Under the J-Tree stars.

August 12,  as the moon went down, Sarah and I sat in a hammock and a mushroom chair and and gazed upwards.  There is a lot of sky out there.  Sarah had no idea so much stuff was visible up there.  At 10pm as the moon sunk below the horizon, It was so dark out in the open that the Sarah’s camera though the lens cap was still on.   It took almost 3 minutes of open shutter time to capture something with any light in it.  We were there to watch the Perseid meteor shower.

The reports said there would be from 60 to 100 per hour.  My average was one every 3-4 minutes.  We saw quite a few good ones that left streaks, and I even saw one that changed colors.  Others were out there for the event too,  the Jumbo Rock campground was very crowded for a Thursday night.   Enough to be irritating.  someone was yelling or flashing lights or driving in and out, well after the 10pm quiet time.  Next time we will find a more empty campground.

The worst part was my own clumsiness.  After the miracle of getting my dads old 2 room tent set up in 15 minutes of dusk light, keeping all kinds of interesting bugs out of Sarah’s cooking, I guess I was due.  As I got in the hammock, the soda in the cup holder launched all over me.  I was soaked in soda.  about an hour later, I attempted to grab my beer without getting up. not wise in a hammock.  I then wore that too.  The last two hours up I was laying on a bed of paper towels.

In the morning, the sunrise on the rocks was pretty, but it got hot fast.  And loud.  Someone had chosen that morning to beat the crap out of some kind of Tupperware with a stick, and it echoed through the rocks. We were packed and on the road with slur-pees by 10am.

Wish In One Hand…

The following was an entry from another blot in May of 2007

“i sent the following to the press enterprise about an hour ago.  somehow i doubt anyone will care tho.
With all that is going on with police perception regarding the recent outrage at the park, I have recently been part of an event myself that flipped my own perception of the police.”

“A wish in one hand…”

I grew up with the police as my friend.  My parents had friends that were cops, and I myself have friends who are cops.  When I was a victim of a home invasion robbery several years ago, the police were on my side.  I felt served and protected.
One of my friends who is now a cop, used to be a mechanic, like me.  One night, while driving a customers car home, he was rear ended, all be it a slight tap, by a drunk driver.   Bothered that this was a potential danger to other drivers, He called the sheriff, and followed the car.  After a string of persistent phone calls, an officer was finally dispatched to the home of the alleged drunk driver, and —  nothing happened.  No arrest, no ticket, no nothing.  Why?  The officer did not catch the person in the act of driving, it was only the word of a concerned citizen.
Last night, on the way home in a customers car, I was pulled over, held at gunpoint, handcuffed, and put in a patrol car. I then watched them do the same to my delicate new wife.  Due to my physical shape, It was hard for me to hear properly and comply quickly to the officers commands.  I was asked if I wanted to be shot.  It turns out, after an hour of wasted time, that a friend of the customer that owns the car I was driving, saw me get into his friends car, assumed I was a thief, and called the police.  There was no warning, or even a reason why in this situation a person, unaware of the circumstances, was given the credibility of word to have such a mentally jarring thing happen to me and my wife.  I was called a criminal by one officer, despite my trying to defend why I was driving the car.   He called it “joyriding” even though my purpose was to ensure that a car that came in with numerous problems was now reliable enough to be driven, and could pass smog.  I didn’t need to drive this car, I moved my own (much nicer) car around to take this one.  I drove the car for the same reason I drive others.  I have a very good reputation as a mechanic, and I wanted to keep it.  This car had to be right.
I no longer feel protected by the police.  And what I feel I have been served is usually in the hand opposite of a wish.

I have an image in my head that is hard to ignore, and it has even kept me from sleeping without the aid of lime tequila.  I sit helpless, handcuffed, and in pain from my legs trying to cramp, watching 4 unstable cops, (the riverside dept has a very bad reputation for shooting people on a whim) point guns at my wife as she tries to follow their commands.  the only good thing, is it has misplaced the image in my head of a guy getting hit buy a car on highway 74 a couple years ago.

The mess.

