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The First in the Deck Series

Our most recent DIY experience through the process.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Gotta love a new beginning, right?

Peppermint Shortage

Just a funny afternoon.

Coffeyville, KS

I loved this experience so much that I had to write about it. Then, through e-mails it spread to Coffeyville itself.

Photo Restoration

I had a lot of fun with this "old school" photo. It turned out too cool to not blog about it.

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

This is the first of a nine-part series documenting the remodel of our 50-year-old kitchen in our 100-year-old home!

'59 Slow Progress

I've barely seen my truck in the last ten days or so.  I've had some other things going on.  For example, last weekend, my only real goal was to clear out some space in the shop so that I could move some of our "project" furniture being stored in the garage out to the shop.  It has been getting cold here in the Ozarks and I was determined not to spend another winter morning scraping the night's precipitation of my car windows.  Up until this last weekend, we have had this oversized two-car garage with only one car and a whole lot of stuff being stored in it.  Though, I'm happy to announce that after just 367 days of owning this place, I finally have spaces for both our main vehicles indoors.  :)

With that not-so-little project out of the way, I'm happily back to doing '59 stuff. Yesterday, I worked out a deal with a guy who was selling this front bumper on Craigslist.  It's for an 87-91 GMC van but it fits beautifully across the front of the '59.  Those vans were called a "square body" which works out perfect on the very flat front end of my truck.  Before I bought it though, I wasn't sure how it would look on my truck.  There was no way I was going to drag my truck to Springfield to dry fit it to see and it was highly unlikely that the seller would let me borrow it until I made a decision.  It's in situations like these that GIMP comes to the rescue.

I went online and found a photo of one of these vans that was taken at roughly the same angle as another photo I found of a '59 without a front bumper.  With GIMP, I copied the front bumper from the van and superimposed it on the '59.  I had to do some resizing, rotating, and perspective shifting to get it all lined up and believable.  With the end result looking fairly convincing, it was easy for me to make a decision on whether or not I thought this bumper would be a good look for my truck.  I decided that it was and proceeded to wheel and deal for a good price.

I also found a nice chrome rear bumper yesterday, as well.  It was priced to sell for sure but I was the first one to contact the guy and still managed to knock the price down a bit.  The guy I bought it from couldn't remember which of his many vehicles he's owned in the last several years that it came from.  I don't really care, I guess.  It's in great shape.  Most of the '57-'60 model Fords didn't come with a rear bumper.  It must have been an option at the dealerships because I've seen several online that do have uniform rear bumpers, but the vast majority of ones that I see in person or online have no rear bumper.  Some people even go without a front bumper.  I don't like the look of the front without one, though.  It's a bit too cartoony and feels lacking.

I like the rear without a bumper just fine but I have a good reason for why I wanted one anyway.  When I drove the '59 it was at stock height.  I was able to reach over the side of the bed and touch the bottom with ease.  I could grab almost anything out of the bed without getting in it.  But, now, with it's lift on the '84, the top of the bed comes up to my armpit.  So, not only will the rear bumper provide some balance of chrome from the front to the back, but it will also make getting in and out of the bed a world easier by providing a step.  And, of course, it will serve its actual purpose of protecting the truck from potential fender benders, I hope won't happen.

So, in the above's poor example of a well-lit photograph, I've got the bumper being propped up to almost the height it will be when installed. I couldn't get it all the way in place because I have to notch out the bumper on each side as indicated by the blue line in this photo.  This cutout will make the bumper appear as if it were custom for this truck.  Once cut, I can slide it up another couple inches and there won't be any gap left between the bed and the bumper.  That will make it look a lot more natural.

The rear bumper already has brackets that appear like I can just bolt them right on to the back of the truck's frame.  I'll know for sure once I make the aforementioned notches in the bumper.  The front, on the other hand, is going to need brackets.  I removed my OEM '59 brackets and they won't fit.  However, I think that I can modify them.  More on that later, I'm sure.

'59 DIY Instrument Panel

Example of a '59 instrument panel
One big challenge I was sort of dreading even thinking about with the 59' body to '84 frame/drivetrain, was how I was going to get the electronics to work.  Obviously, the '84 wiring harness wasn't going to just plug into the '59 gauges.  And even if it did, then I'd still have the minimal information that the '59 had: gauges for speed, fuel level, engine temperature, and two dummy lights for the generator and oil pressure.  That limited knowledge would leave me guessing what's going on underneath the hood more than I would like.

Forum photo with four new analog gauges accompanying the OEM speedometer
I found a forum online where a guy shows how he kept his original speedometer by buying an adapter to the sender, and then replaced the other four gauges with new gauges from Summit Racing.  His OEM dummy lights were replaced by proper analog gauges and looked great.  I loved the finished look and quickly rushed over to Summit Racing to look for some gauges.  I found them.  And, they added up quick.  I am not prepared to spend $350 on replacement gauges.  My original plan of keeping everything one can see looking like a '59 has been tossed out in favor of getting everything working properly and functional on a nickel & dime budget.  I just couldn't bring myself to spend that kind of money when I already two perfectly operational instrument panels.  Surely, there was a low budget alternative.

