Travels and Images
WEEK 10 2003
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Picture of the Week
Saturday - I went yard saling with some friends. It was
a beautiful morning, and although the pickings were rather slim it was still
fun. We then had lunch at the Thai Cafe. We also celebrated their daughter's
birthday - boy do they grow up fast!
7 8 March 2003
In the afternoon I went down to the mall and checked on my glasses - still
not done properly. I sent them back again, with an admonition that I'll want
my money back next time. Three months is long enough to wait I think.
Not much else done in the late afternoon. I had intended to get some yard work in, but a nap took precedence...
Alas, another dead computer is now gracing my kitchen table - my friends sons PC no longer boots. I mean, nothing. It's probably a dud power supply, as the fan doesn't even come on. An easy fix, if nothing else got fried.
Friday - it was another nice day, rather hazy. In the evening,
coming home, there was almost what appeared to be smog in the skies. When
I went to college, way back when, in Pomona, the smog would be so thick as
to obscure the neighboring town of Diamond Bar, or of the Angeles mountains.
This is nothing like that - no eyes burning, no throat catching stuff. Mildly
colorful would be the best description.
6 7 March
I have managed to rebuild and get rid of another couples of PC's. Yay! My
house is beginning to resemble a home again, rather than "Ed's Old Elephant
and PC Graveyard". Elephants (their tusks anyway) would at least be worth
Thursday - another nice day. Too bad it's not like this ALL the time. Go Global Warming!!!
5 6 March 2003
The grid generator is acting up again. Sigh. Anything acts up that I haven't written myself (and most of that too, if I'm honest).
The car finally rolled over 250,000 miles, officially, on the way home from
work today. It reality, due to some glitches, it's probably a bit more, but
hey, close enough:
Here it is, the big tamale, and still running strong!
Somewhere in the east Antelope Valley....
Wednesday - warm and sunny. No wind. You could see the
reflections of the snow capped San Gabriels in the water on the lake bed.
I'd take a picture but (a) the road shoulders are muddy and (b) the base
police are a little touchy about people taking pictures right now...
4 5 March 2003
Yesterday was sunny, but cold and windy.
An online comic strip, called Day by Day. Amusing...
The car rolled over 249,900 miles today, just as I pulled into the parking
at work. At 70 miles/day it should roll over 250,000 on Friday, on my way
It's a BIG picture, because a certain un-named person (Tim)
expressed doubts about the last photo....
Tuesday - my friend Tim, who commutes fairly often through
the east Antelope Valley had seen the POTW airplane cockpit before. Not visible
behind the buildings in that particular picture are more aircraft cabin bits,
and what looks to be some sort of armature to build them on - it looks like
a hamster cage for some really big hamsters!
3 4 March 2003
One of the cats is wandering around meowing in a puzzled sort of way. Apparently
it's that time of year for the female cats, and even though fixed he is aware
that something is going on - something that should be involving him. The other cat, a year older, is calm and relaxed.
In the news a Concorde has lost a bit of its rudder. It's not the first time
for a Concorde to do this. It's probably flutter of some time - epennage
flutter can be tough to handle. I seem to recall that on one particular aircraft
you can't repaint the flaps without removing all the old paint first
- otherwise it will flutter, due to the added half pound or so of weight.
It's odd that they are just continuing to fly the aircraft without fixing
Monday - sat through a Pilots Briefing for the AAW flights.
My bit is with the group supporting supersonic flutter clearance, where we
see if the vehicle will flutter at supersonic speeds, at various altitudes
in the flight envelope. It shouldn't - we - the "dynamics guys" analyzed
it first, and gave ourselves a nice margin, but our mission at Dryden is
"To separate the real from the imagined." Also the "loads guys"
will be looking at strain gages and such, making sure that the new and slightly
more flexible wings aren't being overstressed.
2 3 March 2003
Pilot briefings are interesting. Lots of people show up, the flight director
gives a bit of talk on what we are trying to do, and what is supposed to
happen, who the various people in the control room staff will be, who gets
to talk to the pilot, and any flight safety items - and then the pilots goes
through the flight cards.
