Entries tagged with “Vader”.

This is a photo from Frick Park in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago when we got more than 20 inches of snow. Check out the bent and broken trees in the background.

Lola, Onyx, and Vader

Long thought to be extinct, and to live only in its natural habitat of Southern Australia and the island of Tasmania, a fine specimen of Tasmanian Tiger (aka Thylacine) was spotted and photographed in Pittsburgh!  Amazingly it was also in my front yard… during our pumpkin carving party… and it’s wearing a collar… and looks suspiciously like someone just panited our dog.

Real Tasmanian Tigers are incredibly cool animals.  For more info check out the Thylacine Museum.

Three days after the giant fur wad, I brushed this pile out of my dog. I could’ve gotten more too if he hadn’t been so interested in those stupid squirrels. Also in the picture is the rake that I use to brush him.

This is from just one brushing. No trick photography or fur-fluffing here either. That wad of fur really is bigger than his head. I am astonished at how much fur came out of my dog in the course of an hour. Normally he takes several days to lose his coat, but this seems to be most of it in one go. The fur wad is from yesterday; I brushed him again tonight, and while some more came out, it is negligible in comparison.

I wasn’t sure what to do with the giant fur wad, so I put it in a bag with a note that said, “With love, from Vader” and hung it on the neighbors door handle. We’ll see if they think that is funny.

Today Vader and I flushed out a turkey and a snake at the dog park.  Vader saw the turkey, but not the snake.  I’m still curious how he’s going to react to seeing a snake.  Then, a little later, when Vader came out of the brush I was looking him over for ticks, and I found a tiny little baby praying mantis.  It was really cute.

Maybe living  on top of a hill isn’t so great after all.  Lenore, Vader and I were in the bedroom as a thunderstorm was rolling in last night.  Lenore and I were in the bedroom getting ready to go to bed, and Vader was in there because he was freaking out that the thunderstorm was going to kill us all.  Turns out that the dog may have been on to something.

As we were talking, a particularly loud clap of thunder sounded outside and there was a flash of blue light right above my head.  I couldn’t see it, but Lenore sure could.  She said that there was an arc of electricity that stretched from the window to the ceiling fan that was right over my head.  So that arc went about six feet into the house in order to miss my head by about a foot and a half.  Eep.

Vader freaked out while Lenore and I discussed how crazy it was that lightning came into our house.  Maybe we only think we’re that much smarter than dogs.

I’m spending a long weekend with my cousin and family in Leonia NJ. Today we went to the bakery, and were met at the door by the largest pile of butter I have ever seen. It was awesome.

Worth Their Weight in Butter: My Cousin Scott and his daughter Frances at Balthazar Bakery in Englewood NJ

I had a shockingly good chocolate chip cookie, and we brought home a giant, and delicious, loaf of bread.

Other highlights so far:

  • didn’t get lost on the way here
  • played a surprise game of soccer with my dog
  • got yelled at by a NY cop
  • juggled tennis balls representing the Jewish Matriarchs and Patriarchs for Tot Shabbat at the local Synagogue
  • got recognized as being from Pittsburgh by the grocery bag I had the tennis balls in

Unfortunately I was not able to connect with my NYC juggler pals, but I’ve got a whole day and a half left in Leonia, so who knows what else might go down.

Today Vader and I decided to go for a real drive in the Model A. The initial plan was that I was going to go pick up our friends Steve and Penny, we would all go for a drive together, and that way if the car died, they could help me push it back. It turned out that Steve and Penny double booked, so Vader and I were going to go by ourselves.

For the second time today the Model A started easily, so I thought my troubles were behind me. I backed the car out of the garage, and was trying unsuccessfully to get Vader in the car (he currently hates the Model A) when there was a sudden pang pang pang Pang Pang PANG PANG from the engine compartment. I opened the hood to find the fan turning at a jaunty angle and cutting a huge gash into the radiator, which was now shooting a nice little stream of water all over the engine. For those of you following the story, that’s the same radiator that I just got fixed. Arg. So tonight I took the radiator off the car again. It went a whole lot faster this time since I have experience. Also, I got to meet a very nice lady who helped me push the car back into the garage as I was blocking her way in the alley.

