Friday, December 29, 2006

Last Rant of 2006

Hey! We're down to the last few days of 2006. And what better way to see the year out than with a short rant:

I would very much like to know what sadistic minion of hell came up with these %$Y!!%&*$#%$#!#%$&%!!*&#$*!!! plastic vacuum packages that they put EVERYTHING in these days. I just used some of my Christmas money to purchase on of those Black & Decker Handi-Saws. It took about 5 minutes with X-acto knife to get the darn thing out of its plastic cocoon! You have to absolutely shred the stupid plastic packaging to get the product out. And of course that's not torture enough. In addition to the main product, they make a half-dozen smaller compartments for whatever accessories come with it that you have to fight your way into. Then, when you read the return policy, it states that "product must be returned in original packaging" in order to get your exchange/refund. This saw works fine, but I'll tell you - if I ever have to return a product I've had to spend a half hour with a sawzall to extract it from the packaging, they're going to get a pile of shredded plastic back with the product taped in the middle of it. They call this progress??

Well, here we are at the beginning of the last 3-day weekend for quite a while. It was a pretty quiet day at work; for most of the morning, Ron was scratching trying to find a call for me. I ended up doing a couple installs in Blue Springs and Independence. Of course as late afternoon approached several calls came in. WTF? Why would you wait until late afternoon on a Friday before New Year's to place a service call?

At any rate, I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend, with some artwork and working in my shop.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A 3-Day Week!

Hey! It's back to work for 3 days - this week, at least. And it started off in fine form with me putting 100 miles on the Kia before lunch! I had to go in to the office this morning which is - depending on the route taken - anywhere from 40 to 50 miles. Then it was back out to about I-29 and Barry road; another 50 miles. Fun, fun, fun. At least I'm all caught up on calls. Now all I have to do is get my parts calls cleared up. Of course that's going to last about two more days. Once the holidays are over, and the new year arrives, I'm sure it will be insanity to the max again. With the onset of "Tax Season," things will be busier than ever.

Well, once again, the piece-O-crap Kia's check engine light came back on this evening. I can't seem to get more than 3 weeks' of use out of it before it's time to take it back to Jack Miller for another service episode. I HATE this car! I will NEVER buy another Kia. I'm hoping that after the first of the year, I can work a deal to get into a different vehicle - hopefully a minivan. We shall see.

I'm looking forward to another 3-day weekend! With any luck, we'll actually have time to relax this time. I've got some fun projects I hope to get started on over the holiday.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Grillin' on Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

We had a great early Christmas yesterday, although we all missed the presence of Jo's dad, who passed away in early January. I know it was very difficult for both Jo and her mom. We had a nice time with the family, and there was lots of food, of course.

We went over to my folks' afterwards, and had a good time there as well. I gave my dad a clock I made out of an old 8 inch computer hard drive disk. He thought it was pretty neat.

When we got home last evening, I grabbed a couple steaks out of the freezer to thaw for today. My dad gave us a couple boxes of steaks a few days ago as an early Christmas. I put a couple of them in ziplock bags this morning and marinated them for a few hours in Italian dressing. Man, were they good! Get the whole story by clicking on the title above, or just click here:

And finally, for your entertainment, here's yet more incentive to pass a law declaring open season on idiot criminals:

Jo and I want to wish all our visitors a wonderful Christmas season! May you have peace and prosperity in the new year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Website Updated......Finally!

I was finally able to complete the update to the site this evening. The FTP is still kind of on-again-off-again, but it seems to be working most of the time. I'm still going to be checking into a different hosting service. is just having too many issues lately.

I deleted the F-Stop and Stupid Computer Tricks sections, and dumped the Google AdSense crap. The F-Stop just wasn't getting enough traffic to justify the effort of maintaining it, and I'll leave Stupid Computer Tricks to the pirated sites. I'm done with messing with it. The AdSense NonSense also wasn't worth messing with. As I stated earlier, in the time I had it on my site, it generated a whole 1.40. Whoopee. And they don't pay you until it gets to $100. At the rate it was going, I'd be dead and reincarnated as a tree by the time it reached a centa-buck. Not worth it. And I refuse to stick advertising banners willy-nilly all over my site.

I'm also considering the future of this blog. I've thought about just going back to having a simple "Latest News" page on my site. As far as I can tell, there's only a handful of folks that visit this news section on a regular basis - although sometimes I am pleasantly surprised when I get a message from someone visiting it. I'll probably keep it, at least for now. I know Google has launched a new version of Blogger, and I will probably switch to it fairly soon.

I got a wonderful surprise when I got home today. One of my frequent Playboy back issues customers who lives in Canada sent me a nice Christmas gift! A bottle of pure maple syrup from Canada! How Thoughtful!! Thank You, Yvan!! That will go nicely on a stack of nice, hot pancakes over the Christmas Holiday time off.

Speaking of Christmas, we've got to go tomorrow evening and finish up our shopping. I'm not really too enthusiastic about the whole shopping thing this close to Christmas, but I refuse to get anywhere near a mall on the weekend until well after the holidays. It's a zoo!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

Still Having FTP Issues

Just a quick note...

I got about 10 minutes' worth of FTP access last night - just enough to upload SOME of the new files to my website. And just enough to make everything but the home page look like crap with a combination of old HTML and graphics, and new background.

I've sent another nasty-gram to Hopefully, I'll be able to complete the update tonight. I'm definitely going to look into another hosting service. I can get 20 times the webspace, and 10 times the bandwidth for half the price from

stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fed Up With My Hosting Service

Well, the Winter Edition of Rod's Lair is all done and ready to be updated. I tried to FTP the new version tonight, but ran into a roadblock when I couldn't log in to the server. I've sent an e-mail, and also called's so-called tech support to see what the hell is up with all the problems lately. After waiting 20 minutes on hold, I spoke with a tech. He tried to open FTP to my domain, but was also unable to. I was informed that "a ticket would be opened up" and they would contact me within 24 hours. Thanks, guys. Don't put yourself out or anything.

Earlier this week, my website was down completely. It was back up later the same day, but this is becoming a more frequent situation recently.

I'm very, very seriously considering switching my hosting to I could get a 100 gig space with 1000 gigs of bandwidth for about 75 bucks a year. Currently, I'm paying about 30 bucks every quarter - about $120 a year. They recently raised their rates, and the service has gone downhill.

It would be a major pain in the butt to go through the process of transferring everything to a new hosting provider, but it may be worth it in the long run, if the recent issues are an example of what I can expect from I never had all these problems when they were

At any rate, hopefully they will get this ironed out in the next day or so, and I'll be able to upload the new version of the website. In the meantime, I'm defininitely going to be looking into making a change.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mid-December Update

I spent most of today working on an additional workbench on which to mount my dad’s old scroll saw that he gave me some time ago. I have some neat ideas I want to work on, and this scroll saw will be a huge help. I’ve used it several times, but I’ve had to sit on the floor while trying to cut with it, and that’s a major pain in the backside. This will be much better!

I’m still working on my Winter Faerey, and she’s very near completion. I have the winter theme for my website pretty much worked out, and all the new graphics in place. I’m hoping to have the new theme in place by Christmas.

