Sunday, February 28, 2010

Car Repair for Gunnies

Gunnie Car Repair Tip of the week.

My Wife's 98 Expedition has been starting a bit slow. Not too surprising as the battery is about 3 years old, and Arizona is DEATH on car batteries.

Multimeter shows good charge.

Remove both clamps. Clamps could definitely use a cleaning.
Arizona is DEATH on battery clamps as well.

Posts are easy, I have a wire brush for that. Clamps? Get the clamp-tool brush.

Tool is NOT where it belongs. I really hate it when people don't put stuff back where it belongs, especially as it's probably me, since I can't see anyone else actually using a bettery terminal brush around here.


So what do I have?

Last gun show I bought a .223/5.56 NATO chamber cleaning brush. Brush has non-standard threads. No worries, I also bough an adapter. Adapter was the wrong one. I.e. it lets you use US standard cleaning accessories on a military cleaning rod, in other words, absolutely useless; if I had a military cleaning rod I wouldn't need an adapter.

*evil thought*

Chucked the basically useless chamber brush into a cordless drill. The back portion of the brush is a perfect fit to the battery clamps.

Took about 2-3 seconds and the clamps were shiny as new or more so.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Apricot Blossoms

Apricot Blossoms are usually the first to bloom out here.
So yeah, it's February, but the trees think it's spring.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Larrivee in SPACE

Discussion over on the Acoustic Guitar Forum

They have a Larrivee Parlor up on the International Space Station.

how cool is that?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

GA Nuclear Power

This morning, President Obama announced that the administration was providing a loan guarantee to Southern Co. to build two nuclear electrical generating plants in Georgia.

So in the interests of "credit where credit is due" we are going to give him the official Rocketsong "atta boy" for doing something right for a change. Then again, even a blind pig finds an acorn now and again.

Also we should note that this is actually a continuation of the existing Bush Administration energy policy.

In general I am of somewhat mixed feelings.

On one hand - the Fed really has no business doing this. Properly this is a function of the States or localities. (I'm not talking about regulation, that's a different subject, I'm talking about ecconomic incentives)

On the other hand - This is not a loan, it is a loan guarantee. Thus there is no actual cost to the taxpayer unless the project goes pear shaped. Thus the government is accepting the risk associated with the project. Since the government is the primary source of risk (via heavy handed regulation) this is somewhat appropriate.

On the Gripping Hand - We sure could use the nukes.

QOTD - Mauser Medic Edition

Hat tip to the MauserMedic for this one:

Leftist, political atheists are some of the most humorless, grim, pain in the ass individuals I have ever met. Not everything is about religion, or imposing your particular belief structures on the lumpen-proles. You people (and I mean that in the full sense of the derogatory "you people") need to go drink some beer, eat some grilled red meat, try to get laid, and enjoy life. Because overall, you're a real bummer to be around.

Seriously, as a Far-Right Arch-Libertarian, Ayn Rand was a bit of a wuss Atheist, the lefty ones drive me nuts. No one in the real world gives a rat's rear end about a cross somewhere out in the Mojave for example. Let those poor folks be.

Road Trip

Drove from Phoenix/Mesa to Palmdale/Lancaster over the weekend. Just me, my new guitar, and the convertible.

Nice little get together at the Tyra's place. Small attendence for the Filk, but a nice time regardless.

Once out of the city, it's a rather pretty drive actually, and the Mustang achieved over 25.6 mpg even with the top down for several hours along CA-138.

Friday, February 12, 2010

QOTD - WSJ Edition

Got to love the Wall Street Journal, possibly the last actually responsible newspaper in the country.

It's true that cold weather, while providing an occasion to mock global warming, does not disprove it. But the mocking would be far less effective had global warmists not spent the past quarter-century making a mockery of the scientific method.

Oh, it burns.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On the Phoenix Food Tax

Technically this is not a new tax. Technically Phoenix is simply rescinding the exemption for food from the existing Phoenix sales tax. Obviously the result is the same, but details DO matter.

Now, Phoenix Metro is a "metro area". About the only way you can tell which city you are actually in is to look at the color of the street signs. (and in Tempe the numbered streets go the wrong way).

