Vapor Life

Vapor life... My life as it is, as it should be. *********************************************************************************************************** Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep. Fran Lebowitz (1950 - )

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

YouTube's 100 greatest hits . . . in less than four minutes

If you cant see it:
Try this link *here*


Dear GM: WTF

OK I get the whole, "we need to cut costs" thing but dropping Saturn was arguably the dumbest thing you have ever done.

Maybe its me but Saturn made a line of vehicles that were:

1) in demand
2) realistically affordable
3) good mileage
4) good in insurance rates/safety ratings
5) had a viable, respectable dealer network all set up waiting for a new leaner GM to take advantage.

So lets cull all that dead weight. Sure the whole Penske thing did not work out, but don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. That was a pipe dream anyway. I am sure if you look at some other lines (uhhhh Buick... really?) You could find somthing elese to cut.

How about 1 bizillinth of one of your fat cat salarys, or the espresso machie from your exectutive bathroom.

Call me crazy but this is a BRILLIANT move.


(Not So) Cool Gear: The Pony Cap

I might have been in the middle of a very bad day, but that did not stop me from laughing my ass off once I saw this "thing you you never knew existed". This must have pony-tail hat is surly your ticket to popularity around the trailer park, tractor pull or where ever you find your self in the red neck nation.

For just under $11 bucks (or about 100 returnables) and some shipping you can get this beauty *here*

Thanks to Giz for making me laugh today.

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Today Sucks So Far

Today sucks so far, and it has no real chance of getting better.

I am not having a good morning at all.

Thanks to *abbeylovesyou* for the photo.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Cool Gear: The Zippo Lighter

Something about a Zippo Lighter reminds me of my childhood.

The smell of the fluid, the feel of the substantial machine in your hand... a machine that produces FIRE. Intoxicating.

In the days of bottle rockets, firecrackers and other borderline legal (and down right illegal) fireworks and even forbidden smokes....this was a rare find and a treasure. If someone could lift one from their father or come about one by any other means, why that man was a hero.

Nothing was cooler than a Zippo.

Time has changed me, and while I still like lighting things on fire, now it is more like the the grill and the occasional Tiki torch. No more smokes and very few fireworks.
I miss having a good lighter. Maybe even more a good reason to carry one.

So when I see one it takes me back. Calling to me with a promise of fun and youthful mischievousness.

Thank god you can still buy them *here*


When my nephew asked me to help him build a robot

He asked me if I had any small motors. I am pretty sure he had the classic robot theme in mind, a two legged stiff walking thing....
My mind went to a wild frenzy of PSA, flying autonomous platforms that would actually fly following you around.
It could house a computer that could connect you with your email, phone, and more. Follow you around say about two feet from your head. close enough to pick up your voice commands and far enough to stay out our you way. Smart enough to land near you when you are sitting and also connect via 4G or WiFi. Control you home systems and tell you what on TV. Access your music selection and stream it to your home, car or office. I can tell when you enter your car dock with it or land on the seat.

Alas I an constricted by time. Time and Money.... and the technical capabilities of our time.

I see a two legged stiff walking classic Robot in the near future, but *sigh* I can still dream

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Somtimes having a dog is fun

Dogs can remind you that going to the park can be fun.
Dogs can remind you that going to the park, in the dark can be fun.
In the dark, in the rain. In the cold.


Dogs don't seem to be bothered by such things a comfort or dryness or well anything really.

Here is a quick shot in the dark of Tanner, shaking off the rain in a cloud of slobbery mist.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

On our way out of Ann Arbor

We walked past the Michigan Theater on Liberty. All lit up I took this
quick shot.

Found at Connor O Neill's

Random cup found at the local Irish pub.

Last night, I slept like a log

I woke this morning, late. Even though I knew I had slept hard, I could have slept all day. I think it is just part of my recuperating process. Still coughing, I feel like a log as well. Thanks to Geraldine Curtis for the photo.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Go Blue - Michigan vs. Indiana

Later today the Wolverines take on Indiana in another contest that is
sure to be an exciting game.
While Michigan is favored both teams have talent so I dont want our
team to be over confident. Not to mention the winner will be allowed
to boast about a 4-0 start. Quite a prize.
So today. High noon. Homecoming.
In likely our toughest opponent yet. Let's see what are boys are made

We have freinds in town from LaJolla...