With the new theme I’ll be making a few more changes (again). First, I’m going to deep-six the Google AdSense NonSense. In the nearly 6 months I’ve had it up, it’s generated a magnificent total income of – hold your breath - $1.40. Wow. Three words: Not Worth It. Along with AdSense, I’m probably going to do away with The F Stop and – once again – Stupid Computer Tricks. I was hoping the traffic to these areas along with the AdSense crap would generate a little income. I wasn’t expecting to retire on it, but I didn’t realize just how little it would turn out to be.

Things are still busy as hell, both at work and home. Next week is going to be hell because the only tech that gets more calls than I do is going to be on vacation all week. That’s going to suck, plain and simple. At any given time, I’ll have 8 – 12 calls in my queue, and it’s not uncommon for him to have twice that. I work mostly in the Northland area, and he does Johnson County, Kansas, so we’re not right next to each other. Still, I’ll probably end up with some of his calls as well as mine. I’m sure most of the other techs are going to be running amok with the extra load as well. They’d be seriously SOL if I took a week off at the same time he did!

Well, enough rambling!

Friday, December 15, 2006

This Can't Be For Real......

You have GOT to be kidding.......

I mean, I get enough wierd sevice calls as it is. But getting calls for "the coffee is too strong/weak" or "it won't play my Eminem CD/DVD?" Give me a break.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Quick Update

I'm just going to type a few quick sentences tonight - lots going on lately.

Well, I didn't get a "snow day" off last week. Although I had about 10 inches of snow in my backyard, a few miles north there was no snow at all! Go figure.

I'm working on my winter theme for the website, and creating a new splash graphic. It's a little late - I'd intended to have the winter theme ready by December 1, but as usual my life is complete chaos most of the time.

Looks like MAYBE the problems with my Kia have been resolved - finally. I sent a lengthy nasty-gram to both Kia America and Jack Miller last week. Seems it actually rattled the right cages.

Had my first review with KMBS today. It was a good one! I'll be getting a little more money soon, and that's always a good thing.

Looks like another busy weekend coming up. I guess last weekend was my "free" weekend for the month. I can't remember what it's like to relax for more than a couple evenings a week!

That's about it for now. I've got to try to get this winter theme done before spring!


Thursday, November 30, 2006


Just a quick update before I head off to bed.

It started snowing just a little after 1:30 this afternoon. By 3:00, they decided to send everyone home early. My field manager left a broadcast voicemail saying to check messages tomorrow morning before heading out. Depending on conditions, we may have an extra day off this week. It's almost 11:00, and the snow hasn't let up much if at all.

I took this photo shortly after getting home. The black stakes around the pole are about 8 inches long, and you can only see a few inches of them. I can't tell for sure in the darkness, but it looks like they are completely buried, now.

I'd say winter has arrived at the Lair! Here's hoping for a 3-day weekend!

Oh, yeah - almost forgot.... Got the Kia back today. They think they've finally found the problem. They replaced an "IAC motor" whatever the hell that is. The motor was sticking, and causing the engine to idle too slow, which was causing the stalling, and check engine light. They didn't charge for parts or labor, so they do seem to be making an attempt to satisfy me. Hopefully this will end the car problems for a while. I hope.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

If You Don't Like the Weather......

....Wait 5 minutes, and it'll change. At least that's the joke about the weather in the midwest, and especially around Kansas City. Yesterday, it was 70 degrees. Today, it's well..... UGLY. Just have a look at the photo I took out back. The trees behind my telephone pole are already coated with ice - wonder how much tree debris I'll have to clean up this time.

They kicked us loose from work early today due to the icy roads. I was working on a machine in St. Joseph (about an hour north of Kansas City) when it started. On the way back south on I-29, I saw at least a half-dozen spin-outs. One guy in a black SUV was doing whirlygigs in the northbound lane. For my part, I was being extremely careful not to end up upside-down in a ditch along the highway. Especially since I'm in a rental car while they try to figure out what's eating on my piece-O-crap Kia.

Well, not much else going on - I'm just going to sit here tonight and drink coffee, and play with my computer.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More of the Same....

Hey! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! It's been a couple weeks since my last entry, but again (as usual) things have been super busy.

Things are somewhat stable with all the family medical problems, at least for the moment.

We had a busy 4-day weekend over the Thanksgiving holiday. Out of 4 days off work, we were able to just stay home and relax one of the four days. Sadly, that's becoming more and more the case. I can't remember what it's like to actually have two days in a row to relax and recover from my continually intensely busy work week.

Well, Wednesday morning I get to haul my piece-O-crap Kia back to Jack Miller. It has been screwing up again - all the same problems I've spent over $1800 over the last couple months to get rid of. Last night, it stalled out twice at traffic lights, it idles extremely roughly, and of course the check engine light comes on, and goes off every two days. I sent a rather pointed letter to both Jack Miller and Kia America detailing all the issues. I also threatened to go to the state attorney general if it didn't get straightened out very quickly.

I guess it got their attention, because I got a call today from the service manager at J.M. He is going to arrange for a car for me, and they will keep my Kia for a few days. I halfway hope they park the damn thing on a railroad track, but with my luck, it would just wreck the locomotive engine, and I'd have to pay for that, too.

I've been working on a couple projects in my shop as time allows in between all the frigging medical crises. I'd post a photo of my latest one, but it's destined to be a Christmas gift for someone, so I'll wait until after Christmas to post it.

That's all for tonight, so I'll say good night for now!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Another Weekend....

Well, here it is - another week has streaked by at warp speed. Everyone says the older you get, the faster time goes by. At this rate, I should be 90 sometime next week.

I've posted a photo of one of my latest projects. This is a swag lamp made from a Hemingray #40 insulator and a few pieces of hobby wood from Hobby Lobby. If you like it, I'll be creating more of them which will be available in my on-line store. Each one is created by hand by me, so no two will be exactly alike. I'm working on some other ideas for unique items. Keep checking my website/blog.

Well, I guess we had our little one week ration of good news, so now it's back to normal - bad news on the medical scene. My dad had to have a CATscan a few days ago. Seems they found a couple "spots" in his last set of X-rays they hadn't noticed before. It just never stops.

Friday was a wonderful day (I'm being sarcastic again ;-]). It started out with me getting my butt chewed on my first call for billing issues. I got to my first call (a medical office) right at 8:00, and although they weren't open yet, I figured they would appreciate getting their copier repaired before patients started arriving. I knocked on the door, and was greeted by a very haughty office manager. Somewhat miffed, she commented that I had interrupted their morning prayers. I could certainly see her Christian demeanor shining through. When I explained why I was there she immediately launched into a diatribe concerning billing issues. "Well, I have issues with that since they billed me for the last service call!" Oh, I'm sorry - I guess we're supposed to provide free service - just like they provide free medical care.

