Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Panasonic camera model

Since I wasn't too clear about the model of camera, this is what I ordered, and I got it thru amazon.  I sorted thru their many offers and ended up with JR Electronics with amazon as the reference and billing company.  That keeps the selling company from having your credit card number. Like Paypal, assuming you can trust Amazon. LOL


Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 12x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD (Black)  Comes in black, silver, red, blue and probably more.  Since I'm not very adventuresome, I got black.

This is known as a TZ10 outside of North America.  Europe has some rules that limit record time so don't get a European model, but you can see lots of video on you tube if you search TZ10.

If your not at all interested in the GPS feature, and can live with a smaller rear viewing screen, 2.7 inches instead of 3.0, the ZS5 is almost the same product for about a $100 less.  Your mileage may vary!

Retired Rod

Messin around with the new camera.

I charged the battery and loaded the SD card and took this shot out the back door.  See why I can’t hardly stand to be here in KC!  Sooooo close to the neighbors!  Outside of the folks next door with the deck, I’ve never spoken to any of the people in the houses behind us since we came here four years ago.


I went over and sat in my chair in the corner of the family room and shot a picture of the kiddy toys for the grand kids.  This is a 25mm wide angle shot, as our room is not really this big.  The green turtle is about 8 feet away from me.


Ok so I zoomed in on the turtle, with the 12x optical zoom being careful not to get into the digital zoom that reduces pixels.


Ya gotta be kidding me, that is the equal of 300mm in a 35mm film camera. 

I rode the bike over to the motorhome storage place.  I needed to exercise the leveler jacks and start the engine for a while.  It has been a month since it was started.

Get me outa here dad!              P1000005

The fellow with the rig next to me was gone, so I could take a picture from the side.  I still had to use the wide angle some, and it makes it look longer.


I ran the engine and the generator with the roof airs.  I put the legs down and manually leveled the coach.  Then I tried to store the level point.  But of course it would not store.  I read the manual, and the big book that Tiffin wrote as an owners manual, but still could not get it to store.  Then as I studied it carefully, It said that I had to do a step before anything else would work.  So I dropped back and re did that step again.  And that’s what it wanted as it stored the position immediately.

I retracted the legs like I was leaving, and then turned them back on and pushed Auto Level.  And just like that it leveled up and went off.  It appears that my problems up in Des Moines have been cleared out of the memory.

Later tonight, I rode out to Heritage Park South of us in Overland Park. I took several shots of the sunset.  The beauty of this camera for us non professional folks is its IA mode.  That is intelligent automatic.


Not only does it control the exposure, it judges the picture and selects one of its many scene modes to correctly shoot the photo.  In these shots it had correctly decided that this was a sunset. It went into sunset mode, and adjusted the ISO of the CCD sensor to 400 with a shutter speed to match.  I was on the motor scooter and just pressed the shutter release.


Again the camera did better in IA mode than me messing around with the manual settings.  I had the ISO too slow, and it didn’t look as natural.  I tried Aperture preferred and Shutter preferred, but still didn’t get the contrast that the IA selected sunset scene provided in full automatic.


I messed with the Picassa settings on these photos but mostly didn’t change too much.  The shots really didn’t need much tuning to be very acceptable.  That is quite a change from the older cameras.

Loyce came back home tonight, but is quite tired as I don’t think she slept all that well at her sisters house. She’s gone up to bed already, so I am being quiet down here tonight.

I think the Panasonic ZS7 is a keeper, as it seems to be fairly intuitive as to how to run everything, but I have not used the movie part yet.  Making movies will take some further study of the manual, which is on the CD rom.  I only read the short paper booklet that came with it in several languages.

But if you could learn the whole thing in a ten minute sitting, it wouldn’t be nearly as fun.  There needs to be yet another trick that I didn’t know around every turn.  I have been pressing buttons like a kid messing with his cell phone, all night.

I wonder if it will play space invaders??????

Retired Rod

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Al's new Toy, and an SD Card

Just in case you haven't been over to see the Bayfield bunch's new toy!!!!!

Doesn't he look like a proud new Poppa?

Now we are really going to expect some hair raising drove off the side of the cliff stories next fall when it gets to Arizona.  Lets see, a lift kit, a winch, a base plate to hook it up to the motorhome........  I don't think were done here yet!

I have been the most lazy fellow now that I have been hangin out here at home by myself.  Without the bride to crack the whip and keep me on my toes, I can ride the motorcycle all day and sleep in the chair in front of the computer, and make a mess out of the kitchen......

But then come to think of it, I do that stuff when she is here too.  But she is so quick to clean up after me that I never notice that I made the mess.  Anyway my bad habits need to come to an end as she will be back here tomorrow.

I spent the day trying to source a SD card for the new camera that I ordered.  Of course they are available on the internet, but surely I can find one locally.  Not!

The deal is that the newer SD cards are SDHC for high capacity, and now they are rated for speed in a different way.  They used to be 1x or 16x and so forth.  But now the speeds are 100x or even larger numbers that make no sense.

So they changed to a Class number.  The new camera should be here tomorrow, and will require a Class 6 card.  I went everywhere and all I could find were class 4  and slower.  On a lark, I stopped by Sam's Club, and they had the same old class 4, but I asked the 20 something young man if they had any class 6 and he said no, but to go to Micro Center up on Metcalf because they would have them.

I've been there before, and they do have everything when it comes to computers, now why didn't I think of that?

I had some trouble finding the cards at the store, until I went to the check out and right there next to the cash register were the bins with all kinds of memory.  I got a 16GB Class 6 for $30 and that was better than anywhere on the net.  And no shipping to boot.

So now I am really pawing the ground to get that UPS man here and try out the new camera.  It is a Panasonic ZS7, and is like the one that Gordon of Nightly News up in Ontario purchased.  And I must admit that I hadn't considered the Panasonic since they came out with the 3 last year, but upon seeing the picture of Gordon and the newest model, I couldn't stand it and ordered one too.

I really hate to admit that, but I had considered a Cannon G11, like Rick up in Victoria, BC but just couldn't part with that much cash!  So this is more in my price range, and I have worn the Nikon by carrying it so the card and battery won't stay in too well.  The big Nikon is too heavy and big to go on a daily basis, and if I buy another big one it will just die in its case and never see the light of day.

So I should stop ramblin and let you fine folks move along to the next blog in hopes that they will be more interesting, LOL!

Retired Rod

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sleepy Sunday

It has been a non productive Sunday, as we had the grandkids until the early afternoon.  Their parents came and collected them which always turns into a time of visiting.

I'm not sure what we were talking about, but it took time to go thru it just the same.  My son works in Florida and has to commute on the jet liner during the weekends that he returns to Kansas. It is always a treat to see him in his short visits home.

After that Loyce got packed up and headed to her sisters home in Des Moines. They will have three of the four sisters there for a visit, and I graciously allowed them to have their girl time without my tagging along.

So it got really quiet here for the afternoon.  So what do I do?  Bike ride!  But it looked like it could rain any time.  So I went anyway.

Riding West over into old Olathe, I went past the park where the field day had been, but they had it all secure by the time I got there.  Since I was on old Kansas City Road, I followed up North into Lenexa, where it becomes Santa Fe Rd.  It is along the Santa Fe railroad tracks that are very busy most of the time.  I found one engine connected to two old caboose.  They were sitting along a siding waiting for another engine to take them away.  Or perhaps they were just stored there, but it was not an area for historical viewing, and the engine was modern.  That was the only train cars I saw in several miles.

