Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 19, 2014.

We've all seen those little white stickers people apply to their vehicles rear windows. It shows the Mommy, the Daddy, then the kids and even the pets all in a little row. I always find myself thinking “Wow, they have 4 cats” or some such nonsense. While driving to Pasco to pick up batteries the other day I was stopped behind this car for a while at a red light.

This was a new one for me. It looks like Daddys in jail. If the facial expressions on the Mom and daughter stickys are any indication, they're not too upset about it. Heck, thats probably why Mom put the stickers on the car. Just to let everyone know shes available least for the next 3 to 5 years.

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4, 2014.

A very sincere birthday wish to the United States of America.  I know your nation of birth is pretty much the luck of the draw but I'm really glad I was lucky enough to have popped out here.

Hi, my name is Bill and I'm a World Cup junkie. The US Mens National Team was able to advance from the “Group of Death” before succumbing to a superior Belgian side in the round of 16. Only 32 teams from the entire world make it into the World Cup. So to get into the tournament and to be able to compete at a high level against the best teams in the world is a major accomplishment. It's wonderful to witness the support that each team garners from their loyal and sometimes lunacidal fans. Just because the U.S. is out of contention is no reason to stop watching the remaining games. Besides its a great excuse to go drinking and yell shit.

Now that the Veranda is gone things are settling into a manageable routine. Works been going well and the summer is flying by. I had a personal milestone the other day. I was doing a custom installation of 2 Balmar alternators on a catamaran. There was a bolt broken off in a mounting hole in one of the engine blocks.

The accepted way to remove a broken bolt is a tool called an “Easy Out”. Its a misnomer. There’s nothing easy about it. You're supposed to drill a small hole right down the center of the broken bolt. Then you screw the Easy Out into the hole. Because Easy Outs have a left hand thread the theory is that as you tighten the Easy Out the remnants of the bolt will magically unscrew itself from its hole.

Easy Outs are tempered to be incredibly hard so their sharp edges can “bite” into the broken bolt like a Uruguayan striker bites into an Italian sub. In my experience the Easy Outs tend to shatter. Whenever I have needed one I've always had to buy it because the one I used last time, broke. Bolts usually break when you try to remove them because they're corroded in place. Expecting a thin, glass hard piece of steel to force a bolt ass out of its hole seems to be a bit of a stretch.

To make matters worse, the bolt I had to remove was in a bad spot. Which on a boat is pretty much normal. I had to use a right angle drill with my left hand to try to drill down the centerline of the bolt. I couldn't really see the spot but I thought I hit it pretty much dead on. When I apprehensively inserted the Easy Out imagine my surprise when the bolt gave way and slowly unscrewed. It's the first time I can ever recall an Easy Out being easy. Gooooaaaaaaaal!!!!