. . . . . . . The Daily Blarf

Monday, December 29, 2003

if this jeep stuff ain't your bag, remember, there's other stuff at the bottom, and i will be posting more new stuff soon. don't despair! i aim to please all.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

no, this isn't me. it's my car, tho. and yes, you're right--it DOES say "slut on board" on the back window of that chevy.

okay, to satisfy my 2.5 daily readers, i must blog something. the bit i intended to publish is in rough form (also known as "crap",) so i will settle for posting some older material that i forgot i even wrote. mark dug this up last week on an archive file for a jeep scrambler website we were gonna do back in like '98 or so. it's actually not too bad. enjoy:

The Search!

Back during the summer of ’97, I was in the market for my first automobile. I wanted something unique, something eye-catching, something I could drop the top on in the summer, something to handle the roads in the winter. I wanted a truck to do hauling, towing, off-roading, and of course, cruising. I’d always been interested in Jeeps, even since I was a kid, so a Jeep was the logical choice. But which one? A Cherokee? No, no convertible top, although I love the old Cherokee styling. A Wrangler? No, too common, too small (although fuel injection would have been nice!) That only left one choice—a Scrambler! Of course!
Deciding on the Scrambler was the easy part. Finding one was the hard part. My friend Mark (insert shameless Interadtive link here) and I scoured the classifieds and the internet for CJ-8’s. The Scramblers we located were too crappy (rotted & abused), or too good ($10,000 blown show Scrams w/nitrous), or way too far away. Finally, near the end of the summer, when we had to start thinking about college again, we received a reply to one of our internet ads that fit the bill perfectly—an ’83 Scrambler with the 258, 4-speed, plow, 31” tires, little rust, and even the original oak bed rails. The best part of the Jeep was it had only 41,000 miles! A steal at $3,000. Groovy, baby!! It was a must-have.

the jeep in queens

The Purchase!

My good old dad understood my obscene desire for a vehicle, and although he wasn’t huge on me buying a goddamn Scrambler of all things, he okayed the purchase. The Jeep was located down in New York City, a good 7 hours from our hometown of Lafargeville, NY. So in late August, dad and I cruised on down to NYC in the family minivan with a certified check and a fat toolbox. Along with the directions and some pictures of the Jeep, the owners sent us some of the “not-so-groovy, baby” details (which I’ll explain later.) the closing line to one of their e-mails stated, “You’re coming a long way for a vehicle; I hope you know what you’re doing.” Of course we did!
I had written up a checklist of stuff to check over on the Jeep before the purchase, which promptly went out the window when dad said we were buying the thing whether it was a piece of shit or not; we weren’t driving all this way for nothing (not his words.) Besides, there aren’t many Scramblers around to choose from anyway. And I must admit, I had only driven a Jeep once in my life (my cousin Doug’s Wrangler down in Gainsville, Florida), and that was sure as hell not a CJ. I’d only seen a Scrambler in the flesh once that I could remember, so this was just some kind of ballsy-nuts. What the hell was I doing?!?
When we neared the owner’s house, I spotted the Jeep and was in (dubious) love at first sight. I took a test drive down their suburban street in Queens with the owner’s son and I promptly blew through a stop sign and almost got T-boned. Oops. It didn’t help that it had manual brakes, either. The only manual brakes I’d ever used were on John Deeres back on the family farm, and they don’t count. Neither the son or the other motorist seemed to mind too much; I guess they are kinda used to this crap down here in the city. I was enthralled by the Jeep and at the same time I was crapping my pants. I loved it at first sight but it did have more than it’s share of nuances and gremlins. Dad took it for a spin, too, and although he was still not convinced this was the best vehicle for me, he gave me his blessing. Shagadellic!
We stayed overnight at a sleazy Queens motel (“sleazy” is redundant for most Queens motels), did the DMV thing in the morning, and gave the Jeep a once-over for the trip home. We also wrestled the plow & assorted Jeep parts into the “bed” (calling it a “bed” is questionable.) Time was of the essence; we had to be home by nightfall (because of a pesky dead headlights problem.) Dad drove it out of town, not me. He’s used to finicky machinery (we’ve got a farm) and if the Scrambler puked it’s tranny on the Tappanzee Bridge or something, it would be his problem, not mine. We switched rides somewhere in New Jersey. I was in love with the Jeep already but I was pretty nerve-wracked over the purchase. Of course, the fam checked it out when we got home. This is when reality started to hit…

after my first accident--i blame it on the brakes

Reality Hits!

