12.23.2004

Merry F#@kin' Christmas

Rockstar Games is offering a few free games for download. Is it one of those slide puzzles with a screenshot of GTA4? or maybe a Tetris clone with guns and hoes for blocks? What cheap promotions are the passing off as games? Actually it's full PC versions of GTA, GTA2, and Wild Metal [Vehicle combat in a futuristic setting].

http://www.rockstargames.com/classics/

Enjoy.

Note: Downloads were timing out when I tried this morning.

Guess what showed up Tuesday ...

I didn't think it would actually come. Tuesday while I was at work UPS delivered the Poker Tabletop that Steve had emailed me about.

It's been near impossible to contact the credit card company ('tis the season). We'll find out next week whether we were charged twice and move on from there. It's a $70 tabletop, doing the math I might save them money by keeping it.

12.18.2004

Miracles of modern medicine

From a morning show with a deformity of the week contest, which just screams class, comes Scott. A victim of a mobile home fire at the age of 15 he needed skin grafts to assist in his recovery. The skin graft from his chest to the back of his thigh resulted in a functional third nipple. So, why not pierce it?

Follow the link if you don't believe me.

From the ecommerce experts at PokerOutlet.com

Got an email today from Steve at PokerOutlet.com with the subject "tracking". In case you missed it, these are the same geniuses who emailed me that my poker tabletop was shipping two days after it arrived.

This email says that they shipped my order, and it will be here on Tuesday. The strange thing is I only ever ordered from them once, the aforementioned tabletop. The plan is to wait and see if anything shows up. I'm guessing it won't.

12.17.2004

Farkline Of The Week

Randy Johnson traded to Yankees in 3 way deal. Steinbrenner quoted saying "It finally took a three-way for us to grasp the Big Unit, but now that we have Johnson, our holes are filled"


[insert lebowski nihlist quote here]

12.13.2004

Weight Watchers

Jen and I had an agreement, she wanted to join Weight Watchers and I said that it wouldn't be worth it unless we joined a gym as well.

We joined as members of the Princeton Club close to 6 months ago. Up until two weeks ago I had lost about 10 lbs while also building some muscle mass (Yes, that's an excuse). Jen meanwhile has lost 10% of her starting weight.

Jen's meeting was held over lunch at her work and that kept me from having to attend the meetings. Afterall, she just wanted to go with people she knew. Now that meeting is cancelled due to a lack of participation.

Two weeks ago I started going to meetings with Jen held at Parkside Church, near East Towne. The first week I lost almost four pounds and this week alone I shaved five pounds exactly from the previous weigh-in. In two weeks time I've lost what it had taken six months of working out alone.

12.03.2004

PokerOutlet.com emailed me ...

PokerOutlet.com emailed me to let me know that the poker tabletop that I ordered for Jen for Me for Christmas had shipped. They gave me a fedEx tracking number, included a nice message from Marlene thanking me for my purchase.

My table arrived yesterday...

11.29.2004

I woke up to the sun shining in my eyes on Saturday. That meant the dogs didn't wake us up
at 6:30 to let them out.

I got up and noticed that Hanna wasn't laying on the bed next to Jen. She is ``always`` on
the bed in the morning.

Less than two minutes after I got up I get a phone call. "This is the DeForest Family
Restraunt. You have two dogs wandering out in front of our building. They are being nice
to some people... and not nice to others."

I throw some clothes on tell Jen what is going on and head out. I make it to the living
room when I realize that the front door is standing wide open. Near as I can figure the
last person in from smoking the night before didn't shut the door tight.

I raced over to the DFR where I see our two dogs trotting around liked escaped lions. As I
pulled in Wrinkles makes his way over to the car. I don't think he realized it was me. He
seemed startled when I called his name. Both dogs love to go for car rides and the few
times they have freed themselves we usually coax them into the car where we can leash
them.

Wrinkles ran up to the open car door, stopped, sniffed, and turned to run off. I grabbed
him around the waist and got my right arm under his chest and lifted his front up into the
car and threw his back legs in after him.

Shutting the door my attention focused on Hanna who had sat and watched while Wrinkles was
gathered into the Subaru. Hanna came immediately to her name being called and jumped into
the re-opened car door.

After pulling the car into a parking stall I went in and thanked Natalie for going out and
reading Hanna's tags and then the lady who had called us.

<sappyEnding>That's what I'm thankful for this holiday weekend</sappyEnding>

11.27.2004


I can't believe some decency activists aren't complaining about the vlasic lid marketing... Posted by Hello

11.21.2004

"Call a Locksmith!"

Although unlike Robin and Maid Marion (in Robin Hood: Men in Tights), I was trying to get into my car. It seems some bozo locked them, dangling from the ignition, in my Mitsubishi Mirage.

I went in to work early on Saturday. As usual there wasn't a single car in the parking garage. As usual I took the spot right outside the door. Sure, I do have an assigned spot but, it's not like the Deputy Secretary will be in on a Saturday to use his parking stall.

I had a bunch of CD's I was going to rip while working. With hands full I rush out of the car. Just before the door closes I catch it. *Phew!* I almost forgot to set the emergency brake! *Slam!* Emergency Brake now set I head up to work. After about five hours at work I go to meet Jen at my parents house. "D'oH!"

I had Jen come and get me. We could finish the shopping she had left then go home and get keys. Yeah, uhm, you see, about the keys... the spare is apparently lost. As I am searching around the house Jen asks if AAA has a lock out service. They do.

