I got a call out of the blue from the seller of Barn Find 2 on Wednesday night as I was about to walk in the door of my boss’ departure party; he said he’d found the VIN on the door of the truck and wanted to know if I was still interested. Given the fact that I’d looked at it quickly on a cloudy, cold day in December where I lost all sensation in my extremities five minutes after I got out of the car, I figured I’d take another look. Brian was available to join me so we set something up for this morning and drove out there in his shiny new hybrid F150 (the verdict: SWEET).

This time I had two sets of eyeballs on the truck, and what looked passable during the Big Chill looked worse the more we dug into it. The floorpans were welded in place on top, but underneath there was a gap of about 1/8″ between the bottom of the pans and the remainder of the floor. The body was not mounted to the frame; there were no pucks or bolts touching the tub. The welds themselves were garbage. There was more rust all over the body than I remember, and as I got underneath to really look at the frame and undercarriage I realized the rockers weren’t as solid as they’d first looked and that the rear fenders on both sides were worse than I recalled. Brian and I talked it over privately and I decided to walk away again. It’s a $2000 truck at best, and with the extra parts maybe $2500 but nowhere near what he’s asking—and a hell of a lot more work than I’m willing to take on.

So I took the four of us out for brunch, and we had a great time catching up.

 

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Date posted: January 21, 2023 | Filed under friends, Scout | Comments Off on Barn Find 2 Update

Long ago in 1995 I was watching MTV while making my dinner and saw a clip featuring a scruffy-looking Portland band playing a killer song. I just happened to have a copy of the City Paper and saw that they were playing the 8×10 on a weeknight, so naturally I roped my roommates into going down and seeing the show, where we all had a great time and I bought a copy of the CD and a T-shirt. Any resemblance to my dog’s current name is purely coincidental. But this song rips.

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My friend Rosie, who I hired at WRI and subsequently got hired away by the Wall Street Journal, had her very first byline last week, a story on coaching trees in the NFL. Yay Rosie!

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Here’s some new tasty font goodness from an old-school design/web hero of mine: Dan Cederholm put up a storefront with some excellent display fonts and design-nerd merch.

Date posted: January 18, 2023 | Filed under art/design, friends, music | Leave a Comment »

Our friend Dr. Ty Matejowsky is a cultural anthropologist at the University of Central Florida. Years ago, when we visited with he and his wife Lorie, they showed us a pair of fascinating documentaries, one about the Dancing Outlaw and the other about a contest to win a pickup, called Hands on a Hardbody. I didn’t really pick up on it then, but he’s super fascinated with human behavior (duh, Bill). He’s written a new book about the American instutution known as Waffle House, and it’s getting good reviews! I’m adding this to our Amazon list for post-Christmas reading. And in related news, Hands on a Hardbody is available again for streaming!

Date posted: December 21, 2022 | Filed under books, friends | Leave a Comment »

There’s something impressive about seeing a theater company mount a production and watching it work from a pure entertainment standpoint but also from a logistical/production background. We went to see the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s production of A Christmas Carol downtown on Saturday with Karean and Zachary. The venue is in a building across the street from my old office on Redwood Street, which began as a bank, was renovated as a disco, and then was bought for the theater company and rebuilt. The tiered seating is set up almost vertically, so we were on the second level and sitting almost over the stage. We were able to watch the cast both perform and be stagehands, carefully introducing and removing various props while they were performing; it was like watching a tightly choreographed dance and I enjoyed every minute of it. They seamlessly wove music, singing, and even a Stomp-style rhythm into the play, and every cast member was fantastic—how refreshing it was to see so many people of color as the leads! It was an excellent production and I would definitely return for serious Shakespeare.

We had a great time with K&Z, stopping in after the play at an old Canton haunt called Nacho Mama’s, where we spent way too much time, money, and brain cells when we lived in the neighborhood. The man who founded it died ten years ago and I’d wager it’s changed hands since then, because the vibe, menu and quality have all slipped. I don’t think we’ll be going back, and I will miss Mesa Fries for the rest of my life.