I rode on until the area became quite industrial, and that gave me pause to head more East into nicer neighborhoods.  As I got over into Leawood, a nice area along the Missouri state line, the clouds began to make water droplets appear on my helmet visor.  Oh oh, rain.

So I looked back to the West and saw that it was much lighter.  So at the next major intersection, I scooted West and out of the sprinkles.  The streets seemed really deserted this afternoon.  Perhaps because it was about to rain and it was Sunday as well.

Back home the computer has captivated my evening, as it always does, but I did call Loyce to see how her trip went and learned they were headed out to a nice restaurant.

Me, I went to Arby's for a 99 cent roast beef.  They were good, so I had two.

Retired Rod

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Field Day 2010

I was a good boy and stayed at home for most of the day with the grand kids. I dashed out to answer some questions about the batteries at Sam's Club when my son Chris and I started discussing the brands and Amp Hours.

But it was dragon breath hot, when I got into the Camry and started the dash air conditioner.  It drove me back out of the car into the 95 degree sun, which felt cool by comparison.

But late in the afternoon, I went back out to the Radio Club's Field Day site.  We are again in a little city park about 2 miles North of downtown Olathe.  It is on Kansas City Road, so named as it went to KC years ago before this was all one giant community.  Now you never leave the city for 30 miles or more along I 35.

Things were in good form, as the main radios were manned by operators and loggers on the networked computer system.  The computers keep track of all the contacts that we make, and more importantly warn us when we make a duplicate contact that was made earlier in the day.  Since there are several stations running at once and operators  change every hour or so, there is no way to know what is on the list of contacts already made.

We had a most scrumptious barbecue of pork dinner put on by our fellow ham that has the big kitchen trailer.  Thanks John!  He even had the suffix of his call sign changed to BBQ. And we all think it is very fitting.

His pork roast had turned pink like it was ham, and it was rubbed with just the right seasoning.  And no he won't tell.  It really did not need any sugar tomato based sauce, and those of us that pride ourselves as connoisseurs didn't ask for any.  But he had sauce if you really had to have it.

I got my turn at the radio as the logger computer operator.  You work just as hard listening to get the call sign of the other operator and his verbal exchange typed into the computer as if you had the mic.  Actually we both have mics on our headsets, but the fellow in the operators chair does the talking.

Saying CQ Field Day over and over serves to make you hoarse, and requires a break every so often or you get tongue tied.

It was still 96 out there when I decided to leave.  I had been there for four hours, and that was about all the heat I thought I could take.  In previous years I stayed all day, but would then suffer from heat exhaustion for most of the night.  Perhaps I am wiser now.

Tomorrow they will tear it all down and return the park to its normal usage.  It will need to be cleaned up like we were never there.  So perhaps I will go help with that in the afternoon.  That will depend if the grandkids are gone by then.

The heat goes on here in KC.

Retired Rod

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Field Day setup

I've done it again, waited until the middle of the night to blog about the day and can't remember where it went.  We were getting the grand kids for the weekend as their parents had a wedding that they have planned for eons.

So we were preparing for their arrival. And it began to get hot.  But I took the motorscooter to a different Wendy's and then to a different Wal Mart looking for a thin knit shirt made by Starter.  I have two and wanted yet another.  I only wear these when it is 90ish but today it was 97 while I was on the bike.  And I found the shirt.

This is Amateur Radio Field Day weekend, and setup began at one in the afternoon here.  So after the Wal Mart trip I stopped by the park.  They already had the big Sheriff's tower on the site, and were setting up radios in the picnic shelter. I stayed for a couple of hours.  Loyce finally called and wondered where I went.  Hint get home right now!!!!!

After we had dinner with the girls and I got the DVD movie started, I slipped back over to the radio meeting at 7:30.  We decided to put up the big dipole on the tower this evening while the sun was low in the West.  It was still 92 or more, and I again soaked my shirt.

As darkness settled over the shelter and the night lights came on, I decided to leave them all too it.  Some will spend the night just so bad things won't happen in the wee hours.

We will get set up in the morning, or finish the set up anyway, and be ready to go by 1 PM our official starting time here in the Central time zone.

Riding the bike back to the house after dark, the temperature was still 89 on the dash, but that is a whole lot better than the 103 I saw on it as I left Wal Mart this afternoon.  Ya that would be 39 C, and our humidity is 80% right now and I'm sure it has been that high or more all day.

The weather forecast is for even hotter tomorrow.  What we won't do for our Ham Radio hobby!

Retired Rod

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cooler so let the outside work begin!

It seemed cooler this morning, so that was my cue to go mow the yard!  At least it seemed cooler here in KC but it was still in the mid 80's at about 9:30.  I pushed the lawnboy trimming mower all around the outside of the property first, as I knew it wouldn't stay cool for long.

Then it was time for Mr John Deere our trusty lawn tractor.  While driving him isn't really too much work, he has a Kohler 15 HP motor that is right in front of you.  And it gets quite hot.  It pours that heat back and onto the driver, which is not what you look forward to in the heat of summer.  Go faster!  LOL! But then the cut becomes more erratic as I use it as a mulcher with the chopping blades and the chute blocked.

It is best to go slower and let it do its work.  I was done after noon, and had to go off on the motorscooter for a while.  It was showing 91 by now on the dash, but since I had been outside all morning, I didn't really feel all that bad about it.

I was looking for a patch kit for the vinyl swimming pool.  You might remember that I drained it to go to the lake last week, and it was draped over several chairs and the lawn table.  Well,,,, there must be a sharp corner on that stuff somewhere,  because I have a hole about the size of a pencil right in the middle of the bottom.  Drat!

No kits at Wal Mart.  Kid said they never had them this year.  No kits at Toys R Us, they don't carry them.  I made the mistake of asking what I should do to patch my pool, and she said  """""""Buy another one.""""""""   Oh boy don't get me started on this!!

So then I came back toward home and happened by our local ACE Hardware, and thought to myself, now they are in the fixit business.  I immediately stopped!  And Yes, happy bloggers, they had patch kits right on the peg in the glue and sealer isle!  They come with a big square of clear vinyl that you can cut a patch out of and the sealer.  It is full of toluene, remember that is the base for airplane glue.  A glue sniffers delight!

This afternoon became the patch it in the sun day, and it was now up to 93 on my weather station here in the house.  Our humidity is now in the mid 60 % range and you can stand to be outside at 93, when it isn't so dripping wet.

As of tonight the pool is now filled and warming up outside.  The water when it comes from the hose is soooooo cold that you can't stand to be in it even when it is 90 outside.  Our swimmers will be here tomorrow afternoon, so perhaps it will be much warmer when they get here.

I am happy to report that the new fan in the upstairs bedroom office has spun its tail off all day and never missed a lick!  And this old junky computer with its exorbitant and copious amounts of memory has its arm around me and is working like never before!!!

Retired Rod

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Replacing the fan and computer memory

I was up and at that fan by the stoke of 9 AM this morning, since I was afraid that they might renege on the "new fan for broken" deal.

It took me about an hour and a half to get it taken down and reassembled with all its parts.  I left the control box up on top of the box so the melted fan capacitor was in plain sight.

Once over at Lowes, I asked for Clinton like the email had said.  He came out from an office and was very courteous.  The problem that presented itself was  I had a 6 blade fan with 5 lights on the bottom, and they no longer carry that fancy of a fan.  So it became fairly evident, that I was going to have a little setback in features.

They had a white fan with 5 blades and 4 lights, so since I was getting a brand new fan, I readily agreed.  He opened it up and looked it over to see that it was all there and handed it to me.