We drove in and Jen dropped me off at 1:00 on Sunday. I placed the Road Service Request to AAA via their website. In hindsight that was kinda strange how often are you stuck, need roadside service AND have access to the Net. After placing the order my confirmation screen comes up blank. My confirmation says (para-phrased) "Yep, you requested service." Then I read the What Next section. It says stay near the phone you dialed from in case the Locksmith has questions etc AND make sure and meet the service person near your car. CRAP! I left my cell phone at the house. This is the third time this year that I've left the house without my cell, never happens. So, I call the 1-800-AAA-HELP or whatever it was. After a 5 minute conversation the operator found my request or at least she called someone who could confirm it. I stated that I need to change my contact number to (608) 220-2685 a work help phone #. She said she would update the request. I thanked her, grabbed the phone and ran down to the driveway.

There sits a Mike's Towing flatbed. I greet the driver and he asks where the car is. We proceed down to the lowest level of the parking ramp. He says "Don't you race out at Columbus 151 Speedway?" ... "You're one of the Remsik's aren't you?" ... it was just a little embarrasing.

On our way down he asks what kind of locks it has. They're just a typical slide lock. He had the car unlocked inside of two seconds. Slim jim down the window opening, slide to the left and pop the door open.

As it turns out I had also not turned the ignition off completely. The battery was drained down to nothing. A few minutes later we had jumped the car and left it run while I escorted him back to his truck.

All this because the punk ass kids in our neighborhood steal the change out of the ash trays if we don't lock the doors. Yeah, see it's not MY fault...

11.13.2004

Quote

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

11.03.2004

I was greeted with long lines at the polls ... both times

We got out and cast our vote Tuesday. Jen and I went to the polls before work. We got in line at 7:10 AM. We slowly moved along until finally at 8:30 AM we had to leave to make it to work on time. We could just about see the polling registration desk but we simply could not wait any longer or Jen would be late for work.

We worked our normal 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM and raced home (30 Minutes). We made it to the back to the polling location at 6:40 PM. The line was much longer and wrapped around the block. By 8:00 PM, when the polls close, we made it to just inside the door. At that point they pulled everyone inside the builing and wound them through the library shelves and locked the doors.

Finally, at 9: 05 PM we made it to the registration desk and at 9:10 PM we were officially counted among the record turn out of voters. It was nearly four hours of waiting in line but, I am glad that we stuck it out. I can't say it was for naught even though our choice for president failed to garner the electoral votes needed. We had some local races that were fairly close and we were happy to be a part of those smaller victories.

10.26.2004

[Xbox-Mod] XBMC - ShoutCast Streaming Radio

I installed the latest XBox Media Center on Sunday. It's pretty slick and the Avalaunch dashboard I am running made exactly three A button presses to run the installer. After that I was able to FTP audio/video files and set up playlists etc.

There is also a ShoutCast client that you can use to browse a wide variety of feeds from ShoutCast.com. Last night I was listening to the Saskatoon (Canada) Police/Fire/EMS Scanner live on my Xbox. That was kinda cool. I also tuned into GrooveSalad from SomaFM.com which is a personal favorite.

10.23.2004

I can understand being upsold fries...

So I have been working on installing the mod chip in my xbox which, assuming you do the smart thing and get the solderless kit, has been a piece of cake.

I realized that I needed a splitter adapter for the HDD power supply. A search of the premises garnered no such piece. So, I head to RadioShack because ``they'll have it``. Actually, I went online and got the part number and called to make sure the nearest Shack had one in stock. They didn't. But, the SouthTowne location had one, five really. I walk in the door and the RadioShack Employee begins the following exchange.

RSE: Can I help you?
Me: I need a 278-688 Power "Y" Adapter for a Hard Drive.
RSE: *walking to the exact spot on the wall* That should be what you're looking for.
Me: Thanks, that's it.
RSE: *walking back to register* How's your cell phone working for you?
Me: Absolutely Perfect
RSE: *standing in front of the Verizon dislpay* Who's your carrier.
Me: U.S. Cellular
RSE: We get alot of that. That'll be $5.84
Me: *gives him $10*
RSE: $4.16 is your change...
Me: Thanks.
RSE: and when it comes time to look for a new cell phone stop on by and we'll get you hooked up.
Me: Uhm. Yeah. Thanks.

RadioShack is supposed to sell transistors, circuit boards, and Power "Y" Adapters. Not cell phone service. Not to mention he is trying to sell me a service that I already own which is provided by a company who does a great job. And no, I don't want fries with my splitter either.

10.22.2004

logo

Candy Order Form

It's that time of year again. Anyone interested in ordering candy should return a completed order form, available in PDF & Excel formats. We will be taking orders for candy until January. Just a reminder, we do get busy around the holidays. If you want orders for Thanksgiving or Christmas submit them early to ensure delivery by the desired date.

If you have any questions let me know or post a comment here.

10.18.2004

Weekend Update without Kevin Nealon

Saturday in the mail we received our passports. That was the last remaining obstacle for our trip to Amsterdam. It's a time consuming process and rightfully so with the power this document gives you. Jen and I are both excited about the trip. It will be our first to a foreign country. Jamaica is hardly a foreign country especially when you don't leave your resort ;).

I purchased an XBox mod chip this weekend. Ima follow Chris' lead and utilize my XBox as a media center. Looking for a cheap HDD in the 200 GB neighborhood. Hard drives are cheap any more, I did find a 200 GB Western Digital for $159 ($99 after rebate). Depending on when the chip comes in I hope to get it running by our Friday team-building excercise after work.

Anyone interested in running down to Fright Factory next weekend? I think it'd be fun to get a group to go down there.

10.17.2004

Fright Factory: Janesville

Jen was at a party with some ladies from on Saturday in Edgerton. She got a ride down and I picked her up around 7:00 PM. We had made tentative plans to try to find a Haunted House in the Janesville area. We mis-communicated and each thought the other had the directions. We decided to just drive down and see what we could find. Going south on Hwy 51 we're not seeing anything we get to the point where we are just about to turn around and head home when I saw a sign for "Fright Factory".

