Copyright © 2002 D.A.Kenney

A personal letter from Me
Hello, Herr B. Gone here.

I just thought I'd give you a little background on who I am and why I'm creating this site.

I'm a forty-two year old Mechanical Designer and Draftsman. I got started many years ago working on the drawing board as a Detailer and have moved up through the ranks as my experience has grown. These days I'm working with CAD. Microstation for 2D and Solidworks for both 3D modeling and 2D drawing. Although I often gripe that 'This would have been easier on the board...' I actually like working on the computer. On the board to move a long group of notes, for example, you would have to erase the existing notes and then letter them back in in the new location. I do NOT miss that.

Other things I've done include everything from being a Machine Operator in a factory to a working as a Newspaper Photographer. Then I had the chance to go back to school and get that all-important piece of paper. I'm living proof that with not much more than determination and a GED it is possible to develop a decent career. I have taken quite a few additional courses in the evening to keep my knowledge base current. That is absolutely vital in this day and age. That said, if you are a young person still in school, please take advantage of the gift we are giving you. Once you have it an education can never be taken away from you. I can tell you from first hand experience that it is much harder to get back on track later in life.

Enough about work and school. Let's talk Beetles!

I think I first became interested in Volkswagen Beetles when I was about eight years old. That was back in the dark ages of around 1968. The way I recall it I was riding in the back seat of a relative's beetle when out of the blue my cousin John belted me in the arm and said "Punch Buggy!" I was rather upset about this. "He hit me!" I hollered to the parental units in the front seat. "I saw a Punch Buggy!" my cousin countered. John proceeded to outline the rules of The Game for all present. I got into the spirit of The Game when I spotted the next Punch Buggy. I've been playing Punch Buggy ever since.

See my Punch Buggy section for more details on The Game.

So here we are thirty-four years later and I'm still hooked on these neat, quirky little cars. In fact the more I learn about them the more hooked I get. Last fall I bought Fritz, my first Volkswagen, from one of my co-workers and two weeks ago I bought Galileo . As the site grows I'll be adding all sorts of cool and useful links and information on Volkswagen Beetles, both air-cooled and those involving H2O. I'll be adding information on other things I'm interested in as well, such as photography and antiquing. But at least for now I'll be concentrating on my cars.

Poke around, explore, have fun. Above all, if you have a beetle, drive it. It's a car - that's what it was made for. After all, how can I play Punch Buggy if they aren't on the road?! ;-)


Herr B. Gone
2 February 2002

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Inspiration whacks me up side the head

7/15/2 (Revised 9/4/2) - Last week at work I was having a nice chat with one of my coworkers about cars. He has a number of older cars and I have my Beetles, which gives us something in common becides work. During this particular conversation I was struck up side the head with a flash of inspiration. I promptly grabbed a scrap of paper and sketched the first draft of what would eventually become the illustration that for a time greeted you when you arrive at my home page.

The flash went something like this: What would happen if you took from the A-pillar back of a sliding sunroof sedan and married it to the B-pillar forward portion of a Cabriolet? That would be about the coolest custom touring car ever built!

When I got home that night I scanned the sketch into my PC and started working on it in Paint. First I had to get all of the parts in scale. I had originally sketched the front end a bit small. The scan was also rather messy so I slip-traced it and wiped out the entire original scan. That produced a line drawing that was much more like what I had in mind. With that it was easy to colorize the car using the fill command. Iíve always liked green and silver so thatís what my limo had to be. It would be the closest Volkswagen colors to the 2000 Chevy Suburban green/silver combo.

Having the car all done up it was time to think about accessorizing it. Headlight eyebrows were among the first things that went on. Then I added the semaphores. If weíre going to this point we might as well go all the way. Then I added the chrome stone guards and the vent shades. I figured at that point that I might as well include mud flaps. I included the radio antenna and curb feelers even if you canít really see them. At least I know theyíre there. Iíve got a few other things in there that I wonít bother to mention. I think from the list Iíve already presented that you get the idea of how I tend to go overboard in my sketches some times.

