WEEK 24 2008

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Saturday 14 June 2008
Saturday -  worked on the swamp cooler.

New belt - the old one was falling apart. I loosened the set screw on the small pulley attached to the motor, but the belt was too tight to allow me to pull it off the shaft. Turns out there are a couple of bolts that allow the motor to pivot down, and then you can slide the pulley and belt off easily enough. Home Depot had the exact same belt in stock. Wow. That almost never happens. I bought a new water pump, and a new valve and float - the old one, despite the inline filter, had caked up with junk and had what might be considered mechanical prostate issues.

I didn't buy new pads - a cursory look at them showed them clean and bright, thanks to the same inline filter. A less cursory look, after returning from the hardware store, told me that they needed replacing. Bah.

By this time it was roasting and time to knock off. A friend had called with word of a bigger fish tank and a much better filter, for $60 at a yard sale. The tank had the same footprint but was 6" taller, but they were selling them as a unit so I took the tank as well. I now own three tanks, only one of which has water (and fish) in it.

I bummed money off my brother for the tank, then paid him back and bought him lunch as well. We went over to a local user furniture shop and picked up a dresser for the spare room at his house, so I guess we're even, chore and favor -wise.

In the evening I went out to dinner with some friends, at the local Big Tuna. Yum.

Solar power thoughts.

Generally I run the swamp cooler at "low". It's a half horse motor, so that suggests it's running at about 1/4HP. So, 760watts/4 = 190Watts. Two 100W solar panels could supply that power, but generally I run the cooler late into the night, so you'd probably want two more panels dedicated to charging batteries to be used then.  Our 190W, divided by 12V gives a current of about 16 amps.  Yikes, that's a lot of current. Batteries are rated in Amp-Hours, so a typical 80A-Hr battery would last only about 80/16=5 hours. Not bad, actually, two batteries would do the trick. Then again, there are losses - we have to factor a battery charging circuit and, unless I replaced the AC motor with a DC motor, a DC-AC inverter and their losses into the equation.

Panels and batteries and equipment would probably cost in the thousands of dollars.

I suppose it'd be a lot more sensible to just insulate more.

Late in the evening I worked on some stuff for work, and restrained myself from calling the sheriff on the party down the block. Mexican music, getting louder and louder for hours- until it suddenly stopped. I imagine their immediate neighbor's had had enough and Johnny Law finally paid a visit.

Friday 13 June 2008

Friday - back in Lancaster. Time for a check up at the doctors, which went fine. Received a prophylactic shot against some of the stuff  I might run into, out in the field (hepatitis, mainly). I need to go back for a tetanus booster shot next week.

The doctor asked if I wanted a prostate check when I came in. "Sure" sez I, thinking of the PSA check mark on the blood test form we'd filled out. The "SNAP" of the rubber glove at the end of the exam really caught my attention - yikes. Oh well, it was blessedly quick.

The good news is: looks like I'll live. Prostate fine, blood pressure good, BMI & weight good.

Then I pretty much just crashed for the rest of the day. It's been a long couple of weeks. I wanted to go north for Father's Day, but just didn't have the energy to start up the car and go. Indeed, I mostly just slept the rest of the day. Well, I'll be up there in a couple of weeks, for the Independence Day holiday.

Discovered late in the day (bedtime) that the cell phone was dead. It's power life is rather unpredictable - it'll last days sometimes, but if it activates, and that activation goes unnoticed, then life is measured in hours. Today I think the calendar function ran the battery down, though I dismissed the alert after visiting the doc. I think. And I had forgotten to charge it on Thursday night. Well, no harm done, it seems to have saved my contacts and such...

Finished recently:

Book #23 was Evil For Evil, by K.J. Parker. It's the second in the Engineer Trilogy. Pretty good. Set in an alternate universe of late-renaissance technology the protagonist, an engineer, plots and schemes to be allowed to return to the home city that has sentenced him to death,and that he's escaped from. The chain of events is a bit thin, as is the characterization: all the characters (we see through multiple viewpoints) have pretty much the same interior personality. But it's a good read, if somewhat dark and depressing.

Book #24 was The Escapement, by K.J. Parker. It's the third in the Engineer Trilogy series, and well written as well. As before, rather dark. The concept of "I had no choice, I did it for love, so it's OK" receives quite a bashing in these books. The characters come off as a bit psychopathic, and you have to wonder a bit about the author. Though he does include lathe work, foundry work, forging and medieval siege practice into the book, and thus can be excused much...

