Travels and Images
WEEK 19 2004
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Picture of the Week
Saturday 8 May
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
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.
Somewhat later, in bad light, the parent(s) are back.
Thursday 6 May 2004
- 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
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
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.)
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...wow. Click 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.
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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