Fall, 2012

All the signs of Fall are here.  The Vidalia onions are gone, the blueberries too.  It’s funny how you can watch the seasons move by checking the origin of the blueberries you’re eating.  First they’re all coming from south of here, then ours come in, then its New Jersey, Michigan and finally the Canadians let a few cross the border.  When the “blues” are gone, well that’s just sad. 

An upside, the apple crop is in…made the first apple pie of the season today.   Of course, The Princess’s birthday looms bringing the usual pressure on me to come up with something special for “The Princess who has everything.”  Suggestions would be appreciated.

And with Fall it’s cool again out in Gene’s garage, so working is much more pleasant.  Spent quite a few days out there in the last few weeks.  I did a lot of work hopefully plugging leaks coming out of various places on the Pony’s engine.  Then I put the steering box back together and installed it and the tool box/battery cover lid.  Here’s a little slide show.

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As Gene and  I struggled yesterday trying to figure out where a few of the remaining pieces go, I remarked that it was a lot like putting a puzzle together.  But our puzzle is all red and where those pieces go and how they’re adjusted will make a lot of difference in whether the Pony runs.

That’s an original decal on the deck.  The new body work is only “finger tight” right now, but I trust you see some progress here.  Gene’s wife, Lynn, was in the garage on Sunday.  She said, “Why is the deck so much smoother and prettier than the gas tank.”  I said, “Well that’s because since I did that gas tank I’ve learned how to use 1500 grit sandpaper and rubbing compound to bring out  a real “professional” finish…ok, semi-professional.

Just to finish up on the Pony, we’ll be doing another engine start soon.  We’ll be checking a couple of “crucials.”  Have I fixed the engine leaks…and have I got a functioning clutch and transmission?  Oh mannnnn, I’m scared!

Yeah, Fall.  The Phillies are now thinking about next year and the Eagles are showing signs of an early season meltdown.  The hummingbirds are fattening-up for the trip to Mexico.  And there seems to have been a change in players, so that now, although skirmishes continue, more than one of the little stinkers gets to ease up to the trough.  Next year may be a challenge.  Today we saw one of the bluebirds that lives “downstairs” sitting on the railing by the hummer feeder.  Both these breeds being very territorial, next spring when the bluebirds move back into their house things could get very interesting.  Stay tuned for the Spring Season with new episodes of “Upstairs Downstairs!”

Speaking of the animal kingdom, geeminee, we got a thing going on in NC, and all of it over Possums.  For twenty years, out in the little burg of Brasstown, NC they’ve been lowerin’ a possum in a plexiglass box on New Year’s Eve, just like they do up in NYC with the apple.  I don’t know about you, but droppin’ a wild-caught, live possum in a plexiglass box sounds way more fun and exciting than dropping an apple.  Others seem to agree, so that each year thousands are drawn to this small mountain town.  There’s a beauty pageant, a Possum Queen, fireworks, and, of course, the possum drop.

NOTE TO PRINCESS: 
Want to move up from Princess to Queen”?

Enter PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, oh brother!  They’re suing to get the possum drop stopped.  In a nutshell, PETA believes that since possums are very shy, the little fella is being traumatized while he’s in the box, and that this could lead to nasty consequences once he is returned to the woods…might even need weekly trips to the possum “shrink.”  The News and Observer that reported the story here locally quotes a PETA representative, “To us, it’s clear that the possum suffers.”  When this thing goes to court, the Brasstown folks need to argue strongly that they’re doing the little bugger a favor.  By keeping him in the box for a few hours, they’ve kept him off the local roads, where he would most assuredly be flattened into a little possum cake, or worse yet be “winged,” and wander off into a ditch to die a slow, agonizing death.  I’m pretty sure that any “thinking” possum would choose the box over the road.  I’ll keep you posted as the litigation proceeds.

Finally, an update on the Ozone Experiment.  I’ve had my “training” and am scheduled to go into the “chamber” for the first time next week.  Wow, steel walls, floor and ceiling, an air-lock and a big glass window covering the length of one wall where people sitting at a control panel monitor the victim, umm “study participant.”  It made me a little uneasy when it was explained that the chamber was actually intended to be a meat locker.  I said, “You’re joking, right?”  But no, there’s the logo, “Zero King,” up on the wall.

By the way, I don’t think I mentioned that money changes hands as this moves along.  Each time I visit, they hand me a check.  I’ve decided to run an Ozone-Meter alongside the Pony’s Cost-O-Meter and see if we can get O-Z-M to cancel out the C-O-M.  After the first two visits, the O-Z-M reads:  $150.  Got a way to go I know, but be patient.

Fall, it used to always make me think about going back to school.  When I was two years out of college, sitting at a desk and stuck in a low-level insurance underwriting job, the thought of quitting and going back to school sounded sooo good.  Then another guy in the office actually did it.  It was kind of funny actually; he said nothing and gave no hint, he just didn’t show-up one day.  When they went through his desk though, they found he’d left a rather cryptic poem of explanation.  I left soon after him to get my MBA degree (no poem), and even decades later, that step always made me think…is the this the Fall I should chuck it all and go back for a PhD?  It’s wonderful how retirement has cured me of those longings, so that now I watch the students over in Chapel Hill and think, glad I’m not one of them!  Thanks for reading.

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