A flight card is basically a list of what is going to happen, in order, during
the flight. It is numbered and dated, and each item on it is numbered, so
that everyone is - literally - on the same page.
So, starting with a generic,
"Engine Start: 0900"
"Comm Check: Tower: 0910"
"Comm Check, Control Room, 0915"
you go all the way to take-off and altitude. and so on.
At some point there will be something like
"RFCS arm" (Research Flight Control System, separate from the standard F18 FCS)
"OBES on" ( On Board Excitation System )
and at some point, maybe
"Left roll, 1/4 stick"
or something of the sort.
and so on. Basically the pilot reads through the cards, and there may
be dozens of pages with several items on each page, and says what he things
he'll be doing. People listen, and comment if they aren't sure what he's
doing, or if he seems to need some info on what and why he's doing a particular
item, or if maybe an item is of particular interest, or not too important.
And he'll try to spell out for the audience, not all of whom are pilots,
what and why and how he might be doing some bit of the flight.
eventually the cards go all the way to
There are alternate pages, and appendixes so that if a certain test point
can't be done, another might take it's place, so that an expensive flight
and the complicated flight support and flight staffing isn't wasted.
No secrets any of this stuff, but interesting to watch and be a part of,
even in a small way. Lots of professionals, doing their job.
Sunday - was warm and sunny. Go figure. It
rained Thursday night. Things were pretty slow around here. I had some chores
to do, cleaning and wash, and finished those. Played with the cats a bit,
though they were more interested in laying about in the sun - and honestly,
I sat in the same sun for a while and it was nice.
1 2 March
A basket full of sunshine...
Too nice to stay indoors. So I decided to go out - it's been a few years since I was out at El Mirage Dry Lake Park, so I headed that way in the truck. It's a small dry lake compared to Rogers and Rosamond dry lakes
out at Edwards, but it's big enough that in the summer, when it really is
dry, racers come out and do speed runs and such. There is a government presence,
packs of Park Rangers roaming about in great big SUV's to
suppress freedom control the crowds and such. For example, you must
wear a helmet, the nanny state says so. In fact, except for the speed limit,
the rules are now much the same as driving on a freeway. Seatbelts, headlights,
and so on.
On the other hand, my considered opinion is that my fellow americans are
mostly a pack of rude dangerous morons when they get behind the wheel...
Today, since there was water on the lake bed, it was off limits. Letting
the rain water slosh around, back and forth with the wind, allows the lake
bed to be releveled each year. But there were a lot of dirt bikers
and 4-wheelers types messing around in the low hills about the lake verge,
a lot more than I remember from ten years ago...
When I got back I felt that a nice movie was in order. But, as calls to friends
went unanswered, I had to go by myself. I went to see Daredevil, and it wasn't bad. A little lame - Daredevil gets religion and doesn't kill all
the bad guys, leaving them to kill again, but fun nonetheless. But the movie
was kinematically and dynamically incorrect. He jumps off a building, falls
headfirst for stories, then swings grabs a cable, does a flip, and lands
on his feet. Now, if you could grab a cable at that speed, it would either tear out of your hand breaking your fingers ( ouch, been there, done that... ) or pull your arms out of their sockets. But, suppose it didn't. Where does your momentum go? If you do a threesixty loop you should head back up in the air nearly as far as you fell ( allowing for some losses due to air friction and such ), and come down again and go splat!
Heh. The spell checker wants to change kinematically to cinematically. No, no, cinematically it's just fine.....
Picture of the Week
Photo Notes: Some people just have the coolest
junk in their yards! I was driving about in the eastern part of the Antelope
Valley, out near El Mirage, and what do I see in this guys yard? An Airliner
Cockpit! How cool
is that? I wonder if he'd sell it??? If I had a tree, it would make a great
treehouse. Hmmm, a trailer? Add wheels and a diesel and you'd have a heck
of a custom motorhome...
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