My solution was to make a new instrument panel plate to match my '59 dash from scratch and insert the gauge cluster from the '84 in it.  This way, I can simply plug in the '84 wiring harness to it and BOOM, working gauges!  I took a piece of thick aluminum plate that was left in our shop by the previous owner of the property.  I traced out the shape of the '59 instrument panel plate on it and cut it to size with metal shears.  I cleaned up the edges afterwards with an angle grinder, cut out the holes by drilling 3/8" holes in all the corners to the "windows" then connecting those holes with a metal blade in my jigsaw.  Then, I used a steel brush in my drill to give it a brushed aluminum look.  It's a little rough and I'll spend some more time on it cleaning up the cutouts.  By no means is this the finished product.  I also, haven't decided if I will leave it like this or if I will paint it.  It's pretty reflective right now which may hinder visibility of the gauges while driving.  But, due to the angle of it while installed, I don't expect direct reflection of sunlight to the driver's eyes.  So, I'll probably leave it unpainted and try it out.  I can always pull it off real quick and paint it later.

I also have 5 indicator lights that were part of the '84 dash.  These were in the rectangular holes above the gauges shown in the photo here.  My issue is that the little plastic pieces with the words on them were long gone when I bought the truck.  I'm fairly certain that the outside ones were for the left and right turn signal indicator lights.  I know for a fact (because of a photo I saw online) that one of them is the seat belt indicator lamp.  I will refrain from installing that one.  I don't know what the other two lights are for.  Perhaps, engine light and high beam indicator?  That sounds logical.  I'll figure it out somehow.  Either way, that means I have four more little holes to cut in my DIY instrument panel plate.  I'll put the turn signal indicators near the top corners and then put one of each of the remaining indicators (whatever they are) centered on each side.

I like that I chose to use the OEM '84 gauge cluster because I'll like having a tachometer and analog gauges in place of no tachometer and the '59 dummy lights.  I think that the gauges will look a lot better in the '59 than they did in the '84, too.  Ah, the 80's and its love affair with wood grain paneling as far as the eye could see.

'59 Ford Inspired DIY Forge

I bought a piece of 3/16" thick stock steel last week to make a couple of custom brackets to mount my '59 bed to my '84 frame.  These are the last of the brackets that I need for the body.  Woo hoo!  Mounting the body has proven to be a challenge and I'm glad that at least this part of the project is coming to a close.  It's been a fun learning experience, but I'm ready for the part that actually begins to make the truck functional again.

I already have the front two custom bed mounts and the rear two custom bed mounts in place and bolted.  The bed isn't going anywhere.  That's for sure.  However, I wanted to give the bed two more mounts in the center to ensure that there can be no allowance for warping it in the event I wind up carrying a heavy load which, inevitably no doubt, I will.

I measured and marked the pieces of metal where I wanted a 90-degree bend.  I began to shape it using a hammer and a large, thick piece of angle iron as an anvil.  I started to get the bend, but it wasn't going to be anywhere near a 90-degree angle.  It was going to curve instead with a fairly large radius regardless of how much I would try to convince it otherwise with the hammer.  I needed heat.

I watched a couple YouTube videos of people creating makeshift forges of their own with some pretty commonly found household items.  I looked around a bit and realized that I could make one.  If for no other reason at all, I'm glad I did this exercise just to know that it is now an option for me to create other items in the future.

The video is a small non-polished documentary of me trying it out.  I had never done this before and I openly admit in the video that I don't know what I'm doing.  However, it was a success.  I needed a compound bend with both brackets.  One is a mirror of the other one.  It's hard to tell from this photo, but I got the exact compound bend I was aiming for.  The only way I was going to get this 3/16" steel to bend this sharply was with heat or a very large metal brake.  Since I have no such metal brake (nor can afford one) but can make heat, I only truly had the one option.

With the '59 body mounted and ready to go, my next step is likely getting the steering column installed and secured to the dash.  Keep an eye out for the next update.


I don't normally write about marketed items that I find silly.  Though, if I did, I would have a seemingly infinite amount of topics to write about.  If you really consider most items you find in your local market for very long, you will likely conclude very quickly that the majority of what you see, you don't need.  But, there are also those items that clearly go beyond the 'unneeded' category and well into the realm of 'ridiculously unnecessary'.

I feel that the entire YETI line of products easily falls into this category.  I've been seeing this stuff everywhere.  First, there was a guy in my office who was showing off his new cup that he got from Sam's.  It's a YETI knock-off, but works just as well, he says.  Something about the acoustics of the office space I work in results in my ability to hear virtually every conversation that takes place on our floor.  So, I ended up being marketed by my co-worker's tales of keeping ice all day long in his cup despite multiple refills of water.  Over and over again, I overheard the boasts as he told everyone individually.

