January 29, 2005

Quiz Thingy

From Cheesy the Red, comes a quiz:Twenty questions to a better personality.

Wackiness: 62/100 Rationality: 68/100 Constructiveness: 56/100 Leadership: 44/100

You are a WRCF--Wacky Rational Constructive Follower. This makes you a Paul Begala.

You are unflappable and largely unconcerned with others' reactions to you. You were not particularly interested in the results of this test, and probably took it only as a result of someone else asking you to.

You have a biting wit and intense powers of observation. No detail is lost on you, and your friends know it--relying on you to have the facts when others express only opinions. You are even-tempered, friendly, and educated. Foolish strangers may mistake your mildness for weakness--they will be surprised.

You entire approach to life is enviable. You will raise good kids.

Of the 83723 people who have taken this quiz since tracking began (8/17/2004), 4.8 % are this type.

Let's see: 99 ASVAB, 165 IQ, and a generally understand where you're coming from before you do? Check. Challenge me in a subject in which I "know from whence I speak", and I'll fuck you up. I'd like to think that I'm enviable, but from where I'm sitting, there's not much to envy (Other than the good looks. (Not that it's gotten me anywhere)).

As for "Good Kids", I'll just leave that story for another day.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:28 AM | Comments (6)

January 23, 2005

Four-Wheeled Automotive Vehicular Transport Unit

As you (may or may not) know, I currently drive a Mini-Van. A 1994 Pontiac Trans Sport SE 3800 to be specific. It's been a decent set of wheels so far, but it's begun to give me a few problems. This got me to thinking about my automotive history. It's rather checkered.

I started out with a 1970 Plymouth Satellite. Mine was green, and had a 318 cubic inch engine, and I loved it dearly. I bought it to try and keep up with my best friend at the time who had a Road Runner. As usual with first cars, I beat the piss out of that one, but that old girl took it like a trooper. After I sold the car, the new owner converted it into a dirt-track racer. It's probably been crushed by now, but it was a damn-good first car. I bought it with my own money and everything.

My next vehicle was a 1977 Ford Maverick. I have no idea where my Dad found it, but it was a true-blue "Grandmother who only drove it to Church" car. after I'd driven it for a few weeks, I noticed some shifting issues in the automatic transmission. My dad took it to his car guy, and he found that it stall had the factory plug in the transmission pan. This was 1987 or '88. It was Sky-Blue, and was the best running car I've ever owned. I flipped it off an embankment, backwards and upside-down, shearing a 6" tree in half in the process. There I was. Hanging from the seatbelt (I've always had the good habit of wearing them) watching the engine oil run out of the cracks between the hood and the fenders, and I still had to reach up and turn the ignition off to get the damn engine to stop running! I'm always on the lookout for another one.

Next, I bought a 1979 Formula Firebird from a buddy of mine. It had the sucky-est V8 ever known to man...the 301. It was rated at 135 horsepower. This is the car that earned me the scar above my right eye. I was just leaving work on a rainy afternoon. The traffic was heavy, and I'd been listening (as is/was my wont) to my radio at ear-splitting levels on the way in that morning. After I had travelled about two miles, the radio was bugging me, so I looked down find the knob to turn it down. When I looked up, all I saw were brake lights. I hit the car in front of me, which then hit the car in front of it, which then hit the car in front of it, which then hit the car in front of it. NOT a good day. Did I mention that I was on the way to my buddy's house to make the last payment on it? Thought not. Needless to say I was positively livid. I calmy unbuckled my seatbelt, grabbed the steering whell with both hands, and slammed my head into it. I still have no idea why I did that, but I guess I just had to hurt something. I replaced the front end with one from a 1974 Firebird (surprisingly interchangeable) primered it black and eventually painted fire stripes on it with Krylon spray cans in the front yard. I think I only beat one car with it when they wanted to race, and I saw sparks flying out the bottom of the opposing vehicle when that happenned. If he hadna "blowed up", he would have packed my lunch for me. God that thing was a piece of crap.

