Travels and Images
WEEK 25 2004
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Picture of the Week
Saturday 19 June
Saturday - drove up to my Dad's. Traffic wasn't too bad - about normal for a weekend I guess.
We watched 'Pearl Harbor' in the evening, on VHS. Not as bad as I'd heard - a lot of technical inaccuracy's including angled flight decks on carriers and modern (Spruance?) class destroyers being strafed by Zero's, but fun. Kate Beckinsdale is easy on the eyes...
How does the U.S. Navy view Halsey? There was an entire class of ships named after Admiral Fletcher, and another class named after Spruance. The modern nuclear carrier class is the "Nimitz" class. As far as I can tell Halsey has had a single destroyer (now scrapped) named after him. The verdict of history is in, it seems.
It's nice up here, nearly perfect weather. It is turning warm down in Lancaster, but that's OK, as long as there is sun. I think I'm one of those people who needs lots of light - I feel much more productive at work after a day or two at the beach or on the water.
I need to get down to the boat while I'm up here - a surveyor is needed to look at it, so I need to check that the battery and running lights work, that the motor works, and so on. It's been neglected for a while because of the various things going on in my life, and in my brother's.
Friday 18 June 2004
Friday - My review yesterday of Zenon:Z3 brings to mind a couple of other movies and their reviews.
Angie Schultz at The Machinery of Night has a review of "Python vs. Boa". Money quote:
If there were a
Eurovision Dance Contest, this would be the Bulgarian entry. The
arrival of the python is a positive relief, especially after it eats
Mark Steyn has reviewed The Day After Tomorrow for us, she points out:
not sure I’d want the fate of the world to hinge on Dennis Quaid. He
doesn’t seem to notice, even as he’s standing outside the UN
conference, that it’s snowing in Delhi. Meanwhile, hailstones the size
of George Monbiot are falling in Tokyo. And the famous Capitol Records
building in Los Angeles gets dashed to pieces like an old 78.
Eventually, the penny drops, mainly because everything else has. “Are
you suggesting,” a less observant climatologist says skeptically to
Prof Quaid, “that all these things could be related?”
Well, it’s a
theory. And, to confirm it, Professor Quaid says he needs to get to the
computer and find a working model. I assumed the working model would be
the love interest. But no, that’s his son’s school chum, played by
sweet Emmy Rossum, with whom he’s shivering on the underwater mezzanine
of the New York Public Library. “W-what are you doing?” chatters young
Master Gyllenhaal, as Miss Rossum’s pert torso wraps itself around him.
“I’m using my body heat to warm you,” she explains, in the least
scientifically dubious moment in the movie.
( emphasis mine. Heh. I'll probably go see it anyway. My sister said she liked it. I think that's what she said...)
- fans of 'Flight of the Phoenix' might be interested ( or terrified and repulsed ) to know that there is apparently a remake in the works, starring Dennis Quaid. Hmmm.
Thursday 17 June 2004
On the road this weekend, so, less free ice cream for a few days..
Wednesday 16 June 2004
Wednesday - caught a little bit of Zenon:Z3
on the Disney Channel recently. Hmmm. A "socialist" subplot running
through it, where actual development and use of the moon is considered
evil, bad science where the earth is "setting", and a pagan moon spirit
"Serene" who is willing to injure and kill hundreds if not thousands of
people if "her" moon is bothered. Sheesh. I only saw the last fifteen
minutes, but it was more than enough.
Changed the oil in the Explorer today, got the muffler fixed in the
Probe (before visiting the smog nazis). Joe's Muffler's, in Lancaster,
was a friendly, prompt, and (reasonably) inexpensive place to get the
muffler work done. I'd recommend it.
Work is progressing - we are finally getting a handle on which
parameters to tweak to get an accurate aeroelastic solution in a
reasonable ( less than a week on a dedicated P4 box ) amount of time. I
am coming up to speed on Gnuplot, which enables me to visualize and compare results quickly, so that helps.
Tuesday 15 June 2004
Tuesday - self employed quarterly
taxes are done and sent in. Ulp. Man, it's enough to choke you when you
have to pay all at once instead of small bimonthly bites. (OK, four
times a year, it's still a shock.)
Called around trying to get boat insurance for the sail boat. Boat/US
is going to call back. I want to get out on the water again...
I was reading Transterrestrial Musings
the other day and RS had a bit on a proposal for the State of
California requiring photovoltaic systems on the roof. Generally these
are expensive - I've a friend with such a system and it's caused her a
lot of grief - though most of that was due to the storage batteries.
Still, given the number of houses being built, and the number of power
plants not being built, and the fact that building codes have pushed
the "R" ratings of houses so high, maybe it's a good idea.
Oriented due south, and at an angle equal to the latitude of the site
the panels will collect the maximum energy. The state has forced the
utilities to buy back this energy at retail prices. It seems to me that
the more efficient use of these panels, from the utilities point of
view, would be to use them to counteract the peak power usage's in late
afternoon here in California. To do this the panels would have to be
oriented towards the southwest and at a steeper angle. The year-round
power produced would be less, but it would be produced at a time when
the utilities need it the most. The utilities (or state) could raise
the price paid for this power to the homeowner, to counteract his
I actually posted this somewhere in blog comments - several blogs have
written about this - but have forgotten exactly where. Oh well.
It's of interest because my own power usage has been going up - I am
considering a small system ( but without batteries! ). A one kilowatt
system would do the trick for me I think. Used PV panels average about
$2/Watt, and then you need various inverters and power conditioning
equipment and a switched subpanel; and have to pay an electrician to
look it over before hooking to the grid. Probably a five grand outlay -
though there are various grants and subsidies out there to offset this
cost. So, maybe $2500 out-of-pocket.
'Course, I could spend that on the boat or a kayak....
Monday 14 June 2004
Monday - the last minutes of the USS John Young DD-973. ( via Anticipatory Retaliation
). It's a bit sobering that ships launched after my high school
graduation are now considered obsolete and ready for scrapping/sinking.
Diving. I never really considered it, having read far to many tales of
heroic and dangerous salvage diving by Ellsberg
as a youngster, but the idea is starting to
grow on me for some reason. Hmmm. Modern SCUBA in (ideally) tropical
waters is a far cry from the hard hat diving in cold Atlantic seas.
Sunday 13 June 2004
Sunday - Still recovering from kayaking. It was a good workout.
One of the neat things we saw were the dolphins in the Santa Barbara
Channel, while on the ferry out. The skipper detoured to take us near a
'scouting pod' which seemed to have twenty or thirty members. They were
happy to see us, charging directly at the ferry and surfing the bow and
stern wakes. These are the 'common' dolphin, the most common kind, and
it was fascinating to see them swimming alongside. For every dolphin
you see there are another nine underwater - they only spend 10% of their time on the surface.
On the way back to Ventura harbor we saw even more. From a distance
it looked like a patch of white water, but coming closer we could see hundreds
of dolphins, jumping and swimming about. The main 'pod', simply
amazing. I need to get a waterproof housing for my camera, so that I
can get some decent pictures of this stuff.
is the moon Phoebe
, circling the planet Saturn
, photographed a day or two ago. Truly we live in an age of wonders! Stolen from APOD
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