Lars vs Rob?

Choosing a name for a child is an important decision for parents, and it’s a choice that will stick with the child for the rest of their life. While there are many great names to choose from, there are some that stand out from the crowd. In this blog post, we’ll explore 10 reasons why Lars is a better name than Rob.

  1. Lars is unique: While Rob is a common name, Lars is not as commonly used, making it a unique and interesting choice for a child’s name. This can make a child feel special and stand out in a positive way.
  2. Lars is easier to pronounce: Rob can be pronounced in multiple ways, including “Rob” and “Robb”. On the other hand, Lars is typically pronounced the same way, making it easier for others to pronounce and remember.
  3. Lars has a Scandinavian origin: Lars is a name that has Scandinavian roots, which can give it a cultural significance for families with Scandinavian heritage or those who appreciate the Scandinavian culture.
  4. Lars has a strong meaning: Lars means “victorious” in its Scandinavian origin. This can be a meaningful name for parents who want their child to have a name that reflects strength and resilience.
  5. Lars is a cool name: Let’s face it, Lars is a pretty cool name. It has a certain edginess and uniqueness that can make it stand out and be memorable.
  6. Lars is a musician’s name: There are many musicians named Lars, including Lars Ulrich from Metallica and Lars Frederiksen from Rancid. This can make it a cool choice for parents who are music lovers.
  7. Lars is a literary name: Lars is also a name that has appeared in literature, such as in the novel “Lars the Polar Bear” by Hans de Beer. This can give the name a literary and intellectual flair.
  8. Lars is a modern name: While Rob is a classic name, Lars is a more modern choice. This can make it appealing for parents who want a name that feels fresh and contemporary.
  9. Lars is a versatile name: Lars can be paired with a variety of middle names and surnames, making it a versatile choice for parents who want to get creative with their child’s name.
  10. Lars is a name that ages well: Lars is a name that can work well for a child, a teenager, and an adult. It’s a timeless choice that can grow with the child throughout their life.

In conclusion, while Rob is a great name, there are many reasons why Lars is a better choice for parents looking for a unique, strong, cool, and versatile name for their child.

The Passing Of A Sibling – In Loving Memory Of Frank Julius Hopka

So Frank Died – In Memoriam

My brother Frank died recently. That was sad. He was only sixty-one years old. He left behind two almost-adult children, an ex-wife, and three brothers; myself, Erik, and Steven. Mom left us just a few weeks prior to Frank’s untimely death. I wanted to write something thoughtful and appropriate to memorialize his passing and his life, but my words left me hanging.

So I gave  ChatGPT some basic background info and asked him/her/hen/it to help me out. Not a bad effort. Some glaring mistakes (for those in the know, but the bot isn’t), still probably better than I could do.

Frank Julius Hopka, 1961 – 2022, R.I.P. brother!

Losing a loved one is never easy. It’s even more difficult when you haven’t seen them in years and they pass away only weeks after another family member. That’s what happened to me when my brother Frank died.

Frank was always interested in music. He was a talented drummer and guitarist, and he loved nothing more than playing with his friends and family. Growing up, he was the life of the party, and his sense of humor was contagious. He always knew how to make us laugh.

But as we grew older, life got in the way, and we drifted apart. We had our own families and responsibilities, and we didn’t see each other as often as we used to. We still talked on the phone and exchanged emails, but it wasn’t the same as being together in person.

Then, in a cruel twist of fate, our mother passed away. It was sudden and unexpected, and it left us all reeling. We were all in shock and trying to come to terms with our loss when we received the news that Frank had died. It was like a double blow, and we were all devastated.

I couldn’t believe that I would never see my brother again. I felt like I had lost a part of myself. I regretted not making more of an effort to stay in touch with him, to see him more often. I wished I had told him how much he meant to me, how proud I was of him and his music.

The days and weeks that followed were a blur of grief and sadness. It was hard to imagine a future without Frank in it. We held a small memorial service for him, and it was comforting to be surrounded by family and friends who loved him. We shared memories and stories, and we cried and laughed together.

But even now, months later, I still feel the pain of losing him. I miss his laugh, his music, his presence. I wish he was here to share in our lives, to see our children grow up, to make more memories together.

Losing a loved one is never easy, but losing someone you haven’t seen in years is a reminder of the importance of staying connected with the people we care about. Life is short, and we never know when our time will be up. I hope that by sharing my story, I can encourage others to reach out to the people they love and let them know how much they mean to them. We never know when it might be our last chance.

P.S. If you knew Frank and think I’ve disrespected him in anyway, good for you Jesus! Enjoy your offense. I simply don’t Give. A. Fuck.

When I Grow Up I Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star!