Iíd love to actually build the car some day. That said there are some rather serious issues to resolve first. (Even if I had unlimited funds - which I donítÖ)

First there is the technical difficulty of marrying the two cars. The A-pillars of the back car are much narrower than the B-pillars of the front car. This would require a lot of surgery to get things to line up. The throw of the shifter would also have to be modified some how. Extending the linkage that far might work, but I can just picture how far you would have to move the lever to go from first to second. Imagine reaching for third! I also figure that a '71 or newer Cabriole would be the way to go. I read somewhere that Cabriole's from '71 on are all Super Beetles and that Super Beetles have a tighter turn radius than a Type 1. You would need that in a car that's longer than a Chevy Suburban!

Second there is the moral dilemma of doing this much of a custom on cars of this vintage. I am a preservationist at heart. I feel rather strongly that as these cars get rarer over time that they should be faithfully restored to their original condition. Iím not totally against a quality custom; itís just that there are a limited number of these cars in the world. Anyway, thatís just my opinion. Your mileage may varyÖ

Getting around the first group of problems simply involves some engineering finesse. Thatís doable if you can throw enough time and cash at the project. The second quandary may be more taxing. I think that if two cars could be found that otherwise might be sent to the crusher and rescuing them to a new incarnation might be the way around that. Say a sliding sunroof sedan that was hit in front but is good from the A-pillars back and a Cabriolet that was hit in back but is still good from the B-pillars forward. Separately they might be considered totaled, but they would be ideal candidates to build my limo. By taking a couple of wrecks and making them into something new it would actually be saving them from a much worse fate.

By the way, if you miss the picture of Fritzís dash that used to be on the home page itís still posted on Fritzís picture page. Just follow the link and scroll down the thumbnails.

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9/7/2 - BeetleMania Version 2.0 is finally a reality.

Itís taken me the past couple of weeks of working most evenings until nearly midnight to make this happen. First I had to create all of the CARtoons that fill these pages. Then I completely revised the page layout and, hopefully, made navigation much easier and more intuitive. BeetleManiaís Ďbehind the scenesí layout was also totally revamped to make the data flow more smoothly.

All of the text and photographs from BeetleMania Version 1.X are still here, only now with the new index links you can get to it much more directly. To help the site load quicker for those of us still using a dial-up connection the photos of Fritz and Galileo are now on separate pages accessible by clicking on the CARtoon at the top of their articles page.

In part because of what Iíve been reading in the Air Cooled Press lately I have added a Legal Stuff page. If youíve been following recent developments in the air-cooled world you will know what I am referring toÖ You may (or may not) be interested in the stuff thatís there.

While V2.0 is just being launched at this writing, I have already decided what will be added at V2.1 - The BeetleManiacs Toy Box. This will be a page devoted to toy Volkswagens, and maybe a few other things that are just too cool to leave out. I think youíll enjoy it. I know Iím looking forward to creating it. At the moment, though, I donít want to delay the launch of Version 2.0 for the amount of time it would take to create it. So keep an eye out for it in the weeks to come.

The cars are both running well at the moment, though Fritz is scheduled for another Doctor visit to have some electrical work done to get ready for inspection. Iíll update you on how that comes out on his page. A week ago Friday Mom and I went to the Leominster RMV to renew Galileoís registration. (His plates were transferred from the Jeep and only had a few months left when I bought him in January.) So heís all set until next January when heíll need to be inspected.

Thatís about it for now. Iíll post a more thorough update on the recent happenings regarding each car on their respective pages in a few days. For now Iíll just say Farvergnugen and good night.

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But Wait - There's More!
9/22/2 - Well that didn't last long! Beetlemania v2.0 was a real blinknyamissedit.

That said it was a necessary step toward the layout I have just implemented. This is much closer to what I had envisioned when I first set out to chronicle my automotive trials tribulations and triumphs on the web for all to see. With the new layout finally complete I can get back to adding content and bring you up to date on what's been happening with Fritz and Galileo. More good things are on the way in the way of new pages about other things I'm interested in. I plan to link them off of the Meshugaas page, though I haven't decided what form the links will take. I may just make one link to a page of links. We'll see.

