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Blog Archive 2015 Apr

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Wed Apr 1 = Today's rental car from Enterprise was a little Chivrolet Sonic LT (0-60 in 11.52 seconds). Although it has cruise control, it doesn't seem to be quite as plush as the other, Asian, cars.
- I stopped by Bell Auto Body to sign the painting contract. They had my van all masked off in, the paint booth and ready to paint the roof (see left video below). Tomorrow they'll paint the rest.

Van Repaint with back-up cameras... just as shiny as a new one and a WHOLE LOT CHEAPER!
Paint pealing on roof due to factory defect
TPealing Paint
Rusty right hatch jam
Taylor compact scale
Right hatch jam after grinding rust, fiberglassing and painting
Taylor compact scale
Walk-around Van Before Repainting             51 sec. video
2:09 min:Walk-around Van Repainting Progress             2:08 min. video
:56 sec
In the spray booth just before painting the top
1:06 minutes
Walk-around Van After Repainting; no hatch or bumpers
Finished! view from the front - not too bad or an almost 19-year old van with over 300,000 miles!
Finished, front
Finished! view from the rear. One new backup camera is to the left of the licence plate and the other one above it.
Finished van
Buy the backup camera KIT from Fry's Electronics, but don't use the camera that comes with the kit. Instead spend an extra $25 for this vertically adjustable licence-plate camera.
Adjustable Back-up Camera
The kit includes this dual-function rear view mirror.
Back-up Camera Mirror Display

- I also dropped my i7 off at FedEx for shipment back to FLR for repair (third time) and stopped by Fry's Marketplace for a few things on sale with their first-Wednesday-of-the-month 10% senior discount.
- Out of the 160 that partiThe winners, tonight, for the Arizona's Funniest Comedian competition repeated most of the material they did at the preliminaries, and the semifinals. They were:
  1. Thai Rivera
  2. Jonathan Gregory
  3. Michael Longfellow
- The last few days I have been doubting this comedy thing. Tonight's show encouraged me and made me feel better about my comedy.

Thu Apr 2 = The main thing I did today was drive down to the Comedy Spot early, stopping by a gym on the way to see if I could give anyone my extra $10 ticket. Nobody. The Comedy spot got $10 but, unfortunately, had an empty seat.
- It was a good show, although I was not on the bill. The best comedians were Tim Fallon, Tony Base and Shawn, the owner who does phenomenal crowd work. It was also fun to see my friends, some of the other students in the comedy class, perform.
- Before going to bed I recorded a 30-minute comedy routine I'm developing, so got to bed a little before 1am.

Fri Apr 3 = Today, not in order, I worked on comedy, did some more on taxes, returned the rental car and went to LA Fitness for a light torso workout with a little chest and legs thrown in.
- I also found, downloaded and looked over my Capital One Master Card Guide to Benefits It turns out that I would not have had to get collision insurance on my van to have the insurance on the rental cars. Capital One woud have covered it. It no longer matters because I got all four cars back to Enterprise in pristine condition.

Sat Apr 4 = I got my Equifax credit report and FICO score since I have my credit thawed. Doing my taxes, I found I had a digit wrong, which induced a $10,000 income error. Good thing I noticed it, because I am sure the IRS would have. I also had my body-shop neighbor, Ken look at my shiny repainted van.

Sun Apr 5 = After this morning's comedy class I drove to
Harold and Bernadette
Harold Dean Hayes is my techie X brother-in-law
's for a scrumptious Easter dinner and socializing. It was a hot drive. My van's AC is not working... again.
- I try to add variety to my days, working on sit-down (computer) activities for 18 minutes then an up-and-around activity for five or more minutes. Hopefully, that way, I will not get a butt that is as broad as my office chair.
- Just before supper I watered my van with my plant watering wand - lots of water to check for leaks. The windshield did not leak (yea), but the rear hatch leaked at the top - lots. This is an issue because it can rain HARD for HOURS on
Hatteras Island and the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina
- This evening I installed GasGuru 1.1.2 from Yellow Pages on my Samsung Galaxy S2 Android smart phone. It should be handy on my next road trip. GasGuru shows a map or list of gas prices in the surrounding area.