Fright Factory is held in an unused pen manufacturing plant. Panoramic, the builing's namesake, purchased Parker Pen Co. and have since moved to a new building. The attraction is contained to the first floor and begins with the fact that the building is indeed haunted by Henry, a dedicated employee, who according to the locals still roams the building after passing away on the job.

This is one of the more thought out and entertaining events that I have been to in recent memory. While the haunted attractions in the Dells area are a little more polished and gory Fright Factory focuses more on suspenseful sensory excitement. Whether it was intentional or not the smells throughout the tour were unique and make you wonder whether they foreshadow events to come.

Overall, I would recommend this feature to anyone who's got the time to make a trip to Janesville. I will warn you though You will get split up from the rest of your group if only for a brief time. That may scare some kids more than anything. There are periods of pitch black darkness. Our group managed to find a corner and get stuck there. There were however some helpful souls there to help us out.

On the way home we found several more Haunted Houses that we passed right on Hwy 51. Including the Janesville Jaycees Haunted House at the new Panaoramic builing. I'm glad we missed them though. The Fright Factory was exactly what we were looking for.

10.11.2004


Wrinkles and Hanna lounging on the bed.

10.10.2004

That sinking feeling ...

You know what I'm talking about. For example when you drive past a cop a little too fast. He pulls out behind you and follows you for a bit. Happened to be coincidence as he turns off without pulling you over. You know you just did something stupid. You knew better. You knew if you got caught it would cost you but, you had some excuse that made it okay. Until things appear to go wrong. That's when you suddenly get a nervous stone in your gut.

Perhaps you look for help from above? Oh, please Lord if I don't get caught I promise I won't ever be that stupid again.

So, this afternoon I was changing the front brake pads on our Subaru Forester. The squealers had been tattling on me for not changing them for a few weeks. We were running late because of the Apple Butter incident. We had an annoying incident at Rocky Roccoco's wherein we waited for 10 minutes and were never helped. As you can imagine I was in a great mood!

I pull the tire off the driver's side. Zip out the caliper bolts and pull off the pads. Not too bad, the conservative squealers were letting me know there was 5/16" of pad left. I get that side buttoned back up and move over to the passenger side.

Off got the lugnuts and tire. I go to yank on the air hose and it pulls tight. There was just enough hose to reach the gun in and zip out the caliper bolts. I noted that the high pressure rubber brake-line rubbed a little when I pulled out the top bolt. Should be fine. I get the old pads out then put the squealers on the new pads and installed them. All that's left is to put in the caliper bolts and put the tire on no problem.

Then I ran into a problem. The mount for the caliper bolt on top was spinning freely on the caliper side. I started it by hand and try to tighted it up with the air gun. The back side just spun freely keeping up with the gun. All the while the socket is rubbing on the brake line. Finally, using a wrench to hold the back side in place I was able to tighten the top bolt. As the bolt went into the caliper it applied more pressure on the brake line. The bolt tightened up and the whine of the air gun faded away and I heard a distinct gurgle. Like a pressurized liquid in a hose with a tiny leak.

Here's where that sinking feeling comes in. I knew I was rubbing on the hose. I could see it. I can think of any number of reasons now why that was a bad idea. Had I gotten up to move the air compressor 6" closer I have enough room to avoid the rub all together. And the list of possible solutions goes on and on.

I ducked my head in to see if I can find the leak. I pulled the air gun out of the way to get a good look at the brake line. I couldn't see any brake fluid. The gurgling noise had also quieted down. Trying to recreate the rubbing to locate the leak I put the air gun back into position. When I put a little pressure ong the line with the socket the gurgling noise returned. Pull the gun out, the noise went away.

As it turns out the cop turns off and he in fact was not following me. Rather I hadn't rubbed through the brake line. It was just some moisture in the air line and a guilty conscience.

Apple Butter

We had plans to make Apple Butter this weekend using an overnight slow cooker recipe Jen had brought home from work. We didn't read the instructions very carefully. ``Overnight`` loosely translates to 10 hours. We started the ingredients on low at about 5:00 PM Saturday evening. We finally read the instructions about 8:00 PM and realized the next step to apple butter needed to occur at 2:00 AM Sunday morning. We decided to stay up later than usual and finally strained the apple mash going on 1:00 AM. The next step called for the strained mixture to cook on high for 1 1/2 hours. We left it on low and went to bed. Jen's dad Al was getting up early to go hunting and, as it turns out, to turn off our crock pot.

Long story short; Too Late!; We've got apple butter but it took us about three hours off of a normal weekend schedule.

10.07.2004

Spammers may be on to something ...

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was radnieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt !.!.!

10.04.2004

Jason's Blog is back.

It's sad that this made my blog. ;)

AutoX

Sunday Jen and I made our way down to Geneva Lakes Kennel club. Chris had invited us out to a Madison Sports Car Club Autocross Series event. Autocross is a timed competition on a challenging road-race style course. The MSCC AutoX Series holds events at locations like Columbus 151 Speedway, Rock County Airport, Rockford Speedway or pretty much anywhere they can get a stretch of asphalt.

We were running late and as we took the exit off of I-43 Chris was making his first run. Just as we arrived we saw a number of folks making their way to the far end of the course. We couldn't see where Chris had gone and yet more people were running to the far end of the course. I grabbed the camera and we walked over to see what the comotion was about. A driver had lost control near the finish line and slammed his left rear into the two foot concrete base of a light pole.

Before we got too close someone shooed us away as we had not signed the insurance waiver. d'0h! We went and signed in. Turns out the guy running the event was a friend from high school, Eric Hutchins. A few minutes later we made our way over and found Chris waiting in line.

I took over camera duties and took probably too many pictures. Chris looked surprised when I said that there were only 20 or so of 150 exposures left. Pictures I assume will be coming into to work with Chris today.

We took a short break and went shopping in the down time where Chris had to work the course.

When we got back I rode along in the Miata for a run. It was much faster than it looks. Our time was just a second slower than his fastest time to that point.