And yes Gypsy, he kept the old fan stating that he was going to get some credit for it.  I'm not sure if he was getting credit from the supplier, or from corporate where the products are shipped to the individual stores.  Point was that he did not intend to toss it out until he got credit!

I gathered the new one and quickly left the store.  Once home, assembly began and it became obvious that I had a little problem.  The new blades were held onto the brackets by torx screws.  T20's, but that wasn't the problem.

These torx screws had a dimple in the middle that wouldn't allow my torx screw driver to go into the screw.  So it was back to the car and Lowes to find the right tools.

It turns out that there is a second kind of torx that is called a security torx, so the tool guy says.  It has the raised center dimple and is common on computer and electronics applications.  I guess that is to keep the average guy from taking it apart.  But I now own a set of security torx bits, for only $10.

I spent the early afternoon getting the fan reinstalled, and it worked right away.  And interestingly enough, the capacitor in its control box was exactly like the one I needed for the old fan.  I didn't point that out at the store though......

Much later in the afternoon, I was working on the computer and decided that the reason my Ubuntu machine was way too slow, was the newer heavier program required more ram memory.  I only had 256 meg, and the machine was caching about another 100 meg on the hard drive.

No wonder it works and works on seemingly nothing.  So a trip to our local computer store where I bought the old junker box in the first place, and for $39  I had a nice new stick of 512 meg.  I inquired if I could mix the sizes and put them both in, and was told to put the big one in first and it should work.

Well now, with 768 meg  under the hood, it perked up rather nicely.  Its still a ten year old machine but it has 160 gig HD and 768 meg of ram.  Not too shabby for an old pentium 4.

Tonight after a scooter ride at dusk, and a threatened rain storm to chase me home, it is time to call it a day.  We made 96* here in the afternoon, so the question is, will the heat ever break?

Retired Rod

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hotter yet, and the ceiling fan saga

So how hot was it?  It was over 90 by 9AM, and I decided that motor scooter rides were not on the agenda.  By mid afternoon it was 97, which even made driving the car somewhat nasty.  It can be a scorcher here in KC at times.

The fun however, has been the ongoing saga of the burned out ceiling fan capacitor.  Remember I emailed Lowes customer service, that their store associates had no idea about what a fan speed capacitor even was, let alone how to get a replacement.

Well they called my bluff asking for the model number and description of the burned up part.  So, I climbed up on the fan and removed the control housing and copied down the model number of the fan and the numbers and values off of the capacitor.  I emailed that back within about two hours of receiving the first answer.

Well then, the customer care lady forwarded the whole mess back to the senior manager at the store here in Olathe, Ks.  He then sent an email offering to just trade out the whole fan.  Unless I just had to have the parts for the old one.

Any way you cut it, the fan with the bad capacitor is going to be tossed out.  Its just our societies way of dealing with stuff that is broken.  Obviously they do not understand how to fix the problem, so they are willing to just make me go away by giving me a new fan.  Its cheaper than fooling with it.

It makes me wonder how many people in our technical world actually know how all these things we take for granted, work.  The engineers that design this stuff must be a very small number of our overall population.  It didn't use to be that way!  Since it is all made in China, I'm afraid that the Chinese are the only ones that know how things work, and that can't be good for us in the long run.  IMHO.

It finally got down under 90 by 8:30 tonight so as the sun disappeared into the West, I got in that bike ride.  I still had 87 on the dash thermometer as I rolled it back into the garage.  It was totally dark by then.  The air conditioner has never cycled all day.

Perhaps tomorrow will be cooler, but then I will be in the upstairs bedroom taking down a ceiling fan, before this manager gets amnesia. LOL.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hot day back home!

There's not much to report around here today except it is hot hot hot.  Well at least for Kansas it seems hot.  We had 95 on the weather station here at our house, and the wind came from the South at about 20 mph.

We hid inside the air conditioned house and did as little as possible, but I had to go out in the afternoon and ride the motorscooter over to a store.  On the way back, the temperature gage on the dash read 103 at one point during the ride.  It didn't take me too long to realize I needed to be back inside the A/C again!

So our day was spent messing on the computer looking for ceiling fan capacitors for our Harbor Breeze fan that we bought two years ago at Lowes.  When I was over at the store asking for the part, they just looked at me like I was nuts.

I explained that the motor just hummed and the fan did not start, and that usually means the capacitor is burned out.  They indicated it was time to throw away the fan.

The little capacitor is under $10 if I can find one.  I did find some on the internet, but I was hoping to find one locally.  But it will not be an exact replacement from Lowes, because nobody there had any idea what I was talking about.

I left an eMail on their website to see if someone from the home office can respond with information about the Harbor Breeze product they sell and replacement parts.  I'm sure it is a Chinese product that they purchase cheaply, and is only available thru their stores

As usual when I get on this dog gone computer, time just slips away and I have nothing to show for it.  Well save for a few comments that I lovingly placed on other folks blogs, anyway!

Retired Rod

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another trip back to KC

Its always such a big day when you have to get packed up and on the road in order to go home.  Since we were travelling between houses, all the groceries have to be packed as well as all of our personal belongings.

The pontoon has a cover that needs to go back on and it has a zillion snaps all the way around.  It took me over an hour to get all this back on.  With helpers that can walk along each side of the boat on the dock it takes only minutes, but when you are alone, you get on and off of the boat numerous times as you snap stuff down.

But we were packed and left by just after the noon hour.  Not too shabby for organizing two kids under 8 years old and ourselves.  It takes about 3 and a half hours to drive back to KC, and we made one fuel stop for the truck  as I was pulling the utility trailer.

But we were unloading the vehicles back here in KC before 4 PM.  And the kid's mom was over here in a flash to pick them up.

I later took the trailer over to the dead storage lot where it is stored and parked it in its stall.  Finally as I was returning home the temperature fell below 90 degrees.  We saw 96 for a while in the heat of the afternoon.

I always reflect on these travel days as non accomplishment days.  But why did we have to work so hard all day if we didn't actually accomplish anything?

I have been sitting here talking to my oldest son on the phone and enjoying the remainder of fathers day tonight, and I am tired from our several days at play with the grand kids.  But then that is what I should be, tired because I think we wore them out too.

With nothing further to report, I'll just end it off here and wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

Retired Rod

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our last full day with the Grandkids

We were up early with the kids this morning as they seem never to be able to sleep in beyond about 6 AM.
Caden seems to be the principal culprit in the getting up early game, as his sister Ema complains that he won't let her sleep.

Oh my we grandparents can't solve these on going battles.  We had creamed sausage over biscuits for breakfast, and Caden ate like he had never had anything for weeks.  Evidently we have found something that he really likes.

We headed out in the pontoon mid morning, as it seemed like it might rain later in the day.  We boated up into the Gravois Mills arm of the lake to the North since we hadn't gone that way much this year.  We were about 10 miles away, when it was way passed lunch time and we headed back.

Even though we were back for a lunch, swimming became the order of the day and lunch was put off.  Seemed like we had to do it all today since we are leaving for home in the morning, and urgency of better do it now set in.

In the middle of the afternoon, as naps were being taken, that storm did overtake us.   The sky clouded and the wind blew even harder than yesterday, but thankfully we were not out on the lake this time.  We would have been seriously wet, as it rained for more than an hour.

Tonight we went into town and had an Emo's Pizza.  This is a special Saint Louis Pizza joint place that makes a thin crusted pizza with provolone  cheese as its main topping.  We have been eating that for years, and even have one of the shops close to our home in KC.  But we have never seen it anywhere else but the Missouri area.