Next up, back to Chrysler. A 1966 Chrysler Newport to be exact. Once again, my "Pentastar" vehicle was grass green. This thing was truly a "Mafia Staff Car". The trunk could have hauled a dozen bodies to the local rock quarry. With bench seats front and rear, you could haul at least ten people, and none of them had to sit on another's lap. The power plant was a 383 Wedge with a Carter 650 cfm four barrel atop it. It even had power windows and a power front seat! This thing was so heavy and so powerful that I couldn't "get into" the gas from a dead stop. All I would do was msoke the rear tires, and not go anywhere. Impressive? Oh Yeah! Practical? Not hardly. It actually got pretty decent mileage when I drove it easy, but whenever I openned up the back barrels, she really drank the fuel. I once (accidentally I swear) raced a late-eaighties model IROC Z Camaro. We were at a red light, and roughly 1/4 of a mile ahead, the two lanes merged into one. When the light changed, we both wnet ahead like good drivers. At about 5 miles an hour, we both got the same idea at the same time, so we both put our "foot in the carburator" and took off. I beat him by a country mile, and let me tell you that it was sweet...very sweet.

Nest up was a 1989 Ford Taurus. I really liked this car. Power everything, nice seats, and a big 3.0 liter V6 that just hemmed down the road. Unfortunately, every six months or so, the transmission had to be rebuilt. I think it was the fourth time that it came around to having tranny-troubles when I just got pissed and went out to find something else.

What I found was a 1985 Nissan Pickup. It's not an ST and is not an extended cab, but you get the idea. I bought this truck for $1,100 dollars. It read 186,000 miles on the odometer when I purchased it. I didn't realize that the speeedometer was busted until after I'd closed the deal, and drove it off the lot. 2.4 liter "Z" motor, five-speed manual transmission. I drove this truck for something like four years. In the beginning, I was going 25 miles (one way) to work every day. Then I moved to Iowa. I made twelve trips from Knoxville, TN to Cedar Rapids, IA and back in the time I was there. Back in TN, I got another job at a place that was 35 miles away from the house. Two years there, and then I moved to Nashville. Every two weeks I was driving back and forth from there to here on the weekends. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that this little truck had in excess of 500,000 miles on it before the head gasket finally let go. I've still got it. It's sitting out at the side of the house as I type this. I've gotten about halfway through pulling the ehad off before I was distracted, but someday soon, I may put her back on the road.

When the gasket let go, I made a deal with a coworker, and bought the vehicle I'm currently driving. My cousin was looking for a vehicle for his wife to drive around, and mentiond a really good deal on a Chrysler product that he'd run across. If it's still there next weekend, I think I'll swap up.

As a rough and tumble, construction worker that I am now, I think a 2000 Dodge Durango fits me better than the soccor-Mom set. We'll see if this deal is still there when I get back next weekend, and if it is, I'll be rolling something with horns. I'm looking forward to it, and it's something that will make me feel better when I go down to Orlando in mid-February.

Here's to good luck lasting for five days.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:58 PM | Comments (2)

Really let's you know where you stand.

I thought about posted a little something in regards to the latest meme that's making the rounds yesterday, but I decided that I'd let it go. Rise above, if you will. Be the bigger and/or better man. I went out to a fish-fry, then went to the bar. Immersing myself in liquor and pool, but it was no use. There it was in the background...haunting me. Making me feel like Ichabod Crane riding down a lonely wooded lane. Knowing that the horseman was out there, just not when he would strike.

Today, I figured that spending time with Mom and Dad would help me get by. Maybe a couple of football games would help. I mean, Sure. I haven't been blogging much lately, and I admit that the elevator trade may not be as interesting to most folks as it is to me. But to be completely snubbed by someone who you thought was special, and you thought that they thought you were special too. Well, some wounds never heal.

What am I talking about? This is what I'm talking about. Then there was the unapologetic gloating of this guy, that just drove the knife in a little deeper. How on earth could she have left off the (self-described) "Most gifted wordsmith of our generation"? Me. Even Bill made the top ten, and I wasn't even given an honorable mention. That just stings.

Just for the record, I'll no longer be responding to the moniker "Johnny - Oh". From now on call me "Chopped Liver".


