WEEK 23 2011
Mon- Tue- Wed-
Picture of the Week
17 March 2002
Ago, This Week, 2002
Ago, This Week, 2003
Ago, This Week, 2006
Ago, This Week, 2007
Ago, This Week, 2008
This Week, 2009
This Week, 2010
Saturday - futzing around in the yard mostly.
Looked at new swamp coolers - mine is just about to fall apart. Home
Depot has a sale on, $90 off on a 5000CFM unit, which brings it down to
about $500. However I may have a line on a used but-in-good-shape unit,
so I'll hold off on the purchase for now.
Books this year:
- My uncle James McKeever passed away today. Jim was my mother's twin
brother, the last of her brothers. An industrial accident got Bud in
the 1980's, cancer got Ray a few years ago. Jim was in his mid 80's and
fell off a ladder cleaning his rain gutters. The broken ribs didn't get
him, but after a couple of weeks the pneumonia contracted in the
My sister Virginia was there in the room, the only family member
present at the time. She said it was a quiet passing, the family had
turned off the machines and disconnected all the tubes earlier, after
it was finally clear there would be no recovery or coming back to
Rest in Peace.
Abby Sutherland was one of two teenage girls that were going for the
youngest singlehanded solo around-the-world-nonstop record, the other
being the Australian Jessica Watson, at almost the same time. Indeed,
their voyages overlapped. Jessica started earlier and finished earlier.
Abby started midway through Jessica's voyage and was dismasted in the
Indian ocean after Jessica had finished.
In a way it was pointless, as the agency that at one time had
controlled the record no longer wanted to do age based records. Like
Guiness they had discovered the dark side to it, and didn't want any
part of unprepared youngster's getting hurt or killed. Understandable,
but what Abby and Jessica did was to use the last published requirements,
even though the agency had disavowed them. And, after thousands of
miles and months of effort both girl's got more out of the experience
than a line in a book somewhere.
So Book #61 was True Spirit,
by Jessica Watson. I enjoyed it a bit more than Abby Sunderland's book
- no second author for one thing, which led it a bit more spark, and it
had a number of blog entries she'd made, and then back stories behind
the entry. Neither was author like Slocum or Chichester, but the books
were fun and uplifting reads.
Thursday 9 June 2011
- an eHamony video, in which Debbie states that she really, really, likes cat...here.
Book #60 was Broken Angels, by Richard K. Morgan. It was a sequel, of sorts, to Altered Carbon,
but takes place decades afterward. The protagonist was a detective in
the last book, but in this he was a mercenary in a colonial war light
years away from Earth.
The central idea of the series is the ability to download one's self
into a "stack", a small chip about the size of a pencil eraser that
most people have in their upper spine. If you die you can be downloaded
into another body or a virtual reality. So there is death, real death,
and the VR realms.. The rich can be re-embodied almost forever, the
less fortunate only occasionally (unless they have a particularly
valuable skill or ability), and the poor...possibly never.
I didn't care for this book much. Too violent, too nihilistic. Even the
unwrapping of some of the mystery about the "Martians" didn't really
salvage things for me. Ah well, it was just a library book. There are a
couple more sequels, but I'll just wait for them to show up at the
library. No rush.
“At the end of the day, it is the death of an iconic Kiwi,” said Josie
Spillare of the Cure Kids charity, for whom Shrek made regular
money-raising appearances. “He just happens to be a sheep.”
8 June 2011
Wednesday - My tomatoes are starting
to look better. It's been rather cool, and often overcast, and they've
been pretty much just sitting there. But with a few days of warm
weather and sun they are starting to take off. I'm also cutting back
the watering to every other day - you can over water them easily, but I
wanted to make sure they rooted and survived the transplant.
I did get a new greenwaste container, so that's done.
Book #59 was Altered Carbon,
by Richard K Morgan. Sort of a noir-ish violent, high-tech future
detective story. Decent writing, decent tech, I've started on the
sequel, Broken Angels.