So tonight we had to stay up late since it is the last night, and only reluctantly went to bed.  I heard a lot of talking even after that, so you would think sleeping in would be in order in the morning, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Retired Rod

Saturday, June 19, 2010

More Lake Play and a fast moving Thunder Storm!

Today was a carbon copy of yesterday here in Lake Ozark.  The only difference was that it was me that sneaked out to Wal Mart in the middle of the day.  I made the excuse that I needed to get some gas in our jet ski cans and some lunch at Wendy's.

But that was during the naps that the kids took for about an hour or so, so I was free for that time.  We went out on another pontoon ride a about 3:30 in the afternoon, and ran straight into a fast moving thunderstorm.  We could see it gathering to the Southeast so we headed West thinking we could outrun it.  But that proved to be incorrect.

The wind came directly from the South and gathered speed enough to rapidly turn the surface of the lake into white caps.  Since we are a three log pontoon filled with Styrofoam actually sinking the pontoon would be all but impossible.  But strong enough wind could perhaps blow the craft over or upside down.  Of course we didn't have wind anywhere near that speed.

It is unsettling though to have water that is wind driven enough to blow over the decks from the sides, and we were approaching that wave action.  So I turned into the wind presenting the more pointed end of the boat to the waves.  Trimming up and picking up the bow with the engine torque allowed us to cross the channel and enter a cove that was more protected from the wind.

It did begin to rain, but as we headed into the wind, we drove out of the rain.  In a few minutes the fast moving cell was gone, almost a rapidly as it came up.  The weather returned to mid 90's and blow torch like breezes.  Normal stuff for central Missouri.

We ended our day here with a cookout of bratwurst and hot dogs.  Nothing like a little picnic food to finish off a fun day of swimming and boating.

Tonight we have used Skype for several phone calls once to mommy and daddy back in KC, and then I became involved with another ham friend after the kids all went to bed. 

So zoom, just like that another day in the record books.

Retired Rod

Friday, June 18, 2010

Playing at the Lake

The day was all play in the sun.  We are tired units tonight!!!

Remember that Wal Mart run that Loyce wanted to make this morning?  Well I managed to wiggle out and let them go off on their own to the WW place.  That allowed me to fire up the Red scooter that came down here with me and off I went.

I quickly rode over the dam and into the town of Lake Ozark.  We call this T shirt town, as it is a big tourist trap with lots of stores selling T Shirts and many game arcades and Ice Cream stores.  But I just zoomed right on thru.

I rode out onto the Horseshoe bend area where we had our previous bungalow home, before we built this one.  I had not been out there for about a year, so it was fun to zoom around all the old neighborhoods.  I came back up town and stopped at the quick stop for gas and a soda.  It was getting hot again.

I made it back to the house just as the kids and Loyce were returning, what timing.

Again this afternoon, it was pressure washer time for me, as the boat was webbed in with bug mess from only two weeks ago.   We are in the woods, and the bugs and spiders are relentless.  Also we have mud daubers, and they had built several mud homes in the canvas covers.  That is such a mess to clean up.

Loyce and the kids swam and went to the neighbors dock to jump off the ten foot high platform into the water.  That is a big deal, since they have never been allowed to do that before.  Our neighbor Todd may have more than he will know what to do with, as they will be back over there bugging him to do it again.

Once I had the boat reasonably clean, we headed out to do a boat ride until supper time.  Sorry dad, no naps today, except a little one as we returned with the pontoon.

Tonight it was up to Bandana's for the giant barbecued hot dog for kids. And of course fries and a never ending lemonade.  Grandma fed them their milk for breakfast and lunch! 

Ah we are all so tired that we can't keep our eyeeeeeeeeeee........zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Retired Rod

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More to explain about Ubuntu and the trip to the lake.

Ok, for those that are not aware, Ubuntu is an operating system that is mounted on a computer that takes the place of Windows.  It runs on a PC computer, not an Apple.  It is completely free, and will almost do everything that Windows will do.  The office suite is also free.  The eMail client is also free.  It runs Firefox as a browser which will run anything that is on the internet.  Firefox is free.

Did I mention that it was free!!!!!

Ok I hope that explains what I am doing with the Ubuntu bit.  I have an old computer that had Windows 2000 on it, that I bought from a bone yard computer store here in Kansas City.  I put a completely new hard drive in it that was not formatted. With my Windows laptop I copied the Ubuntu download onto a CD that is made bootable and booted the old machine from the CD drive.  From there the install is just follow instructions.  The cost of the whole thing was under $200 for the old computer and the new hard drive.

So this is what I am messing with.  I have been doing this for about 3 years now and have learned enough about operating systems and command lines and all the rest to be able to talk geek, and look fairly geeky to my friends and even evidently  to  some of you bloggers. But don't believe it for a minute, as it is a smoke screen. I find this fun, when trapped in a city without being able to go RV.  Especially when it is too hot outside to go for a scooter ride.

But I managed to control myself this morning and not start into the Ubuntu bit again, opting to go drain the rest of the remaining water out of the pool and deflate it enough to toss it over our patio table.  I hope it will stay there without the wind blowing it away. I draped the cover over the Gas Grill.  Perhaps it will all dry out before we get back.  But if it continues to rain everyday, it may not.

We had a safe trip down here to the Lake place, as it is about 180 miles.  We didn't leave until 4 PM since the grandkids had to finish their day's activities at their respective schools, and Loyce did the dentist thing at 2 in the afternoon.

That gave me the excuse to go get the small Wendy's meal that I like with the big motorscooter, and stop by our local Heritage Park picnic shelter and enjoy the out of doors for a few moments.  But time slipped away rapidly, and it was back home to finish packing up.

We stopped in Versailles, Mo at about 6:30 or so for the McDonalds happy meal treat for the kids, as they were really hungry.  We need to make a Wally World run in the morning, as we didn't bring much in the way of groceries with us.  We knew it would be late and opted to go shopping here.

The house was 90* inside when we got here, so it is still not cool at midnight as I write this, but it should be fairly nice by morning, so I need to go try and sleep, as the kids will be up before 7, and perhaps a lot before 7...........

Let hope Grandma can handle that while I ,,,   ya she'll make me get up too.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer fun at the lake.

Drain the swimming pool we're heading out to the Lake place!!

The little eight foot pool on our back patio is only about 2 feet deep and now has a cover, but we cannot and will not leave it there when we are going to be gone for any period of time including an overnight.  There are too many wandering kids in this neighborhood.

So out came the plug and it took almost all day to get it back down to the concrete.  I fill it under pressure with two hoses and it takes about three hours, but just using gravity with a hose tossed down hill to siphon the water out is a lot slower.

And yet again when it stopped raining for several hours in the afternoon, I went out and mowed the grass back to the tight clipped level.  A fresh start so we will not have to come back for about a week if we so choose.

We are grabbing the oldest two grand kids and should head out later in the afternoon after everyone gets their school and office appointments over with.  Me I have an appointment with a bowl of Cherrios.

I am taking the smaller red scooter to the lake in the utility trailer that we pulled to Arizona last winter.  Since it doesn't seem to sell, perhaps I can get some use of it when I am down to the Lake.  It is my plan for now anyway.  Now watch the add on Craigs List will get someone wanting to look at it now that it isn't here.

I again got caught up in messing with Ubuntu this afternoon, and the day seems to disappear.  I have an interrupt problem with Skype where the processor goes off and checks something and the voip blips while its gone.  It is annoying to say the least.