Posted by Johnny - Oh at 06:06 PM | Comments (4)

January 17, 2005

I really should be asleep, but...

I've got a mild case of insomnia. I guess it has something to do with the fact that I've been at my house so infrequently over the past two months that when I'm here, I want to enjoy as much time here as I can. Sleep or No. It's kind of funny that every time I go down to the Marina, someone offers me a bunk to rack out in over night. Dad has offerred me a spot to crash more times than I care to think about, and this weekend, my Brother-In-Law stated that I could "always crash" on his boat for the night. I told him straight out "When are you people going to get it through your heads that when I come home from being on the road for two weeks that I want to sleep in my own bed?" Trust me, the sentiment is appreciated, but dammit, I'm tired.

Another thing that really gets to me after awhile is the fact that I don't get much time by myself. When we're on the road, Ford drives down about three quarter's of the way, thenI take over and drive us into town. We work together all day, and then we head on over to the motel room. I head on out and get us something to eat, and then we watch TV until it's time to go to sleep. We get up and then I drive us around, we work together all day, and then back to the motel. Lather, Rinse, Repeat, throughout the week. WhenI get home on the weekend, I come home to a house where my roommate is here, his girlfriend, and her daughter (with or without a few friends in tow) are around all weekend,a nd then I hit the road again.

Let me explain that I'm the type of guy who's used to spending most of my day (especially my personal time) by myself. This has been going on for enough years that when I don't get any time to myself, I tend to freak out a little bit. As it is, the only times I get to myself are during the commutes to and from the shop, and to Mom and Dad's on the weekends. About twenty minutes each way. The worst part is that I don't get to spend it in "my space" relaxing. I always have to be concerned about traffic, and other such things.

A little personal "down" time is in order, but I don't see it coming in the (very) near future. Although, I do have a potential line on another houseboat, and this one is much better than the other one. Maybe there's light at the end of the tunnel for Johnny actually having a place of his own. A place where I can have guests, or not. Be alone, or not. Decorate in my own fashion, and be able to be at peace there. I've got a modicum of that sort of thing here, but it's just not the same. I'm looking to sink roots somewhere. I think that the Knoxville area is the best place to do that, as it has a certain "boomerang effect" for me. Ever since I arrived here (in 1986 or so) I've moved away several times, but I've always come back. The mountains call to me, and the people are just great. All I'd like to do is have something for myself. A justification. A place to be.

Is that an unreasonable goal? If it is, Fuck you. I'm gonna make it happen anyway.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:35 AM | Comments (4)

January 15, 2005

I gots a headache

It's no big deal though. Just a little hangover headache from my time spent at the bar last night. I'm sure that the nine hours of sleep had something to do with it as well. (When I sleep too long, I always wake up feeling worse than I did when I went to bed). I needed both the bar visit and the sleep though, so when the acetamenaphine kicks in I'm sure I'll be much better.

Let's see. What's been going on?

We got tall the wiring hung in the hoistway for the passenger car week before last, and we helped install the cab and hoistway doors onto the first freight elevator. No more injuries to report, so that's a good thing. Thursday before last I went to the doctor so they could check up on my finger. This was a little wierd as I was initially scheduled to get a check up that Monday, and then get my stitches out last Monday. Since my appointment fell right between the initial two dates, I wasn't sure what was going to happen. The long and short of the story is: I got my stitches out. Woohoo! They also gave me some fabric "splints" to hold my bad finger to another one so I would actually use it a little. (Keeps it from getting stiff don'tya know.) The best part of this deal is that I could tie my "ouchy" finger to my ring finger instead of my index finger. This was an awesome thing. (You never really understand how much you use your index finger until you can't.)

I was worried about pain becoming a problem, so when I was at the hospital on the day of the accident, I asked the doc about whether it would become a problem or not. She didn't know, so she gave me a prescription for Hydrocodone just in case. I'm proud to say that some WalGreen's brand Ibuprofin was enough, and I have yet to take any of the heavy-hitting stuff. I'm a little paranoid about what doctor's want to put into my body, so I just "cowboyed up" and kept trucking. I'm not sure if this means I'm just a tough MoFo, or I'm overly sceptical of the medical practice. I (of course) prefer the former explanation. (Big Bad Construction Worker and all that.)