Then, on a visit to Race Brothers, a local farm & home store, to pick up some bolts and washers, I saw a large display of YETI products, most of which were wearable gear sporting the brand name, not the actual product.  I was confused.  Having a desire of keeping your drink cold, I get.  But buying a $50 hoodie that proudly displays the brand name of your $40 cup that keeps your drink cold is a bit asinine.

A couple days later, while waiting in traffic at a stoplight, I noticed that the Jeep in front of me had a YETI sticker in the back windshield.  This wasn't a graphic like you would see on a sales representative's vehicle, this was just some boob that was proud of his discretionary spending choice.

A family member of ours recently commented on the trend of water bottles.  It was a good observation.  She humorously pointed out that many people these days take a water bottle with them wherever they go.  "What are we?  A bunch of babies that can't be without our bottles?", she mused.  "We never carried bottles of water with us when we left home and none of us ever died of dehydration."

So, with the YETI, not only must we never be caught without our most beloved beverage, but we'll be able to keep it cold all day long for the low low price of a ridiculous amount of money.  Craigslist is even teeming with new and used YETI products.  When I saw this soft carry cooler for $350, I didn't doubt that this was probably a "deal" in comparison to the cost of a new one.  I found that they sell the new ones for $400.  These hold 32 12-ounce cans and keep them cool for $400.  I've never paid as much as $400 for a refrigerator let alone a cooler.

I also ran across this ad on Craigslist.  This person evidently left their $400 YETI cooler in the back of their truck while they slept at a local Days Inn.  Someone capitalized on the easy pickens along with their 6' aluminum ramps.  While I feel bad for them and hope that they do miraculously see their stolen goods returned, I sort of think that they should simply purchase some replacement steel ramps at Harbor Freight with a coupon for $50 and a nice cooler of similar size for $40, and save the remaining $410 they are offering for a reward. 

I don't mean to call anyone stupid for purchasing anything YETI.  I'm sure if someone looked at my life and all my purchases they could find plenty of things that I spent money on and didn't need, too.  I'm no better than the next consumer in the grand scheme of things, I'm sure.  I guess it's these moments in life that I realize the extent of the frivolous nature of American consumerism that I am floored by how meaningless some of our materialist fads can be.  And, perhaps, in my own way, I'm just trying to get others to practice some introspection of their own.

'59 Progress

The actual application of the front cab mounts have worked out exactly as planned.  I'm really happy with them.  They're really stiff and give the cab just the right amount of support.  I was a little worried that the offset would allow the cab to have too much vertical flex, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the cab to be just as solidly mounted to the new frame as it was on the old one.

I made the upper bushings out of an old tire.  This is an old trick used by all the older motorheads.  The resulting "bushing" is a little stiffer than the original rubber ones.  You can stack them like shims in the quantity that you need to get just the right height.  All you need is an old tire you don't mind destroying, a drill, and a 2" hole saw.  Also, just a tip, I stopped just short of cutting the tire all the way through with the hole saw all the way around.  If you cut it all the way then the resulting bushing goes up into the hole saw and has to be laboriously pried out.  Stopping just short allowed me to pull the drill out and then easily cut the last remaining threads with a utility knife.  I love a time saver.

The rear cab mounts are as solid as a rock.  I used two spare bumper brackets I had lying around.  I painstakingly managed to long bend both brackets to a 90 degree angle.  The cab is now level and fully secure to the frame.  Afterwards, I started leveling out the bed that my friend, Rodney, and I wrestled into place last Wednesday.  There's a line that runs the entire length of the 57-60 model Ford trucks that helps to get everything in proper alignment.  It also betrays you if you didn't line things up properly, so I'm taking my time getting it just right.

This part is getting pretty exciting because it's beginning to take shape and actually look like a truck again.  I can't hardly believe it but it's been since May of 2014 that I initially dismantled the body from its original frame.  Two and half years ago!  Some people don't own the same vehicle for that long let alone just the body parts to one.  So, needless to say, I'm getting more and more motivated with every new step that gets accomplished.

Check back soon for the next update.

'59 Ford Update

Firewall cutout to accommodate engine placement.
I was pretty nervous about cutting into my Ford, but after checking the measurements over and over again I finally worked up the courage to do it.  It was easier to cut than I thought it would be.  Between my angle grinder and my reciprocating saw, I knocked it out in about 30 minutes.

With the freshly added cutout, I was able to walk the cab into the position it will be in when mounted.  So, the next step was to get the precise measurements of the front cab mount offsets. 
Theoretical driver-side front custom cab mount ('59 cab to '84 frame).
This was a little tricky to do in a three-dimensional environment where there's an offset in every direction, but I figured it out.  As sketched out here, I'm using large steel brackets I bought from Race Brothers to cover two of the three dimensional offsets (forward, inward).  It's fabricated out of 3/8" steel so it's total overkill but better safe than sorry.  These brackets will be mounted to the original 84's front cab mounts and turned back towards the frame and towards the front so that the 59's cab mount points will be directly above the brackets' centers.