Initially, there were some obvious problems, mostly minor--such as the skanky interior, the hole around the shifter where the shifter boot used to be (it was off because the shifter had a nasty tendency to pop out of the tranny), the multi-layered pile of decomposing, metal-eating leaves in the back, in-op headlights (something was screwy cuz of the plow lights), broken aluminum plow pump bracket, mismatched tires, assorted dead gauges and interior functions, several engine leaks, a sick old battery, etc. etc. (Just like a typical CJ, huh??) And forget about hauling shit in the back; the bed is an overrated tin box. There was also busted glass inside from a radio theft down in NYC (oh yeah, no radio, either.) The first sickening discovery was made by one of my brothers—it wouldn’t move when shifted into 4H…giving me a queasy, expensive feeling in the pit of my stomach…
Mark came over to see it, too. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him say it was better than he expected. I took that as a complement, which made me feel a bit better (although he was looking at it in the dark.)

Initial Projects!

The first project was to fix the headlights, which lead to the removal of the plow mount. (The previous owners bought the Jeep from a NYC university, which used it as a plow truck—another not-so-nice thing; plowing is rough on the frame & drivetrain.) We had no need for another plow, and it didn’t need any more abuse. The mechanical troubles weren’t as serious as I feared. It also cleaned up quite nicely. It wasn’t a half-bad looking Jeep!
Mark and I spent an afternoon and a lot of my money installing a sound system. It’s relatively low-buck: two 45W Infinity 4 ¼” front speakers, two Optimus truck boxes with 10” woofers & 2 ½” tweeters, a 150-watt Optimus amp, and a 35Wx4 JVC CD player/receiver. It sounds great; it’s good enough for who it’s for.

Summer ’97 Adventures!

By the time we got the Jeep, the summer was nearly over, but I did have some time for some fun stuff. I took it off-road on the farm a little and drove it all over the North Country. One of our first on-road adventures in the Jeep with the hardtop off was the evening of a huge rainstorm in Alexandria Bay, NY. Mark & I got soaked. But hey, we got attention from girls. Yes, I definitely needed a new top. But overall, the Jeep was a blast.

loaded up for college...place bets on how long those bags stayed up on top

First Winter!

My first winter with the Jeep was memorable and educational. Anyone who owns a CJ can sympathize with my plight of fixing one Jeep crisis after another. There’s always something going wrong, or something that broke a long time ago that never got fixed correctly, if at all. And of course, there’s always the urge to modify. And I just gotta say that all the dipshits that have told me this thing would be awesome in the winter can just bite my ass. I knew they would be wrong. A tiny 3,400 lb. truck with balding, shitty 31” Armstrong Desert Dog tires, manual brakes, and a high center of gravity just ain’t gonna perform in a New York winter. Especially without 350 lbs. of tube sand in the back, which is exactly what I put there. My God, it was awful. It was only good for doing donuts in the parking lots at school. And being a college student doesn’t lend itself to pouring money into a 15 year-old Jeep. It was also pretty drafty & cold. But I expected nearly all the problems I experienced, so it wasn’t too bad.

The Refinish!

Luckily, I had access to 6 fully-functional automotive labs and free labor. I was majoring in Automotive Technology at the State University of New York at Morrisville. (link) The Jeep was a guinea pig for many lab periods. And the best part of all was auto body lab—the perfect opportunity to do a complete refinish!
Yes, this is a shameless plug for SUNY Morrisville, a two-year state Ag & Tech college, located in central New York. I started my second year there after the summer I bought the Jeep. My first big auto body project was building a car to use as “Greased Lightning” in a campus production of “Grease” (which I also had a role in—Kenickie.) I’d been bugging my auto body professor, Mr. Roger Powers, about doing a refinish on the Jeep as my next project. He finally let me do it, with the help of my fellow Auto Body II classmates. Note I call it a “refinish”, not “repainting”, because people always underestimate the amount of work that goes into a job like this. There’s more to it than spraying paint. I knew it would be a huge undertaking, but not quite as huge as it got!
I initially wanted to change the color from the blazo slate blue to a nice medium metallic green, but at the last minute I decided on Intense Blue Pearl Coat when I saw the color on the ’98 Dodge Durangos. I love this color and everyone else seems to as well (and our supplier was NAPA/Martin Senour.)

