Saying goodbye to our little Grizzly Bear

Our beloved Grizzly Bear was diagnosed with lymphoma just after the holidays. His prognosis was just four to six weeks, and we had to prepare ourselves for the worst.

Grizzly has always been a strong boy, very lean and muscular and walked around with a pleasant gait that reminded everyone that he was here to both love and protect us. Grizzly’s sole purpose it seemed was to have everyone home safe and then to protect his family from anyone who drove up our driveway or knocked on our door… and even on occasion he would leap into action if someone on TV happen to knock or ring a doorbell.

But despite this tough boy persona, Grizzly was such a sweet soul to those he loved. He was never really at ease until the entire family was home. Waiting patiently by the window, gazing out to the driveway watching for a familiar vehicle. He would then wait anxiously by the front door and rush out to greet whoever had arrived home.

Grizzly was always ready to play and he had a lot of toys to choose from. From his first toy “Patches” which we still have, some of his favs include “Mr. Bill” which we had to replace often, “Bear Bear” which is still hanging in there, many bags of “Furitos” and the like, and most recently “Ducky”, which he had just received last Christmas.

When we first found out about Grizzly’s condition, we didn’t know what to expect. We knew that Grizzly was a strong boy and he would fight this to the end… and that is just what he did. Grizzly Bear far out lived his initial prognosis by an additional five weeks. He stayed strong as his body changed to a shadow of what he once was, but his devotion never faded. All the way up till the end he was up and ready to protect us when the need arose.

Grizzly Bear left us on March 25th 2023.

Of course, the pain is still fresh and will be for some time. Now it’s just the little things that get me going. Silly instances that the mind had glossed over until they aren’t there, then the heart fills in the blanks. As anyone who has experienced the lost of a beloved family pet, you know what I’m talking about. Daily routines that you’ve done for years that have now disappeared. Each one is a reminder of what we have lost.

Goodbye my baby boy. You have been loved and will forever live in our hearts.

Snow day gone wrong!

We woke up to a beautiful March 1st morning, a true Winter Wonderland after receiving more snow than ever before. We were so excited, snapping pics and video of the huge snowfall as we started our day. Our driveway was totally snowed in and we soon realized driving into work was not an option.

We’ve been thankful that we had dodged all the recent power outages hitting our area, but our luck ran out as we lost power in the morning. No worries, I started up the generator and got our “necessities” up and running with a few extension cords running thought-out the house.

I decided to run out and see if I can get the truck started. I knew that it was our only option if we were going to get out of our driveway any time soon. I threw on my snow boots at ran out to find that our carport which houses the Truck and Bronco had collapsed.

My heart sank when I saw the truck damaged from the collapsed carport. Thankfully the truck took one for the team and saved the Bronco with only inches to spare. I carefully maneuvered the Bronco out to get it away from the failed trusses, but it took us a while to shovel the snow out enough to free the Bronco from the failing structure.

After finally getting the Bronco position away from the carport we went inside to get warm and discuss our options going forward… then we heard the crash!!!!

We ran outside to find the carport had again failed, completely crushing the truck and damaging the hood, cab and bed. We are so happy we got the Bronco out of the way just in time to avoid any damage to our newest ride, but the truck took more damage.

Not sure what insurance is willing to do about the damage to the truck but I’m fearing the worst. “The Black Pearl” has been a big part of my life for nearly a decade, and I’ve put a lot of money, love and miles into the truck. It’s far from perfect, but it’s my baby and if it can’t be repaired I will be heartbroken.

I’ve been living in these mountains for over 30 years and have never suffered a weather related incident like this. I’m hoping The Beast can be saved but I’m so thankful it wasn’t any worse.

Congratulations to the YHS Mock Trial Team

The Yosemite High School Mock Trial Team is #1 in Madera County, and they’re going to State Finals next month!

Ali has loved every minute of this experience, and we have loved hearing the play by play of the courtroom drama over these past few weeks.

The team received additional personal awards and Ali received an award for Best Defense Witness.

Needless to say we are so proud of this girl, and wish her and the entire team further success as they move forward to their next challenge.

Dragon’s Lair X RepliCade Overhaul Edition

Another long wait is over!!!

