What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

“Case-Closed Pizza”

Filed under: Favorite Things,Fun!,Just Stuff — dave @ 11:37 pm 2009/10/30

The Mentalist has to be one of the greatest shows on TV today; I love it! Last night’s episode, Red Scare, ended with Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) and Lisbon (Robin Tunney) treating the rest of the team to “Case-Closed Pizza”; I just thought that was pretty funny. The characters from most of the other detective shows on TV head to a bar for a closing celebratory time, but not these guys…

One weird bit of trivia from the show is that although Simon Baker sounds like any other Californian in the show, he is originally from Australia, and in real life speaks with a pretty distinct Aussie accent. It always strikes me as strange when people from other places imitate American accents. I never think twice about an American imitating an Aussie or Brit, but… Is that just me?

Feeding Frenzy at Ewe-Pullet!

Filed under: Cars!,Fun!,The World — Tags: , , — dave @ 11:24 pm 2009/10/25

Yesterday was Harvest Days at the local self-serve parts yard known as Nordstrom’s Ewe-Pullet (yeah, I know, corny), and it was downright crazy.

I had heard about their Harvest Days deal a while back, and had held off going there because of the deal… Fill a wheelbarrow with as much as you like/need, and it’s yours for $40, provided you can push said wheelbarrow for 40 feet in 40 seconds without losing anything from your load. I planned to get out there early to grab a bunch of miscellaneous stuff from the 735iL and the 525i they have on the lot. I got there at 10 am (they opened at 9) and ended up parking about as far away from the gate as possible. The place was packed.

I chatted with one of the guys directing traffic who said they had people show up at 4 am & wait for the gate to open. The gal signing people in said she had seen more than 500 people go through the gate already. When I got inside, it was pretty clear that most of them were still there; people everywhere! And a line of guys waiting for wheelbarrows. The times I’ve been there before, there might be a dozen or so people there at one time, but it’s a big enough place that it’s possible to get in & out without seeing another customer; not yesterday though. Everybody I talked with who worked there was shocked at the turnout.

It took me a couple hours to pull the parts I was after; some of the larger parts I would like to have grabbed — front suspension bits, brakes, rear axle halfshafts — were either too far gone or too difficult to pull, so I left them and got the low hanging fruit instead. Both the cars were already pretty well picked over, and for most of the time I was the only one grabbing stuff off them, but I still got some good stuff. While I was there a couple of groups of guys came by trolling for turbochargers; they had several stacked up in their wheelbarrow, and seemed to be grabbing them and other high-dollar items from random cars. Pretty sure they’d turn around and eBay those parts & turn a few bucks off their wheelbarrow load!

After stacking the stuff I wanted near the cars, I went to find a wheelbarrow, hoping nobody would want what I wanted. After standing in line for a half-hour or so, I finally got loaded up, then went & got in line to check out. Decided to grab a couple of the free hotdogs they were handing out & watch some of the action; it was pretty entertaining! Some of the guys that were there had their wheelbarrows really loaded down; some with entire engines, others with transmissions, many with wheels & tires, and a lot with various body parts, stacked ridiculously high. One bunch of guys had four or five bumper skins, a couple of doors, and a bunch of other stuff I couldn’t see, all piled on; something in the load shifted as they were approaching the start line and it all came tumbling down. I sure wish I had taken a camera along… I’m sure there will be some photos up on the Nordstrom’s site at some point.

It started raining a little while I was waiting (the forecast was for a sunny Saturday!) so I bugged out before it got too miserable. All in all, it was a decent deal. I grabbed several items that can be used on my 528 and 735, and several other things that can maybe be sold to offset some of my expense (and time!) But was interesting to see was how people were out to get the most for their $40, and all they were willing to do for it.

Here we go again…

Filed under: Just Stuff,The World — dave @ 2:17 pm 2009/10/22

Just when you thought the economy might just be back on the upswing, a story like this pops up…

Denise Tejada bought a house last month at the age of 20, thanks in large part to a loan guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority…

… Without question, Tejada’s loan is toxic — to her and to the taxpayers who are backing the loan. Her house cost $155,000. Tejada’s loan was apparently made on a micro-down payment of just 3.5%, the minimum down payment to qualify for an FHA loan. On top of this, however, she got an additional government backed loan to make improvements. Her total loans amount to $183,0000. In short, she was immediately underwater on her new house.

The monthly payments on her debt amount to $1328. Her income is $2470, leaving her with just $285 a week to live on. She’s paying 54% of her income to make the mortgage payments. She earns that income by holding down one full time and two part time jobs. Obviously, this woman has a strong work ethic. But it also means her income is precarious…

“Precarious”? Ya think? Did we learn nothing in the last 12 months? Whoever is writing & approving loans like this ought to be slapped. Hard.

