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WEEK 2 2006

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Saturday 14 January 2006

Saturday - I saw Narnia, finally. It wasn't as bad as I feared - not a great movie, but it had a few good scenes.

My friend Tim wrote to say that I shouldn't delete stuff, as it'll dry up the precious bodily fluids creative juices, or something.

Book #4 is I've Been Around, by Tania Aebi. I read her book Maiden Voyage last year. I didn't like it much, but I enjoyed this one more. It's written from a more mature viewpoint, and despite being essentially a collection of columns from Latitudes and Attitudes Magazine, is a good read.

Which reminds me: I still haven't finished Home is the Sailor, because I left my copy in my friend Dave's truck after hiking the Grand Canyon last year. I'll get it back, someday. Though, actually, he still has a copy of a yacht design book he borrowed from me in the mid 1980's. Every once in a while he offers to return it, if I'll return that Stephen King I borrowed a just a little while ago. Heh.

Heh. Giovanni Guareschi wrote the The Little World of Don Camillo (and others!), so it was not Paul Gallico. It's the Catholic Priest Don Camillo versus the Communist Mayor Peppone, in 1950's Italy (not 1960's Eastern Europe, technically). And the books get five star reviews - no wonder I remember enjoying them. But have they gone stale, as I found the Narnia books now? I'll see if the local library has some of them.

Just a simple google search - the internet is a wonderful thing. There is even a (dubbed from the French) movie version on VHS and a set of (useless to American's) Region-2 DVD's.

Nothing on  the apes of Gibraltar though. I think it was supposed to take place during World War II.

Friday 13 January 2006

Friday - a beautiful sunset on the way home. As I left work the sun was just setting, and there were just a few hand sized patches of cloud in the west. I took a quick pass through the used car lot on base and by the time I was back on Rosamond Boulevard the western sky was covered with red and gold clouds, stripes of them, like waves on the sea. Atmospheric gravity waves? In between were bands of color, crystal blue higher in the sky and turquoise lower.

The down side: rain possible, clouds almost assured for tomorrow. Today was a warm day - my lunch break walk was literally in shirtsleeves, hat, and sunglasses. It would be nice if this clarity were to persist. The Stardust probe is returning to Earth, passing over Northern California early Sunday morning. If the weather was clear I'd probably head out to Death Valley and try to catch a glimpse of it passing over the northern horizon.

Um. Re-reading the above paragraph - those were not the only articles of clothing I was wearing.

Talking to a couple of other personnel today I mentioned the previous sample return mission, that had crashed. I pointed out that it proved that parachutes and such weren't necessary. With just a little work one could design instrument packages that could withstand a measly 60 m/sec impact into something soft (mud) without them, for a big savings in design and cost. They just laughed at me.

Reading M&C caused me to recall my reading a story, years ago (high school?) about the apes on Gibraltar (there is a very brief scene where Jack encounters them in M&C).. There was a legend that if they should ever disappear from the island that the British would lose 'The Rock'; and somehow the protagonist became ensnared in ensuring that they didn't. I could swear that it was a Paul Gallico story, but I don't see anything of the sort on Amazon.

I also recall a series of stories, about the entertaining battle of wits between a catholic village priest and a communist village mayor, taking place in (probably) the 1960's rural eastern europe. No sign of those stories either, at least under a search for Paul Gallico. Perhaps my father remembers.

Thursday 12 January  2006

Thursday - I mentioned that I'd forgotten a lot of Master and Commander. What I meant to say was:  I knew that Dillon died, but thought it was in a duel with Maturin. I'd remembered the fight with the Cacafuega, but forgotten the loss of the Sophie. Or the battle between the British fleet and the combined Spanish/French force, out of Gilbraltar. And I'd forgotten Jack's own court martial (and what of the court martial of the briefly mentioned Chaplain, reputed to have behaved so badly. O'Brian mixed the real and imaginary - was there really a cowardly Chaplain in that action, that he ran across in his research?). So, a very enjoyable read.

I've Washington's Crossing on CD, but haven't managed to get it on the Zen yet. And what an odd sentence that is - it would make no sense at all to someone from 1776, 1876 or even 1976. Yet I can blithely assume my own readers easily understand it.

Well, as long as I'm blithely assuming readers in the first place...

Wednesday 11 January 2006

Wednesday - ever have a day where you seem one step behind, just a little out of kilter. Nothing too terrible, just off? Yeah, me too. Fortunately it wore off by the afternoon. I think.

Hmmm. I had a big paragraph here, complaining about this and that - but forgot to post last night. And looking at it this Thursday morning, I don't like the tone of the "whine". So, deleted.

And to recap, for 2006's Fifty Book Challenge:

Book #1 was Caleb Carr's book, The Italian Secretary.

Book #2 was "Gravity Dreams" by L.E. Modesitt.

Book #3 was Master and Commander, by Patrick O'Brian. An excellent book. I read it when it came out, more than ten years ago, and had forgotten a lot of it.

Tuesday 10 January 2006

Tuesday - I was going to work late, but the network dropped out at work. Not a big deal - except that it somehow hung the WinXP workstation as well. So I just did a 9 hour day.

The Zen Micro wouldn't play on the way home - low battery. So, about 14, maybe 14.5 hours of play, not too shabby.

Book #2 was "Gravity Dreams" by L.E. Modesitt. I actually bought this book used in October of last year, but left it in the back of my father's car. It was an OK read, but not spectacular. Modesitt has found a sci-fi niche and has now filled it to overflowing.

I saw an V-22 Osprey today,  flying by, then converting to hover, and finally landing. Then sitting there for a while, engines running. Probable a darn "comm check" or "telemetry check" if it's anything like a NASA flight test. It's pretty cool to see.

 Monday 9 January 2006

Monday - not a lot to say. Worked late, had to go to the store after that. But I did get my brother's birthday present!

Also a book, from Amazon, that I'd forgotten I'd ordered. Which is kind of neat.

The Zen Micro continues to crank out the books on tape. We are now at 14 hours - 13.5 technically, but I replayed a couple of bits, and though the indicator now says "zero charge" it is still running.

Update: I see the accursed DSL has stopped working, again. The static is back on the phone lines, and now the dropouts on the DSL side. I suppose I should call Verizon and have them check my lines, inside and out.  I can post this tomorrow.

In theory, if I had a bluetooth adapter on the PC, I could use the PDA as a modem, and upload that way. It'd be slow, but these pages, except for the pics, are fairly small. I think that they charge for that, separate from the Pocket PC web browsing, which is unlimited.

Sunday 8 January 2006

Sunday - not a lot to say. I had intended to go see Narnia, but never made it. I did do some vacuuming, and picked up a bit about the house. My friend C came by and collected her dog - she was down in LA at a wedding with her husband, so I dogsat Daisy. Daisy is a sweet, dog. She was very happy to see C return.

My cats were just as happy to see Daisy go. They had slunk around the house all weekend, tails held low, looking suspiciously over their shoulder, jumping at any sound. The dog was in the back yard and the garage, not the house, but they were spooked anyway. It's a tough life, I guess, being a neurotic cat.

In the evening I went over to my brother's for dinner. We admired the chopsaw he got for Christmas. He'll probably make a work bench for a first project...

IT Agony Bingo. So true, it's so true...

Picture of the Week

Phoebe sitting on the Beowulf rack

Photo Notes: To start the year off right, here is a shot of Phoebe to match last week's pic of Riley. Phoebe is enjoying the morning sun on top of the metal shelving that holds various leftover bits of my beowulf cluster.

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