Category: Fun Stuff

Mar 10 2013

Plane Photo Shoot

Today, Scott and I flew some formation flying for the first time. A friend of of mine (Frank) graciously offered to do some aerial photography of our planes and gave me over 300 pictures when we were done. I assembled the best 40 or so plane pictures and made a short YouTube video. BTW, there is a geography teaser at the beginning of the presentation.

Frank, Jenny and Scott outside the Aero Club hangar where we keep our planes.


We had a great time flying and racked off 1.6 hrs around the bridges and beach areas of Charleston.


Although it looks like I am flying close to the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridges, I am quite a distance away and it an optical illusion.



The Morris Island lighthouse was originally built in 1767, distorted and rebuilt in March 1873 and was in service until 1962.


Beach erosion has now moved the shore line1600 ft away from the lighthouse. The foundation was stabilized in 2009 to ensure it will be around for future generations.

A nice shot of Scott, the bridge and North Charleston where the new container ship terminal will be built.

A great flight back to base….


Jan 26 2013

Rusty Birthday Present

Last night I stopped by to see Rusty who lives 3 house down from me for his surprise birthday party. Just a bunch of locals all drinking beer having fun with a few of the band members in attendance.


Much to my surprise, my mole gag gift to Rust was hilarious. At first no one could figure out exactly what it was. Is it real? A toy? Stuffed? Battery operated? It came nicely wrapped in an sealed Amazon box complete with bubble wrap to protect the goods.

Rusty figured it out really quickly (I think he was still mostly sober at the time) and handed the bag to Bubba who wanted to check the little guy and get a closer look at the prize. By then everyone at the party was watching and laughing.


At first Bubba couldn’t quite figure out what he was handed (I think he was less sober than the rest). Out it came from the bag for a closer examination and then he put it in his hand and started stroking it… “Pet your mole” everyone started yelling. He responded “I want to see if would start moving (batteries operated)”.


Finally after a few minutes of poking and prodding, he sniffed the mole to see if it was real. I thought I was going to die laughing. Everyone was cracking up. You could just see singular moment the light of awareness came to him and off he ran to the bathroom to wash his hands after which the mole was re-bagged and was passed around for all to enjoy.

Guitar and dobro music…


Bubba was a great sport and we all laugh and talked about it for the rest of the evening. Rusty loved it. I was pleased.

Who would have thought a dead mole gift for Rusty’s 47th birthday would be the hit of the party. This surprise birthday party had a special surprise that he will certainly remember and laugh about for years.


You never know what will bring humor to people. Go figure….


As I was leaving I asked Bubba’s daughter (Bubbet I think), what happened to the mole. She told me here and her dad (Bubba) were going to “take it home to feed it to their snake”.

Recycling with a purpose… I like that!

Later I was told the snake turned up is nose (snout maybe) at the offering. Let the bio-degradation begin.

Jan 26 2013

The Great Hunter

For years I have dealt with moles in my yard. I hate those little guys. Sneaking around underground, tearing up my yard. I am very tolerant and have a deep respect for wild life, but this is a case of NIMBY (not in MY back yard you little rodent)!

For years I have tried various poisons and other methods to get rid of them and bought a trap a few years ago, but these solutions just didn’t seem to work well or were NOT very satisfying.

Then I finally went on YouTube and found a video on how to PROPERLY set a mole trap that I already had. Hell I was doing it all wrong. Then I did a bit more “digging” around to get up to speed on the latest mole elimination technology.

You can Blowing up mole trails using propane/oxygen mix ($1400 kit) or using your car/lawn mower exhaust to kill them with carbon monoxide but I think trapping is the best solution and is a hell of a lot of fun. Makes me feel like a trapper of ole trying to earn a living harvesting mole skins for pharmaceutical conglomerate’s blister control products.

After only two days the properly setting the trap bagged my first mole in this Victor trap (about $15 on amazon)


I did more mole research on the internet after my first success. Know thy enemy! You know moles live mainly on worms (not grubs) and can tunnel up to 60 feet a DAY. They are very territorial, live a solitary life (like me) and are active year around. I bought two more different style traps (a snare and another pincer type) to test which kind I like the best. This trap is about $30 on Amazon. I don’t like it as much as the Victor type trap, as I don’t think the trigger is as sensitive to movement in the tunnel as the Victor trap, but it did the job today!