Sun Apr 5 = Happy Easter. I went to the Comedy Spot class this morning and on to
Harold and Bernadette
my X-brother-in-law and his wife
's for a delicious ham dinner and a good time. Chet, Edith and their three boys were there.
- I stayed up way late, but spent the time into the wee hour researching and ordering a new Bluetooth headset, since my Plantronics Voyager Legend is not transmitting clear audio. Here were the finalists:
  1. Plantronics Voyager Legend, $79 from Walmart - Yup, I ordered the same as the old one because it has the clearest microphone output, long battery life, comfort and I already have chargers etc. for it.
  2. Jawbone Era, $60 from cellxpo.com - secure, comfortable fit, stylish and the lightest and smallest, which is the result of less battery life, but not always the clearest mic output
  3. Plantronics Edge, $112 from ebay - not quite as good as the Legend in mic quality, battery life and secure fit.

Mon Apr 6 = This morning I took my van to Auto Tune, again, to fix the AC. They replaced the receiver/drier and think that was the problem. Their previous AC freon charge had leaked out in about 150 miles and two weeks - most of that time sitting around Bell Auto Body.
- Today I added a neat pie chart to the FICO seciton of my Smart Stuff web page.

Tue Apr 7 = This morning's trip was to Bell Auto Body with my van where they installed the new bumper. I never thought there would be so much improvement over the old one. Then on to 99 Cent Only for a microfiber cloth, Good Sense (the best) quart freezer bags, two 2" wide-angle blind-spot stick-on rear view mirrors, among other things. Then on to O'Rellily's for Turtle Wax's Wax & Dry spray, which was recommended by Juan at Bell Auto Body.
- This evening I appeared at Copper Blue's in Tempe for their Speed Round for three minutes of comedy. The crowd was very small. Most of the comics, but not me, complained to the crowd about their not laughing. I think I did better than average, with the audiance laughing 9% of my time.
- Back here at home, I updated this blog, then got t bed before midnight.

Wed Apr 8 = Big comedy project today: figuring all the open mic nights and locations and how to do at least one in each state on the southern route along interstates 10, 20, 74, 95 then US 64 & NC 12 on the way to
Hatteras Island and the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina

Thu Apr 9 = At Bell Auto Body, Juan's painter, Joey, was sick so they can't finish detailing my van today. That's OK because I had an appointment with Dave Jones at the Union Hills DSFCU Credit Union at 3 this afternoon.
- Dave looked over my finances and investments and had no suggestions beyond what I am already doing. That reinforced my strategy of constant, regular investing - right now in the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX).
- On the way home I picked up some things at Dollar Tree and did my heavy torso workout at LA Fitness.

Fri Apr 10 = This morning, for comedy I emailed two comedy venues in Atlanta, analyzed my Copper Blue routine from Tuesday (finally) and updated Past Appearances on my Comedy web page.
- I finished and submitted my taxes electronically this afternoon - YEA! Later, the governments accepted both my federal and state returns
- This evening I reprogrammed my Dig drip system from Sundays at 10:08am for 1:30 to a 5-day interval at 10:08am for 1:40. Before I head out on my trip I will be monitoring the interval feature because they have a bug in the software. I don't want my plants to die when I'm away.
- I prepared a bunch of donation envelopes, so if someone wants to pay me for my comedy, they can easily give the money to
The organization I support and through which I take non-driving seniors shopping and to their doctors' appointments
- The smaller, six-inch, whisk brooms from Dollar Tree just fit the storage spots in my van. The little brooms clip into their own little dustpans. I used my heat gun to soften the dustpans and narrow the clips so the brooms do not fall out. Then I made accessing the brooms easier by cutting off the tips of the dustpan handles so the broom handles protrude. Next step will be to add Velcro to one of the dustpans for mounting on the left side of the driver seat.