Maybe I'll take the Acura out next year. Maybe.

10.01.2004

Wisconsin in the news...

It's always impressive to me to see the state I live in being featured in the news. Especially for monumental decisions being handed down by the Court of Appeals.

In an unforseen twist the Appeals Court ruled that drunk driving laws do in fact apply to frozen lake surfaces. This decision reversed a ruling against a drunk driver (Paul Minnig) who had been chasing snowmobilers in his truck. Dodge County Circuit Court judge Andrew Bissonnette had stated that the drunk driving laws definition of "highways and 'other premises' open to public motor vehicle use" did not include frozen lake surfaces.

These sure are interesting times.

9.30.2004

Thank God fo Anti-Virus Programs!!!

Tonight, I came home to a disturbing sight. We got home late around 9:00 PM. We checked the mail and I put Jen to bed. I walk into my computer room to find two BSOD.

sonofabitch!


Two screens because I recently connected the 14" LCD as the second monitor under WinXP. The dual monitor setup has been nice. I've been watching Arrested Development at the suggestion of Jon Larkowski. The LCD has become the "television" while I work on the 19" CRT.

Anyway, back to the BSOD. I read the details of the BS (heh) and apparently there was a page fault in AVG. AVG is an anti-virus offering from Grisoft. I downloaded and installed AVG Free Edition in spite of the old adage of "You get what you pay for."

Technically, AVG Anti-Virus performed it's duty. It's a good program and thorough. However, preventing a machine from operating is not the most effective way to prevent viruses. Nor is it any way to market a product. Why on earth would I spend money with this comany's products when a stripped down version crashed my machine?

Looking for a cheap replacement anti-virus program. Any suggestions?

9.27.2004

Tim's Gem Of The Week

Seen on a bumper sticker:

Ask me about my vow of silence.


:)

[Mozilla 1.0 PR] Yellow Background in HTTPS mode

A new feature of Mozilla 1.0 PR ('Preview Release') sets the background of the address bar to yellow when you visit a secure site.

This feature put me off. If I needed to know whether I was in https or http I would just look at the damn prefix. That's just my opinion though.

There is a way around this though, as pointed out by a co-worker, Chris. There is a CSS file you can edit. Adding the code below, stolen from MozillaZine Forums, will set the background color back to white for HTTPS sites.


/* un-yellow the secure urlbar background */

#urlbar[level="high"] > .autocomplete-textbox-container,

#urlbar[level="low"] > .autocomplete-textbox-container,

#urlbar[level="broken"] > .autocomplete-textbox-container {
background-color: white !important;
}


This file was located here on my WinXP machine:
C:\Documents and Settings\{UserName}\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\chrome

Any questions? Lemme know.

FARKLINE: Red states feed at federal trough -- blue states supply the feed

I'm all confused about politics any more. You mean the Democrats are wealthy and the Republicans are broke? Or, the middle class is paying more than the big wig corporations... that makes sense. This isn't so fascinating after all.

9.22.2004

Something about history and doom ...

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.


- Sir Winston Churchill

9.15.2004

Dangerous OJ ...

The St. Louis Fire Department's Haz-Mat team was activated after federal park rangers spotted a swollen Minute Maid jug in a parking lot near Second Street and Washington Avenue about 6 a.m. The police bombing and arson squad's robot exploded the jug, which contained a liquid -- perhaps orange juice -- and the area was deemed safe about 9:30 a.m.

9.13.2004

Engine work ...

My brother John wants to borrow the Acura this weekend to run the two day invitational at Jefferson Speedway. We took the head off the car yesterday to see if we could decipher the cause of the miss we developed this weekend. We got it apart and damned if we didn't find much of anything wrong. Lots of carbon but, that's to be expected I guess.

I contacted the good folks at Polk Diesel & Machine in De Forest in the hopes that they could get some engine work done before the weekend so that John could run the car. The cylinder head will be resurfaced and the valves ground and hopefully we'll get it back on Thursday in time to get it back together for racing on Friday.

Jen and I will be out of town this weekend visiting one member of my blog-dience.



9.12.2004

9/17 Columbus Results - Wild finish to the racing season ...

The Acura developed a miss, the third cylinder wasn't firing. I turned my slowest time of the year at 17.5 seconds. I finished last in the third heat and DNF'd the feature.

I had a tire chunk out on the right front. Basically all the rubber from the cords up just fell away from the outside of the wheel. I came in for a NASCAR style pit excercise where the right front was pulled off and swapped with the left front. I made it out without losing a lap. This was done because the inside tire doesn't do much work and it basically just needs to stay round. As I joined the field they turned the cars to go around clockwise. That put the chunked out wheel back on the outside. After two laps of sliding around I just pulled off.


Jen did a great job in the Powder Puff race even on three cylinders. There were five ladies out there and Jen probably drove harder than any of them. She jumped into 2nd place entering turn one. Then drove really hard into turn three. She didn't slow down until she passed the pit entrance which is where I was standing. By that time she was in the third groove in a trajectory that would not allow her to exit the corner. She started to slow down and *WHAP* nailed the right front into the wall in turn four.

My dad, being a track official, raced out there to make sure she was all right. Here is the conversation that took place.

JR: *pulls window net down* Are you OK?
Jen: Yeah. How are my tires?
JR: They're fine, will the car start?
Jen: I dunno, I haven't tried *starts car*
JR: *puts window net back up*

On the restart she started in last due to her causing the caution. The following lap she drove hard into the first turn and leaned on the #66, bouncing them completely into the third groove. She finished 3rd and a tweaked bumper was the only damage sustained.

The Bandit Feature/Season Championship was decided on the last corner of the last lap of the last feature race of the season. The point leader who was running in fifth place and just needed to finish the last 75' of the race to win the season championship. Unfortunately, he drove in too hard in turn three and bumped the guy in front of him. That driver slid up the track in the corner then drove back down and clipped the right rear of the point leader putting him in the wall and ending his race.

