sailing the NorSea


WEEK 18 2014

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Saturday 3 May 2014
Saturday - Fiddling about with things in the yard all morning. It looks like Aaron and his boys can't make it by this weekend, so I mowed the front yard myself. It's fairly small, and it's a self propelled mower, so it's not a big deal. I gave me a chance to realize that the dry spots in front are back, so I made a point of hand watering them. My roses are in full bloom, or just past, so I need to deadhead them, and apply some rose food.

I also made sure the drip sprinkler lines for the tomatoes and peppers were working, and made a couple more tomato cages.

At lunch I went out and visited A at his new place out in Antelope Acres. It's pretty great - I wish I was living there, rather than in the middle of town!

Friday 2 May 2014
Friday - Strange weather this week. Hot, then cool, sunny, then overcast.

Fiddled with the new Auto Layout in iOS 7. I got it to work, though the tutorial example I used did not work properly, which tells you how messed up things are! Oh well.

Thursday 1 May 2014

Thursday - Keeping busy, not much to say. I'd thought I might go down to Ventura this week, but Tim says there is no need, so I can save about $50 in fuel by staying home.

I bought the last 25 landscape blocks and put them in. It looks OK now. I'd also bought some small half-brick sized blocks of the same color and style, to use as spacers at the ends, and that worked very well.

I also need to decide on whether to put another layer of blocks in, or just some cap stones. Caps, I think. I an urge to put blocks in, but it'll make it about 16" above the ground at the end nearest the patio, which is visually too much I think. I need to also line it with landscape fabric on the inside, to prevent added dirt from leaching through the gaps. I thought about creating a "french drain", but it's not really needed for such a small area. And I need to raise the sprinkler heads. 

The hard part is done. I'll see if the lawn boys can move the dirt this weekend. Their dad and I have been playing phone tag - he's busy prepping to move, already moving a lot of his shop tools and stuff I understand.

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Wednesday - Did some more yard work in the morning, leveling the original base course of landscape blocks that I'd laid some time ago. I'd leveled along the course, but not front-to-back, and they were way off - it was clearly visible once I'd stacked several blocks high. I guess it's like being a pilot, trust your instruments, not your eyeball! There wasn't any digging involved, just more sand and a tedious block by block re leveling. It looks OK now. I took out as much of the bow as I could, it's vertical, and looks OK. I need another 25 blocks though.

You can clearly see the front-to-back tilt of the blocks at right of frame, compared to vertical at left.

I also fooled around a bit with the receptacles in the kitchen, and got them working again. The circuit breaker seems to be working now, but I still want to replace the outlet that was sparking before. Unfortunately it's a strange style: according to Tim it's of a type they don't allow in residential construction any more.

Tuesday 29 April 2014
Tuesday - Working away on various things in the morning, yard stuff and cleanup, then on the app in the afternoon. I'm trying to move from Xcode 4 on the Mini to Xcode 5 on the MacBook. This has to be done sooner or later, (the app store will only accept code that compiles under iOS7 now) so I thought I might as well hit it now. They've apparently changed the positioning elements, struts and springs and such, and the views and subviews are all messed up. I'm also getting some sort of integer casting error that I wasn't before. Bah. And the background images for buttons aren't showing up properly.

We actually had an interesting weather event the other day. For the first time in decades (that I know of)  there was a lenticular cloud directly above Lancaster. These are common, to the north over the Tehachapi's, but almost never do they come this far south. In fact there was another on the same day south of Lancaster, over the San Angeles. As standing wave events they last for hours, and the sunlight filters through them in the oddest ways. In late afternoon, for example, there was this strange brown light, similar to that a forest fire might make. Almost surreal - and it lasted for hours.

As did the repeated windstorms. Not one, but two trees had to be chainsawed down to size in my neighborhood. Not only is the wind strong, but it sometimes is coming from odd directions, not our usual westerlies.

Monday 28 April 2014
Monday - A nice day, but one that became windy late in the day. I did various chores, but didn't get as much done on the app as I'd hoped.

They are predicting about 90F by the end of the week.

One thing I did was to find the little video renaming script I'd written years ago, and change it around a bit to rename photos. It was oddly harder than it needed to be - for some reason the folder/path options didn't want to work correctly on my Windows 7. Last time that I know it worked was on the old Vista laptop. I'm not sure if it's a change in VbScript, in the Windows Scripting Host on Win7, or some weirdness in my Win7 virtual machine on the MacBook. After messing with it for a half hour I just stripped that folder/path detection stuff all out, and told people to use a fixed folder name for the renumbering operation. It's not that big a deal, Tim's done tens of thousands of these renames with me, back in the bad old Facilities Integration job day. A few dozen here isn't a big deal.

I ran across a description of Chicago as "The Windy City" the other day, which is a description that, as a High Desert resident has always grated a bit. I finally took action and investigated the claim. As I suspected, Chicago doesn't even compare to Lancaster. Shown below, taken from WeatherSpark [interesting site!], are two plots of the average wind speeds (scaled vertically to about the same by me), side by side. As can be easily seen Lancaster handily beats Chicago in "daily max" and "daily mean".

So there.


Sunday 27 April  2014
Sunday - Another cool and windy day.

I vacuumed upstairs in the morning, and a few other chores. The younger cats were upset, but got over it fairly quickly. I'll do the downstairs later in the week, or next weekend.

I did a bit more work on the little landscape block retaining wall. Laid the base course of blocks and discovered that there was a bow in it - I'm not sure how it got there, I used a straight line to lay it out, but it's a definite 3/4" curve. What the heck? I hate to do any more digging under the trees right now, in growth season, so maybe I'll just let it be, finish stacking, and redo it next winter. I'm short about 25 blocks - I misjudged the grade of the slope and had to step the base course down, so more blocks are needed. And now that I've an idea of what it looks like I'm tempted to go up one more layer, another 35 or so. We'll see.

Not much else going on. Lots of chores, as always, and some reading on app stuff. I haven't added anything to the "Books Read" for a while, but that's not a big deal I guess: I was up to Book #18 several weeks ago.

Picture of the Week
roses in the front yard 
Photo Notes: The roses in the front yard started blooming a few days ago.

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