WEEK 25 2008

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Oxnard Weather Underground
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Saturday 21 June 2008
Saturday - keeping pretty busy, despite the heat. It's not the predicted 111F, thankfully, but it's three digits - hot enough. In the afternoon we had some 'vertical development', i.e. clouds, and that cooled down it a fraction.

Taking my idea of keeping tabs on the temperature inside the house to heart, I tried hooking up a webcam to the Linux computer. It was a Creative Labs Webcam Pro NX usb unit - and it works fine. I plugged it in, downloaded Camorama to take pictures and to view the video and it is good to go. You do need to set up a directory for it to save pictures in, under preferences, otherwise you get an error message. I haven't actually set it up to upload yet, as I don't actually have a thermometer for inside the house for it to view, but it works fine so far.

Why not Windows you say? No particular reason, I was just curious about whether it would work.

The down side of the webcam idea is that it means I have to leave a PC running, 24/7, to use it.

I am, supposedly, getting ready for next weeks work, then vacation. So I spent some time cleaning and picking things up about the house and yard. I was going to do more preparation in the evening.

Instead I hung out with some friends. They were visiting here in Lancaster with their children and stopped by, so we went over to the park and watched the little boy familiarize himself with the slides there. Tentative at first on even the little slide - 3 feet high - by the end of the evening he was going head first down the 'big slide' which is an enclosed tube a good eight or ten feet high. We had to bodily pick him up and carry him away from the playground when it was time to go...

Friday 20 June 2008

Friday - man, 88F when I rolled into Lancaster about 10:30 last night. The cat's were happy to see me and the swamp cooler seemed to have the temperature under control. I'm not sure how hot it gets inside, in late afternoon - I need some sort of recording thermometer. Maybe even one of those fancy one's like my father has. I'd like to be able to check temperature remotely, as well. Judging by Fridays performance, on a 105F exterior temperature day the swamp cooler will keep it about 83F inside, if it's on full blast. Normally I leave it on half power, so maybe 85F?

Saw the doc, I'll live. In fact I'm ridiculously healthy. Blood pressure and resting heart rate excellent, blood panels clear. I got a Tetanus shot, to help keep me that way (and it hurt). I get a Hepatitis vaccine booster shot in a couple of weeks, then I'm done with the doc for a while.

Edged and weed whacked the lawn out front. It was beastly hot and I was dripping wet by the time it was done. The change in watering time seems to have helped with some of the dry spots out front, and I fixed a sprinkler head that had come off. I need to trim back the roses, feed them, and also plant some flowers in the little flower bed out front, and, annoyingly, weed the front flower garden again.

I need to put mesh over the peach tree - the birds have been at the fruit. They've already polished off the mulberries from that volunteer tree that I didn't cut down this spring. I see that I have a bunch of apples as well, yay!

The paint on the patio cover is looking a bit faded, I need to redo that. Also to do a bit of yard trimming out back as well, I do neglect it shamefully.

Had lunch with the cat sitter, and a friend, took care of a few other chores. Tried to make sure that I was on board with all the times and places and people relating to my vacation, that starts after work next Wednesday.

Mt Wilson from Strawbery Peak
Mt. Wilson from Strawberry Peak

Thursday 19 June 2008

Thursday - a hot day, all day. In the 80's, probably about 90F down where I was working. But up in the AV it's really hot, 100F and above. They are predicting 111F in the next couple of days.

I'd stay down in Ventura, but I've a doctor appointment and chores up north. Also I want to change out those cooler pads. I'll be gone a lot over the week of the Fourth, so I want that cooler to  be in tip top shape.

Wednesday 18 June 2008

Wednesday - I mentioned not having read volume #1 in the Engineer Trilogy, Devices and Desires. Then I recalled that I had an (unused) Ventura County Library card. After checking online it turned out that the Ray D. Prueter Library in Port Hueneme had a copy on the shelves, and that I had to drive by that library to get to the work site. So a quick stop on the way home and now I have some nice beach reading for the vacation week coming up.

I have a limited card - only two books at a time can be checked out on it, so I also checked out Book #25, Medieval Bridges, by Martin Cook. Yes, I read it already, in a day, since it was only 56 pages (with pictures!). Enjoyable. There were little maps of all the known bridges of Roman Britain, and of those of the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries respectively. You can see the growth and concentration of them over time at what would later become the great centers and ports - London, particularly.

The terminology: cutwaters, starlings, voussiors and corbels is wonderful.

I also picked up as used books The Cruising Life, $1.50; Sailing Small, $2.00, Knockdown, $1.00; and 100 Desert Flowers in Natural Colors, $0.50..

Zac Sunderland has set off on his round-the-world cruise. Sounds like he is settling in. Good luck to him.

Tuesday 17 June 2008

Tuesday - a nice day, down near the beach.

Lot's of seabirds in the wetlands area, ducks, seagulls, pelicans, and - I don't really know their names for sure - egrets and/or cormorants. At least two different kinds of the latter.

bird in water, port hueneme

It was brisk out on the ocean - whitecaps everywhere. At lunch we had free parking on the beach, in Port Hueneme on a county access road, where we watched busloads of kids arrive and race down to the waves, south of the pier. Some adults brought those large beach umbrella's - hah. We saw at least one of those turned inside out by the onshore wind.

I took the 9,000th video/picture today - bought the chainman a milkshake in celebration. At 10,000 the counter rolls over and we start from 0001 again, I think.

Megan McArdle writes on the opportunity cost of gardening to make food. This ties into my back of the envelope analysis of solar power to run my swamp cooler, last week. Unless you really need/want to, (it's fun to tinker) it doesn't really pay. Entertaining quote about that:

"And lots of people, through some sort of tragic congenital failure, actually enjoy gardening."

There is an aside on tomato's as well. My friend, who usually buys me some tomato seedlings, didn't, this year. She claimed it was because I was absent and too busy to take care of them, but admitted to being slightly irritated that my neglected plants did better than her cosseted...

Maybe I should go out and get some seedlings?

 Monday 16 June 2008

Monday - back to work. A beautiful day, down near the ocean, 70F and just a light breeze. Unfortunately there were three of us working today - me, my chain man, and somebody named Murphy...

This is another for the 'found CD' theme, though technically it is a DVD:

desperate housewifes DVD
I think there is a teevee show by that name.

Sunday_15 June 2008

Sunday - Did my quarterly taxes, changed kitty litter & water feeders & food feeders. Cleaned out a desk drawer that had become nearly impossible to open, and just as hard to close. Watered the dry spots on the lawn, set the sprinkler to 'daily' for the front lawns, 10 minutes at 5 am. Generally took care of various chores and tasks.

I tried to get my fathers Panasonic BL-131a wireless web cam working, without any luck. I can get it to run in wired (ethernet) mode, even access it over the Internet, but I am getting zero connectivity via that 802.11b/g connection. Zero signal strength. I called my Dad and gave him the bad news - I'd hoped to set it up as a present for father's day, but it wasn't to be. If he can find the receipt then it has a one year parts and labor warranty and we can get it repaired or exchanged. At least it works through the firewall and with the DNS redirector that Panasonic thoughtfully supplies, gratis. Though I do need to write down the passwords for that account :-(

One negative thing about the web cam (besides not working) is that it needs ac power. Or at least ac power for its transformer, which in turn supplies 9V to the unit. I wonder if we could put a bunch of 9V rechargeable in parallel and run the unit off them. It'd probably run for only a limited time, given the power draw from camera and the wifi adapter, but it might be fun.

Picture of the Week
lizard on strawberry peak
Photo Notes: Lizard on Strawberry Peak, mid afternoon.

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