The driver who caused the accident was disqualified in a rare moment of fairness for the track owners.

9.01.2004

Vacation photos posted ...

They are now captioned and include multiple sizes for viewing on a variety of machines.

8.29.2004

We're back ...

We arrived home safely Saturday shortly after 9:00 PM (CDT). We had a blast in Jamaica and were glad to be able to entice the friends and family we had to join us. As is usually the case the time flew by and the trip came to an end all to early.

We brought back with us 7 bottles of Jamaican Rum in various flavors and quality. To be honest, I think we'll put them away for awhile as I don't need another drop of Rum in this body for at least a month, if you know what I mean.

Jen, Jon and, my parents were all impressed with the level of service provided by the resort. Jen and Jon had been to an all-inclusive resort before but commented on just how on top of everything the staff were.

We were going to our room after check-in and lunch and the bell hop (Rockey the one from Jamaica, not Philadelphia) stopped to point out all the points of interest along the way. The restrooms, beach grill, pools, jacuzzis etc. My dad made the comment that he was really working for a tip. I reminded him that there was a no tipping policy and they are very service oriented. I'm sure there is a bonus program in there somewhere but, the employees don't let on about it.

Pictures to come as soon as I can get this POS Sony VAIO laptop to quit crashing.... That's so cute, it's rebooting again... *sigh*



8.20.2004

No Racing, Off to Jamaica

I learned late Friday morning that the water pump was out on the Acura. I wasn't going to fix it and then decided 5pm would be a good time to start taking the old one off. We got a call from my brother John, he blew up Tina's car in hot laps.

Well at 8:00 Bob and John pulled out of the driveway with the Acura in tow and a brand new water pump installed. Tina is driving that this week and likely next week too.

We're off to Jamaica, leaving home at 11:15 PM tonight. Fly out at 8 AM tomorrow from O'Hare Int'l. Al will be home most of the week and we have a small army to care for the dogs.

We'll see you on the other side.

8.16.2004

Fourth image down from the top.

I should have posted more info about this picture. Matt asks "Did you get hit?" Yes, I got hit in the passenger door to start my spin, I backed into the wall, and I got hit in the driver's door by the son of the guy who built my roll cage. As I mentioned I didn't race the next week as I didn't have a chance to fix the car. The doors and unibody were pushed in on both sides and the bumper had been removed.

I thought it was just a racing deal. Then I heard the husband of one of the drivers state that she had come down intentionally to take out the guy above me.

That sucks.

8.15.2004

The Wisconsin Challenge Series made a stop at Columbus 151 Speedway this weekend. The touring series features Super Late Models and is joined by support divisions dictated by the host track.

I had spent most of the day Saturday getting the Acura bent back into racing shape. I borrowed a porta-power (pictured below). Basically, a porta-power is a hydraulic jack with a number of different attachments and extensions. It was the first time I had used one and it worked pretty slick.



With the Bandit back in shape I went out and turned a 16.5 second lap. About average for the year so far. Tina wasn't as lucky as John forgot to change the right rear back to the right front. He had swapped them to get the car on the trailer. She turned a 17.184 the first lap. I was watching her time in and thought, the next lap will be better, 17.185. That put me at 6th in time and Tina in 9th.

I placed third in the heat race. Troy Yohn (#X) leaned on my left rear quarter and I gave him too much room surrendering the second position.

In the feature I started inside row five. On lap two Linda Carignan (#5) and Ryan Oetzel (#78) got together. I was able to duck through the in-field and came away clean. Dan "Big Tiny" Gosda (#21) took that opportunity to jump in front of me during the caution laps. Given the Columbus officials penchant for not putting us back in the correct running order I made sure to get around him and take my spot back.

When the race resumed I was running fourth. Tina, Nick Nolden (#67), and I freight-trained around Travis Schneeburg (#x75)on the outside. Tina and Nick got away from me. As we came up on lapped traffic Dan Birkett (#36) tried to pin me behind Carignan and Oetzel. He went into turn three pretty hot and slid up. I quickly grabbed the second groove but, left too much room between myself and the unpredictable lapped traffic and Birkett slid through the middle of us. Bryan Johnson (#44) made it three wide in his Ford Probe to take away fourth.

At the line it was Tina picking up her first feature and I took fifth.

This coming Friday will be a long day as I'll be racing at Columbus and then we'll be racing down to O'hare Airport in Chicago to make our flight to Jamaica. Should be fun.



8.14.2004

8/13 Columbus Results - Unwinding?

I didn't get a chance to fix the bandit this week. I decided Thursday night that I wouldn't rush to try to get the car ready for Friday. That gave me a week off from racing right? Guess again ...

We (Jen and I) went out to dinner at Carlos O'Kelly's Mexican Restaurant. As usual the food was fine but, it's no Pedro's. We did some odds and ends shopping in preparation for our trip to Jamaica the week of August 21-28th.

At 8:00 when we returned home I decided that I would go drive Rick Verdon's back-up car. He's in Athens developing pictures for a little event they are having called the Olympics. He works for Kodak and every olympic season jaunts off to develop film from the media covering the event.

It was nice not having to worry about running any race except the last one. I got to see most of the nights races.

I drove Rick's car around the pits to get a feel for it and adjust the seat belts. I started in the back because Rick had won his last race. The green flag dropped and most of the field took off well ahead of me. I just lazily drove my own race, I was more in it to have an extra car out there. I passed a few cars and next thing I know I am running in second place. Not too shabby for putzin' around.

We race again on Sunday. I hope to have the bandit fixed by then...

8.09.2004

8/6 Results - Columbus 151

After last weeks feature I noticed we had a tire that needed to be replaced. We bought a new Goodyear Regatta 2 and didn't get a chance to break it in before qualifying. So on a sticker tire I turned a slow 16.8, one of my slower times of the season.

