Monday, April 30, 2012

It's Miller Time!

What a mess!

Well, I was just messing around...

This was merely and experiment not an actual project.  The pocket facing the camera is almost twice the width of the cutter.  The pocket on top is a single cutter width.  They intersect about half way into each other.  Both were made with a flat end slot or edging router bit.  The top was chamfered (badly) with a V-cutting router bit.  The square U shaped slot on the near face was cut with a round end router bit similar to a ball end mill.

The shop looks and works much better rearranged as I described last night.  I can actually get at most everything!  I still have quite a bit of tidying up to do.  But these changes really are a major improvement.

Just thought I'd add these:

Much better!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I did it again!

So as we were heading out to the Pepperell town-wide yard sales I told Mum that I was going to be looking for end mills and crank handles.  Both would be used with the new vice on my drill press.  I didn't find any end mills today.  But...

Last year, I think it was closing day at the flea, I bought a much nicer scroll saw than I had been using in my little shop up to that point.  It was used and the deck had a light coating of rust, but it wasn't anything that a little elbow grease couldn't remedy.  So it came home with me and I played around with it for the next week getting it all cleaned up and trying a few test cuts with it.

Then the very next week at a yard sale I found another one.  Absolutely identical except for one little difference.  This one was brand new in the box!

I bought that one too.

The first (and it's predecessor if I remember to grab it from the shop in the morning) will be available for purchase tomorrow bright and early at Hollis.

Back to the crank handles I was looking for for my new machinists vice.

I found a set that fit perfectly at a yard sale today.  They were attached to an identical vice that's in slightly better shape than the one I bought last week.  The vice was (still is as a matter of fact) attached to a floor model drill press that is likewise in slightly better shape than the bench top model pictured in the post about my finally finding the vice.

Guess what I did...  :-D

You should have seen the fun I had getting that bench top drill press off of the old table saw body that had been its base!  I can't lift the thing.  With my bad back it's much too heavy.  So, employing the work smarter not harder philosophy I put together a two step rigging plan that got the job done.

Phase 1: I tied the table of the drill press to a structural frame that's holding up the roof over the shop with several wraps of paracord 550.  Using the table height adjusting crank I lowered the table until the rope lifted the drill press off of the saw making sure to carefully balance the machine so it wouldn't tip out of its cradle and crash to (possibly through!) the floor.  Once lifted I tied the head to the beam with more rope to stabilize the machine.  Then I wrestled the old saw body out from under it.  With that out of the way I removed the stabilizing rope and lowered the drill press with the table height adjuster onto the stool I keep in the shop.  On that I could walk it over to a point where the ceiling was a few inches higher and move on to...

Phase 2: With a tad more room above the drill press I rigged it this time with the same small block and tackle I had tried unsuccessfully to move Thunder with.  This time it worked like a charm!  Easily and under full control the drill press was lowered to the floor where I could move it out of the shop on my 2-wheeler.

The new drill press looks nice in the shop standing where the old one was.  And it takes up quite a bit less space.  With a shop as small as mine space is really at a premium!  Another benefit of this drill press over the old one: I can open the belt cover to adjust its speed!  The old drill press was right up against the ceiling beam and the belt cover couldn't be opened.  So it stayed set to the speed it was at when the guy I bought it from delivered it two years ago. If I'm going to try to use this for milling it is imperative that I be able to adjust the RPM of the cutter.  I'm actually going to get a chance to learn about speeds and feeds through first hand experience.


I'll update this with a picture of the new rig later in the day tomorrow.  Right now I should have been in bed a couple of hours ago.  The flea starts awfully early!

The promised updates:

The crank handle:

 Attached to the vice:

Attached to the drill press:

Oh, and I sold last weeks vice at the flea market today.

I think I'm going to move the new drill press to where the red tool chest is sitting with my brown machinist's tool box on top and put the chest and tool box where the drill press is now.  With some very monor tweaking I think that layout will give me the best access possible to my stuff and will minimize the floor space taken up by the drill press.

