Sailing Hummingbird feeder

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WEEK 10 2007

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Saturday 10 March 2007

Saturday - a nice relaxing Saturday. It's still warm, though high clouds obscuring the sun kept it from being overly so. I filled the hummingbird feeder - the cats' and I were outside enjoying the patio and I noticed it was empty. It also had some scum in it. When it didn't wash out easily I checked the Internet for a solution (literally). I didn't have a bottle brush but I did have uncooked rice and white vinegar. That seemed to do it.

Not long after I put it back out he (or she) was happily drinking and the cats below were happily making hungry sounds. The doves were out, as well as the ravens, and some sort of wren. Indeed it's quite noisy with birdsong when you stop to listen.

I also started a loaf of bread in the machine. It's been a while - my father cooked a loaf when I visited him last and it inspired me. I am concerned that the yeast may be a bit old and it may not rise. We'll see.

Damian Penny has a links to the greatest car chase scenes. I don't think I ever saw the Dabney Coleman movie. Pretty good car chase, though I would have expected the machine gun hits to take out the radiator and stop his car sooner. Just an engineers' nitpick.

Friday 9 March 2007

Friday - Ladies and Gentlemen, there is hope for America yet. I give you: The Beer Launching Fridge! But wait - there's more!!

A ship from the battle between the French and English fleets in Egypt, at Acre, is being researched by marine archaeologists. [via Archaeoblog] Hmm. I find it hard to believe that they can't tell a British warship from a French warship. Though it could get tricky, both sides used captured vessels in their own fleets. Indeed, I've read that British sailors of the time preferred the Dutch and French ships as being better built. The scientists might have to decide from smaller individual items - and if it was indeed deliberately sunk, then those would be (mostly) missing. So a lack of small personal items might indicate British, or it might just indicate a corrosive marine environment. Either way I forsee an application for further funding...

On a side note: For some reason I had thought Richard the Lion Heart died in a siege of Acre (a scene in a movie? Robin & Marian?), but researching it tonight indicates that actually he died at a small castle in France, Chalus-Chabrol. At least I correctly recalled that it was an arrow from the defenders that got Richard.

Sad News.  Heh.

Bubblehead reviews "300":
"...lots of limbs being hacked off and male bonding in a not-really-homoerotic way..."

He also mentions a what is like to be a more historically accurate account tomorrow, on the History Channel.

Thursday 8 March  2007

Thursday - keeping busy. The weather has turned warm, the low last night was 51F.

Book #16 was Dinner at Deviant's Palace, by Tim Powers. I thought it a rather weak effort, but it was written quite a while ago, so it is likely an early effort.

Wednesday 7 March 2007

Wednesday - a doctors' visit follow up from last week. I am not, apparently, dying, or in any danger of dying soon. That's good. It was just a check up, but one can think dark thoughts, waiting and shivering in that stupid paper nightgown.

Went out and had a beer this evening to celebrate.

Tuesday 6 March 2007

Tuesday - work.

Book #15 was John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy, by Evan Thomas. This was a hard book to read (listen to). It seemed to linger on Joneses' faults, but possibly it was necessary. His ability and willingness to go "in harms way" were outstanding, but often offset by a prickly sense of honor and an urge to grandstand. Some of that attitude is peculiar to the age and shared by any captain or general of the time, some was social climbing, and some just John Pauls' character. It is frustrating to observe, and perhaps it is a tribute to the author Thomas that, like many other good history books, it makes one want to grab the protagonist by the lapel and shake them, and say "Do this, don't be stupid, and don't do that!".

Finding men (and women, I suppose) willing to deliberately go in "in harms way" is tough. It takes an amazing amount of fortitude and courage, both personal and for the command, which must be combined with an near equal amount of intelligence to succeed (the history of battle is full of commanders too stupid to appreciate their own peril and to prosecute a battle or war successfully). Grant had it, in the Civil War. Benedict Arnold had it, from all accounts, in the Revolutionary War. Halsey had it, in the second World War. It is always an asset, and sometimes a requirement, for a country to succeed in war.

Sometimes it takes a few years for the time servers and buearecrats to be pushed out of the way of the competent and energetic personnel - this is probably a bigger issue now then it was a hundred years ago - modern wars are expected to be short, clean and clinical, and perhaps the time required to recognize who is a fighting admiral (or general) or who is not may no longer be achievable.

I should say, between this book and Skeletons on the Zahara, I feel brutalized. Too much history, too much bloodshed, too much human evil and stupidity...

 Monday 5 March 2007

Monday - the guy I bought the windvane from was quite a character. He actually worked on my boat - built the hull, and many others when working for Dean Wixom and Lyle Hess. He's still building boats, with a company of his own, though not NorSea's. He built a NorSea for himself, eventually sold it, then tried to buy it back. After fifteen years of trying he gave up and bought another NorSea, and is in the process of remodeling and customizing it. Neat.

Taxes are done. They were easy - I took them to the tax people and they did them. I've almost a phobia about doing taxes these days. It's been growing slowly, year after year, and now I can barely stand to even think about them, the most I can do is keep receipts in a box. Weird.

The good news: I'm getting money back. Yay me!

”I would like to thank my parents, God and Ayn Rand.”

Sunday 4 March 2006

Sunday - went down south to Garden Grove and bought a used Monitor Windvane. The price was right. I'd been emailing with the seller for a couple of weeks, but between trips up north and being sick had to keep delaying things.

Afterwards I had dinner with friends from Oxnard, in Fillmore, at a nice little grill.

Book #14 was Expiration Date, by Tim Powers. An excellent book, as are most of his. He does modern ghost stores, sort of like Stephen King, but much better. Sort of hard to describe, but good. This was a paperback that I picked up cheap at the local used book store. There was also a copy of Dinner at Deviant's Palace, which, despite the lurid name, looks as though it might be some sort of post-apocalypse type of story. With probably the unique Powers' spin to it.

Picture of the Week
snow on the tehachapi, north of rosamond

Photo Notes: Snow on the Tehachapi's.

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