being stripped, getto style

First, we spent a lab period dismembering the Jeep like a swarm of bees. It was transformed from a running, not-so-bad vehicle at 3:00pm to a pile of inoperative metal shit by 6. To add to the stress of tearing it apart, it had to be back together again very goddamn quick because we were rapidly approaching graduation. The project was turning into a government job pretty quickly—swelling costs, cutting corners, it was way overdue, and I kept telling lies to everyone about how well it was going.

note the diaper for errant jeep juices

it's me! painting! yaay!

We stripped the Scrambler to the bare body tub, repaired/prepped, and sandblasted anything & everything. We discovered lots of hidden rust, including a big, rotting hole around the driver’s side seat belt mount. Eek. I used NAPA “Extend” (rust converter) on the bed; it was pretty rough & rusty, as well as having a coat of ancient black spray paint all over it.

The Crew!

Mr. Powers...on graduation day, no less. thus, the suit.

I’ve got to give Mr. Powers a million thanks—he put up with a ton of crap, a million oil & fluid leaks on the clean body shop floor (it got so bad he made me put a diaper of plastic sheet on the underside) and he let me do a lot of stuff he didn’t have to let me do, like stay after hours to get it done and break some of the rules. I assume he let me do this so he wouldn’t be stuck with Jeep parts littering the body lab until July. I’ve also got to mention my body lab buddies/classmates: Rob “outhouse” Althouse, Dave Russell (who was equipped with a cast-iron beer stomach,) Mike “wetballs” Westfall (G-Body freak), Josh “three on the tree” Grant, Ben “I wish I was cool” English, Brian “I am cool” Scanlon, Rich Howard, Kenny Whats-his-name, and that other guy, who’s name I can’t remember, but he wasn’t there half the time anyway. I’m sure they all wanted to set the Jeep on fire at one point or another, but they stuck with me. Probably so they could get it out of the lab and never see it again as soon as possible. Nah, I’m just joking. It was all fun, wasn’t it, guys? …guys…!?

the finished product! success! that is one blue son of a bitch

for those of you who just can't get enough of the scrambler stuff, scroll thru my archives for more. read about the engine rebuild and cool stuff like that.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

now i'm thinking Sonic is a he, although i'm not really interested in lifting his leg to be sure.

Friday, December 19, 2003

first an aquarium, and now a cat.

this random orange cat showed up at work tonight. me, being the animal nut, stopped what i was doing and checked the situation out. i could see from 50 paces that it was skin and bones, and she (?) was headed right into the car wash. not a good place for a cat, as you can imagine. i can't think of a worse place for a cat to be in--soap, water, wind, lots of cars to run you over... so i followed it in and snatched it out of the jaws of cat hell and put it in our office. good thing i was the only manager on tonight, or i would have no doubt heard, "get this f*cking cat out of here" a million times. it seemed nice enough, but was filthy, scrawny and wasn't interested in my hot dog from the convenience store. (apparently she'd gotten her fill on free beef jerky from the car wash guys.)

so anyway, this cat needed a home. i brought it to my place after a stop at the store for kat food and a litter box kit. (this cat better be good cuz i've now invested $5.66 on its scrawny butt.) it has clearly been indoors before cuz it walked into my place like she owned it. i felt bad cuz she ran around like she was looking for long lost friends. sorry bastard. i was hoping against hope that it would know what to do with the box, and i'll be damned if she didn't hop in there and stink it up just as i'd hoped. YAY! and stink it up she did; frigging stunk up my whole damn place. there's not enough frebreeze in the world to stop that smell. how do people deal with cat boxes??? kats should crap outdoors like dogs, thats all there is to it.

and now it has a name--Sonic. named after the place i work. (no, not the sonic fast food place.) and at the moment, Sonic is bellied up to the water dish, like a drunk with a beer. and now i've found someone that can stink up a bathroom worse than me. without question.

so now what do i do? contrary to what Sonic thinks so far, she ain't stayin' here. i think i'll take it home to the farm. mom and dad already have 2 cats just like this one and whats one more? right mom? MOM? (she's reading this right now.) i swear it's a nice cat. you'll love it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

my first closeup. i have been exposed. (don't be fooled; i can't play that thing.)

