About this blog title

I cannot tell you how many times I have shown up at events with a couple of cameras around my neck, a gadget bag full of odds & ends and a lighting kit and have been asked that question. If it happened once every few years, that would be one thing. But it happens a LOT. It's like getting pulled over by the police and he's standing there with uniform, gun, flashing lights and asking him "Are you a cop?" I would love to come back with a witty reply, such as "No, I am Jesus. Don't you recognize my beard?" However, I cannot be that rude.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Heavy headed sunflower

I snapped this sunflower in the back yard of my home in Chaumont NY this afternoon. I just finished installing rear shock absorbers on my van and as I was picking up my tools the flower caught my eye. So I snapped it with my iPhone. Maybe that should be EyePhone.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Woke up to a bat in our bedroom

Bat I trapped in our upstairs bathroom of our home in Chaumont, NY.  Gary Walts iPhone photo

A few weeks ago we woke up to a bat flying around in our bedroom. YIKES! I hate that.  I should have posted about it then, but my time and ambition were shot. Anyhow, without going into all the datails, we had been in bed about an hour and a halkf when the Better Half awoke to a soft, muffly sound. In the dim light I saw the  silhouette of a bat swooping around our room. Chaos followed. Was ther only one bat or were there more. I thought it flew out the front door. We stayed up until 2:30 and never saw any more signs of of it. We go upstairs and I see it flying in the bathroom, I slammed tghe bathroom door and new for sure it was trapped in that room. Again, was that the original bat? The only bat? We stayed up with the lights on down stairs. At 4:30 tried to sleep in a chair. Essentially I got no sleep that night. I had a photo job in Syracuse and had to depart early. Was home by 4:00 in afternoon. I now ventured into the bathroom, it was day light so the bat should be dormant. Staying close to the floor I examine every nook and cranny and see no sign of it. A clothes hamper  against the wall was the lats place to look. I cxarefully lean it toward me, away fromn the wall. There he was. Cling upside down to the textured surface. He blinked his eyes. That was it. I took a plastic food container and placed in  over the creature. Then I slid a piece of card board under it and he was trapped. We taped the food container to the card board. The bat was alive. We delivered it to a veterinarian's office for rabies testing. Check out the video. It is short, but the funny part is the Better Half's voice as she drove our van and I held  onto the trapped bat.

2002 Dodge Caravan Brake Job, broken rotors

I did a brake job on my 2002 Dodge Caravan and both front rotors broke during the removal. Not a problem though because they were being replaced.
It all started last Friday while driving to Syracuse Friday afternoon. I had to photograph a high school football game. Any how, I heard a squealing so
und and thought is was the AC blower. Then I heard a tappoing noise. It grew louder and louder into a knoicking, hammering noise, like a hammer beating on metal. Pretty sure it was the engine about to blow. I managed to get to brother D's house in Mattydale and we confirmed the worst. This was my 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan with 3.3 engine. I have had the van for about 10 years and it had over 200,000 miles on it. In the past years I havce dumped more than a $1,500.00 in repairs and parts on it, doing most of the work myself. But the bottom line now was this van is toast. Done. Time to junk it.

Fortunately I had a 2002  sitting at my house. It is not nearly as pretty, rather rusty, but has a strong engine and tranny, 186,000 miles. But it has been sitting for a year or more. When I parked it last the front brake calipers seized up and were were so hot I thought it would burst into flames. At the time I decided not to spend the $$ on any repairs. But now it was time to fix it up for the road.
Drivers side front brake assembly after sitting for over a year. Rusted and seized up.    Gary Walts iPhone photo

The first thing I did was stack a  pile of firewood up that was in the driveway. Sunday morning  I bought parts and began wrenching. I bought new brake pads, calipers and rotors. Also a pair of rea shocks and 2 new front tires. The  brake job went smoothly until I tried to get the rotors of. They normall get rusted on and you hit them with a hammer to brake them free. Well, on the drivers side I beat on the thing for 10 minutes and it wild not budge. I took out a 13  pound sledge hammer and began to wail on it. 15 minutes later it finally broke free but in so doing broke into 2 pieces. The center broke out of it. Wow, I never had that happen before.
I hammered this rotor for 30 minutes, the center broke out of it when it finally came free of the wheel studs.   Gary Walts   iPhone photo

I hammered this rotor for 30 minutes, the center broke out of it when it finally came free of the wheel studs.   Gary Walts   iPhone photo

When I did the other side it broke free in about 5 minutes BUT, broke into 3 pieces. The center broke out and the rotor split down the middle like slicing a doughnut in half. The video is only 15 seconds long and you can see what I mean.

The next thing I needed was a new muffler and resonator tail pipe for the exhaust, then a NY State inspection. I hired the garage that did the inspection to install the exhaust components. That bill totaled $250.00 plus tax.  Late Wednesday it was all done and the van was running great, inspected, and I was all set. Thursday morning, (today) at 11:00 I took my mother to an eye doctor appointment. About a 1/4 mile from her house, on the trip home, the van overheated. RATS! Discovered coolant leaking out out from the lower hose where it clamps on. Turns out the clamp failed. But, I went ahead and changed out the metal coolant pipe the hose attaches to. I all ready had experience with one of those rusting out in my 05 van. It was a simple enough job but still took some time. Had to go to 2 auto parts stores to locate the part. By 4:15 I was done. That repair came in to $50.00.  I since drove to Clayton where I had a guitar gig. Just got home a little while ago and everything appears fine. What a a few days I have had, and there actually is a lot more that's been going on too. That has to do with the Better Half's sister in Ohio who has had complications from hip replacement. 

All told, I have spent $900.00 getting my old van road worthy. Hopefully it will give me a few months to a year or more of service.