pirate edself with corona captain ed
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WEEK 19 2004

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Saturday 8 May 2004

Saturday - driving up to see my Dad for the weekend. I always plan to get on the road early, but usually don't. This was no exception - just a bunch of little things that I had not taken care of earlier. I started up jobs on all five computers before I left. Hopefully the power stays on and the house doesn't overheat while I am gone...

It was a nice drive. Sunny - but not too warm, and not a lot of traffic. It was a bit windy - you could see the semi's struggling to stay in their lanes on occasion, and the occasional idiot doing 90mph being blown into other lanes where the road was near a coastal pass. but mostly OK.

I had a Clive Cussler tape, Deep Six, that I was going to listen to - but the tape was faulty with both tracks bleeding through. Sometimes that happens with stuff found on EBAY.

Instead I listened to tape 1 of a biograph of Lincoln, very interesting. Unlike the usual rags to riches tale of woe and failure that I remember the tape made him out to be a fairly successful man in his pre-presidential life.

I gave the Cussler tape to my Dad, but mentioned that it was bad. He just smiled, put it in his tape player, moved the balance all the way to one side and it played just fine. Apparently audio book makers sometimes take advantage of the two separate stereo channels by putting separate audio tracks (chapters) on each!

You learn something new every day.

None of the Louis L'amour tapes had arrived. Louis real name was apparently 'Jim Mayo' if the half.com listings are accurate. I guess if my last name sounded like a condiment I'd have a non de plume as well - though I'm not sure that I would use 'amour' as a name. On the other hand Louis - that is, Jim - boxed professionally. I imagine he was a pretty secure kind of guy...

In the evening we went over to Walmart and bought a copy of 'Master & Commander' on DVD to watch. Wow. I think I like it better on DVD, or perhaps it's just seeing it the second time around. Anyway, a good yarn. Some friends of mine went to see the 'Mary Rose' in San Diego. She's the ship used for many of the scenes in M&C. The story is a little unreal in that the Surprise defeats an American built frigate - very unlikely (and clearly the Mary Rose was used for shots of the Acheron as well - very unconvicingly to me). The U.S.S. Constitution, for instance, once took on two of these smaller british frigates simultaneously and defeated them both. On the other hand it makes for a good story.

Friday 7 May 2004

Friday - lot's of work today. One of the other machines rebooted for some unknown reason so I had to restart the job in the middle. The method isn't in the manual.  Then there was a question about how to set the CFD timestep, the equation for which used to be in the manual - but isn't any more.

Oh well, keeps me busy.

Birds are nesting in and about my house. There are some over the water cooler, up under the roof tiles. And another nest that I just discovered today when I saw the cat looking out the door and licking his chops- the adults flew off when I approached so they are not in the picture. But I'll get a shot of them later...

Birds nest in the patio cover.
birds nest4
Somewhat later, in bad light, the parent(s) are back.

Thursday 6 May  2004

Thursday - working away. I built another computer today - it's my Dad's old PC (sans hard drive). I've installed another old hard drive into it, and cleaned out the interior a bit, and installed a new case fan. Also I pulled the cpu fan and heat sink, cleaned them, and put a little more thermal paste on the heat sink to cpu contact spot before replacing them. So far it seems to run OK, but the overheating was never very consistent.

And the machines are keeping busy - running 24/7 for the most part here. I have another analysis to start when these are done, but things take time.

In other news we have a rover circling the rim of Endurance crater on Mars. Unofficially named Endurance because apparently there is a committee in charge of names that hasn't ruled yet. Anyway, here's a quote:

Brian Cooper, leader of JPL's squad of rover drivers for Spirit and Opportunity, said the initial view of the crater doesn't settle accessibility questions yet. "The slope right in front of us averages 18 to 20 degrees. Getting into the crater is no problem, but we have a lot more work to do to assess whether we could get back out. That depends on soil properties and slippage, as well as slope." The planned circuit around the rim will also require careful navigation. "If you don't go close enough to the lip, you can't look in, but if you go too far, you could fall in," he said. "We're going to have a very interesting few weeks."

I remember doing some surveying in school and being surprised that the sides of fairly steep appearing hills actually had fairly small angles, ten to twenty degrees, which is not un-navigatable, but it is something you do have to think about when wearing a pack (or a space suit.)

Endurance crater on Mars

Wednesday 5 May 2004

Wednesday - the machines and I are keeping busy.

In Iraq we don't seem to have many allies, but the ones we do have left...wowClick to read the whole thing, because you probably won't hear about this guy on CNN.

NAJAF, Iraq — One of his friends was dead, 12 others lay wounded and the four soldiers still left standing were surrounded and out of ammunition. So Salvadoran Cpl. Samuel Toloza said a prayer, whipped out his knife and charged the Iraqi gunmen.

There was apparently a dramatic rocket launch from Vandenberg this evening. I must have just missed seeing it - a friend who lives in Oxnard phoned me but I was out. Oxnard is quite a bit closer to Vandenberg, and they may have had the launch go over their heads.

Tuesday 4 May 2004
Tuesday - more work, but not interesting enough to report here. Even I had trouble staying awake.

Monday 3 May 2004

Monday - work. eh.

Some days I think I should have a fancy web site. Cascading Style Sheets, XML, CGI-Bin.  Unfortunately I'm fundamentally lazy and it's just too much work.

Opportunity has reached Endurance crater. It's a biggish crater. Wow. And Spirit keeps rolling along.

Iran has reports of strange UFO's in the air. But maybe, just maybe, they should instead be called UAV's...

Sunday 2 May 2004

Sunday - finished painting the eaves. Yahoo!! My arms ache, but it is finally done. Now I can plant those flowers that I bought a month ago. Hey, as an engineer I've been trained to fixate on things...

Office decorating. Heh. Indeed. Somebody at 3M has a sense of humor as well - who woulda thought.

Which reminds me: once, years ago, some friends and I made a bunch (dozens) of paper airplanes and attacked a friend in her cubicle on December 7th while yelling "Tora Tora Tora".  She wasn't Japanese or anything like that...she just happened to be in the next cubicle to five engineers with time on their hands.

Picture of the Week

dog herding geese
Photo Notes: This dog (border collie?) is herding geese at the Lancaster Poppy Festival, a couple of weeks ago. It also herded some rather bored looking sheep. I mean, bored acting, or perhaps bored seeming - sheep don't really emote all that much actually.

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