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Following some recent comments about video games and ramping difficulty levels, I’ve been playing a Season event in The Division 2, where there are a series of challenges that lead up to four minor boss fights, which then unlocks a major boss fight. I did the last Season primarily solo, as is my usual MO, and found the ramp to the boss fights achievable and challenging. Far from a simple walkthrough, I had to work at the boss fights but they were a solid test of my skills to that point and ultimately I enjoyed finishing it. When they rolled out this new season, I started with the first challenge and got to the minor boss fight; with a bit more work I was able to beat it and move on to the second challenge. It was there I got my ass completely handed to me. By default they ramped the difficulty level up to Heroic, which is four steps above “you will need nuclear weapons to beat this.” As mentioned before I like to play solo, but there was no way I could beat these bosses by myself. Last night I joined another player who was playing solo against one of the boss challenges, and between the two of us we took him down. I suggested we take on the third boss, and soon we were joined by two more players who helped us along. We all died multiple times but in the end we all finished it. There’s one more miniboss to beat and then it’s on to the main event; hopefully I can find some other players to help finish the season.

Meanwhile, the search for a new game continues. I did find one that I thought might be interesting to play, but it turns out it’s only written for the PlayStation or PC.

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As mentioned earlier, there are nine new windows leaned up against the wall in the garage, waiting for installation. Between the holidays, work schedule, and family commitments, I may not be able to get any of these in before the middle of January, but I do intend to try. The first room up will be Finn’s; she has three circa 1925 windows which insulate about as well as a wet towel. I can’t wait to get the new ones in place and test the difference in both heat retention and soundproofing.

This is a lovely tribute to the late Adam Schlesinger, by his bandmates in Ivy, who I’ve written about before. They talk about their early years, who he was, and what drove him to create. It’s a really thoughtful tribute.

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I spent a little time in ProCreate learning some more tools and working on another shirt design for the holidays. I’m about 75% happy with it, both for content and execution. I’d like to move towards more vintage designs to take advantage of the resurgence in antique trucks and Scouts in particular, but more practice is required.

Date posted: December 13, 2022 | Filed under friends, history, music | Leave a Comment »

I had time to myself today, so I went out to try and solve the mystery of the dead lightbulb behind my heater controls. Now that I actually have heat it would be nice to see what the controls say; at one time I knew exactly how they worked by muscle memory, but that was in the days of Chewbacca and I got the heat in this Scout working only recently. To get to the one bulb on top of the control box I found it easiest to pull the fascia plate off the dashboard and with it the radio; this is the best way of getting back there without cutting a hole in the firewall and going in from the back. The bulb installed was weird, in that it has two wires going in and was zip-tied in place at some point. All three of the spare dashboards I own have one wire and no zip-tie. Additionally strange is that this bulb is different than all of the other bulbs in the dash: it’s a 5GE 57 bayonet (or some equivalent) so I have to source a new one from somewhere—all of the spares I own didn’t work.

On the subject of fascia plates, I’ve been thinking about dressing up the one I’ve got or replacing it, now that the rest of the cabin looks better. I own five in total, the one in the truck and these:

The chewed up green one is from the Flintstone Scout. I don’t remember where I got the woodgrain one from. The bottom two are from other rigs that I can’t remember (the good green one is left over from Chewbacca days). I’m hesitant to touch the two good ones so I’m going to see if I can use the better of the two bad ones and make a clean hole for a DIN9 receiver. That’ll be tomorrow’s project, along with sourcing the correct lightbulb.

Walking the dog through the ‘Ville today I noticed a familiar green Scout parked at my neighbor’s house. The house belongs to a nice man named Steve, who passed away a couple of years ago, but I’m still in touch with his son. I sent him an email this afternoon asking after him and to see if he needs help getting her roadworthy—the last time we traded messages he was having problems with the carb and I don’t know if he got them sorted out. I sent along info for the guy who did the brakes on PP last year, and hopefully I’ll hear back from him sometime soon.

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Date posted: November 26, 2022 | Filed under friends, Repairs, Scout, Sightings | Comments Off on Lighting and Cleaning

The schoolie project I helped Brian on is officially on the road as of today. He’s put weeks of time into getting it over the finish line these last couple of months, and it damn near killed him; I can’t imagine how much sweat equity he’s got in that thing compared to the relatively few weekends I pitched in. As the project moved forward, the scope of the project got wider, but he handled it with grace and wisdom; for my part I like to think I made some key suggestions early in the process that will have larger benefits for the family as they make their journey.