It’s too easy to get a drivers license in CA.  Not that it matters,  too many people are driving without one.  But, since those people don’t have any money, the go after parking violations at the mall and downtown that make the city 400 bucks a pop.   That goes for trucks too.  On my way home from work yesterday, I saw a double trailer truck pull on to the street in front of me and cut the corner too sharp (because he pulled out into traffic too soon), and took out a chunk of the curb.

This was on my way home from work around 6 pm.  Sarah left work at 11:00 am, and by the time i got home, she still was on the road.  That’s a 6 hour commute with a distance of 20 miles. Why?  because a truck tried to swerve around an idiot on the Friday before a 3 day weekend, and closed both directions of the 91 and the 71 freeways for most of the day, at a location that couldn’t be more of a bottleneck to begin with.  People were on the local radio stations talking about sitting outside their cars waiting for traffic to move in places several miles away from the accident, even on city streets.

It should be made clear that if a moron cuts off a truck, the truck is to hit them.  Especially if it in a pass.  The truck will win.  It will crush said moron, block only 2 lanes of traffic for maybe an hour, and then all will be well again.  Instead, 2 trucks, 4 cars and 8800 gallons of burning fuel were involved.

From now on, we will carry a credit card and a change of clothes in both cars.  Oh, and the Disneyland pass is to be kept on person.  We wont participate in this game.  We will go to D-land and/or stay in a hotel until the traffic toilet has been flushed.

Below is the caption from sigalert.com, of the reports on the accident.

