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WEEK 20 2006

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Saturday 20 May 2006

Saturday - Bonds has finally tied the Babe. I heard the news in the car as I was driving about picking up a variety of hardware for the boat - new turnbuckle's and stainless steel hardware.

Stainless steel is hard to saw, hard to bend, and hard to drill. Terrible stuff - but the stainless bolts holding the corroded remnants of the old mild steel chainplates in place look almost new. It's probably worth it. Probably.

A few hints if you are messing about with stainless:

Friday 19 May 2006

Friday - not a lot to say.
Phoebe enjoying the sun
Phoebe enjoying some sun outside.

Thursday 18 May  2006

Thursday - on the road. Down in the Amazon page for His Excellency is a link to James Thomas Flexnir's biography of Washington. It is supposedly very good - but I heard an excerpt at the end of theWashington's Crossing tapes, and the narrators' voice was like fingers on a blackboard. Incredibly annoying.

Nelson Runger, the narrator of the Ellis bio has a decent enough voice.

It seems that Captain Cook's Endeavour may have been found off of Rhode Island, sunk by the British as a defensive measure against the French during the Revolutionary War. One of the peculiarities of the Revolutionary War was the diversion of troops and supplies to conquer Rhode Island, when Washington was on the run in New Jersey. [via Absinthe & Cookies]

Wednesday 17 May 2006

Wednesday - on the road, up to see my Dad. I've some comp time to burn...

Finished Book #24, His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis, on the trip up. A biography of George Washington, from his boyhood to his death. Pretty well done. I had no idea that he started the French and Indian War - though it was, like like the cause for the War of Jenkins' Ear, more a pretext than a cause. Generally his military experience on the side of the British was generally rather traumatic. He's not always portrayed in the most flattering of lights, and there is a bit more pop psychology than I care for, but it is, over all, a good read. Thumbs up.

It's not quite as enthralling as 1776 or Washington's Crossing, but it does cover a lot more ground, including his retirement after the Revolutionary War, and his subsequent accession to the Presidency, and his retirement after that.

I alternate between fiction and non-fiction, for the most part. One's brain can get a surfeit of historical detail after a while. Indeed my father looked a bit alarmed about another revolutionary war biography when I handed these new tapes to him.

Tuesday 16 May 2006

Tuesday - Book #23 is Linda Greenlaw's The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island. She was the swordfish skipper in the movie The Perfect Storm, and the author of one of last years reads', The Hungry Ocean. In this book she has changed from swordfishing back to lobstering on Isle au Haut off the Maine coast, her home town. Entertaining and engaging stories about lobstering and life on a very small island abound.

I worked late, very late, but was still stopped at the gate on the way out for 'exercises'. Morons.

Have I mentioned the pop-up barricades on the road that they have now? New, since I left, probably pretty expensive. Let's just hope that any attackers are too stupid to drive around them by using the hard packed flat dirt area on either side of the barricades, as the bigger trucks and buses and semi's do every day.

Things like that get me to thinking that there's no hope. Then I read something like this - and laugh. No hope at all....

 Monday 15 May 2006

Monday - I drove the Probe into work for the first time since starting back to work there in November of last year. The overheating problem made it an issue. But no problems today, despite the fact that the base is doing some sort of exercise, creating huge delays while checking for base ID's and drivers licenses. Even on the way out!

What exactly do they expect to find on the way out - someone who went across country  in their Mercedes SUV onto the base, got lazy, and decided to take the highway out? To add injury to insult they didn't bother to add any extra personnel for this check - after all, we're just the civilians (the thousands of us, who keep their damn base running) - so only two guys were on duty and had cars backed up and wasting $3.35 a gallon gas, in 90+ degrees, for miles, trying to go home. Even at 6:00pm.

On the bright side, my cars' temperature stayed cool, even with the A/C on, and I predicted beforehand to someone that they'd do their moronic trick of halting the outbound traffic at least once this week.

Tomorrow morning I take the Explorer in to have the "check engine" light, uh, checked. I've the bicycle in the back of the Explorer, so the plan is that I'll ride back to the house from the shop, shower, put the bike in the back of the Probe, go to work, leave at 4:00, drive to the library parking lot, leave the Probe there, ride to Scott's Autotech, put the bike in the back of the Explorer, drive home, get on the bike, ride back to the library, put the bike back into the Probe, and go home.

It sounds complicated but has a couple of nice features - one, I get into work late, so I miss the hold up at the gate going in to work. Second I'll end up at the library, and can avoid spending any time at home on band practice night before 7:00.

Sunday 14 May 2006

Sunday - won a quarter off Dad, on the Giants vs the Dodgers. Heh. Actually I fell asleep, and when I woke up the game was over...

Lot's of futzing about with the swamp cooler. Three, maybe four, trips to the hardware store. The first thing I did was buy the wrong fitting - a flared fitting, thinking I had a flaring tool. I don't. Then I bought a 1/4" diameter compression fitting, on the advice of my father, which seemed to be the wrong size. Then I got smart, cut out the piece of pipe with the hole, and brought it to the store with me. It didn't fit any of the fittings. Weird.

Finally I got some useful help - third times a charm with clerks apparently - and he explained that the whole pipe had changed diameter when it froze last winter - I'd need an entirely new length of pipe. Twenty five bucks worth - or I could replace it with $3.99 worth of plastic. So I went for the plastic.

After that I relocated the inlet feed and float valve - no problem, except that my drill wouldn't accept a bit of the required diameter, so a bit of scraping with a circular file was in order. For now I just have a plastic patch over the enormous rust hole where the fitting used to be. Maybe I'll add some duct tape too...


There is a lot of material missing, and what's left is paper thin. I should fabricate a new side post actually. Some day. Not today - it's hot out.


Plus I still need to put a new belt in. I think it's still using the original (10 year old) belt.

Picture of the Week

Photo Notes: Bonds levitates a bat by absolute concentration alone. Next up: walking on water?

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