That still put me inside row two for the fast heat. A few laps in, while racing for second, I got tagged by Dan "Big Tiny" Gosda who was racing hard for his position in points. I half spun and recovered but not before sliding to the rear. I chased down Tiny and ran out of time. Sixth out of six. Blech.

I started inside row three for the feature. A favorable spot as I have won the race from further back than that before. The guy ahead of me was an inexperienced driver in a fast car. Both of the cars in the front row slid up the track in the first corner. Mike Winters ducked underneath them and I followed. Apparently, Ryan Oetzel and Linda Carignan got hooked together and then came down on me. They drove hard into my right front and the rear of my car slid out. I backed into the wall and turned my head to see the rest of the field driving into my door. My helmet hit the rollbar and I saw a big flash of light.

I was able to get the car restarted and drive off despite the saftey crew member telling me that I needed a tow. That was an interesting exchange that went something like this:

Safety Crew Member: "You need a tow ..."
Me: "I do?"
SCM: "Yea, you need a tow ..."
Me: "I need a tow?"
SCM: "Yup, you need a tow ..."

At that point I started the car, it rolled so I put it into first and pulled away.

There was a complete restart as the first lap had not been completed. On the restart the car was loose, not sure why. I ran about eight laps and then spun on my own. The car overheated so I pulled off. 17th out of 18. Blech.

Tina turned in her best time of the season at a 16.3, finished second in her heat and 7th in the feature.

Now, the feature winner from this week Mike Winters knocked me out of 10th spot in points. I know I have one more night that I am guaranteed to miss for the trip to Jamaica. I am hoping for a top ten in points. There are two drivers above me who will not be coming back for the rest of the season. It's doable.

8.01.2004

*Scam Alert* Wal-Mart Madison East

My brother Rick had some last minute shopping to do before our July-August birthdays celebration at my parents house. We hopped in my car and we went to Wal-Mart. On our way to the check-out he realized he didn't have enough cash on him. "No problem" I said, and proceeded to charge the purchase on my debit card. After ringing me up the cashier places a receipt on the signature pedestal with a piece of scrap cardboard underneath it.

Now at this point the four ``people`` from Herman's Head start getting excited in my head. Just before I started signing I realized what was going on. When I was signing the receipt the imprint would go through the paper and be recorded on the piece of cardboard. I signed ever so lightly and then handed the receipt to the cashier "Rachel". Then I grabbed the piece of cardboard and started to walk out.

I was explaining what happened to my brother and realized there were four other signatures on the same piece of cardboard. Once that new twist came to light, I decided to go back in and talk to a manager. The person I spoke with took the cardboard and asked which cashier had checked me out. As I was leaving he ripped the cardboard in two. That seemed like a good thing, that way the signatures are lost or at least unusable. In retrospect I should have held onto the cardboard. The plan is to call DATCP tomorrow and see if this is a known scam in the area.

I'm not even safe in my own Wal-Mart.

7.31.2004

7/23 Columbus Results - Racing, On Dirt?

I never did get the alternator in this week. But, the battery was charged and I remembered the charger.

In qualifying I turned a 16.501. That's an average of about 54 MPH. That was good enough for third quick in time. The odd number meant I would again be in the fast heat. On the first lap, first corner, two cars got together and threw mud and water on the first 18" of the inside groove. When we came around for the second lap the two people on the inside slid up in front of me. This move looked intentional. I would later find out that wasn't the case. Coming around for lap three I dove under those same two cars who seemed to want to take the high groove. The car slid immediately to the second groove. Luckily no one was on the outside of me. I passed the second place car. As I was navigating the mud trying to get an edge on the leader I left enough room for the third place car to grab second. I finished third.

My starting position in the feature was determined by the fact that I won last weeks feature. I started last. It was a rough start and a re-start was needed. I raced up from twelfth to 4th and got stuck behind lapped traffic. At the line I got beat out by the #X car of Troy Yohn and finished 7th.

With tonights performance I should be raised to about 9th in points. That's a 16 position jump in two weeks for those keeping score at home.

Two nights, both decent finishes in heat and feature. No work needed on the car. Woohoo.

7.26.2004

Fore! No wait ..... Three!

I went back down to Meadowview Driving Range today to try to cure my slice. Now, it's pretty evident to most anyone who has seen me golf that I have very little control of which direction the ball is going to go. I pulled out the one wood, teed up the first ball and *whack* it sailed about 150 yards. *thunk* I nailed the golf ball retrieving vehicle right about head level in the left rear. Startled the driver a little too.

I couldn't do that again if I tried. But, since I wasn't trying I managed to hit the poor kid two more times. The range owner came out to give me some advice on my "technique".

I did manage to break my slice. Or ... rather I know how to break it. Now I just have to execute. I guess that's the difference between me and Tiger Woods, execution.

7.25.2004

Happy Birthday to Me!

Last night we had some people over and had sizzlers from Ken's Meats & Deli and real mashed potatoes.

Jen got me a set of golf clubs which I promptly took to the driving range this morning. I used a center mat and sliced a few off property. Obeying the signs I moved further to the left and was still hitting them off the property. By the end of the bucket I mostly straightened out. The driving range owner, of course, had lots of advice. But, it takes balls to drive the way I do. :)

My father-in-law bought me a reciprocating saw. We'll be using that this week to "borrow" the exhaust off of a friends car for the Acura which developed an exhaust leak and now sounds like it has eight cylinders.

We stopped out and looked at a '46 Pontiac 2dr Fastback sedan similar to this one. It was complete except for motor and tranny. The thought was to put the 454 out of the Suburban and throw it into the Pontiac. We decided the rest of the car even with just one palm sized patch of rust is probably too much of a project to undertake right now.

Then I napped.