I didn't have much time to wander around today at the flea.  Car show weekend is always busy.  So I couldn't track down any actual end mills.  For short money I picked up a set of carbide router bits at Harbor Freight this afternoon.  That was about the closest thing they had to what I was looking for.  We'll see how that goes working some soft stock.  I'll have to see what kind of wood I have in stock to play with.  :-)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A new toy in the shop

I have been looking for one of these for quite a while.  I finally got my hands on one this very morning!  It's a machinists vice.  One with an X-Y translation stage as an integral part of the vice.  Basically, it can turn my drill-press into a limited capacity milling machine!  Sort of a mini Bridgeport!

I actually saw this vice last week at the little flea down the hill from Wal*Mart in Lunenburg.  Unfortunately I didn't have the cash on me at the time to buy it.  I would have right then and there if I had.  Mum and I made a special trip out there again today in hopes that the vice would still be available.  As I said last week to the guy selling it "If it's meant to be it will still be here.  If not, well, ..." such is life. (or some such.  I don't remember my exact words.)  Anywho, it was still there today so I snapped it up.

It seems to be in pretty good shape.  I have no idea how old it may be or how much use it may have had over it's life so far.  I also haven't found any builder's plate or other identification as to who made it.  It does need a good cleaning, lubrication and adjustment.  That is to be expected with this type of machine tool.  I will also have to replace both cranks.

Even after it's all cleaned up I don't expect to be doing any real precision machining.  I'm not sure mild steel is really a possibility using this with my drill-press.  Aluminum and other soft metals, plastics and maybe some wood should be workable using this rig.

First I need to clean it up and get it ready for action.  Then I need to dream up some things to make with it.

This is going to be fun!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

100 Years Later

Yes, kids.  Titanic was real. 

Jack and Rose were fictional characters in a fictionalized movie, but they were created by Jim Cameron as a way of telling you the story of the ship they were on. 

Captain Smith, J. Bruce Ismay, Thomas Andrews, John Jacob Astor and Molly Brown – they were all real people.  Some of them survived.  Others did not.  But they, the ship and their story were all real.

And it happened 100 Years Ago this night.  It truly was A Night to Remember.

100 Years Ago: Help is finally here!

At last Carpathia has arrived!  Immediately the crew sets about rescuing Titanic survivors from the lifeboats.  Final count: 705 people and 13 small boats.  All that was left of the greatest ocean liner in the world.

Soon other ships would arrive in the area including Californian soon after her radio operator got up, turned on his radio and found out what had happened overnight.

The morning papers would soon report the first news to a waking world that would hardly have believed it possible.

100 Years Ago: April 15, 1912 2:20 AM

Finally with all of her lifeboats launched and water spilling over the top of her watertight bulkheads at 2:20 AM on the morning of April 15, 1912 Titanic broke in half and sank.

Catpathia would not arrive on the scene until about 4:30 AM, over two hours later.  Califonian had already drifted out of sight.  Gradually the cries for help from the people in the water ceased.

All that was left now was to wait.

100 Years Ago: Women and children first

With Carpathia racing to the rescue, but knowing that the couldn’t get there in time it was time to start putting passengers into the lifeboats.  Knowing that there weren’t enough boats on board the crew was ordered to take woman and children first.  Even then many of the boats were lowered half empty.  Few aboard understood that Titanic was really sinking.  Only after the last boats were away did the really begin to comprehend the magnitude of the situation.

There were many hero’s this night.  And many not so much.

When Isadore Strauss was offered a place in the boats he refused.  His wife refused to leave his side.  They perished together.

John Jacob Astor, the Bill Gates of his day, calmly put his young wife Madeline in a life boat then stepped back.  He told her they would meet up in New York.  His body was found by one of the search and recovery ships some time later.

As one of the last boats was about to be lowered J. Bruce Ismay stepped aboard knowing full well that there were still over 1,500 souls aboard.  He survived – but may have wished he hadn’t.  He was hounded by the press and called a coward by almost everyone.

Captain Smith went down with his ship.

The ship itself in the hundred years since has become legend.  There were still survivors alive when the wreck was discovered in 1988.  There were even a few hardy souls who were aboard that night when the most recent movie about their tragic adventure premiered in 1997.  Sadly they are all gone now.  There is no one left alive who was aboard the Titanic this night 100 years ago.