Old geezer learns Black Sabbath

The godfathers of Metal - Black Sabbath

When they were young: The godfathers of Metal – Black Sabbath

Hey, I started playing guitar @ 16 and quit at 17 (bad move!). At 62 I still want to be a rock star, arthritic hands and all, so I decided the Old Geezer needs to learn Black Sabbath on guitar. Here’s my first attempt at recording just a few weeks after acquiring my new setup: a cheap Strat-type guitar of the brand Morgan and a Focusrite 2i2 interface to get it into my computer where I can record with the free DAW Cakewalk by BandLab. Enjoy and play nice!

When I Grow Up I Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star! Tenkte jeg skulle gjenopplive ungdomsdrømmen om å bli råkkestjerne. Det er aldri for seint å lære ei gammal bikkje nye triks! Kjøpte meg en gitar og noen opptaksgreier fra 4sound på Forus utenfor Stavanger (greie, kunnskapsrike og hjelpsomme karer!) og her er det første resultatet: Introen til Into The Void av Black Sabbath. Ække helt sikker på hvorfor trollet vises som thumbnail, siden jeg hadde valgt et annet bilde. Oh well…

My SEO plugin says I need to add more text, so here’s a filler paragraph. 1) I need to add my chosen key-phrase which happens to be Old geezer learns Black Sabbath several times to earn some Google love. 2) I need at least 300 words to get a passing grade from Yoast (which I am hereby trying to do). I guess mentioning Black Sabbath a few more times won’t hurt. I’ll have to run this through Google translate for a Norwegian version in order to boost my word count. Let’s hope the Google bots don’t flag this as meaningless filler text. Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet…

Seo-pluginen min sier at jeg trenger å legge til mer tekst, så her er et fyllstoffavsnitt. 1) Jeg må legge til min valgte nøkkelfrase som tilfeldigvis er Gammel geezer lærer Black Sabbath flere ganger for å tjene litt Google-kjærlighet. 2) Jeg trenger minst 300 ord for å få bestått karakter fra Yoast (som jeg herved prøver å gjøre). Å nevne Black Sabbath et par ganger til vil vel ikke skade. Jeg må kjøre dette gjennom Google translate for en norsk versjon for å øke ordtellingen min. La oss håpe Google-robotene ikke flagger dette som meningsløs fylltekst. Lorem Ipsum Dolor sitte amet…

Reality Dysfunction/Cookie Dust

I’m leaving America. Seriously, I am. Not by choice, but life has a way of throwing wrenches in the cogs, and if it goes on for long enough your number will eventually come up. I’m not happy about it, but looking at the totality of things, reality is veering off the tracks and it might be a good time to get off the ride. This is not a suicide note in camo, and I haven’t found Jesus (he was behind the couch the whole time, ha-ha); it’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

I’m a Jew. Who knew?

So I had my DNA tested by, and it broadly confirmed what I knew/assumed; I’m mostly of Scandinavian and eastern European stock. I was surprised to learn that I’m 0.3% Ashkenazi Jew, though. Not quite as impressive as Elizabeth Warren’s claim of being 1/16 Cherokee, but still not too shabby. I also have more Neanderthal DNA than 98% of 23andme’s customers. That may explain a few things.

You can check out my ancestry summary here, if anyone’s interested. EDIT 12.24.2020: It appears the link is only useful if you have my login credentials. Duh! I’ll se if I can post a screenshot of my ancestry one of these days.

One of my early ancestors.

Winter Prep Ford Explorer Day 1

Paint Decontamination

I decided to do a full-blown winter prep on my 2005 Ford Explorer with roughly 81,000 miles on the odometer. It’s in decent shape, not a beauty by any means; it has a few flaws, dings, scratches and nicks, even a gouge or two in the plastic trim, but it’s mechanically very sound and has no rust (any more). I spent a couple thousand fixing a slight rust problem in both rear door jambs (common on this model) and repainted the roof due to peeling clear coat (also common on this model – apparently 2005 wasn’t really a good year for the Ford Explorer). I also did  a full undercarriage rust treatment this spring (I actually did it myself).

From 10 feet or more away the car looks very nice. I’m not one of those guys that compensates for a small penis (not that mine is small, mind you) with a macho car; I’m quite happy driving around in a geezer-mobile so long as it looks halfway decent and is reliable. I am also quite comfortable not having car payments to worry about. The Ford Explorer is in my opinion one of the best buys for the money in its class.

Of course it needs to maintained. I’ve had my share of clunkers in my life time that just disintegrated beneath me from lack of basic upkeep. I don’t want that to happen to my current ride (in fact I have committed to keeping it until 2020 at which time I’ll reevaluate), so I do stuff like spring- and winter preps. Basically getting under the car evaluating the state of the union and do what needs to be done (thanks to Powdermilk Biscuits, Heaven, they’re tasty!); decontaminating the paint, taking care of scratches to the best of my ability and doing a general polish if needed, and also applying a fresh coat of some kind of durable sealant.