Traffic Collision – Ambulance Responding – East 91 at 71    10:27 AM
* All Lanes Blocked    10:27 AM
* Big Rig on Fire    10:27 AM
* Big Rig vs Unknown Vehicles    10:27 AM
* Overturned Tanker Semi-on Fire    10:27 AM
* Per Reporting Party-All East Lanes Are Blocked    10:28 AM
* Transferred California Department of Forestry Perris    10:28 AM
* Black G All Lanes    10:28 AM
* Message/Item Delivered Corona Fire Department-En Route    10:28 AM
* Message/Item Delivered Corona Fire Department    10:28 AM
* Black Sedan Went Over Center Divider Blocking West 91 Slow Lane    10:29 AM
* Per Dup Black Sedan Was Hit By Semi now in West 91 Blocking Slow Lane    10:29 AM
* Message/Item Delivered Coroner Fire Department for B/line    10:30 AM
* Driver Oo Tanker Oo Vehicle    10:30 AM
* CHP Unit Enroute    10:30 AM
* Per Dup 3 Vehicle Traffic Collision Inlv on West Side Also    10:31 AM
* Sigalert Issued Log 630    10:36 AM
* Message/Item Delivered 8726 ETA 10 Mins    10:36 AM
* Per Corona Fire Department-Request West 91 Closed Prior to the 71-All Lanes    10:37 AM
* Per 30-Fully Enguilfed All Lanes East Stopped, Request Hard Closure    10:38 AM
* SNA See Line#35 Thanks-Request SNA Unit for Closure East 91 at Green River    10:39 AM
* 74-30 Start Santa Ana-Request Closure East 91 at Gr    10:39 AM
* Message/Item Delivered 8790    10:40 AM
* Message/Item Delivered 2    10:41 AM
* Message/Item Delivered Entac-Ofcr Mcqueen    10:41 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    10:41 AM
* Per Reporting Party-Fire is now Gr    10:42 AM
* S5 Request 1 of Riv Units Take Over Closure on West Side    10:44 AM
* Per S5 Do not Approach Tanker    10:45 AM
* CHP Unit Enroute    10:47 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    10:49 AM
* Per S5 Leave 71 Open-Request Rancho South 71 to East 91-Nothing West    10:50 AM
* Do U Need Caltrans to Close the 71 and We Have a Visual on the West Being Cloed    10:50 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    10:51 AM
* 601 Request Caltrans for Hard Closure with Cones-Divert Traffic off at Euclid    10:52 AM
* 74-30 // Tanker is Dual Gas Tanker With Tanker Trailer    10:53 AM
* S5 Contact Corona Police Department and Advise They Will Have Alot of Traffic Going Thorug H Area    10:53 AM
* S5 Traffic Collision on Bridge Request 71 Closed at Butterfield Ranch-Caltrans Sup is 97 With S5    10:54 AM
* East 91 at Green River Closed and West 91 Closed at 71    10:54 AM
* 601 En Route to South 71 at Butterfield Ranch for Hard Closure from 71 at 91    10:55 AM
* Per S5 Full South 71 Closure Does not Wnat Vehicles Drivng Under 91 Bridge    10:55 AM
* Entac Updated With Closure Info    10:55 AM
* 74-M1-South 71 to West 91 Barricaded off-Media Calls Refr to Ofcr Walker    10:57 AM
* Per 30-6 Vehicles Involved-Unknown Any Further-2 on West Side, More on East Side    10:58 AM
* S2 Copys Rancho ER to Close the 71 ** Tanker on the Bridge Per 74-S5    10:58 AM
* Request Caltrans Engineer to Check Out Roadway When All is Clear    10:59 AM
* Per S5-Ascertain If There is Another Truck East Just East of Traffic Collision-P    10:59 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    10:59 AM
* 45 B Advise Right Shoulder is Completely-Trying to Clear    11:01 AM
* S5 Not on 15 Closure-All Message Sign Signs Need to Activated That There is No Way throught the 91    11:01 AM
* Euclid On Ramp to South 71 Shut Down By 601-603 97 Shut Down South 71    11:03 AM
* 4-H80 // at Lake Arrowhead En Route to Traffic Collision    11:05 AM
* 603-Request ETA for Caltrans on Hard Closure South 71 at Butterfield Ranch    11:06 AM
* Per 45 B Right Shoulder Clear    11:06 AM
* 601 Caltrans Doing Sweeping Euclid On Ramp to North 71-Will Try to Help with What They Have There    11:12 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:12 AM
* Per 8726 Closure is East 91 at Green River and Orange Cty Caltrans is Handling That Closure, West 91 is Closed at the 71, Diverting to North 71, South 71 is Closed at 91    11:16 AM
* Per 45 B Entire 91 Shut Down at Gr-When Corona Police Department is 97 Keep On Ramp Clear So Vehicles Can Exit Wrong Way    11:16 AM
* Per Fire-2nd Invld Big Rig is on the East 91 Transition to North 71-Carrying Load of Compressed Argon (?)-Request G Unit for 11-10    11:18 AM
* Message/Item Delivered S5-Truck Parked on Right Shoulder-is Involved    11:19 AM
* CHP Unit Enroute    11:19 AM
* S5-Request Rancho Unti to Assist Caltrans With Butterfield Ranch Closure All Ways Closed    11:22 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:22 AM
* Per 86-S20 Request Corona Police Department-to Assist With Gr Closure    11:23 AM
* 603 Cps Line 122-All Lanes Shut Down    11:25 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:26 AM
* CHP Unit Enroute    11:29 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:34 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:34 AM
* Message/Item Delivered Sbso-Will Roll a Unit to the 71 /91    11:41 AM
* CHP Unit Assigned    11:42 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:44 AM
* S5-6 Hours Closure and Will Probly Be Closed Longer    11:45 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:49 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:50 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:50 AM
* Reporting Party Advise Stuck in Cole Canyon Due to Traffic Collision with Sev Vehicles-Request Assist Getting Out    11:52 AM
* Per Sbso-71 at Pine-Several Party S Going Wrong Way Down the Pine Off Ramp-Sbso Will Advise What Direction on the 71    11:53 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:53 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:53 AM
* CHP Unit Assigned    11:53 AM
* CHP Unit Enroute    11:53 AM
* CHP Unit Enroute    11:54 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:54 AM
* CHP Unit Enroute    11:54 AM
* Request Unit to Allow Traffic to Exit to Get Back on West    11:58 AM
* Per 123-601 Caltrans is On Scene-123-601 En Route to Pine Ave Off Ramp    11:58 AM
* CHP Unit on Scene    11:59 AM
* Per 123-603-Caltrans Has a Hard Closure in Place = 71 @ Pine Off Ramp    12:07 PM
* Advise There is Fire Personell Stuck in Traffic, Need Escort to Get Fire Personell    12:11 PM
* 123-601 Request Caltrans with Hard Closure-Pine On Ramp to South 71    12:12 PM
* CHP Unit on Scene    12:12 PM
* Message/Item Delivered 8734    12:14 PM
* Per H80-Jfi 91 East Closed at Wier Canyon and North 241 to East Diverting Traffic, H80 Landing at Chino Airport for Fuel    12:18 PM
* Thomas Guide Map Coordinates: Page 742, Grid 4D