100 Years Ago: Contact!

From very soon after the collision Titanic’s radio operator was sending out distress calls.  The new signal … --- … “SOS” in Morse code was used for the first time this night.

Finally they made contact!  Carpathia, a much smaller and slower ship than Titanic (and considerably farther away than Californian) radioed that they were steaming full speed ahead to come to their aid - at great risk to themselves since there was still ice in the area.

But they wouldn’t get there until around four o’clock the next morning.

Titanic couldn’t hold out that long.

100 Years Ago: Sounds like they’re having a party

Another item of note is that sound travels remarkable distances over calm water.  On the bridge of the Californian they could faintly hear music coming from the Titanic. 

Wallace Heartly and his band gathered on the deck of the sinking liner and played up-beat ragtime tunes that were popular at the time.  The idea was to try to keep the passengers calm even as the ship was sinking out from under them.

With the band playing ragtime the white rockets might be mistaken for fireworks launched during a party.

I’m NOT making excuses for the actions of the crew of the Californian.  Even so, looking at these events in real time – even though a century later – it does put a different spin on what thy might have been thinking at the time.  As much as I’ve read about and studied these events over the years since I became interested in all things Titanic I have never really viewed Californian in this light before.

100 Years Ago: What we have here is a failure to communicate...

The rockets that were fired from the wing bridge of the sinking Titanic were reported to Captain Stanley Lord aboard the much smaller liner Californian.  He did nothing and doomed over 1,500 people aboard Titanic to either freeze to death in the ice cold North Atlantic or to drown.  He went back to bed.

Ironically the radio operator aboard Californian sent yet another warning of icebergs in the area not long after 11:00 PM.  Titanic’s radio operator yelled at him (in Morse code) to shut up.  Radio was another new fangled thing back in 1912.  The radio operators were not part of the ships crew.  They were employed by the Marconi Company.  Their primary duties were to send telegrams from the wealthy passengers aboard the ships they were on.  After being treated so rudely by Titanic’s radio operator, the radio man aboard Californian shut off his equipment and went to bed.  Nobody on Californian’s bridge thought to wake him up to see if he could reach the ship they could see that was launching those rockets.

Another problem with the rockets:  Titanic was launching white rockets.  There were no international standards at the time for what color rocket to launch when in distress.  That was left to company standards set by each line.  At that time some company standards actually had white rockets meaning that other ships should stay away!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

100 Years Ago: While most of the world was asleap

100 Years Ago: right about now

Captain Smith and J. Bruce Ismay arrive on the bridge along with the ships architect, Thomas Andrews.  Reviewing reports of flooding from the mail room and other parts of the ship, the math doesn’t look good.  We only have one or two hours left.  With this much damage Titanic is going to sink and it’s unlikely any help can get here before it does.  And the worse news is that there are lifeboats available for only about half of the people onboard.

100 Years Ago: April 14, 1912 11:20 PM

Lookout Fredric Fleet rings Titanic’s bell three times and calls the bridge on the telephone from the crows nest.  His report: “Iceberg right ahead!”

Second Officer Lightoller orders: “Helm!  Hard to port!  All back full!”

Titanic has three huge bronze propellers.  The port and starboard screws, as they are called, are powered by enormous steam piston engines.  The center screw is powered by a new fangled steam turbine that uses waste steam from the piston engines.  But only when they are running forward.  With both main engines running all back full the center engine stops and so does the screw it drives.  It’s right in front of the rudder.  The stopped center screw causes turbulence and the too small rudder stalls.

The ship’s momentum carries it forward even against the straining engines that are trying to slow it down.

Titanic eventually starts to turn – but it’s too late.

Many survivors reported that the impact was barely felt.  The ship sideswiped the iceberg possibly only buckling a few hull plates and popping some rivets.

At 11:20 PM Titanic is mortally wounded.

The damage has gone beyond the first few watertight compartments.  The ship that was called unsinkable in the newspapers of the day is going to sink.  And nothing can be done now to stop it.