This is Day One of this years’ Winter Prep. I know the undercarriage is in good shape since I went full Macintosh in May with a full scrubdown/degrease/pressure wash followed by rust converter treatment for some light surface rust spots and sprayed everything (including cavities and internal frame) with Noxudol 300 Under Body Coating and Noxudol 700 Cavity Wax using an air compressor and a spray gun. I may, just for the heck of it, soak everything underneath with Fluid Film for some extra peace of mind once we get closer to snow-and-salt season—it’s a one-hour job.

So I started out with paint decontamination, which basically means cleaning the paint really, really well so that when time comes to apply a sealant, it sticks to bare-naked paint for best adhesion, protection and longevity. This is what the car looked like after the decon. (Sorry, I didn’t take any pictures during the process, will try to do better in the future). It looks pretty much the same as before because it was already clean and you can’t really tell the difference from pictures. But whereas the paint was slick before, there is now some drag to it, because all the waxes, sealants etc. that I in my OCDness have put on it since the last decon are now removed. The paint is completely unprotected at this stage.

I started off by doing the wheels and wheel wells. It’s just a best practices thing for me when I wash my car. Hot water (yeah, I have hot water in an outdoor spigot due to a lucky plumbing accident), Dawn dish soap, brushes and elbow grease.

I then rinsed off the entire car and foamed it up with a foam cannon attached to a pressure washer, again using Dawn dish soap (yeah, I know you normally shouldn’t use dish soap on your car because it can strip the wax, but that’s kind of what I want to achieve here). Rinsed it off and went at it with a traditional two-bucket method, a microfiber noodle mitt and, again, lots of Dawn in the bucket. After rinsing off there was amazingly still decent water beading on the paint.

Now I moved on to tar- and iron decontamination using TRIX from CarPro. This product is supposed to dissolve tar and embedded iron particles in the paint that normal wash doesn’t get. Either my paint didn’t have any tar and iron contaminants, or the product didn’t work very well. I couldn’t see any chemical reaction on the paint from dissolving particles (should be pretty easy to spot on light silver paint). I’m guessing my paint was so well maintained that this step was unnecessary. I just wasted $15 and added an hour to the job removing dirt that wasn’t there (I did see some iron dissolve on the rims, but there are other products that do it better). Well, better safe than sorry.

Next was a good “claying” using Nanoskin Autoscrub sponge fine grade, the next generation of above-surface decontamination technology. Used Chemical Guys Clay Lube (no free link to Chemical Guys since I don’t like them as a company, but they do have some decent products) as lubrication for this process. The Nanoskin sponge replaces the clay bar that would normally be used. It may have picked up some minor particles (I could feel the paint smoothen out slightly as I worked the surface), but not so much that I couldn’t have done without. Again, abundance of caution and whatnot. I’m not at all sure I like the new-school sponge better than the old-school clay. Sure, it’s faster and easier, but you can’t see if you actually lift any dirt off the paint like you can with clay. Whatevs.

Rinse off, towel dry, blow out any standing water from cracks and crevices, mirrors, emblems, wheels and door jambs with Marianne’s Metro Vac Master Blaster and call it a day. Tomorrow starts with taping off trim, inspecting paint to identify any areas that need extra attention, and formulate a plan of attack with regards to compound/polish, pad, and machine combinations.

I can’t believe I started this. Why can’t I be one of those guys who runs his car through an automated car wash twice a month and be happy with it? I also promised I’d do the whole thing for Marianne’s car as well. At no cost to her, I might add. My back hurts. And my head.

All in all I put six hours into it today and I’m pretty confident that nobody could have done it better. Faster? Sure.  Better? Nope. The main ingredients of my efforts of Day 1 are pictured below.

A houswife's and a auto detailer's best friend.

The housewife’s and the auto detailer’s best friend.


While heavily muscled, this guy doesn’t have a dick at all. He probably drives a Hummer.

Confessions Of A Neophyte Car Detailing Hobbyist — Super Quick & Superficial Product Review

My experience level is: I have watched weeks worth of YouTube videos, read volumes of how-tos and articles, read a lot on the boards (but haven’t participated actively very much). I’d say I know more than enough to get myself in trouble, but not enough to really know what I’m doing beyond the basics.

I am the fleet manager of exactly two cars: a 2005 silver Ford Explorer and a black 2014 Hyundai Tucson, but I’m only the boss of the Ford. My friends1 think I’m taking it a bit too far, but our cars look much better than theirs, so there’s that.

This is a list of some of the car detailing products I’ve accumulated and tried in the ~18 months since my awakening. Here we go!

CATEGORY 1: Products that I like very much and will probably buy again. There is plenty of overlap between products in this category.