I never even got caught up reading all the blogs, but rather waded neck deep into all the threads on the Wiki about fixing Skype.  For some reason reinstalling it several times over itself seems to help.  And it did help, but isn't a new install just like the install I did a few minutes ago?  That doesn't make a bit of sense.

When they have these brand new versions, they come with a bunch of bugs.  If Windows let stuff out the door with bunches of bugs, they would get crucified.  But since this if free and there are plenty of older versions that are stable, you load the newest stuff at your own peril and read the wiki threads and try stuff to get it working.  Then you report back to the thread what you did and how it came out.  The developers watch the problems Id'ed by us users and then fix the bugs.

Again don't put this on the computer you use for production every day.  Use the August 2008 version, and it is very stable and works for almost everything.

I won't be Ubuntu ing  at the lake as this desktop isn't portable, and I refuse to waste my lake time on public linux projects.

Enough of my babbling, Retired Rod

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Taxes and more taxes

Boy its really late, and I sit here reading the blogs and stuff not even knowing it is way past my bedtime.  Why am I such a night owl?  I really don't know the answer to that question, but I have always been a late night kind of fellow.

Over in Viet Nam, I was always awake most of the night, as we had to have someone awake at all hours on our front line bunker.  They caught people asleep when they were supposed to be on watch.  I never could imagine how you could fall asleep at your post during a war!  It always cost them a stripe and a pay grade.  But it could have cost them their life.

Today was a bad day, as we had to mail off the income tax estimates and then decided to mail in our tax return that we had extended.  I always wait and file after the April rush. This causes my return not to be in the big pile of candidates for an audit.  Ours will be recorded long after the summer audits have been chosen.

This is a little trick that some of my senior accountants at the CPA firm taught me many years ago.

So since I was dealing with pain, I decided to go over to the DMV and bear with the license bureau to purchase all those yearly tags.  It is expensive here in Johnson County Kansas to license a vehicle.  If I lived only a few miles South, Miami County is much cheaper.  Each county sets its own rates for car tags.

I spent the afternoon scraping off the old stickers and carefully placing the new stickers in their place.  I even went over to the storage place and did the motorhome.   But get this, the Camry cost more to register than the Motorhome.  Here in Kansas they passed a law licensing the RV's as though they are trucks.  I don't know the idea, but Kansas is cheap for the RV.  So perhaps that will balance out the high prices for the car tags.

Tonight I spent most of the evening on the phone with my older son down in Florida, and then with a friend from Des Moines.  I'm not sure how that came about, but thanks to a nation wide plan, and Skype, it won't cost anything extra.

So it was boring around here today, unless you like filing taxes and standing in line waiting for the next available agent to take your money.  Lets see, you have to stand in line in order to give them your money........

Wouldn't you think they would be nice to you while you give them the taxes???

Retired Rod

Monday, June 14, 2010

Who did the rain dance?

It won't stop raining here!  It rained hard for most of the morning, and the roads never did clear of water.  The creeks ran all afternoon.  Because it was so wet, I left the motorscooter in the garage.

I drove the car over to the RV this afternoon and learned that the new diamond shield covering that we put on Friday had come partially off in the rain.   This is what happened the last time. 

So, since I watched very intently as the installer applied it, I reapplied the film working out all the air bubbles.  It seemed to be stuck down good but....

As I type this we have yet another thunder storm going thru the neighborhood.  It is a real hum dinger, as it has clattered and rumbled for over the last hour.

Luckily our electrical service is mostly underground out here in the newer area of town, so we have not experienced any electrical losses, and we have the internet via cable TV connection which goes to a wireless router in our pantry.

So we have no wires to the machines other than the electric plug ins.  The cable is also completely underground for several blocks, so I have not felt the need to disconnect.  I hope that optimism remains correct.

Tonight we were over at our son Ben's house for fresh Salmon cooked on his grill along with skewers of fresh veggies grilled as well.  Rounded out with a fresh salad and garlic bread, I came away very stuffed!!!  Thanks Ben.

The grandkids all had school tomorrow, so we had to get out of there or they would not have gone to bed.  But I am sure with this storm they are not sleeping one bit.  They get really scared by these things.

I spent the  rest of the day working on the Ubuntu computer resolving more of its issues, but not all.  But I am using it to write this blog, so it must be coming along, if only somewhat slowly.  They need to iron out some of their bugs so it may take some time to get it right.  But hey its an older machine that I just play with, so they can have all the time they want.

Now if it was my main machine that I relied on for everything, not so much!!!!

Retired Rod

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Do you ever make comments on your own blog?

Do you ever make comments on your comment page?  Sometimes I will log on and make comments after someone else has posed a question in a comment.  But then I always wonder if the person asking the question ever comes back to see the answer.

I was thinking about that when I came back and made a comment after several others had commented, and suddenly realized that more than likely they would never go back and look at the comments a second time to see my answer.

I would think that the right way to answer these comment questions is to include them in the new blog topic for the next day.  But then by that time I have forgotten the question.  So I'm not sure how to answer comments, unless I include a shout box like Tioga George.  But then he gets some rather nasty of vicious stuff.........

He was really attacked several days ago for being in Israel.  Well now lets see,,, he is Jewish and he chooses to go to Israel,,,, and a reader doesn't like it????  So that is why I am reluctant to use a shout box.

I am curious what ideas are out there on this topic.  Do you ever comment back to folks that comment on your blogs?

Retired Rod

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Replacing the Diamond Shield

Since I knew that the Diamond Shield guy was coming in the morning, and he said he would be leaving his home down in Springfield, Mo before first light, I was wide awake at 5 AM.  I can sleep in some mornings if I have absolutely nothing to do that day, but give me any appointment and I'm awake three hours early.

So I was dressed and had breakfast all done by 7, but he didn't call until 8:30.  He was at the local Hardee's burger having breakfast, and thought it was too early to bother me at 7:30.  I explained the directions to the storage mart, and he said he'd be there directly.

Well no problem, I'm only 4 miles away, and I did beat him by several minutes.  He lost no time at all setting up his truck as a work bench, and I started the generator.  He used a little portable steamer to loosen the vinyl film without lifting the new paint.

That is where this is an art, as he had the judgment to apply just enough heat to soften the adhesive, but not damage the new paint.  He kind of whisped the steam over the surface and pulled lightly until it let go.  Patience!

And just as he needed to clean the surface to put on the new stuff, it began to rain.  A misty drizzle rain, that drove me further into the back of my pickup topper.  He just kept working, sighting the need to be done for the next appointment.

But he took his time and very carefully applied the film making relief cuts where the stretch was more than the material could likely absorb.  Had the first installers done that, we wouldn't be doing it over.  As he was finishing up with the heat gun to make the final application, it stopped raining.  He was able to wipe it all dry and see the final product.  It looked much better.

We were all done by 10:30 and after the hand shake and thank you's, he was off to the next job.

I am greatly relieved that it is finished, as I become nervous and impatient to get these jobs completed and do it right.  Heck I'm retired, what difference does it really make?  But old habits dye very slowly.

Back at the house the heat of the day really came on, as it went up into the mid 90's in the sun.  At one point my weather station reported 94* and 90 % humidity.    We laid low in the A/C.  Loyce went off mid afternoon on a shopping trip, and I went over to a local pizza joint that I had never tired for lunch.

It was called Johnny Brusco's New York Pizza.  It wasn't too bad, and the two lunch slices were much larger than a small Wendy burger.  I was stuffed.

