captpackrat: (Camera)

Doesn't seem to be bobbing along.


That's a wheel from a car, embedded in a tree.


The donkey likes to go walkies with me.


My Little Orgy
captpackrat: (MLP Lazor)

Simply unique, indeed.



It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  At least at Costco.



You're hired!  You're fired!



U-turn fail.  It might not be immediately obvious, but the front of the trailer is sitting on the roadway.



Pony pulls the wagon or it gets the hose again!

I had to explain to my roommate why it was absurd that a pegasus pony would be pulling a wagon.  I've succumbed to the brony side.
captpackrat: (Camera)
We've been in need of a proper animal trailer for a while.  I was amazed just how hard is can be to find one.  We were initially looking at horse trailers, but the reasonably priced models were too small for our alternate purpose, hauling our enormous zero-turn mower.  They also had features we had no use for, like a tack room.  We finally settled on a Titan Challenger stock trailer.  Brand new, it was $5500.
 

I spent most of today building a ramp for the trailer.  We had a pair of metal ramps to load vehicles into the truck, but they're not really suitable for animals.  I took a couple sheets of 3/4" plywood and hinged them together to make a solid folding ramp that sits on top of the metal ramps.  It should be able to support a full-size horse.  I still need to attach some handles to make the ramp easier to carry.

No pictures of the ramp, because I forgot.


There was a grasshopper sitting on the fender of the trailer, so I snapped a closeup photo.  Clicky to zoom in.



When I opened the garage door the other day, I found this group of harvestmen.  I think they're plotting against me.
captpackrat: (Camera)
Assorted pics I either forgot to upload or uploaded to Twitpic but not here.



The antenna I put up for my SO.  I wish I'd done more research; while this antenna works well, it's really overkill.  Separate VHF and UHF antennas would have worked better.



Saw this car with a tiger tail at the Omaha Costco.


   
Taking the Plattsmouth Bridge across the Missouri River.  These photos were taken back in October when I drove to Iowa to inquire about a marriage license.


      
After visiting the Mills County Courthouse, I stopped at the nearby Mile Hill Lake at the foot of the Loess Hills.  I walked around the lake, across the dam and up into the hills.  I used to go on these kinds of hikes all the time, but it's been a while and I'm a bit out of shape.



Christmas 2009, I bought stockings for my SO and my roommate.  Not just any kind, but stockings that were appropriate to their "furry preferences".  But I had a very hard time finding anything appropriate for me.  I finally found this stocking with rabbits that was perfect.



Birds are made from bird seed!



Have you given your dog a wet nose today?



Engrish is my favorite language.



One of my relatives!  It's a cute little kids book about packrats.



A Folkmanis Pack Rat puppet.


 
I've not had much luck getting pictures of the birds.  Every time I try to step outside to get a shot, the more colorful birds fly away.
captpackrat: (Homer Do Not Ride The Bomb)
Last time I used my roommate's pickup, I noticed there was a squeaking noise coming from the engine.  The same kind of squeaking noise my car made when it needed a new serpentine belt.  So my roommate made an appointment for me to take his car to the dealer for service today.  (It also needed some repairs to the passenger seat belt.)

I start up the engine this morning and it starts making a horrendous racket.  I quickly backed up a couple feet so I could get to the hood and killed the motor.  I was hoping maybe it was some ice on the fan blades, but I quickly spotted the problem: the serpentine belt had shredded itself!

While my roommate called AAA, I cut the remnants of the belt off the pulleys, backed the car out and parked it in the driveway where it could be easily picked up. Without the belt, the truck can be driven a short distance, but without the alternator and cooling fan, you won't get very far, and without the power steering pump, it requires a lot of muscle.

After an hour or so, a flatbed tow truck showed up, then promptly got stuck in a snowbank trying to turn around.  They had to tie off to a tree and winch themselves out.  Not a very auspicious start.

They got the truck loaded without incident, but I had to ride in the middle of a very crowded tow truck cab to get a ride to the dealer.

I get there and they tell me they'll have to order a new belt and give me a laundry list of other problems.  I thought they meant they would be keeping the truck for a a day or two so I asked if they had a loaner car.  They gave me a Toyota Matrix.

This car was obviously designed for little tiny Japanese people, because I managed to smash my knee into a molded plastic piece on the door every single time I got in the car.  They couldn't have positioned it any better for maximum injury if they'd had my measurements.

I finished with my shopping (Smack!  OW!  Dammit!) and I'm about halfway home when I get a phone call.  They're done with the truck and it's ready for my to come get it.  Uh, what?  It turned out they were just going to do all the other work, return the truck, then make another appointment when the parts came in.  $1200 later I'm back on my way home.