Date posted: August 30, 2022 | Filed under friends | Leave a Comment »

On or about Jen’s birthday we had a big storm blow through Maryland, and as it left, it took the scorching heat with it. Since Thursday it’s been averaging a beautiful 80˚, with sunshine and a light breeze pretty much all day. Poor Jen has been cranking on work for the last two weeks so we didn’t really get to do much on the day; I did get the family some delicious Indian food from Ananda and a slice of Smith Island Cake from the market down the street, which we enjoyed by candlelight at the table.

On Saturday we had a fun activity planned: Karean and Zachary drove over from Easton and we went to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone live. They project the movie on a huge screen over the stage, minus the music track, and the symphony plays along in time. The effect is stunning. So much fun! And the audience is into it. We had a blast seeing it again—so much so that I want to read the books again.

Sunday we packed up the CR-V (I got the A/C fixed just in time for the heat to break, but that’s timing for you) and headed to Bob’s house to visit and make some more repairs; I got the front hedges trimmed and swapped in a new sink faucet in the powder room. The hot water shutoff is leaking, so I had to crawl under the house to the main water shutoff (I’d like to punch whoever designed that house right in the dick) and then try to unscrew the valve from the pipe, but a combination of the angle, size of the cabinet, the wrong tools, and lack of patience got the better of me. I hung up my monkey wrench and made a note of what I’ll need for the next attempt.

Jen and I boxed up three cabinets’ worth of glasses in the kitchen so that I can pull them off the wall. Two of them have separated at the back, so they’re hanging precariously over the counter. My plan is to get them down onto the floor, rebuild the boxes, and make them sturdier than before. Then we can rehang them and make them useful again (it’s much cheaper than all-new cabinets).

I also tried to get the Chrysler started again, but for some reason that was being balky too. Spraying half a can of starter fluid into the carb got it close but not running, but I don’t know exactly why. I tested it for spark again, and that was fine, but it won’t catch. I think I’ve got to pull the carb off again and see if anything is wrong inside.

Date posted: August 15, 2022 | Filed under Baltimore, family, friends, general | Leave a Comment »

When I had the Baby taken out in 2017, the doctors had to do some extra cutting and trimming while they were under the hood, and one of the things they removed was my gall bladder. As a result, fatty foods and I have had a love/hate relationship: I love to eat them, and I hate what they do to me. When your gall bladder is AWOL, there’s nothing to break those foods down as well as they should be broken down, so things get unpleasant. I started taking ox bile supplements about four years ago, and while they seemed to make a little difference, it wasn’t the difference I was hoping for. My bottle went dry about two weeks ago, so I ordered a larger dose: I went from 500mg to 1000mg, and the capsules grew to the size of pool floats. I started taking them last week, and my body immediately decided that something was wrong. They gave me the world’s worst case of heartburn; it felt like I’d swallowed a hot toaster and it was stuck at the top of my throat. I had to go lie down, it was so bad. A couple of Tums and some time solved that problem, but I was still burping constantly for hours afterward. I’m not giving up on the ox bile, but I’m going to order 500mg capsules and take two a day in the hope that it’ll make a difference.

I drove to Easton on Friday afternoon to help Karean with a long-delayed project. One of the joists holding her deck up was rotted out, making a section of the floor right outside her back door sag. We’d tried to schedule something in the spring but the weather washed us out. This time there was rain in the forecast for Friday night, so I couldn’t take the Scout, and Jen needed the CR-V. I ran to the Bass Pro Shop and bought a cheap pair of strap-mounted roof racks for the Accord, installed them, threw my 28′ ladder on top. With a trunkful of tools and a change of clothes, Finn and I drove out and got to Easton early enough for me to cut the old joist out, pull the screws from the deck, and run to Lowe’s for a replacement before a giant thunderstorm blew through and drenched everything. We hung out and caught up that evening while the kids played video games, watched a movie, and hit the hay for an early wake-up. In the morning Karean and I walked downtown to pick up breakfast, then started replacing the beam. By about 11AM we had the new joist cut down and in place, and by 1PM everything was screwed in place and sturdy.

