Friday, December 26, 2008

Little Sci-Fi to make you think.

Mankind and the Great Blue Slugs.
-Brandon Maylone-

In the distant future, us humans find another planet. This planet is lush and green, a paradise. We find only one specie of intelligent life, the Justies. Justies look like tiny, cute, wide eyed humans. The planet is the size of the earth and composed of similar material. It is also home to only a handful of Justies, they live thousands and thousands of years and breed rarely.

We ask the Justies, can we live here in peace with you? The Justies agree whole heartedly. Mankind settles into part of the green, rich soiled, pure aired paradise. Rarely does a Justie appear to man. We start farms, small factories, and clear land for homes. All is good in this paradise.

Suddenly three hundred years after mankind has settled part of this planet giant blue slugs appear out the ground and begin devouring all the plant life they can find. The Justies are no where to be found. Mankind calls a counsel together.

The counsel finds these slugs that are destroying the planet must be a result of mankinds’ actions. Our farming, polluting, and presence has off set the balance, and we caused to giant blue slugs to rise up and start to eat the planet clear of life.

Our top scientists agree on the theory that we must of destroyed their food sources, through clearing and using the land. The counsel takes actions, and we attack every giant blue slug that we can find, killing it. We kill the slugs to prevent this world, paradise, from being destroyed.

In a few weeks all the blue slugs are dead. Justies appear more and more often, as if looking for something. Then one day a Justie appears before the counsel.

"What did you do?" The Justie asks.

"We are sorry we caused the blue slugs to start and attack life on this planet, but we fixed the problem by killing them." Mankind's counsel explains.

"You fools, every five hundred years the great blue slugs appear and eat the planet clear of the plants, leaving behind a clean slate that new seeds and life can take hold and flourish. You have just sentenced this planet to a slow choking death." The Justie said as he disappeared.

Man-kind never saw the Justies again, and as the Justie had said, soon plants over grew each others, they died. Fungus over took the plant corpses, the planet turned into a slime field, smelling of decaying life and the soil turned acidic. Man-kind had to leave the planet as it could no longer support them.

Taking a couple hundred years of data and thinking you know how a planet works that existed millions of years before you were there can cause major damage if you try and "fix" a natural cycle. Think about this before you fight global warming. England was once warm enough to grow grapes all over the country. Greenland was reportedly once green and lush in ancient descriptions, today it has areas of permafrost. This all happened when the planet was warmer, before we started recording temperatures. England can't grow grapes, and the climate in Greenland is too cold to support the crops reportedly grown by native peoples years ago. It must of been warmer at one time, then got colder, and maybe now it is getting warmer again, and we want to fight this natural cycle, all because of a few years of data. Think of the poor Justies.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chevy Small Block timing

SBC, Chevy Small Block Timing
Here is an older blog when I got a question about timing a Chevy small block. I also slapped some timing videos on the end of this post, on "how to set your timing videos" I made on youtube.


Ironically this question was asked at the same time I am getting ready to time my 327.

All Chevy’s are pretty much the same timing wise.
Check your coil and electrical to be sure and catch any future problems. Give the fuses a once over. Rotor should turn with crank. Should have twelve volts on the live from the coil when the key is on, and during crank. Negative coil wire should flash with crank (when on a tester), if it is on or off all the time module is bad. Check for spark at plug boot. Ok all that is good time to set cold timing. (I unhook the advance and plug it if not for anything other than to get the hose out of my way)

Take out your number 1 plug, firing order is 18436572, clockwise. Put your thumb over the plug hole and bump over, or manually crank the engine until air pushed out against your finger. That is the compression stroke. Crank until your timing tab is lined up with the timing mark, at 0. (if you have one the block if not you should mark the tdc once it is set) Either way if you have a timing tab or not, insert a soft wire, or dowel into the plug hole so it rests on the piston. As the piston comes up when you crank it the rod will push out, when it hits top that is top dead center for your number 1 cylinder. After tdc the pistion will start to drop again.