Time has been flying fast lately. weeks have been flying by like days. i've turned 26--i'm getting ever closer to 30. gettin' old.

ever had one of those dreams where you don't remember things you're supposed to? i lived one this evening when i went down to the laundry room and couldn't remember my storage locker combo. the same number i've used a million times for over a year--but there's been so much going on in my life lately that even the little things have been forgotten. it freaks you out a bit. i like to think of it as an einstein-style trait. i just hope i don't forget where the hell i live...come to think of it, i had to think for a second to come up with my address a couple days ago at the bank! i'm loosing my freaking mind!

one of the things going on that's kept me busy is my birthday present to myself--a fishy tank. we had one when i was a kid, so i figured we'd have almost all the stuff i needed, and for the most part, all i would need was some new fish. wrong! i've dropped a monetery humungo-turd on this thing (filter, new air pump, gravel, plants, hood w/light, hoses, decorations, water treatment stuff, etc., and of course, "Aquariums for Dipshits") and i still don't have any damn fish. but i must admit, it's a pretty swank tank if i say so myself. just needs some fishies. with a little luck, i will have the aquarium long enough to get the little bastards--as luck would have it, my heat conked out and the apartment people had to come into my pad and fix it while i was gone. and of course, this tank was sitting there, bubbling away in all it's freakin' aquatic glory, thumbing it's nose at the clause in the contract that says, "no goddamn animals in the aforementioned dwelling or we acquire your security deposit, including the measly interest the you have accrued" (which totals like 2 dollars and seventy-one cents.) but the guy who probably came up here to fix it, well, i gave him a free wax upgrade when he came into my shop, so while in my apartment, he must have conveniently overlooked the huge, fragile glass tank holding over 200 pounds of water, rocks, gravel, and more water. nothing was said--at least not yet. gotta keep it that way. crossing my fins. ha ha. (yeah, i'm a dork.)

Friday, December 12, 2003



another miserable, suck-butt paycheck.

actually, i'm quite proud of the fact that i've been living so frugally lately. for instance, i've discovered that if i buy groceries one a week or once a month, i still have the same amount of food in the fridge. i'm taking it further now by not buying anything at all to see if the loaves and fishes thing kicks in. heck, i can get a bottle of ketchup to last a couple years. or dad's homemade pickles--i've got three jars of those and eat one every day but they'll be there a long, long, long time.

pickles and ketchup. what more could a guy need?

how about an aquarium? i think i'm gonna give myself a christmas present early and get me one. i need some company in this apartment. a nice little fishy or two would be cool. i could pet them. make faces at them. watch tv with them. talk to them as they listlessly swim around a fake plant and a treasure chest. what fun! heck, i wouldn't even need to leave the apartment for a social life! no, wait...i don't do that now. ugh.

maybe i should just bring in the a peanut eating, bar hopping goat. that would be interesting.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

and here i am, blarfing at home, on rickety old phone lines with 24kbps, instead of roadrunner highspeed. good as it gets here on the farm.

i woke up this morning to the sound of tom petty singing christmas carols. don't get me wrong, i love tom petty, but tom petty + christmas = poop. his label MUST have put him up to this. i don’t remember the lyrics, but if tom petty were to write a christmas song, it would have to be something like, “all i want for christmas is a pack of smokes” or “my christmas tree is made of pot (so let’s set it on fire)". good god, a tom petty christmas. someone please save us.

it’s been an interesting weekend. after missing my sheriff test, i came home and got to work on the christmas present for the nieces & nephews—a Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler. i always wanted the Power Wheels Bigfoot Truck and NEVER got it, back in like, ’85. i had to settle for the Knight Rider Big Wheel with three turbo boosts and hand brake, which was pretty damn cool in its own right. however, i distinctly remember an older brother pushing me up the center alley of the barn so hard and fast that i was launched out the barn door and crash landed in a patch of cow shit approximately 8-12” deep. that woulda never happened with a bigfoot power wheel.

