Tire Blowout Fun!

Recently we took our first round-trip road trip together, from Woodinville, Washington to Rosamond, California, to be with Jeni’s family during Christmas. Our trip began on Saturday, December 21st. We packed up our car for the week-long journey, and set out to downtown Seattle, to watch The Two Towers at the Cinerama with a group of our friends. Not a bad way to start a road trip, if you ask me. After the movie, we drove as far as Vancouver, and stayed the night with my (Tim’s) parents.

sweet blowoutOn Sunday, just as we were about to hit the road, my dad (Norm) did a last minute check over the car to make sure it was in good order. Not that he doesn’t trust his son, but he just likes to watch out for him. Good thing, too, because as it turns out, they had run over a nail that morning, and the back-left tire was leaking fast. Ah hah, no big deal, we’ll just have it repaired. WRONG! As it turns out, tire places aren’t open on Sundays. So… what to do… Again with the good idea, Norm came up with a scheme whereby Matthew (my brother) and I would switch tires, since Matthew’s car was the same model as ours and only one year different. Perfect. Half an hour later, as we are heading out for real, Norm asked “Do you want to check the spare tire, to make sure it has air in it?” Considering that the trunk was full of Christmas gifts for Jeni’s family, and the presents we had just received from my family, we weren’t too keen on that idea. Besides, we had fixed our tire problem. Clear sailing from here on out. I’m sure the spare tire is fine. So off we went.

So, um… what’s with the blowout, then? Didn’t we fix the tire? Right. The back-left tire was fine. But when we stopped for gas in Grant’s Pass, just 42 miles from our destination, the front-right tire sprung a leak. In fact, we didn’t even notice the leak. The attendant (for those of you who don’t know, you can’t pump your own gas in Oregon, so all stations have attendants) came running over to us and told us about it. It was leaking so badly that he could hear it 30 feet away. As it turns out, we pulled the car just a tad bit too close to the curb while pulling away from the pump, and the wheel was turned just wrong such that the nozzle was pinched between the tire and the curb, and something gave (hint: it wasn’t the curb).

matches?!?This is where the story gets somewhat embarrassing. A sensible person would have stopped right there, at the gas station, put on the spare tire, and had the leak repaired the next day. But, I’m not a sensible person, I’m an engineer. Only a week before had I poured scalding hot Wassail from a Crock Pot into a jug without spilling a drop, using only a thin paper plate. So, when the attendant found out that the audible hissing from the tire could be stopped by pushing the nozzle to one side, I came up with a brilliant plan. Running inside, I grabbed a book of matches, which I then proceeded to smash in between the nozzle and the hubcap, thereby stopping the noise. No noise, no leak, right? Perfect. That will hold for a few more miles to Ashland.

Obviously, it didn’t. Although we did maintain a relatively low speed, about 4 miles down the road, the matchbook must have come loose, because the tire pretty much exploded. Fortunately we were near an exit, so, after cutting in front of a semi truck going 10mph faster than me, we exited the freeway and came to rest off the side of the road on a paved area.

Uh, where did the wheel go?You may think that at this point, we were pretty distraught. Think about it. We were sitting there, in the dark, on the side of a rarely-used exit, somewhere in southern Oregon (as in, endless fields and hills with very few people), with a smoldering, blown-out tire, and oh yeah, remember that spare that my dad wanted us to check??? For some reason, though, we were actually in quite good moods. Although it had been raining when we left Vancouver, it was completely dry here, we had a powerful flashlight, and, as it turns out, the spare tire was indeed in just dandy condition. Look, you can even see a smile on my face as I prepare to put the spare tire on.

So, I think I’ve just about rambled on enough now about a silly flat tire. We got the spare put on, and made it to Ashland okay, and the rest of the trip was just super.

I’m sure there’s a moral to this story somewhere… Lemme think… Okay, how about this: “Matches don’t fix tires.” Yeah. I like that.

– Tim

Matches don't fix tires.
Matches don’t fix tires.

J.R. & the Ring

Four score and seven years ago (that’s 87 years, in layman’s terms), our forefathers—okay well never mind, my wife has vetoed that introduction. Go figure. So anyway, from the day that the rings were picked up from E.E. Robbins, Tim kept them in his immediate possession at all times. At work, classes, and in his bedroom, he always kept the red backpack with the 3 ring boxes in the front pocket (her engagement band, her wedding band, and his wedding band) close by his side. Considering that the rings were by far the most valuable items that he owned (both monetarily and sentimentally), he was very, very careful not to let them out of his site.

Well, by now you’re probably thinking “hey wait a minute… isn’t it the best man’s responsibility to keep the rings?” Well, you are right, it is. However Tim and J.R. (the best man) had an understanding. The rings were to stay in Tim’s possession until the morning of the wedding. When they arrived that morning, Tim would then hand the rings over to J.R., so he could fulfill his best manly duty. What could happen to them in the course of a few hours?

As it turns out, more than you think.

After they were all spiffed out in their dandy tuxedos, the time came for the rings to be handed over to J.R.. Tim took each of the three rings out of their box, and placed them all on one finger. After thoroughly checking for holes and finding none, J.R. held open his inside-suit-coat-pocket, and Tim held his finger over the pocket and dropped them in.