I've watched the first half dozen episodes of Veronica Mars
via Netflix and the Roku. Decent enough, not quite Buffy but fun and
usually quick dialog. The high school angst thing doesn't do much for
me, but I do enjoy watching her turn tables on her various opponents.
Kristen Bell is a bit of a chameleon, and it's fun watching her be the
daughter, bad girl, sweet southern thing, whatever it takes to solve
7 June 2011
- The dump people came and took the stuff, early. Probably a bit after
6:00am. I really should have asked them to take more. It's like magic,
you put it out on the curb and the next morning...poof...gone. No
messing about with the trailer and waiting in line at the landfill.
They were also supposed to replace the greenwaste container, as they
managed to break a wheel off it last week. We'll see. I also asked
about a recycle bin, but all they have are the huge 65 gallon bins, and
my side yard is full enough.
Did I post about this before? OldWeather.org
is a site that uses volunteers to transcribe older logs from ships of
the British navy, in order to create a database of weather in the
oceanic basins. Kind of neat. Scans of a logbook for a ship are made
available, the volunteers then re-enter that data into a digital
database. To help avoid error each entry is entered by at least two
different volunteers. This project focuses mostly on the WWI British
Navy, but there are a number of other fleets, the East India Company
from 1780s to the 1830s is mentioned. The
logbooks will generally have date, position, wind, temperature, seas,
clouds, perhaps even barometric pressure, but are not readable by
Currently the weather for the past is mostly confined to the land surface
measurements, only 25% of the worlds surface. Less, in fact, if you
throw out Antarctica and the wastes of Siberia and Northern Canada. So this is an effort, multiple efforts actually,
to flesh out the history of the weather.
Very neat. You can, when the project is finished, come up with a visualization tool of the last couple centuries of weather (see the video).
It'd be wonderful to see the cyclones and weather systems of, say,
1858, sweep across one's screen. And what patterns could you see with,
say, global coverage of 10 complete solar cycles of 22 years, rather
than the existing partial coverage? And, given data from research expeditions and
commercial fisheries, what might you find out about the little known
- I called up Waste Management, and arranged to have them pick up the
old water heater and two old file cabinets from the curb tomorrow. I'm
trying to clean up the garage and side yard, and that'll be a start. As
I was putting stuff out I was wishing that I'd arranged for more stuff
to be picked up...
Book #58 was Unsinkable:
Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas, by Abigail
Sunderland and Lynn Vincent. Abby was famous for trying - and failing -
to be the youngest woman ever to sail around the world non-stop. She
had a fast boat, an Open 40, but various mechanical and electrical
problems meant that she had to put into port after sailing from San
Diego, First Cabo San Lucas, then Cape Town. This essentially squelched the
chance of being the youngest single hander to sail non-stop (since the
new start point had to become that port, and one has to sail around and return there), but she continued on. In the
middle of the Indian Ocean she was capsized by a rogue wave and lost
her mast. She set off her emergency locater beacons and was rescued without too much fuss.
There was a lot of media controversy at the time, about whether she was
qualified, whether her boat was good enough, whether there was too much
pressure to "go", whether her parents were trying to make money off a
daughter with a stunt. My feeling at the time was that it was a legitimate effort,
a good boat, and that she was a good sailor, reading the book just further hardens that opinion.
- I didn't get a lot done, pretty much cleaned and stuff. I did go out
to Apollo Park with a friend, where her kids fed the ducks and played
on the swings for a couple of hours. Their Dad is out of town for a few
days visiting a grandmother who broke her hip, and everybody just
needed out for a few hours. We brought hot dogs and watermelon, and a good time was had by all.
Cats are funny. Riley came up to me and laid a paw on my leg, while I
was sitting with my morning coffee. This means that he wants (1) more
food, or (2) outdoors (it was a cool and blustery morning so the patio door was closed). So I got up
to find out which he wanted.
Turns out that there is another option: (3) jumping onto the sofa and curling up in the warm spot so recently vacated, purring.
Book #57 was A Civil Campaign,
by Lois McMasters Bujold.