Sailing Hummingbird feeder

Travels and Images

WEEK 24 2007

Last Week- Sun- Mon- Tue- Wed- Thur- Fri- Sat- Next Week

Picture of the Week


Lancaster Weather NOAA
Lancaster WeatherUnderground

First Post, 17 March 2002
Five Years Ago, This Week, 2002 Four Years Ago, This Week, 2003 Three Years Ago, this week, 2004 Two Years Ago, This Week, 2005 A Year Ago, This Week, 2006

Weekly Picture Archive

Saturday 16 June 2007

Saturday - up in Martinez and relaxing. It's windy - indeed it was very windy even driving up the state. But it wasn't hot today - as I crested the Altamont Pass on Friday night I could see a towering wall of fog to the west of the hills, and that seems to have been pulled inland overnight to cool the area down. It was hot up here the last few days:: my sister related how her cats found the coolest spot in her (non air-conditioned) home, a cool wall that they would lay up against. Cats are pretty smart creatures, in their own way.

Baseball:  we watched the Giants lose to the Sox, which won me a quarter, and then looked for an Oakland Athletics game.

Me: Are the A's playing?
Dad: Let me check... Yes, they're on channel six, KICU. I don't know much about Channel Six.
Me: Usually it's between channels Five and Seven.
Dad: You don't know COMCAST.

Anyway, the Cardinals won me a quarter as well. I may make a profit on this trip.

Speaking of the trip, there is now an airline route going from Palmdale to San Francisco, via a United Airlines affiliate. There was a big grand opening a week or so ago, with the Mayor of Los Angeles showing up for the first flight in.

The ticket price, round trip, was advertised as $186, which is high but tempting (despite the fact that I would end up in SF and have to take buses to BART, BART to the East Bay - with a change at MacArthur - and then a bus or cab from the Concord station to my Dads place. And repeat in reverse when I went home.).

When I checked the web site the price was $650. If I purchased tickets a month in advance that that dropped to $350, and two months out dropped to the quoted price.

So, I expect this service to die on the vine, just like all the previous attempts in the last 20 years. The basic business concept of low hassle introductory fares for a marginal market apparently hasn't occurred to the management, so what are the odds they'll get anything else right?

Friday 15 June 2007

Friday - a late start today, to work and on the road up to my father's place. As usual I did not pack the night before, so I was scurrying around, collecting clothes, laptops. camera's and the rest of my middle aged essentials. Essentials used to fit in a 13" sport bag, now they take several trips to load. Oh well.

But it worked out well. I had forgotten my barter agreement with a friend: if I picked up a heirloom dresser from Northern California and brought it back to Lancaster with me I would get some home made biscuits and soup in return! I think I've the better part of the bargain. Like I said, I had forgotten, until in the midst of my morning scurry she called and reminded me to swing by and pick up the goodies.

So, almost a full days work, and then I was out of Edwards sometime after 4:00. It was hot with KEDW reporting 102F, and I saw upwards of 106F on the Explorers' thermometer on the way north. It was a slow drive - I took some state highways and roads for the first half of the drive, rather than I-5, and I didn't roll into Martinez until after 10:00 in the evening.

Book #41 was The Map That Changed the World*, by Simon Winchester. It is the story of William Smith, who in the late 1700's and early 1800's invented the science of stratigraphy: of mapping and ordering the geologic strata. It sounds simple, but while some layers are fairly different others are similar to the untutored eye and require careful examination of the fossils within them to properly date. Smith was the first to do this, and then to map the layers over all of Wales, England and Scotland. Most of us, as Sherlock Holmes put it, "...see, but do not observe."

Smiths vocation was his avocations, he loved geology and in his early jobs as a surveyor, canal builder, swamp drainer, coal mine superintendent he traveled extensively enough to start suspecting the gross outlines of the English (and indeed, worldwide) geological record. He then, on his own initiative, spent years, decades, minutely traveling to every remote corner of the land to verify and flesh out his geological map. There were setbacks and reverses, some of his own doing, others due to the machinations of others. At once point he even spent time in a debtors prison (of which an interesting expose' is given - they weren't what I thought they were.)

Recommended. Caution: Winchester is a bit long winded and repetitious and writes in a particularly British way that I enjoy but may not be to everyone's taste. I'll be on the lookout for more books by him.