Today I bagged my third one!



This guy’s demise added another notch to my trophy wall. I even keep remnants of rotten wood remnants from house remodeling/repair projects on my wall. Ah, memories.


So far I have trapped 13 raccoons, 2 cats (one of which was my own cat), 3 possums (all live releases) and now I can add 3 moles (not so alive release)….


It is SOOOOOO satisfying to trap those little guys. Fun too. Every morning I grab my fresh cup of java, I check my trap line on the way to pick up the papers and look for where they were running at night all with the hope of bagging my next little critter. I must truly have a sad life if trapping moles in the morning gets my blood going.

Too bad I can’t eat them. Mole barbecue would make my life complete.

Post script: I was going to let this morning’s trophy bio degrade in the yard, but decided to recycle him.


I hope Rusty enjoys his special birthday present!

Dec 01 2012

Sherman has been sold

I have been wanting to get rid of my 1981 veggie powered car for some time. I have found i really like driving my ’99 diesel much more than the old blue car. I am tired of dealing with the time and effort of collecting cooking oil. I just don’t drive that much any more since I have retired.

While visiting Gerhard today, he asked me if I still wanted to sell the car I said yes and a deal was quickly put together before I even had a chance to think about it.

Saying good bye to a really interesting project car.


The proud new owner.


Nov 10 2012

CHB4 Reunion

In August of 1989 I was activated by the Navy Reserve to serve in Operation Desert Storm although it was not called anything at the time. I was a sophomore at the Citadel pursuing my degree. The Citadel was great about refunding me the tuition for the year and even my book costs with the promise that I could return as soon as I was done serving. Anyway, my 7 months in Spain, Italy and Grease make for story, at a later time perhaps.

This CHB4 was the Cargo Handling Battalion 4. Were sort of mobile stevedores. Moving bombs, bullets, trucks and tanks. After spending some time with the battalion, it is nice to catch up on stories and remind those of forgetful memories the funny experiences and embarrassing moments..

It was great just exploring Myrtle Beach. I ran across a olive oil store which unsurprisingly was called “The Olive Shoppe”. I always wanted to check out a good oil store after hearing a great story about oil oil on NPR.

I read there is a lot of differences among different brands of oils. This store didn’t have some much an assortment of world oils as specialized in flavored oils and flavored balsamic vinegar. Oil oil with a hint of garlic, oregano, blood orange, habanero, black pepper, rosemary, lemon, etc. The balsamic vinegar has such flavors as orange, mango, cinnamon peach, strawberry. The hostess paired oils with vinegar’s in a taste testing frenzy. Different combinations as if you would use it for a glaze on meat or for a salad dressing I went oil CRAZY. Ended up with 3 different olive oils and 4 balsamic vinegar’. Oil: Basil infused, Garlic and Lemon. Vinigars: Blackberry, Orange mango Passon Fruit, and finally, Orange. Salads are going to be interesting!


This is thee CHB4 Officers and Chiefs


The group.


Nov 05 2012

Amazon is AMAZING

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of Shopping with Amazon. I am beginning to find that Amazon has almost everything that I need to order. From computer stuff, kitchen equipment, personal hygiene, automotive parts, just about anything imaginable!

Many times, the prices are as good as EBay, or anywhere else on the web, I get 2 day shipping AND returns are a snap. In some cases, you might a dollar or two buying somewhere else, but the convenience of ordering on line is worth it. Besides, they really take care of the customers. I pre-ordered a Blue Ray DVD and after was shipped Best Buy was selling it for $4 less. Crap, it would cost me more to send it back so just decided to not bother. The next day to my surprise and pleasure Amazon automatically refunded me $4 because they found a lower price and price matched it. As a PRIME member, I automatically get two-day shipping which is well worth the extra $79/year and you also get to stream movies and TV shows.