7.24.2004

7/23 Columbus Results - Ding! Ding! Ding!

We have a winner!

The night did not start off well, as has been the case. I had my Dad tow the car up to the track. When I got there and tried to unload it the battery was dead. I had charged it for about 10 hours before it was picked up from my house. So, apparently batteries taken from $40 cars are not to be trusted, lesson learned.

I threw in the back-up battery for qualifying. I turned laps of 18.0 and 18.1 seconds going clockwise around the track. As I was driving back into the pits the car died, no more juice. I coasted into my pit stall.

I borrowed a battery charger from Troy Yohn (#X) . The car got as much charge as possible as I was lined up in the third heat race (the fast heat). Starting on the inside of row two I took advantage of the rookie on the pole when he slid up the track going into the first corner. The lead was mine by the end of lap one. Brian Johnson chased me down and got by me with about a lap and a half to go. I finished in second place in the fast heat. Respectable.

My sister-in-law Tina won her heat race as did the guy pitting next to me.

I lined up on the fifth row on the right. They started us out by going clockwise, that put me to the inside and most of the competition faded pretty quick. Most of the cars I passed were sliding up the track. By lap five I had the lead and held it though a few lengthy cautions including a red flag situation for the #3 car in the wall. The ambulance came and checked her out and she walked into the ambulance.

At the end of fifteen laps I was running all by myself at the head of the pack. In victory lane a member of the Kids' Club came down and got her picture taken with me.

I think I just might put the alternator back in the car this week :)

Jim
Qualified: 9th
Heat: 2nd (of 8)
Feature: 1st (of 20)

Tina
Qualified: 8th
Heat: 1st (of 8)
Feature: 14th (of 20)

Full race report available via Racing Online

7.20.2004


My answer to an adjustable upper seat mount with seatbelt mount. Posted by Hello

The new paint and number decals are complete. Posted by Hello

7.19.2004

DFI Golf Outing

Tonight was the Annual DFI Golf Outing. We played the front nine at the Stoughton Country Club. Our foursome shot a 47, is that good you ask? Par was 35. So, we were 12 over par. No, that's not very good. On the bright side it rained a little and the golf carts were a blast to drive around on the wet grass.

After golfing and finishing our "beverages" in the club house we decided to go grab a bite to eat. I suggested Angelo's, a small italian place near the intersection of Hwy 51 and Main St (?) in McFarland. We got there close to 9:00 PM and they had been closed for quite some time. We went right next store to Culvers. I had Culvers for lunch too. Twice in the same day is a little too much from that place.


7/16 Columbus Results - Rain out ...

Well, I hadn't even made it out of work when they called the races. I phoned Dave over at Competition Graphics to see when he could put the new number decals on. He agreed to stop by Sunday morning.

Update:
The decals are on! they look pretty good too. I should have pictures up later this week.

7.11.2004

Jen is learning to drive a stick.

Today was Jen's first lesson in driving a manual transmission. At least with me as her teacher.

This is the early preparation for the September 10th Powder Puff race. The powder puff event takes the wives/girlfriends/[insert female here] and lets them loose against the other women for 10 laps of racing action in the race cars.

Jen is planning on driving the Acura in the bandit powder puff race. The Acura is a manual transmission, hence our lessons today.

We started at the MATC Truax Campus in the rear parking lot. Jen wasn't the only one learning driving skills in that lot either. There was a 15-16 yr old girl learning how to drive a Ford Ranger. Started out with first gear which began more like a rodeo. That poor little Mitsubishi hasn't been abused like that since ... well probably since we took it to lunch last.

She graduated to second gear and then third. She was still shaky on her starts.

She got "bored" with 1st-3rd so we went home did some chores. Later we went out and did some country road driving. She made it into 5th gear out there a couple times. One time she even meant to ;)...

A few more practice sessions and we'll be ready to teach her how to race.

7/9 Columbus Results - Not Much

Well Friday was just a crappy day. I had the car all set to go last Friday (7/2) and didn't have much time for it this week. I got home at 5:15 pm and Father-in-law wasn't around. He usually runs to the bank and he had to work later that normal this Friday. So, at 5:30 I give him a call on his cell phone and ask if I can use his truck to tow the car to the track. He tells me that he'll be home in about 30-45 minutes. That doesn't do me much good as time trials start at 6:30. So I go to Columbus to get my Dad's truck. That's 15 minutes to the track, 15 back and I'm up to 30 minutes myself.

I hop in the Acura, hit the ignition, nothing. I left the ignition on and the battery was drained down to nothing. I put the jumper pack on the car and got it out of the garage and onto the tote. I grabbed the battery out of the $40 Acura and threw it into the race car.

I got to the race track as the street stocks were qualifying which meant that I had missed my divisions time trials. Now I would only get one lap of qualifying. We unloaded the car and put in the battery from the $40 Acura. I turned the key and it turned over but would not start. Damn! There's a loose ground wire that I keep meaning to fix, I get the folks standing around my pit stall to give me a push back and my dad started pushing me with the wrecker. I forgot to wave him off before I popped the clutch ... WHAM! 15 MPH impact from a wrecker. My naked head hit the aluminum seat. It didn't hurt right away but I definitely felt the effects later.


I turned a 16.9. Slow, at least compared to the rest of the season.

That put me in the middle of the second Bandit heat. Good competition but, I didn't think there was anyone I couldn't beat. We took two parade laps and then the flagman motions me off the track. I went and parked in the spot indicated for people who have been black flagged. Then they wave me up to the flagstand. The official asks me if the chain is the only thing holding my seat in place. "Yes, that's the way I've done it for years" I said. He tells me that the flagman has a problem with that. They proceed to have a conference on the front straight. I got pissed off and drove back to the pits.

I took the car down to the tech shed and asked them to look at the car. They said that I needed an upper seat brace. Fine, I voluntarily 'parked' my car for the night. If it's important enough, and obvious enough that the flagman can pick it out from the flagstand, maybe I shouldn't race it.

