Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Review - The Late Show

Michael Connelly has developed a new character and she is awesome. Renee Ballard is a surfer/detective who is assigned to the night shift as the result of a harassment claim. She works by night and then paddle boards and sleeps in a tent on the beach during the day. She is following two cases. One was the beating of a transgendered man and the other is a mass shooting at a night club. She has a prickly personality and most other cops don't want to work with her as she tests the edge of the envelope of the police department regulations. Think of her as Bosch with a tan and surf board.

This book reads like an instruction manual for navigating the police system in LA and it will hold you attention. Another excellent read by Michael Connelly.

Friday, August 11, 2017

New Shooter Report

Youngest grandson is entering 8th grade. He is joining NJROTC. They have a rifle team and he went yesterday for his first practice shoot. (They use air rifles but then so does the Olympics) He has never fired a rifle before except for Nerf guns. He outscored everyone else and scored a 10 ring in the offhand position. I think we have a natural.

P.S. - His great grandfather was part of the cadre at this same school back in the 40s.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Book Review - The Fallen

Ace Atkins is back with his latest Quinn Colson novel. Quinn is back as sheriff. He has to deal with a band of bank robbers in Trump masks hitting the local banks with military precision and his sister is stirring up the local underground by trying to find 2 young girls who may be victims of human trafficking.

As you may know, Ace ghost writes the Spenser series since Robert Parker died. He was a journalist in Tampa before he started writing books in 1998.

This book is not very suspenseful but the story will keep you interested. It's worth a read.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


It's not often that I recommend a show on TV but "Ozark" is one. A Netflix production in 10 episodes, it stars Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. Bateman plays an accountant who was laundering money for a drug cartel. When his partner was caught skimming and he had to talk fast to avoid being killed. His deal was to move to Lake of the Ozarks where he told the cartel boss he could easily launder millions plus pay back the money his partner stole.

But Missouri has a group of colorful characters that can be as dangerous as the cartel and he has to negotiate these people and a rogue FBI agent all while dealing with an unfaithful wife and teenage problems. It is thoroughly entertaining.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Offshore Adventures - The Sinking

It was my first project for a major oil company. I joined them after several years with other companies so I had some experience with working offshore but sometimes the unexpected happens. We were laying a pipeline in about 200 feet of water and I was on board as the project engineer. We had a spell of bad weather and had to drop the pipe and head in to shallower water where we anchored for the night. Our tug boat was tied off to us and streaming with the current. It was nice to have the luxury of a full nights sleep so I turned in and fell asleep to the rocking of the barge.

I got up the next morning and, as was my habit, took a look outside to check the weather and activity.

Something was missing.

"Where is the tug?" I asked a deckhand that was loitering on the rail. "It sank." he replied. Thinking that this was just his way of hazing the new engineer, I kept a straight face and went to the galley for coffee.

And there I saw four very wet and bedraggled looking guys that had been the tug boat crew.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Project Creep

Most managers know project creep. I am dealing with it now. It started when our 34 year old electric, downdraft cook top died. Dead short in the electrical system. Of course there was no way a current cook top was going to drop into the same space. That lead to the decision to pull the base cabinet and replace it with a gas range. Problem is there was no gas line or a vent hood.

We ended up having to run a dedicated circuit for the vent hood. Luckily, we were able to use an existing air conditioning fir down to put the vent piping in next to the air con duct. Luck number 2 was being able to use the old chase for the downdraft vent for the new gas feed. The house was pretty crazy for a few days while workmen cut and banged away to bring in the new hook ups while we waited for delivery of the new range. My big concern was getting it into the kitchen as we needed to make two 90 degree turns around the center island to get it into place. I made a cardboard cut out of the range and made several dry runs with my paper doll cut out testing how it could make the turns.

Short story is that, although the delivery guys were inexperienced, my contractor arrived with some moving dollys and we successfully negotiated the turns to get it in place.

Now this work, triggered by a necessity, is leading to a kitchen remodel including new cabinet doors and counter tops.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

PT 305

The PT 305 is afloat near Lakefront Airport (KNEW). She has been named "USS Sudden Jerk". This was the name given to her by her plank owner crew after she had a jolt during a docking maneuver. She is available for deck tours and for rides if you are a recent lottery winner. This is the only operational combat veteran PT boat. She is credited with sinking 2 German lighter barges in the Mediterranean. The deck tour lasts 45 minutes and gives a detailed description of her operation and weapons systems.

About 20% of her is original. She was rebuilt over a period 10 years to her original design specs and construction techniques. She survived because the Navy brought European Theater PT boats back to the US in preparation for sending them to the Pacific. After the war she was a tour boat and an oyster dragger.

The wheel is an original wheel. Andrew Higgins, who built these boats, gave it to a friend from his surplus stock after the war and he displayed it on his mantle for years. As soon as he died, his wife, who hated it, donated it to the museum

Points for anyone who can identify this instrument.

It was tight quarters for her crew of 11.

Torpedo launch was roll off, not from a launcher. Deck rails are a modern safety requirement and not part of the original kit.