About half an hour later, all the guys were in the sanctuary, taking pictures, and J.R. said the last words that Tim wanted to hear:

“Um… Were there three rings, or just two?”

silent stare of death. a sort of “that isn’t funny. tell me you’re kidding” look.

“I’m not kidding. I thought there were three rings, but right now I only have two.”

look of dismay.

“This is the first time I have even reached into this pocket since we put them in, I’m sure of it. I reached in to count, and all I feel is your ring and her engagement ring. I don’t know where her wedding band is.”

So, Tim and J.R. checked the floor all around where they were standing, and they checked the lining of J.R.’s suit coat, just in case they somehow missed a hole in the pocket… no luck. The ring was not to be found. Panic began to set in. They crossed the lawn to return to the dressing room. They scoured the dressing room, and searched the lawn. They told everyone they saw, as they all joined in the search for the tiny wedding band. Tim tried to reason through the situation with J.R.. He tried to determine how the ring could have fallen out. Suddenly Tim realized that J.R. had leaned over the sink to wet his hair before geling it. He headed toward the bathroom with J.R., but was blocked, and told that he was not allowed to enter that portion of the building. This rather upset Tim. As it turns out, Jeni (of course not knowing anything about the missing ring) had decided that this would be a good time to arrange some candles in the sanctuary.

As Tim waited for what seemed like hours for Jeni to finish, suddenly a happy shout arose from the direction of the guys’ dressing room. Pastor Lee had found the ring! It was lying on the floor in the dressing room, just below the spot that Tim and J.R. thought that they had placed the rings into J.R.’s pocket. Apparently, somehow the smallest of the rings had missed the pocket, escaping the notice of either of them.


Ever the slaves to tradition, after the ring was found, Tim gave J.R. the rings yet again. J.R. counted them about every ten seconds from then until just before the ceremony, when he placed the rings, all three, on the ring-bearer’s pillow (which was a sunflower).


Into the darkness I enter.
The black seats lie silently in wait.
Compulsively reaching within the depths of my bag, I take hold of the pencil.
It is sharp, ready to engage the enemy.
The angry desktop is laid horizontal, waiting and eager to join the ambush.


A wristwatch resounds the eerie announcement: eleven o’clock.
The time has come.

There, I see them. Approaching in the distance.
My comrades plunge one by one into the mêlée.
The inevitable torment spreads to them all.

One of the beasts has reached me.
The vile leech begins its solemn task.
Unable to resist, I give way to the attack.
My synapses slow. My energy is being drained.
I endure their continual beating, my will diminishing.


I hear it. The sound of my resolve falling to the ground.
As I slump back in defeat, the battlefield comes into view.
I am not the first to drop. Others can be seen crying out in their silent pain.
Are there any survivors? The opponent’s destruction cannot be total…
     there must at least be a few.
Yes. I see some. Scattered about, they continue the fight.

Radiating warmth, one of my persevering companions catches my eye.
Focused on her encounter with the foe, she is still full of life.
On mere observation of her graceful motion, I am instilled with a new hope.
I am a Knight. My armor protects me from the continuing blows of the adversary.
She has given me reason to persist.
I must survive, if only to join her in glorious victory.

I am transformed, swiftly attacking the assailants…


Now the timepiece sounds my triumph. twelve o’clock, and already I am successful.
Smiling, I replace my weapon and lightly stride from the scene.
As I step out into the sunlight, the day is fresh and bright.
I set out to find the one who saw me through the darkest hour.

My spirit is renewed.
The conflict is a shadow of memory, replaced by the beauty of my life’s new love.

Continue reading Renewal


I shoulda not just sat there.
     smiling like a fool.
I coulda touched her silky hair;
     broken all the rules.
I woulda told her she was rare—
     precious, shining as a jewel.
I wish I’d mentioned how I care,
     tried to win my inner duel.

So now I sit here looking back
     thinking of the things I lack.
I want to pull out of this rut.
     One thing stops me—one word—but.

But right now I’m safe, secure as I sit here.
     There is nothing to fix.
But what if she says what I don’t want to hear?
     I just can’t take that risk.

Who will show me what to do?
     Who will guide my path?
I need to trust in only You.
     My God in present, future, past.

I know You have great plans for me,
     if only I would try to see.
So I won’t worry about finding someone
     of all that I shoulda coulda woulda done.

Continue reading Retrospect

Tim’s 7 Step Guide to Computer Troubleshooting

In order to solve any computer problem you are having, first stop being so stupid. If that doesn’t work, simply follow these 7 steps. Begin with step 1. If this does not solve your problem, move on to the next step. If your problem is solved, then there is no need to do any of the other steps. Continue through the list until your computer problem is no more. For details performing any of these tasks, contact your vendor.

  1. Reboot your computer.
  2. Re-install the program or drivers for the software or hardware with the problem.
  3. Re-install Windows, then proceed to step 2.
  4. “format c:” then proceed to step 3.
  5. Replace troublesome hardware.
  6. Replace entire computer system.

    And if none of the first 6 worked…

  7. Denounce technology and move to Montana.