Even if you have a tab double check with the dowel or wire that 1 is really truly on Top Dead Center.

Hopefully it matched the tab, makes futures timing much easier, if not mark it.

Take the cap off the dizzy. See where the rotor is pointing. The metal piece that sticks up and touches the towers on the cap should pointing to the number 1 cyl tower on the cap. Now mark this on the dizzy, place the cap back on so a tower is lined up with the rotor. (Mark this! so 1 is right under 1, mark the cap, and dizzy) This is your new number 1 tower. Take a wire and put it on this tower run to your 1 plug.

Plugs are; driver’s side from front of the car 1-3-5-7. passenger from front to back 2-4-6-8, order from plug one on the dizzy is 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2, so take wire one from tower one to plug one, then go around clockwise, tower 8, wire 8 to plug 8, and so one with tower 4, 3, 5 ect . . .
It doesn’t matter which tower is 1, as long as it goes to the number 1 cyl at TDC. Normally it is one of the front two, usually the one pointing toward the driver side, on newer HEI dizzy’s it was the one pointing toward the passenger side, but when you set this your self it doesn’t matter.
This is on cold timing now. If the carb is dry prime it through the "over flow" or breather tube in on carb, get some gas in the fuel bowl. Give it a turn, and see what you get.

The motor should run, maybe not the best, because the advance is still not set. Just sitting it
should be fine.

The next timing adjustment is the biggest pain. (You don’t need a timing light but it helps) For most small blocks to have peak performance you need to adjust the timing to fire before top dead center. This setting depends on the engine, but a good rule of thumb is it will fall into 6-10 degrees before TDC.

The easy way to do this (if you have a good ear this will be a breeze) is to loosen the cap and turn it, or warm the car/truck up, shut it off, loosen the distributor clap bolt, holding it in place, start the car. Now the rotor turns clockwise, so slightly, very slightly, turn the dizzy counter clockwise (the way you would turn a nut to loosen it) just turn it a hair. a full circle is 360, half is 180, a quarter is 45, so 6-10 is just a slight turn. Use your mark on the cap and dizzy as a reference.
Ok turn it until the engine sounds good. If you don’t have an ear for this, then you need a timing light. Take the light hook it up and follow the directions. The light is used to tell you when 1 is sparking by flashing. The flash should be shining on the timing tab to you can read the ’s on it. you adjust the dizzy until if flashes when your timing tab is 6-10, instead of 0.

Also hook up a tach so you can get the RPMs. Each engines are different, but a idle in park of 600-800 on a warm engine is usually decent, depending on the motor/performance parts. Again a good ear will help this. Adjust the timing and carb to get the rpm’s correct for your engine. The carb is a whole other beast, and there are too many to give a good guide here. But there is a fast idle screw, this should be #1 suspect if it ran fine before and timing is on. Get or find a guide to your carb and adjust accordingly if needed.

After this is set, it is all just tuning, which never ends.

Don’t forget to hook your vacuum advance back up. This won’t really affect idle, it kicks when you cruise to save you gas. So the vac advance is set later, you need to drive it and watch for flat spots or pinging then adjust the vac canister.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Global Warming, the monster hiding under your bed.

So I wake up and hear the snow plows going by my house, I am putting off shoveling my sidewalk to write this blog. Soon it seems, from a news article I just read, I won’t have to shovel anymore, which is great.

“Obama left with little time to curb global warming” By Seth Borenstien, from the AP. I thought, come on I can see ice hanging off the roof, what kind of joke is this as I read this title this freezing morning. The other thing I wondered is why my word program isn’t trying to tell me I misspelled Borenstien, why would that name be recognized but I’ve typed and saved mine to the dictionary a hundred times and it still gets the squiggly red underline.

But back to the story. Here is an exert.
“Mother Nature, of course, is oblivious to the federal government's machinations. Ironically, 2008 is on pace to be a slightly cooler year in a steadily rising temperature trend line. Experts say it's thanks to a La Nina weather variation. While skeptics are already using it as evidence of some kind of cooling trend, it actually illustrates how fast the world is warming.
The average global temperature in 2008 is likely to wind up slightly under 57.9 degrees Fahrenheit, about a tenth of a degree cooler than last year. When Clinton was inaugurated, 57.9 easily would have been the warmest year on record. Now, that temperature would qualify as the ninth warmest year.”


