Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

I worked both those days at the Chevron.  We weren’t any busier than usual, but that didn’t stop these huge shopping days from effecting us.

When everybody and their mother-in-law’s second cousin are using their credit cards at the same time, it sure slows things down.  Do you know how long 45 seconds seems when you have a customer standing there watching you watch the cash register and all it’s saying is “PLEASE WAIT”?  A long time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rhyolite, Nevada and more sepia pictures.

Readers of the comments on my first set of sepia pictures will know that I had an inquiry about where this picture was taken.

Karen, rather than put this in the comments section, I decided to make it another admission to the TP:Sepia group.

Fortunately I keep my pictures in chronological order, so it wasn’t too hard to track  down where the picture was taken.  Rhyolite, Nevada is about 100 miles (162 km) northwest of Las Vegas, just 9 miles (15 km) from the California border. It’s on a nicely paved road, just about a 2 miles (3 km) off Nevada SR 374.   The bicycle is actually before you get to the actual city ruins, there is a little enclave or weird art work strewn around the hillside.  Then just a short drive up the hill you see the first buildings of what used to be the main street of Rhyolite.  I left a couple of them in full color, as you’ll see they would have lost a lot in the transition to sepia.

An old wagon down by the weird artwork.

This rock spiral was the first thing we saw.

A big iron sculpture of a miner and a, a penguin?  I’ve heard of a canary in a coal mine, but never a penguin.

A concrete couch with inlaid tiles.

And it’s backside.

It looked like it could have been an entrance to an old mine, or some sort of water delivery system.

Buildings down by the artwork.

This one looked a big concrete “lego woman”.  Weird thing to be out there in the middle of nowhere.

More of the ghostly sheets, this time they form the “Last Supper”.

This was on top of a pole, not quite sure what it is supposed to be.

The Rhyolite Merchantile.

Inside the school.

A couple more buildings on the main strip.

Rattlesnakes.  Gotta love those rattlesnakes.

Old Union Pacific caboose in what used to be the middle of town.

Inside the caboose.

Looking down towards the other buildings from the middle of town.

The old railroad station (and casino).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Parrot attitude

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's' mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.  John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to 'clean up' the bird's vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The  parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed.  Then suddenly there was total quiet.  Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.  The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions.  I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and   unforgivable behavior."  John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. 

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird spoke-up, very softly, "May I ask what the turkey did?"


Sepia, a look through the old west.

In the summer of ‘08 I spent two weeks driving around Utah, Nevada and California looking at ghost towns.  The first week, Writer and I cruised the Moab area, the second week my older brother and I went through Nevada, clipped the edge of California and back.  These pictures are all from that trip.

A tombstone in an old graveyard outside of Sego, Utah.

The only house, but not the only building, left in Sego.

Inside an abandoned cafe in the half-ghost town of Thompson, Utah.

On top of a fridge in the office of the abandoned Thompson Motel.

A scavenger in flight looking for his/her next meal.

My brother at the storefront in Brodie, California, and incredibly well preserved ghost town.

I went through the 3,000 pictures I took on that trip and, being very reserved, cut down all my sepia pictures to a mere 79.  I didn’t want to post them all here, many people won’t want to take the time to look at them all.  But, if you are interested, please check out the gallery.

If you want to show off your pictures, or just see a whole bunch more really cool sepia pictures, taken by a lot of different people, click on the link below.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Life lesson #4,823.72

When it’s 16°F (-9°C) out, be sure to warm up your car before you take it through one of those automatic car washes.

One of the benefits of working at the Chevron is that I get a free supreme car wash every week.  So when I got off work tonight I decided to run the car through the wash.  The supreme runs around your car twice spraying it down with soap, lets it soak for 60 seconds, high power rinses twice, wax, rinse and finally a low power spot-free rinse.  It also uses heated water for all these.

I could tell I was in trouble before the first round of soap was done.  My car was covered with a sheet of soapy ice.  The second time around simply added a second layer of ice.  I turned on the wipers and they just slid right over the sheet.  Nada.  Quick, turn on the rear-window deicer and the front heat.  High powered rinse comes around melts it a little bit.  I turn on the wipers for the second rinse and that breaks up the ice a little bit.  With the heater, deicer and wipers (both front and back) going through the rest of the cycles it cleared things off enough to see where I was going driving back to the front of the store.  (The pictures shows the frozen soap-ice that still remained on the passenger door window after the wash was over).  I went in, warned my coworker that she should let her car warm up before she washed hers, and got another wash to get the rest of the soap off the car.

