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Travels and Images

WEEK 16 2006

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Saturday 22 April 2006

Saturday - didn't do much - it was cool out, the wind howling. I did go out with some friends for Thai in the evening - very tasty, and then we sat around and watched some video's until 11:00pm or so.

Won 25 cents off Dad, betting against the Oakland A's. Though there was a scary bit, when Nick Swisher hit a grand slam to bring the A's within a point of tying the Angel's. Weaver was a pretty good pitcher for the Angel's - tremendous command, but started to fade after three or four innings. They did leave him in long enough to get the win. The A's had Haren, who didn't impress me much. But the third baseman for the A's, Eric Chavez, does impress me, a good player with a good attitude.

Book #20 was Alector's Choice, by L.E. Modesitt. Pretty typical Modesitt, he churns out much the same stuff, book after book, and people still read it. People like me I suppose. Eh, it was a library book, and helped pass a couple of evenings when I was pretty tired.

Friday 21 April 2006

Friday - the TIVO is working fine now, no problems. I've no particular issue with 'Service Packs', but wish they'd said that, rather than making me guess that it needed a reboot. In other news some broadcasters have proposed 'tags' in the new digital broadcasts, that would take over your receiver and keep you from fast forwarding through commercials!

And here I thought the FCC and industry push towards digital and Hi-Def was about the 'user experience'. Silly me. (Though I guess you could consider ads a form of 'user experience'...just not a pleasant one...)

Watching Bones the other day, without TIVO, was very annoying. How quickly we get used to lack of commercial abuse!

My father mentioned that the smaller yellow dot midway between Modesto and San Francisco on the radar image is due to the windmills at Altamont. Yes, the same  Music Festival Altamont. renowned for being the 'death place of the sixties'.

And a correction: The windmills screen grab on Sunday was from Google Maps, not Google Earth. Just for the record.

Thursday 20 April  2006

Thursday - Book #19 was  Washington's Crossing, by  David Hackett  Fischer. I  finished it (unabridged audio CD's) on the way up north. A good book, a little slow at the beginning and end, but wonderful in the middle. I'd never heard of the Second Battle of Trenton, or of the Battle of Princeton, or of what the British strategy in New Jersey was. (I mean, why invade New Jersey?). Recommended.

I also recommend you find a couple of good battle maps on the internet to follow along with, if you've the audio version. ( Though the 'following along' is probably best done while not driving :-) )

I had a bit of trouble with my TIVO. First it complained that my credit card was no good - true enough, as it had expired last month. So I updated that on Tuesday, and then tried to refresh the programming. No luck. I then assumed it would take a while for the account to be updated, so tried again on Wednesday night. No luck. After several fruitless tries I rebooted the TIVO, and that worked. It took nearly an hour, updating the machine with a couple of service packs and such. Kind of irritating, since I wanted to record Bones.

Wednesday 19 April 2006

Wednesday - How to Avoid Huge Ships was a past winner of the Oddest Book Title competition. The comments at Amazon are priceless - for example:

This book lacks criteria for discerning between huge ships and merely really big ships. Some well-designed lists, charts or colorful pop-up sections would have been nice for readers who were unsure what size of ship they were avoiding.

This years winner is: "People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It"

Again, you have to read the comments:

"... Written in a non technical manner, there is no occult or necromancy here. The book is a clear explination of the fact that the dead often afflict the living. Of course, sometimes they just 'hang out,' but this is also mentioned. The book is a must for those who may be having, or suspect they may be having problems with the deceased.
Recommended for the general reader, not the magician or necromancer who has had experience with these spirits of the dead. "

(emphasis mine, spelling and grammar his.)

Tuesday 18 April 2006

Tuesday - back at work. Worked late, got home and then had to go quiet down the garage band across the street. Bah.

 Monday 17 April 2006

Monday - warming up, no rain. Back on the road, down to Lancaster.

Sunday 16 April 2006

Sunday - rain. Between roughly 8:00 am and noon we got a half an inch of rain. My Dad has the exact numbers, but that is close. Sheesh. Enough is enough...

Watching the storms pass through, via the doppler radar on the WeatherUnderground web page, I noticed that Rio Vista had a strong reflection. An hour later it was still there, unmoving. And an hour after that. I mentioned it to my father, who said he'd noticed it as well. It was across the river from Pittsburg (California), probably Rio Vista-

weather radar image near rio vista

There's nothing in Rio Vista, that I know of. Just a little delta town, famous for nothing more than a bar with the most stuffed animal heads you'll ever want to see, and good windsurfing. So, when Dad suggested I take a look on the Google Earth web site, I did. Very interesting:

google earth windmill images
The windmills are hard to see, but their shadows are quite clear!

Apparently windmills reflect doppler radar very strongly. If they were turning - and there was a storm blowing through - that would make a lot of sense.

Picture of the Week

Folsom Prison

Photo Notes: This is the famous Folsom San Quentin prison, as seen from the water. (Thanks for the correction, Dad!)

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