Monthly Archives: December 2014

Fictions greatest archer

Another post on Word Press is asking for people to make the case for fictions greatest archer. Their are MANY great fictitious archers running around in the alternate realities of books, comics, movies and television, so it is really hard to pick. Just as an example here are a few: Green Arrow, Arsenal, Merlyn, Katniss, Bo Duke and Luke Duke from the original Dukes of Hazard, Storm Shadow, William Tell, etc. However, for me, it will always be the original, Robin Hood.

According to History.com English legal records going back to the 13th century, hae criminals using “Robehod,” “Rabunhod” and other variations. Also according to History.com “The first literary references to Robin Hood appear in a series of 14th- and 15th-century ballads about a violent yeoman who lived in Sherwood Forest with his men and frequently clashed with the Sheriff of Nottingham.”

Between the 13th and 16th centuries the mythical Robin Hood grew, his stories became bigger and morphed in to the Robin Hood we know today. A follower of King Richard, a leader of Merry Men, a lover of Maid Marian, and a pain in the arse to The Sherriff of Nottingham and Prince John.

It is out of these stories that some, if not most, of our newer fictitious archers have grown. The original DC Comics Green Arrow is a BLATANT Robin Hood inspiration…or rip off. Hawkeye is just Marvels version of Green Arrow. All the newer comic book archers have just molded themselves after Green Arrow and Hawkeye.

Lets look at TV Shows. Earlier I stated that Bo and Luke Duke were famous fictional archers, which may seem slightly out of place until you watch the T.V. show. Many times in the T.V. show they both use a bow and arrow for various reasons, never missing. If you watch Dukes of Hazard, you can also see the spirit of the mythical Robin Hood in the show. Rosco P. Coltrane is their Sherriff of Nottingham, Boss Hogg is Prince John, and the Duke brothers are just dual Robin Hoods.

Look at Katniss, squint a little bit, and in the haze you will see a female Robin Hood.

Robin Hood came first, inspired all, and is the ultimate fictitious archer.

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Categories: All things nerdy | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Looking in the cracked mirror

It would be easy to blame all of my flaws on my parents. Isn’t that what society does today? Blame everyone but themselves? Alas, I am an adult now and I have to take responsibility for my own actions.

Somewhere along the road of life I learned to be pessimistic about pretty much everything. Again, my first thought is to point at my mom and say “I learned it from her!” But again, I am responsible for my own feelings and actions. I have a really good life these days. Let me state that again, I have a really good life.

Why do I have a good life?

First and foremost I have a beautiful and loving fiancé that is always there for me and two beautiful daughters. I can’t state that enough. I see them and I can’t believe that they are in my life, it was like winning the lottery. When my dad ended up in Loma Linda she drove down there with me and never left my side. When my sister and her mother held a memorial service for my dad, my fiancé was right there beside me even though she had just come off working two graveyard shifts in a row and was dead on her feet. She calms my anger. In general makes me want to be a better man for her and the girls. Do better, be better, be there for her like she is for me, give her nice things. Be the dad for our daughters that they deserve.

Why else do I have a great life? I have some great friends; some if which I have had for most of my life. Last year I helped start The Sidewinder Motor Club where I have made even more friends and had some awesome experiences. Career wise, I was recently promoted to the GS-12 position of Deputy NAVOSH Installation Program Director. Fancy way of saying assistant department head for Safety. I was just given a great performance review for the year, I have the respect of some fairly high up individuals and to be blunt, I am damn good at my job when I am not being lazy.

I drive a 2012 Dodge Challenger R/T as my daily driver! Screw you gas mileage! I can afford a big V8! Speaking of big V8’s, my grandfather recently gave me a 1984 F250 with a 460 V8 and camper to repair and then just have. My fiancé gave me an X-Box One for Christmas! I have a comic book collection that my nerdy friends envy and a book collection that a lot of people drool over….until they help me move.

Speaking of my grandfather, he told me he was proud of me. That’s huge in my grandfathers world. For all of their flaws, my bio family does care for me and even love me. This is more than a lot of people have.

But the pessimistic me is always there…..

I’m constantly looking at what’s wrong with me, what I don’t have, etc. I see my car loan and my student loans and complain about how broke I am, when in reality the student loans gave me my degree and my degree helped me land my job! I love my car, so then why do I complain about the loan that I took to get it? I look in the mirror and see a fat version of myself, but instead of doing anything about it I just complain. I always want more, I never do good enough for myself…the list of complaints when I look around me can go on.