New plan for tomorrow: Wake up early. Feed self. Feed dog. Walk dog. Load up car for gig. Put radiator in car and take it to Mike the radiator guy. Put generator in car to take to Devin’s generator guy down in Bedford. Drive to gig in Columbus IN. After gig drive to Devin’s house, talk cars, go see his generator guy, talk cars, maybe even go for a drive in Devin’s car, talk cars some more, go home. Drop dog off at home. Hang out with East coast yo-yo guys in town for one night. Go to bed very late.

If all goes well, the radiator and the generator will be finished by the time I am able to work on them again next week. Aside from the fact that I need to get good at driving the Model A before we move to Pittsburgh, there is also a rockabilly car show next Saturday (the 23rd) and Devin and I really want to drive both our cars there. Plus, if I’m ever going to find super-cool lookin’ workin’-on-the-car clothes, the rockabilly guys will know where to find them.

Yesterday my pal Devin came over and we spent almost the whole day working on my family’s Model A. The basic plan was that he was going to come up from Bedford to show me how to work on the brakes, and help me check them out to see if they were in good shape. As it turned out, we didn’t even get to the brakes until something like 9 pm.

The first thing we did was to try to get the engine started. I had had it running, but I was having trouble with the battery. I’m fairly sure that the generator (the thing that charges the battery while you drive) is bad and needs a complete overhaul, AND it seems as though the battery charger I bought has died. So Devin brought his Dad’s charger up and we got my battery charging right away. Devin double-checked how I had the timing set and made a little adjustment, and we got the engine running. A lot of time was spent fiddling, making small adjustments, and trying to see where to set all the knobs and levers in the passenger compartment, and on the carburetor. We stopped the engine every so often to do this or that, and it wouldn’t always start back up again. Twice the car wouldn’t start because it had run out of gas, but sometimes we just couldn’t figure it out.

Fortunately Devin has more experience than I do with cars in general, but especially with Model A’s. He showed me a wiring diagram in the The Model A Ford Mechanics Handbook Volume 1, by Les Andrews, got out his test light and we followed it until we found a bad connection on the ammeter inside the dash. It was a quick fix.

Then we noticed that the coil (essentially a big capacitor that ramps up the 6V from the battery into 20,000V for the sparkplugs) was getting really hot. It normally gets warm, but this was hot enough that it was hard to touch.

Devin said, “You know, we can just go down to AutoZone and get a new one. They’re only like fifteen bucks. We just have to convince them that they actually have it so they will sell it to us.”

Devin, Vader, and I piled in the Prius (the pinnacle of modern automotive technology) to go off to buy a part for the second model car that Ford ever made (the pinnacle of automotive technology in 1930). It was a nice contrast.

We walked into AutoZone, and there was an older guy and a young guy working. I always go to the older guy if I have the choice, but he was busy.

“Hi. We’re looking for a 6V coil.” I said.
“What the hell are you talking about?” The young guy said.
I started laughing. This was typical AutoZone, and exactly what we both expected. “It’s for a 1930 Model A Ford.”
“Oh. You need to talk to that guy,” he said pointing to the older guy, “he knows about old cars and stuff.”

We went over to chat with the older guy, and he helped us work it out.

“A coil? Could it be called an ignition coil?” he asked.
“Sure. That would make sense.” Devin and I said together.

He punched in “6V ignition coil” under the category for 1930 Model A Ford (which I was surprised was even in their computer), and out popped the shelf number. He went to get it, and when he came back he made a funny production out of blowing the dust off the box. $14 later we were back in the car on the way home.


On Friday Vader and I went to the IMA future sculpture garden for a nice little walk, and there were birds everywhere! The wildlife at the IMA is always pretty good, but there were just SO many birds this time. I am guessing that they must be migrating. I saw the usual Canada Geese, grackels, robins, and ducks, but then there were Coots, Cowbirds, Woodpeckers, and I even saw a Turkey Vulture eating what I think was a snake. That took me off guard. I already knew that they were carrion feeders, so maybe the snake was killed by the mower or something.