Dad at the drag races

My pops went to the track recently with his Mustang. Mostly stock except for a cold air intake and twin turbos. The big secret is that it’s running a custom tune (software) that he and his new business partner crafted.

They won every race that day.

Secret Santa Name Picker

Our family decided a few years ago to only do single gifts for the adults members of the family. We usually selected names whenever the largest group of us got together and, if someone was not present, would select for them and pass along their selection later.

This generally worked, but when we added the conditions that you wouldn’t select your spouse or significant other (what a dumb term) or that you wouldn’t have the same name two years running, things got a bit complicated.

I think I was the person most guilty of screwing this up.

This year there haven’t been any opportunities to get together and get this sorted out so I decided to come up with a solution. I wanted to write a small program to do the selection, exclusion, and emailing but I really don’t have the time right now. I stumbled on web-based solution that is free, no need to register, and has all the functionality we require.

I’m certain that use of the service entails some advertising related emails to follow, but that was a necessary evil at this point. If you find yourself in need of a Secret Santa Name Chooser give it a try.

Placing our first vending machine

Jennifer and I put our first vending machine into the wild this past Sunday. I say first, not as an indicator of future plans, but as a way of indicating it was brand new to us.

I bought the machine used for a pretty decent price, $200 if I remember correctly. It has around 20-24 vending heads that serve candy, chips, gum, etc. It cost about $100 to fill the first time. We put a fairly wide assortment of items inside, mainly to gauge interest, but also just to have things you wouldn’t typically find.

My brother was able to score the location from his apartment management gig and it seems like a pretty decent spot so far. It’s in one of the laundry facilities in the apartment complex. It has 2 coin-op washers, 2 coin-op dryers, and soda vending machine. The soda machine is owned by the local bottler and we’ve considered attempting to displace it if the candy machine gets any traffic.

I felt a little bit guilty placing the machine in such a situation. It felt sort of like I was preying on folks who have poor impulse control or planning ability. I completely understand having vending in an environment like a cafeteria or workplace where it serves as a useful option, but it seems different when I am practically placing it in their homes.

Those predatory feelings have all but evaporated now. There were two people that came up to us in the short time we were installing it and expressed enthusiasm for having it there. Give people what they want, I suppose.

The final nail in the pity party came the next day, when Kristopher said that it looked like someone had been shaking the piss outta the machine to dislodge product. Someone will always be seeking the upper hand in any arrangement, it might as well be me.

Apparently, vending is an adversarial relationship.

Solve problems by waving

I drive a big yellow truck. BIG, yellow truck. Technically it’s a Grumman-Olson body on a GMC P-30 chassis. Think like a bread truck or FedEx just a tad shorter in length.

I was driving down a 4+1 lane road headed into Lakewood yesterday. I was in the right lane and had just crossed a set of railroad tracks when I see a blue Civic sedan start to drift into my lane.

The rear tire of the Civic was even with or behind my front tire, so this person was definitely not in front of me at all. Apparently they didn’t have or use their turn signal, and I had an inoperative horn (I’ll fix it soon, promise). There are cars behind me so I can’t jam the brakes but I do slow down.

Right about the moment I begin to slow down they make their move to get into my lane with a quickness. I swerve out of the way and have my right side in the grass on the verge, throwing dirt and clods of grass in my wake.

Lane change complete, she finally looks in the mirror and sees me, back on the road, hands held out at shoulder-level as if to say, “What in the hell is your damn-fool problem that my 9 foot tall, 16 foot long, YELLOW truck was invisible to you?”

She holds up her hand by the rearview mirror, fingers splayed, wrist slightly twisted, in what is an apparent display of the female driver’s version of the phrase, “My bad.”

She keeps it up there like a beauty queen for the next quarter of a mile or so. It moves around occasionally as if with every change of aspect it’s indicating how “very, very” her apology is.

Stop waving, goofball, drive the damn car and, this is key, pay attention to the road! If you’re really that sorry call the ladies at Hi-Teck Nail and get Jen a gift certificate.

Momma needs a pedicure.

Diamond Plate is a man’s best friend

Well not really, but it does have a nice ring to it. To the point, the doors on the newly-built shop have lacked thresholds for about 4 months now. This has not been a major issue since the weather has been very mild.

Starting just a day or two ago, however, the clouds have been notified that it is officially Fall and they have been dumping rain in teasing on and off again torrents.

This is not good for hardwood floors. Even thought the rolling doors have a large rubber gasket to seal the sill there was still potential for problems. Yesterday I installed some tread plate that I cut to fit around the doorway. I think it looks pretty nice and it is certainly functional.

I just realized I was talking a good game about it but hadn’t taken any pictures yet. I’ll be sure to get some up this afternoon.