Borrowing some metal from a useless Chevy. :)
Another challenge was reinforcement.  The 59's front cab mounts, like pretty much all trucks up through the 80's, were exposed to the front wheels so decades of water being thrown up by the front tires had rusted away much of the original structural integrity of the mounts.  It was necessary to add some sheet metal to the inside corners of the cab just above the mounts.  The passenger-side mount was so bad that I had to fabricate a bracket out of 1/4" steel to wrap the underside of the original mount.  Luckily for me, I was able to pick up a '79 Chevy K20 tailgate for only $10 on Craigslist last Friday.  I wasted no time cutting out of it the metal I needed to reinforce my floor pans.  It requires more work getting metal from this since I have to "unshape" it before I can shape it, but getting this much automotive grade steel for only $10 is a no-brainer.  Already, it's saved me about $10.  Thick steel sheet metal isn't at all cheap.

I'm pretty proud of the floor pan reinforcements.  This exercise has also managed to make me pretty confident that I can effectively make a removable cover for the cutout in the firewall.  After picking up the drill bit I need today, I should be able to drill the holes in the mounting brackets and get the cab off it's temporary stands and mounted on the frame where it belongs.

Driver-side floor reinforcement.
Passenger-side reinforcement.
I should have it mounted for my next blog.  I'll take some pics of them and hopefully they will look like my drawing above.  Until next time...
Grinding on metal makes for a pretty cool photo opportunity.

'59 Ford Project Update

In my last blog on this subject, I talked about the removal of the '84 F-150 body from its frame complete with some photos.  Since then, I sold the complete body to a young guy from Carthage, MO.  Pictured here is the body sold, all loaded up, and being carted away.  I got a good price for it and was thrilled to have both the cash in hand and get all the body parts out of my shop and out of my way.

That was almost 3 months ago.  You'd think that I'd be eager to get to work on my '59, but my wife's birthday took priority.  The truck got rolled out of the shop to make room for all the work I would soon put into making things for her party.  More on that in an upcoming blog, I'm sure.

Back to work on the '59, I changed my strategy some.  Before, my plan was to clean and paint the entire frame before putting the truck together.  If I were building a show truck that would be a great strategy but since I am building something to be driven and used, it seems more a monumental unnecessary effort.  So, I remounted the newly-painted fuel tanks back under the frame and got to work hoisting the cab into the air.  I spent a lot of time trying to accomplish putting together a system for lifting the cab while I would be on the ground, but neither of my two theoretically-sound designs realistically worked.  In the end, I hoisted it using pretty much the same system I used to remove the '84 cab off the frame in the first place.  The big difference was that this time I was up in the rack operating the winch on a platform I threw together rather than dangerously standing on a ladder right by the cab being lifted.

With the cab roughly in place on the frame, I measured how the front clip and bed would line up to the wheel wells.  They didn't.  My measurements would require the cab to be scooted forward seven inches.  The problem is that the firewall-side of the engine is sitting about two inches from the firewall.  In an effort to gain stability and better handling through improved weight distribution, Ford began mounting the engines closer to the center of the vehicle in later model pickups in comparison to the 57-60 model.  As you can see from these two photos, the '84 cab has a nice indentation in the firewall to accept the engine being mounted further back on the frame.  The '59 doesn't have this.

So the best solution I have is to cut out a section of the '59 firewall.  Then, I'll have to fabricate a panel to cover that hole.  Initially, this reminds me of the E-150 vans I once owned.  The engines of the E-150 vans intrude so much into the cab that they have a removable panel so that it's easier to service the engine from the inside of the cab.  What I have to do to the '59 will not be near this dramatic.  It should only be about four to five inches deep of a bump.  In fact, from the inside of the cab it would look similar to how the '84 looks in this picture.  The '59 has no bump, but I'll have to change that.  However, unlike the '84, I believe that I'll make my panel removable so that the engine is much more accessible when in need of maintenance.  Also, the '84 bump extends into the floor in the form of a raised hump to make room for the top of the transmission and driveshaft. I won't need a raised floor in the '59 like shown in the '84 because I am forced to give the whole body a minimum 3" body lift.  This is due to the fact that the '59 frame rails are flat from the front to the back.  The '84 frame, however, has a 3" drop between the axles.  So, to get everything to mount and line up I have to ignore the drop and raise the cab to level out with the bed and front clip.  This will consequently remove the need to fabricate a matching hump in the floor of the cab since the '59 cab will sit above that requirement.

