if I wanted them. Occasionally I find a do-It-yourself article that applies to me so it is at least worth looking at and even though I am a contemporary of John Shuttleworth I am not done yet.
There is a frog running around on the window behind my monitor eating bugs. There are plenty of bugs. Summer is here. I, on the other hand, just had a meal of new dug red potatoes and ham boiled together along with newly harvested Brussel sprouts all flavored with home grown garlic and real butter. I'll probably die tomorrow.
Oh well. No cooking utensils were harmed.
I am trying to soften up SWMBO about the picture thing. She has a real aversion to being seen on any kind of media. The problem is that she is so photogenic. She really looks good in pictures. She is 64 years old but I think she is in the top 2 percent of attractiveness here with a smile that will stop you in your tracks. She is a real bitch at times but she has a lot of fans and I am one of them. That is if I can get away from her sometimes.
Scanning old pictures and editing them is a real drag for several reasons. I have been doing that a few hours a day lately. It's tedious for starters but the worst part is the longing for old times and people past. One of the pictures I was looking at today is of a nude of an old girl friend. She was 20 then, now she is 48. I'll bet she is still a fox. Old friends, the fish that did not get away and anchorages in paradise. All stir a longing that can not be satisfied.
Lots of projects here some of which I will never complete. I have to start them however and keep up with the garden and life maintenance. A little at a time. Now I have to go work on my new slingshot.

Live oak downed in Hurricane Gustav. Still needs a little sanding and some oil. Rubber bands are the hard part. 60 years ago when inner tubes (you know those things that used to go inside of tires) were rubber it was not a problem but now inner tubes are not rubber. I don't know what they are but they are not good for much of anything. I'm going to try surgical tubing.Update soon.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Random Stuff

One of the nice things about getting older is that senior memory lapse's let you discover the same thing over and over again. I was remarking to my bride today that I had never seen cilantro bloom before and how much I liked the tiny white flowers. She reminded me that only last year she had shown me her cilantro blooms. So I got to discover the pretty little flowers twice. At least I grew these so that part is new.

I found this do it yourself raised bed kit while shopping along side the road the other day (some would call it trash picking).

It looked like a raised bed kit to me.

More weeds growing in my back yard. This one is confused and does not know what color it wants to be.

Dark, dreary and not a breath of wind just before the 20 hours of rain that ended about an hour ago. I don't believe I will have to water today.

Wind vane made from trash.

I'm on Facebook now. I have resisted but since my most senior princess did it I decided I could. I tried myspace but shut it down when I started getting hundreds of offers to "be my friend" from internet hookers and life insurance salesmen. I never quite got the hang of it. I hope Facebook turns out a little different. If anyone is interested my contact info is in the sidebar.

I gave myself a $100.00 Kodak digital camera just before my birthday in March. I'm happy to say that it is working out well. It does a better job of taking pictures than I do.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Old Fools Journal: A Week of Make

This past week was rather busy for me. I made a terrycloth after bath kilt from two cheap towels, bought and started stripping the paint from a 50+ year old wooden door, replaced the glass in the kitchen door, put more seed in the ground, put in more tomato seedlings and carried a lot of water for the plants.

The results are:

The after bath kilt is too heavy and too hot. I should have made another sarong type. In the summer with the air conditioner on I may sing a different tune.

The new old door is not giving up its paint easily. I have used a quart of paint stripper, a chemical that is volatile stuff. It not only removes paint it removes skin as well. It doesn't really but it makes you want to take it off. I wear as little clothing as possible when it's hot and humid and getting that stuff on your belly is not good. On the other hand the fumes get you high and after a while you don't care. Probably causes brain damage. The dogs (they pick up everything I throw down and test for edibility) won't touch it. OK that job is on hold until I get more deadly chemicals. It's going to be our new old front door.
The ice tea is Earl Grey with a touch of pomegranate.