I’ve always been told I am hard on myself, that I judge myself too harshly. However, I am also told I judge others too harshly. It’s true too. For some reason I really don’t like most people, even ones I haven’t met. I tend to judge them on the smallest actions and immediately dismiss them as being a moron, a douche, an ass, a mooch, a drama queen, etc. I tend to prop myself up as being better than they are too, unwilling to recognize the struggles they are going through because I can’t see past my own past.

I have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to my friends that were given a lot of breaks in life or just grew yup privileged. Yet, these are the same ones that I compare my life too and say “well they did it/have it, why can’t I?”

These are things in my life I need to change for my fiancé and the girls, or I am going to drive them out of my life. I need to be a better person, while also recognizing that I already have things pretty damn good.

Categories: Family, Friends, General | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Monsters within the system

Their is a man who’s job as a public defender is to fight for criminals, give them reduced sentences, or to make sure they are not sentenced for their crimes. He is good at his job. He did inappropriate things to my nieces, his own daughters and never once did he get in trouble. I thought he was a moron and a soft headed liberal for wanting to fight for felons, now I just see him as a monster that wants to make sure other monsters are free. He wants to spread the darkness within him to the world.

Their was another man that was a Kern County Sheriff Deputy. When he was a child his father mercilessly and routinely beat him and his mother. As an adult, he cheated on every woman he had and abused them too. He would bristle and yell if he thought he was being called a liar. He admitted he married a woman so she and his son would do the things around the house that he didn’t want to do. He picked up this wife by the throat and slammed her against the wall for an imagined slight. The Sheriff Department and the DA convinced his wife to not press charges. He was my stepfather. He is now a prisoner in his own body due to a series of strokes. A caged animal and he is his own cage.

The same DA was arrested for breaking his wife’s arm.

Their is a woman trying to get custody of her daughter from her felonious ex. She has a damn good chance, if she can scrounge up the $1,500.00 retainer fee for a lawyer.

The system doesn’t work. The system is rigged.

A black man tried breaking in to my apartment early Monday morning as I was sleeping. His bumbling woke me up. The police came but there bumbling caused him to get away. If he had got in the apartment, my .45 wouldn’t have.

Not all monsters are part of the system.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

More fun with vehicles, this time my 2012 Challenger R/T

Lately I have been experiencing hard shifts from 1-2, 2-3, 3-4 and downshifting between the same gears. I never had it before, just started intermittently and slowly encroaching it’s way in to my shifting to the point that every other time I drive the car it is rough shifting. I have read countless threads on Challenger, Chrysler, and Dodge forums on the issue. Evidently Chrysler is aware of the problem and has a technical service bulletin on it, but only for 2009 and 2010 vehicles! The issue is that there is a lubricant on the input shaft that doesn’t really lubricate. It instead gums up the works and does not properly allow the clutch to disengage from the flywheel. Weeks of research led me to discover a few things:

1.) The Challenger uses the Tremec TR-6060 Transmission, which is the same transmission used in the Viper (which I already knew). What I didn’t know is that Dodge is using the same lube on the input shaft of the Challenger as they do the Viper, which on the surface makes sense because they are the same transmission. However, the Viper is configured differently and the transmission area runs a lot hotter than the Challenger. The lube has such a high viscosity that the Challenger just does not get hot enough to actually make the lube do its job.

2.) Star Case # K38556860. This is Chryslers internal tech bulletin network number. It was a known issue on the 2009 and some 2010 Challengers. So Chrysler/Dodge wrote this:

Case Verification; Vehicle affected is the LC Challenger equipped with a manual
transmission. It may be difficult to shift in and out of gear.

Recommendation ;Repair this condition by removing the transmission, cleaning the
transmission input shaft splines and the clutch hub splines, re-greasing,
and putting all the same parts back together. No parts need to be replaced because clutch disc wear or shaft/hub spline wear are not contributing factors.
The clutch should be removed from the flywheel to properly clean
the clutch splines, because it is not possible to thoroughly clean
the clutch splines otherwise. Do not use harsh spray solvents
(brake clean, etc.) on the clutch discs… care must be taken to
keep cleaning solvents away from the clutch friction material.
Mineral spirits or similar will get the job done. Both of the clutch
hub splines and transmission input shaft splines must be
carefully cleaned. When applying the grease for reassembly, the
entire exposed length of the clutch hub splines (both discs) and
the entire length of the input shaft should be lightly coated with
the P/N 05083150AA grease, spread evenly on all splines
without excess. The flywheel does not need to be removed for
this repair. New clutch pressure plate to flywheel bolts P/N
06508880AA (quantity 6) must be used.