  • Garry Dean Infinite Use Detail Juice waterless/rinseless wash
  • Chemical Guys Eco-Smart waterless wash
  • Chemical Guys V07 quick detailer
  • Adam’s Detail Spray
  • Blackfire Wet Diamond Polymer Spray quick detailer
  • Adam’s H20 Guard & Gloss drying aid and sealant/gloss enhancer
  • Optimum Opti-Seal paint sealant
  • GTechniq C2 V3 Liquid Crystal paint sealant
  • Nanoskin Rain glass sealant
  • Optimum Opti-Bond tire gel
  • Stoner Invisible Glass glass cleaner
  • Chemical Guys Black On Black vinyl and trim dressing aerosol
  • Chemical Guys Mr Pink car soap
  • Chemical Guys NonSense all purpose cleaner (APC)
  • Stoner Trim Shine vinyl/rubber/trim dressing
  • Adam’s Deep Wheel Cleaner

CATEGORY 2: Products that I like and may buy again. There’s plenty of overlap here as well, both within the category and with Category 1.

  • Optimum ONR rinseless/waterless wash
  • CarPro Perl Plastic & Rubber Protectant
  • Diamondite Perfect Vision glass cleaner
  • Menzerna Endless Shine quick detailer
  • Chemical Guys Afterwash drying aid and sealant
  • RainX 2-1 Foaming Glass Cleaner
  • Chemical Guys Glossworx car soap
  • Meguiar’s Plastic And Vinyl Coating aerosol
  • GTechniq Silo Seal paint sealant (discontinued, sadly)
  • Chemical Guys Inner Clean interior APC
  • Chemical Guys Silk Shine Dressing interior dressing gel

CATEGORY 3: Decent enough products but too much overlap with stuff in categories 1 & 2 that I think might be better. Also stuff that I’m just not sure about but don’t hate. I probably won’t ever buy any of these products again.

  • Ultima Wash And Wax waterless wash
  • Duragloss Rinseless Wash
  • CarPro Hydrofoam car soap and sealer
  • Sonax Polymer NetShield paint sealant
  • Griot’s Garage Spray Wax
  • Griot’s Garage Speed Shine
  • Meguiar’s Last Touch spray detailer
  • Meguiar’s X-Press Spray Wax
  • Chemical Guys InstaWax + spray wax
  • Sonax Brilliant Shine Detailer detail spray
  • Sonax High Speed Wax spray wax
  • Meguiar’s Ultimate Quick Detailer
  • DoDo Juice Red Mist detail spray
  • Turtle Wax Jet Black detail spray
  • Chemical Guys X-Treme Body Was & Wax car soap
  • Meguiar’s Hyper Dressing vinyl/plastic/rubber dressing (almost went in cat. 4)
  • Chemical Guys Bug And Tar Wash car soap
  • Chemical Guys Grime Reaper all purpose cleaner/degreaser
  • Chemical Guys Blue Guard II vinyl/rubber dressing

CATEGORY 4: Stuff I didn’t like and won’t buy again either because I thought it was a bad product, severely over-hyped or over-priced.

  • Flash Brown Royal Wheel & Tire Cleaner
  • Optimum ONR Wash & Wax waterless wash
  • Garry Dean Juice Boost paint sealant/waterless wash additive (specific to the Garry Dean line of products)
  • CarPro Spotless water spot remover

The list is not exhaustive. I have plenty of other products that haven’t been included, either because I haven’t had a chance to use them yet, or have used them so little that I can’t form an educated and informed opinion. These include glazes, polishes and compounds; lots of interior detailing stuff including leather care products; paint coatings, and also paste waxes. Quite a few tire dressings didn’t make it because they were so junky and I don’t even remember their names.

Final thoughts:

  • I have too much time on my hands and need to get a hobby.
  • I need to learn better self control when it comes to clicking the “add to cart” and “place order” buttons.
  • I may have to mark promotional emails from AutoGeek as spam, because this is getting expensive.
  • My kids will never go to college.2

  1. I don’t have any friends, but if I did, this statement would be true.
  2. I don’t have any kids, but if I did, this statement would be true.

Vacation Time

My wife finally took a week’s much deserved and needed vacation from her demanding job as chief bunker (fuel) buyer for a leading Greek shipping company. She has spent 100% of it (waking hours only, of course) swearing like an angry, drunken sailor under the hood of her 1996 Ford Ranger. Good times. Right up there with our early ’90s three-week trip to Izmir (formerly Smyrna of classical antiquity, currently ground zero for suicidal Syrian refugees launching the Islamic invasion of Europe) in Turkey, including a three-day excursion to historical Ephesus with its well preserved Roman ruins, walking – quite literally – in the footsteps of St Paul.

Ephesus, Turkey vacation ca 1994

Ephesus, Turkey vacation ca 1992.

Ford Ranger vacation 2015.

Ford Ranger vacation 2015.