The Caddy

Some of you may know that my truck has an image that is not being fulfilled.  An opportunity may be coming up to change that, so i am considering how i would like it to look.  One idea is to paint the truck so it looks like it was CNCed from a block of aluminum.  please consider the following images, and give me some ideas.  (i know the music sucks, but i didn’t pick it.)

The Difference Between a “Repair” and a “Fix”.

I have a proposition to repair your broken car.  Yes it is broken, we agree.  You can’t take it anywhere without loads of money.  Everything it does is a pain in the butt, and costs you money for a long period after you drive it.  Its not reliable, you have to wait a long time before you can go anywhere, and once you do get it to move, it is in everyone’s way and it takes forever to get anywhere.  It uses huge amounts of fuel.  It has been know to kill people.   Most people have no idea how to drive it.  So,  lets fix it.

My idea for a repair comes from many people who listen to what lobbyists, environmentalists, politicians and a few transportation specialists want.  Its not perfect,  It will cost a lot of money, and you don’t have a choice, I demand that you fix it.  In fact, if you choose not to fix it, I will charge you anyway, and expand my operations to enable me to collect that money for not fixing it.    I insist that instead of coming up with  better repair plan, that you use my fix now.  Yes, this is not really a true fix, but a set of things that we attach to your engine that absorb all the leaks and quiet the noises, like a diaper and a pacifier.  I know its not perfect, but it the best we can do for now.  I believe its better to do this than to wait a while longer until better materials can be ordered, and a proper repair made.  Your car is in crisis, and I insist.  After all, in a few years I wont be the one running this shop, so it will be someone else’s problem.

This is my own analogy of the current health care bill.  I believe it shows the real “fix” we are heading into. If this was my mechanic, I would rather walk.

Geneva Auto show

Here is what interests me about the recent  car show in Europe.
Porsche 918 Spyder

This is the Porsche 918 spyder hybrid.  has a 500hp V8,  lithium ion pack with front and rear electric motors at 218hp, total being 718 HP, 0-60 3.6 seconds

VW is coming out with a new truck.  Its a midsized, looks like the Colorado,  called the Amarok  Comes only  with a 4 cyl turbo diesel.  Obviously not for the US market, but that’s not surprising,  None of their other trucks have been here for the last 25 years.

Ferarri is making their California into a hybrid but “Not for the US market”?  Hmmm

Audi R8 has a v8 with  8400 rpm red-line

Lotus is building a “range extender” electric car has a synthetic engine sound.  Your choice of v6, v12, or “futuristic engine sound”  for those children who can afford it.

*this information was gathered from c-net.com, and their “car tech” podcast.

Finaly We Get the Tooth

Well, Its done.  I have finished the removal of the can opener, and have my new grill installed.  This week, I ate a huge Red Delicious apple, chicken wings, A huge Hamburger, and my foot while trying to speak.  I also discovered I can no longer hold my pen-light in my mouth, or open a bag of chips with any precision.   School starts this week, so I expect to see a difference in how people treat me, which is the whole reason for this investment.  We shall see if it pays off.   Sarah gave the kissing test a thumbs up.   Now, if I could do something about that chin.

WOAH, WOAH, (what a feeling) Toyota

Just to be clear up front, I like Toyota, they build a good car.  Kinda boring for the most part, but under the hood, they make one of the most reliable drive assemblies I have ever seen.

Here is a link to a story, but it’s blah blah.  The thing to look at is the photo.  If this is the actual problem, it makes sense.  It looks like the gears tend to wedge themselves together and stick.  The fix looks decent, but it’s too early to tell.  In my opinion, the proper fix is to replace this design with an older one that doesn’t use gears. In reality, this would cost millions of dollars to do, as there are over a million cars with the problem.