On Monday morning, while taking about 300 book to Goodwill, I broke the tail gate handle on the truck. Crap plastic cheap ass stuff. Hell, the dam thing only lasted through 13 years of abuse! I thought about welding one up and make my own, but in a moment of sanity, I decided to check on line before I got out the cutting tools and drill bits.


I went on EBay to order on, had actually clicked to buy one and decided to check Amazon before paying. Dam if they didn’t have it for the same low $21 price as Ebay. I can order it and it will arrive in two days ((Prime). I didn’t even want to drive to the Toyota dealer to check their price. Not worth the time or gas.

I was surprised when the next afternoon the replacement handle arrived!!


I remember reading some articles about Amazon. They are working toward having next day deliver on more items and Amazon and Walmart are investigating the possibility of same day delivery. Order by 10 am, get delivered in the afternoon ($10 extra charge). Talk about the ultimate convince. I wonder if I can do all my grocery shopping with them. Now THAT would be worth $10 to me.

The local “Newsless Courier” had an article a few months back that Amazon was able to get a special tax break from the state of SC to build wear-house/distribution center in the state. After some tense on/off moments when I thought Amazon might back out (state was giving them the run around), they finally negotiated a sweet deal for locating in SC and hiring workers. No taxes for 5 years. There are now two wear houses located in Spartanburg (3 hrs away, where Airflow is located) and in W. Columbia SC (about 2 hrs away).

I now I get everything in 2 days max, and more orders are starting to show up the next day if you order early in the morning. Yah!

The handle fit just like the original, and easily installed in the tail gate.


Now repaired and back in business!


I also fixed the handle on my drill press. I tried to repair and flox it in place once before, but did a crappy job of gluing it and it broke again.


I was fix’n to throw out some AL when I ran across the metal on the right. It is what was left of the nose fork on my plane that I was just about to recycle. I thought, why not save it and have a memento.


This is the remains of the nose fork which broke off when I was landing at Greenville Downtown airport on 26 March 2001.


No wheel, no go!


I clearly remember the event (how could one ever forget). I was just touching down heard a pop, and saw something from the corner of my eye fly by the starboard wing and though, “SHIT, was that my wheel?” I looked through the little view window for checking gear position, and saw the front wheel was gone. I informed the the tower and gently touched the nose down.

The grinding sound was really loud and I sure I stopped in a hurry. Dam! I picked up the nose and walked the plane over to the parking area. After the everything settled down, we look all over the runway and grass area for my front wheel, but never could find it. The really sucky part of all this was I had to rent a car to drive up to Norfolk VA for a navy ball that I was attending. The plane was left at the parking area until I could get a replacement fork.

When I returned a few weeks later to repair the bird, the FAA had also stopped by as they are required to do after every accident, and there was a big yellow tag on the prop indicating it was cracked and I needed to contact the manufacture get it rectified before I could fly again!! I laughed a bit, called them up, told them I made the prop and it was fit to fly. The FAA… don’t like them all that much.

About 6 months later I landed at Greenville on other trip, and the desk handed me what was left of my tire. Apparently it had bounced a long way from the runway and the grass mower had chopped it up a bit.

Back to the drill press repair. Some cutting, drilling and grinding……


And now I have a new handle for the drill press an another story to tell.


Oct 29 2012

Makeing a Wobble Tester

This is a potential damage which could occur if you lose an exhaust valve. This is what is left of the head which was on my plane which caused me to do an emergency landing at Summerville Airport. I ended up with a cracked crank and had to do a complete engine overhaul.


The valve head broke off due to excessive clearance of the valve guide to the valve stem.


I decided to build the wobble tester, and check my valve clearances before I put the overhauled hydraulic lifters in. It took me a few hours I get a design I was happy with in AutoCAD. Actually making the tester only took me about two hours to build. The design is a bit different than the factory model as I mounted the dial indicator from the top down, between the rocker rod support columns (on the top part) which is opposite to the normal mounting (from the bottom up) which would require me to take off the exhaust system to test the wobble.

It allows me complete the test and not removed the exhaust system to do the testing.


The final result is made out of 1/2” aluminum plate.