And while they are not here exclusively to see us, we are looking forward to spending some time with them.

So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this article from *luxist*

You can read the entire article *here* but this is basically a re-post.

La Jolla Is The Most Expensive Real Estate Market

by Deidre Woollard (RSS feed) Sep 25th 2009 at 3:01AM

Coldwell Banker has released their 2009 Coldwell Banker® Home Price Comparison Index (HPCI) and found that La Jolla, California is the most expensive market. In fact there is an over $2 million gap between what they deem the most expensive and most affordable U.S. housing markets. The comparison of similar 2,200-square foot homes in 310 U.S. housing markets found that the average home price in La Jolla, California is $2.125 million while at the other end of the spectrum, Grayling, Michigan was the most affordable market in America, where a similarly sized home costs $112,675. California fared badly, 13 other California markets are on the most expensive list while Grayling was one of 20 Midwest communities on the most affordable list (others include Akron, Canton, Detroit and Wichita).

Looking at four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath homes in the United States, thirty percent of the markets show this type of home to be below $200,000, while half of the markets surveyed showed an average price for this type of home to be less than $300,000 meaning there are deals out there. The cumulative average sales price of the four-bedroom homes surveyed in the 310 U.S. markets (including one in Puerto Rico) covered in the Coldwell Banker HPCI is $363,460.

The mention of La Jolla gave me a chance to check in on one of my favorite estates which happens to be in the seaside town. The Razor was once listed at $39 million, it was $32 million when I covered it in April and is now down to $28 million.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Apple Tablet I have been dreaming of... Made by Microsoft?

Thanks *Giz* for this one:

"It feels like the whole world is holding its breath for the Apple tablet. But maybe we've all been dreaming about the wrong device. This is Courier, Microsoft's astonishing take on the tablet."

This thing is way cool and supposedly in "end stage" prototype.

*click here to check it out*

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Getting Sick is the Pitts, but I am back at work.

I don’t get sick that often, so when I do its usually spectacularly brutal. Case in point this bout was a little more than a cold, as I had a pretty good fever that finally broke late last night sometime.

Here are my top 5 reasons I hate being sick

5) I hate the “haze” that cold medicine creates.
4) I cant function with out the cold medicine.
3) I can not taste or smell anything, making me feel further hazified
2) Everything is achy, and that really gets old really fast
1) I still have shit to do, now it just seems shittier


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Im sick today

And everyone is annoying the CRAP out of me.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First day of Fall

First day of fall and it finally feels like summer with an expected temp in the low 80's and humidity through the roof today.

Here you can see the haze as Campus is settling down for a long hot day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Reflection: Tach Time

I had to get the Tach time for the plane so I took a quick photo, and the reflection of the back seat with the head set resting over it made an interesting reflection. At least for me. This makes this photo an instant nostalgic shot.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

This afternoon at the park.

You can see some color out in the afternoon sun.

MGOBLUE: Michigan vs. Eastern Michigan

Today, in what everyone predicts will be a sure win for Michigan, Michigan hosts their neighbor to the east: EMU.

It should be an easy win for the Wolverines and put them in an enviable position of an 3-0 start for this year, that is something that few would have predicted after last years dismal season. We still have to remember this is college ball and anything can happen and momentum swings happen as wildly as a bar brawler. Lets not remember what happened in the State/Central Michigan game last week and and go out and play our best, even though its hard not to look forward to Homecoming next week here against Indiana.

I hear also that Jonas Mouton landed himself a suspension for punching a Notre Dame player last week (you can see the video here) and that is unfortunate as it, it my mind, slightly diminishes an otherwise perfect game. Only slightly mind you as that game was an AWSOME display of what is to come in the next several years from Michigan.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Where I used to dwell

Flowers in the kitchen

Remind me of all the little things the girl does arround the house to
make it our home.

Speaking of Idiots

Lets face it, we all see a lot of stupid things while driving. Most of us even do some borderline things while we drive. Talking, texting, eating you get the point.

But the driver of this red ford SUV surprised me went I pulled up next too him yesterday at a stop light... he was brushing his teeth. BRUSHING HIS TEETH. I mean going to town with a full size toothbush and trying to spit out the window making a mess down the side of his vehicle.