Cutting into the firewall is no small job.  I'll be busy with that for a while since I will want to measure thirty times before I cut.  I want to remove the least amount of firewall as necessary but ensure that any required maintenance has the space it needs to be performed whether that be the removal of the valve covers, spark plugs, etc.  Once that is complete, I can then move my cab into its future location and start working on fabricating my custom cab mounts.  I'll post an update here when I have one.

Phone Upgrade

A couple months ago, it occurred to me that Jodi and I would be up for our bi-annual cell phone upgrades this fall.  My initial reaction was excitement only to be immediately followed by confusion.  We both have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4.  And, frankly, I couldn't imagine a phone that would be an upgrade from what we already had.  So, my momentary excitement dissolved almost as quickly as it arrived.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been out for some weeks now and normally I would be considering it my no-brainer go-to for an upgrade.  But, aside from its well publicized potential for exploding, I have several deterrents that are based upon the features that the phone boasts.

First, and most impacting to me, was the removal of the removable battery.  For years, most Android phones have had two major design advantages over their rival Apple products.  Those advantages were expandable memory via a micro SD card slot and a removable battery.  Apple still charges a high premium for their products with more storage well above the market cost of micro SD cards with that same storage capacity.  This is designed to benefit Apple with a higher profit margin and more big-brother-control over their devices rather than bring any value to their customers.

Samsung had removed it's expandable memory micro SD card slot it the Galaxy S6 and quickly realized its mistake.  They corrected it when they added it back for the S7.  So, I couldn't understand why once again they were removing such a prominent feature, this time the removable battery, that had helped catapult them and other Android based phone manufacturers into the top tier of mobile devices.  As a matter of fact, much to my dismay, most of the phones that I would have been normally considering for this upgrade also did not have a removable battery.  I was appalled.

Then, it occurred to me this morning.  Water resistance.  These companies have not figured out how to have both a removable battery and have the ability to be submerged in water.  And, evidently, they have prioritized water resistance.

Jodi and I watched several review videos last night trying to figure out which direction we would likely go when we did upgrade.  Every time I saw someone texting in the rain, or laying their phone down on the bottom of a shallow pool, or rinsing it off in the sink like a dinner plate, I couldn't help but wince in shock.  Granted, these were promotional videos and the majority of people will still make every attempt to avoid water ever becoming in contact with their phones.  I get that.  But, I still don't understand why water resistance has become a higher-perceived value over having the ability to change the battery.

We all know that rechargeable batteries have a finite number of charges and cycles it can handle.  I have had to replace batteries in several mobile devices in my lifetime.  Off the top of my head, I've bought a replacement battery for my Macbook Pro, a Dell laptop I once had, my Samsung Note 4, my wife's old iPod Nano, my wife's Asus tablet, and several batteries for my Canon camera.  That's six devices.  And, the only time I had a device ruined by water was a point and shoot camera I got for my son who accidentally left it outside just before a rain.  I think he was seven years old at the time.

So, aside from my child having an issue with water and electronics, the adults in my household have far exceeded the need for water protection by the ability to change an old worn out battery.  So, I'm afraid that I won't be moving up the Samsung ladder this upgrade.

Which brings me to my next point of irritation.  Why are Apple users so loyal?  Over the years, my wife and I have had phones by Nokia, Pantech, LG, Motorolla, and Samsung.  When we have the ability to get new phones, I do a full comparison of phone features and price.  I watch and read reviews and find customer comments.  I want the best device to compliment our lifestyle that we can afford.

Some features are a requirement for us.  It has to have an Android operating system and it has to have expandable memory.  When I added these two filters to my search on Verizon, I got a result of 18 phones (pictured here) which are produced from six different manufacturers.  What sort of choice does a die-hard Apple customer get when its time for an upgrade?  Exactly.

I've already mentioned how I was turned off by the Note 7's non-removable battery.  I am also not a fan of the rounded edges that the phone sports on both sides.  I suspect that it limits the phone's aftermarket availability of covers.  But, even if it doesn't, I have a co-worker with the S7 Edge who showed me why if he had it to do all over again, he wouldn't have bought the Edge model.  When operating the phone with one hand, the bottom part of his thumb gets detected by the screen and causes issues.  His only fix: use two hands.  Yeah, not cool.

So, I believe that we have settled on a phone choice: the LG G5.  The screen boasts the same resolution on its 5.3" screen held by the Note 7 on it's 5.7" screen.  This means that there is greater pixel density at 554 ppi versus the Note's 518 ppi which will provide a crisper, more detailed display.  It's an LCD as opposed to an AMOLED screen, so the colors are less exaggerated, less cartoonish and more true to life.  The camera has a 16GB rear/ 8GB front (with wide angle) versus the Note's 12/5, respectively.  I realize that megapixels aren't everything but the camera got great reviews and out-performed several of its competition in almost all categories particularly in low-light scenarios and in bright landscapes.  The camera is probably the most important requirement of all.  Coming from a DSLR owner, I have even occasionally preferred my phone's camera over my Canon's in some conditions but mostly due to the fact that I don't usually have my Canon on me, but I always have my phone.  So, my phone captures more of my actual life.