Sat Apr 11 =
My daughter who lives in Germany with her air-force husband and two daughters
phoned this morning from Germany. We had a lovely visit just before her bedtime there.
- This afternoon I worked on adding Attitudes, Premeses and Act-Outs to the bits for tomorrow night's comedy appearance. Also making lots of phone calls to locate the last Nano cpx in Maricopa County.
- This evening I went to the LA Fitness at Camelback and 20st for a light legs workout then across the street to the Miracle Mile Deli for our Saturday Night Hamfeast. I left a little early to head over to Duncan's RC to buy my 9th
fourth type of RC micro helicopter: Blade Nano CPx that has a tail rotor, no flybar and true collective positive and negative pitch
CPX to take with me on the trip. I think it was the last Nano anywhere in Phoenix.

Sun Apr 12 = Today I tweaked my comedy routine for this evening, practiced it (but not enough) and researched backup cameras for my van.
- This evening at Phoenix Center for the Arts' Third Street Theater was fun. Kevin Stevens added a little punch to my routine with the drums. Pluss a little distraction factor for me, but it was all good.

Mon Apr 13 =
The organization I support and through which I take non-driving seniors shopping and to their doctors' appointments
day - mostly. This morning I took Denise shopping (the last time before I leave on my trip) and this afternoon I took Arlene to see her doctor.
- Instead of going home after dropping Arlene off at her house, I went to Fry's Electronics to look at their backup cameras. I ended up buying a Boss bv430rvm kit, which Rob Monteure installed in about two hours.
- On the way home I stopped by Fitness 1 for a light, fast arms workout.

Tue Apr 14 = This morning I took my van to Juan at Bell Auto Body to finish the repaint by putting on the roof rack etc. He'll keep it for today and tomorrow. We wanted to put on the finishing touches after the paint was completely dry.
- Low and behold, the van's new backup camera does not work.
- I have officially started the Vacation Countdown I do before my trips. I also checked that my new AXIS twin-tip board fits in my golf bag. The AXIS is almost an inch longer and wider than my old Lite Wave Stealth.
- Around noon I laid in the sun for 20 minutes and sprayed Round-Up on the weeds, front and back. A little later I changed my Cox Internet automatic billing to a new credit card number. The number was changed when I moved to a double rewards Master Card. At the same time I reduced my Internet speed to save money monthly.
- This evening it took about two hours to update the maps from online in my Garmin 885T. I finally went over my audio notes from the Comedy Spot class two Sundays ago. I've been busy!

Wed Apr 15 = No van today so I stayed around home working on comedy from The Comedy Bible and organizing the next couple of days.
- Expensive paid off today, when I called Yrbuds. They are sending me out a sizing kit, which is a pair of size 4,5,6 & 7 enhancers. I emailed them a picture of the buds in my ear. What service! The enhancers (contoured parts that fit in your ears) have been coming off my ear buds (earphones), so I'll have spares as well as the best fit. Oh, yes. Expensive in my book is paying $27 for a pair of ear buds... but they fit beautifully, have good volume and seldom fall out, even with nothing over the ear.
- I finally figured out how to use all the Minnen SpeedStick deodorant (my favorite) - even what's left in the mechanism when it's used up. Put the lid (must be a transparent lid so you can see what you're doing) on the used-up SpeedStick, invert it in a microwave oven and heat it for about 14 seconds or until it melts the unused product down into the lid. Then take the bottom off the top of the lid and replace it with the bottom part of a partially used SpeedStick. Screw the partially used product out (down) until it fully contacts the melted product in the lid. Let it set inverted until it reaches room temperature. Turn the SpeedStick back right side up, carefully pull the lid off and start using. This is sort of like the stick-the-old-bar-of-soap-to-the-new-bar trick.
- Tonight I tried sleeping without my CPAP machine to be ready for sleeping in my van on the trip. Sleeping was OK, but my sinuses got dried out.