CORRECTION: I misremembered.  It was twenty minutes later at 11:40 PM

100 Years Ago: April 14, 1912 11:00 PM

Having ignored several warning of icebergs in the area, Titanic is steaming full ahead.  The goal of White Star chairman J. Bruce Ismay and Captain Edward J. Smith is to break the London to New York record set by Titanic’s sister ship the Olympic.  

At 11:00 PM all was well.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No rest for the weary!

The company I work for (available on a need to know basis – you don’t…) is moving.  Since we’re moving fairly soon and since packing totes seem to be going like airsoft pellets out of my full-auto AK-47-S AEG I figured I’d better start packing my office while there are still crates available.  So while my computer was taking its time processing a large file this afternoon that’s what I did.  All of my files and reference books are all boxed up and ready to go.  My personal museum of products I’ve worked on and SLAs of early designs are all packed away in totes.  What’s more, so are all of my plaques and pictures and awards and patent certificates.

It doesn’t feel like “my office” any more.

Monday, April 9, 2012

But I was hoping to get some rest…

OK, change of plans.  Instead of rest we’ll get in some preper training instead.  I thought the CPR/AED/ETC training I’d signed up for at work was next week.  If you haven’t had any follow-up training in the past couple of years you will want to update your skills.  They have changed a lot.  Adult CPR used to be A B C.  Airway, Breathing, Compressions.  Now it’s C A B.  Compressions first: 30 compressions at 100 per minute then head tilt* and lift chin to clear the airway, then two breaths.

* ONLY if you do not suspect a head or neck injury.

The rest remains much the same as I remember from my previous certification class.  It is good to review periodically anyway.

And one last thing: Don’t be the guy who’s watched every medical show on TV for the last thirty years and thinks he knows everything without needing any further training.  You don’t need to trach someone who’s suffering from low blood sugar.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Looking forward to work on Monday…

 … so I can rest!  (This seems to be something of a recurring theme here ‘bouts!)

We pick up the action mid-morning on Friday.  Good Friday as a matter of fact.  Since I had the day off I decided to use this gift of time to get a few things done.  Up first on the list was having the new (to me) van inspected.

The driver’s side ball joints are toast?  [R] ?!  Poo!

Off we went from there to Pepboys to find out their version of what it will cost to fix.  They came up with an estimate that was only $51 and some change short of what I’d paid for the van.  It would seen that they want to replace just about everything forward of the B-pillar, all with brand new parts.  Or better yet I should return the van.

Well, that ain’t happening!  Paying that much to have it fixed, that is.

Well, we had other things that need doing so we drove home to switch vehicles. 

“Attention K-mart shoppers!  We have a Blue Light Special …” 

Did someone mention cops?  Even as Mum was drawing a breath to comment on the thought that we’d probably get pulled over as we were pulling into our own neighborhood, we rounded the corner onto our street and I came to a full stop.  I counted four cruisers and more cops than that completely blocking the street!  It would seem that there may have been some sort of ‘issue’ amongst some of our neighbors.  I have no idea what sort of issue.  It’s just that there seem to be more ‘issues’ lately than there were when we first moved in.  We keep to ourselves for the most part.  So it only affects us from an entertainment point of view.

Now you may wonder why we might get pulled over in our new (to us) flea van.  You see, the van has brandy spanking new Marxistchusets plates, both front and back.  What it lacks is any sort of inspection sticker whatsoever.  It came to me through the used car dealership across the main drag from our little neighborhood by way of craigslist from ‘down south’ in Connecticut.  (Well, that is south of here…)  According to the registration I can drive it legally for 10 days.  By the end of that time I need to have it inspected.  Or else.  We are still within that window of opportunity.  But the cops would be perfectly justified in pulling us over – just to make sure.

I put it in reverse.

We backed out into the intersection from which we had just turned and I continued down to the next street.  We came at our driveway from the other side.  I pulled in ‘head in’ so the absence of a sticker would be that much less noticeable and because that’s how I park this van all the time anyway.

So after taking care of a couple of necessary things here at the house (made more necessary by our surprise welcoming committee) we hopped in Galileo and headed off to our next errand. 