The LG G5 won't have the built-in stylus that I am used to but I only rarely used it with my Note for some tasks that didn't necessarily require it.  I can only recall one game that I played with my son that it really came in handy and helped us.  Aside from that game, every other use of it was more because I was trying to justify having it.

LG's G5 is also a less expensive choice for us.  So, that's a bonus.  The G5 has 4GB RAM just like the Note 7.  My current Note 4 only has 3GB RAM, so I'm looking forward to the increase of speed.  The glass of the LG G5 is the same Corning Gorilla Glass 4 used on my Note 4 that I, unfortunately, dropped a lot yet never had so much as a crack.  The G5 is 11% lighter that my Note 4 so I suspect that a drop of the G5 would be even less likely to result in damage than my Note 4.

So, while I'm disappointed with the Samsung Note 7, I'm not at all surprised.  I couldn't imagine how they were going to get better.  In my opinion, they only got worse.  One bit of curiosity is that the Note 4 had a 16 megapixel camera and the Note 7 has a 12 megapixel camera.  I'm surprised that they did this.  Again, I know megapixels aren't everything, but the general public doesn't really know that.  I wonder how they spun that in the marketing department.


I may not be on social media, but that's not to say that I don't ever go online.  I just don't do it as much as those of you with social media accounts.  I frequent Craigslist, always keeping my eye out for a good deal.  Also, once or twice a day, I'll roll through the headlines on and Google News.  Rarely do any of those headlines actually prompt me to read an article, but it does happen on occasion.

Among my online travels I spot things that I find amusing.  Sometimes I remember to screenshot them so that I can share them later.  These are some of my finds.

I've never given away a puppy before, but I understand that it may be difficult to find new homes for mixed-breed animals.  The person seeking a home for this mutt evidently thought that mentioning it's special talent might expedite the process.

The prefix 'pedi', meaning foot, in combination with the word 'stool' does make sense, I guess, if these were footstools.
This generous fellow is either giving away a very scary mattress or trying to dispose of evidence from a crime scene.
This was a review for the Christian movie "God's Not Dead 2". Though doubtful that this reviewer even watched the film, he doesn't hesitate to criticize it, which wouldn't be out of the ordinary or at all humorous except for the fact that he/she states within it "Don't criticize those whom do not share your opinion" yet, by criticizing a Christian film he/she disagrees with, that is exactly what this so-called reviewer is doing.  (I also smiled at their improper usage of the word 'whom'.)
You'd have to have read the article about Jay Nixon's defense of his vetoes above to get why I am amused by this.  The proximity of these two articles was the source of the humor.  One of Nixon's vetoes was a bill that would require state-issued IDs to be shown at the polls in order to vote.  The second article here was about voter fraud where an unknown person(s) had turned in an undisclosed amount of forged voter registrations altering the addresses of already registered voters.  This would prompt new voter registration cards to be sent to these new addresses where their recipients could use the cards to vote in addition to their legitimate voter registration card.  A photo ID requirement would obviously block this.  Nixon's defense of his veto was "there is not a documented case of the type of voter fraud the bill aims to stop".
I'm pretty sure this guy meant to type FPV for first person viewer goggles.  I don't think anyone has invented human papillomavirus goggles.
This was from our dinner last night.  I'm a numbers guy and so when I find instances of electronics making mistakes in calculations I can't help but be incredibly amused.

Coldplay and Understanding God

I'm fully aware that Coldplay isn't a Christian band, but bare with me.

Three years ago, I wrote a blog titled Free Will that discussed the nature of our God-given freedom to choose what we do with our lives.  I believe that this blog will be understood without reading Free Will but if you're up for it, I believe it would be a good read to understand this blog a little more in depth.

This morning, on my morning commute to work, I was listening to an old Coldplay album I hadn't given airplay in a while.  Specifically, I was listening to Warning Signs off of their Rush of Blood to the Head album.  Here are the lyrics:
A warning sign, I missed the good part then I realized
I started looking and the bubble burst
I started looking for excuses
Come on in, I've got to tell you what a state I'm in
I've got to tell you in my loudest tones
That I started looking for a warning sign

When the truth is I miss you
Yeah, the truth is that I miss you so

A warning sign, you came back to haunt me and I realized
That you were an island and I passed you by
When you were an island to discover
Come on in, I've got to tell you what a state I'm in
I've got to tell you in my loudest tones
That I started looking for a warning sign

When the truth is I miss you
Yeah, the truth is that I miss you so
And I'm tired, I should not have let you go

So I crawl back into your open arms
Yes I crawl back into your open arms
And I crawl back into your open arms
Yes I crawl back into your open arms
This song brought to mind a lesson that I learned a few years back that I thought I'd share with you, whoever you are.  The lesson is this: Give Glory to God for the good things He does despite whether or not you believe He did them.

