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WEEK 23 2004

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Saturday 5 June 2004

Saturday - I went down in the afternoon to the Thousand Trails campgroud again. Very nice, very peaceful, but it doesn't leave a lot to write about. If it wasn't for the just past full moon the stars would have been spectacular - as it were they were very nice in the brief time before the moon came up.

Friday 4 June 2004

Friday - visited the small City of Ojai, with some friends. I've never been there before - it's a pretty little town. I'll have to visit again when I've a chance, and spend more time. Today was some sort of music festival - apparently it's quite an event there. Much busier than usual. We had a very nice lunch at a restaurant a bit out of town, essentially in the midst of orange (lemon?) groves.

A bit more on the story of the icebreaking oil tanker Manhattan.

Thursday 3 June  2004

Thursday - pretty busy today. Looks like a new contract for me - which is good, the current contract has (in theory) expired, although I expect an extension for a couple of weeks more.

Wednesday 2 June 2004

Wednesday - as a youth I played quite a bit with 'Erecter Sets'. These don't seem to be around any more, the big thing is now Lego's. But the British incarnation the Erecter set, 'Meccano,' is alive and kicking apparently - someone has now built a   Babbage mechanical computer out of them ( link via The Eternal Golden Braid. )



The Mars rover Spirit has 'imaged' a small crated they have named Fram:

Crater FRAM on Mars

The was a ship FRAM, built for Fridjof Nansen to a design by Colin Archer and used to explore the Arctic Ocean in the 1890's. There seems to be a number of references to the golden age of polar explorations during this Mars exploration.

The Fram
The Fram

Which reminds me, I remember seeing the Gja, Roald Amundsen's boat, in which he made the Northwest Passage. As a child I visited with my father while she was on display in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, outdoors and in poor shape. Sometime in the 1970's she was returned to Norway, and hopefully restored and treated better. San Francisco is a beautiful city but narcissistic - anything not deeply related to it's own navel gazing is liable to be ignored and abused.

The Gjoa, in better days
The Gja

Which in turn reminds me - somewhat later I remember seeing the Manhattan, another Northwest Passage veteran and a modern oil tanker moored at the refinery docks in Benecia, California. I think I wrote about it once in these pages, but can't seem to find now.

With Global Warming - if it exists - the Northwest Passage may become a commercial possibility and a source of national contention.

update:
Hah. According to this page the  Norwegian Maritime Museum still  has the Gja outside. Oh well, these old fishing boats are tough! (And somewhat smelly - perhaps keeping an old herring boat indoors was just not a viable project!) Anyway, it sounds like a marvelous museum to visit - viking boats, the Fram (indoors), and many other things of interest. I just need to add it to my list of things to do someday!

By the way, "search" in Norwegian is apparently "sk".

Tuesday 1 June 2004
Tuesday -  Sunday afternoon I went down and spent some time with friends at the Thousand Trails campground again.
It being Memorial Day weekend it was busy - crowded actually. We had a good time - a swim, a barbecue, and a rousing game of  Song Burst afterwards.

In Song Burst you are given the year, the artist, the title, and a 'clue' from the song - often the first line of a verse (but not always) and challenged to finish the next few more lines of the song. My team lost, but only by a little - had the game lasted a bit longer or had our opponents another Pina Colada we woulda clobbered 'em! It's harder than it sounds - verses are often very similar, and a single wrong word can cost you a score!

After playing the game we decided to just go through a few more cards and see - as a group - how many we could do. Pretty much all of them, it turns out. You learn things - Johnny Mathis did 'Someday Soon' in the 1950's. I knew the Judy Collins version but had no idea that it was a cover and not original to her.

It's interesting that everyone at the camp - but me - knew the lyrics to the Mickey Mouse show. I can't remember ever having watched it. Not the original with Annette Funicello, not the sequel with Britney Spears.Most of the group were grade school teachers, perhaps that had something to do with it.

Monday 31 May 2004

Monday - Memorial Day. Here is a picture from the Moving Wall exhibit from when it visited Lancaster in July of 2002. There is another war on now (which I support) and sadly it means a roll call of names for another monument someday. The World War II Memorial was dedicated in Washington D.C. yesterday, sixty years after that war.

These days the French insult us, stab us in the back, and invite the Germans to D-Day ceremonies. Gratitude: the weakest of all human emotions. But going to war for gratitude would be unethical. One should not do an act for praise, but because the act is good in and of itself.

The Moving Wall, Lancaster, July 2002

Sunday 30 May 2004

Sunday - the chicks are being fed by the parents out on the patio. It's cute - there is a sudden rise in the sound level and I'll look out to see the larger bird disgorging food into the tiny upraised mouths. Some for you and some for you and some for you... Then the parent is off for more food. The feeding cycle will then resume in about twenty minutes when the adult has collected enough bugs for the chicks again.

The telephoto on the digital camera isn't enough to catch much detail from inside the house and the parents avoid coming back if I'm outside, so no pictures for now. I'll get out the good telephoto lens from my Dad's SLR and try using that.

Another thought on small boat voyaging from David Hays:

For a while, after Joshua Slocum, small-boat voyages became almost a British specialty, often in the Vertue-class sister ships of Sparrow, or slightly bigger versions of her, such as Wanderer III. I studied for a year in London soon after the second World War, and my theory is that for the British the cold and damp and bad food on a tiny boat were indistinguishable from home; they didn't realize they weren't in their living rooms.

Last night I watched Seabiscuit with some friends - I had never seen it. A pretty good movie - I am told that the book is much better however!


Links through May 31st

May
The Moving Wall exhibit
The Final Roll Call
The World War II Memorial
'My Old Man and the Sea' book
Is it sunny or cloudy at the Mt. Wilson solar observatory?
Troy, as formatted for Instant Messenger.
Page comparing tax burdens across the states
sneaking suspicions web page
Universe at least 156 billion light-years wide
 A Cosmology of Elephants and Turtles
Random Discworld quote generator
Thousand Trails campgrounds
Problems feeding the deer?
Kate Beckinsale
U.S.S. Constitution
El Savadoran ally in NAJAF, Iraq
Opportunity has reached Endurance crater
Spirit keeps rolling along.
Office decorating. with 3M tape...

April
Washington's Crossing book
 OSU Case Lab Agard Benchmark
Neal Stephensons "The Confusion"
Lassie filmography
Bull Halsey, by E.B. Potter
The Great White Fleet
My old school, Cal Poly Pomona
Yuri Gagarin
Yuri's Night

March
Sick game of penguin batting
X-43 flew yesterday
X-43 Net thrust?
Game of Demon Balls
APOD  picture of the Spring Equinoctal
The Naval Observatory's Astronomical Almanac,
The posts for this Blogs first week!
Movies Matrix I, Matrix II and Matrix III
The "The Passion of the Christ
Movie "Wargames"
Movie "National Velvet"
Bonneville crater on Mars
The Walt Disney Concert Hall
Movie "Hidalgo"
Band  Craicmore

February
Mars, far far away
Reviving the Saturn V rocket
The Saturn
Movie: 50 First Dates.
Kelley Blue Book
Feather Linux.
extremetech
Streaming audio site, radioparadise
Band "Leahy"
A different kind of spaceship
The Orion concept
The Wright Challenge

January
Mars Clock
tvspy:
Slashdot:
The X-43
The Helios
Yahoo Maps


Picture of the Week

sundial at solar noon
Photo Notes: This is a sundial along the Interstate 5 in california. The consequences of our daylight savings time policy can be seen here - the shadow of the sun says "noon" but my quartz watch says one o'clock!

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