Thursday 14 June  2007

Thursday - I had a flat tire on the way to work today. It's the first flat in the Probe since I bought the car in late 1990 or early 1991 - so the donut spare was flat. Fortunately my brother starts work later than I, so I called him and he came to my rescue (again!) on his way to work. We took the donut back to Rosamond when I put 75 cents and 60 PSI into it. It held, so then it was back to the Probe and a first attempt to get the flat tire off.

And it needed to come off, as the tire was well and truly off the rim. It turned out, just to make things interesting, that at some point my Ford locking nut was replaced by a non-locking nut, one of a different size than the rest. By pure luck the lug wrench from my brothers' S-10 Chevrolet fit it. Once the nuts were loosened it was time to jack the car up.

Which also became an issue. After seventeen years or so the threads on the screw jack were rusted up. I was able to raise the car an inch or two, then it became impossible to turn the jack handle. There was a quart of engine oil in the trunk of the Probe (actually, at this point, in a box on the ground behind the Probe, but anyway-) so I lowered the car down again, and poured oil on the threads of the jack, and ran it all the way up and down before attempting again.

It worked fine with clean threads, and shortly thereafter the donut spare was on the car and I was headed back to Lancaster. Covered in sweat (it was 102F today), dirt, bug bites and oil I took the old road at 55MPH. Rather than extend my lateness to work by trying to get the tire and rim fixed I just drove the Explorer back to work. After a cool shower at home...

Thanks again to brother Mike for his timely rescue.

Book #40 was Xena and the Magic Arrow of Myx, by Hunter Kennedy. ( What? I'm not allowed to do stupid childish short books? Hah. I do long boring adult books all the time - history, science, biography. If someone gives me a book, and I read it, it counts. ) Synopsis: the title is a bit deceptive - the magic arrow is after Xena's sidekick Gabrielle. It's sort of a bronze age "terminator arrow", it just won't stop coming until Gabrielle is dead. But Xena does figure out how to defeat it, eventually, so that she and Gabrielle can (literally) go on to save the world.

Recommended, right up there with Patrick O'Brian - but significantly shorter at 105 pages.

Wednesday 13 June 2007

Wednesday - not a lot to say.

Book #39 was The Wallet of Kai Lung, by Ernest Bramah. It was a light but fun read - Kai Lung is a storyteller in a China that never was, filled with unscrupulous Mandarins, dragons and fair maidens, a noxious Imperial buercracy and extravagantly convoluted manners.

Tuesday 12 June 2007

Tuesday - Strange Maps. [via Marginal Revolution] I am in the process of listening to The Map that Changed the World, but that map doesn't seem to be there, though a copy of it is here.

William Smiths map of England, Scotland & Wales

This was a team-building day for Drydens' personnel that participate in Project Orion, essentially a barbecue down at Oxnard s ocean beach. Which was cool, because not only did I get a paid day off, but I later had a chance to go check on the boat (nice dry bilges) and have dinner with good friends that live down there.

The downside to the whole day was coming home so very late.

 Monday 11 June 2007

Monday - back to work again.

I posted a comment in someone's blog the other day, disagreeing with their post. The blogger, who I won't name, then posted a several hundred word reply - and seems to have banned me from replying to that. Well, Okay. It's intellectually bankrupt, but it's not the first time it's happened. I used to get upset, now I mostly just chuckle. I've got a pretty thin skin myself, but then I don't have a (seemingly) open comment section.

Simberg, for example, finally had to ban someone over at Transterrestrial Musings, a real troll.

I liked his quote today, by the way, about the Republican base's message to President Bush:

" a fence, and then get back to us."

Heh. Trust is the issue, but after six years in office Bush is completely out of touch I guess. I imagine he'll try to push the farce of this "not-an-amnesty" through again. I'm not all that excited about the issue, but the old saw "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."  comes to mind.

If you want amnesty, say so. If you know that stopping the overflow of unemployed populace from Mexico, and the flow of American dollars back to Mexico will crash the government and cause a revolution there, say so. Or at least hint it. But stop lying.

Sunday 10 June 2007

Sunday - pretty tired from the hike, so I just sat around and watched some baseball. Let the cats out for a couple of hours. Watched the hummingbirds battle over the (nearly empty already) feeder. Went to lunch with friends. Napped.

Cute: a website with results after somebody attached a small digital camera to his cats collar. Mr Lee has a whole secret life away from his owners staff. [via Jane Galt]

Picture of the Week
flower and insects at Jackson Flat

Photo Notes: Flowers and insects at Jackson Flats.

Last Week- Sun- Mon- Tue- Wed- Thur- Fri- Sat- Next Week