I got a text from Brian yesterday with the photo above; he drive to Delaware and took possession of a beautiful 1968 Scout 800 painted white over red, which was previously restored a couple of years ago. It’s in fantastic shape and looks like it rolled off the factory floor (with a custom bumper, modern soft top, and bigger wheels). Due to scheduling and weather I haven’t been able to see it in person yet but I’m hoping we can organize a meetup sometime soon.

He’s already made a list of upgrades he wants to make. The rollbar in his Scout is only a single hoop, and because he wants to be able to take the whole family on the road, he wants to upgrade that to a family-style cage like he put in Chewbacca. I’ve been wanting to upgrade my rollbar with something more stout, as well as adding shoulder belts. GRC Fabrication makes rollbars for the 800 and Scout II that we’ve both been looking at, and if he pulls the trigger on a kit from them I’ll probably go in on it with him to save on shipping costs (and we can weld them up and install them at the same time).

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: February 17, 2019 | Filed under friends, Scout | Comments Off on Additions

Amazon announced yesterday that it’s buying Eero, a company that makes mesh wireless devices that apparently work very well. I’m not excited by this; I’m exhausted. The Verge says it perfectly:

It’s exhausting thinking about how rapacious big companies are when it comes to our data. It’s exhausting to think about how difficult it is for independent companies to stay independent.

I wanted a Nest thermostat really bad too.

Date posted: February 12, 2019 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

This is a video about scanning negatives with a Fuji XT-3, a macro lens, a cheap copystand, and a film holder. The other element is a plugin for Lightroom called NegativeLab Pro. If I get into scanning negatives (after I scan all of the slides) some variant of this workflow will be what I use.

Date posted: February 11, 2019 | Filed under photography, productivity | Leave a Comment »

A girl and her cat

Date posted: February 11, 2019 | Filed under finn, photo | Leave a Comment »

Friday night Finn had karate down in Columbia and the timing was such that we decided to splurge on something I’d been talking about since being laid up in the hospital: hitting the Red Lobster. Laugh all you want, but after two weeks of eating nothing, the commercials for LobsterFest looked really good. We walked in expecting a particular atmosphere but were pleasantly surprised by how upscale it felt. The food was about as good as Sysco-trained chefs can prepare seafood: the lobster was chewy and doused in butter, which did not live up to the visual hype of the commercials. Jen and I walked in with our eyes open, however, so our expectations weren’t completely shattered, but I think Finn expected more from the Ultimate LobsterFest.

* * *

Saturday morning Jen mentioned to me that she was having pain in her abdomen, on the right side, where the appendix lives. She’d had it since the previous evening but it was getting worse, and had made an appointment with her GP for the early afternoon. We got packed up and went through the abbreviated testing they can do at a doctor’s office on a Saturday (that place was a ghost town; no wonder modern physicians’ practices can’t compete with 24-hour clinics) where the doctor told us it was most likely a UTI but couldn’t rule out the appendix, or a kidney stone, or something more sinister with an ovary. Their lab doesn’t take our insurance on weekends (again, what’s the fucking point of a consolidated physician’s office if they don’t stay open when people are sick?) so our choices were a 24-hour clinic or an ER. We’ve had middling success with the local Hopkins-affiliated ER, so, worried about possible emergency surgery, we elected to drive to the Hopkins ER downtown.

So at about 3:30 we walked in the door, registered at the desk, and proceeded to wait. It was an hour or so before they called Jen back to get some IV fluids, and the PIV they put in was as painful as her abdomen. The only bright spot at this point was watching a woman down the hall scream curses at the nursing staff about having to pee while rattling the handcuff attaching her to the bed. They made us wait in the hall until after dinnertime, when a male nurse came and shooed us back out into the front waiting area. Here we sat and waited, and waited, and waited. As the sun went down and the air got colder some of East Baltimore’s finest wandered in and joined us; a heavily tattooed man sat down next to me and engaged me in lively conversation about his life, his patent (for a vibrating interchangeable tongue piercing), his jail time, and his pending lawsuit. In the corner, two intoxicated men shared dinner and then made edits to their cardboard panhandling sign with a sharpie. Another man sat at the center of the area staring blankly at the same page of a crumpled magazine for six hours, pretending he was a patient, reeking of hobo piss.

Poor Jen dealt with the hard plastic chairs this whole time, her abdomen still hurting, and finally had to have the nursing staff take the PIV out because she couldn’t bend her arm and it was hurting. Finn watched a couple hours of America’s Got Talent and then curled up in my elbow as it got past 11PM. By 12:30 we were ready to just bail but one of the nurses told Jen they were 1/2 hour away from taking her to a bed. At 2 we were finally led back to a room and the girls laid down on the bed and napped while I sat in the chair and tried to doze. A doctor came in at 3:30 and asked the same questions the GP did, and then disappeared for an hour. Another pair of doctors came in and looked her over, and then a third, and then they finally decided they didn’t know what she had but needed Cipro to take care of it. By the time we got home it was 6:30 and we all shuffled straight into bed.