I ordered this little beauty nearly a year ago, and it arrived a few months ahead of schedule. Dragon’s Lair was originally released in 1983 and was one of my favorite games growing up. I spent much of my limited arcade money on this game, as it took two quarters to play a game that usually ended in just a minute of play. Dragon’s Lair used laserdisc technology and animation from the legendary Don Bluth, offering greatly superior graphics compared to other video games at the time.

This miniaturized 1/6 scale cabinet features a control panel with authentic ball-top joystick and action buttons, a cabinet constructed from premium materials including wood, metal, and plastic, illuminated marquee and coin doors, high-resolution cabinet art reproduction on quality 3M vinyl overlays, and a LDV1000 Mini LaserDisc player replica prop with rear cab storage drawer.

It plays the original 1983 Dragon’s Lair LaserDisc arcade game running on Daphne emulator on a gorgeous traditional 4:3 aspect ratio 4.2-inch screen. This tiny reproduction has HDTV Connectivity with screen mirroring, amplified multi-speaker audio with volume control, USB controller support, a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery, an operator’s menu featuring dip switch settings and cabinet controls, and a fully functional digital scoreboard displaying players’ scores, lives, and credits.

Crazy right?

The gameplay on this little cabinet is incredible. Using the tiny joystick and buttons is actually pretty easy and the game is perfectly playable even at its small scale. I think it even plays better than my 3/4 scale Arcade1Up version I picked up last year.

New best friends!

Oh yeah, I also ordered a 3/4 scale cabinet from Arcade1Up last year which also arrived way ahead of schedule. I’ve been meaning to post up about the new arcade cabinet, but it’s much too heavy to bring out to my normal photo location on my patio bar. 🙂 I’ll post up more info on this beast later but now back to its little brother.

New Wave Toys has really hit this one out of the park, creating a small scale replica that is true to the original arcade version in both looks and playability. Adding a retro arcade fluorescent carpet pad and scale stool perfectly finished off the set.

Can’t wait to see what New Wave Toys comes up with next… Oh yeah, that’s right! I also ordered another Don Bluth classic “Space Ace” which hopefully will ship next month.

Flex Friday… Another year, another gym!

See my journey

Yup. it’s that time again, my yearly Flex Friday post. I know I look a little scruffy, I really should have trimmed the ol’ whiskers before I took this pic but it’s been a crazy year of ups and downs but things seem to be back on track!

So, I’ve been making progress since The Great Covid Deficit of 2020™, but the powers that be did throw a couple of wrenches in there to keep it spicy. I was informed late June that my beloved gym would be closing down permanently. I was totally bummed as the place was pretty awesome, it was huge, lots of free and machine weights, treadmills, ellipticals, rowers, bikes, stairs, an awesome basket/volley ball court, giant locker room with steam room, and lots and lots of space. The thought of switching to another gym was truly frightening.

Thankfully we have two other gyms in town, one that was much smaller and open 24 hours, and another that’s been around forever and a lot more old school when it came to the weights. I bit my cheek and chose the old school gym as it seemed to be more my style. It was nice to see some of the people from the old gym had chose the same, but it was going to be an interesting switch indeed, as everything felt so different at the new place.

I tell you, everyone agreed the change was difficult… even the weights felt heavier as I transitioned to a more free weight workout compared to the lazy machine/free weight workout I had been accustom too. I quickly found that I was getting a much better workout then I had at the old place. I guess it’s good to shake it up a bit from time to time in order to seek progress.

As I familiarized myself with the area around me, I was still dealing with aches and pains in my knees and ankles that seemed to have started during the Covid break. I was unable to keep up on my legs like I had been, and it wasn’t until recently that I’m finally able to get some more regular exercise out of them and hopefully soon I’ll be back on track like I was before.

Everything else is improving nicely. I’m still not quite up to were I was before the lockdowns but I’m pretty damn close hitting just under my maxes prior to closures. As I get older I’m hoping to be able to keep up. People at the gym don’t believe me when I tell them my age, and it brings a little joy knowing that for the most part I feel much younger than my age. 🙂

So much has changed since I started this journey seven years ago, but I won’t let anything get in my way. I hope to be even stronger and lighter when I’m sixty, so look out all you young whipper snappers, this old man is coming for ya.

Hasbro Ghostbusters Plasma Series Spengler’s Proton Pack

OMG, It’s finally here!!!!

