The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
Same mission, same folks...just a different name

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Monday, July 20, 2009

A Real Trooper Passes

Well, so she wasn't a Trooper , she was a Rodeo...

But she's gone now and she will be missed.

From February 2004 to July 20th, 2009, she served daily and without complaint, picking up hardware parts, delivering computers and attending to the business of what would eventually become The HeliOS Project. In all, she gave The HeliOS Project right over one hundred and eighty eight thousand miles of service.

She was out picking up a small computer donation for Linux Against Poverty when age and the demands of her business became more than she was capable of giving.

With just under three hundred thousand miles on her, the bottom half of her main bearing sheared thus ending the service life of one of the greatest automobiles I have ever owned. She wasn't pretty, she sure was beat up and her paint had cracked and failed with about the same speed of my receded hairline. "Receding" would be incorrect...that would infer there was actual recession going on...there's not any real estate left to recede to in my case.

She had her moments, both good and of the worst was when some crackhead punks decided to smash in her back window right in front of my house in the middle of the night and steal 6 computers loaded and ready for delivery the next day.

You want to know the really sad part? I lived on Ozzie and Harriett Boulevard...nothing bad ever happened on our street...until then. The residents of Cannonwood lane left their cars unlocked all the time.

So did I...all the thieving little cowards had to do was open the hatch...instead they shattered 1100 dollars of back window to steal less than 500 dollars in computer equipment.

But she saw plenty of happiness as well...

Like the time I took off for the southern tip of Texas to rebuild the Computer lab wiped out by a trilogy of hurricanes. When the school lab was finished and I had installed all the computers, I had the privilege of shuttling 15 kids from McAllen Texas out to their new Montessori school. 4 trips of giggling and excited 6th, 7th and 8th graders who had a new computer lab and a new outlook on how they were to use those computers...all Linux computers. The old girl pulled a trailer full of computers and associated hardware and reels of cat 5 hundreds of miles to go do one of the most important jobs she ever did.

So now what? I dunno...we're working on it. Repairs to an engine this old, especially repairs to parts in the heart of the engine are not prudent. The bearing failure is an obvious point to metal fatigue, so it can be safely assumed that other metal parts are just as tired.

It would be akin to trying to patch a sinking ship.

She gave us more than we could ever reasonably ask for. We will let her rest and go about our business.

Right now our business is obtaining a new service vehicle for The HeliOS Project.

We'll let you know how that goes.

All Righty Then...


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. They just don't make them like they used to.

PV said...

I'm sorry to see it go.
For your next vehicle, if I can assume correctly that the only hauling you do is of yourself, computers, monitors, and an (1, one, uno) occasional passenger, I would highly recommend getting a Honda Odyssey. It is highly versatile, quite plush even in lower trim levels, and can carry a whole load of stuff in decent comfort; it also happens to be extremely solidly-built and very reliable and long-lasting. The only issue is the price, in that the starting MSRP is somewhat high (around $26000) and can sometimes be higher for vehicles 1-4 years old (older vehicles fetch for far less but are almost identical in capabilities).
If not a Honda Odyssey in particular, Toyota Siennas and KIA Sedonas can do the job as well. Minivans have the great advantage of sliding doors for easy side loading.

Unknown said...

@ PV

As much as I appreciate your advice, and advice I happen to totally agree with, that isn't going to be possible. The HeliOS Project runs most times with less than 500 dollars in the bank, we get by as we need to, some would say on a shoestring.

Others would refer to it as a broken shoestring.

I do have some savings I am living on until I get full time employment. I can spend about half of it I think to put down on something decent...or hell, we might get lucky and find something for that 2000.00 I have to spend. The rodeo was bought for 1000 dollars and lasted five years.

Being recently divorced has dropped my personal CS a bit so we will have to see what is possible. I began shopping today but unfortunately, what we end up with will most certainly be well used. Which is long as it can last another five years.


Anonymous said...

At least where you are from you don't have to worry so much about rust! Maybe you can get a Yota for a decent price? Those things run forever!! :)

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of a WW II cartoon:

A weather-beaten old sergeant, face averted, left hand across his eyes, prepares to shoot his old beat-up Jeep ...

Unknown said...

yep, that was a frame from the famous "Willie and Joe" cartoons from WWII. It was drawn by front line soldier named Bill Mauldin. He survived his hitch and went on to be a Stars and Stripes war correspondent. His cartoons were unique because they each came from an incident recalled from each day he was there and when he signed his cartoon there was a hyphen and the name of the place where he drew it.

My grandfather was a retired Colonel and I used to look at his scrapbooks and memorabilia when I was a kid. He had tons of those...some of them were cut out with writing on them and sent to my Grandmother. Classic stuff and it speaks volumes about that entire generation.

The Greatest Generation. They are passing quickly.


kozmcrae said...

I'm glad I used my bookmark. If I had seen the title to this post in LXer I would have thought the worst. As sad and disruptive as it is, I'm glad it was her.

Anonymous said...

Dude, I just noticed your "legal notice" at the bottom left of the page. Absolutely classic stuff of helios. What a scream.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain; my 2001 Trooper died last year. I was very sorry to see it go. If they started up the production line today and made them just the same, I would buy one in a heart-beat.

Buffalo said...

"At least where you are from you don't have to worry so much about rust! Maybe you can get a Yota for a decent price? Those things run forever!! :)"


Find a pickup or 4runner with a 22R or 22RE motor. They're not particularly powerful, but they get good fuel economy and will run pretty much forever. Stay far, far away from the 3.0L V6.

Unknown said...

A now we will have one minute nationally of silence in recognition of one great Trooper please......


Anonymous said...

Helios is the only author that has made me cry over a car breaking down.

Hopefully someone will step up and help this noble organization get back on the road again. I just did what little I am capable of.

Thank you Helios.

Kathy S.

Anonymous said...

Humanity owes a lot to it's mechanical breathen, be they digital or mechanical.