Thu Apr 16 = Dr Quinlan, on a follow-up visit first thing this morning, confirmed that my retina is OK in spite of my floaters and that their LASER tack-down was a good thing and is doing its job.
- Auto tune, on the way home, gave my van a pre-road trip check and found nothing needing attention. That's the advantage of keeping it in good condition, in spite of having a little over 300,000 miles and 18 years on it.
- Ken's Transmission was my next stop. Phil, there, found that the van's transmission is following the computer's instructions, although it is still not going into lock-up properly (when Phil is not in the van, of course). I phoned Power Dodge - twice and Jason, a service writer never could tell me the latest firmware version. My version is V12. Phil said the latest version is at least Version 17.
- This afternoon I resolved my checking account for March (I had forgotten to get that done)
- My repaired FLIR i7 arrived today. FLAIR sent it overnight, which I appreciated, although they did NOT send the initiating RMA notification in a readable format like PDF, they did NOT let me know when they received the camera, did NOT let me know when it was repaired, did NOT let me know when it was coming (I luckily happened to be home when Fedex came) did NOT send me a tracking number and did NOT send it with an indirect signature. Good service, but HORIBLE communication with the customer. Maybe I expect too much from a company that sells such an expensive product.
- This evening I trimmed all my thorny Natal Plums so the trimmings will go out in tomorrow's trash pickup.

Fri Apr 17 = This morning I took my van back to Fry's Electronics for Rob to fix the first backup camera (turned out to be a bad solder power connection behind the radio) and install a second camera, which fits at the top of the the licence plate and can aim down to see the bumper.
- This afternoon I did a little vacuuming, cleaned the refrigerator (except the dusty top), put out the fancy new company kitchen towels (that I never use) and cleaned my plate glass dinette table (on which I never eat), in anticipation of tomorrow's company.

Sat Apr 18 = After breakfast I headed out to LA Fitness for a slow, heavy legs workout and then to Fry's Food for broccoli and Romaine lettuce.
George & Cindy
younger brother and his wife who live in Mesa, Arizona
came over for lunch. We had a good visit with good, disgustingly nutritious food and a lively game of Catchphrase. I showed George my shiny van with new paint and backup cameras and he showed me his new 2014 Toyota Sienna with backup camera. George and Cindy do not drive over here often, so it was nice to have them.
- After they left I took a nap, decided to mount my wind cage on the headliner of my van with a bungee cord, milled a mic-cord groove in the base of my wind cage, recharged my jumper pack and kite pump and took a picture of my mic wind cage invention for my Technology web page

Sun Apr 19 = I spent most of the day chasing bullet connectors for this evening's big project. I finally found them at Radio Shack. While I was at it, I did some final shopping for preemergence and RoundUp at Home Depot, a few things at Winco Foods, bought a 9v at Big Lots for my drip system, had a heavy, slow arms workout at Fitness One and got two CR2032s at Dollar Tree.
- This evening's big project took up the whole evening and involved the bullet connectors and included some soldering, so I had to move my non-portable soldering station out to the garage and into the van. The project was hooking up my van's ceiling fan with the new hidden wiring that Rob installed for me last Monday. I spent too much time, but it certainly is nice now.

Mon Apr 20 = There comes a time when, in spite of the fact that you have added patches on top of patches, the material is so rotten you are forced to put your customized, otherwise perfect and favorite cargo shorts in the trash. [Funeral March here, please.]
- Sewing before the trip included hand sewing cargo pocket dividers for a new pair of cargo shorts, a split thumb end on a pair of suede leather gloves, and sewing a button on my comedy-stage cargo shorts.

Tue Apr 21 = If I had known then what I know now, I would have not had to waste three hours at Bill Luke Chrysler... to find out that my van computer has the latest firmware. Besides packing, the rest of the day, I revised my OBX Comedy n Sunset poster, switched to the new one on my Comedy web page, printed a few letter-sized versions and about 100 2" microposters. I also emailed seven OBX rental agencies with the poster for publicity. I did more packing and fixed up a bungee holder on the van ceiling for my mic wind cage.

