Saturday, February 19, 2011


Friday a week ago after working late I went out to the wife's truck to drive over and pick her up. Why the wife's truck you ask? That would be because my truck was parked in teh driveway waiting for the temps to get out of the teens so I could get under it and replace the drive shaft carrier bearing that had shelled out on it and taken the transfer case rear output shaft seal with it. Well, the truck started OK but would not move at all. There was a trail leading to the parking space and when it was running there was a stream of transmission fluid pouring out of the bell housing. So, much gymnastics later we were finally on our way home but her truck was sitting in the parking lot pissing ATF all over the ground. We got home and I climbed under my truck and went to work on pulling the drive shaft. I figured while it was cold out it was not as cold as the morning would be. Saturday morning I put the front half of my drive shaft in a hydraulic press trying to get what was left of the carrier bearing off. Well that was a dismal failure. I ended up having to cut the inner race off the drive shaft and then polish up the surface that the bearing mounted on before pressing the new bearing on. Of course the part listed for the rear output shaft seal was wrong and I had to go to the dealer for that not cheap part. Chimera gave me a ride home so I could put my truck back together and he pointed out a down tree near our south property line on the way home. I got my truck fixed and when Chimera left he stopped and had a closer look at the tree down. Well, it had fallen along the fence line and taken out some forty feet or so of fence behind the south tank. Sunday we went out to work on the fence and had to cut the pieces of the tree and vines to get to the fence and rebuild it. Unfortunately, misbeHaven got into some serious poison ivy or sumac and a week later she is still paying for it. Prednisone helps but it has gone so systemic that her elbow is swollen and she is running a fever.
So the official week started with some regular customers who I commented about earlier and me trying to get a shop that can work on Allison transmissions and getting a hook to pick the wife's truck up and haul it to the shop. Thursday I had an out of town trip that went pretty well and I have a geek post about it but after picking the wife up and getting take out dinner, my body decided that food was the enemy. Two exits, no waiting. Spent Thursday night up getting rid of everything in my body. That led to not going to work Friday. I hadn't slept and had no energy. At least there were deer in the yard when I went out to get some tea.
Late Friday the shop called and the wifes truck was ready. $65 for the seal, $16 to put the seal in and a little over $1000 to get the transmission out of the truck and put it back in.

So, it's been a long week and it is far from over. Friday was supposed to be the arrival of Twilight, not the movie or series but misbeHavens horse. Unfortunately, he is under quarantine at the moment at the ranch where he is currently located. Something about a rabid skunk, feral cat and ranch dog. The skunk and cat bodies are at TAMU for necropsy, the dog is under quarantine, ranch mom is having to undergo rabies shots and all the animals at the ranch are on lock down. Nothing in or out.

misbeHaven is also still fighting the itches. I'm eating again and the deer were out in force, like a herd of 8 of them in the west pasture. Not very conductive to much fence building getting done around here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Standards and Repeatability

So there is this one customer of ours who comes by the tunnel couple times a year at least. They have a "standard" test article that they bring every time and have been for at least the past 4 years. We put this test article in and set it up to the same configuration for them to judge comparability of the data from that test to previous tests on other test articles. We are talking about 250Lbs in one force and 1100Lbs in another force. Well, they came in and put the standard in and we ran the first test run of the day. The reading repeated in two runs but we were about 2 and 1o Lbs off in the two forces of interest. So they checked setup and determined that there was something that was not right with the standards setup and changed it to make it correct and ran the next two runs.

Think about that for a second, an aerodynamic test article that the test mounting system is removed and reinstalled each time and the test article that has been transported back and forth for each test and the fact that we were off 2 in 250 Lbs and 10 in 1100Lbs was found to be a setup in the test article and the numbers repeat over a 4 year period with all the setup changes. OK, maybe I'm just geeking out a bit about the repeatability of the test article considering that we see much larger differences between supposedly identical articles brought in for test.

Besides, this crew is a pleasure to work with. I wish I could say more about who they are and what they do as more people would be able to identify with them and what we are testing. Unfortunately I have to stay in generalities when talking about this particular series of tests. That's more than I can even say about others. Like last week when we tested something really cool that can't be talked about. Then we get tests in for NASA that is all public domain so we can talk about them. Just google NASA Jumbo Dart if you want to see some really cool videos of 80K pounds being pushed out of the back of a C-17 at 35K feet altitude. Can you say world record for heaviest highest drop? We had a hand in the testing that preceded that drop and have the model, CAD drawings, pictures and videos to prove it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chuy's College Station

So to celebrate my birthday, Chuy's opened a new restaurant in College Station. For those of you not in central Texas, or never having been here and had the chance to experience Chuy's, You have my sympathy. I on the other hand grew up in the birthplace of Chuy's and the first place I lived outside the folks was 100 yards down Barton Springs from the original Chuy's. So it was with much delight that I saw a Chuy's was coming to College Station Texas. Since this was my birthday and I got to choose where lunch would be had, it was an obvious choice since Chuy's just opened a couple days ago.