Actually, the day did improve from that point. Of course, halfway through the day my old friend the check engine light came back on. I decided to just ignore it rather than taking it back to Jack Miller and letting them throw another 200 - 300 dollars' worth of parts at it - at my expense. I guess that was the right thing to do, because during todays' running around the stupid thing went out again. I am going to embark on a letter-writing campaign concerning this, however. I think after putting $1800 into this piece of junk over the last two months - and still having the same issues - it's high time to rattle some cages. We'll see what happens when Jack Miller hears from Kia America and the state attorney general. Yes, sometimes I fight dirty.

Well, time to get my fool butt to bed!


Friday, November 10, 2006

Now, That's REALLY A Hard Drive!!

This is an old Quantum hard drive I won on eBay recently. Note the case from a modern hard drive for comparison. This thing has two 8-inch platters and stored a whopping 20 megabytes. The big 120 volt motor spins the disks via belt drive.

Obviously, I’m not going to press this into service for data storage! I have quite another idea in mind. Stay tuned.

The past week has been insanely busy both at work, and off. My dad had a procedure today that involved running a catheter-roto-rooter thing into the arteries in his heart. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to be there for him, but the folks I work for were just great about it. The procedure went fine, and he didn’t even have to stay overnight at the hospital. The doctor said he’s in good shape, and there are no serious problems with the heart. We also got some good news concerning Jo’s mom. After the way things have gone the last few years, I don’t hardly know how to act with all this good news!

Hopefully, things will calm down a bit, now that the doctor stuff is over for a while. It looks like it will be a good weekend to relax for a change. It’s getting cold, and it’s a great time to just relax indoors with a nice hot pot of coffee. That’s my plan for tomorrow.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Now, That’s a Hard Drive!

This arrived on my doorstep today – one of the two old hard drives I recently won on eBay. As you can see, you’d have some difficulty stuffing this drive into your laptop – or your desktop for that matter. Note the Coke can next to it for an idea of how large it is. This old Maxtor drive has 5 platters, 5 ¼ inches in diameter as opposed to the 3 ½ inch platters in today’s desktop hard drives. Data capacity of this 5-platter drive? A whopping 170 megabytes. Of course, at the time this was cutting edge that was probably massive. And it probably cost a pretty sizeable chunk of change, as well. I bought it for a buck plus shipping.

Obviously, I don’t intend to use it for its original purpose. I’ve already disassembled it, and will use the platters for a little project.

Sometime soon, I’ll be receiving another old hard drive with two 8-inch platters, which I’ll be using as well. Stay tuned…

I’ve deleted the “Rod’s Sketchbook” blog today, and placed it on my website instead. Check it out by clicking the link to your left. I’ll be adding more stuff soon.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Car Repairs and Fridays….

It’s Friday of yet another totally insane week.

Thursday morning after leaving my first call, the Kia’s continuing check engine issue reared it’s ugly little head again. Since I was relatively close, I drove it back to Jack Miller for the umpteenth time. This time, the great magic diagnostic computer oracle indicated a “mass air sensor” needed to be replaced – another $200 out of my wallet. This brings the total for the last couple months up to around $1800.00. This piece of junk is bleeding me dry! At least they didn’t charge for labor or diagnostics, and gave me the wholesale price on the part – otherwise it probably would have been more like $500.

After 2 hours in the waiting room (listening to yet more Montel crap on the TV), I got out the damn plastic and headed out for my next call. I didn’t get a block down the road before the check engine light came back on. At this point, I’ll have to admit, I went a little ballistic. I stopped, backed up in a driveway, and screeched right back to the service door.

After the service advisor, service manager, and one of the floor managers got me off the ceiling, they arranged for a rental car – at the dealer’s expense – and assured me they would get it figured out. I’ll have to give the folks at Jack Miller credit – they didn’t just blow me off like some other dealers I’ve had in the past.

Today, I got a call from one of the sales managers. We discussed the possibility of trading into something a little more reliable. I mentioned I'd love to have another minivan. He is going to keep his eyes open for a minivan that we might be able to trade up to, while keeping the payments close to what they are now. I do believe it’s time to start at least doing some research on getting something else. I hate like hell to try and trade when I still owe a significant amount on a car, but sometimes fate forces your hand. In the meantime, I’ll just keep nursing this Kia along, and hoping for the best.

In other news…..

My new Dremel kit arrived on Wednesday. I love it! In the few spare hours I’ve had the last few days, I’ve been experimenting with it. I love the flex-shaft attachment; it provides very fine fingertip control of the tool, which will be great for engraving, carving, and so on. I’ve started a new insulator lamp, and there will be many more new projects. Stay tuned…

I am going to be deleting my “Rod’s Sketchbook” blog. I haven’t updated it in a while. The original intent was to challenge myself to create and post a sketch each day. But with everything going on in my life at the present time, I don’t always have time; or if I have the time, I’m not always in the mood. I still intend to draw and sketch as much as possible, but as has been the case the last few weeks, there will be lapses. I will be setting up a section on the website under the same name, “Rod’s Sketchbook.” I’ll be placing both new and old art there, but I’ll be emphasizing new work. I hope to have it active sometime this weekend.

Well, that’s about all the news that’s print to fit…..uh, that’s not right….. fit to print! So I’ll sign off for now, and go play with my tool – I mean Dremel.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Well, happy Halloween, all.

I'm not really sure why Halloween has nearly surpassed Christmas as the biggest holiday of the year. For some, it's good, clean(?) fun, and lots of free candy, I suppose. For others, it's the day that they feel they have blanket permission to raise hell, and destroy other peoples' property - all in "fun," of course.

It's a shame, really. When I was a little kid, my folks felt perfectly safe letting me and my little group of friends run amok on our yearly candy-gathering sorties around the neighborhood. Of course when I was a kid, my dad was in the Air Force, and we normally lived in the housing on the base where there was virtually no danger of anything worse than getting a garden hose turned on us if we got too rowdy. Nowadays, parents are scared to death to let the little ones go out by themselves. I watched tonight as carloads of costumed kiddies were driven about by parents who either watched carefully, or escorted the wee ones door to door.

It's a pretty sad commentary on the state of our society when kids' Halloween candy has to be taken to the local hospital to be run through an X-ray or MRI to make sure it's free of razor blades, drugs, bits of wire, or other booby-traps. Very sad.

My new Dremel is scheduled to arrive tomorrow according to the FedEx tracking info. I've got several projects lined up that it will be very useful for. One of these projects will involve something crazy I just won on eBay - an ancient 20MB hard drive - and I do mean ancient! I've posted a photo of it above. This thing has two 8-inch platters! And it's the platters that will be used in my little project. Stay tuned! I also bid on another old drive with 5-inch platters. I'm the only bidder so far, so we'll see how it goes. I'm not going to say what I'm making with these just yet; only that I got an idea from something I saw on another website. I think it'll be pretty cool, though.

Well, it's getting close to my bedtime, and it's going to be another busy day tomorrow, so for now I'll say....

Elen sila lumenn omentilmo

Monday, October 30, 2006

Manic Monday

Aiee! It’s Monday, and the %$%^&#% alarm clock went off wayyyyy too soon. Oh, well, at least I didn’t have a jillion calls to get up to this morning. Just the continuing check engine light issue on my Kia.