3.) This problem is only supposed to apply to 2009 and 2010 Challenger 6 speeds. In 2011 they changed the input shaft splines and supposedly used a new lube. However, 6 speed owners in 2011’s and 2012’s are also starting to have the issue.

The good news: I called the nearest Dodge Dealership, talked to a service rep who is an owner of a 2013 6 speed, had him look up the case number and he said that he is absolutely sure the powertrain warranty will cover the work. He also said he has been experiencing rough shifting between the first three gears and may have the techs look at his too!

The bad news: If it can’t be fixed under the warranty it will be around $900.00. Also, the nearest Dodge Dealership is two hours away. They said that basically never having done this before they want my Challenger for at least two days…and they don’t work weekends. So working around that, work schedule and the holidays, I can’t take my car in until January 29th. At that point I may have a local shop do it just so I don’t have to go out of town.

In the meantime, I am going to have my transmission fluid serviced this Friday (differential too) at a local shop. If that takes care of it, then I don’t have to make the trip or wait over a month for a fix! If not, the fluid needed to be serviced anyway, so I am really not out anything.

Categories: Cars | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Revival

I read Stephen King’s new novel Revival this weekend. Definite old school King narrative, mixed with some Frankenstein and HP Lovecraft elements. The end was enough that I am still thinking about it today. Enough of what you may ask….I don’t know….it just stuck with me.

Read it.

Categories: Books | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Fun with Ford F250

About then years ago my grandfather bought a 1984 Ford F250, with a gas guzzling 460ci V8 under the hood. This was right before fuel injection, but while everyone was trying to meet newly stringent emission standards, so the engine is carbureted and a MESS of vacuum tubes. He promptly threw on an MSD ignition system to do away with the “abomination” that was the Ford system, a K & N air filter, two chamber muffler, air bag suspension and then plopped a big Lance camper in the bed. You know the kind that sit in the bed, hang over the top of the truck, have a bathroom in it? Yep, that kind. He took it on a few trips, one of which he developed an vacuum leak and burned up a cylinder. My grandfather, not one to half ass anything, bought the best crate engine (still a 460) he could buy and had it installed. The engine has a brand new crankshaft on it, not a regrind and probably has less than 2,000 miles on it since it was put in the truck.

About four years ago he went to start it up, but it wouldn’t start. Battery was good, starter solenoid was good, and relay was good (at least he thinks). In his trouble shooting he decided it must be an ignition switch or wiring issue under the dash, so he started tearing all that apart. he didn’t get very far as it was the middle of summer, not in a garage or in any shade at all and laying down under a dash board is ruff on a young person, let alone an (at the time) 82 year old man with a bad back.

So, he stopped working on it, saying he would get to it when it cooled down…..four years later he decided to just give it to me. So now that it has been sitting for four years without being started it has more issues than just the ignition.

1. All three batteries are horribly corroded (one truck battery, one deep cycle batter for the camper in the engine compartment of the truck, one deep cycle battery for the camper in the camper) to the point that the clamps on the wires are messed up.
2. Gas doesn’t last that long. Both fuel tanks (19 gallon midship and 17 gallon aft) need to be dropped, pumped out and flushed.
3. While the tanks are out, the fuel pumps will be replaced.
4. Carburetor need to be cleaned out.
5. Fuel lines should be flushed or blown out.
6. Original ignition problem needs to be diagnosed and fixed.
7. All fluids need to be replaced and anything that can be lubed and greased (oil, auto tranny fluid, diff, etc.) needs to be lubed and greased.