I had to pack up and haul ass back home because Jen was pulling triple duty at her Dad’s house taking care of him post-surgery, as well as trying to work and monitoring the dog, who was either out back hunting lizards or wandering the house whining. Finn and I transferred tools to the Scout and took that down, thinking there was work to be done, but we wound up taking it easy. He seems to be in good spirits, and apart from some minor repairs there wasn’t a lot we could do other than spend time with him, which I think he appreciated.

On the ride home the CR-V started having some issues when the AC compressor cycled on, so I told Jen to keep it off for the ride home until we can get it fixed. This means we’ve got three cars without operable A/C; the Accord is just blowing air and I pulled the condenser and ductwork from the Scout years ago (it never had a compressor.) So first up we get the CR-V sorted out, and then we’ll figure out what’s wrong with the Accord. Why does this kind of thing always happen at the beginning of a vacation or during the hottest week of the year?

Date posted: August 8, 2022 | Filed under family, friends, honda | Leave a Comment »

On our way down Congress Street in Austin last week, I was looking up at the beautiful neon signage when Finley said, “Look, there’s a Scout.” She was right: a red Scout II sat out on the street with the words Hotel San Jose on the side; apprently it’s pretty famous there but hasn’t moved much lately by the looks of the dried leaves on the front seats. I posted a picture on Instagram and one of the local Scout owners I follow liked it and asked if I was in town on Monday; she was going to be at a car meetup and would put the word out to the other Scout friends in town.

Sheepishly, I parked our rental Buick around back; lined up in front of the bar were a ’65 Chevy pickup, a ’70 Ford pickup, Lydia’s beautiful Scout II, an absolutely evil-looking early 70’s Nova, a ’56 or ’57 Belair sedan, and a mid 60’s Ranchero. After I grabbed a beer, I got to talking with Lydia and she told me about how she found her Scout; presently a couple of Scout 800’s rolled in, followed by a third she’d never seen before, and then a huge lifted Traveler. I met a bunch of new folks—atxscout800, seatruckn, and a couple of other folks not on the ‘Gram.

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We talked trucks and Austin and music and other stuff and generally had a great time. At one point I looked around and a blown El Camino had arrived, several customized vans, a first-gen Mustang, an absolutely spotless ’68 Pontiac Tempest, a beautiful ’60 Chevy Sport Coupe, and other beautiful cars. I hung around until about 10, when the crowd started thinning, and left with a sweet ATXScouts T-shirt, a couple of stickers, and a big wide grin on my face. Thanks, Austin!

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Date posted: July 28, 2022 | Filed under friends, Scout, Trip Logs | Comments Off on Texas Meetup

This week I built an auxilliary fuel delivery system out of a boat tank, a cheap fuel pump, some spare wire, and $25 of hose. The tank is a 3 gallon West Marine unit I got on sale, with a quick disconnect and a handy gauge built in. The pump I found on Amazon, which pushes at 2.5—4psi. Everything I’ve read about the Carter AFB says it likes up to about 6psi, so I figure we’re in good shape. I soldered clips to some extra wire I had on hand and lengthened the reach of the pump, so we can disconnect it quickly from the battery if need be. The big question now is what size the fuel inlets on the carb actually are; I’ve got three Thermoquads sitting in the basement, but none of them have a screw-in fitting so I’m taking a wild guess, and the information on AFB carbs is spotty at best.

I built this to get the Chrysler moving under her own power, but the universe seems to have further plans for us. In the last month I’ve been approached by two separate people with Scouts who need help getting them running again: I drove Finn to karate practice a couple of weeks ago and one of her instructors told me she’s got a Scout under a tarp in her backyard. Naturally I offered my help to get it running. And last week a neighbor walked up the driveway and asked me for some help: his friend has a Scout that’s been sitting in a garage for years and he wants to get it running again.

Clearly I have been noticed as the Scout Guy, and more confoundingly, the Get This Scout Running Again Guy; I’m pleasantly surprised and somewhat intimidated by this development. Hopefully I can live up to it.

 

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Date posted: July 1, 2022 | Filed under friends, Scout | Comments Off on Recovery Items