I called Jack Miller Kia this morning, to talk to the service department about getting this piece-o-crap checked out. The gentleman I talked to didn’t give me the impression he was terribly concerned with my insignificant little issue – remember, they’ve got their 1600 bucks out of me. He said he might be able to look at it Tuesday or Wednesday, but not on my lunch hour. That would interfere with their lunch. God forbid.

I quietly hung up, and called the dealership back and asked to speak with a manager. She was a lot more accommodating, and had someone call me back a few minutes later. They said to bring it on in, “because we need to get this thing fixed…” I agreed.

Naturally, as soon as I hung up and started the engine, the freaking check engine light went out. Figures.

To make a long story short, they took the Kia in, and (after an hour and a half), finally told me they couldn’t find anything wrong. Now, there’s a surprise! The service advisor said they changed some star washers on the grounding connections, and test-drove it. Okay, fine. In a week or so, when it happens again, I’ll just send copies of everything along with a complete report to the attorney general’s office. I’ve done that before, and I can tell you it usually gets the dealership’s attention.

Nothing is ever simple, is it?


Sunday, October 29, 2006

One Last Grill-out - Maybe

Well, let's see if this goofy blog works tonight......

I decided to give the old charcoal grill one last blast for this season. Of course, there still may be a few nice weekends before winter sets in. With global warming, who knows.

I took four nice skinless/boneless chicken breasts we got at Sam's yesterday, and marinated them overnight. I gave them a good rubdown first, with a mixture of salt, pepper, Emeril's Essance, and a little bit of Worchestershire sauce. I then put them in a zip-lock bag, and poured in some Italian dressing. I used Kraft because that's what we had on hand, but Wishbone or any other brand would work fine. I marinated them overnight, but I've had excellent results marinating them for as little as 2 hours.

I popped 'em on the grill after it heated up for about 45 minutes, and cooked them for about 10 minutes. I usually cut the thickest piece to check inside to make sure there's no pink. Chicken isn't something you want to eat rare. Try it sometime. The chicken is so moist and tender you can almost cut it with a fork. Deee-lish!

Well, another weekend is about over. Even with the additional hour we got back from daylight savings, it's still way too short.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

I May Dump Blogger

It has taken me a couple hours to post the entry below. As I type this, I don't know if THIS entry will make it to my site. Every time I try to publish an entry, I get a stupid error message. In reading the posts on Blogger's site, it appears many people have had the same problem, and there's no kind of response from Blogger. In addition, Blogger was down several times last week. I know it's a "free" service, but the plain and simple truth is that with all the other stresses and frustrations I'm dealing with these days, I really don't need something that's supposed to be a recreation to be a pain in the a$$, too. If this problem isn't straightened out in the next couple of days, I'm going to archive the Blogger stuff, shitcan Blogger, and go back to my old "Latest News" format. I have to convert everything to HTML and FTP it, but at least it WORKS.

Saturday Stuff

As expected, it was a very busy day today. We went out to south KC to spend some time with Jo’s mom, and – amazingly – most of the family was there. We got to see our new little great-nephew, Zander. Cute little guy. And I do mean little – he’s a bit of a premie. I got to hold the little fellow, and I guess I made him comfortable, because he went right to sleep. Or maybe I just bored him to sleep. Then again, maybe he just got tired of being passed around like a football, and said “the hell with this, I’m going to sleep!”

After we got home I went over to my dad’s to mulch up a yardfull of leaves. He’s been having some heart problems, and can’t do a lot of strenuous things until they figure out what’s going on and how to control it. I know it's driving him nuts, because he’s used to puttering around the yard, or working on any of the 300 or so projects he’s always got going on. A typical Shelley; always into something….

The Kia’s check engine light came back on again today. After spending over 1600 bucks on the repairs on the damn thing in the last month, I’m beginning to get just a tad annoyed. I guess I’m going to have to type up a nasty-gram to Jack Miller Kia, and give them one more chance before I go to the attorney general. I’ll have to take it back to the service department (for the 4th time) on my lunch hour Monday or sometime next week. If they’re lucky, I won’t attempt to drive that piece of junk up the service advisor’s backside. With all the other stress in my life, I don’t need to fight car problems every other week. You can pretty much assume that the chances of my buying another Kia or anything else from Jack Miller are roughly the same as Osama Bin Laden showing up on Oprah.

To round out my relaxing Saturday, we ventured over to Sam’s Club to pick up some groceries. I have a love-hate kind of relation with going to Sam’s Club, or any other big-box/discount warehouse type store on a weekend. I hate it because everybody living anywhere this side of the galactic center also waits for the weekend to show up there. And most of them don’t seem to have a clear idea of what they’re supposed to do once they get through the front door. They wander aimlessly around; completely oblivious to the fact that there are 547,356,245 other damn fools in the building, also. Morons.

On the other hand, I love it because every isle in the grocery section is a veritable smorgasbord of tasty delights. It’s a freebie tappas/dim-sum bar. You can get free samples of everything from fruits and veggies to Buffalo wings. I do wish they would start having free drinks, though. I could have used a cold drink after those wings! A sip of Jack Daniel’s would have also soothed my angst nicely.

I’m going to make a few changes on my website (again) soon. I’m thinking of deleting the “Rod’s Sketchbook” blog, and just setting up a section in the Art Gallery for it. I’m also looking at the resurrected “Stupid Computer Tricks” and “F-Stop” sections. I brought back SCT, and posted the F-Stop for a couple reasons. One of the main reasons was to experiment with Google’s AdSense program. I read some things on a website a few weeks ago relating the site’s success with AdSense as an income stream. In a nutshell, you put AdSense links on your website, and every time someone clicks on one of the links, you get paid a certain amount. My results – so far – have been, shall we say, less than spectacular. In the 3 or 4 weeks I’ve had them up, I’ve had – hold your breath – two, count ‘em, two clicks. This has resulted in the dazzling total of (gasp) twenty-seven cents! Wow! And the thing that sucks is I can’t even encourage visitors to click on the links. For instance, I can’t say something like: “Hey, take a moment to click one of the ad links. It costs you nothing, and it helps support Rod’s Lair!” No. I can’t say that. My bad. Bad Rod. Verboten. Disallowed. Huh-uh. Invalid.

Aw, come on, folks, read between the lines, already. What…. I gotta draw you a friggin’ picture?

Anyway, I’ll probably be removing the AdSense NonSense soon. If it’s not gonna earn it’s keep, away it goes, my precious. And I just refuse to put advertising crap all over every page of my website. I’ll take the whole site down and forget it before I do that.

Well, I’ve just been the chatty one tonight. I’ll sign off for now, but please keep stopping by the Lair. Cool stuff coming, I promise!

Elen sila lumenn omentilmo (A star shall shine on the hour of our meeting)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday Night

It's finally Friday and payday as well. Since we go back to standard time this weekend, we even get an extra hour - and boy, can I use it!

I'm finally making a little progress with my workload. One of the guys helped me out in a huge way today by taking five PM calls which were all at one location. Thanks, John, I owe you one. Or five. After this week, I'm pretty exhausted, and looking forward to what I hope will be a semi-relaxing weekend. Although it appears I may be playing taxi driver again Saturday.

