What's the weather like in Doug's neighborhood?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dang, stagnant on the blog

Sorry to the few who actually follow this blog.

So, what's new?
Laid off:
I got notified on June 21st that my contract with TBE was on the chopping block. After months of wondering when and if my job would be effected by all the doom and gloom surrounding NASA in the wake of Obama's administration. Answer: Yes, directly. June 30th was my last day on the job.
Looking for new work is never fun, but having to do so under duress just plain sucks. I hit the deck running and sent out updated resume to anything that was even partially applicable to my skill set.

Laid back:
After processing out of MSFC on Wednesday I had an interview Thursday morning that ran long. I got home in the afternoon cracked a couple of beers and received a call from my boss in the afternoon. Apparently he had found another TBE contractor spot in another branch and I was going back to work on Tuesday. So I ended up with a 5-day 4th of July holiday weekend that was much more relaxed.

Government inneficiency at its finest:
So the last 2 weeks I have been getting paid to just sit at work. I can't log onto a gov. computer without my badge. So turning in my badge on Wednesday and missing 2 days of work constitutes the need for a whole new background screening. Weird. Beets not getting paid any day though :-)

Home life:
Not much to report. Been hitting the pool up quite a bit lately. It is cheap, fun, and good exercise. Erin and I have used the whole layoff scare as a wake up call. We have figured out a budget that will hopefully have us much better prepared for the next time this sort of thing occurs.

In the garage:
Nothing news worthy to report. More outward than inward tools at the moment. Part of the budgeting and being better prepared meant that some of the lesser-used woodworking tools need to go to put money into savings. So last week I sold off several of my hand planes. More tools will follow. Life goes on.

Working on cars:
Yep, my newest hobby has been embarked upon begrudgingly. I have mentioned in the past that I am really not into working on cars. After spending most of my latter teen years working on them to one extent or another I lived quite happily paying someone else to do all maintenance on our cars. Well, sticking with the budget theme I am having to get out and do more myself. The other motivator is that most of the real issues with our vehicles seem to stump the mechanics. We took Erin's truck in for a full tuneup a couple of years ago figuring that would allow them to get in and really see what was causing power loss and making it run poorly. Not the case. We received a clean bill of health, a bill for about $1000, and a truck that ran no better than before.
Tuesday had me changing the fuel filter on the Tundra and swapping out the brake pads. For $62 in parts and a couple of hours of time I did 2 tasks that would have cost me $300-500 had I taken it in. Not my favorite way to spend time, but it is nice to take care of things myself and save money at the same time.
Today I will be putting in a new air filter, cleaning the MAF, and cleaning the throttle body. Should be fun.

Riding bicycles:
Been hot as hell here in the SE last month and a half. With humidity varying from 50-100% the heat index has had us somewhere in the 90-115F range pretty regularly with actual temps 85-100F. Riding around in a sauna is interesting. 100oz of water doesn't seem to go more than about 2-3 hours even keeping track of consumption. My saddle time has also suffered due to the job hunting and related stress. Thing are starting to settle in, but I am still only getting a couple of rides in each week. That will have to do for now.
I have been riding a set of 777mm wide bars and a 65mm stem. That is nearly 31in for the Americans in the audience. It is amazing the difference in DH stability/control. It rides like the bike did when I had the fork at 150mm, but I am still running it at 140mm. Only down-side I see is that it killed my tech/steep climbing stability. Guess it puts too much weight out over the back wheel. Always trade offs. For the Heckler there is a balance point, on the one side is xc/trail ride all-around stability and on the other is shredding DH stability. You can't get both.

I am diggin on the Hilltop Hoods lately, good music: