Saturday, March 3, 2012

Orange County Choppers

Albany 2012 02 26 008  
So I had just gone through the TSA check point and am sitting down putting my shoes and sparklies back on when I notice a beautiful woman going through the check point wearing absolutely killer heels. They were about four inches tall and tan with red accents. Given the fact that she was exceptionally attractive, well dressed, and wearing awesome shoes, she was getting quite a bit of attention and I could hear one of the female TSA agents telling her how much she liked the shoes and then they had a short conversation about them. As soon as the woman moved off, the guy that was in line behind her started talking to the same TSA agent.
“Those were some serious shoes weren’t they? I wish I could wear shoes like that!” he said with a laugh and a theatrical exaggeration. Considering that I was putting my own high heels on as they were laughing at his joke, I almost choked. If I had been close enough that I wouldn’t have had to yell, I’m pretty sure that I would have gone ahead and told him that he could have worn shoes like that if he really wanted to . . .
A mother and her little girl (about four or five years old I would guess) came and sat down next to me to put their things away. The little girl was cute as a doll and I couldn’t help but grin as I noticed the large and elaborately jeweled Tierra that she was wearing.
“You know, I KNEW I was forgetting something this morning! I left my Tierra at home!” I told the two of them with a smile and a wink.
“I KNOW! And they go with everything!” the mother replied with a brilliant smile.

So as I was sitting on the plane to Albany, I was surprised when the young woman in the seat in front of me turns around to speak to me.
“Hey, I know you! You were on my last flight to Albany too!” she said with a grin.
“I thought you looked familiar!” I replied with a laugh. “You work in the medical field right?”
“Yes, and you are an engineer right?”
“You got it! So we both lucked out when it comes to upgrades to first class on this flight huh? Once you get used to flying first class, flying sardine class really sucks!”
“Yes. In fact if I remember right, you and I were both upgraded on that last flight and that was what we talking about.” She replied.
“You know I just don’t get it. I’m platinum on Delta and Gold with US Airways, and yet there are people that fly more often than I do?! What in the heck can they possibly do that has them on planes more often than I am?” I asked her.
“I know right?!” she answered.

I was working in Fishkill New York installing one of our Ozone generators. I guess most people don’t know about it, but sometimes they use high concentrations of Ozone in the fabrication process of semiconductors (computer chips). I am really starting to get kind of frustrated when installing these things because I keep having the same issue – customers insisting that they are ready to go and that they need us there ASAP to do the install, and then I arrive to find out that they were nowhere near ready. We send them checklists and everything in advance, telling them that they must do this and that before we arrive, they tell us that they have done it all, and then we arrive to find out that they lied and are not ready. In this case, Bret, one of my colleagues from New Hampshire, and I arrived to find out that they didn’t even have electricity to our system yet! Still, we did all that we could without power before reaching the point where there was nothing left that could be accomplished. At that point, we headed off for a nice long lunch, then did a little shopping for some minor expendables we knew we were going to need, and then we sat there looking at each other.
“Well, we could go see a movie, but sure as hell, just as soon as we paid for the tickets and sat down, we would get the call that the power was now on and we would have to bail out.” I told him.
“Yeah, I’m not all that big on movies anyway.” He replied, and then his face lit up. “Hey, have you ever watched that show ‘Orange County Choppers’ on the Discovery channel?”
“Sure. I love the bikes they make” I replied.
“Well their shop is only about twenty minutes from here. Ya wanna go check it out?”
“Hell yeah!”
And off we went . . .
As far as I can tell, it is pretty much a huge tourist trap. This immense store, and it is filled with T-shirts, caps, mugs, etc, etc and relatively speaking, very few bikes. Still, it was pretty cool to look at the bikes they had on display and to read the stories behind them. Oh, and I did get my wife and father in law T-shirts and a coffee mug. 






Somewhere in the next day or so, they did at last get power to our system, and we started testing all of its safety interlocks and then trying to operate it. I wont bore you with too many details, but the system basically works by running Oxygen through these special gas cells where a LOT of power is applied to cause electrical discharges – more or less creating lightning inside our system, which then converts some of the Oxygen into Ozone. That’s the plan anyway. The bad news is, that if your customer does something really silly, like, oh I don’t know, connecting the Oxygen line to your tool to an entirely different gas, very bad things can and will happen. In this case, they apparently filled the oxygen plumbing with Argon while they were working on it for safeties sake. Pure Oxygen is a very dangerous thing around welding or sparks and so I understand why they would do this. The thing is, when the work on the Oxygen line is complete, one would expect them to remove it from the Argon supply and actually connect it to Oxygen, but they hadn’t. . .

