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......