Replacing the glass in the kitchen door will take just a few minutes, right? Yeah, right (example of a double positive that makes a negative). In the first place it took a hammer and chisel to get the old glass loose from the old caulking. The reason for replacing it was that it is double pane glass which is dirty inside and cannot be cleaned. A window you can't see through is pretty much not a window. This glass is very expensive stuff that gives some imagined insulation from the outside elements and will stay clear for about 20 minutes after installation. The only one I considered was very expensive and had a 5 year guarantee for the glass only. Screw that, I bought 1/4 inch tempered glass that bullets will bounce off of for less than half the cost of the double pane

For starters while cleaning some of the caulk around the edge of the frame I managed to get some in my hair almost immediately. I have long fine gray hair and it is just naturally attracted to anything sticky and nasty. That was not fun. After that folly and many bad words in English and Spanish and pulling my hair out I did manage to remove the glass without breaking it

All I have to do now is put the new glass in (beware of anything that starts with "all you have to do ..."). OK, but first I needed to clean off the old caulk. After a couple of hours discovering that there is nothing that will clean that shit off I decided since this is a protected door it didn't have to be perfect. I smoothed the old stuff and applied new caulk on top. Now all I have to do is (there is that phrase again) pick up the frame and stick it back in the door and fasten the other side. Of course everything slipped and caulk covered everything in sight. The glass was so heavy we couldn't attach the inner frame *%^$#@*&^%$!!@# of a *^$@!@#$%^>>.

After cleaning the caulk off everything we took the door down. It took all of 5 minutes and it's what I should have done in the first place. Back in the old days when I had a brain I would have done that but that was then and this is now. Now since I had plenty of recent experience (an hour ago) in caulking, redoing that was easy and I didn't get any in my hair. I got dog hair in the caulking instead but my dog is red and I love red hair. Cleaning the caulk from the glass was another story. After I made a monumental mess SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) easily cleaned it in just a few minutes and didn't call me stupid even once. She did explain what she was doing in very simple sentences using only single syllable words.

But that wasn't the end of it. The old glass was 1/2 inch thick, the new glass is 1/4 inch thick, the frame is made for the old glass. It gives me a headache just thinking about it. So out comes the device for removing human limbs (table saw) and some lumber that I had not yet turned into sawdust and little pieces of kindling. To make this long story shorter I'll just say that I didn't make anymore big mistakes and we got the door back into the door hole before the mosquito's started swarming. A bottle of wine and a large can of atmosphere polluting mosquito spray later all was right. Being able to see through the glass and the added light in the kitchen is nice

Reseeding the radish patch was necessary because of a grub powered Armadillo playing rototiller in my new just coming up seedlings.

I wonder if Armadillo really taste like chicken. See the new fencearound the radish patch. Armadillos don't climb they dig but just outside of that little fence is two foot of oyster and clam shell mixed with a little dirt over dense clay. It's an old driveway and you need a jackhammer to dig through it.

We now have nine 10 week old tomato plants with little tiny tomatoes so soon I should have giant green tomato worms and every kind of tomato disease known to man. We also have an uncounted number of volunteers from last year. I wonder if you can eat tomato worms.

We hand carried approximately 1500 lbs of water last week.Maybe I should try that new thing they call a hose.

I stuck my hand into the blades of the Whirling Blades of Death a few days back (I think I took that name from someone else but I can't find it anywhere. If and when I do I will give credit. I can't believe it's mine, it's too good) Anyway I would like to report the gore of red blood and white bone splattered everywhere and show glossy 8 X 10 pictures with circles and arrows of the scene of the disaster but alas it only tickled the back of my hand and there was nothing to take a picture of. The backs of my hands are sensitive since 1975 when I slid down the street at sixty MPH on top of them, a Seiko self winding watch (no electricity in this watch) and a Honda 175 on the way home from an all night drunken sex orgy. It was actually a Bon Voyage party for an old friend that was single handing his 25 foot sailboat to Hawaii. He made it all right of course as he was an old hand and it was his second time. He only makes one way trips as he sank them both but he was good at going.
I, on the other hand, didn't look so good.

The Seiko? Ground the face and hands right off but Seiko fixed it right up no charge. I still have it and it keeps perfect time. Perfect enough for me anyway since I don't wear a watch. It took a little more for me to heal and I still don't keep perfect time.
"Time does not exist, clocks do." wall graffiti

Pick up used lumber. (free)
Dress wounds from picking up lumber
Make bread
Make new raised bed
Dress wounds from making raised bed
Make fence around raspberries.That damned Armadillo again(I wonder how you clean those things).
Dress wounds from making fence
Put in bell pepper seedlings
Find fly back transformer to make a sparking thing
Buy fire extinguisher before making sparking thing.
Install new air compressor.
Dress wounds from installing air compressor
Install homemade train whistle on air tank
Dress wounds from installing whistle
Buy more band aids