About the only good thing to happen today is I managed to get stunnel working on my Ubuntu netbook.  It's easy as pie to configure under Windows but it's a royal pain in the ass setting it up under Linux.
captpackrat: (Ratmobile)


Only took about 16 years....
captpackrat: (Ratmobile)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

I once did 123 MPH (198 KPH) on I-15 in my Caprice (speed verified by GPS).  And I didn't even reach the top end, I could have gone faster.  (I was in a fairly remote area, 8 lanes wide with a large median and good shoulders, very little traffic and a good line of sight, so it wasn't totally reckless.)

I'd like to find out just how fast my car could go, but I don't think I'll be trying it on the freeway again.  I'd like to go to Muroc or Bonneville or someplace long and flat and just put the pedal to the metal.
captpackrat: (Ratmobile)
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I drive the Ratmobile. (Technically, it's the Ratmobile Mk. II as I also called my previous car the Ratmobile.)
captpackrat: (Camera)

Goatmobile!  Clicky for full size goats.

Gotta love living in a rural area.  Someone joked to the driver of the pickup, "I see you don't let your girlfriends ride up front."


 
Cadbury Clucking Bunny plushie I picked up before Easter.  When you squeeze her paw, she clucks like the bunny in the Cadbury cream egg commercials.



This bug got stuck in the twists of a compact florescent light bulb and dessicated.  It was extremely brittle when I removed it, as evidenced by the broken leg.  I think it's some sort of crane fly.



The tire that blew out on my SO's car.  You can see the spot where it blew out at about 8 o'clock on the tire.
captpackrat: (Dead)
When I moved out here from California, I packed all my stuff into a PODS container.  My intention was to have the thing shipped out whenever I'd settled down.  Well, various events kept occurring every time I thought about the container and it ended up sitting in a warehouse in California for nearly 4 years.  I finally got around to doing something about it.   I don't have enough room for all my stuff here, so I rented a storage room in town.  It's a fraction of the cost of the PODS container and I'll have easy access to my things.

The container arrived Monday and my SO and I spent most of the day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday moving stuff into the storage room or back to the house.  It's rather interesting going through all the boxes; it's kind of like a treasure hunt, except I'm finding stuff I that's already mine.

Monday evening my roommate handed me a credit card bill that he'd picked up from the mailbox and forgotten to give me...  3 weeks ago....  I was a week late on paying the bill so I got hit with a $39 late fee.  Ouch.  I paid the bill, then I did a double take.  I don't use that particular card very often and the bill was for over $600.  I looked through it and discovered a charge of $500 from Paypal.  I checked my account online and discovered another charge from Paypal for $350.  I immediately called the bank and spoke to their fraud department.  As I was on the line, they told me that another charge had just come in from Paypal for $500.  They canceled my card and will be sending me a new one.  I also called Paypal and got the run around from their phone system.  It won't let you go directly to the operator, you have to enter your account number.  They don't seem to understand that not everybody has a Paypal account.  The first operator I talked to hung up on my after I wouldn't give an account number; the second operator I just demanded to speak to the fraud department.  I also got a copy of my credit report and set up a fraud alert.

Tuesday I went to the sheriff's office and filed a police report, though it's unlikely anything will come of it.  But with a case number, I can now apply for a 7 year fraud alert on my credit report.

Thursday was spent trying to organize things.  I brought too much stuff to the house so some of it will have to go back to the storage room, at least until I can get things moved around and get some shelves put up.

Today we went grocery shopping and about a mile away from returning home, my SO's car had a blowout.  At least the weather was decent, not too hot, not too cold, and the ground was dry, and it was on a rural road that's very rarely traveled.  Still kinda sucks to change a tire on a dirt road, though.  Just a mile or so further and I could have gotten my car, returned to the storage room and gotten my professional 3-ton car jack and hoisted the car with just a few pumps instead of relying on the flimsy and slow emergency jack.  Fortunately it turned out the tire that blew out was actually the full-service spare; the tire that was supposed to be mounted was in the trunk.  They'd apparently been switched back in December when one of the tires went flat and was taken in for repair.  I guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow.
captpackrat: (Scuzz the Rat)
Last week my roommate's car broke down.  It turned out a mouse had chewed through the air filter and damaged the Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor.  It cost about $300 to have repaired.

Today, on a hunch, he checked under the hood before heading out.  Sure enough, something had chewed half-way through the air filter.  He didn't have a spare, so we decided to use his truck to do the shopping instead.

We opened the hood of the truck, only to discover a decapitated mouse head on one side of the engine compartment.  We then found a tail on the other side.  And there was fur and goo smeared all over the inside of the fan housing.  Someone picked a bad place to make a nest.  Yikes!

We went out and bought a replacement filter and some metal screen material.  When we got home, we discovered the hole in the air filter went all the way through now.  The mouse had chewed the rest of the way through the filter in the few hours that we were gone.  Which meant the mouse was probably still in the long, intricately curved intake hose.