A few of you may be nodding your head in agreement but I imagine that most are wondering what I mean by that.  Either reaction is okay.  I've done both.

I'm very logically minded.  I need things to make sense using reason, logic, and facts.  This is a neurological requirement.  I believe wholeheartedly that God made me this way and that He is not in the least bit bothered by it.  He isn't bothered because He literally is truth and knows quite well that, using reason, logic, and facts, I will find Him over and over again.  And, He likes to be found.  And, I like to find Him.

In my experience, I found that I could pretty easily explain away with natural occurrences what others would call miracles.  In fact, it was the first thing that came to mind when hearing about or seeing one of these so-called miracles. I would immediately know how that could occur naturally.  Early on in my Christian walk, I would even write off these miracle stories as fake.  Perhaps the people telling them or claiming a healing were, in fact, feeling healed.  But, feelings are subjective and cannot be corroborated by others.  So, I didn't think people were intentionally lying.  They were just being naive.  I know I'm not alone in this.  Admit it.  If you're not there now, you were at some point before.

But, what I have come to realize is that there is some real truth to the cliché that God acts in mysterious ways.  It's not that God is trying to be mysterious.  It's that He's operating in such a way that maintains free will.  (This is the part of the blog where I hoped that you chose to read the Free Will blog I linked to at the beginning of this one.)  He is operating so that there is no definitive proof.  See?  If He intervened in our lives in such a way that there was literally no room for doubt then there would be literally no room for choice to disbelieve.  Imagine if He just showed up at your door all shining in incredible glorious light and looked you in the face, grabbed your hands and instantly made you 18 years old again.  We'd have no room for disbelief.  Our choice to believe or disbelieve would be gone.  It seems like a good thing on the surface.  But, if our choice is removed from the equation, then our free will is lost.  If free will is lost, then I no longer can choose to love Him.  If I cannot choose to love Him, then I am forced or programmed to do so.  And, we all know and understand that robots cannot be made to love us.  Love inherently requires the choice not to love.

That said, when I witness someone experiencing a miracle or hear about one second hand or even witness coincidences in my own life.  Even though my brain still goes straight for the natural explanation, I know that I have a choice right then.  I can choose to accept my brain's interpretation or I can choose to believe that God miraculously intervened.  There is no cost to believing the latter.  It takes no special effort.  In fact, accepting a natural explanation is no more than believing that God didn't do anything which is disbelief by definition.  I have the opportunity to give God the glory in all things.  Conversely, I have the opportunity to practice disbelief in all things.

Now, since I made this life change a few years back and began to give God the glory and accept that these are instances of miracles, I have experienced a renewal of perspective.  It's difficult to describe exactly, but I feel that I have been blessed considerably by God for giving Him credit for good things.  It wasn't easy at first.  I admit that I was forcing myself to ignore the possibility of a natural explanation, but it got immensely easier to the extent that I even see now that it's the logical response.  God has to act a certain way to maintain our free will.  One might even suppose reasonably by this logic that God has the ability to move more obviously in people's lives who are more grounded in their choice to love Him since this increased exposure doesn't affect a change in their free will, just a confirmation of it.  This brings to mind Psalm 34:8 "Taste and see that the Lord is good."  You know once you've tried.  You can't know till you do.  That's not to say that everyone who has tried has stuck with it.  We all still have free will to choose.  But, we must first choose to accept that God is good before we can see God's goodness.

The Coldplay song written out above reminded me of my own struggle to accept God's goodness in action.  'I started looking and the bubble burst. I started looking for excuses.' 'You were an island and I passed you by, you were an island to discover' 'When the truth is... I miss you'  I love the redeeming quality of the end of the song.  It is true of how God waits patiently for us to come around, giving us opportunity after opportunity most certainly not because we've earned those opportunities but because of His great grace.
So I crawl back into your open arms
Yes I crawl back into your open arms
And I crawl back into your open arms
Yes I crawl back into your open arms

Nice Weekend

I really enjoyed this past weekend.  It was jam packed full of things that I really enjoyed.  So much so, in fact, that it's almost hard to know where to start.  I suppose that chronologically is best, so here goes...

The weekend before last, while camping in Texas, I managed to bust a hole in the passenger tail light of Jodi's car.  I bumped it with the cooler's plastic wheel while trying to load the cooler back in the truck of the car.  The plastic of the tail light was the weaker of the two plastics, evidently.  It wasn't a hard bump but was more than sufficient to require a new tail light.  I say all this to say that the blinker also quit working and made me nervous because the bulb looked fine.  However, I bought some replacement bulbs after work on Friday and that was the problem after all.  So, that was a relief.  A good start to the weekend.