* * *

I had standing plans to help Brian H. and a crew of Scout friends remove the rear end of his Edsel on Sunday morning, but after our adventure I couldn’t face up to a 9AM wakeup. I slept until 11 and made it over there at about noon; when I got there they had the axle out, the springs off, and were cleaning grease off the pumpkin. We hung out and shot the shit for a while, he treated us to lunch, and then we looked over his car. An Edsel is a magnificent thing to behold in person. It’s all compound curves and 1950’s craftsmanship, which means one square foot of it has more style than an entire modern dealership. He’s got a lot done but has a long way to go; it’s a New Hampshire car so there’s rust in every corner.

From there, Brian T. and went and got a beer and caught up, which was a really pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Date posted: February 11, 2019 | Filed under friends, general | Leave a Comment »

Waaaay back in July of last year I wrote about abruptly losing my sunglasses. I scoured the house, the yard, the garage, our vehicles–anyplace I remembered having them. But there was no sign of them, so I sourced a pair of identical frames and had lenses cut for them. This morning I was meeting a guy to sell a radio off of Craigslist and figured he might be interested in two others I’ve had sitting in the basement for 15 years: a Philco tombstone I bought in my bakelite collecting days, and a giant hulking Emerson set that my aunt and uncle saved for me years ago. I moved them out into the open of the ice room and shot some pictures, and what was hiding behind the big Emerson? My sunglasses, a little dusty but otherwise perfectly fine! I cleaned them off and wore them to the meet. I miss the amber lenses in the old pair–my new pair are just darkened, which is fine, but the amber tends to brighten and amplify things in my vision. I’d always thought they were heavier and more solidly built than the new black pair I’d bought, but they feel exactly the same. So now I’ve got two pair of sunglasses; I truly am living my authentic lifestyle.

As for the radios, I offered them to the buyer this morning, and we settled on a price (a little low, but what the hell, it’s a buyers market). I haven’t had time to work on them, they’re really too big to display in the house, and I have too much stuff. I’m going to meet back up with him next weekend and get them out of here.

Date posted: February 9, 2019 | Filed under life, radios | Leave a Comment »


I haven’t have a whole lot of time to write toward the end of this week, so I’ll place some oldies here for fun.

Date posted: February 8, 2019 | Filed under family, photo | 1 Comment »

Fight the Ship is an excellent longform journalism piece by ProPublica about the collision of the USS Fitzgerald and the ACX Crystal, a 730 foot container ship off the coast of Japan. It’s also a scathing indictment of the Navy’s budgetary mismanagement of its global mission.

Date posted: February 7, 2019 | Filed under shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Back in the heyday of the Smashing Pumpkins, the band played a gig in 1992 at a club in Detroit and Billy Corgan’s favorite guitar was stolen off the stage. This was the guitar he used on Gish, and to hear him tell the story, it’s the guitar that changed his–and the band’s–sound for the better. Someone came forward with it this week and gave it back to him after buying it at a yard sale, turning down a sizable reward.

PS. he looks like a dope in that coat.

Date posted: February 6, 2019 | Filed under music, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I pulled the Scout out of the garage the week of the Polar Vortex and ran it up in the driveway, and she gave me a scare. I started hearing a terrible whine coming from the power steering pump at idle. I shut her down, topped off the power steering fluid, and restarted the engine, but it came right back and frightened me to the point where I scuttled my plan to run down the street for coffee and backed her back into the garage; I didn’t want the pump exploding in the driveway the day before I had to drive back up to Syracuse.

I was in NY State for my father’s funeral for most of last week, but took advantage of 60˚ weather and a work-from-home day yesterday to run her up again, thinking maybe the temperature was to blame. I was right. She fired right up and idled smooth out of the garage, and there was no sound to be heard at all. Whew.

Buoyed by that success, I gave Mike Moore a call to see if he’d be able to help fix my caster issues. True to his character, he told me he could certainly do it but I should really try to find a good, reputable alignment shop around here and have them install them–and not a “$49 alignment special” type place. He also gave me the industry name for the parts I’ve got: Camber Caster Sleeves. I also asked him for a price on what it would take to rewire Peer Pressure, and we talked about that for a while. I don’t have the money right now but it’s good to know what to budget for. Mike is a great guy and I’m glad I called him. I found a place with decent reviews across town and called them for a price; I’ve yet to hear back but will call and follow up tomorrow.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: February 6, 2019 | Filed under Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Updates and Information.