The Church Feminine

Filed under: Faith & Worship,The Deep — dave @ 2:27 pm 2009/10/21

Had a slightly disorienting experience last weekend… Emily was up for an award at Augie, so we went to the Viking Days Chapel Service on Sunday morning, held in the Elmen Center. During the service, the only male involved in the service was Rob Oliver, the college president, who opened the service with a brief welcome message. That was it. Everyone else — other than the male members of the band and choir performing for the service — was female. The procession involved only women… The Scripture readers were women… The preaching was done by a woman… Communion was served by women… The service sounded pretty much like any generic Lutheran service I’d attended in the past; a liturgy very reminiscent of that followed by Catholics every day around the world, which is probably why it seemed strange to me that it was all women. There was no big deal made of the absence of the Y-chromosome that day, but it was noticeable. At least by me.

Augustana College “is a selective, private, residential, comprehensive (liberal arts and professional) college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;” the ELCA tends to be a bit more on the liberal side of the scale than any of my church experiences. Female pastors have been ordained and leading churches in the denomination for quite some time, and now the denomination even “partnered gay and lesbian pastors to be ordained and called to serve churches. Previously, the ELCA allowed only celibate homosexual pastors.” Given that, an all-female chapel service shouldn’t have been surprising.

I guess the older I get, the more difficulty I have with things like that; things that are done differently than what I’m used to. When I was growing up (in the Catholic church) only men & boys were involved in leading Mass. Thinking back there were on occasion women (nuns) leading some songs in some of the Masses, but for the most part it was priests and altar boys. Since my day, I understand things have expanded to allow girls or boys (now called “altar servers”), but I’ve been away from Catholicism long enough that that’s outside my experience. I’ve now been a member of a somewhat traditional Baptist congregation for nearly all my adult life; there, women are involved in the worship services and the denomination has ordained women as pastors, but the church has fairly rigid guidelines as to the role of women in ministry. I can recall only one time that a ‘sermon’ was delivered by a woman at that church, and that wasn’t well received by a number of people in the congregation. These days, I think women are allowed to teach Sunday school to kids, but it’s got to be a guy teaching a class of adults. I don’t know if that’s actually in the rule books anywhere, but I’ve heard that from a couple of sources; it would come as no surprise to me if it were true.

The ELCA has pretty much declared that Paul’s admonition against allowing women to teach men is an anachronistic holdover from a time and society where that sort of thing wasn’t acceptable (they seem to have gone to an extreme though with the homosexuals in ministry issue) My own church is of a decidedly different mindset, one with which I’ve grown more comfortable over the years. I didn’t really have a problem with the church service on Sunday; it didn’t make me uncomfortable, it just took me by surprise I guess, because all the things that I had become so accustomed to seeing done by men in a Catholic Mass were being done by women. Like I said; just a bit disorienting. A bit of disorientation is maybe a good thing because it makes us think about the things we take for granted, and wonder if there are valid reasons behind the way things are.

It’s funny that we as Christians tend to pick and choose which Biblical teachings we hang onto, anachronistic or not — for example, you won’t find many people in Christian circles arguing that we start worshiping and enjoying a day of rest on Saturdays instead of Sundays, even though nothing in the Bible gives clear direction that changing the Sabbath to Sunday was something we should do. It’s something that was done ages ago to honor the day that Jesus was raised from the dead, but… The Old Testament is pretty clear; “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” And Saturday has always been the Sabbath.

But anyway… the whole women in ministry thing is one of those contentious cognitive dissonance subjects that we as a church don’t really talk much about, because some people feel pretty strongly one way or another, and because many others (me included) have conflicting feelings about it, and just don’t want to make waves. One day though, it’ll all be made plain to us, but for now, we muddle along pretending we know what we’re doing.

The Nobel Peace Prize? Seriously?

Filed under: Media Bias,Politics,The World — dave @ 9:41 am 2009/10/09

Guess this makes it official; Barack Hussein Obama (mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!) being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize means that the Nobel Peace Prize means absolutely dick. i.e. Zip. Zero. Nada. Nothing.


It was bad enough when the prize was awarded to Al Gore, who at that time was singularly undeserving of such an award, but Barack Obama? What has he done to deserve this prize? Nothing that I can think of, unless he leads a secret life of which the public is largely unaware (oh wait, we still don’t know much about what his work as the editor of the Harvard Law Review, nor do we know anything of the grades he earned at Harvard.) According to one Reuters article, he deserves it for “… offering the world hope and striving for nuclear disarmament”? I guess you could say that his naive striving for nuclear disarmament gives hope to some, like Iran, North Korea, China and Russia (who surely were all laughing in their sleeves at his “… dreams of a world without weapons…” while “… right in front of us two countries are doing the exact opposite.”)