I mean I am all for oral hygiene myself but, you cant wait? Your in that much of a hurry?


Thursday, September 17, 2009

I think I am living in an IDIOCRACY

More life lessons learned already this week.

Idiot #1

Don’t call WHEN YOU ARE STANDING AT THE COUNTER AND THE DMV. Really, I can her you telling you your license is suspended, FOR DRIVING WITH OUT INSURANCE, THE LAWSUIT, AND A COURT OURDRED FINANCIAL REPOSNIBILITY LEIN. Try putting the crack-pipe down long enough to at least make an attempt to lie to me convincingly.

Idiot #2

Don’t tell me you don’t know the guy I am looking for, then tell me to try his cell. So you do know him? He no longer works there means YOU KNOW WHO I AM CALLING ABOUT. WTF I faxed something to him at this number. “anyone could have used my fax” What does that even mean? What do you mean he must have worked with someone that worked there? Why would you even lie about this?

Idiot #3

“I have be been paying every month, but this month you took the money out of the bank?” You mean we have an agreement to pull out of the bank, but every month you have been going on line and paying ahead of time, despite the fact that it states on each notice “DO NOT PAY THIS WILL BE DEDUCTED FROM YOUR BANK” This month you did not pay on time so we pulled as agreed. The fact you paid LATER make you just guilty of not reading your notices very well, at least. I am sorry I cant pay your overdraft fee.

Idiot #4

DO NOT call here and blurt out: “What did you want?” Congrats on having caller ID on your phone I can see your number also but I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT WORKS HERE. If you wont tell me your name, I CAN NOT HELP YOU FIND WHO CALLED YOU. Now that you hung up, maybe I should call you and ask what you wanted?

Its not even Friday yet and I have reached my stupid quota? Is it like this everywhere?



So far, this new thing for my shop is not working. Like not working at all.

Physically, just not working.

I am so damn disappointed I can not even tell you.

I am going to make some calls right now to see if i can fix the situation but it appears I attached my hopes to a sinking ship of sorts.

It should have been called: I can't believe you are going to sink your money in this piece of crap. I tell you there is just no truth in advertisement anymore.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today I am excited!

NO not because its my birthday,its because today they are supposed to deliver a new tool for the wood shop today.

This will help me take my projects to the next level. At least that is what I am thinking.

I am sure it will take me a couple of days to get this thing up and going so for now that is all I am going to say about it for now. So its back to work and waiting for the UPS guy to show up.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Some People Just Have to Cause Touble

Sometimes I just don't understand. I guess its because I spend most of my time honestly being nice to people. I mean I may bitch A LOT but in the end I try and find a connection, I make it and I earnestly try to help people.
But then there is that guy.
You know the one. Out of nowhere he does something you just don't understand, that was obviously malicious. Intended as hurtfulness, just plain mean. Sure we all are guilty of the occasional ability to do this. No I dont mean you, I mean the guy that does it over and over to to point that you can see that he ENJOYS making other people upset.
Anyway, ran into this guy yesterday, and today the fallout was well for lack of a better phrase , still raining down.
He upset someone that is important to me. That to be honest makes me want to bring the hurt down on him, and I have some ammunition.
But that would make me that guy, so for now I wait, but I am not sure how much more of that crap I can take.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Kingdom for a gear puller

The pulley on my table saw slipped and the key in the shaft moved so the belt was no longer lined up correctly. I decided to run over to Murry's or whatever its called now and buy a gear puller, and they told me I could buy one, or *rent* one for free. If I brought it back in 48 hours. OK I took it, they charged my card, then treated it like a returned item taking the charge off my card. It worked like a charm and it was free.

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A good view from 1000 ft

After a phenomenal football day yesterday, I finally got to at least get a quick test flight in, making sure she was running right after recent repairs and the fact that the plane has largely gone unused this summer.

While the window distorts the horizon slightly, you can see the view from here is pretty much unbeatable. Looking north down State Street.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

MGOBLUE: Michigan vs. Notre Dame

Today is a big day in the Big House as Michigan hosts Notre Dame in a 3:30 contest. Both teams walk in to this with a big win last week meaning one of them will leave today 2-0.
Both programs are under pressure to win this year and if you follow the odds on this Notre Dame is slightly favored although UM's all time record against this opponent at home is 11-7.
I like Michigan's chances here and I think we will have a contest where the winner will be determined by who wants it most as both teams bring to the table an impressive amount of talent.
I do not think that there is a bigger game this Saturday as the rivalry stirs strong emotions on both sides. UM is 20-15-1 all time in this rivalry that goes back to 1887!