La Nina, I remember La Nina, and the news telling me it wouldn’t affect temperatures just precipitation. Also since it is colder this proves how fast it is really getting hotter? Well I’ll just put a camel in a freezer and tell him don’t worry the ice on your nose means soon this freezer will 130 degrees.

I also went and did some fact checking, recently (cough cough) our measurement tools for tracking temperatures haven’t been placed so well. One was over black top, one three foot from an air-conditioned vent that rushes hot air out of homes. Back to that in a minute. So I can’t really say with all confidence I trust the recent records, and the fact that the 1930s, anyone remember the dust bowl from history, that year was pretty freaking hot itself.

But anyway. Poor ole Obama just doesn’t have enough time to fix global warming it is too far gone to fix now. Aw shucks. So far in my life 1. Green house gasses were blocking out the suns rays meaning we would have a ice age. 2. The ozone hole which we made, but wait we found it . . . Did we find it or make it? Whatever lets blame us, we made was going to expand and kill us all. 3. Green house gasses are now acting as a blanket and trapping heat so we will all cook. Throw on top of these things a major earthquake down the Mississippi river line that had us doing earthquake drills in elementary, and the fact that yellow stone was gong to erupt while I was in middle school and kill us all(neither of these happened by the way for you history impaired), and wonder why I maybe suspicious of the new on coming doom named Global warming..

So I guess we are warming like we’ve never warmed before. Or wait are we?
“We provide an analysis of Greenland temperature records to compare the current (1995-2005) warming period with the previous (1920-1930) Greenland warming. We find that the current Greenland warming is not unprecedented in recent Greenland history. Temperature increases in the two warming periods are of a similar magnitude, however, the rate of warming in 1920-1930 was about 50% higher than that in 1995 - 2005.”

No way Greenland is North you know, up by Canada. Close to where all the ice is melting, and
polar bears are drowning. Hmm.

“No global warming proof” By Charles Battig
“The largest increases in global temperature had already taken place before 1940, . . ., with 1934 as the warmest year of recent history, according to corrected NASA records.”
Another interesting tid bit of information. At least my word program thinks Battig is spelled wrong, or I was going to be more worried about what weird Microsoft conspiracies could be going on. And see I remember elementary school, kind of, talking about the 20s and 30s being hot and dry.

But no matter what information I bring, like the fact England used to have a booming mass wine business, but don’t any more. Why you ask? You really want to know? Well geez I better tell you, once it was warm enough to grow grapes, in the great times of castles and dragons, then it became cold and is too cold to grow grapes in England for the mass production of wine anymore. Hmm. Maybe in the day the dragons emitted enough pollutants to raise the temperature, but now we only have these SUVs that aren’t as efficient polluters as dragons. Time for some genetic experiments, a dragon what is that, a cross between a crocodile and eagle?

Oh yeah, remember a few paragraphs ago when I talked about air conditioners, and that one tool for measuring temperatures was placed about three foot away from a hot air vent? I wonder if these scientist ever took into consideration air conditioning.

Come on this seems viable to me. Ok ok, lets compare. Power plants and such take in river water and use it too cool their machinery, ect, then they dump it back out into the river a few degrees warmer than it came in, this increases the water temperature and the ecosystem changes or suffers to deal with this heated water. Now the world is getting more and more developed and more people and places have air conditioners. What do our air conditioners do? They suck in air, push super charged cool air into your house, and pump hot air outside. Maybe that is the cause for global warming, I Think that is as viable as co2.

Obviously people are interested in Global warming, there are two books, NY Times best sellers, Gores’ which you all know, and "Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500
Years.“ By Dennis Avery.