Did I mention this truck is sitting about an hour away from the nearest decent mechanic? Consequently I will be doing all this in the dirt of my grandfathers yard, with the help of an 86 year old man who can’t really help. Grateful for the truck, just wish I had a little help with it. Nothing I can’t handle though 🙂

Categories: Cars, Grandfather | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Dodge Challenger Shenanigans

I’m a car/truck nut, always have been. I think it was something I picked up from my dad as he was a truck nut, especially old Dodge trucks. When he died he left a backyard full older Dodge trucks in various states of disrepair, except for the 1972 Flatbed, which is about 80% restored, driveable, and registered with the American Truck Historical Society. We would always stop and look at old cars and trucks, and he would tell me stories about the old stock car racers from the 50’s and 60’s. It took root and I always vowed I would get a muscle car. And I did! Sort of….

I ended up the proud financer of a 2012 Dodge Challenger R/T, with a 6 speed manual transmission, painted in “Pitch Black.” It’s a muscle car, but it’s a modern muscle car. Not as fast as the V8 Fords and Chevy’s, you want the SRT8 over the R/T to think of competing with those, but still plenty fast…at least at first. I wouldn’t mind having more speed, a new R/T Scat pack, a full on SRT8, or as long as I am dreaming how about a Challenger Hellcat….

Anyway, I digress. It was not long after I drove off the lot in my Challenger that I was bitten by the Mod bug. For those of you that don’t know cars, the Mod bug bites you and you immediately want to start changing things, adding aftermarket parts, making the car faster, handle different, look different, etc. So, I started saving and I started planning. My plans are coming along nicely.

First off was a dash mat and floor mats. A dash mat in the desert is an absolute necessity, the sun will bleach and crack your dashboard in no time.

Next came the skip shift eliminator. Some modern manuals will lock out second and third at certain low RPM’s, making you shift directly to 4th. It’s supposed to be a gas/emissions saving thing for stop and go traffic, when in reality it’s just a distraction. So I put a little 25.00 resister in and eliminated it, as the name says.

When I needed new tires I also bought new rims. 🙂

Next up was the seat covers, especially after the Halloween candy incident. *shudders*

This summer I splurged; I put on a Cervinis Ram Air Intake with a Charger air tube and new brake rotors and pads. Not sure if it does much, probably could have saved a little money on a different intake. Plus now I need to reconfigure the crank case line….ah well. The brake rotors were needed as I had warped mine…..

Just a few weeks ago I out on an oil catch can, and cutting the lines wrong for it made me realize I should have purchased the lines that are already measured and braided with stainless steel. So… I have those on order.

Also on order, a Barton Industries shifter http://www.bartonindustries.com/Challenger-PRODUCTS.html
I went with the white shift knob to give it that old school look 🙂 I almost went Hurst, as they are a little cheaper and used to have a solid name, but the reviews from people that have had them for a few years are not good. Blown out bushings, broken shift arms, etc.

Not on order, but next up will be exhaust and a tuner. Going to put some JBA shorty headers on along with a JBA Catback exhaust and a Diablo Trinity tuner. It’s a lot of work to put the shorty headers on, as you have to lift the engine block an inch off the mounts, so I am taking it down to Lancaster to R&E Racing. They have done it before, know the price down to the cent and the time down too.

After that, probably go ahead and fix that crank case line by making my own air tube and installing a fitting for it. At the same time I would like to replace the 80mm throttle body with an 85mm throttle body. I’ll put the money out for a custom tune after that. I will need it to take advantage of the exhaust and intake mods.

When the more tame and easier bolt on performance mods done, I plan on focusing on the suspension. An Eibach Pro-Plus kit will serve me nicely. Heavy sway bars front and back, new bushings, new springs, new struts and the car will be lower by about 1.5″ in the front and 1.7″ in the back.

If, after all this is done, life hasn’t altered too drastically and if I have the cash (two big things to ask for, I know) I will have new, ported and polished heads put on with a new performance cam shaft. Again, a custom tune will have to accompany this. The parts alone are around 3,000.00 and I will have to have the install and tune done, so I know I am looking at a big chunk of cash.

Or I could say screw all this, save up close to $10,000.00 and have a supercharger installed……..

Categories: Cars | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Dancing with the Angels

Friday night I was finishing up decorating my apartment for Christmas, putting up lights, the tree, etc. I was also getting ready to attend the Mike Hunsinger 2nd Annual Memorial Toys for Tot’s Car Show, the next day. Mike was an older gentleman and a friend. He was diagnosed with cancer a little over two years ago and rather than go through the treatment, pain, financial hardships and be a burden on his wife and son, he took his own life. The last couple of years there has been a charity car show in his name.