However, there is an even more simple solution that can be done in software.  Volkswagen has, built into the software in the control module, instructions to ignore the gas pedal signal if the brake pedal is pushed for a number of seconds. this can be done through Toyota with a software update.

I can tell you that this is not an electrical problem.  Almost all cars are “drive by wire” now.  So are some newer jumbo jets. This means there is no mechanical function from the gas pedal to the engine.  The sensor is actually 3 separate resistors that the computer looks at. The position of that sensor is seen by the computer, and the appropriate position is actuated by a stepper on the throttle assembly on the engine.  If there is a problem with any one of them, the check engine light will come on, and the car goes into “limp mode”.  The throttle automatically returns to a ‘just above idle’ position (its designed natural rest state).  Same thing if the throttle body itself sticks, and your foot is not on the pedal at all.  In this Toyota situation, the computer has no idea that your foot isn’t there, it just sees that the pedal is down.

In any fly by wire car, the proper thing to do is put the car in neutral and step on the brake to stop, then call a tow truck.   The engine will sound scary as it revs up, but there are controls that keep that revving from destroying itself.  similar to how the RPM in a race car is limited.

I do not recommend this, but my own response is to turn off the ignition.  When you do this, you lose all the power assist that the engine provides making it harder to stop and steer.   However, many newer cars have a push button instead of a key.  To shut the engine off in an emergency, hold the start button for 3 seconds.

The very idea of putting yourself in a metal box that turns small explosions into bone crushing speeds is a risk.  What I’m tired of hearing about is that its all Toyota’s fault.  No, its the drivers fault, driving is a risk.  Anyone killed in a car took the risk to get in it in the first place.  Many innovations reduce that risk, but none eliminate it.  If anything goes wrong in a car, its panic and stupidity that will kill you faster.  Think.  Get to know your car.  Learn how it works, learn how to drive it, how to stop it, and what breaks it.  Stop treating it like an inconvenience you tolerate.  Oh, and RTFM!

Global Squirming

How the World Was Made.

LEGO Globe Europe Africa
News broke today, that another element of Al Gore’s Inconvenient movie was false.  The UN admitted to the artificial creation of data about Iceland icebergs and how fast they are melting.  This comes months after data came out about a lake in the Middle East,  that supposedly dried up from global warming, actually dried up because of nearby water demands, very similar to how the Owens Valley lake disappeared.

I watched a  Netflix release of a History channel documentary last night called “How the Earth Was Made.”  While much of the early science of the earth’s history is still in doubt,  it did make some clear points about how silly Humans are in their efforts.  Here are a few points.

The planet has already gone through 3 phases of extinction of life.

The planet has gone through a snowball age, and several ice ages.  The current position of the tectonic plates effects the ocean currents such that a 15-20 thousand year cooling and warming cycle occurs.  Human activity will only delay the inevitable.  (by maybe 20 years)

Most of the world’s volcanic activity has caused greater destruction than anything mankind has invented, several times over.

Pangaea was not the first super-continent.

We, and most life on the planet can be wiped out in many ways, including entire sections of the mantle blowing apart due to magma bubbles in the core,  ice sliding across New York, Asteroids, and even shifting plates shuffling continents like folding rugs.

The Matterhorn is made from chunks of 2 different continents. (not the one at Dizzyland)

Scientists have “proven” things about the earth many times, and then “proven” them wrong. Despite all we have learned, we still simply don’t know that much.

Also on the disc is a long documentary about volcanoes.  The special features end with a disguised apology for the human race with global warming,  in which the scientists contradict what was said in the feature.

Some things do not make sense to me, like the existence of water before oxygen.  considering the composition of water, and the existence of lightning, there must have been oxygen before the first signs of life.  Also, since the existence of iridium is due to asteroids, and its breakdown is slower than uranium, why is most of the iridium around today from newer asteroids?

While this video leaves unanswered questions, I still found it an enlightening learning experience.

Volvord no mord