Sunday morning Dad and I built an upper seat mount that might weigh as much as six pounds. It should prevent a reoccurence of Fridays scene.

Jim
Qualified: 9th
Heat: 11th (officially)
Feature: DNS

Tina
Qualified: 7th
Heat: 5th
Feature: 2nd

7.08.2004

Bought another Acura Integra

Night before last I picked up another Acura Integra. It is a 1988, 4 door, Automatic and the interior is ripped up a bit. Otherwise, I was planning on running it on the street for a while.

It's gray and has some rust. This makes four cars in the garage, one runs and that's a race car. Jen has mentioned that she needs a parking stall in the garage no later than October. That's reasonable, if not tolerant.

Pictures to come...

7.05.2004

7/2 Racing Results - None

Due to a family situation that required my attention I did not race on Friday 7/2 at Columbus. "Everyone is fine, no one is broken."


Melissa #40Posted by Hello

Obnoxious pink? Yeah, Sam picked out the colors. Posted by Hello

Jen #10 Posted by Hello

6.29.2004


6/24 Storm - This picture doesn't do justice to the activity in the sky. Posted by Hello

6/24 Storm - Ominous stuff to the south. Posted by Hello

6/24 - A break? Posted by Hello

6/24 Storm - This makes a decent wallpaper. Posted by Hello

6/24 - DirecTV commercial? Posted by Hello

6/24 Storm - 7 Tornado touchdowns in the county Posted by Hello

6.28.2004

6/25 Results Columbus 151 Speedway

Not a bad night overall. Sue and Steve from work came out to watch the races. There was a little bit of bumper nudging in the heat. Car came home in one piece and I got some good experience in traffic.

Jim
Qualified: 3rd
Heat: 5th (of 9)
Feature: 9th (of 16)

Tina
Qualified: 5th
Heat: 2nd (of 9)
Feature: 4th (of 14)

6.20.2004

July 4th Tournament of Destruction Preperation

It's fathers day. We spent most of today at my Dad's house preparing Tournament of Destruction cars for my sister and two of her friends.

Cars acquired for this tournament include:

* 1992 Chevy Cavalier
* 1987 Volkswagen Jetta GL

Rumor has it we might be getting another Cavalier... We'll have to see what Roxie digs up from the underbelly of Madison ;)

As for today, we prepped two cars and got my Dad a digital camera. Point. Click. Shoot. Upload. It's a Kodak EasyShare. Just what they needed to be able to take pics, I liked the ease of use although I still haven't found the 3x Digital Zoom.

6/19 Results Jefferson Speedway

After a decent night at Columbus 151 Speedway on Friday I decided to test my luck at Jefferson on Saturday. Went out for qualifying without any practice and the car felt like crap it was sliding all over. I pull into the pits and my Father-in-law tells me I turned a 15.2 second lap. That's pretty quick. Fast enough to qualify 5th out of 30 some-odd bandits.

That put me in the fast heat, the fourth Bandit heat of the night. I tried to keep my nose clean and came home in fourth place, respectable if you ask me.

For the feature event I started inside row four. We got to lap 10 pretty much without incident when I again got punted. That got me loose coming out of two. I wound up going through the infield (again, with the infield!) and fell back to 9th place. I was holding a solid 9th until I mistook the flagman's actions to mean the leaders were behind me so I pulled up out of the way and gave up the 10th spot.

With a little more pushing I might've had my heat race. I've got to get a mirror in the car so I can see who is sending me through the damn infield ;)

Qualified: 5th
Heat: 4th
Feature: 10th

Overall, I was very happy with the results of this racing weekend.

6/18 Results Columbus 151 Speedway

Round two of the Summer Rumble: I qualified seventh out of about thirty cars. I was put in the first heat event of the night which paired me against eight or so slower cars. Going into turn one the whole pack moved up a groove on the race track and I drove right underneath them. By turn three of the first lap I had pretty much won the race. The rest of the race consisted of avoiding cars and accidents.

That's the first victory this year. Yay.

I talked to the officials and found out there was an error in the time recorded for me. I started at the back of the feature event for reasons I don't care to explain (long stupid story) and was racing up until I got punted (hit hard in the rear bumper) and sent through the infield. I placed 17th out of 18-20 cars. Pretty disappointing but, after I got up to speed I was faster than the cars at the front of the field.

Qualified: 7th
Heat: 1st
Feature: 17th

And the car came home in one piece which, so far this year, is a victory.

Update:
Pics from Chris Krueger ...



6.14.2004

The Acura is being dropped off this evening. We couldn't dolly it home so we brought home Tina's and Bob trailered the Integra. It'll be fun unloading with a broken tierod. I've got a parts car sitting in the garage. It was supposed to go back to the previous owner (Dave @ Got Honda?). Will have to negotiate for the parts needed or maybe the whole car.

On the bright side, we qualified 10th out of 39 cars in our division. We had zero hot laps and under-inflated tires for qualifying clockwise rather than the normal counter(or anti)-clockwise.

In the heat race we started in tenth, or fifth row outside. By lap two, the time of the accident, I was in approximately fourth position. One of those rare disappointing yet encouraging nights.

6.13.2004


Better shot of the left front... Broken strut, broken tie-rod, plug wire embedded into the battery (not pictured).  Posted by Hello

Hit the six foot sand pile in the infield. That tried to put the strut through the hood. Tow truck picked the car up by the bumper and efficiently ripped it off.  Posted by Hello

Bumpers in the rear windows, got t-boned in the left front. Posted by Hello

6.02.2004

0 Morrissonville Rd Pic 1 Posted by Hello

5.26.2004


Seems calm but this is just minutes from a tornado touchdown near our house. Posted by Hello

You can't cover Jerry!!! Posted by Hello