But another thing I find interesting is that Gore doesn’t , err umm, won’t debate.
"Maybe it's because climate alarmists tend to lose when they
debate climate realists. Or because most scientists do not support
climate alarmism." Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute

So whatever your view I’m cold, and it is cold outside. I was promised warming and haven’t seen it yet. But these aren’t new views for me, here is an extra short blog I actually wrote a couple years ago. I polished it a little, many many mistakes, but hey that’s how my writing evolves.


Global Warming

Everyone is afraid of global warming, but that is not the biggest threat. Astronauts are the biggest threat . . . but why? Every year, if not the US then another country, sends someone into space. One necessity that supports human life is oxygen. Oxygen the astronauts use the oxygen to breath, and to run their "jet packs" to propel them in space. Most countries also dump used oxygen/CO2 out into space. Why is this a problem? Don't trees make oxygen?

They do from CO2. So if they are dumping our breathable atmosphere out into space it is like bailing out the ocean with five gallon buckets and tossing it in space, eventually you'll get it done. Trees will not have CO2 to convert and we will not have oxygen to breath. With all the future plans to build space stations and trips commercially being available we are starting a bailing process, soon we could use all our oxygen!

Yeah I know this is unlikely, but this how I view global warming. 1/2 a degree Celsius, the ocean rising 7 inches this century, when on average it rises 8 inches, other planets in our solar system warming up just like ours, could the problem be the solar flares instead of us? Could it be our faulting magnetic field, why does it have to be us and our carbon foot prints? How about the fact the earth's tilt changes, the jet stream moves, the sun is ever changing???

No. We little humans can control the weather now, well I'd like some global warming during the winter.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Common Diseases for Tropical Fish and Cichlids.


Tiny white spots will appear on your fish, and your fish may start itching or rubbing.
It is a parasite, tiny and spreads like no tomorrow. The parasite burrows right under your fish's skin, and then developed into the little white spot or cyst, that eventually falls off, sinks, and breaks open, letting thousands of little "hair like" organisms out that. These swim upward, bury them selves under your fishes skin and repeat the process. It spreads fast and strong.

Chill may weaken your fish and ick may appear, or something introduced, fish, decoration out of another tank, or used gravel also can be hosts to ick.

To treat ick, crank the heat up, it shortens the life cycle of the parasite (which can live for a long time in colder aquariums). Also there are commercial treatments available that you add to your water, most often the active ingredient is methylene blue, which is a blue dye. Seal salt will also work, I haven't tried it, but have been told one teaspoon to gallon of water, use at your risk, I can't guarantee the effects. Sea salt in low doses will not harm fresh water fish when added incrementally. (house salts contains iodine which is deadly to fish never add it to your tank).
Methylene blue, or a “some name brand” treatment that contains a similar dye is very effective. It doesn't kill the parasite when it is on your fish but when the cyst drops it inhibits the "hair like" organisms from infecting your fish, with heat it will rid your tank of ick, but be sure to thoroughly vacuum your gravel and then disinfect your siphon and any nets you have used in the infected water. (Infected nets, decorations, siphons, ect . . . can infect other tanks, or re-infect a treated tank.

Some people will tell you to remove the infected fish immediately, but in all honestly if you see the spots and remove the fish, treat the whole tank anyway, more than likely it has started to spread. With the dye there are some side effects, certain kinds of treatment can be harmful to your fish if you use a carbon filter (the filter can also trap ick so toss it out) so removing your filter during treatment is necessary. Methylene blue will also kill plants, which I would destroy after an ick infestation to be better safe than sorry anyway. Lastly the silicone caulking may become bluish, from the dye.


It is a horrible disease, your fish's scales will become angled and almost stand up, the body can be puffy, or just puffy in places, eyes can bulge, and the mouths can become deformed as if infected by tumors.

Cause is not 100% known, there are commercial treatments but I have not seen one work yet.
It is suggested to remove the fish immediately, it is not known to spread and seems to be random on the fish it targets, but better safe than sorry. You can try commercial treatments, but in the end you may have to put your fish down. I will cover that at the end of this "article" if you will call it that.


