Another Month Done

Well, here’s another month gone. I was actually allowed to do real work, with real people, imagine that.  I did a couple of system upgrades, even being sent back to the hotel for a day so the site could get their poop in a group and install the bypasses, which they didn’t manage to do, we were still able to get done ahead of schedule.  All in all, a good week, but I need to be able to string more of those together.

I guess it’s back to paperwork and twiddling my thumbs.


TTFN Everyone.


It’s My Birfday!

Or I like to call it Thursday.  Yep, I’m another year older and working on my birthday. To be honest, I usually forget it’s my birthday until someone wishes me a Happy Birthday, this year it was one of my sisters, and Arby’s, and Shanghai Bistro, and Applebee’s, Famous Dave’s, Taco John’s, Advance Auto, and several online forums, and a radio station down in TN, that one I don’t get, living here in the frozen north.  But I still have to work, but my “Give a Sh!t” is busted, but the work must get done.  

The heck with it, I need a dozen 1k resistors, so I’m heading to Radio Shack, yes, there’s one about 5 miles from me, you’d almost think I planned my home purchase based on the proximity to a DIY electronics store, but no I based it on the amount of acreage, lack of neighbors, and easy driving distance to a decent sized airport.  But I need some resistors so I can put some LEDs in the dash of my Scirocco, the LC1 needs an LED to flash trouble codes, and I’m building a digital dash for my Moto Guzzi, I have a set of digital gauges from Nordskog so now I need LEDs for the idiot lights, turn indicators and high beam indicator.

I’m thinking that maybe I should make this blog more useful rather than just using it for my meandering thoughts.   

Thoughts? Suggestions?  Hello? Anybody out there?  Just kidding.



Happy Birthday America!!!

OK, OK, more like Happy Conception Day, but that really doesn’t roll off the tongue very well now does it.  Well it’s technically Independence Day, a nice long weekend full of mowing my lawn and getting my old car ready for the Street Machine Nationals, and doing other peoples work because they’re “too busy”, I’ve seen their versions of this and I’m pretty sure my manager “encouraged” them to move the work over to me.  I’m still adding site data from three or four years ago, damned frustrating.

My yard is way too big, yet not big enough. I have just over 3 acres but about an acre is “navigable waterway”  which , according to the neighbor’s dog, means it holds just enough water to make a great mud puddle to roll around in, for almost two whole days after it rains. It takes almost a full day to mow with the rider, I mowed it twice with the push mower and it took three 8 hour days to finish both times, so I lived on ramen and beans  and just mowed the front quarter for three months until I could afford a 20+ horse rider.  So, as you can see, the yard is too big, but I can’t build another shop building on it, or go hunting on it, so it’s too small, but it’s the original house for the 40 acre farm and has an existing machine shed on it, but the machine shed has a dirt floor with a two foot drop over 60 feet, that’s going to be a lot of fill when I finally concrete the floor.

Squee!  I get to take my car to the Street Machine Nationals!  But I’m not geeking out or anything.  While I wish I was taking my ’69 Olds Cutlass S, I’ll settle for taking my ’78 VW Scirocco.  Will it win any awards?  I seriously doubt it. I bought it with most of the mods in place, and most of those only half done, it has 1 power window, it was installed on the driver’s side, it has a single gas strut for the hood, which makes the hood sit funny, the rear parcel shelf was replaced with pegboard and the rear hatch strap mounts were done quite well, the pivot was not well thought out and failed miserably as a hinge, I spent more time reseating the shelf because pivot shifted and the shelf fell down than I care to, but I fixed that, the speaker wires were cut off about halfway up the car, why, I have no idea, I fixed that too.  The car has 3 speakers, but no radio, I hope to fix that this weekend, and have 4 speakers and a radio, but first I need to figure out where all these wires go.  PO ran all red wires when he worked on it, two other people also worked on the electrical, each of them adding more colors to the all red mess, but there are still a lot of red wires, some are signal, some are hot and some are ground.  Yay. At least the engine swap was done fairly well, out came the 1.5 or 1.6l  and CIS and in went the 1.8l with Megasquirt, so from mechanical fuel injection to tuneable electronic fuel injection, unfortunately the tune is terrible, it runs a 10:1 AFR tune, gas should be 14.7, I could run pure alcohol on that tune. The brakes now work, installed a new master cylinder, worked like a charm.

Yes I’m rambling, so sue me.  This is just my personal space anyway, almost like an online journal, but less private.



Getting Better All The Time

Well, Mom is getting better, slowly, cracked ribs, cracked sternum, cracked vertebrae, a collapsed lung, and severe head trauma.  It was horrible, and now Mom almost recognizes us, but not as we are today but as we were 40 years ago.  “Shane? When did you cut your hair?” my brother hasn’t had long hair since 1978.  But she is getting better, she walked to the bathroom yesterday, it may not sound like much, but four days ago she couldn’t stand without someone holding her up, now she can use her walker to go to the bathroom by herself.  My mom was always rather independent, so having to have people help her use the toilet has to be grating on her, now that she’s decided she won’t let it be this way things will improve rapidly.   But she still needs specialized care, so we keep vigil every night, and whoever is staying lets the rest of us know how things are going, she was walking earlier this morning, but that tired her out so she’s dozing right now, but she still isn’t eating enough, so she has a feeding tube.  But she’s walking, which means she’s getting stronger.