So check back from time to time. Who knows what you might find?

Buy the way; there are now two ways to get to my home on the web:

You may have noticed that everything's now called BeetlehausTM even if you got here by typing in the Beetlemania URL. I've decided to move to a new address. There are already too many Beetlemania's out there and I didn't want to be lost in all the noise. That said, for now anyway Beetlehaus forwards to Beetlemania. So If you've checked one you've checked them both. I don't want to waste your time any more than I want my time wasted. I will post on the site with as much notice as possible if/when the Beetlemania address will be going away.

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Say Cheese...

10-22-2 - Say what? Cheese! Click - Wait - Ready. What? No 'Click Whir'? Not with this one. I prefer Ďclick whirí to Ďclick wait.í For one thing I have a bag full of lenses for my Nikon. For this one youíre stuck with what they give you. Also the resolution is better with real film. I used to think Tri-X was grainy!

As you have no doubt figured out by now, I finally replaced the junky digital camera that I used to shoot the pictures of Galileo that appear on his pix page. (Click the CARtoon at the top of his page.) Eventually Iíll get around to replacing all of those lousy photos.

So what is this new camera you ask? Itís an Argus DC3200, a digital camera of modest specifications by todayís standards. It boasts 1.3 mega pixel resolution, 2x digital zoom, and a compact flash slot that Iíve filled with a 64 meg card. Rather pedestrian, but the price was right. After shopping around to see what else was out there at the same price I bought this one at the Ames going out of business sale. And Wal*Mart has one less competitor. Grrr! I donít recall exactly what I paid for it, but the camera was around a hundred bucks. I had to buy the Compact Flash card separately, at a different store even, since the Ames I went to was out of them.

I also picked up a copy of The Abyss video game at Ames while I was at it. Itís based on one of my all time favorite movies. I havenít played it yet. Iíll let you know how it is when I do. But I digress...

Over the past weekend I finally broke down and bought a card reader to go with it. Itís a Dazzle USB 2.0 Compact Flash card reader. I bought it at the local Radio Shack. $19.95 + the Acting-Governorís share. I was having trouble getting the software to link to the camera in order to transfer the pictures to my computer so I could actually do something with them. The card reader did the trick. Iím running Windows ME at home. Thatís supposed to recognize the reader as a Plug and Pray device. No drivers needed. ME views it as a removable drive, like a floppy or Zip drive. The initial install seemed to go OK, but then it got a bit hoakey. The computer insisted that the drive needed to be formatted. If you have pictures on your card and the computer says to format the drive DONíT DO IT! That will erase all of your pictures! In the end I had to manually remove the reader from the system in the control panel and reinstall it using the Ďfind new hardwareí function, also in the control panel. It seemed to find two things plugged in as USB devices, one calling itself a card reader. Naturally I picked the other one. Just kidding... Hey! Does your Mother know you use that kind of language? Yes I picked the one marked ĎUSB card readerí and followed the prompts in the install wizard. It has been working fine ever since.

Now I can get some half way decent pictures to put up on my web site.

ĎBut I thought you were saving up to buy a houseí you ask. I am. That was actually one of my justifications for buying this camera. As we look at houses I can shoot tuns of pictures of them to review later while deciding if this particular house is the right one for us. And I donít have to worry about spending more money on film and processing. The fact that I can also use it for my web site is a bonus. OK, so I donít buy it either. My business partner did, and thatís what counts! ;-) Oh, Hi Mom...

(I knew but decided to ignore it.) - Mom

Note: The links mentioned below will be added shortly. Iím writing this at work, and the image files are at home.
Later: Some of the links are now in place. More will be added later.
(Cap'n, I need morrre time!)

So far Iíve taken some pictures around the house with it. Such as this tree that has grown through a chain-link fence across the street from the house. I also have a picture of a Ďhelicopter bugí sunning himself in our front yard. We took the camera with us when we went to Maine a few weeks ago. Here Galileo checks out the sights at Nubble Light in York. Here are several more pix of Nubble Light. Now I understand why you always see it from this angle in all of those calendars! Imagine the look on the pizza delivery guyís face when he sees the cable car that you have to take to get to the island! Unfortunately, like almost all of the lighthouses on the US Nubble has been automated. Gone are the days when the Lighthouse Keeper and his family would ride that basket home with the groceries. Iíll bet they made a point to stock up, because if the weather was bad you could be stranded on the island for as long as it takes for the storm to blow over.