Wed Apr 22 = First thing this morning I took my van into Auto Tune to take care of the chirp I heard. Simpler and cheaper than I expected. They just replaced the serpentine belt.

Thu Apr 23 = Everything went perfectly today, or so I thought. I got everything loaded in the van in plenty of time to get to Laffs Comedy Cafe in Tucson early, but not soon enough to stop by a Tucson LA Fitness. The show was interesting; the crowd typical for an open mic. My cousin, Jim Parks came to see me. Cool! One of the interesting things about the show is the producer, who had "been doing it for 32 years" gives the light at three minutes, at which time you stop and get off the stage. It's hard to predict how long a set will take, with audience laughs etc., so I like the usual one-minute light. I was saving my killer joke for last, but could not do it... out of time.
- It wasn't until after the show that I realized that I forgot to put my trash container out on the curb for pickup. That wouldn't be a problem except that in it was three pounds of a half of a partially-eaten watermelon. The varmints and critters will probably smell it in my garage make a trail to it and invite all their friends.
- I spent the night at a Tucson Walmart. The security guard knocked on a couple of windows a few times at about midnight, but that was all. As usual, I had all my sun shields up and didn't move a muscle.

Fri Apr 24 = Drove from Tucson to Van Horn, TX.

Sat Apr 25 = Drove in Texas from Van Horn to Weatherford; Walmart-to-Walmart

Sun Apr 26 = The drive to Lewisville (north of Dallas) was mostly a maze of freeways - mostly on Interstate 20 and Texas 121. In Lewisville I spent about three hours at a library, about a half hour at the LA Fitness and five houus at...
- T's Bar & Grill, which usually has only music for their open mic on Sundays. What a neat high-tech place! As a change of pace, Eric Paluk the owner/manager was gracious enough to let me do comedy. Jacob, the host gave me 15 minutes and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I got a number of complements after my set. It appears that I'm on par with the lightning, as the same gal that said I was awesome, also said that the lightning outside was awesome. Before my set someone commented about my big muscles. Now, that can't help but make it a good evening.
- I got on stage about 12:15am, stayed for a number of other artists, drove to Walmart in Misquite, TX and got to bed about 2:42 am by a tree that would provide shade until about 11:30 am in the morning. This evening there were some severe thunderstorms and a tornado watch, although not where I was. Just a little rain.

Mon Apr 27 = The shade tree was perfect, although it was cloudy this morning. The birds took full advantage of my newly painted van with generous quantities of poop - all natural, of course - which took me at least 20 minutes to remove in the morning.
- I drove to Mandirin MS for the night... Walmart, of course.

Tue Apr 28 = Today I drove on to Atlanta, GA for two comedy appearances this evening - both ITP (Inside The Perimeter). I think it is my third time for two appearances in the same night.
- The Laughing Skull's Open Mic was a neat, well-organized compact venue and a neat crowd. My Samsung Galaxy S2 Android smart phone saved my bacon. The producer said I was not on the list for the show. He showed me how to search my emails, and there was the the confirming email from Ben eleven days ago. I was then put on the list.
- Later, at Limerick Junction, a few miles to the east, Tim ran a more relaxed show, but lots of fun I did mostly the same routine I did at Laughing Skull.
- For the night I headed for Charleston and spent the night in Lithonia, GA.

Wed Apr 29 = This evening's comedy at Wolf Tracks in Charleston, SC was interesting, unusual and fun. All the acts were music but me. Matt and younger Will were the hosts. Bill, the bartender made a point of being a comedian, himself with a big serving tray and spool as his gong. Since it was raining, there were not a whole not of people there. The music was excellent with Phill, and especially Zino and Curley. Since there were not many other acts, I did almost 18 minutes. I have made friends all aong the way so far this trip, seemingly more so when I am the only comedian. Maybe no feeling of competition.

Thu Apr 30 = Drove to
Hatteras Island and the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina
for the night at the Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep dealer in Kill Devil Hills, NC.

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