Looks like my new Dremel toy will arrive next Wednesday. I sent another e-mail to MaxTools yesterday, requesting some kind of an update. I got this response today:

"I just checked with my purchaser and was advised that we should have this product within the next couple days. Since we just started carrying Dremel a few weeks ago we hadn't received our full stock from the company. I do apologize for the inconvenience however your order should be shipping out within the next few days. If there is anything else that I can assist you with please let me know."

Let's see - I placed this order on the 21st, and my PayPal card was debited immediately. As of the 27th, I'm told it should ship "in a few days." WTF?? You know, this kind of horsecrap is starting to piss me off a bit. I mean, when I go to a customer location to service the copier, I'm expected to do the job right and leave my customer with a fully functional machine. And believe me, if the they feel it isn't fixed to their satisfaction, they won't let me drive out of the parking lot before they're back on the phone. But if it's going the other way - i.e. I'm the one expecting decent service, it's not really important. All I get are excuses. But then, I guess my little under 100-dollar purchase isn't as important as the contractor with a 20,000 dollar order.

At any rate, I finally did get a notice that it has been shipped. I'm glad, but with it taking 6 days from order placement to ship it, I'm not terribly impressed. I have several attachments I want to order for this tool, but I doubt I'll get them from MaxTools.

Jeeze - enough, already. It seems all I do is bitch lately. I hope I can post a more positive entry sometime this weekend.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Just a Quick Update

Well, here it is Thursday night and I've finally got around to posting another entry.

Things have been busier than ever this week. Monday wasn't too bad, but the floodgates opened wide on Tuesday. The calls just poured in - I ended the day with about 17 calls up. After coming back from the disaster of a vacation last week, that was the last thing I needed. I've been busting my backside since Tuesday, and as of this evening I still have about 13 calls up. The good news is that most of them are PMs (preventative maintenance - think of it like an oil change on your car). The bad news is that a full PM takes about two hours.

I think I need another vacation.

I had another birthday the 20th. Whoopie. Jo bought me dinner, and we had a nice evening.

I decided to buy myself a birthday present since my Sears rotary tool decided to crap out on me last week. I ordered a new Dremel 395 kit with a flex-shaft attachment (no flex-shaft wisecracks, either!) and lots of other goodies from I was hoping to have it by this weekend, but when I checked earlier today, it hadn't even shipped yet! Hopefully it will arrive next week sometime. I've got some projects it will be real handy for!

Well, I'll sign off until I come up with something more exciting!


Saturday, October 21, 2006

The End of a Crappy Vacation

Well, I had hoped to have a few photos to post of enjoyable activities during my so-called vacation. I didn’t shoot one photo during the entire week off. To put it in a word, my vacation sucked.

Most of it was spent in the house since it was too gloomy, cold, and rainy to do anything outside. The two mild, beautiful days all week were spent mostly running errands and sitting in hospital waiting rooms. I certainly don't mind helping out, but sometimes it's good to have a little break from the routine.

I got one mileage check at the first of the week, but we were quickly relieved of it when one of the garage door springs broke. $150 bucks to replace two door springs.

It’s Saturday, now, and once again it’s cold and gloomy, and has been raining all day. The same is predicted for Sunday.

I’ll be headed back to work Monday, but instead of going back refreshed and renewed, I’ll go back frustrated and exhausted.

Like I said, this vacation sucked. I don’t know why I bother taking them anymore.
Sorry for the negative tone – I’m just extremely depressed.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th!

Despite the stigma attached to today's date, it has been a pretty good day for a change.

First, there was some badly needed GOOD news on the cancer front today. The cancer is a very slow-moving variety, and no chemotherapy is needed at this point. If it becomes neccessary - later - there are oral medications to control it.

Next, we had a team meeting/lunch today, and we went to Houlihan's. Excellent! Of course, food always tastes better when someone else is buying!

Thirdly, I have a week of vacation to look forward to. Far too soon, of course, I'll be typing about it being over. Man, I wish we could hit the Powerball!

I'm hoping to get a little more done on my backyard patio, but we'll see. I also hope to get out of town for a little while - probably just a day trip. Hopefully I'll get a chance to do a little photography.

Perhaps things are turning around a little bit.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

And Now, This......

Just click the title above.


I'll have to admit - I've worked on copiers since 1981 (minus the 8-year break working for Gateway), and I have yet to encounter this one. Maybe I'm just lucky - in this aspect, at least.

A Quick Update....

I know the posts here are becoming more infrequent, and even more infrequent on the “Rod's Sketchbook” blog. I’m hoping to be able to update more frequently soon, but the simple truth is I just have not had the time or enthusiasm lately.

With the continuing health crises that just seem to intensify with each day, things have just been incredibly stressful around here. Cancer with one family member. Heart problems with another. We haven’t yet healed from the loss of my father-in-law in January. And we just keep getting hammered with more and more. It’s just bad news, after bad news, after more bad news. It’s getting to be increasingly difficult to get up and face another day of it. And yet face it I must. I’m not ready for the alternative – not yet.

I hope one day to be able to post some good news here; and some happy things. Maybe someday.

I’m working on a new section for the Photography Section. It’s called “The F-Stop.” Several years ago when I was very active with the now-defunct Kansas City Metro Photographers’ Association, I had a website on Geocities with the same name. It had articles on homemade photo/studio equipment, photo techniques, and so on. I’m bringing back a more concise version of this site with even more articles and interesting photo stuff. Look for it very soon.

I have a week of vacation coming up next week. We had planned on getting out of town for a couple days, just to get a break from all the damn tragedy – but the Kia took care of that idea the last few weeks. With over $1600.00 in repairs, the money we had saved for vacation is pretty well history. At least it will be a break from running amok all over town for a week. Maybe – and that’s a big maybe – I’ll have a chance to shoot a few photos, or do something else with my wife that doesn’t involve doctors or hospitals.


Thursday, October 05, 2006


I couldn't think of a clever, catchy title, so I just typed Thursday. Things are pretty much the same old crap around here.

Had to take the Kia back to Jack Miller again today. The check engine light came on after my second call of the day. I was not happy. At least they didn't rake me over the coals financially this time. The service advisor (the same one the previous service advisor said didn't work there any more) told me that the connector they replaced last time had a pin with a loose connection. They were very apologetic, and didn't charge me anything. Perhaps it was the fact I was slowly changing into a snarling, drooling werewolf/Hulk in front of their eyes that indicated to them that I was less than pleased. At any rate the Kia is doing well again. At least until next week.

I've got the fall decor on the website, as you've probably already noticed. If not check out the Rod's Lair link at right. I'll be starting on the winter version soon - in between all the freaking crises that keep popping up.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

Another Wonderful Week...

This has been yet another bad news week. As if we ever get anything else anymore. Only 9 months after losing my father in law, we now learn that my mother in law has cancer in one lung, and possibly both. More tests are scheduled for this week, but I’ve learned not to trust to hope. Not anymore.