Real Life Horror Story

OK, so I’m sitting at my work computer actually working, and I get a phone call.  Mom fell down the stairs, she’s bleeding, they don’t know how long she’s been there, they’re trying to resuscitate her right now.  I spend almost an hour trying to pack because I can’t think, and I’m trying not to collapse on the floor and bawl my eyes out.  Throw some clothes in my duffel, I need my meds, down stairs for the meds, back upstairs,   throw different clothes in the duffel, and the meds, only grabbed two of the bottles, back down grab another bottle I need, spend 5 minutes deciding if I need any of the others, nope, back up with one bottle.  Why didn’t I bring down the duffel?  Oh well, add some more shirts, back down, wait I need my insulin, I need to let my bosses know, I need my computer, I need my e-reader.  It took 10 minutes to decide which to do first, email my bosses, wrote the e-mail, shut down the computer, forgot to send the e-mail.  Grabbed my e-reader, packed my computer, grabbed my duffel, packed the truck, forgot my insulin, unlock the house get my insulin. OK, I’m ready, drive to my sisters, we load her car and off we go. It’s been 2 hours, why haven’t I heard from my boss?  Check my e-mails on my company phone, nothing, check sent mail, I didn’t send my e-mail, rewrite e-mail, send it, now I’m in a dead cell area.

Get to the hospital, meet one of my other sisters, as we wait for Mom to be transferred, one of my nieces arrives, another brother arrives, another brother and his wife arrives, finally Mom arrives, we can’t see her yet, another sister arrives, brother’s wife and her son arrives with clothes, this brother is staying with Mom tonight. Mom is coherent but kind of in pain and irritated, I have to go into the hallway and sit down, Mom is trying to pull things out of her arm, I can’t deal with that, but it passes. Another brother shows up.  The nurses are getting confused, there are 9 of us kids and only 7 within driving distance.

Next day, we go in, Mom is talking about uncle Joe and Alex, Mom asks me “peanuts or rice”   Huh?  “Neither Ma”  “Oh , well I have some here” .  My Mom is so incoherent at this point that she doesn’t recognize anyone, I can’t take it.  Meanwhile, another brother shows up.   We all troop down to the first floor waiting area and get Chinese food, because no one has eaten since about 8 or 9 am and it almost 8 pm at this point.

I’m now waiting to see if the surgery went well to fuse her vertebrae.



The ongoing WTF?! moments

We all have those WTF? moments, unfortunately for us  PLCgoons, these moments tend to last for our entire career.  A case in point, Friday afternoon, I get a call from a colleague, “Hey, how do you connect to a PLC?”  “What kind of PLC?”  “I don’t know, but there’s two of them.”  ” But you don’t know what kind they are.”  “I think he said on was like an Allen – Bradley, and the other one was a Schneider.”  “Schneider doesn’t make a PLC under it’s own name so it’s either a Square D Sy/Max or a Modicon.” ” He said it was from Italy. ”  “Well which A-B does he have?”  “I don’t know, does it make a difference>?”….

And so on.  And this is what we deal with daily, I have something and you have to know what it is and how to fix it, but I can’t give you any details because I didn’t bother writing anything down because it’s all the same.  Riiiight.  The most annoying part of this call was the fact that my colleague works daily with  DCS systems and safety controllers, he should know better.   It doesn’t annoy me that he doesn’t know how to log onto PLCs he’s never dealt with before, it annoys me that he didn’t get any information about the PLCs, he didn’t write anything down so that the information was available.

There are days when it truly amazes me that some many people have survived for as long as they have.


  After 5 years of lurking I decided I should probably start posting something.

I guess a little about me then, I refer to myself as a PLC programming Goon, as a Goon, I’m not the guy that sits in the cushy air conditioned office and writes the program, I’m the guy out in the field who makes it work the way the company said it would.  I’m the one freezing all winter and roasting all summer.  It seems that I’m also the guy that translates what the engineers are saying, in that impenetrable engineering jargon, to what the customers and operators can understand, so “when you engage the manual SPST contactor it initiates the 3 phase VFD and you get a positive displacement into the fill chamber.” becomes, ” when you push the green button it does the thing unit the tank reaches X, or you can push the red button to turn it off.”  I also get to explain that a program does NOT spontaneously change after 5 years of running fine, check the inputs and outputs, either a wire is broken or your equipment is broken. And for Dog’s sake, next time spend the extra $200 for the EPROM so you don’t lose the program every time you lose power. I mean, cripes, you just dropped 8grand on this thing, an extra 200 isn’t going to break the budget. 

I’ll also talk about my other interests, cars, motorcycles, trucks, anime, sci-fi/fantasy, RPGs, and travel.  Most likely I’ll a]occasionally talk about the complete and utter stupidity that seems to be taking over the world these days.