Last week started on Saturday. Ford and I were kind of in the way at the first freight elevator, so we pulled off and went over to start on the second freight. All that was done on this one when we came back over to it was: the rails stacked, and a hole in the ground for the jack. We jumped right in. It took us a day to get the pit channels in, the buffer stands set, and the casing for the jack assembled.

Hold Up! Terminoligy time. "Pit channels" are two pieces of channel steel (think of a "U" with short sides and a long bottom) that stand on their sides parrallel to each other on the pit floor. They support the "buffer stands" and the tabs at the top of the jack, and distribute the weight across the pit floor. The "Buffer stands" are reinforced steel boxes that have big springs that go on top of them. In the event that the car travels below the bottom landing, the buffer stands will support the entire weight of the elevator, and keep it from going all the way to the pit floor. The springs act as shock absorbers in case the car comes down "hard". In smaller passenger elevators (say 3000lb capacity) there is only one spring atop each stand. The stands that we put in there hold six springs each. AKA: Big Freaking Elevator!

Since this one is a three-stop elevator, the travel is around 32 feet. In order for the jack to be shipped in handleable sized pieces, the factory sent it in two sections, so we had to put it together. We hung the bottom section of the jack casing down into the hole, and then put a "wood wrench" on it to hold it in place. (The wood wrench is two heavy timbers that have notches cut out of them that point toward each other. Two sections of threaded rod go through holes in the timbers, and nuts are placed on the outside of the timbers. Put this rig around the casing, and tighten up on the nuts until it will support the weight. The timbers are then set perpendicular to the pit channels, and set down on top of them.) Once the bottom section is hanging, we hang the top section from the hoist, and lower it atop the bottom. Both sections are threaded, so all you have to do is screw them together. Sounds easy. It's not. Simple? Yes. Easy? No. After we had the casing (or cylinder) put together, we loosened the wood wrench, and began lowering it the rest of the way down into the hole. The tabs were about 4 feet from the top of the pit channels when the rope broke. I wa holding onto on of the tabs to make sure that it went down into the hole in the proper position, but I had no trouble getting my hands off of it when the rope snapped. No autopsy, no foul. It even landed in the right position, so we just proceeded with putting together the two sections of the piston, in the same manner as we did the cylinder.

Saturday night, we got a visit at the hotel from Ford's wife, two of their daughters, and one granddaughter. Ford's wife had been having trouble with her car, so she went out and got a new (to her) one, and was just itching to bring it down and show it off. They stayed for a couple of hours, and we all had a nice visit. It was a welcome break from the standard monotony of sitiing in the room staring at the TV.

When Monday rolled around, we decided that we were both extremely tired, and that we really needed to do our laundry, so we knocked off at noon. When we got back to the hotel, Ford decided that he was going to take a nap, so he asked the girl who cleans the rooms if she had completed our's. She had, so we went on into the room. Now I hate to make any disparaging commentary about people I see around, but this cleaning girl was not attractive. Something on the order of 350 lbs on the hoof. Quite a big girl. When we sat down at the table in our room Ford said (out of a clear blue sky) "Damn! I should've given that girl ten bucks." I just looked over at him and said "What? You need someone to snuggle with during your nap?" His reply was something like "No! To do my laundry you Jackass!" WE do this sort of thing all the time. I like Ford.

When he took his nap, I decided to run on down to the Wal-Mart to get myself some clean clothes to wear to the laundromat. On the way there, I saw a sign that said "Library" with an arrow on it. After I got my purchases, I decided to slide on in there and see if they had internet access. They did. Yay! But they had a timer on it limiting me to one hour. Boo! I got to check my email, check my site, and check a few on the blogroll. As previously stated, I lost a post while on that machine, and just had to put up a quick something to let you all know I was still alive. Something I hated about those damn "LiBary" pc's was the fact that they all had their screen resolution set at 800 by 600. I normally run mine at the house at 1280 by 1024, so I had a bit of trouble navigating on it. Also, the scroll wheel on the mouse didn't work, so that was another irritant.