As is normal for Chuy's there was a crowd outside waiting to get a table when we arrived about 11:30. They just opened at 11 so there had to be a pretty big rush first thing. We got signed in and I started people watching.

I'm one of those people on Homeland Security's watchlist because I can sit outside of pretty much any public venue for hours and just watch peoples coming and goings. Usually laughing the whole time. The crowd was even typical for Chuy's, with people my age who were actually adults when the music playing on the PA was new to kids (did I just call them kids?) who were not even alive back then but are in college now. There was even a good representation of families out for lunch.

The time went by quick enough and we were seated. I gave the hostess the menu back and told her I didn't need it and we had a chat about her having come over from the shop on Barton Springs. Our waitress, Steph, came over and got our drink orders and gave misbeHaven some more time to decide what she wanted. She had not been around Chuy's like I had. I had my usual "I'm Hungry" order, the Elvis Presley Memorial Combo and misbeHaven ordered the Chicka-chicka-boom-boom chicken enchilada's. Chips and salsa were brought and we started in on our dining experience. misbeHaven REALLY liked creamy jalapeno sauce. Our food arrived and we dug in. Now, one of my judgements of service is how full/empty our tea glasses get. Despite having a table of 12 seated next to us at the same time, Steph managed to keep our glasses happy and keep our chips and salsa full as we snacked waiting for the main food. She also kept up with when we finished various plates of food and needed more napkins. (common at Chuy's, the more napkins part) The food was Chuy's, it was wonderful and hot and all that is right with the world, as it usually is in the Austin locations. As we wound down, Steph stepped in to ask if we would like desert or if we were ready for the check or just wanted to let food settle. No rush. We settled up and left to walk some of lunch off. When we left town a couple hours alter after picking a few things up there was still a crowd outside waiting to get in! They are going to have a very good opening weekend.

Overall I would give it a 9 out of 10. I reserve 10's for when something stupendous happens at a meal and besides, Chuy's did this to themselves by setting the bar so high from their outstanding service and food for years in Austin. I came to expect the best in service, flavor and presentation from them because that is what they consistently delivered.

So, if you are in Austin, College Station, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio or Waco, you owe it to yourself to experience Tex-Mex the way only Chuy's can serve it. If you are going to make it by the College Station location, let me know as it might just be enough of an excuse for us to stop by that day.

So, I just chatted with my Nephew who happened to be born on Feb 6th though admittedly many years after me. Guess where he went and what he ate for lunch? Chuy's and Elvis Presley Memorial Combo would be the correct answers. Great minds think alike.

Another day, Another year

It's that time again that most people dread. BDay time. My cat must have known because he was up all morning wanting in or out to help celebrate.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Freudian Typo?

Just in case you can't read the screen cap, "T&A Says Airport Officers Can Unionize..." Me thinks someone made a booboo when they typed this one in over at Drudge Report. I had to laugh!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Random Arcraft Sightings

These Beauties flew in just after lunch time. Heard them through the walls as they approached and caught them as they powered down. When they returned from their late lunch and started to spool up I was dealing with a busted drain valve on the fire sprinklers and yes the alarm was going off and I still heard them over the alarm. Once we got the flow of water stopped I ran over a caught them taking off. Enjoy.

Super Bowl: Humans vs. Nonhumans?

I am not a football fan, and especially not at the professional level. TXGunGeek and I do watch the Super Bowl, or rather, we watch the commercials and fast-forward through those annoying interruptions the game.

However, Randy Alfred, writing for, caught my attention with his suggestion for reorganizing the conferences. If the NFL takes him up on it, I may have to become a fan of the Wild West Division.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Unfortunate Aircraft Sighting

I am pretty sure the owner of this Mooney was not expecting this when they showed up at the airport. Look close, the right horizontal stabilizer is bent up dramatically about half way out. Don't know the back story if this was a ground vehicle strike or tie downs came loose during the storms and high winds or what. Still not pleasant.

Scripture is good for you

Especially when it comes from the Holy Book of Browning (Old Testament).

Rolling Power Outages

So ERCOT has declared a level 3 energy emergency and called for rolling blackouts to protect the overall grid. YAY!!! Not what I want to hear about with the house being 45 minutes away on a good day and the temp at 17 at the moment.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What a Day

Started the day with Pigs outside the window at 3AM. Just got settled back in for the morning and the wind kicked up something fierce as the storm front came through. We had a recorded wind gust of 48MPH here at the house along with heavy rain for a few minutes. We loaded up the truck and knew it was going to be a rough ride in. So, we loaded the chainsaw and extra gear into the truck.

It took us 45 minutes to get 2.5 miles and onto pavement. We had to stop and cut a few trees out of the way and misbeHaven dragged all the branches out as I cut them. Obviously there was no traffic yet on our road. Add to this that the county started "improving" our road yesterday. Like dumping a bunch of select fill on the road and grading it. So combined with the rain, it was all kinds of squishy and loose to slog through in addition to cutting trees.

After starting the morning at 66 degrees, we were below 40 before leaving the house and down to 27 as we got into town.

We ended up coming home to 4 deer in the driveway and having to take cubes out to the cows so they have something extra to process and keep them warm tonight.