My roommate cut the metal mesh to fit into the air box, while I got some paper towels, soaked them with balsam fir and peppermint oils and stuffed them into the air box.  Hopefully the mesh will keep the mouse out of the engine while the scent of the fir and peppermint should drive the mouse out of the air intake.

I've been treating the inside of my car with balsam fir and peppermint and the mice seem to have stayed away this winter.  The stuff's a bit expensive (about $15 for each bottle), but that's a lot cheaper than the $100+ to have someone clean out the air vents.
captpackrat: (Ratmobile)
Yup, the fuel pump was kaput.  $130 for the part, and about $400 for the labor.  Feh.  I also had them replace the fuel filter while they were working on it, for another $50.  Total with taxes and "environmental fees", $640.

And this is just going to cost me more in the future, because whenever the tank gets anywhere near low I'll probably freak out and buy gas at the nearest station, paying whatever exorbitant rates they're charging, rather than waiting until I get someplace cheaper.
captpackrat: (Traffic)
Roommate had guests last weekend so I went into town today to do the shopping.  My gas gauge was reading extremely low, but the idiot light had not come on yet.  Last time I ran low on gas, I still had 1-1/2 gallons when the light came on.  In addition, the trip meter, which I always reset every time I buy gas, was reading 350 miles and I can normally get about 450 miles on a single tank.  So I went ahead and passed gas station after gas station, thinking I was fine.  Wrong!

I was about 2-1/2 miles from the Costco station when the engine started sputtering, then died.  I managed to dead-stick into the Boys Town post office parking lot.  A 4500 pound Caprice with extra-wide performance tires and no power steering is an absolute BITCH to drive. 

I called AAA and had them bring me some gas (a free service for AAA Plus members).  They poured the gas in, but my car wouldn't start.  It would crank and crank and crank, but wouldn't catch.  The tow truck driver stuck his head under the car and said he could not hear the gas pump, so I guess it burned out when I ran out of gas.  Feh.  I got a tow to the nearest Chevy dealer and called my SO to come pick me up.

I won't know for sure what the problem is until tomorrow.  Hopefully the pump just needs priming or there's a clogged fuel filter, something cheap and easy to fix.
captpackrat: (Camera)

Weird error I got last night just before my computer froze up.


Red Bull gives you wheels?


It's a Subaru WRX GTR STI!


I find it amusing that these two business are located near each other.



Look boss, da train! Da train!



I got to drive on an original piece of the Lincoln Highway today. It's so incredibly narrow, smaller than the side streets in most towns. In fact, to make it usable to today's vehicles, they've had to add a narrow concrete strip along the edges to widen it an additional foot or so. Even with that, it's barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other. It's also paved with brick; it was a jarring ride in my Caprice, I can only imagine what it would have been like in a rickety old Model T. There were no other cars on the road, and it's in a pretty isolated area, so you could get a bit of a feel for what this must have been like nearly 100 years ago.

If you're in Omaha, you can find this stretch of ancient highway by exiting W. Dodge (US-6) at 180th and head north about 3/4 mile.

Beep!

Jul. 28th, 2008 12:53 am
captpackrat: (Traffic)
captpackrat: (Camera)

Mario likes groping bunnies.



Redneck trunk repair
captpackrat: (Default)
Usually, when you get your car's oil changed, they put a sticker in the corner of the windshield telling you when your next oil change is due.  This guy wasn't quite clear on the concept:



Gummy cubs!
captpackrat: (Ratmobile)
Apparently gas siphoning is becoming a real problem, especially in California where premium gas has already passed $4 a gallon and regular is getting close.  My grandfather always bought a locking gas cap for his cars, and I've always made sure my cars have them too.  It's about $15-45 for a locking cap; a full tank of gas for my car costs about $100.

From the April 22, 2008 issue of the San Jose Mercury News:

At Second Harvest Food Bank, thieves siphoned about 200 gallons of gas, about $800 worth, from three of the non-profit's delivery trucks, said Lynn Crocker, director of marketing and communications.

To safeguard against future thefts, food bank officials purchased industrial-sized locking gas caps for its fleet of about 20 deliver trucks, at a cost of about $1,500, Crocker said.

"It cost us quite a bit of money," Crocker said.  "For every dollar, we can distribute two meals.  It's like 4,000 meals."
captpackrat: (Camera)

Sleepy snout!



Closeup of a ladybug



No Truck Parking



Pretz & Pocky!
captpackrat: (Ratmobile)
Sitting in the parking lot of a Baker's supermarket (Deerfield Plaza to be exact) in Omaha, Nebraska, a Saleen with Hawaii license plates.  That must have been one hell of a commute.


(plate edited)

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