You know, I’ve been taught all my life that there is a kind, loving, merciful Heavenly Father that loves and cares for us all. He hears and answers our prayers. Lately I am having a great deal of difficulty believing any of that. He certainly hasn’t heard our prayers. If anyone out there is actually reading this, send a prayer our way. Maybe He’ll hear yours.

I had to take the Kia back to Jack Miller this week so they could dig into my wallet again; to the tune of $188.00 this time. The check engine light came back on, and it was nearly stalling out every time I stopped at a traffic light. The Service Advisor told me that the previous Service Advisor no longer worked there. He also claimed this problem was unrelated to the previous $1450.00 trip to their service department. Right. We’ll see. I’m composing a letter to the owner of Jack Miller about this thievery – we’ll see what happens. I’ll have another letter ready to send to the Missouri attorney general’s office just in case.

Sorry for the tone of this post. Things have just sucked lately, and I’m a tad discouraged and depressed.

In other news, I’m almost done with the fall splash graphic for the website. I’ll be creating a few new graphic elements, and navigation maps as well. I hope to have it ready sometime this week. I’m also working on a new Premium Wallpaper section. There will be new works as well as some selected old images, both art and photography. They will be very reasonably priced, and ordering will be easier than ever.

Well, that’s it for now. Hopefully, someday, I’ll have good things; happy things to post here.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Drawing A Day Blog Name Change

I've just renamed my Drawing A Day blog to "Rod's Sketchbook." With the continuing medical crises that keep plaguing this family (we haven't even completed the healing process from the last loss of a family member - now another one has been diagnosed with cancer), I probably won't be able to keep up with making a drawing to post each day. I will still post new drawings/artwork frequently (it's the only thing that keeps me reasonably sane, lately), but I just can't promise it will be daily.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Construction Continues

Today was an absolutely beautiful day! I took full advantage, and spent most of the day working on the framework on my patio. It's looking good. Next, I need to get some plywood for the lower section (the lower 4 feet will be enclosed), then I'll start working on the framing for screens. I think this will be great for these cool fall evenings, where we can sit out on the patio without being attacked by the mosquitoes. More coming soon!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What a fun day today was!

Not really. Actually, today sucked. Bad.

It started yesterday on the way home. I stopped to gas up the Kia. When I started the engine, it revved up to around 3000 rpm, and started acting squirrelly. It wouldn’t shift right, then the check engine light came on, and another panel light started flashing. After a few minutes, it calmed down, and later on, the check engine light went out. I thought all was OK again. There I go thinking again.

On the way to my first call this morning, it started freaking out again. It seemed to downshift, and wouldn’t shift back up. Again, after a few minutes it calmed down, but I figured I’d better get it looked at before it exploded or something.

I took it back to Jack Miller Jeep Kia where I bought it, and the service advisor said they would run a diagnostic on it. $84.00.

If there is one thing I HATE doing, it’s taking a car in for service. I would rather have a root canal. I sat in the waiting room, enduring the cruel and unusual punishment of listening to an episode of Montel on the TV. Apparently, I’m terribly out of touch, as I was the only one in the room that wasn’t utterly fascinated with whatever group of dysfunctional idiots was airing their intimate family problems on national TV.

Presently, the service advisor came in to give me the news. “Well, your konoculator valve is shot, the kaniffelin sensor needs to be replaced, your veeblefetzer manifold is shot, and your forknab is out of alignment”. Total cost, $640-something bucks. I approved the work. I also told him to add an oil change, and the Missouri state safety inspection, as my license is up for renewal.

I contacted my boss, and he arranged to have my field manager come pick me up, so we could do a few calls rather than just blowing a personal day. Before Ron arrived, the service advisor came back in to tell me the Kia had flunked the state inspection. “Your wheel bearings need to be repacked, an idler arm is loose, and there’s a mysterious object connected to your dinfizzle hose. It was probably implanted by aliens. Additional cost: $450-something. Your total would be around $1100-something”. OK – gotta pass the inspection to renew the license. Crap.

I grabbed my tool case, computer, and notebook, and Ron and I took off to do some calls. About 2 hours later, my cell phone rang. It was the service advisor with yet more good news. “Your catalytic converter is hosed, and it needs a new gizhicky-dealybobber. Additional cost is $320-something. If we do it now, you’ll just pay for the parts, and not labor”. Thanks. I feel much better now. Go ahead, but please be gentle with me. I’m getting a little raw.

By the time all was said and done, it this little adventure cost me a little over 1400 bucks.

Like I said – today sucked.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Lair Porch Project # 2

Whew! I'm exhausted! I borrowed my dad's pickup truck today, and he and I picked up a bunch of lumber for my patio project. I haven't done this much construction work since we rebuilt the porch on the old house. Plus, I didn't get much sleep last night thanks to some unusual indigestion.

Although it doesn't look like much for an afternoon's work, I did manage to get the framework up on the north side of the patio. I've got one insulator hanger up, and will have a second up tomorrow - if it doesn't rain. The old crossarm I had across this side will attach to the outside flat part of the hangers, and I'll be able to hang my wind chimes from the bottom of it. It should be pretty cool!

More photos coming. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 15, 2006

That Won't Fly.....

Wow - it's been just crazy this week! I haven't posted anything since the 11th - in this blog, anyway. I've just barely managed to keep up with my Drawing A Day blog.

There's an air show at the Wheeler (downtown) Airport tomorrow. My original intent was to go pick up my Dad, and spend a couple hours at the show. The Blue Angels will be there, and they'll have a fly-by of a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. But..... You have to get tickets to get in - at $15.00 a head! And there's pretty much no parking at the airport, so you have to take a shuttle. We decided at 15 bucks each to skip the air show. We've both seen airplanes before (my dad was in the Air Force for 20 years, and I was in for 4), and if I want to get a photo of a B-2, I can just spend an afternoon hanging out around Knob Noster.

I think what I'll do this weekend is borrow my dad's pickup truck and get some lumber for my backyard patio project. I want to build a framework and screen in the back patio. I was out there for about 10 minutes after work this evening, and in that time I got nailed by mosquitoes about 6 times! I'd like to be able to hang out on the patio during these nice fall evenings without giving up a pint of blood.

Hopefully, I can get started tomorrow, and have some photos of the festivities.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 5 Years Ago......

I placed the following in my Drawing A Day blog. I wanted to place it here, too.

In remembrance of those we lost five years ago. Let us never forget. Let us always remember those who guard our freedom, and give their lives in its defense. Let us never forget that there are powers of darkness and evil awaiting any opportunity to take away our freedoms, and our lives. God Bless America!

Why Me?

I'm just relaxing for the last few minutes of my luch hour (half-hour, actually). I just left Perkins - I had intended to enjoy a second cup of coffee for the last few minutes. But I decided it would be more peaceful in my car.

Why is it that no matter how many open tables there are in a restaurant, if a family with 3 or 4 obnoxious, noisy, ill-behaved brats comes in, they ALWAYS end up right next to me? Why? I swear, next time a seater does that to me, I'm going to take him/her out back, and beat him/her with a wet fish.