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Feels Like Fall

Feels Like Fall... Football Saturday and this leaf in our yard remind
me fall colors are not far behind.

Friday, September 11, 2009

83.4% of statasitcs are made up... 30% of the time

Client: “My bill is higher this month?”

Me: “Look: I COULD explain to you why you bill went up , but just take my word for it, rates are trending up right now.”

Client: “But I did not have a claim!”

Me: *SIGH* “Yes, but really you have think of insurance like a pool, you might say sometimes we drink from the pool other times we poor water in. If more people take out then put in, it creates an imbalance. So when more claims are paid then expected, more money is needed to be put in.”

Client: “But I never had a claim!”

ME: “Yes, but you are missing the point. While your rates *are* affected when you have a claim in a much more complicated “predicative model” way where risky factors make individual rates rise while positive factors make rates go down…. Today I am talking about overall trends. When a company spends more on claims then expected and has less earnings on investments than expected overall rates tend to go up. Another example is that state fee. Your rate went up X dollars, y dollars of that is the state fee we have no control over. Its likely the State fund (to pay for no fault medical bills over 300 k) is experiencing a similar imbalance, so the fee goes up.”

Client: “But it always goes up, and my car is worth less if I crash it anyway.”

Me: “Actually, I see it has gone up for you, but in (year) it went down. It just tends to be more noticeable when rates go up, I think. You are right about the value of you car though. Let me put it to you this way: a car policy is like a pie chart, about ½ if it protects the car… the other half protects you, medical, liability, etc etc. out of the ½ that protects your car about 1/3 of that protects things other than collision, about 2/3rds is collision. So if you think about it this way only part is for collision. If you have an accident, only some of the claims are a total loss…. Most of the time it is a door, or a fender. This year the cost of the door may be more to buy and install then last year due to parts and labor prices. So it is possible for your car to be worth less, but cost us more to repair then last year, in a 10 mile an hour crash for example.”

Client: “Its just a racket, I HATE INSURANCE”

Me: *sigh* “I can understand how you might feel that way but consider a world with out insurance, were we all have to take on the burden of our risks with out spreading it over a group of people. It would be too risky to buy a home, or even get financing on a car as what bank would loan you the money if you had no means to recover from say a fire loss or a car collision.”

Client: “Its still a racket, but I will pay it this month I just don’t like paying (less then they waste on coffee per month) more per month.”

Me: “I can help you with that. I will mail you a receipt. Let me know if you have more questions.”

Cleint: “OK thanks.”



Me: “Yessss???”

Front desk: “You have a guy on line two waiting to talk to you about his bill.”

Me *sigh* “OK Yeah.”


The Reason

This is the reason, no matter how well you do in life, nothing will be better then when you were a child.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Today I Found Myself

Today I Found Myself inspecting woodburning stoves and other such
things. Sometimes my job takes me in odd directions.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Really Apple?

Really Apple?

Maybe I expect to much. Maybe on this day, of all days, when I had my ass handed to me at work I wanted a little more from you. *sigh*

But software and fancy iPod nanos? Really?

No iTablet, no big iPhone improvements. No real movement forward. Stepping in on the flip video market is nice for profits I guess, for you mostly, but what a bout a real step forward. "Steve is working closely with new products." I hear. "Steve wont release a product until its ready" Yeah more like Steve wont release a product until he can milk every penny from the iPod market.

I am sorry I expected to much. But really Steve? Welcome back and all but I cant help but feel you called this one in.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Last night I drempt

That my cousin Jarrod had died ( as in April's bad news) but my father
came home and went to bed. Also weird as he has been dead almost 20
years. I woke him and he was bleeding from the eyes then I realized
his face was bleeding. Like he was sweating blood. A man could go
crazy trying to figure out his dreams.

The kids were sleeping

The kids were sleeping in the shop and looked up as I turned the light
on. Tanner and Kitty prettymuch lead semi tolorant yet exclusive
lives. This is about as close as they get.

