I hooked this Pike with a yellow plastic worm on a lead-head jig. I break off the barbs on the hooks for easy release, but they still get stuck. I had to ask Liz to get me some pliers because in my excitement, I dropped my hook degorger in the water (Chris dove in an got it out later).

A Pike<

The second pike I caught just self released as I pulled it toward the dock.

Wednesday I got another Pike and a small Smallmouth bass, but there hasn’t been any action since then.

There are a lot of weeds in the water. I catch those all the time.


Alien Invasion, Nobody Cares

The rental agent at Thrifty was anxious for us to upgrade to a new Chrysler Pacifica he had on the lot. I said, “Do you mean the big station wagon?” He didn’t see it that way.


It is a very luxurious vehicle. The tailgate opens electrically with a keyless remote.

Outside of Toronto on the 400, there is a large UFO parked that nobody seems to take notice of. The people of Toronto must be hypnotized.

Bass Pro Shops
At some point, I realized that I forgot my fishing reel. Fortunately, Bass Pro Shops had opened up their first Canadian store last November. It is 140,000 square feet. I am impressed. I vow to sell SUNW and buy stock, later to find out it’s still privately held. Cabela’s isn’t doing that great anyway.

The fishing department has about 100 reels on display so you can pick them up and try them out. I go to the reels locked in the display case and point out the Shimano Stella to Chris. I tell her she has to buy me that one because she made me come to Canada.

Bass Pro Shops has a large aquarium, that rivals one at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. There are many large fish. I see at least a couple of 12-15 lb. rainbow trout, bass, etc.

Pacific Grove to Chicago

We left Pacific Grove at 4:30 PM, PDT, even though our flight didn’t leave San Jose until 10:50 PM.We were going to have dinner in San Jose at a Chinese restaurant in a strip mall, not too far from the airport.


There were two restaurants right next door to each other and we decided to eat in the one where the most people were going into.

Another time, we had eaten at the other restaurant and received such a foul smell of shit for a few minutes, we couldn’t figure out what was going on.


We ordered scallion pancakes, beef clay pot, Singapore style noodles and smoked pork with scallions. The restaurant was crowded. While we were waiting, the same odor came for about two minutes and then left. It was very disconcerting. The food was great.

It was now 7:15, a few hours too early to head to the airport, so we decided to go to Fry’s, because it was hot outside and we could walk around looking at stuff in air-conditioned comfort. Fry’s had closed at 7:00.

After filling the tank on the rental car (buying a Chevrolet Aveo is not recommended) we went to the rental car return at the airport. All the big rental car agencies are spread over one gigantic lot. After dropping off the car, we waited for the bus to take us to the terminal an noticed everyone driving the Hertz cars away, after the customers returned them, were wearing turbans.

The flight was very crowded. I slept for about an hour and a half. We arrived at O’Hare at 4:45 AM CDT and walked to the terminal where our flight to Toronto would leave at 6:30 CDT. There were 15 people lined up at McDonald’s. I told Chris we should get some frys.

HP Pavilion f1703 Flat Panel Display Blackout Solution



I am not responsible for any damage you might cause to your monitor or yourself by following these instructions. If you open up your monitor case to this point, you will probably void your warranty.

CAUTION: There may be HIGH VOLTAGE present. Disconnect all power during disassembly. Inverters can generate high voltages.

If this repair is too daunting, HP has offered an extended warranty in this HP Support document. Thank you, tsmitty, for this link to HP Support. (Jan. 23, 2009: HP has discontinued this offer)

My HP Pavilion f1703 LCD Monitor suffered the same blackout symptoms as other posters in the CNET forum. After powering on, the display would go black after a few seconds. It was not the power supply in my case – I tried another working power supply with the same result.

It was also not a software problem, e.g., XP SP2, power management, screensavers, etc. In my case, it was a hardware problem, as I tried the monitor on a different machine with the same result: power on, brief display, then black. It also exhibited this behavior with no cable connected to the monitor.

I noticed the screen was faintly visible under bright light and realized that the backlight was not working. It seemed unlikely that the fluorescent tube would fail – I have had my Toshiba Portege 7200CT notebook computer on for 5 years, running SETI@Home.

Since the monitor was out of warranty, I decided to try to repair it myself. This is not a step-by-step procedure, but an general overview of how I solved MY problem with this monitor.

After reading the posts, it seemed that there must have been a loose connection on the circuit board that drives the monitor’s backlight. I especially noted gromit588’s post about disassembly and followed the instructions. gromit588’s experience must have shorted some connection closed to fix the problem. I found that it did not help me, so I looked for bad (cold) solder joints on the backlight inverter board.

After a close inspection of the board, the bad solder joint was obvious. The bad solder joint on my board was on one of the coils – the bare pin on the coil was sticking through from the component side with very little solder on the pad on the circuit board. I resoldered it and that fixed the problem. There may be other cold solder joints at different locations on YOUR board. You just have to inspect each joint carefully.

HP f1703 monitor with bezel removed
HP f1703 monitor electronics disassembled from the case
HP f1703 monitor component side of the backlight inverter board
Component side of the backlight inverter board
HP f1703 monitor solder side of the backlight inverter board
Solder side of the backlight inverter board with the bad joint circled (the bad solder joint may be different on your circuit board)

Close-up of the backlight inverter board with the repaired cold solder joint circled. Inspect the board for cold solder joints – they will be fairly obvious. It’s possible that the cold solder joints on YOUR board are in different locations on the board from the one circled here: (Jan. 23, 2009: If the cold joints aren’t obvious, I recommend using a 10x magnifier, or just reheat the solder joints on the components that have white glue holding them to the circuit board, see fig. 2)

HP f1703 monitor circuit board close up
HP f1703 monitor circuit board close up

Alfa Seats

SEM Colorcoat

I bought these vinyl seats for my 1979 Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce in 2002 on eBay for $99. They had no rips or tears but looked dirty.

Alfa Romeo Alfetta Front Seats
Alfa Romeo Alfetta Front Seats

At the local automotive paint store I bought three cans of SEM Colorcoat 15093, Light Buckskin for about $10/can (13 oz). There were also SEM cleaners and surface prep. The guy at the store said just to use lacquer thinner, which I did. Two and half cans later they looked OK. I painted them in July 2002 and they have held up very well – no cracking or chipping.

Colorcoat seems to be more of a flexible paint, than a dye. The driver’s seat shows dirt but it cleans off with Simple Green. The apparent unevenness in the color in the photo is due to the lighting, rather than the application of the paint.