Arizona itself has a base sales tax rate of 5.6%. Cities and counties can add their own sales taxes, and most do to the extent of 2-3%. The state and Maricopa Co. sales tax rates specifically exempt food purchased at retail outlets for home consumption (i.e. groceries). Other cities and counties may or may not. There is no constitutional or statutory requirement to do so.

Pinal Co, for example does not, so food in Pinal Co. has about a 0.5% sales tax on it. This is why my wife refuses to shop at the Fry's a mile or so away in Pinal Co.

The current sales tax in Phoenix itself is 5.6% state, + 0.7% Maricopa Co, + 2.0% Phoenix = 8.3%. Currently groceries are exempted from the sales tax. Thus a $1 coffee cup costs 1.08 and a $1 cantaloupe costs $1.00.

Phoenix is desperately trying to raise revenue. And pathetically so, as shopping in Tempe, Glendale, Scottsdale, or Paradise Valley is a real option for most folks who live in Phoenix.

Additionally, AZ has the system of Referendum and Recall that most states admitted after California have. This was a big part of the so-called "populist" movement at the time. Thus there is a real possibility that the people will simply pass a constitutional amendment forbidding the taxing of food in the state. Thus putting a stake in the heart of this thing pretty much for good. I can grantee someone has already written up the initiative to do so. (It's a 3 sentence initiative)

The real problem is that we have had two governors (one Dem one Rep) who never saw a dollar they didn't want to spend. Thus AZ has been "Spending like California" for about 10 years now. That has consequences. One of the consequences is that the State has radically cut back state funding to the municipalities and counties. (a lot of city and Co. funding is a transfer from the State of AZ).

The good news is we have only been doing so for 10 years, while CA has been doing so since Brown was Governor.

Basically half of the Co and City budgets went *poof* after the state actually started trying to balance the books, and they ain't balanced yet. We still have another 2-billion in spending we need to eliminate.

Progress equals Zero

So far, progress equals zero on the home front. The seller's agent is incompetent to the point that I actually wonder if he is properly licensed, and if so, what it takes to file a complaint with the licensing board.

At this point it's as obvious as William Shatner's toupée that we will not be closing in time for the 3-day weekend.

Actually, given this yahoo's general level of competence, we might not actually be able to ever close on this property.

I am therefore considering driving to LA for the LAFA monthly housefilk this weekend instead.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Looked at the house

So, looked at the house again. Definitely needs work. More than I remembered actually.

1) paint whole bloody inside - it's taupe and blood red. 20 gallons of Navaho white +labor, maybe $1000 if I'm lucky

2) Garage door is cracked, warped and basically AFU. Probably another $1000

3) Grade the lot - $1000. Already have a quote.

4) Countertops- Might be under $1500 as granite has come down, and the kitchen is not that large. Of course we will need a new sink as well *sigh*

5) plus lots of little stuff that is going to add up.

So, probably 5-grand worth of repairs just to make the place liveable.

Then I'm going to need the fencing fixed, and moved, trees planted, concrete poured...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Moving Forward

After 15 Weeks we have an acceptance letter for a house we looked at in October.

Planning on doing an inspection tomorrow. After all, I have to remind myself what it looks like.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Great Amazon Fail-Fest

Re: Amazon vs. Macmillan

At the end of the day, I’ve never bought an e-book, and have absolutely no intention of doing so, pretty much ever.

This kerfuffle has nothing whatsoever to do with e-books. It has to do with Amazon delisting 1/6th of their inventory of paper, physical, dead tree books as part of a heavy-handed negotiating strategy with a publisher over a completely different product.

Major, no Epic, FAIL.

All I want from Amazon is real books with free shipping. Not music, not power tools, not electronic copies of 1984 that disappear on their own, and certainly not every single bloody widget on the planet sold by one of your stupid “partners” with added-on shipping.


You know, the things they were burning in Fahrenheit 541.


I am extraordinarily pissed off at Amazon right now, and I've been a customer since back in the day when one used Lynx to brows the web. Yes Virginia, I once ordered books on line using a text based browser.

I have a couple of books I need to order. Who else has free shipping?