sailing the NorSea


WEEK 28 2012

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Saturday 15 July 2012
Saturday - Internet still out. About noon I got an automated call from Time-Warner that a tech would be out between 3-5pm, on Monday. Monday. Five days of no service, it's nice to have a monopoly. Less stress that way - for everyone but the customer. I'll have to make sure they credit my bill for that. Losers.

I've read a few more books, but without an internet link I'm not going to bother listing them just yet. I'll use PdaNet to upload this stuff, but it's too slow and clunky to do much with.

Dinner with friends in town. I made a salad, and brought a bunch of tomatoes from the garden. Fresh sweet home grown veggies. The children there were dubious - tomato's should, in their experience, come from a bin at the store!

friday cat photo
Like most cats, Xeno is a lover of the morning sun puddle.

Friday 14 July 2012
Friday - The internet is still out. I called and complained, and they are going to send a technician out to fix it.

Doing bills, running errands, generally trying to catch up on about two weeks worth of chores...

Thursday 13 July 2012

Thursday - I got in very late, a little before 12pm last night, and, honestly, didn't do much. Did some shopping, because the food was mostly gone.

Riley was very, very, very happy to see me. T had said that he was acting strange, clingy, and mostly stopped eating. He doesn't like it when I disappear for two weeks at a time...

The cable internet went out about noon. It's roasting hot, so I'm not surprised.

Wednesday 12 July 2012

Wednesday  - OTR.

Well, we got the wall mostly done, there are about another 7-8 blocks to place on the top course, and the pipes to move, but the heavy lifting is done. It helped that the weather ameliorated a little, not quite as hot and humid.


I headed south just a little before 4pm. This meant I hit the commute traffic in Livermore heading for the suburbs in the valley. It was 109F on the I-580, and it took the better part of an hour to get from the I-680 interchange to the top of the Altamont pass, usually a half hour or less proposition. Ah well.

Then, traveling down the I-5 I began to see signs that they were closing the entire southbound freeway for the night, starting at 6pm, at the Stockdale Hwy, which is the CA-58. No word on whether there was a detour, no word on whether the 58 itself would be open. So I took the CA-198 to the CA-43, and the CA-43 south to Bakersfield and then to the 99.

Where Caltrans had shut down three of the four southbound lanes.

Got that? All the diverted traffic from the I-5, plus all the usual traffic that takes four lanes - funneled through a single lane. You can't even get mad at this sort of idiocy. Let's just say that it isn't our father's Caltrans, and leave it at that.

On the amusing side, I saw this sign just about a mile outside of Corcoran, on the 43, and had to take a picture. Corcoran is the southbound terminus of California's High Speed Rail to Nowhere, and it leaves the impression that perhaps the local farmers aren't entirely behind the project:

"Hey Mr. Farmer. We're going to raise your taxes to build a train that will bypass
your town. Also we're going to use eminent domain to seize your land to build
it. How do you feel about that?"

Tuesday 11 July 2012

Tuesday - OTR. We finished most of the wall. There were a couple of gotcha's, we had to finish bringing the sprinkler conduit and discovered that the old line was deteriorated. We replaced the deteriorated part, but that meant that we had to continuity check the line, because the wire colors did not match at either end of the old conduit and it was apparently stapled inside the house wall and therefore we couldn't fish an entire new line through. So, we did that, and soldered and taped a new line to the old. Those colors don't match either, but there isn't much you can do sometimes. We also had to pick up some more pea gravel and base for the French drain, and another 10 blocks.

One interesting thing was splitting blocks. I'd never done it, and was considering renting a block cutter, which is expensive. But a little bit of research on YouTube showed people breaking this stuff with a small sledge and mason's chisel. And since it was $8 for a chisel it seemed worth an attempt. And it works fine! You just draw a line with a Sharpy pen on the block, the proceed to follow the line around the block with a chisel, rapping smartly. In two or three revolutions the block splits, cleanly, right along the line. Amazing.

Monday 10 July 2012

Monday - OTR. We finished the trench, routed the conduit for the sprinkler valves, and placed the base and sand. We then laid the base course. This is always a pain because you have to carefully level everything - a lot of work with 55# blocks, and more so when you are making a radius in fairly tight quarters with defined endpoints. However we had that done by mid afternoon, when it hit 95F, and called it a day.

Sunday 9 July 2012

Sunday - OTR, in Martinez.

We got started a bit late, but did a lot of the digging and trenching. The wall is about 2' high, so we are digging deep enough for a layer of base and sand and a buried course of blocks. We also had to dig out some conduit and pipe that will have to be moved and repaired.

In the evening we had pizza, and watched a couple of interesting shows. One was older, a documentary on finding the wreck of the HMS Hood. They didn't really have much trouble - the nearby  HMS Prince of Wales had decent navigators and recorded the location. They argue that there was a shell strike to the aft magazine, which everyone agrees upon, but that a flash fire through the hull when it exploded also set off a forward magazine. Perhaps, though they didn't really show any persuasive evidence. And their habit of overstatement and just plain wrongness rankles - for instance: Hood was a battle cruiser, not a battleship, and this wasn't the worst naval loss of all time, etc., etc. It's an amazing and tragic story, fascinating in and of itself, and they really didn't need to gild the lily.

Picture of the Week
greek festival 2012
Photo Notes: Dancers at the 2012 Greek Festival at the Camarillo airport.

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