It was time to have Galileo’s tires swapped from his winter cleats to his summer running shoes.  Since both sets of tires came from Sears that’s where we headed next.  While we were there I talked with them about “the other guy’s” estimate on the van.  Naturally they could only guesstimate what the van might need since I was there in my Beetle.  At first I was in shock when they quoted well over $800- just for the ball joints!  Pep Boys had quoted that part of the job at about $535-.  When I reiterated that it was only the driver’s side that need to be replaced the price suddenly came in at almost $100- less than Pepboys.  In the end we made a reservation for 0800 Saturday morning to get the van in the shop to replace the ball joints and have it looked at while there.

To sleep, perchance to dream – not me, this night.  Not even on my new lamp oil free mattress

With hardly a wink of sleep it seems I was up again and off to Sears in the van.  If we can get this done in time we may, I stress may, be able to get to the inspection station by noon to get the sticker.  We actually made it to Sears with ten minutes to spare.  But there were already three people in line ahead of us to be checked in.  What’s more, the guy immediately ahead of us hadn’t picked the tires he wanted so he and the check-in guy went in to the showroom for what seemed like forever.  We were finally checked in at 8:16AM.

After cooling our heels for most of the morning we finally got the van back at about ten minutes past eleven.  We were in Nashua.  The inspection station is in Lunenburg.  I called on my cell phone to let him know we were on our way.  On Saturday the shop closes at noon.

Why is it that when you absolutely positively need to get somewhere by a specific time you invariably wind up in back of someone out for a Sunday drive?  Even if it’s Saturday?

We arrived at the inspection station at precisely 12:05 PM.

No expletives were in need of deletion at this particular time.  At least not any major ones.  I’d used them all up after getting the quote at Pepboys the day before anyway. 

So we went off to Bickford’s to grab some lunch.  They’ve redone the décor since the last time we’d been there.  I particularly like one of the fake antique signs hanging on the wall of the main dining room:  We buy junk & sell antiques  The new to the menu hotdog banquet was particularly good IMHO.  Mum had the same and had rave reviews as well.

Then we filled the van for the first time.  $67 in Federal Reserve Notes later (via the on the pump card reader) the van had a full tank.  I don’t think I’ve spent that much at the pump since the last time I rented one of Roger Penske’s trucks!

Later Saturday afternoon/evening I went over to storage to get the folding table and a bunch of junk.  I mean Junque.  I mean stuff to sell.  As I said later to a friend in chat on Facebook, I may have been better off to have skipped buying the van and just called 1-800-GOT-JUNK.  Looking at this stuff from the perspective of having to set it out on a table at the flea market in hopes of enticing a complete stranger to part with their hard earned cash to actually buy it from me – holy crap!  What a pile of junk!  And I’ve been shelling out my own hard earned cash to store it all these years!

Well, I found a partial van-load that seemed acceptable, loaded it up and we were ready to set up at the flea bright and way too early on Sunday.  We expected it to be a very slow day.  It was Easter Sunday after all.  Also the other two fields won’t open until next Sunday.  I actually did manage to sell a couple of things!  Even if space had cost the usual $25- we would have more than paid for our table.  Lunch ate most of the profit, quite literally, though.

Just a side note about selling stuff at the flea market.  I find it just a wee tad, um, unsettling I guess best describes it, to see stuff I sold earlier in the day on someone else’s table later in the day.  That’s often the way it works and I don’t have a problem with that.  It just feels a bit odd.  I suppose I’ll get used to it eventually.  I know it happens all the time.  It’s just the first time I’ve experienced it from the seller’s side of the table.

So, even though we didn’t accomplish everything we set out to do this weekend, we got quite a lot done in the end.  And we have officially launched the next phase of our cashflow adjustment plan.  We even managed to get rid of some stuff including converting some of it back into cash!  So as exhausting as it’s been, I’d call this weekend a success.

And like I said at the beginning of this post: I’m actually looking forward to work – so I can rest!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Drink your Moxie" and stuff...

