Travels and Images

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Picture of the Week

Sunday 14 April 2002
Sunday was a "travel day", from Martinez back to Lancaster. The weather was nice, and it was a fairly nice drive, as these drives go. It's the other drivers that bother me. Everyone is speeding, tailgating, and cutting each other off - hey, its a 350 mile drive people, calm down! Simply for a change of pace I'll take a two lane highway part way, instead of the grind on the interstate.

But I like to think that I learn something every day, hence this weeks' Picture of the Week - Sunday morning I had no idea where the Cantaloupe Capital of the World was, Sunday evening I had been through Mendota, California. I had been trying to find Tranquility, but couldn't. Either I didn't go far enough, or the signs other people put up were wrong, or it doesn't exist.

That sounds almost philosophical - time to stop!

Monday 15 April 2002

Mondays are always bad. Mondays after a long drive even worse. Mondays that are also tax days should be terrible, but it wasn't all that bad really.

I'm having quite a bit of trouble getting on line, which is why these pages are updated rather slowly.

I watched a bit of "Angel" - it's really gotten bad. It looks like they've killed off Wesley, and Cordelia is not around - I wonder if they struck for more money, or the writers are getting desperate. The whole vampire baby thing is ludicrous anyway. And this "Angel is so angry he can't think straight" thing - it's been done, beat to death, the life sucked out of it...

Tuesday 16 April 2002

This was just another heads down work day. It's windy and rather cool tonight. We had winds of 40 MPH yesterday, which is sand in the air level winds.

I received an email from a fellow who owns, and wants to sell,  an old MARS II electric car. Apparently the Lead-Cobalt batteries are not made any more, so standard lead-acid would have to be used, which drops the range unacceptably. I saw an ad on TV recently, for a Honda Civic Hybrid vehicle; about 40/50 MPG City/Highway. By using the respected "Civic" marque and chassis Honda might just sell a lot of them.

I think I know why I'm having trouble getting on line, but I can't fix it for a day or two...

Wednesday 17 April 2002

Wednesday's dinner was at the local Black Angus. What with that, and taking my walk, and working late it was after 10 pm when I finally arrived home and fed the cats. They repaid me by being active all night. I should have got fish.

I see that George Dyson has written a book "Project Orion". His father, Freeman Dyson, was a Nobel winning physicist who working on a plan to propel LARGE space ships by exploding nuclear bombs behind them. This was  after helping build the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos in the 1940's. There is a wonderful book "The Starship and the Canoe" by Kenneth Brower that jumps between the World War II years of Freeman, and the 1950's to 1960's, and George's days as a hippie living in a homebuilt kayak in the San Juan's. This is George's second book that I know of, "Darwin among the Machines" was the first was a pretty good read, so it's something to add to the "to be read" list.

Interestingly enough, someone named Jeff Bezos has a review of "Project Orion". I wonder if it's the guy who owns I guess there is some controversy about Amazon's policies with authors right now, and there have been some problems with other of their policies in the past as well, still, it's a good site for reviews of books, even if you don't buy there.

While out walking I noticed an unusual number of bright stars - planets actually - in the sky. When I got home there was a message from my father notifying me that there was a conjunction of five planets that night, and to try to take a digital photo. Well, it was too late for the photograph, but it was an interesting sight, though by 9:30 local (daylight savings) time the planet Mercury must have already set. But the Astronomy Picture of the Day has captured it pretty well.

By the way, the gentleman with the electric car(s) for sale, is Craig Huber, an artist up in Eugene Oregon. Seems like a bit of a character... I do need to contact him and thank him for his point-by-point reply to my inquiry about the Mars II, even if I can't really use it.

Thursday 18 April 2002

The problem with a daily page is there is no editor looking over your shoulder to correct your mistakes. Mendota is the "Cantaloupe Center of the World", not Capital. It says so, right on the sign. There are other Mendota's, one that has a "Sweet Corn Festival" in Illinois, for example.

I also fixed the Astronomy Picture of the Day link for the conjunction, it changes every day, so I had to find the page, once archived, and link to that. Not really a mistake, the link was correct when I made it. The link in this paragraph is to the daily page, the link in Wednesday's section is for the conjunction.

Also, I think George Dyson was living in a tree house, not a kayak. Except when kayaking long distances, of course. I understand there are now kayak trails in the San Juan's, i.e., islands set aside for the kayakers, with little campgrounds and such. Sounds like fun!!

Friday 19 April 2002

Friday I had a little visit to the dentist. Apparently I have a dying root on a molar, and need to go see a specialist. Sigh. Well, the company just signed on with a new dental insurance company that couldn't be any worse than the old. We'll see.

The local paper is reporting that NASA is canceling the X-38, the precursor to the space station lifeboat, at the administrations behest.

It's hard to follow the logic. Supposedly they are trying to save money, a few ten's of millions, but they can utilize their $25 billion dollar space station at only about half capacity now. It has a limited lifetime, about 25 years or so, which means that every year utilized at half capacity has a cost of $500 million.

Saturday 20 April 2002

Saturday they are having a toxic waste roundup here in town. I need to get rid of a few things - there's some used motor oil that I've been carting around for ten years for example.

Thursday I was complaining about not having an editor looking over my shoulder. It's worse than than, I have active interference from certain entities that apparently don't realize just who opens the cat food for them. As I am trying to write this:

Note the location of the foot. This is no accident, this is malice aforethought.

Picture of the Week

Mendota, California: "Canteloupe Capital of the World"
Photo note: I was just passing through, saw the sign, and had to chuckle. There was a little park, with one bicyclist asleep under a tree. Very tranquil really. I seem to have finally mastered the timer on the Olympus, though I thought I took two pictures like this. Hmmm, perhaps "mastered" is too strong a word.

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