It has taken me weeks to read the two books above. Generally I have just an hour or two a night to read, so it doesn't go too fast.  I haven't read the first book, Devices and Desires, haven't found it anywhere. I did order it from the LA County Library, and it may or may not turn up. I recently checked my orders list, and canceled a book I'd asked for - and not received - well over a year ago. Oh well.

This year:

#1 The Family Trade
#2  The Hidden Family
#3 Around the World Single Handed: The Cruise of the "Islander"
#4 The Last Colony
#5 The Sea For Breakfast
#7 The Outback Stars
#8 Spindrift
#9 The Clan Corporate
#10 Fleet of Worlds
#11 The Sons of Heaven
#12 A Day on Mars
#13 Alexander Hamilton*
#14  Spindrift*
#15 The Third Lynx
#16 is Lando*
#17 Lord of the Silent Kingdom
#18 GPS for Surveyors and GIS
#19 Over on the Dry Side
#20 Cruel Zinc Melodies
#21 Crystal Rain
#23 Evil For Evil
#24 The Escapement

No Book #6. Hmmm. I suppose I could count half of The Runes of Earth, half of Pastoral, and half of Krakatoa as a whole book, but I'll just try to finish Runes and list it as #6. I think I started it about then.

And it was, by the way, miserably hot and windy in Lancaster. The absent neighbor's dog barked for hours, late into the night.

Thursday 12 June 2008

Thursday - they are having Graduation down the street, at the high school. Lots of amplified speech, and the roar of a crowd, and those stupid horns you usually just see hear a sporting events. I thought it was last week's event, but the mass of cars parked in just about every possible spot makes last week's crowd look like nothing. Maybe it was senior prom or something then.

I'm heading home tonight, I've some business to attend to in Lancaster, and am looking forward to a few days rest. I did grab some varnish and the counter doors from the boat and will try to get some work done on those this weekend.

Then again, the weather report from Lancaster on Wednesday was not favorable for painting: 85F, 50mph winds, 8% humidity. Ugh.

I really really need to get the swamp cooler going - my electric bill for the house this month is going to be huge, and I'm not even home :-(

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Wednesday - went out to dinner with a friend from work, who is leaving Ventura. It's a shame - he's turning into a Linux freak as well and I'll miss the interaction. Hopefully we'll stay in touch.

Not a lot else to say, work, eat and sleep seems to be the gist of my days lately. Work is going pretty well, no complaints there.

Tuesday 10 June 2008

Tuesday - nice weather, working in a nicer area today.

Then, I get home. There is a guy next door sanding. And hammering. The drummer one the street behind us is practicing. And someone is apparently practicing shot puts against the fence. I'm tired, my back is sore - and there is zero chance of being able to take a 45 minute nap. Sheesh.

After an hour or so they all quieted down, but it's annoying.

Seen in the channel:

Three ducklings, not two.

 Monday 9 June 2008

Monday - back at work. Things seen in the channel lately - hypodermics, crack pipes, porn DVD's, chicken bones, stolen purses. Not a nice area.

Here is a picture of the inflatable, on top of the MV. The colors are weird, for some reason, so I changed it to b&w, but then it was the camera phone...

avon inflatable
9 ft. Avon inflatable, cross ways on the foredeck

Here is another camera phone shot - when driving by and I first saw this I thought: 'Weird, someone has a pony at the park. Must be a birthday party..."

big dog at park
Dog at park. At least 4' high at the shoulder.

Sunday_8 June 2008

Sunday - more work on the boat. Took off the cabinet doors, sanded, took off some of the fittings and attachments on the engine room bulkhead, sanded that (had to go buy a cheap palm sander). Taped off what I was going to paint, then paused to reflect. It was already mid afternoon, and that was a lot of area. So I just painted the access door.

Good thing, because it didn't come out well. It was too warm, 80F, and the paint didn't 'level'. Also there was a lot of dust present. I'd read about this, but after looking for dust flecks in the sunlight, discounted it. Bad choice - there clearly is a lot of dust about despite my cleaning and wiping down things. There was a bit of a breeze, perhaps 5mph, that didn't help. In any case, numerous specks of dust were caught in the paint. Bah.

It's not much of a setback - the door was plywood and not finishing grade material to start with, so the current coat will act as an undercoat. Indeed, the grain showed through the old paint to from the start. I read that a foam roller might give a better finish - slightly matted, and I can tape and mask off the rest of the cabin and redo the painting on some nice cool morning.

I'd hoped to achieve more this Sunday, but things are what they are.

Picture of the Week
Strawberry Peak hillside, mid afternoon
Photo NotesStrawberry Peak hillside, mid afternoon.

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