I ordered this bad boy way back in 2021 when Hasbro offered it up via the Haslab crowdfunding platform. They needed 7,000 backers to proceed and they received over 19,000 eager Ghostbusters fans with the product scheduled for release in spring 2023.

Well it’s truly hard to believe that even with all the Covid related delays and supply chain issues, the good folks at Hasbro managed to get this out earlier than expected.

The pack connects to the previously released and awesome Hasbro Ghostbusters Plasma Series Spengler’s Neutrona Wand which I had already purchased way back in 2020. They both work together and the pack actually responds to the actions of the wand. This is truly unexpected as the original wand was created as a stand alone item, with no plans at the time to create the entire pack.

Here’s a quick video of the pack in operation.

Of course I’ve made a few little modifications to bring the beast closer to the actual movie prop, but this thing is pretty darn cool right out of the box.

Owning a full size Ghostbusters Proton Pack has been a dream of mine since first seeing the movie way back in 1984. Until Hasbro produced this beauty, the only option was to gather up all the parts, assemble, paint and install all the electronics yourself, or pay someone thousands of dollars to build a pack for you. Although the Hasbro pack is not as authentic as these more expensive options, it’s definitely good enough for me and well exceeded my expectations.

Hasbro teased us Ghostbusters fans by hinting that they may be offering up another item later this year. I’m hoping it’s a ghost trap, or preferably an updated PKE Meter that also doubles as a ghost taser as seen in the Afterlife film.

Until them, “We have the tools, We have the talent…”

Who ya gonna call?

Well that didn’t take long… Unleash the beast!!!

While I was recently digging through and organizing my RC parts, I was surprised to find a stock Traxxas motor. I must be getting old because I can’t remember why I had an extra, but I hooked it up and it seems to work great.

I picked up an old school Traxxas speed controller (ESC) super cheap and hooked it up to a radio receiver I also had lying around. I tried to keep it simple by keeping the chassis all black but when I swapped around a few different shocks from the other trucks, I really dug the looks of the blue springs with this body.

I just fixed a broken controller which I also had stuffed in the bowels of my parts bin. You see honey, I knew I should keep it all these years just in case I needed it one day… well today is the day and now the truck is officially complete.

Ready to hit the shelf!

Yup, just like my fancy 30th Anniversary Grave Digger, these tires will only be touched by carpet, linoleum and maybe a few wood or tile floors.

Hail to the one that started it all, baby!!!

The one that started it all!

The first monster truck, Bigfoot, started out as a family Ford F-250 pickup which was modified until the tires reached 66 inches, as well as adding heavy duty suspension and four-wheel steering.

Often seen crushing regular cars under its weight, this humungous truck provide a thrilling source of entertainment that was loved across the US and beyond.

Fresh out of the box!

I was thrilled to see that Traxxas brought this classic to their lineup a few years ago, but I just couldn’t see spending the money on yet another Traxxas Stampede with a fancy shell. Well after patiently waiting for years, and searching eBay for just the right price, I finally purchased the shell and built this roller using 90% parts I already had. I even found an incredible price on a LED light set that is only found on the most recently released version.

It’s just a roller now, no motor, computer(ESC) or controller… but let’s be honest here, I’m sure this thing will be 100% up and running before you know it. 🙂

Almost there… stay on target!

I’ll be perusing eBay for the remaining parts needed for the beast and digging through what’s left of my parts in the hopes of finding anything else I can use for the build.

Hopefully soon this thing will be fully functional.

My latest addiction!

Oh my… these things are the bee’s knees!!!!

First there was the normal everyday sunflower seeds, which seemed fine at the time. Then came such favorites as “Cracked Pepper”, “BBQ”, “Spicy Sweet Chili”, and of course one of the best, “Dill Pickle”, but hot damn these “Takis Fuego” seeds are incredible.

Stop whatever you are doing at this moment and go grab a bag of these hot and spicy delights!!!

30th Anniversary Grave Digger… from roller to remote controller

Well, after getting all the RC’s out and cleaned up this past week, I decided to change this beauty from a simple rolling chassis to a full blown radio controlled beast.

I ordered and installed the last remaining parts needed to truly drive this thing, along with a few visual enhancements to spruce it up, and this monster is finally ready for the road.

Just before the transformation.