I decided to take a break from the decorating ad thinking about all the lunches, coffee’s and running in to Mike at work. I decided to look at Facebook to see what all my friends were up to. I really looked at it for the first time in a couple days. In my news feed I saw the news, a coworker and friend that I had once been close to, then drifted away from, had died. Jerome was dead.

Unfortunately I am not unfamiliar with losing friends and family, but the feeling of confusion and disbelief is always the same. “What happened?!” “Hell, he was younger than me!” “This has to be a joke.” Then I started running the scenarios in my head, with drunk driving being the first and foremost scenario. I contacted Yvette, a mutual friend who I know he was close with and the news was even more of a shock; he had taken his own life.

This is still hard for me to wrap my head around as he was always so full of life and fun! He was the life of the party, always!

I met Jerome during a job interview at a daycare. I was 22 and looking for a better job than working at a gas station while I finished up Junior College and he was 18, right out of High School. We interviewed the same day, hired at the same time and started work the same day. We were two of three guys that worked in the school age daycare system. The third, Jason, worked with teenagers but came to the K-5th grade daycare where Jerome and I worked, to obtain more hours. The three of us became pretty close for a couple of years, working together every day, having lunch together, etc. After a couple of years they left for greener pastures while I stayed.

Jerome was a dancer. I will always remember him dancing to music in the daycare while we decorated and made the room ready for events, holidays, seasons, etc. He used to hold dance with the kids, trying to teach them how to dance. When he left he went to the Los Angeles area with the hopes of being a professional dancer, he said he even had some jobs in music video’s already lined up.

It didn’t seem like too much later, maybe a year, when I saw him back in town in a bar. We were both drunk and had a little bit of a conversation of which I don’t remember much, but I do remember he avoided the subject of why he was back in town. At this point I was going back to college and became a hermit, I really didn’t see Jerome around after that. When I did see him it would be during the occasional bar run to blow off some school steam, or to celebrate graduation, or just random hang out nights with friends after that. When I saw him he was always drunk and he had made it clear he was there to party and not catch up with old friends. We had officially drifted apart.

Though when we did see each other there was always a smile and a quick how have you been.

In the conversation I had with Yvette on Friday night she told me that Jerome’s dad had died last year and he had been battling depression and an alcohol problem. The alcohol problem was well known, but I hadn’t known about his dad or the depression. I wish I had. I wish we had not have grown apart and maybe I could have been there for him. I’m sure a lot of people are having similar thoughts right now. Our lives took different paths though; I decided to go back to school, get a career and try and have a stable life. Jerome, like other friends a grew apart from, became the life of the party.

I’ll miss my friend Jerome. I’ll miss seeing him on the dance floor with the girls, I’ll miss running in to him and getting that famous Jerome smile.

I’ll always see him in my mind dancing. If there is a heaven, I hope he is there and teaching the angels how to dance.

Good bye my friend.

Categories: Death, Friends | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Night

The road winds, twists and turns. It runs over hills, down valleys and cuts across the arid flats like a scalpel, two lanes bisecting the deserts sandy body. He looks out the car windshield, knowing where the road will take him but not the night. His only reassurances are the comforting weight of the .45 on his hip, and the sound of the modified V8 as it roars down the road, the car as black as the night it rips through.

The engine roars a little louder through the pipes as he presses down on the gas pedal.

The Ghost of Tom Joad comes through the speakers.

Leather on leather, his holster creaks against his gun belt.

He doesn’t know how the night will end, only that one it will end.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Monsters

You know how when you are a kid you are afraid of the dark? Your imagination would populate the shadows and the night with all manner of monsters. Some would be things you saw on television, read or heard in stories, or just things you saw that scared you that your child’s imagination would morph in to some shapeless boogy man.

I’m here to tell you that those monsters are real.

They live inside you waiting to take control, scratching away at your brain and conscience every day. Every mean thought and every dark impulse is theirs. Some people are better at fighting their inner monsters than others. For some, the monsters are just too big. Others have to maintain a daily fight against the growing darkness inside them! Building a virtual Hadrain’s Wall between them and the monsters, populating the garrisons with every mental defense and offense imaginable to wage mental war. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, for some it’s a stalemate.

The monsters are real, they are you.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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