i can now cross the power wheel off my childhood fantasy toy list. the idea with this one is to replicate my real life, full size jeep scrambler, and possibly make some performance mods too. It’ll no doubt create a war amongst the kids on christmas morning—yay!

mark came over and hung out in the depot while i worked on the jeep, and we ended up going to pizza hut, where we managed to eat all our cheesy breadsticks and sicilian pizza WITHOUT needing a carry-out box. i don’t think i’ve ever left pizza hut without leftover pizza, so this was a huge accomplishment in my book. then we went to see “bad santa”, which mark has been wanting to see, but as i expected, it was weak. the only redeeming part of the film—the raunchy toilet humor—was weaker and more unoriginal that what we come up with to degrade each other at my job every day (bernie mac: “well, I’ll be dipped in dog shit”). and they killed mac, whose performance was one of the few highlights. what a sorry movie for john ritter to finish his career with. it wasn’t all bad, just not as good as i’ve heard.

we got home around midnight, just before mom & dad rolled in after returning from a senators/devils hockey game up in ottawa. kinda wish i’d known my schedule or i woulda gladly gotten a ticket way back when brother dan was canvassing the crowd. next time, i will go.

it was when we were standing in the kitchen at midnight when dad told me the story of the Great Feeder Calf Caper that has captivated our little hometown for the better part of two weeks. as the story goes, dad sold 20 angus calves to one of the local farmers (let’s call him "Eddiefray Artonbay" to protect his identity)(pig latin translator!) a couple weeks ago. (consider them to be the same age in cow years as 12-15 year old little human punks.) dad told him to keep them in the barn, rather than the pasture, for a week or so until they realized this was their new home, or they’d be busting out & running all over the countryside before you could turn around. being as overconfident as he was, and having a brand new, six string barbed wire fence (strung tight enuff to play “old mcdonald” on, according to dad), Eddiefray turned them out after only a few days. And sure enough, they didn’t have a clue where the hell they were and immediately snapped the wire fence and took off all over the north country, looking for home, and of course, their mommies. all told, he lost 11 of 20, and was nearly in tears when he called up dad for help. so with the combined effort of every farm and farmer for 10 miles around, they managed to wrangle 9 of them, after they were sighted cutting thru the woods, crossing a creek, several roads, front yards, airfields, and a main highway. the last two were found and nailed with a borrowed tranquilizer gun. each capture resulted in updates on the answering machine and gossip all over town. but in the end, all was well, and each calf was safe and sound back in their new home—until next time they get out.

in more animal related news, it appears that, for the winter, the farm will be housing three chickens, two ducks, one goat, and one obese, gluttonous turkey. the birds will be easy enough, but apparently the goat is accustomed to running around town like a stray dog and eating peanuts while bellied up to the bar at the local pub. (true story, folks.) and the turkey and the goat don’t get along—the goat gave the turkey some gruff once, and the turkey kicked the shit out of the goat within an inch of it’s life (another true story), so they must be separated, or at least spend their drinking time in separate bars.

so it should be an interesting winter here on the farm. hopefully i’ll be around for it. it should be easier to come up here now, since i now have real weekends off, thanks to a schedule change. apparently my company thinks that the other senior manager does a better job of running cars thru the shop on sundays than i do, which is ironic because one of the last sundays i worked, we set a company record for the busiest sunday ever. whatever. i’ll take the whole weekend off, thank you.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

