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WEEK 31 2006

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Saturday 5 August 2006

Saturday - I went out early to mow the lawn, and the grass was wet. That' was a puzzler - the sprinklers weren't due to come on for another couple of hours. After a bit of thought in which I considered that perhaps the wind had blown the neighbor's sprinkler emissions onto my lawn I realized that it was dew. In Lancaster. In August.


So I went to the grocery store instead, bought a couple of steaks and beer, and various other assorted other items that caught my fancy.

I thought I needed to change the oil in the Probe, but realized that I'd confused a 6 with an 8 on the little mileage sticker. Like most places Quik Oil has not yet begun making allowances for the aging eyes of baby boomers. I expect that the style will soon change to larger buttons on car radios, larger displays on cell phones, and eventually even somewhat larger print on those 2 inch square stickers.

These days I find I am squinting to read the TIVO display on my 27" teevee,  from only ten feet away. My eyes were checked earlier this year and my prescription hasn't changed, but even corrected my visual acuity is significantly less than 20/20. And low light just makes things worse.

This is cool. Using X-rays to decipher more of the Archimedes palimpsest [via Curmudgeon's Corner]. I saw an episode of Nova or some other science program, a while back, where they talked about using UV and IR to decipher it, but this stuff is advanced even past that, on ongoing this week.

Update: I did need the oil changed. I pulled the sticker off and held it closer to the optical input assembly. Got that done.

Friday 4 August 2006

Friday - I had a bright idea today - it does happen occasionally - and figured out a way to speed up the loads analysis significantly, while reducing computer time and space needed. I'd already pestered the Sun system admin into adding a hard disk to one box next week, but really needed two machines upgraded, and the second wouldn't be ready for nearly a month. That's too long - they want to cut metal soon and can't release the drawings to the machinists before they've been analyzed for strength so I am in danger of turning into the long pole in the tent. It's better to be a short pole, hence the search for quicker solutions.

Next week there are preflight safety and engineering briefings for another project, and a third (big) project that I am dynamics lead on is heating up. Plus there is a paper to be written by April next, and passed through the NASA review process. Yikes! Gotta get the desk cleared of this old stuff.

I'd go in and work on my idea tomorrow, but the center is without power this weekend, so next week it is. And my brother Bob is coming down from the bay area to visit so I'll be busy anyway.

The boat is coming along. They want to put it in the water next week, which suggests they will want to be paid about that time. Heh. But I'm looking forward to actually sailing the boat. I'm also dealing with the boat insurance (again) and the boat title people, but that seems like it's progressing.

Book #33 is Dave Duncan's A Rose Red City. Not too bad.  Duncan's a decent writer, and things are generally well plotted and move right along. It is fantasy of the 'City in the Center of Time' genre, wherein our hero ventures out from the safety of the city into the surrounding demon filled shadowlands. I stole borrowed it from my brother while pet sitting the other day.

Thursday 3 August  2006

Thursday - dog sat "Duke" for a couple of hours on the way home. Mostly I sit outside and read, and occasionally throw pine cones for him to retrieve and chew on. Sometimes I chase him, and try to take the pine cone - he likes that, and I never get the pine cone. I gave the cats some moist food, the turtle a couple of shrimp, the fish some flakes - then I got to go home and feed myself.

Busy day at work. Lot's of meetings and telecon's.

Book #32 was Nathaniel Philbricks' Sea of Glory. Very enjoyable, but occasionally disturbing. It is the story primarily of Charles Wilkes, the person in charge (Lieutenant, Captain or Commodore?) of a six ship around the world exploring edition. Was he Captain Cook, Captain Queeg or Captain Bligh? A combination of all of the above, really, though I wonder how much those stories and personalities informed Philbricks' reading and research of Wilkes. An amazing voyage and effort nonetheless, ruined by pettiness and vanity, and almost lost to history. Yet the lawsuits, the vanity, the overweening pride - these are familiar from the other histories I've read of the early 1800's, military and otherwise. Duels and lawsuits were common in the US Navy for example. But Antarctica, the Coral Sea, the Columbia River and parts of Oregon, all superbly charted by tiny (sixty foot) sailing ships. What a voyage!

Wednesday 2 August 2006

Wednesday - an afternoon in the control room, monitoring a loads test. My effort consisted of pushing an "event marker" button when told.

My other effort consisted of trying to track people down for the abstract we are trying to deliver to the AIAA. I failed. And will try again tomorrow. You should see the number of flagged signature locations - they are all color coded and it looks like a bouquet of flowers.

My minor effort consisted of trying to get NASTRAN to run in the tiny disk space. No luck. In fact things have gotten worse - I now get "permission denied" errors. WTH?

Went by my brothers' house and dog sat for an hour or so while he's on vacation.

Tuesday 1 August 2006

Tuesday - a long day. In the control room from about 6:30 to 1:30, then a debrief for another hour. Things went reasonably well for a first test, just some of the expected instrumentation and calibration issues.

But I'm tired - I think I've picked up a minor bug somewhere. Not enuff to keep me home though.

 Monday 31 July 2006

Monday - crew brief in the afternoon, for tomorrow's flight. I offered to help the static's load guy, as we were overmanned on the dynamics side anyway. But it's different.

I managed to fill the hard drives on both our Sun servers with my finite element jobs. It's not hard to do - the disks are minuscule - all the users' have to share 10GB of disk. It's like it's 1998 or something. Bah.

Sunday 30 July 2006

Sunday - down at the boat, doing some minor work. A seacock, a bilge pump line. Brought down a little radio and enjoyed a moldy oldie station as I worked...

Picture of the Week
gulls over the ocean at morro bay

Photo Notes: Gulls at Morro Bay.

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