Well, time to move on. I've got to go back to my daily call - a customer that calls in pretty much every day. They didn't miss a day last week, and they've already called in today. Fun, fun.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Saturday Stuff...

I don't have a lot to post today - no photos. We ran a few errands, and checked out a 20 - 40% off going-out-of-business sale at the local CompUSA. I picked up a 512mb flash drive and a couple reams of inkjet paper, but that was it. If the prices I saw today are 20 to 40 percent off, it's no wonder they're going out of business! Prices are much better at Microcenter or Tiger Direct.

I'm working on some fall-themed graphics for the website, and a few other goodies. You might want to drop back by on Monday (the 11th). I have a little something special for the date graphic.


Friday, September 08, 2006

A Long Short Week....

Even though this was a short work week, it was a looonnng one! The weekend is here, however, and I intend to make the most of it. I think I'll sleep through it.

Not really....

The last couple of days I've felt like I'm about to come down with whatever the latest creeping crud is that's going around. My throat has had a tickle for the last few days, and I've generally felt kind of blah. Not really sick, just blah. It seems to be going away today, though. Maybe it's just stress. Things have been a little out of control the last few weeks, and both Jo and her mom have had a dose of it. Combine that with the fact that during any given week, I'm in and out of several doctors' offices, hospitals, and convalescent centers and it's not surprising if I picked up some kind of bug. Copier technicians should get hazardous duty pay during flu season...

Come to think of it, we should get it anyway, as much time as we spend on the road. Let's see... This was a 4-day week. During this week I was:

Almost run over by trucks, busses, or other large machinery at least once a day.
Tailgated by mentally deficient cretins yammering on cell phones at 70 mph pretty much every time I got on the road.
Nearly creamed by idiots that just HAD to get through that intersection - red light notwithstanding - 12 times.
Forced to dodge one pinhead backing up to get off the exit he drove past.
Forced to dodge 5 morons cutting across 4 lanes of highway traffic to make the exit they almost drove past while yammering on their cell phones.
Nearly forced to climb a nearby utility pole when a non-native of this country looked both ways before pulling out of a driveway, then pulled out regardless of the fact I was coming down the street.
Forced to quickly change lanes 3 times by dimwits failing to yield when entering the highway while yammering on their cell phones.
Forced to quickly change lanes by a witless woman drifting over into my lane while reading the book she had propped up on her steering wheel.

God must love idiots - He made so many of them...

Yeah, I'm all for hazardous duty pay for those of us who drive as a profession. Either that, or a license to carry (and use) a BFG.

Well, my company finally came through with the mileage reimbursement check I haven't had for the last three weeks. After that long, and with the miles I drive, it was a hum-dinger! Maybe I ought to buy a couple new geek-toys.

I'm working on a new splash graphic for the website, along with a few other fun Ideas. I'm beginning to get back into drawing again, and I'm finding it very relaxing. It's becoming difficult to break away from it at night when bedtime rolls around. I try to shut down in time to hit the sack by 11:00, but I have yet to actually have the lights out earlier than 11:20. I used to stay up until almost 2:00AM sometimes - even on work nights. I can't do that anymore. It's a lot easier when you're in your 20s or 30s. Not so much now.

I'm hoping to have the Fall Theme up on the website in the next week or so - maybe sooner if I get my butt to work instead of sitting here typing this drivel....

Hopefully, I'll have a photo or two to post this weekend, but for now I'll sign off!


Monday, September 04, 2006

I Knew This Was Going to Happen...


I used to enjoy watching this guy on TV. I thought he was a little crazy sometimes - screwing around with deadly creatures - but he died doing what he loved. We'll miss you, Crocodile Hunter....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Just Relaxing.... Yeah, Right!

What a beautiful day today was! My intent had been to relax inside, and do some artwork, but it was just too nice a day to stay indoors. I've been wanting to clean out the patio out back, and the lawn needed mowing, so I "relaxed" by working outside most of the day. I took a photo of my clean(!) patio. I hope to start putting up framework soon so I can screen the patio in - hopefully before the cold weather sets in. I had a good day today - the spiders and crickets didn't fare so well! More photos here.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fun Guy With Fungi....

Well, today was a busy Saturday. Jo's mom hasn't felt well for the couple weeks, so we went in and did her grocery shopping as well as our own. After that, I went over to my dad's to check out his new geneology software.

After I got home, I grabbed my camera and went over to my next door neighbor's to get some photos of the magnificent crop of mushrooms in her front yard. I don't know what particular species these are, but they're coming up in yards everywhere this year. The ones in my neighbor's yard are the biggest ones I've ever seen. The 'shrooms in the photo have a diameter of about 7 inches. These things are huge! She told me that her son is coming over in a couple days to mow the lawn, so I'm glad I got photos of them! For more mushroom photos, click the September link to the left. (If you are reading this from a location other than my "Latest News" page, just click the link)


Friday, September 01, 2006

TGIF - 3-Day Weekend!

It's Friday of a three day weekend - YAY! Of course the way it's working out, I'll have one day out of three to actually relax. Maybe.

Today - to sum it up in a word - sucked. It seems like the last few days, all I've done is go back to the same machines I've worked on within the last 2 or 3 days. I feel like I'm beating my head against a brick wall sometimes. Today was typical. Of the 4 calls I did today, only the first call was one I hadn't worked on in the last 2 days. And then they called me back this afternoon. Why? They were getting crooked copies. Why? The paper guides in the main paper tray were a half inch from the paper on both sides! Someone loaded paper in the tray, and didn't bother to slide the guides back into position.

Aside from that, it's been a beautiful day. The weather is nice and cool, and I think we're done with the opressive heat for this season.

I'm working on a couple art projects at the same time. I have the one project I've been talking (or typing) about for the last couple weeks. And I'm working on a fall-themed splash graphic for the website. I'm going to try to create a graphic "theme" for each of the 4 seasons, beginning with fall. I'll change the color scheme of the website to reflect the season. Fall will have browns, reds, and other earth-toned colors. Winter will have blues, grays, and other cool-toned colors. I'm not going to give away too much, though - you'll just have to come back to check things out.

For now......

Thursday, August 31, 2006

End of August

Well, it’s the last day of August – fall is almost here! I’m ready.

We had a meeting at work today, and I had a chance to check out our new building – nice. They passed out extra memory for our laptops, which definitely sped things up. We’ve also hired a couple new techs, so hopefully things will calm down a bit. It hasn’t been too bad the last few days, but things are still pretty busy.

We’ve had some storms lately, and the heat wave of late appears to be over. I know I’m ready for cooler weather!

I took this photo of a spider web on my patio this evening. Nice web, but it looks like no one’s home. I’m hoping to do some work on this patio this fall. My eventual plan is to screen it in to eliminate all the leaves and bugs. It will also make a nice place to relax on cool evenings like today.


Monday, August 28, 2006

The Price of Cheeseburgers...

Great googly-moogly! And I thought gas was expensive!!

Saw this sign next door while lunching at Perkins - just had to take a photo.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Drawing A Day

I've just created a new blog. It's called "A Drawing A Day," and you can check it out by clicking the link to your left, the link in the sidebar, or just click on the title above.

