Wednesday, April 22, 2015


The last two classes I taught pretty much burned me out on teaching.  I should stick to teaching people who already have degrees, rather than people who think they're in 13th grade.

Anyway, I started at the Manheim Auto Auction in (where else?) Manheim, PA.  I'm a driver in the PSI (Post Sales Inspection) area.  When a dealer buys a car, we can, if they want, do a pretty thorough inspection to let them know the condition of what they bought.


This is a shot looking north, across the test track.  The mechanics run cars (right-to-left) here at max acceleration.

This shot is to the northwest, again across the test track. The painted lines in the foreground are where cars are queued up for inspection.  Part of my job is to take inspected cars up the hill, and pick up ones to be tested and get them in a queue.

This is taken north again, looking down to the mechanic's queue from where we pick up the cars to be inspected, and park the ones that are done

As you may have noticed, we're in the middle of farm country.  If there was any doubt about that, it was washed away last week by the odor of porcine or bovine metabolic end-product that was applied to the fields upwind in preparation for planting.

 So pretty much get the car, drive the car, park the car, lather, rinse, repeat.  I put a pedometer app on my phone - Friday, I did 17k+ steps (a bit over two miles).  ;-P  I like it.  Everyone is friendly, helpful and supportive.  In two days, I've driven a boatload of BMWs and Mercedes, and even a couple of Jags.  And a couple of clunkers that required me to almost redline the engine so I could get the clutch out without killing  the engine.

In other car news, I have a new one!

It's a 2009 Toyota Camry.  Four banger, automatic, comfy, nice sound system, sunroof good mileage, and critically, sufficient head and leg room.

I got it from a local dealer (Red Lion Chevrolet), with whom I am not happy.  They do not keep their word (the major ding was fixed, but not the smaller one), their "inspection" missed that the A/C needs charging, but mostly it was the feeling I had after talking with the sales manager that I needed a shower with a wire brush after I got home.  Sleazy.

When I last had the Blazer inspected there, the mechanic told me the brakes were just about to go bad, and that someone had put in cheap pads.  I mentioned that I'd had the work done there, to his surprise.  They were quite serviceable until the the trans died four months later and I got the Toyota.

Not going back, and taking my business to the nice guys across the street from the end of the alley.

And that's it from here!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gardening - 2015

In the last week or so, what with the weather being at least tolerable, if not downright enjoyable, I have begin to garden.  I've added a manure/humus mix to the beds, and done a fair amount of planting.  I even have some before and after pictures.

 This is the overview shot.  The kitchen bed is populated with tomatoes, onion, basil and lettuce (Red, and Red Romaine).  The raised bed and the low bed have not been tended to in this shot.

This is looking at the other raised bed and the rose.  I've already pruned it, but haven't touched the bed.

These are seed pods.  Theory is, you just stick them in the dirt, water them, and you have Magic Beans!.  No, wait... I got regular and cherry tomatoes, red peppers, and basil.  The upper right one is upside down so you can see what the pod looks like.

 Here is the lettuce patch.

 Tomatoes, onion and lettuce.

This is the "Mystery Melon" part of the garden.  Last year, I planted watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew.  At the end of the season, I have a few that weren't ripe, so I smashed them up and buried them in their beds.  Now, I have about two dozen unknown sprouts all over the place.  I decided to organize them as best I could, and have turned the border beds between the patio and lawn into the aforementioned Mystery Melon Patch.

 The blackberry is starting to green  up.

 And flowers are blooming!

 The Kings Candle is starting.

 As is the rose stick.

I've done more since these pictures were taken, but that is another post!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Reading List Addition

I usually add sites to my "Reading List" without a comment. Same with removing them. The list is fluid, changing with sites I find, and my outlook on the world.

However, I want point out my addition of One America New Network, a cable channel based in San Diego, California. It aims to be the "next Fox", in a complimentary way. They are striving to be a real news channel, claiming 21 out of 24 hours are devoted to news.  And the talk shows are supposed to be talk, not yelling, and have viewpoints from all over the political spectrum,  I'ce skimmed their website, and it looks pretty good.  The channel is available on ATT and Verizon fiber TV services.  I'm going to poke around a bit and see if they stream anywhere on line.

Go, check them out!

(h/t Weasel Zippers, also a good source for news)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Accomplished Something!

Over the course of the last two terms at school, I have been in some relatively serious self-doubt about my teaching ability, and my "fit" with the school.  Among other things, it has me looking for work somewhere else, and not necessarily teaching.

I have a student who has issues that are affecting his attendance.  He can do the work, he's just not in class enough to really show it, which makes it difficult for me to coach and evaluate him.  He appeared in class last week, and afterwards, I offered to stay after and help him get caught up.  He seemed happy for the offer, and we left it at that.

Yesterday, he was in class for the full time.  I stayed after with him to help him get his projects up to date.  Happily, he was able to get two of the three he needed to do done.  The third is pretty simple, but his computer needed to do updates before he could complete it, so we called it a day after about an hour and a half.  We agreed that he would run updates next time during the lecture/demo part of the class, so he could finish the last missing lab.

He appeared happy to be caught up, and I felt like I had actually accomplished something positive.

Nice change.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I Am Now Officially Old!

As of about 4AM West Coast time today, I have been on planet for 65 orbits around the Sun.

Lt to Rt: me, Martha, Lane

Martha and me, on a social call

Out in the yard ca. 1954

Andi and me, junior prom, 1967

Sunset, San Simeon beach, 1970 (taken by Jen's mom, Carole)

Jen's Grad Nite, before us parents got locked out.

Luncheon, post Jen's swearing in to the California Bar

Koda and me, doing what we do best

Pacuare River, Costa Rica, 2003
My internet 'persona', 2004
So far, it's been a hoot!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hello, Benny of PA!

The pack has grown by one new member - Benny:

This is Benny on his way to his new foster home a couple of months ago.
He has fit right in. Suzu and Griffin did the obligatory olfactory check (as did Benny), and that was about it for the first encounter.

He's hopped up to join me on the couch a couple of times - he is a serious snuggle-bug.  Seems pretty bomb-proof, not easily startled. Barked as I walked along the side of the house, so I now have the guard dog/alert dog function covered.

He does like to bark when he's excited. He stops if I clap my hand or stamp my foot in front of him, so the should be an easy correction.  He does not like the stairs here, but then who does?  They have narrow treads, and are pitched at a 45 degree angle, so they are a challenge.

But!  He's here, he fits in, and seems to be quite happy!

Benny at home in the office.