Goodbye, 84 body.  We hardly knew each other.
Saturday morning was a nice homemade breakfast with my family followed by the sale of the body to my 1984 Ford F150 at full asking price.  Woo hoo!  As mentioned in the last blog, I had it listed for sale on Craigslist and while I had talked to lots of people who claimed they wanted to buy it, I started to wonder if I would get it sold since no one had made any effort to actually see it in person yet.  I'm glad to make the space and liquidate the unnecessary asset.

I had time to mow and weed eat which is a huge chore, but one that I kind of enjoy doing.  While doing the weed eating, I listened to Leeland's new album, Invisible.  It was available to stream for free for the weekend only.  It's a great album!  We went ahead and pre-ordered it.  It is set to be available on July 22.  Afterwards, some family showed up to come with us to a church fireworks display to which our neighbors had invited us.  It was good to get to hang out with them and get to know them better.  They're a really nice family.  The children got to play on inflatables, the fireworks were fun to see, we had some good food, and got to spend some time with family and new friends.

Lyric successfully frog hopping his way across the balls.

Sunday afternoon was a small watch party at Qdoba to see the Euro 2016 final match between underdog Portugal and host country France battling it out on the pitch.  Portugal's star player, Cristiano Ronaldo, was injured shortly after the game began and despite making a valiant effort to continue on through the pain, he reluctantly and emotionally called to be taken off.  Without their captain, Portugal held off France well into extra time when a Portuguese substitute managed to blast in a goal from almost 25 yards out.  It was an unlikely goal from an unlikely source, but it was the only one of the match and it gave Portugal their first ever major tournament trophy while breaking a 41-year run of France defeating them.  It was certainly an amazing game to see as well as a satisfactory finish to a summer of international soccer watching.  With Copa America complete and now with Euro 2016 over, I go back to being a non sports-watcher.  Not that I'm complaining!  While I enjoy the tournaments, I'm equally looking forward to all the things I will have time to do now.

After the watch party and a stop at Lowe's for some trim, we headed down to Busiek State Park to hang out and let the kids play.  It was a nice finish to a nice weekend. :)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

1984 Ford F-150 before I did anything to it.
Two months ago, I wrote about how I brought the '59 body home from it's temporary resting place.  It seems like yesterday, but doesn't everything?  Either way, I've started the project of reviving the '59 Ford by putting its body (the only thing I have left of it) on the frame of the '84.

It's been going pretty well so far.  I have the entire '84 body off and listed for sale on Craigslist.  I have had several people interested in it, but no trigger-pullers yet.  It's a really decent body, actually.  I never cared much for the seventh generation (80-86) F-series Ford trucks.  Of all the different models, it was my least favorite.  But, owning this one has changed my mind a bit.  Fourth generation F-series has taken it's place as least liked.  That's as far as I will go.  In my opinion, it's far too modern in styling to be a classic, yet it is also too dated to be considered modern.  It's in that no-man's land in-between nice and neat.

Removing the bed.
Back to the project, I rather easily got everything off but then felt the brakes get hit when I started on the cab.  Taking on a project like this takes a certain level of craziness.  Stupidity may certainly substitute, as well, but all along the way, one just has to hope that it's the former and not the latter.  Once to the cab, I started to get a bit overwhelmed when trying to figure out all the wiring.  The only solution was to completely dismantle the dash.  There was no way I was going to make sense out of any of it without seeing the big picture.  So, that's what I did.

Everything removed.  Cab resting on back of frame.
Here's the cab precariously hanging from my makeshift lift system comprised of pallet racking, several well-used and fraying ratchet straps, and a come-along.  It's partially sitting on the back of the frame for peace of mind.  I left it like this overnight because I understood that someone was coming the next day to buy it from me.  But, since that deal fell through, I rolled out the frame and lowered it back to earth. I half-suspected that I would find it on the ground the next morning full of broken glass but, much to my relief, that wasn't the case.

With the entire '84 body removed, I have dropped both fuel tanks and started the tedious task of cleaning the frame and preparing it for paint.  This will take some time, but I've got a pretty good little jump on it, so I suspect that if I keep up the pace, I may have the whole thing painted in the next couple weeks.  Then, I'll get to start the task of placing the '59 cab on it.  That's super exciting but equally as intimidating.  There will be a ton of measuring involved and some customization to make the body mounts work.

Rear of the frame with rear gas tank.  So much cleaning to do!
Once the frame is all painted, my plan is as follows:
  1.  Jack up the frame to get it all level and resting on blocks.
  2.  Set the cab on the frame where I think it should go.
  3.  Attach the front clip to the cab.
  4.  Line everything up where it should go using shims.
  5.  Measure all the gaps at the connection points so I know what thickness of bushings to get.
  6.  See where the current mounts are located versus where the cab will require them to be.
Hopefully, with some Ozark ingenuity, I can make the current cab mounts work for the '59.  If they won't, then I'll just have to add some new mounts where I need them.  Only time will tell. Until my next update!

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