3sailing the NorSea


WEEK 15 2018

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Saturday 14 April  2018
Saturday - A nice day.

I spent the morning weed whacking and generally cleaning up the yard since there wasn't much wind.  It looks like the house is inhabited again - weeds of over waist height had grown in the last few weeks!  There is some left to clear still - but my big whacker ran out of the 3/16" line and the little one isn't up to the proto-tumbleweeds. ( Foolishly I didn't wear boots, and my left heel hurts.  I am supposed to go to a car show tomorrow at Knotts, but maybe I'll pass. )

But, you know, looking at the short green stubs of weed in the front yard, it looked a bit like grass, and gave the place a nice appearance.  I'd put grass in, but the wind would blow the sprinkler spray on the house and windows, leaving a coat of mineral mineral deposits.

Xeriscaping is the way to go, at least in front.  Maybe I'll make a bit, fancy, sundial. I've always wanted to.

Dinner at my friends.  The little bottle of Carolina Reaper Pepper I ordered arrived, so I brought it over.  It was universally declared to be hot, hot, hot! And it's a lasting burn...

Book #10 was Stand Against the Storm (Maxwell #4), by Peter Grant.  It was OK.

Friday 13 April 2018
Friday - A beautiful windless day.

There was no damage at my house.

Next door A had some tree damage - part of a tree in his front yard broke off and landed on his chain link fence.  Some had, probably decades ago, put a piece of wire around the trunk and it failed at the "girdled" portion.  There wasn't too much damage to the fence, but while he took care of that I went and picked up G from college at CSUB.

S texted that a neighbor's tree limb had fallen on her office room, but didn't know if there was any damage.

I meant to do some yard work, but was entrapped in other stuff.

There was another form for taxes, this time from the Covered Ca people, that I had to send off to STS.  So the returns will need to be amended, again.  This was my first year under the illegal and unconstitutional Obamacare program so I didn't know to look for the form. I should also look into what I should be paying this year - I might be paying too little, though the only income this year is a few days work a couple of months ago and some possible stuff later in this year...

Budd threw up.  As an ex street cat he normally has a stomach of iron, so I suspect (given Jim's daily eruptions despite hairball medicine) I have some bad cat food from China.  I'll lay off the wet stuff for a few days and see if that helps.  If not I'll switch to wet only and drop the dry stuff.  It's all Friskies, name brand stuff from WinCo, but Chinese products and quality control are notoriously bad.

I did receive the new hard drive and some USB drives from Amazon, so I put Linux Mint 18.3 on a USB key using the Linux Pendrive Utility, and installed it on the desktop that I had forgotten the password to.  It seemed to install fine, once I figured out how to manipulate the ASROCK mobo boot order.  Now to get the GCC suite on there, and Python, then FreeCAD, and download the Git archive for FreeCAD.

I don't have an XP install disk handy, so I thought I'd put Mint on the old laptop's new hard drive - then realized that the laptop is 10 years old, and that I should probably put the 32-bit version on.  So I started a download of that.

I sat out in back for a few minutes, before bed time.  The stars were bright, with Jupiter ascending in the southeast and Orion setting to the west. There aren't a lot of light out here - just one bright mercury vapor from a few hundred feet away in someone's back yard.  The sky glow from Lancaster and Palmdale is quite apparent.

I might make a little "observatory", which is essentially just a shed with a removable roof.  It allows one to block out the lights from nearly, and of course, the winds here in the AV.

Thursday 12 April 2018
Thursday - Cool (in the 40's in the morning) and very windy - at one point the local airport station was reporting steady winds of 36mph, with gusts to 46mph.  In fact checking a local weather station, within a mile of the house, we had a top gust speed of 49mph:

52mph gusts
I mostly stayed inside...

S had asked me to look at an old laptop with the dreaded BSOD, that she primarily used as a DVD player at work.  S said she liked the XP player because it allowed stop frame advancing, unlike modern commercial players.

It looked like the hard drive had failed - it's WinXP and 10 years or more old. I ordered a replacement drive for $33 from Amazon - they had some for $20, but the several reviewers mentioned units arriving that appeared to be used, and had data on them!