Well, actually… it won’t see any dirt, asphalt, gravel, or cement under its wheels and there will definitely be no roll-overs to scratch this beautiful body as this trailer king will only be driven under safe conditions that can only be accommodated by in-door driving.

Too pretty to bash!

Yup, these tires will only be touched by carpet, linoleum and maybe a few wood or tile floors.

Hail to the king, baby!!!

A Baby Bronco just for me!

That’s right, I got tired of the limited seat time I’ve been getting in my wife’s new Bronco Sport so I bought my own.

This bad boy is sporting a high lift, huge off-road tires, gargantuan push bar up front, and this baby is 100% electric.

Charge time is only 30 minutes which produces about 20 minutes of drive time. Needless to say I’ll be spending most of my drive time close to home.

If you happen to see me out and about in this beauty, make sure you say hi and give us a big thumbs up as you pass by! ??

Update (2/4)

I was so excited to find one in Cyber Orange, and it’s an actual Badlands Edition!!!

Cyber Orange Badlands Edition!!!

Don’t they look cute together?

I’ve decided to keep both and only drive the Cyber Orange Baby Bronco on Sundays!

Flex Friday… Getting back into the groove

See my journey

Sure, 2020 was a complete mess, but things didn’t get too much better in 2021. Still dealing with restrictions forced upon us by the virus debacle, I wasn’t able to get back into the gym until late March.

It was such a wonderful feeling getting back into the gym, and getting back into my groove. Unfortunately, the time off and lack of motivation really took its toll on my knees and ankles. That’s right, I said ankles. I’ve been dealing with knee issues for some time, but ankles? This is something new… I don’t recommend getting old my friends.

Anyway, I couldn’t believe how much was lost, and how tough it was going to be to just get back to where I was before all this mess. I started off slow, and very frustrated. I wanted to do so much more but just couldn’t find the strength, and my endurance was totally shot. After settling down a bit and realizing nothing was going to happen overnight, I relaxed my mind and slowly began to regain the strength that was lost. Just as I started reaching many new goals and feeling better and stronger than ever, life got in the way. I fell out of my normal routine due to community obligations as well as my personal health.

Unfortunately, I hit another low.

It was pretty hard to take. Surprisingly, prior to this I had been hitting goals and lifting weight I have never lifted before. Things were looking good for hitting the goals I made for myself by the end of the year. It’s funny how frustrated you can get when you know that with every day or week that goes by, you are losing more and more of the hard work you’ve put in. When I was finally able to get back to a regular schedule, I was again surprised at how much was lost so quickly. After coming back the first time and hitting highs like never before, I found that once again I had to start well below where I thought I’d be.

This time I was more prepared for how long it would take me to get back to the weight I was lifting before. I’m still not quite there, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m feeling healthier and stronger everyday, and I feel confident that I will hit and quite possibly exceed the goals I had missed last year.

Let’s go 2022, I’m ready!!!

All Hail the Full Size Spare Tire!

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the optional full size spare tire.

After owning the new Bronco for only a week, my wife found a tire air removal device on the drive home from work. It was so nice to pull out a full size matching spare rather than the little donut options we’ve had in the past.

Now we can run the Baby Bronco normally until we can get the tire fixed.

Update (11/26)

Well wouldn’t you know it? I took the tire into the local shop today to get it plugged and back on the road, but when they were breaking the bead, a part of the sidewall split open. They could not see any damage at all on the outside, but the tear is pretty huge.

Huge rip in the sidewall

I’m heading down to the dealer tomorrow to see if they will cover this as a defect. This poor thing only lasted 824 miles, and now it’s heading to the tire graveyard.

Update on the Update (11/27)

Well, they didn’t warranty the tire, I had to pay full price. The dealer wouldn’t even look into it, just got a quick NO and asked if I wanted to buy a new one. Which is strange as one of the things that stood out during our purchase of the Bronco was that the finance guy specifically mentioned that even the tires are covered against defect.

Back on the road in full regalia

So, my wife was driving home when the air pressure warning hit. She pulled over immediately and the tire still had enough air for her to think it was an error as it looked fine to her. By the time I got there it was totally flat.

AAA swapped to the spare and I took the tire to our local shop for a plug. The shop said the sidewall split when they broke the bead. So either it was some kind of defect, or the shop damaged it and didn’t take responsibility (which I feel is highly unlikely).

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