Tonight I headed out on the scooter at dusk, after the heat had relinquished some.  I took Mission Road to the South out of Leawood for a different ride, as it has some woods and twisties.  I ran into a big bunch of Harley Bangers about half way thru, but they gave me the low five wave, so they must not have realized I was a scooter.  Rumble, rumble, rumble.

It started to get really dark, and overcast again as I was coming back home, so I think we may be in for yet another storm.  The steam continues!!

Retired Rod

Friday, June 11, 2010

Working around the house

Another day messing around here at the house.  I went over and got a filter for the motorscooter, and came back in the afternoon and busied myself changing the oil.

Loyce had the grandkids for the midmorning and some of the afternoon. She fed them lunch, and I brought back Chicken Nuggets to go along with it.  But as it became nap time, their mom came and got them.  Now it is really quiet in here again.

While it was not hot here today, it was dripping wet with humidity.  Even tonight after dark, it feels like a giant wet blanket when you go outside.  We had thought some about going to the lake this weekend, but with this humidity, we may just pass.

There is no real sense in sitting in the A/C at the lake, and not being able to go outside much or do anything.  We have spent so much time down there in previous years, that the excitement is mostly gone from our visits.

So nothing really interesting to report in KC for today.

Retired Rod

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A steamy day after the rain

It rained all night!  I thought it had stopped, and when I got up at about 4 AM, it was sprinkling still.  But as I was going back to sleep, it cut loose again.  Big blotchy drops and some wind.

I wanted to take the motorscooter in for an oil change, but it was really wet. As I called about 9 AM the service guy said that their parking lot was all mud, and that they hadn't been able to pour any of the concrete around the building, or its garage doors.  So unless you want to deal with a really muddy bike, perhaps you had better hold off.

So when it did get sunny and steamy about noon, I hopped on the bike and rode over to the RV.  It is parked in a storage mart parking lot inside the fence with the gate and cameras.   It seems safe there, and the parking lot is hard surface.

With all the rain, though, I wanted to go look inside and make sure that we didn't have any surprises as far as leaks or windows open or any other maladies.  It seemed fine.  The sun had it over a 100 inside, so I didn't hang around.

After pouring some mixture of pinesol and bleach down each of the sink traps, I left.  I have used this mixture for several months now after reading on a blog that others have had luck with it.  It is mostly pinesol, with about 20 percent bleach mixed in.  I even put it in the holding tank after washing it all out.  It seems to hold longer than the commercial chemical stuff.

From there I went to Wal Mart for some beverage mix for the over 90* day, and on to Wendy's for the cheap meal for lunch.  Any excuse to ride the scoot around.

Once the heat of the day broke, it was almost dry enough to mow the lawn, so I went out and did that for a couple of hours.  Still it was steamy and the yard was wet in the low spots.

I have an appointment with the Diamond Shield installer for Friday morning to replace part of the plastic shield around the driver's side headlight.  The guy is driving in from down in the Springfield area.  Perhaps we should look into the Dimond shield business in KC.  But they would want a franchise fee, and that would make it really expensive if it didn't pan out.

Its supposed to be really hot for the next several days.  Perhaps that will get the Suzuki dealership back in business if they can finish his driveway up.  But the thought of going and purchasing the filter and oil keeps entering my mind.

Since it is the first time for the break in oil change, I usually get the dealer to do it.  Just in case something goes wrong or is wrong.  It will be a lot easier to just say "heck you guys serviced it."  But if they draw it out over a period of time, I won't wait.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grand Kids back but I do errands.

I'm not sure we did anything interesting today, as it began to rain about 7:30 in the morning, and rained off and on all day.  The motorscooter hid in his garage all day.

Just when I thought the grand kids were gone, they came back over for the morning, and some of the afternoon, but I headed out on all kinds of errands, so I'm not sure when they went home.

This is the month that a lot of our licenses renew on vehicles, so to start that task, I had to relicense the Jet Ski at the lake.  I have learned that you can buy Missouri tags at any license bureau in any county for any county.  That is convenient, and I duck over to the Missouri side from Kansas, and buy them in Belton.

I had no paperwork at all, except I knew the license letters on the boat.  But that turned out to not be any help.  I called to make sure that we could get it done without papers, and was assured.  So off I went.

Missouri is one of those states where you have to pay your personal property tax at the court house separately, and it is not part of your tag price.  That makes them have to verify that you have paid your tax before they let you buy a tag.  Pain in tail!!!!!  But our county at the lake has it available on line now, which kept me from looking for a paper property tax receipt. 

So after going around about that on the phone, they didn't even bring it up when I got there.  I think she remembered talking to me on the phone and looking it up then.  They wouldn't have let me out of it! It only cost $25 and the fee, but the ticket for no current license would be way bigger.  I was never asked about any insurance, so maybe boats aren't required to have insurance.  I do buy insurance on them, as a big law suit would not be good.

After that I went to the barber shop where we are all friends, and poke fun at each other.  The hair cut is just what we do while we are discussing all the other stuff.  It looks all right I think, but I'm not sure I've had my hat off since, so Loyce hasn't passed judgment.

After that I went to Wal Mart for an oil change in the Camry.  Today I sat in the waiting room like a good little boy and didn't pester them.  Heck its only 4 1/2 quarts of oil and a filter, but remember they have trouble getting filters to seal now.  So I will have to watch under the car in the drive to see if it leaks.

As I was leaving, the rains came down in torrents.  Its now after 10 PM and its still raining and the lightening is flashing.  Its been a good night for the computer. LOL.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Grand Kids go home.

I was backing up like Neil had suggested, and got off re reading the trip to Alabama to get the Motorhome repaired.  At the time, I was intent on getting things fixed that we had broken in our short time of ownership. 

But now several months later, I am impressed that we got as good of service as we did on such a short notice.  I basically called them up and told them I was coming, like it or not.  And they were soooo busy from all of us doing the same thing.  I know that we had a lot of stuff that was broken, and that much of it we broke ourselves, but they bent over backwards to fix all of it.  And didn't charge us a cent.  Seems like it was almost beyond their responsibility.  We are grateful!

So today was mostly spent with grand kids in the morning, until their mother arrived and picked them up.  She had come all the way from Florida at 4 AM, so I'm sure she was beat by the time she got here.  After four days of the little ones, it seems so quiet here that it almost seems broken.

Blogger came back on line about 2:30 in the afternoon, and that relieved me as I was concerned that only some of the country knew that there was an outage.  I posted the Sunday post with an E Mail, but tried others that were lost into cyberspace.  Oh well they were only tests anyway.

Later in the afternoon, I spent the time with the power washer trying to scrub the bugs off of the front of the motorscooter.  It takes a bunch of time to wash a bike, as there are so many nooks and crannies to polish dry.

I rode over to the dealer to see what it takes to get an appointment to get the initial oil change done, and was basically told to just show up early in the morning.  They are having concrete work done outside of the building in front of the garage doors, so perhaps tomorrow will not be the proper morning to arrive.

Also they are forecasting rain for the morning, so maybe the concrete and the bike ride for the oil change will both wait until another time.

Dang its quiet in here!!!!

Retired Rod

Monday, June 7, 2010

They're Back

Its 2:30 in the afternoon on Monday, and Blogger is back!  Well that is if this posts.

We are very used to this means of communication, and are totally lost without it.  I can't help but wonder how it has changed our lives.  At least we have many friends that we would otherwise not have without the blog.

So I am patient while they get it back up, and hope that it stays profitable so that a financial decision doesn't take the service away in the future.

They're Back !!!!