The following is adapted from a reply to a friend’s “Mrs.Calabash” email in which his cohort of readers were extolled to “make sure we drink our Moxie”:
Hello R,

I'm sitting here with a glass of Moxie that will soon need to be refilled.  It was a good day indeed!  Good to see you and M after this winter.  Kristen* is sitting with her crutch on my rocking chair here in the living room and my batch of war nickels that I thought I'd paid too much for are on the table waiting patiently to be put away.

* Kristen is a Vermont Teddy with a bandage on her leg, wearing a hospital jonnie and holding a crutch.  She was ‘adopted’ at the flea market Sunday morning.  I know her name is Kristen because her wrist band says so.

Today was even busier than yesterday!  Mum and I went first to [our local] town offices to pick up the paperwork to make my little flea business legal.  Then we went to the insurance company to make the van legal.  That took the rest of the morning trying to figure out if I'd need commercial plates or if I could 'get away with' regular passenger plates.  Standard passenger plates here in Marxistchusetts cost $50- for two years.  Commercial plates are $40- per thousand pounds GVW.  Since the van weighs in at just under four thousand pounds that comes to $160- for two years.  (They round up.)  We ended up deciding on the commercial plates.  Hopefully I won't need the van long enough to have to renew!

Then we went to the bank in the lobby of the building where I work to get some cash to move over to my business account in another bank.

After going to yet another town hall to get a certified copy of Mum's wedding certificate for the Social Obscurity Office we went to my other bank to make the deposit.  While I was there I also ordered some checks for the business account.  I couldn’t find any but the starter checks when I went looking for them before we left the house.  It turned out that we hadn’t actually ordered any! 

After that we went to New Hampshire to see if I could get my hands on some TSA knives to go through for my collection, um, I mean, to sell at the flea market.  Yeah that's it...  To sell at the flea market!  (Herr looks around randomly whilst whistling…)

But they were closed. 

Mum was told on the phone that they were opened until four but the sign said they were only open until three.  And there was another sign on the door that said they won't be open for public sales again until June!  Something about an auction…

<expletive deleted>!

Oh well.  It only cost us most of the afternoon, a bunch of gas in Galileo and $4 in tolls to get there…

We got home with plenty of light still left (in fact it was still bright and sunny out even as I was writing this yesterday afternoon) so I set about moving Thunder. 

Thunder is my other van.  He's a 1985 VW Vanagon Westfalia full camper.  Thunder weighs even more than the flea van.  Nearly five thousand pounds, if memory serves.  And he's been sitting in that spot for about two years.  What's more I'd forgotten that as I was getting ready to put him up on jack-stands to work on him I'd set the parking brake.  Two years ago.

Thunder did not want to move from the spot to which he'd become accustomed.

I tried moving him on Saturday with a little block and tackle that uses paracord and with my flat bar under his back wheels.  Not a chance!  In fact I snapped the paracord in the process.

Sunday after the flea (and a very pleasant lunch with some good company!) Mum and I went over to Harbor Freight where I picked up a 4000lb. rated come-along.  I figured the 4000lb. one should be adequate since I'm trying to move Thunder - not lift him.

I extended the cable with the tow rope I keep in Galileo's 'oh crap' bag and some more paracord wrapped in about five loops to make up the foot the cable was too short.  After putting on as much tension as I dared with the winch I got out the big crowbar.  The one I remembered I had after I gave up on Saturday.  Working the passenger side back wheel with the bar didn't do much.  But when I tried on the drivers side I felt the brake come free and the van actually moved a few inches!  I moved Thunder about half of the distance with the come-along and the rest of the way levering the back wheel.  His back wheels are now sitting where his front were for the past two years.  It may not seem like much, but that lets me park the flea van in back of Thunder and opens up the carport for Galileo.

I hope Galileo appreciates all my effort on his behalf!  I think I'll go refill my Moxie and take a couple of aspirin!