Something has caused a hemorrhage behind the fish's eye. The eye, or both eyes bulge and maybe discolored.

This could have many causes, infection, fighting, stress, or bumping into a decoration.
Sea salt will treat this, start with one tsp per gallon for two days, if no relief use two tsp per gallon on day three. Change water after treatment a bit by bit, not all at once. Also silversol or a similar product on a q-tip rubbed on the fish's eye (gently) is a cure, for this you must catch the fish in a net and apply. Also time may heal this if your fish isn't too upset or distressed, it maybe better to wait and see how it heals.

Fungus, fin rot or mouth rot

This disease is deadly, and will kill fish quickly.
A bit of white fluffy looking material will appear on the mouth or fins and starts to eat the flesh of the fish. It will spread very quickly, and can devastate a tank in no time.
There are commercial cures, most likely aureomycin is the active ingredient, it is very expensive in some locations.

50mg per gallon will cure the rot in a couple days, fish severely infected still may not survive, separate at the first sign to prevent spreading, and cross your fingers.


This is caused by a protozoan that infects the fish. The proto has a free swimming stage so it is best killed during this vulnerable part of it's life.
A film covers part of your fish, it will be yellow or brownish, some itching may occur. More spots will appear if not treated, and the older spots may become hard and rust like.
Fry infected will die from velvet 99% of the time, smaller fish are also more at risk to die from velvet.

To treat velvet commercial cures are available, most are dye treatments and may contain acriflavine. Since they are dye treatments plants should be removed, and disinfected returned after treatment is done, also your charcoal filters must be removed. Many commercial products may treat ick and velvet, as both respond to dye treatments.

Swim Bladder Disorders

Your fish has a bladder inside it filled with gas, it controls the rise or sink of the fish. If your fish is floating (and not dead) it may have a swim bladder disorder.

The bad news! This is rare and incurable the fish should be put down. The good news! Most times (unless something fell on your fish, or you squeezed it) this is simply caused by indigestion. Do not feed for two-three days and if the situation improves you may have to change your food.


Caused by gyrodactylus, a parasite that sticks itself in the gills and skin.
This is not often seen but symptoms are a fish that darts around stops all of the sudden, looking as if exhausted. Flukes is highly contagious, hard to get out of a tank, and can cause enough stress to kill a healthy fish. Good news is it treatable.
Commercial treatments are available, but can be hard to find in certain areas. I'd suggest getting one to use. If not you can treat the fish yourself, but it is difficult.

Remove the fish into another tank (or fishy hospital tank as some call it) as it is highly contagious. Always have another treatment tank available even if it is a Tupperware container.
You can treat flukes with glacial acetic acid at one drop per ounce. Place your fish in this mixture for 15-20 seconds, and repeat every two days (not over three treatments)
If you can't find glacial acetic acid, and you can find formaldehyde then you can put 15-20 drops into a gallon of water an place the fish in until it looks tired or exhausted, usually less than 10 minutes, and repeat just like the glacial acetic treatment.


If you use a dye treatment remove the charcoal filter!
Sea salt is relatively safe for fresh water fish, not table or house salt ,iodine will kill your fish! One tsp per gallon is the recommending starting dose, though most fish can handle 2-3 tsp per gallon. If you use salt try and use a separate tank or container, as salt is hard on plants and may kill them. Also plecostomus and snails are not very tolerant to salt. It is also better to change the salt water out gradually back to fresh water, a completely change may stress or cause stress in the fish.

To put down a fish humanely;

Put your fish in a separate container, less than one gallon if possible. Add clove oil to the water, add until your fish stops or barely moves. Clove oil is an anesthetic, and is commonly used in fish surgeries, it will numb and make sure your fish feels no pain. When your fish is very numb and barely moving add grain alcohol to the water, a good amount. This will ensure your fish doesn't wake up. If you use clove oil alone the fish may recover and spring back to live after the effects wear off, but it is possible to euthanize a fish with just clove oil. If you have no gill movements for 2 minutes then your fish has expired.