Another short week, another Apple Event

This week Wednesday, that is really a Tuesday in disguise for this short week, there will be a another "Apple Event".

Most certainly they will announce the demise of the classic iPod as the company marches toward a brave new iPod touch world. In addition everyone really explects some new software/firmware tweeks in the iPhone/iPod touch communities and with the supposed announcemetn with MMS support for the new iPhones I think this will be likley. As for a new "super product" like a iTablet or somother MID or similar device, I would not hold my breath if I were you.
Of course only time will tell, see you in the afternoon tomorow with the announcements.

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Celebrating Back to School

Crayola, trying to reinvent itself for the new school year, has introduced the new “throwing star” set. You can’t start to young honing your killing skills and everyone knows that pirates are soooo two thousand and eight.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Meanwhile.... back at the park

While Tanner and I were walking at the park we ran into this praying mantis. Some would say its good luck to find one. Maybe they are right, for me I don't know.

For Tanner, it was a slight distraction from chasing birds. For me it was a slight distraction from the billion things rattling around in my brain. Its funny how a dogs perspective is only slightly different and yet worlds away.

So I took this picture for my nephew Gabriel, I was going to take the bug home for him but decided against it. Too early in the walk, and this little guy was to way to scared of me to let me take him trying desperately to get out of my hands. For me it was a slight inconvenience to get him back to the truck . For the mantis, it was struggle for life and death.

As I walked away I thought...Its funny how a bugs perspective is worlds apart, but really only slightly different. In the end I guess it was good luck for the Mantis running into me as I decided not to take him

People are Stupid: Parking Edition

Speaking of U of M ,today was moving day for Chelsey back to school. Most everyone had already moved in already but it did not stop it from being a parking nightmare. Case in point I ran across this van "parked" in on the street. Well sort of parked. You may noticed this van is three feet away from the curb, and half way over the drive way. The van was parked only in the sense that no one was near this vehicle. I tell you this because it could be confused with a vehicle in traffic. The worst thing, this was not even the worst driving faux pas that I saw today. This was the only one I got a photo of. Oh and BTW, there were 10 spots in front of this van about 1/2 a block up the street.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Go Blue: Michigan Vs. Western Michigan

With the weight of a new program on their shoulders and the promise of a new season putting a spring in there step today at 3:30 Michigan will step into the big house today for a game against Western that may prove to be no "easy W".

Considering Western has a more than respectable passing game we have to remember that this is the same program that downed Illinois last year. Hit them hard and keep on them, keep pressure on the QB and render the passing game ineffective and we have a good chance.

Check out this *visual depth chart* for this game.

Friday, September 04, 2009

If you ever want to see

If you ever want to see an airplane alternator in the you
go. Some light plane maintenance led to some stunning views.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Big House From The Air

With just a couple of days to go before the season opener against
Western the excitement is building as the Wolverines will face a tough
passing offence and will have
to show some grit as this game may set the tone for the season.

Today I felt like I was drowning in a sea of stupidity

I was drowning in a sea of stupidity with a strong undertow of bureaucratic crap pulling me deeper and deeper.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

People are Stupid

(Two Guys roll up in a dark SUV, its Noon, Im going to the bank, were about three cars back from the light)

Guy leans out window, gestures. I roll down my window thinking he wants directions.

Guy “Want to buy a home theater system?” Glazed look sniffing and red eyed.

Me “Wha…No that’s ok “

Guy “We just got one from this job”

Me “That’s OK I’m all set, I have one” (thinking “job?”)

Guy “Need a good deal on one anyway?”

Me “No I’m cool” Starting to put up window

Guy (just before window up) “WERE GONING TO THE TITTY BAR!” ( second guy coming to life giving me the “hand loose” sign.

Me “OK … good luck” (TMI)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

You know its a bad day when...

The "Network Outages" box on the work site itself has a "Network Error"

Oh the horror.

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Shop Update-Heart shaped box

With apologies to Nirvana.

I have not really had much time to work in the shop lately, but did crank out this heart shaped box for the girls B day last month. I gave her some earrings in it, unfinished but went back and finished it, turned out pretty nice. Made from one piece of wood the top has a lip that fits inside the bottom snugly. It was actually done mostly by hand, with only a minimal of power tools, and a lot of sanding.