On Tuesday the week after our trip to Maine I had to go back. This time to Kennebunk for a meeting. About two miles down the road from the plant is this quaint New England church. I stopped to shoot some pix on my way. 'Why would I stop at this particular church?' you ask. Well, my cousin is the Pastor and I had never seen her church before. Since Mom wasnít with me I figured Iíd shoot some pix to show her, too.

On Fritzís page I mention going to the doctor for a test the day Fritz ''Got Stuck.'' Here is the procedure room at Deaconess Nashoba Hospital where I had to walk on the treadmill. To the right of the treadmill is the EKG they had me hooked up to to check out my ticker while I took my walk. In the center is the treadmill. Out the window you may barely be able to make out the back end of the trailer that the MRI unit is in. Been there - done that... To the left of the treadmill is the crash cart with the paddles on top, just in case. In front of that is a portable sphygmomanometer. (Blood pressure cuff.) I was sitting in the chair where you wait while they record your resting BP and EKG when I shot the pix of the room.

While I was waiting I was playing a little game to kill some time. I could see my pulse rate on the monitor, so I thought Iíd see if I could control it to the point of reducing it to the high sixties. I was running in the low to mid seventies and got it down to an even seventy for a moment but I never did see a sixty-nine. Oh well...

Then I did the test. First you walk - then you walk faster - then faster still. I had to change to my extended fast walk gait. Really stretching out each step. I got too winded way before Iíd have had to start jogging. Iíve never had the best wind, even when I was in shape. As a kid I suffered from asthma and that has made it difficult to do a lot of things. Now they tell me I have heart disease. Oh well... If one thing doesnít get ya something else will.

My Cardiologist took a look at the test results and said that he didnít like what he saw. Just some Ďchangesí to my EKG. What ever that means... Iím not going to worry about it. He has me scheduled for yet another Myoview in November. Weíll see if that shows anything. Iíll try to get some pix of the procedure room for that test also. This is a good one to sleep through. They strap you to the bed so you canít move, with your left arm strapped across your forhead and they tell you to remain absolutely still. It takes about twenty minutes. Snore!

Last weekend was the town-wide yard sale. I didnít get much. I did find a pair of ski boot thingies of the variety that put a miniature plastic sled on the bottom of your regular boots. Perfect for use with my Skibob. I also have a pair of kids size really short skis with full release bindings and all along with a pair of real ski boots. With this combination on the skibob you can really fly. Too fast for me! With the new gizmos I can wear regular boots and take off the over-boots when Iím hiking back up the sledding hill. That should be much more comfortable.

Mom just this minute called. A couple of weeks ago we went out to Athol Massachusetts to look at a couple of houses. The agent didnít take us to see the ones we wanted to look at. She brought us to ones she wanted to show. I was rather displeased with that. Now thereís an understatement if ever I saw one! Anyway, the second house we went to we couldnít get in to see. Apparently the arrangements were not made as planned. Just as well that they werenít, as it turns out. There was a fire there and the house has been damaged. How heavily I have no idea. I wonder if because they couldnít sell it maybe a little Jewish Lightning struck off a piece of The Rock.

Itís just an expression guys. Iím a Scott and I frequently comment on my own frugality. For example I spent a week comparison-shopping before I bought that camera. OK, so Iím not just frugal, Iím cheap. What Iíll never be is politically correct. A Scott calling himself Herr B. Gone? Drat! Iíve blown my cover!

Oh, by the way: I heard from my web hosting service last night that they are shutting down operations in the very near future. I will be moving to a new hosting service as soon as I can make arrangements. Although it may spell the end of, this shouldnít affect your ability to view, if all goes according to plan.

I was going to put a scene from the set of Star Wars here - but I decided against.

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