The prize surely isn’t for his leadership at the nation’s capitol when it comes to bipartisan cooperation, nor for his leadership in his dream of universal healthcare… All of that has left the nation even more polarized than when he (mis)took the Oath of Office in January. And the prize can’t be for his leadership in the role of Commander in Chief, as troop morale is at an all-time low in Afghanistan, exacerbated by the lack of clear mission goals and confusing rules of engagement that leave them poorly equipped to even defend themselves in the face of an enemy unafraid to hide behind civilians…

But according to the Nobel Prize Committee, he gets the prize because, “Very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.” So it’s all about celebrity. I laugh, as do many when they first heard this news. The only hope inspired in me by Obama is that his agenda for this country fails, and by the grace of God and the arrogance & incompetence of the Democrats in Congress, thus far it has.

Since the Nobel comes with a cool $4 million bonus, I wonder whether the Obamas will be inclined to “share the wealth” with the country. Something tells me that ain’t happening.

BMWotD — The Near Miss

Filed under: BMW Of The Day,Cars! — dave @ 12:36 am

Remember that BMW I wrote about bringing home last week? (The one that I still haven’t taken photos of?) Well, I almost wrecked it last night, and I wasn’t even in it.

One of the problems with the car (that the seller somehow failed to mention in his ad and in all the conversations we had) is that the emergency brake doesn’t work; pull the handle, nothing happens. Well, over the weekend I pulled the car up into the driveway to do some work on it — cleaned it up a bit (badly needed) and checked over the intake tract & fixed a few things there (starts & runs like a champ now) — but because our driveway has a slightly steep slope to it, I of course put a couple of blocks behind the rear wheels. So far, so good.

When I went to back it out of the driveway, I first got in & made sure it was in gear — put it into second — then went to the left wheel & pulled the block, then went to the right side and did the same. And the car began to move. And it continued to move. On its own. Right on down the driveway.

In complete and utter futility I tried pushing to keep it from going, but had the presence of mind not to get behind it, and to let go when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do anything but get myself hurt. So I stood there watching as it rolled down the driveway and across the street. I think my heart about stopped or at least skipped a few beats right about then. But somehow the car went straight as an arrow, bumped up the curb on the other side of the street, missed a tree (a small one) by about a foot, and came to rest in the grass in Jamie’s side yard. Actually, I think it was rolling forward a bit and would’ve gone back down the curb, but I jumped in & hit the brakes, then started it up, backed up a little and drove it out Mel’s driveway.

I don’t recall if it was still in gear or not when I got in, so I don’t know if it slipped out of gear or what. I checked it over and didn’t see any obvious damage. I checked it out again this morning in the daylight (thankfully it happened in the dark!) and it looked like the fuel tank bottom was dented in a little with some grass trapped between it and the strap, but nothing serious. Could’ve been so very serious had there been a car parked across from the driveway, or if it had turned just a little, or if a car had been passing by at the time. Even as it was, the muffler could easily have snagged on the curb… I’m just so very, very thankful it ended as well as it did!

BMWotD — 1988 735i. Mine!

Filed under: BMW Of The Day,Cars!,Fun! — dave @ 2:12 am 2009/10/04

Well, I did it again. Bought another cheap BMW from some guy on Craigslist.

I think I did alright on this one though… It’s in need of some help, but nowhere near the laundry list of projects my ’84 528e came with. And my negotiation skilz must be a bit better than The Chicago Olympics Salesguy In Chief; I got it at my price, which was about half the previous owner’s original asking price (but Barack… didn’t fare so well.)

Anyway the car is well equipped and is in decent shape, but does have a few issues here & there. The paint — Bronzit Beige Metallic, my new favorite color! — is good, with the exception of a little rust at the door bottoms. The interior is very good, and everything inside works as it should (though I’m having trouble deciphering the HVAC controls!) It runs great, but does have some difficulty starting, especially when warm; I’m thinking a little TLC in the intake tract should clear that up. One thing that needs immediate attention is the right front wheel bearing; it makes an awful howl when rolling, and pulls to the right a bit. Replacing the bearing/hub assembly doesn’t appear to be too difficult a job, but a new bearing will set me back about $120 or so. Aside from that, the driver’s door locking actuator needs some attention — very finicky about unlocking from inside or outside — and a couple of missing interior light lenses.

All in all, the car seems to have suffered some neglect at the hands of the previous owner. The guy who owned it previous to the guy I bought it from seemed to have taken much better care of it; I also received with the car a nice stack of repair records detailing repairs done since about 2000. I also had a peek at what the previous owner paid for it when he bought it two years ago; several times what I paid for it. I’m guessing that the PO bought it in excellent shape, but being a college kid, had no garage, no tools, & no time to do the necessary upkeep on a car like this. The collection of mud and tree debris in the gutters around the hood & trunk were testament to the fact it hadn’t been thoroughly washed for a long time, and that probably led to the rust at the door bottoms. The oil in the crankcase was even blacker than what I found in my 528 when I brought it home… That guy just wasn’t suited to driving a car like this; what he needs is an appliance like a Honda or a Cavalier. But he’s buying a Mini. I feel sorry for that car.

Here are some photos of the thing that came from the PO; I haven’t had a chance to snap any because it’s been raining since we brought it home on Thursday. Click on the photos to see the monster-size versions.