Hey I found a pearl!

Today after I got out of college my wife to be surprised me. She had bought the stuff to make oyster soup. She hates oyster soup, but I love it. So with my over sight she whipped up some soup. I hadn't had these oysters before, usaully it is canned, or smoked oysters, but these were fresh. Maybe five times before in life I had fresh oysters in my oyster soup. So we took a little bacon and fried it up, then I rinsed the oysters and thre them in the bacon grease with the bacon, just to warm them a bit, not fry them. A quarter cup of butter was tossed in a pan, along with some evaporated milk, half a cup of water, and a cup of real milk. That was brought to a simmer and melted all the butter down, then we dumped in the bacon grease, bacon, and oysters and let it simmer for about five minutes. We then had some mighty fine oyster soup. I started eating a bowl, and found the oysters were a sandy. Not bad, but a little grit was in them, I should of rinsed them a little bit better. But over all it was good soup. As I enjoyed my soup I suddenly bit something hard, at first I thought maybe a small rock as the oysters were a bit gritty. But no, not a rock, a small, round, off white pearl. Good news is I didn't break a tooth, but I wonder if I will find more, I still have half a pan left to eat.

So thats pretty random.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First Blog

First blog
Well why not start this blog page off with a first blog? I guess I should introduce myself here, and give a bit of a preview what I will blog about, and how I write. I have a lot of writing experience you could say. I write for college, for fun, I have written one book that is published, another that needs proofed then I can start shopping it around for book publishers.
I am a twenty something college student, buying a home, pet owner, and jack of all trades . . . That make sense? Well I am going to college for education, my wife landed a great job that allowed me to leave the working world for a bit and return to college to expand my earning potential. We are buying a home, with the idea we will ultimately sell it in a few years and move from the area. Our house is probably the nicest home in our area, we live in the “hood” so to speak. It is a couple of bedroom, two car garage, I am finishing the attic (putting in a wet bar) and finishing the basement. The rest well you know the drill, vinyl windows, siding, new roof, 6’ tall privacy fence I barely got in last winter before the freeze.
Pets, pets, pets, jeez do we have pets. We have three dogs, two beagles, one pregnant, and one American Bulldog. They are horrible, right now their newest hobby is getting in the trash and spreading it out all over the place. We’ve tried a fourth dog several times, a Boxer (very hyper and barky, and Dasch/York mix who pee’d on everything. Both of those have moved to more suitable homes. The wife to be wants another dog (ugh) something little and cute, I’m working against this idea vehemently. We also have three fish tanks, several cichlids, a pacman toad, and a deaf cat running around.
I was a poli sci major, and as you’ll read I swing more conservative than most. I don’t like big government taxing me, laying down rules and regulations, I think the cream will float and crap sink.
And the jack of all trades part, well that comes from rugged individualism. I am a mechanic, restoring my 76 Nova working on our other vehicles, a 00something ford that takes the brunt of the driving, and a full size bronco I need to haul butt on to get ready for this lovely winter (where is global warming!?!?). I also do construction, concrete, foundations, electrical, plumbing, framing, dry walling, painting, roofing, ect. . . I am, well as you know a writer, an amateur massage therapist, tattoo artist, boxer, plain old artist, inventor, beer drinker, hunter, landscaper and yes I do not have time TV! So no blogs about my favorite episode of . . . crap I don’t even know a newer show.
I do listen to AM radio, drives some people nuts I don’t think the radio is for music, but talk and news. I like to stay informed.
Well ok enough about me, why am I writing? (ha ha that was lame joke if you got it you understand my humor) But I am writing because, hmmmm, I guess I don’t have friends so to speak, I tend to alienate people. Also I enjoy writing. So what will I be writing about? Things I find interesting, cars, fish, home repair, politics, dreams (I have some weird uns’), I am hoping this to be an interesting mix of information, resources, and opinions. I will be posting some old blogs I have written a few months ago, but after finals that are coming at an exceedingly increasing pace I should have time to fill up some more space on the internet.