In the early days of this blog, I wrote about this former acquaintance of mine who has earned the nickname Scumbag several times over.
While looking through the Google's brain for other people I knew in Tallahassee back in the day, I went looking to see if Scumbag was still in trouble with the law.
Didn't expect the results I got, but I wasn't terribly surprised. He is a Scumbag, after all--the guy who sat and watched TV while his recently-exed fiancee' tried to kill herself with an overdose. The guy who squealed when he got busted by ATF when he tried to sell an illegally-assembled Uzi to undercover agents. The guy who caused a rollover crash on Appalachee Parkway in Tallahassee by changing lanes without looking or signalling; a car with several girls climbed the guardrail at the railroad overpass not far from the State Capitol building. He didn't bother to stop and check on them despite having bragged about being an EMT (he also said he'd been a Navy SEAL, fought in Iraq in 1991, got Gulf War Syndrome, was taught Japanese swordfighting by Musashi himself, and that he's a powerful warlock. Heh.).
He was convicted on the gun charge, went to prison for a few years in 1997, and appealed the decision all through the '00s, claiming his civil rights had been violated. Apparently there are some other interesting bits on his rap sheet...but his most recent criminal enterprise took the cake and burned the freaking bakery down.
He and his ex-girlfriend were arrested in June of 2012 for multiple instances of sexual assault upon a 14 year old girl.
He was charged with TWENTY-FIVE counts of sexual assault on a juvenile and another 25 for possession of porn. His ex got 5 counts of sexual assault on a minor.
Once I stopped gloating that his ass was arrested (yet again), I asked the Great Google (pbuh) whether Scumbag had gone to trial.
Why, yes. Yes, he had. In March of 2013 he and his ex were convicted. Scumbag got 15 years plus 36 months probation with 256 days' credit for the time he'd already spent in the box. Girlfriend was convicted on two lesser counts and got two 60-day terms and credit for 29 days' jail time.
Not nearly enough. There's nothing I despise more than someone who hurts a kid (and that's even taking Republicans into account).
There was one shitty teenager, though, who might have wired my rage button more than the abusive stepfather did.
In 1973, we moved four times, going from Pensacola to West Palm Beach to Loxley, Alabama to Mobile, Alabama. Prichard, actually, which lies close to the port, the Africatown Bridge, and a couple of miles north of downtown Mobile. I've spent hours in Google Earth scouring Eugene Avenue, trying to remember what our house looked like and where one of the neighborhood kids lived.
I wasn't quite 6 yet. Maybe that's why nothing looks familiar now. But I do remember the school yard fronting along the north side of Meaher Street, an easy walk north along Eugene. I remember a day when I was out exploring the neighborhood and stole a "Coca Cola" keyring dangling from the ignition of a parked school bus.
I remember the neighborhood kid and some friends playing with the new Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle in front of his house. I don't know how many times we played together after that first meeting, or what his name was, or even how long we lived in the neighborhood. Not very long, since we moved twice the next year.
I do remember the kid's older brother, who tried to molest me.
You might not want to read any further. It's not particularly graphic, what he did, but "trigger warnings" are a thing.
Everyone else was out of the house--parents at work, kid at summer school, according to Big Brother. All I've got is mental snapshots: I'll give you these opera glasses if you'll do something for me...him with his underwear down...mine down...a few awkward moments of him trying (and failing) to get me to blow him...I didn't know enough to be afraid or disturbed, didn't know what any of this was about...and then I was climbing a tree, playing with the shiny glasses. I didn't actively block it from my mind, but I can't remember giving it much further thought until I was in my 20s, when suddenly everything popped up again.
The neighborhood hasn't changed much, from what I can see in Google's Street View. Still tree-shaded, with kids playing in the quiet streets or sandy yards. The school's been rebuilt and faces the street where I stole the bus keys. I wonder whether that kid's brother molested anyone else, whether he ever got caught. I'd like to think some other kid's big brother grabbed him and went all Frank Castle on his ass.
I'd settle, though, for learning that Scumbag gets a few bales of shit beaten out of him while he's in prison. No rape and no stabbings, just a series of ass-whippings he's had coming to him for a long time.
The difference has been amazing. For much of the last two months, I've been making adjustments to the ignition timing and carb settings. Since I'm running the car with a non-computer-controlled carb and distributor, I don't have a manual or sticker for where the base timing should be set. I went with 10 degrees BTDC, plugged the vacuum advance in, then set the carb mixture and idle speed.
Much better. I've had none of the hard-start issues that plagued the car over the last couple of summers. I did have a bad afternoon the day I drove across town to get the X's tag renewed, though. I didn't have any tools. The car stalled as soon as the front tires touched the tag office parking lot and several more times on the way home. I never figured it out, other than the car was running hot. After it cooled down for a few hours, it started right up with no trouble. I got out the timing light a few days later and put things like they should have been weeks before. Fixed.
The next Friday, I went back to the tag office to get the Tracker's renewal. No troubles, no overheating. While I was sitting in line, I thought about the tachometer I'd repaired several months before. It was in a box behind my seat. The dash was only partly put back together from last year's electrical project; all I needed to do to be done was...hook up the stupid tachometer, adjust it, and install it properly.
I'll do a writeup on the tach separately; there's a common problem with GM tachs from the '70s through the '90s where a resistor goes bad and makes the thing read too high, too low, or not at all. I found a website with some decent step-by-step directions. The repair is dead simple if you're even okay with a soldering iron.
The tach worked, needing only some adjustment to read correctly. Once I got that done, I kept going, putting the instrument panel back together (so now I have fully-functional gauges AND dash lights), putting the heater/air conditioner controls back in (so now I have a working heater and defroster for the first time in 18 months), reinstalling and wiring the front stereo speakers, and bolting the steering column into place for the last time.
There's still the glove box to reinstall, but man, does the dash look good. The engine's running better than ever before...though there's still the small matter of getting that freaking dead muffler from last year swapped out.
On an X-11 related note, I recently found a program that let me grab almost all of the Chevy Citations Forever Yahoo Group, which I've been trying to archive for at least 6 years. It's called PG Offline and should work for most Yahoo Groups, as long as you're subscribed. I nabbed everything back to March of 2002. Everything for the 3-4 years prior to that is corrupted and useless. THANKS, Yahoo. Still, the yield was more than 31,000 posts spanning 12 years. That's not bad.
PGO is primarily an offline reader; you can grab a range of posts or the entire archive and look them over without needing to be inline. It also lets you export an archive to an SQLite database for further hacking. I found an SQLite browser which further let me save the post archive as a Comma-Separated Values file.
From here, I'm going to write a little Python code to go through the CSV and save all the posts as conversation threads to make stuff easier to find. There's a ton of technical stuff formerly locked up on Yahoo's servers that I can set free and make available to group members--engine swaps, parts sources and numbers, and like that. We're always getting new members who can't find info about parts.
Next grabbing project will be the group's photo archive. muahahahaha!