The license key is on a sticker on the bottom of the laptop, so if I can find an XP disk I can reinstall XP, assuming the Microsoft license servers are still running.  Since it's not connected to the internet at work the lack of security shouldn't be an issue.  And if XP won't work then I'll try Linux Mint and the VLC player which, I think, also allows stop frame advances. 

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Wednesday - I went out in the morning and put away most of the tools and construction materials.  They've lowered the expected gust speed to just 60mph, but upgraded the watch to a warning...  We did get some high winds, but nothing exceptional - maybe 30mph during the day.

By evening you could also feel the temperature starting to drop dramatically.

Poor Jim has been upchucking more than usual, so I have been dosing him with hairball medicine for the last few days.  It might be helping, we'll see, if not then there's a trip to the vet in his future.

I noticed a little bit of vomit on the rug, so went off to get a paper towel.  On my return, however, I found that Budd was just finishing...recycling, I guess the word is ...it.  Ugh.

An issue that came up during the recent dog watching session was my lack of a can opener.  I have several, but they are in storage.  I borrowed one from A, an Oneida brand from WalMart, but it was Chinese made with such poor quality control that I literally couldn't open a can of dog food with it.  It just wouldn't work.  So both A and I ordered some SwingAway clones from Amazon, from a made in American company, and they worked just fine.

Another dog issue was that I put a particularly chew prone dog into a soft kennel - and it chewed it's way out through the fabric.  I knew better, but just forgot.  Fortunately S wasn't upset and said she'd just sew up the devoured portion, which is at a zipper, and use the other zipper opening.  I feel kind of bad about that.

And, finally, dog-proofing with chicken wire sewed to the base of the chain link around the yard turned out to be needful - someone was trying to escape:

holes dug ny dog

STALAG 17 it ain't: Chicken wire + ground staples + bricks every 2'.

Tuesday 10 April 2018
Tuesday - Warm again. 

I did a bit of excavation, put down and compacted a sand base to 98% relative, then used a scree board to level a top layer of sand and set in all but the last three pavers.  I'd bought enough pavers actually, but the quality is so bad that three broke just from being dropped onto soft dirt!  Looking at the break I can see no sign of aggregate - they are essentially cement pavers, not concrete. I bought a few more - price has gone up to $1.33 from #0.88, and the finished temporary job is ok-ish. ( The pavers aren't laid quite straight, but it's not really the boys fault - the concrete pad they were using for an edge to start from isn't square to the house.  And I didn't feel like pulling them all up and re-setting them when I saw what was happening. )

My hands are trashed (the boys are back in school, so they weren't around to do it), but it's 95% done.

R&S have returned, and S came by in the early evening and picked up the dogs.  They were very happy to see her.  She also brought by the french door curtains she's been working on, and we did a trial fit for size, and she took them home to do a final fit and hemming.

I went over to A's house for dinner.  My astronomy app sent two notifications during the evening - one for a bright Iridium flash, and the other for a very bright overpass of the Space Station, directly overhead. Very cool.

Winds are predicted to be 40mph gusting to 70mph in the next couple of days - I need to get all the loose construction debris out of the yard, and the chairs and cushions [ Also rawhide scraps, old bones and treats, and any stray doggie doodles I might find :-) ]

Monday 9 April  2018
Monday - A nice day.  Warm, even.

I worked in the yard, measuring, cutting, and treating with wood preservative the 4x4's for the remaining part of the small patio border, then pounding in the metal stakes to keep them in place. My hands really felt that afterwards!

I set up the Linux Mint box in the back bedroom, connected everything up, and ... I've forgotten the password!  I had one written down, but apparently that wasn't it...  Not a big deal, I can re-install a newer version, but I had the FreeCAD "git" source on there, for compiling, and now I'll have to redo all of *that* as well.  Bah.

Sunday 8 April 2018
Sunday - Warm and windy.

I didn't do much around the house - was feeling pretty worn out, and maybe even had a bit of a head cold relapse...  I had meant to vacuum, mop floors, and do laundry - none of that happened.

I was invited out for home made steak fajita's, and just couldn't get up the energy or appetite.

The dogs have been fairly well behaved, with not as much barking as I expected.  No escape attempts so far - digging or climbing.

Picture of the Week

crows in the yard

Crows in the field out back.

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