Here it is being used on an old cylinder I had in the shop. Yah! I’ll be able to test the cylinders every year now to see how quickly the exhaust guides wear.


Oct 27 2012

Making a perfect bread machine loaf

Every saturday, I have a tradition of making fresh bread and have been doing so for at least 15 or 20 years. I just love waking up to the smell of fresh baked bread on Saturday mornings. I haven’t bought sliced bread at the store in YEARS. It is crazy to think that I purchase this bread maker prior to getting out of the navy in 1977 when I was enlisted. The machine is still working!

Each loaf now comes out PERFECT each and every time.


For years I tinkered with hundreds of recipes and combinations of ingredients, , trying everything I could find in the kitchen to experiment with. Garlic bread with oregano, banana bread, soy flour, vegetables, nut bread, seeds, yogurt, sour cream, raisin brand, oat meal, you name it and I have tired it.

I finally figure out what it takes to make a terrific loaf of bread. It is part regular flour and whole wheat flour, has a nice firm texture and is constant dense firmness top to bottom.


The Perfect Bread Recipe

You need to layer the ingredients so if you use a timer the yeast does not activate. Put the ingredients in the pan in this order.

1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp bread yeast
2 TBS instant cream of wheat
1 level cut of wheat flour
2 level cups of bread flour
Vegetable Oil (approx 1-2 table spoons)
1 1/8 C of water (Exactly)

Set the timer and your are done.


You must BE EXACT on your measurement. This is very important. Bread making is chemistry and your are only making one loaf so if you are off a bit with the ingredients the loaf will not come out perfect.

Here are two critical discoveries I found which impact the loaf quality.

  1. Cream of wheat for some reason helps improve the texture and density. It has made a world of difference in my results and works much better than gluten additives.
  2. The amount of water added is crucial successful results. Add one cup and the loaf will be dense and 2” shorter. Add 1 1/4 cut and it will be soft and smash itself against the glass top. WATER is how you control the size and density of the loaf.
  3. Don’t wash the bread pan. Just wipe it out and reuse. It keeps the non-stick surface working as it should.

Now that your perfect loft is made, eat the delicious first pieces with butter and coffee and store the remainder in a plastic store bag (like a grocery store bag). It is just right for keeping it fresh. The loaf will only keep on the shelf until 3-4 days and then it will need to be refrigerated. If I make my loaf on Saturday, by Wednesday, I’ll have to put it in the frig or it will develop mold.

You might also try the Land Of Lakes Lite Butter with canola oil. It spreads easily right from the frig, and was rated the best butter substitute by Consumer Reports and has a terrific taste.

Hint: Fresh bread is great for sandwiches, refrigerated bread is great for toast.

Oct 21 2012


After cleaning the house, I took a short 5 mile bide ride which ended up at the end of my block to watch the sunset. It was beautiful tonight! This is the most delightful time of the year in Charleston. Great weather and lots to look forward to in the fall.


Oct 20 2012

Bike Riding Downtown

owntown Charleston is a wonderful place to bike. Rusty and I biked about 14 miles today riding all over the city and across the Arthur Ravenel Jr.bridge.



It is hard for me to imagine, but when the bridges were being built, I flew between the two vertical supports which are 1500 ft apart. There was no decking, just two poles sticking out of the water. Duh…can you say stupid?


Normally when I fly around the city, I fly over the bridge at 700 ft and dip down over the harbor to about 300 ft or so which seems level with the walkers on the bridge (186 ft above the harbor). It is perfectly legal as you can fly at any altitude over the water, 500 ft above sparsely populated areas and 1000 ft over densely populated areas.

Anyway, we had a great time traveling the city streets, then it was off to the airport.

I finished sanding and buffing the areas I worked on the strakes when the fuel probes were installed.


Naturally the stbd side came out perfect


and the port side (which is right in my face all the time) was just a little low by .020 or.030”. As always, if I had to do it again… blah, blah.


Overall, I am very pleased with the results and will not further repair or paint the area. I like seeing the access points on the probes at they will certainly be a conversation item at the next air show I attend.