there's those times in your life where you feel ultimate terror, unmatched fear, and complete disbelief.
like when you're driving and you realize that you're gonna wreck and it's slow motion until the impact happens. BAM!
or when you're in an onstage performance and your mind goes blank when trying come up with the next line. BAM!
or you have that dream where you are at work and you suddenly realize you're not wearing any pants. BAM!
or you forgot your girlfriend/wife's birthday until 2 days after. BAM!
or...you forget about the written exam for deputy sheriff that you were supposed to be taking at 9am and you woke up at 9:45 and it takes over an hour to drive there and there's no chance in holy hell that you can still get in. dun dun DUN. if the guy downstairs didn't hear me groan "OH F**K", then he must be deaf or dead.
i've known about this test for a month. paid the $15 fee. had the study guide. planned ahead. and then forgot about it at the most crucial moment. i've got lots of excuses--been too busy, my work schedule changed & threw me off, focused too much on the state troopers...but it doesn't matter, i have no excuse.
it's really ironic, because yesterday was the best day i can remember having in recorded history. had a lot of fun talking to so-n-so in the morning. that got me pumped. then at work, we were perfectly staffed and business wasn't out of control, so i was in my element. i sold more upgrades in a day than i ever have, to total for the week more upgrades than mike (the company's upgrader of the year.) i was peacemaker between my super and one of our employees who has been feeling the need to quit. i was in a great mood and people noticed. everything went well. i went to bed thinking, i just lived the most perfect day i've had in years. i didn't screw up ONCE today. well, actually, i did. i forgot the damn test i was supposed to get my ass up in the morning for. so much for having one day in my life that i didn't screw something up. i'd be willing to trade that day for one of my normal ones, where i screw up every 5 minutes, i get pissed off, and i want to quit this job, and i have painful luck with women. that would have kept me focused on the other stuff in my life and maybe, just maybe, i wouldn't have forgotten.
my only consolation is the hope that i get into the state trooper academy and it won't matter. or if i don't get into the academy, whatever it is that keeps me out would probably be the same thing that keeps me out of being a sheriff. weak. weak consolation. weak excuse. damn.

well, i was gonna go home anyway. i'd better get going. sucks to be me.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

today started with a rumble. i was awoken by the sound of a sawzall, which sounded as if some jackass was cutting thru my front door. close enuff. insulation installers have been at my complex for the last few days and were cutting a hole in the ceiling of the breezeway to gain access to the attic. each time i tried to drift back into my risque, female-filled dream, i was jarred awake again by this early morning menace. when i opened the door to see what the hell was up, i saw these three smiling jackasses making a mess of my cute little harvest display of ornamental pumpkins & crap. the one guy says, (with a spanish accent), "hey, man, it's a gonna be a leetle noisy". and the other guy says, "i theenk he knows, man" (also in an accent.) and i say, "yeah, i know, man" (with no accent) and shut the door. after they were done cutting the hole, noise dropped considerably except for scuffling and random spanish phrases in the ceiling. i was expecting a foot or a leg to punch thru my ceiling at any time. i decided not to take a dump this morning, since i was unsure if these guys had full view bathroom access thru the ventilation fan hole. i must admit, these guys made me laff as i walked out the door to work. as i walked thru the plywood shrapnel to the stairs, i saw this bird sitting on the railing, and i thought, "damn, that's one tame bird, it didn't fly away as i walked by." so i went back for a closer look, and discovered that this bird hadn't flown in many a sunny days. it was rather dead and naturally freeze dried in the attic, and had been deliberately propped up on one stiff, dead leg between the railing boards, apparently by these insulation dudes. very nice, guys. it was the funniest thing i'd seen all day. it was only 9:45, but hey.

but anyway, because of my double take on the bird, i ran into the neighbor guy who lives below me. we had the nice little chat that we always have in passing. i feel bad cuz i've lived here for a year and a half and hardly ever done anything with him, even though he has this standing offer to hang out and drink some beers. but since my new wednesday hours have me getting out at 6:30, we decided to hang out tonight.

i got out late, and i felt bad again cuz he went to the trouble of getting a pizza and laying out all this food and stuff and it was cold when i got there, but we had a grand old time shooting the shit for an hour and a half or so. we discussed how no one in this complex knows anyone else, and he verified that no, i'm not as noisy as i think i am up above him. that's good, cuz part of my trooper background investigation involves interviewing the people who live around me. looking around his apartment, i took note of all his christmas decorations, which made me feel like crap AGAIN cuz, come to think of it, the LAST time i paid him a visit was the LAST time he had these ornaments out. unless he has them all year, it's been a while.

after sitting in his place and seeing all his cool furniture and stuff in the exact same apartment layout as mine, my apartment looks like shit in comparison. i've got this ramshackle frat house furniture, a cheap-ass cosco table & chairs, and a mattress on the floor. i need "queer eye for the straight guy" to come in here and tear me down and build me back up.

see, i CAN come up with something upbeat. yay for me.