Retired Rod

Sunday Stuff

I just tried to sign in to write a blog for tonight, only to be greeted with a message that blogger is unavailable tonight.  Since it is after midnight in the Eastern time zone, perhaps they think that the rest of us wouldn't mind if they signed off for a few hours!  Not!

So this is being prepared with the trusty new version of Live Writer that I broke down and installed several days ago.  It steamed me because I unchecked all the changes they wanted to make in my computer only requesting Live Mail and Live Writer, but that did no good.  They changed every parameter in my whole computer, even installing Microsoft Instant Messenger that I just hate, and changing my home page in my Firefox browser to MSN.  Really, changing Firefox?  Why didn't they change the default browser back to IE while they were at it?  See why I run Ubuntu on one of my desktops.  MSN has a bunch of gall.  And that is what steams the rest of us.

Enough of a rant, I can't do anything about Microsoft other than buy more stock, as they will still be here when the grandkids inherit the stuff.  And I'm sure will be telling everyone how their life should be as far as online even then.

Today was grandkid day, as the five year old and I headed out to go to Hillsdale Lake and see what was what at the campground.  She really wanted to go swimming, but we didn't bring her suit and grandpa doesn't make a good lifeguard.  But we went to the boat ramp and watched the show as folks put their crafts in the water. 

Its a riot watching folks back down the ramp with an empty trailer.  Usually they are too low to see out the back window of the truck.  The folks waiting in the boat out in the water are always waving their hands frantically as if that will improve things.   We left before someone decided to include us in their little tirades.

Back in Olathe, we went to McDonalds for a happy meal, and an hour or so at the playland.  At one point, a small tike became stuck up in the top of the gym tower, scared to climb up farther, or back down.  Our five year old went up and rescued the boy when she grabbed him and decidedly helped him to the top level.  In just a few minutes, he came merrily sliding out the tube slide at the bottom.  He never did climb back up on the equipment again.

Late in the afternoon, as everyone was napping, I slipped out on the scooter again.  I rode out into the country and covered some of the same ground we had done yesterday, buoyed   with new confidence after yesterday's adventure.  I zoomed from Louisburg to Paola on highway 68 at about 60 MPH.  I could never  have kept up the pace with the old bike.

When I got back in about an hour and a half, everyone was back up and we made homemade pizza for the night.  Even the one year old got into the act, as she seems to be getting a new tooth on the top.  She chomped right into that pizza.  (It was cut really small.)

Tonight we watched Cinderella again for the millionth time!! 

Retired Rod

It won't post, so it will have to wait until tomorrow.
It is still not posting at noon on monday!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A dice run!

Today started  somewhat overcast, but by the time I rode the 10 or so miles down to Spring Hill, Kansas, the sun was mostly out.  The motorcycle shop is down on the corner in the old bank building.


They don’t sell motorcycles there, but just riding clothing and accessories.  Most of their sales take place on the internet.

We were lined up on both sides of the street, I’m down on the end next to that dark van.


The cops were there  and helped us organize the ride.  They gave us an escort out of town like a funeral procession.  Traffic was stopped at every intersection until we exited the city limits.  I think they were kind of glad that we all left.

I never did get a complete count, but there were over thirty bikes, and I had the only scooter, so I was in a tough crowd.  No one laughed, but I’m sure some wondered how  I would be able to ride with them.

We rode to the South and out to Hillsdale Lake.  The riders were quite organized and rode in a single file in every other tire track, but not abreast.  There were about ten lengths between each bike, and we stretched out over a mile or more.  The owner of the bike shop was at the rear making sure everyone was not lost.

We reached Paola, Kansas for our first stop at El Tapatio restaurant.  It was still only 11:00 in the morning, but several ordered drinks.  We sat in the air conditioning not realizing how hot it would become on this day.  Everyone was fresh, so after about 30 minutes we were all packed up and on the road to the South for the longest run.

We traveled thru Osawatomie, but did not stop.  When we had traveled about 10 miles, we were totally out in the country it kind of came over me that I was totally free of the city and its bonds.  I can’t explain,  but we as a group were totally without duties and responsibilities for those moments.  The feeling was fleeting, as we entered a bunch of corners that the bikers refer to as the twisties.

Beyond the corners, we entered La Cygne.  (La Seen)  There we stopped at the Outpost Bar and Grill on the East side of town.  This was our lunch stop, and everyone promptly ordered sandwiches.  Stories were told and bikes were rebuilt in the minds of the riders.  New tires were purchased, and mounted in these stories, and folks were having fun.

Since this was a dice run, at each stop we each rolled the three large dice and had our score recorded on our official score sheet.  We started our first roll at the old bank, and the second roll was at the Mexican Restaurant.  Now the third roll came at Outpost.
Remember how I was on a quest to order a Cheeseburger at all the restaurants in town, searching for a replacement for Fuddruckers?  Well, I ordered a cheeseburger, and it was good, but will not replace Fudds!  LOL.

All too soon, it was out to the bikes and head off into the country.  It was now after 1:00 PM and the heat of the day was on us.  I saw 97 on the dash of the bike, as we headed up the four lane US 69 highway. 

This is just like an interstate, with controlled access interchanges, and the speed limit was 75.  At times I recorded 80 on the speedo.  About at that time a space opened up in front of me of  half a mile, and I was determined to close it up.  Opening the throttle wide, I zoomed ahead and closed the gap rapidly.  I never looked at the speed.

I think that took the “Harley Guy” behind me for a surprise, as he was suddenly  the fellow with the big space in front of him.  He later commented that “boy that scooter sure holds its own out there on the highway.”   Well,,,,,,yes it does!  And thus the question was answered as to how that scooter would do in this biker rally.

We stopped at another watering hole in Lewisburg, Timbercreek Bar and Grill, and this time I was feeling the heat and sun.  I kind of gulped down a glass of water, and then had another diet soda.  Probably the last thing I really needed.  Some folks were having Iced Tea, and I later realized that that would have been a better choice.

After another roll of the dice and everyone made it to the bathroom, we headed back to Spring Hill.  Once back at the beginning, we went to the sister restaurant of El Tapatio.  El Tapatio II. 

Our last roll of the dice wasn’t very kind to me, as I only got a 7 out of the possible 18 points.  Oh Well!  They gave out the prizes, which were gift certificates to use in the motorcycle shop, and a booby prize of a drink coozy, for the lowest dice score.  I was glad I didn’t win that, as everyone laughed and teased the recipient.

They then had an auction of prizes that were donated to the ride by various vendors.  Nice stuff like helmets and jackets.  I bid on a $100 dollar tail bag, but another gal would not be outbid.  At least I kept her honest as she had to pay $70 for it when I dropped out.

All of this money goes to a charity for the high school scholarship fund.  But since I didn’t actually win any bidding, all I had to pay was the entry fee, and all of my various bar tabs.

After riding back to the house for another 12 miles, I had 133 miles on the trip meter for the day.   I met some really nice people, that some folks would call a “Motorcycle Gang.”  And wonder when I can join the next ride.  Boy that part on the 4 lane at 75 was hot hot hot!

Retired Rod

Saturday, June 5, 2010

More Ubuntu and the cycle pants are in.

First of all, yes Rick, Ubuntu is suited to you older computer and will more than likely make it run right along.  The latest stable version is 10.04LTS.  Thats 2010 April and the Long Term Support means that they will support the upgrades for a longer time.  I had 08.04 LTS before I did the upgrade, and they were supporting that, but no I felt I had to have the new fancy schmancy video layout.  This machine is a Pentium 4 1.5 gig with 256 meg of memory.  I did change out the hard drive so I have  160 gig of storage.