I'm not going to repeat everything I just wrote in the new blog, but basically, I'm going to attempt to upload a new drawing each day. Wish me luck!

Well, once again today, we had to rush out south to fix another little emergency - a setting on the VCR this time. I sure wish the other relatives could help out a little bit. This has become a very disruptive situation.

We're getting some fairly severe storms at the moment. No lightning like the other night (BTW, my pole is unharmed!), but I can hear thunder, and the tornado sirens are going off. Never a dull moment at Rod's Lair.....


Friday, August 25, 2006

TGIF.... And a Short Rant

Well, what a week! It’s finally Friday, and I’m really glad – it’s been hell this week. Today was typical – I started off with 9 calls plus 4 incompletes (calls that parts have been ordered for). I hit 6 calls today, including 2 incompletes, and canceled one call that I fixed with a phone call. By the end of today, I had 9 calls, and 4 incompletes. Seems like I’m beating my head against a wall. And it seems all the other techs are just as busy.

As busy as we are, I was surprised to get an e-mail message on my Nextel this morning announcing that 4 or 5 techs were off today! WTF? Ah, well, job security, I guess. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were all in one part of town, but in a typical day, I’ll go anywhere from Excelsior Springs (way up north), to Kansas City, Kansas, to Grandview or Peculiar (way down south – and yes, there really is a town called Peculiar, Mo.). And of course to get to any of these locations, one has to endure the unrelenting, unbelievable, cluster-#### that is driving in the Kansas City metro area.

For those reading this that do not live in or around the Kansas City area, let me explain the last sentence. I don’t think there is a highway, or major thoroughfare within 100 miles of Kansas City that isn’t under construction somewhere. It is literally impossible to get from one side of this metroplex to the other in under two hours. Every single road with an asphalt surface is blocked, reduced to one lane, closed or otherwise jacked up in at least two places somewhere along its length. The amount of road construction in this metro area is beyond ridiculous. Combine that with the hordes of Kansas City’s skilled and courteous drivers, and by the end of the day I’m ready to commit some serious mayhem. Fortunately, I’m usually too damn exhausted to do so.

Speaking of driving in Kansas City……

I would like to take a moment to publicly apologize to all those friendly, happy folks I inconvenienced this afternoon on southbound I-435. I am truly so very sorry I got in the way by poking along at 65mph. I know you all probably had important business to attend to (like picking up a couple cases of Bud for the weekend), and it was very inconsiderate of me to interfere by doing the speed limit. What the hell was I thinking? I know you are all very skillful and courteous drivers, and as such are exempt from paying any attention those stupid speed limit signs (or stop signs, or traffic lights). And thank you to all the nice, friendly folks that waved at me as you passed at 85mph. Although, next time I’d appreciate it if you’d use all your fingers.

At any rate, the weekend is finally here, and for once it looks like we may actually get to use it for a little relaxation. Woo-hoo! I’m working on some concept drawings for a new piece for the Sexy Faeries gallery. It’s going to be a rather involved piece, and I think it will be a lot of fun.

OK – I just about wet my pants……

I have the Military Channel on the TV next to me. We are also starting to have some storms outside. They’re talking about some new, futuristic weapons on the TV, and they just fired a smart missile at a tank. Just as the tank exploded on TV, lightning hit something real close out back. I damn near jumped out of my chair! Jeeze – I hope it wasn’t my pole out back…

Well, enough of this banter. I’m going to go change my underwear, and check my pole. Oops, that didn’t sound good, did it?


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Is Nothing Sacred??

OK - this is just too much to handle. Pluto isn't a planet anymore? Is everything I learned as a kid now invalid? Does 2 plus 2 still equal 4? And what about Jupiter? It's not a planet, it's a big ball of gas. Did Al Gore really invent the internet? So many questions, so little time....

Sunday, August 20, 2006


This is just an experiment to see if I can manage to upload another photo.

Looks like it worked. I guess if I want to upload several photos, I'll have to do it one post at a time. It's kind of a pain in the rear, but at least it works.

I'll just have to do it this way for now, until I find a way that works the way I want it to.


Sunday - Third Attempt

Today was a gorgeous day! The heat wave we’ve had lately has subsided at least for a while, and it was just a great day to be outdoors. I took Jolene in to spend some time with her mom, and I stopped by to spend the afternoon with my dad.

My dad has quite the green thumb, and has a pretty nice variety of plants at his place. We spent a little time taking some photos in his garden.

I’ve been trying for the last hour to post a total of four photos from today, but have managed only the one you see here of my dad and one of his fence-dwelling plants. I’ve tried about 10 times to upload, but no photos – this Blogger thing may not work out as well as I thought it would. For more photos from today, click on the August link to the left, then click today’s date (08-20-06).

My dad gave me some seeds for a Spider Plant (no, it doesn’t grow spiders!). I’m thinking about placing a quad of railroad ties around my telephone pole in the backyard, and planting a little garden in that space. I may well put these Spider Plants in that area.

Now that (hopefully) the hot weather is backing off for this year, I’m hoping to get my rock garden completed on the east side of the house. I’ve got some ideas that I think will look pretty neat.

Recently, I’ve been concentrating on reawakening my drawing skills. I used to draw all the time many years ago – before I had these computers to plot against me daily. I forgot how therapeutic it can be sitting down for a few hours with a pencil. It’s quite a relaxing escape to put on some music, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and just draw. I must do it more often – I’m finding I don’t have to reboot that pencil nearly as often as these spoiled brats I call my computers!

I’m working on a pretty involved piece right now that you will probably see in my Sexy Faeries section – eventually. I’m drawing the individual elements presently, and will eventually combine them together in Photoshop as a digital painting. I may well print out a draft copy and do a colored pencil painting. Stay tuned.

I’m hoping we can get out of town one weekend soon. We both need a break from all the stress of the past year or so. But for now…..


Saturday, August 19, 2006

The New Blog

As you can see, I’ve gone ahead and implemented this Blogger application for my Latest News section. What I’ve done is set this up so the blog appears in the main window of the Latest News page. It’s kind of the best of both worlds. I can still keep the same format, and have the blog as part of that format.

I will now be able to update the Latest News from wherever I happen to be at the moment – including uploading photos – plus, I can place additional information, images or whatever in the monthly sections, which are linked on the left.

I will leave the “comments” function active – however – I will moderate all comments before they are made public. So if you are planning on posting a spam comment, or just something stupid, don’t bother. It will never be seen. Plus I have comment verification turned on so that the spam robots will not be able to post their stupidity. If you just want to say hello, or post an intelligent comment (even if you disagree with something I’ve commented on), I will welcome your input.

I will archive each month, probably as a PDF file, and it will be available from the menu to your left.

I’m looking forward to this new feature – and hopefully, I’ll have some fun stuff to post here in the future.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Trying It Out

OK - I'm testing this Blogger gizhicky. I like the look, and I like the fact I can modify the look of it later on. For now, I'm just going to see how this looks. I get the impression that I can even host this on my server if I want. If this works out, I probably will once I've had a chance to check things out a little bit.