Second time around, when the car had warmed up, worked a lot better.

I also want to give a shout out to the guy in this other picture for the super-duper excellent job he did of cleaning the snow off his car.  Bravo, dude.  Makes me feel incredibly safe knowing that there are people like you driving around on these wintery days.  And I suppose you talk on your phone while driving, too.

Storm of the decade.

State offices closed early.  Schools cancelled all after school activities and, at least our district, locked the buildings at 3 PM.  Rocky Mountain Power mobilized their repair crews in anticipation of widespread power outages.  Utah Department of Transportation was putting down sand and salt on my street even before the storm hit.  Weathermen predicted up to a foot of snow on the valley floor.

Now, I’m not saying all this preparation was uncalled for.  I got a little weather lesson from my own personal ex-TV weatherman (who is now a teacher at my school).  He showed me the latest satellite images, a huge cold front coming from the north sucking up the moisture of a wet system coming from the south.  I could hear the excitement in his voice. The video was ominous.  As soon as the kids were out of the building the staff fled the school like rats off a sinking ship.

I watched out the window, heat turned up higher than usual just in case the power went out.  5:00 came and went with just a trace of snow.  6:00 it was snowing heavily, but by 7:30 it had already slowed down.  Figuring the bulk of the storm would hit in the middle of the night I started getting ready for bed, figuring I’d wake up to ton of snow outside.

Ton my butt.  Not even enough to hold up my ruler so I could get a picture of how deep it was.  2 1/2 inches.  That’s inches, not feet.  The Utah Highway Patrol reported a total of 127 accidents statewide, only 9 with injuries.  The power company reported there were only 208 people without power in the Salt Lake Valley.  Close to a million people live in the valley.

Talk about totally underwhelming.  Now all that’s left behind of this storm is the thing I dislike the most: bitter cold.  According to my cheap, notoriously wrong, outdoor thermometer, it’s right around 20 degrees F out there.

Disappointment of the decade is more like it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bad night for cars at the Chevron.

At least the lady said she was going to write the Tribune about the “full service Chevron” because of me, but it wasn’t a great night for cars.

We have our fair share of broken down cars at the gas station.  I’d say we average one car a month that needs to be towed or spend the night.  We got 2 months worth tonight, all in the last hour I was there, a half hour of which was after should have been home.

Lady comes in with a late 90’s Ford Contour.  She’s getting ready for the big storm coming tomorrow*, checking the radiator, oil, transmission fluids.  I help her pick out the right oil, find the transmission dipstick and put in the fluids.  All of which are services we do not officially offer at our self-serve station, but when it’s slow we help where we can.  Her car took 5 quarts of oil.I looked it up online and the official capacity of that car is 4.5 quarts.  That means she even sucked the oil filter dry.  Can we say “Not good for the car”?  Not surprisingly, she made it a block away from the station when it started blowing oil.  Being too far away from home, she came back to the station to seek our advice.  Anybody remember the 1983 video game Spy Hunter by chance?  If not, you are the spy being chased in your car by other spies.  One of the nifty little things your spy car can do is spew a huge cloud of smoke out the tailpipe to blind your followers.  That is what she looked like when she drove back into the parking lot.  My advice to her:  Don’t drive it any more.  So she called a friend to get a ride home and a tow truck to bring it to her mechanic.

Car #2.  Guy with a 2000-something Jeep Grand Cherokee at pump #2 is wandering around the pumps with jumper cables in his hands.  I’m on my way to my car to go home at this point, but figure what the hell, I got out of there early, I can afford to give him a jump start.  It took about 10 minutes and several tries before he gets it started.  I slam his hood so he can keep the Jeep running, he puts it into reverse because my car is in front of him and “carack, slam, whakka, whakka, whakka”.  The driveshaft broke.  Vehicle will not move without a functional driveshaft.  Car #2 down for the count.

At this point I decided I was going to hightail it out of there before my car fell prey to the bad carma (pun intended), and I wished him the best of luck, hopped in the car, quick prayer and headed home.  Good news is that I made it the whole 2 blocks without incident.

*Blizzard warnings, first time in a decade, up to 8” in the valley.  That could mean up to 2’ on the benches and triple that in the mountains.  Huge for Utah.