I run Ubuntu because it supports some of my Ham Radio stuff and it is not for the masses, as it still has a command line and a terminal.  You can write programs with a line editor and all that stuff that brings me closer to how the machine works.

Of course that comes with lots of study of the Wiki at the Ubuntu site.  Which is what I did for most of the afternoon.  I wish I could report success, but alas I may be smarter, but the problem persists.

We continue to have the grandkids, and they keep grandma and I very busy.  Convincing Claire to eat her food and take a nap can be a challenge, but she is doing remarkably well.

Late in the afternoon I had a call from the motor cycle shop that ordered the new pants for me.  They were in, so I headed down there.  Seems that they are having a poker ride in the morning, so I may go participate.

Its a fund raiser for the High school so I bought a ticket to help out, but Loyce told me to go ahead and ride it.  So now that I have my hall pass......

We'll have to see what tomorrow brings.

Retired Rod

Friday, June 4, 2010

Grandkids and fighting Ubuntu Linux

We have the grandkids here, and they have more energy than grandma and I will ever have.  

I was instructed to set up the little swimming pool that we bought two years ago, and I dutifully complied.  It took two garden hoses running full tilt for about three hours to fill the thing.  It is only eight feet around and 30 inches deep, but we must not have much flow from our faucets.

It was cooooooold.  Oh man was it cold, but our 5 year old Claire was bound and determined that she was going to swim in it just the same.  Nothing was going to stop her.   I made her get out and sit in the sun, when she began to shiver. 

Luckily she needed a nap about the time it was getting so cold on her.  So that broke the persistence that she felt to brave it out. 

I went out for a cycle ride to try and find a cover for the pool.  A good excuse for me to duck for a little while.  I never did find an eight foot cover, as most are at least twelve feet.  They must not make a cover for our smaller pool.  I looked all over two years ago and couldn't find one then either.

In the middle of the afternoon, I decided that I would update my Ubuntu computer to the latest version, and that has become a big mistake.  The April 2010 is the latest stable version, so I downloaded it and installed it.  It doesn't work!!!  At least I have some problems that the automatic part of the download can't resolve, and I am going round and round.

It is quite technical, and I won't attempt to explain, other than I must not be smart enough to understand.  Like all software, you just have to hang in there until you see the light, but right now it is very dark.

So all is quiet at our house for a few precious hours, and perhaps I should get up to bed while that is here, because it will all erupt again at first light!!!!

Retired Rod

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fudd's is gone!

Boy its never going to be the same!  We lost our Fuddruckers here in Overland Park, Kansas.  It was 15 years old and the restaurant was beyond tired.  The area is in the oldest part of the downtown and most of the businesses have long since been remodeled.

I told Loyce that it wouldn't make it the last time we were there, and that seemed prophetic.  So imagine our look as we pulled into the parking lot only to find the building empty and a big for rent sign out front.  We both said I told you so at the same time.

But now where are we going to get those sweet potato fries?  The reason I like them is because being diabetic, the sweet potato fries are much better for me than white potato fries.  Think too many carbos with the white potatoes.  Well mostly anything white.  White is bad, in rice, sugar, potatoes, bread, and so on.....

Where is George Carlin when I need him to find me some blue food?  And we all know that blueberries aren't blue, they're purple.    Only blue Jello, and I'm not sure that is really a food!  But what am I ever going to do without Fudds?

There's one down in the Branson, Mo area, and the one we went to up in Des Moines, but they didn't carry the sweet potato fries.  Or were out of them or some such nonsense.    There are others in Missouri, but none in Kansas at all.

We went to TGI Friday's outside of a West Side mall up on Shawnee Mission Parkway.  It was OK, and they did have the fries, but they were cold by the time I got them.  The burger wasn't nearly as fresh and juicy, and I ordered a bacon burger, and when I got it they forgot the bacon.

The waitress didn't believe that I didn't have any bacon, and I had to take the top of the bun off and let her look.  Yep no bacon.  So she went back and got me two strips on a plate.  We had the bacon. LOL.

But no Fudds,     good land!

It rained here for most of the morning, and brought our outside work to a complete halt.  I spent the morning on the phone with the insurance agent, as I messed up paying for the pontoon insurance.  Sent them the wrong amount, and since it was short of what it should have been, they canceled me.  I had a really small envelope with this news in it, that I missed all together.

So now I get to straighten that out.  But heck its my fault.  I fat fingered the amount when I ordered the payment.  Couldn't blame myself, but darn there wasn't anyone else in the room.

Its always hard to say "I did that one wrong!!!"  "I'm wrong"  "I must have been wrong about that."  Now that wasn't so bad, and no one really got mad at me.

So now we need to go find my new favorite Hamburger place, and no it isn't Friday's.  Maybe if I make a list of all the places within say 10 miles, no 15 miles,  and set out on a project to go eat at every one.  But I will weigh 400 pounds before I get that project done!!!

Wish me luck!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Back home to the work

This  was another of those days where its all work and nothing interesting to blog about.

Since we were gone most of last week, the yard needed attention and that took all of the morning.  Then the cars needed washed and the water spots dryed off.  That took to mid afternoon.

That's when it clouded up and rained and hailed.  Yes hailed fairly hard, on the car that I had just polished.  Oh well.  But it seemed to be a fairly clean rain, as it almost left no spots on the clean car.  Rain water is naturally soft water, and not at all like our city water spotty stuff.

I had to wheel the motorbike back into the garage just as the rains came.  That afforded me some time to be a computer geek.

Late in the afternoon, the bike came back out, and I rode to the town of Spring Hill.   There is a motorcycle appearl store there, and I ordered some netted long pants to go over my summer shorts.

The rip stop material is rated to skid along the ground without tearing for 120 feet.  They say blue jeans will go about 15 feet without tearing.  Me I want to slide no feet, but perhaps with the right clothes on I will never need to use them.

So all is well here in KC and I am certain that more 95 degree days are in our future.  And perhaps the rain shower in the middle of the day would be something to look forward to as that plays out in the long summer months.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day

I was a member of US Naval Mobile Construction Batalion number 11.  I deployed to camp Hains Viet Nam with them in 1969. We were there for most of that year, but were allowed to return to California in late November.

I was one of the lucky ones that came home in the same health and physical condition that I arrived in Viet Nam in.  Others from our Batalion were not that lucky.  We built several Railroad projects outside of our camp, and were required to defend these positions at night, after we had worked all day.

So Memorial Day takes a special meaning to me, as I remember and still wonder why I was allowed to carry on in my life, when others didn't.

I usually do not get all boisterous about these things, and do not go find a parade to be part of or anything like that.  But please pause a minute as this day comes to an end and say thankyou to our troops, no matter how or where they have served our country.

With that said, we spent the morning on the pontoon again driving the main channel of the Lake from our 2 mile mark home up past the 10 mile mark.  It had rained in the morning, and that seemed to chase the majority of the boaters away.

As the day progressed, others became brave and left their docks.  By 1 PM, we had enjoyed our ride and returned for lunch on the dock.  Others were now sturring   the waters we had vacated, and the sun began to heat the steamy air.  The kids swam and gave the temperature no pause.

By mid afternoon, we had to cover the boat and jet ski to get ready to leave.  It seems somber that it is all over, but generally we are so busy loading up that we don't have time to reflect on it.

Tonight we are back here in KC with a yard that has a weeks growth, and neighbors that are still partying in the street.  But they will all be back to work in the morning.

It was a good day,

Retired Rod