Oh by the way, those war nickels turned out to have cost me less than melt!  So even they are in the money!
My friend replied with the following:
Good Lord, [Herr]... "I'd" have registered the van as a passenger car. Much cheaper, and I don't appreciate the advantage of "commercial tags". Glad though, that all has been accomplished.
     That old Westfalia camper of yours sounds scary at this point. Locked wheels will need pulling off. The brake shoes must have rusted in place. Don't know if you can do mechanical rebuild stuff like that, and hope you now don't just have another lawn ornament on your hands like your bug that sat [at the old house]! Oh Lord!
     We enjoyed seeing you two on Sunday too. We're so glad that the flea has started once more! Next Sunday we'll do it all again, and perhaps this time, the weather will allow M and me to set up our junk.
     Talk to you in a bit......... R ;-)

I replied back with this:
Fritz, my antique beetle that we sold last fall (and star of the world famous Official Rules for Punch Buggy), is back on the road with his new owners working on restoring him.  Hopefully Thunder will be too one day.  I had advertised him on Craigslist a while back and will before long again most likely.  I could do the work myself - if I had the time.  I don't.  That's why both cars sat so long.

The commercial plates are a legal requirement here in Marxistchusetts.  It's yet another way the .gov tells small businesses we're not welcome here.  It's all about revenue for the Commonwealth (a concept they are taking much too literally these days.)  While the van has windows all around like the passenger version, the headliner ends at the cage behind the front seats.  There are no seats in back and no mounts in the floor to attach any to were I to find them on Craigslist for cheap.  What is back there are shelves intended for tools down both sides.  Clearly this is a commercial work van.  Any Marxistchusetts cop that might drive up behind me on the road could easily tell that is what it is.  I don't know what the fine is for having passenger plates on a commercial vehicle, but you can count on it being steep.  Then I'd have to pay for the tow and the storage.  And I'd have to get commercial plates to put on it anyway or I wouldn’t be allowed to drive it out of the impound yard.  And on top of that I would not be reimbursed by the RMV for the balance of the time left on the passenger plates when I turned them in.

So as much as I'd love to save the $110- difference in the price of the plates, I believe it would end up costing me hundreds more in the long run to see how long I could "get away with it."

It sucks to live in a communist hellhole!  That's just one more reason I'm so wanting to own that house [that’s for sale in another state].

From behind enemy lines here in Marxistchusetts,


And a little follow-up for my loyal reader here at the Dragonfly:

I picked up the plates today at the home office of the insurance company.  That’s when I found out that in Marxistchusetts, while passenger plates need to be renewed in the month the car was registered two years hence, commercial plates run from January 1 to December 31 two calendar years hence.  And if you register your van in April your plates are not prorated for the three months you are not getting.  

Just a little more evidence that the former “Massachusetts Miracle” has long since gone the way of the dodo. 

Why does our economy suck?  Because the Commonwealth believes in Robin Hood!  They seem to think that anyone who has or wants to start a business has buckets full of cash sitting around doing nothing and that if the Commonwealth could just get their grubby paws on it they could redistribute it in ways that would do oh so much good for all the regular folk who don’t have these imaginary buckets of cash.  (At least to the ones that vote in the approved manor…)

The longer government policy remains based on fantasy, delusion and outright lies the harder it will be to repair the very real damage those policies are causing.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Oh no. Not again…

After all the gorgeous weather we had a couple of weeks back Shirley decided to open her flea market a week early.  (Rt. 122 in Hollis, NH.  Come on down!)  Then the weather decided to go back to more “seasonal” temperatures.  We’ll be setting up there or in one of the other fields next door or across the street this year.  The van won’t be registered till tomorrow so our first week setting up won’t be until next Sunday.

So there I am bright and early this morning, sitting by the payphone doing the necessary when I suddenly stat hearing dripping.  At first I thought it was raining, but it’s too bright for that out the little frosted window that provides light for the thinking room.  I made hast to the front door and looked out into the driveway, past the (new to us) van over to where Thunder is parked next to the car port.  Sunny and dry.  Where the blazes is that dripping coming from?

OMG!  The water heater!

I went in Mum’s room and put my ear to the wall next to her closet.  The other side of that thin sheet of Canadian wallpaper is the little closet where our water heater lives.

Drip drip drrrriiiipppp drip.

<expletive deleted>

So I put on my LL Bean barn coat, I’d left my MA1 flight jacket in the car when we were out yesterday, got a cordless drill from the shop, chucked up a Phillips screwdriver bit and went out to asses the damage.