Why the hell didn't you go to the library sooner Johnny? Well Virginia, I'm glad you asked. The stupid liBary closes each night at 6 pm. I'm normally still on the damn jobsite at 6 pm, so why the hell would I go there there when I can't get in? Didn't think of that did you, you little whelp?

Speaking of blogging, my sister showed my boss a copy of the post that I did with the pitchers of my hurted widdle finger. She copied it all into a Word doc, so he couldn't get my sites' address, but she wanted to show him what I'd said about getting in a hurry. When he came down to talk us into working last weekend, all he wanted to talk to me about was my blog. It seems that he is extremely curious about what goes on here, and the curiosity is killing him. I haven't given him the URL to get here, and I don't plan to. I've been deliberately evasive about this site to him, but I think I should pull him aside sometime and tell him why I won't give him the address. I don't want to lose my job when he takes something out of context. It's just that simple.

One of the big things going on is the Bad Example Family Reunion that Tammi is putting together. I've talked to her about it, and have been non-committal, as I'm not sure where I stand on this job. I talked to the boss yesterday about it, and it looks like there's a chance I'll be able to attend. I may just pull the seats out of the old mini-van, and throw an air mattress and a sleeping bag in there, but I really don't care. I wanna come down and be a part of this thing. Opportunities like it just don't come along often enough. The guest list looks to be quite auspicious. I'm sure that adding my name to it won't hurt the "curve" too badly.

I've got a fish fry down at the Marina to go to this evening, and a few friends that I need to meet up with tomorrow, but in the meantime, I'll be catching up with what else has been going on out there in the 'sphere, and then doing some sitting and staring for awhile. Should be nice and relaxing. I'll see you all around.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:05 PM | Comments (9)

January 10, 2005

Stuck in Chattanooga

I'll be back sometime this weekend with the full story. I already typed in a half a page worth of stuff, and this stupid "LiBary" PC ate my post. I only have an hour on this thing, and I'm now down to three minutes. Arrrrgh!!!

Thanks for all your condolences about my friend, and your continued patience while I'm out of town. I'll "see" you all friday evening.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 03:04 PM | Comments (4)

January 02, 2005

Absent Friends

I just got off the phone with an old friend. Someone who I haven't spoken with for a few months (because I was stupid and didn't save her number in my phone, but alas, there it is.). Unfortunately, I am in the middle of taking a tremendous leak when the phone rings. I'm in no position to stop, so I just keep letting fly as I answer the phone. I admit that I'm "otherwise engaged" to the voice on the other end of the line, and (to her credit) she understands and allows me to finish my bidness, and get to her ASAP. After finishing my previous engagement, we went on to the meat of the conversation...

It was five (over six actually) years ago when I was a part of a wonderful group of people. A bunch of people that I worked with were sharing a five bedroom house, and I hung around there quite a bit. A bunch of software geeks, chilling out and partying on a regular basis. A lot of this crew came from Los Cruces New Mexico when the Company I worked for acquired the company that they worked for. They all moved out to Knoxville to join the team. Many nights of drunken revelry were spent with this crew.

A certain little Italian member of the group, five-foot-four if he was an inch, and always thought he was ten foot tall and bullett proof, was wooing another member of our clique. This guy drove a mini-van..a GMC..painted purple, and festooned with various-coloured graphics int eh shape of lightning bolts. Ther were only two seats available for people, as the rest of the area was taken up with speakers. Eight twelve-inch sub woofers. He competed in "Sound" competitions with this rig.

There was another time whenb I was looking to buy a new car. I asked my friend to loan me a couple thousand dollars, and he was willing, We went to the bank, and he pulled the cash out of his account and handed it to me. I had about fifteen hundred of my own in cash in my pocket and proceeded to the dealership. They refused to finance the last thousand that it would've taken to complete the transaction. After carrying around his cash for two days, I handed it back to him, and he never said another word about it.

She told me that he'd died in his bed on December 31, 2004.

God speed Philly. I never knew you well enough to enjoy the trust you had in me. Thirty four years old. Too young to be in the wind.

Here's to you Phil.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:22 PM | Comments (6)