Kim at work 
It probably doesn’t sound like too big a deal, but it was. With the generator filled with Argon instead of Oxygen, this means that we were not creating lightning and ozone inside it, but were creating a plasma instead. As far as the power supplies and other electrical components in our system are concerned, a plasma is pretty much a direct short, and very bad things happen when you short out high voltage power supplies. Suffice it to say that they destroyed one of the two brand new Ozone generators and so I had the pleasure of spending the weekend so that I could wait for my colleague to hand carry the destroyed generator back to the factory to have it repaired and then bring it back the next week.
That night I went to the sports bar in the hotel for dinner and even though I was in boy mode, I bought a “girlie” drink called a “she-she” - and no, I swear that I didn’t make that up. So when the drink arrived I couldn’t help thinking “Damn but that thing is pretty – let’s take a photo of it!” As I was taking out my phone to snap a pic, I noticed a table with about half a dozen people sitting at it, and they are all looking at me! As I found my phone and start lining up the shot, a middle aged guy from their table gets up to make his way to me, and he starts to roar with laughter as he sees the camera. He stopped mid-way and turned back to his table.
“Look it that! That drink is so pretty he’s taking a picture of it!” The whole table busted out laughing and the man continued on his way to me as I snapped the photo.

“What IS that drink?” he asked, still laughing. So we went back and forth with my laughing with him and telling him all of the stuff that is in the drink. Here I thought that they were making fun of me, but this guy and one other from the table were just irritated that they had already ordered something else. Shortly after he returned to his table, a waiter came walking by me and winked while nodding his head toward the other table.
Those folks sure are enjoying your drink!”

I pretty much had a movie marathon that weekend. I saw them as Kimberly but not a thing really happened that was amusing or interesting and so I guess I’ll just tell ya what I thought of the movies.
Red Tails – This is a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen in WWII. The special effects and cinematography were absolutely incredible. It’s hard to believe that the footage wasn’t real – it was THAT realistic. The bad news though is that some of the dialogue and acting was a bit lacking. It was almost as if the primary goal of the movie was to educate people and not to entertain them, and that’s OK, just be prepared for it. Like at one point, the Red Tails had just saved the lives of dozens of bomber crews, and one of the bomber pilots says something lame like “Gee, those red tails just saved our butts. I sure hope that we get them next time!” It wouldn’t have been so bad if the guy hadn’t said it in a monotone as if reading from a cue card. In my opinion, the movie was worth seeing, I just wish they had devoted a little more effort to the story instead of expending it all on the effects.
"Chronicle" - Not a bad show. This movie was about some teenagers who end up with super hero type powers and the chaos that follows. I thought it was OK, but three guys walking down the ramp behind me were loudly stating that it was "the worst F'n movie they had ever seen". Yeah, it wasn’t the best movie I’d ever seen, but also wasn’t the worst.
"Safe House" - pretty good action flick and the time passed quickly. It’s about a veteran secret agent that goes rogue, and the efforts of a new agent to try and capture him. Cant say much more without giving away things, so I’ll just leave it at that and say that I enjoyed it and the time passed quickly.

"Ghost Rider" - I love Cage, but this movie sucked - I wouldn't even spend the money to rent the DVD if I were you. I liked the first show, but this sequel was pretty much lacking in every way. Major disappointment . . .

Albany 2012 02 26 023 
Albany 2012 02 26 010 

When it came time to fly home, I would have had to get up at 2AM to fly pretty, and even I’m not THAT crazy, so I flew home the boring old fashioned way. At the Austin airport while I was waiting for my bags, I was chatting with the woman standing next to me. She grabbed a bag that came around, then laughed that it wasn’t hers and put it back. When my rather large and over packed bag rolled around and I struggle to lift it off of the belt, I saw her giving me an amused look.
“Yeah, I know – I don’t exactly travel light!” I told her with a laugh.
“I see this! I’m guessing there is a woman involved in this trip?” she asked with a sparkle in her eyes.
“Yes, ma’am, you could say that!” I replied as I extended my bags handle and headed for the door while grinning like an idiot.


  1. Another great story!

    So what if the tank had been filled with, say, Helium? Xenon? Joker gas?

    Once again, your look and outfits are amazing!

  2. It might have been interesting if you had gone to Orange County Choppers enFemme.

  3. K -

    I presume you find it easier to fly to Albany and drive down to Fishkill, than to fly into Stewart (Newburgh, NY) and have a shorter drive to Fishkill?????


  4. hmmmm plasma huh? can also be used as a fancy cutting "torch"

    i see you wore our favorite marone leather skirt!
    it has been to warm this winter in nj to wear mine. but the good news is that i didn't have to shovel snow this winter!

    thanks for sharing the photos of the vintage and new bikes.

  5. I enjoy reading your blog and find it very interesting, due to your candid storytelling style. And the photos are especially nice. I'm curious how you take them. For the photos taken in public, do you setup a tripod and the camera timer or do you ask someone to take them for you?

  6. Did you say you're coming back to the area this week to re-install some equipment...Give me a buzz if you wish...Email address
    smooches Jackie

  7. Jackie - that was a week or so ago and long since done. No immediate plans to go back for now~!

  8. Great story from a lovely lady.

  9. $38,000 for a standard production bike.... Love the bikes, have to watch the programme on fast wind from a recording since life is too short to watch a bunch of guys showing what a******s they are. How they manage to come up with the results always amazes me.

    At least they don't drape nearly naked female flesh over the bikes in a lurid manner...

  10. I'd like to hear more about how you manage your voice en femme while chatting at the airport, on the plane, at the movies.
    It is a challenge for many of us.