Travels and Images
WEEK 38 2004
Sun- Mon- Tue- Wed- Thur- Fri- Sat- Next Week
Picture of the Week
Saturday - on travel. Back soon.
Friday 17 September
Friday - my friend Tim is moving, so I'm off to San Diego for a couple of days to help. Light posting for a bit...
- I'm mean.
I was out with some friends for lunch yesterday, and we were discussing the
release of the Stars Wars DVD's and their new footage. I mentioned that
Jar Jar Binks was going to be in the first movie, that is, episode 4.
Heh. My friends son is about ten, and the expression of disbelief and
loathing on his face... If only
I could have held a straight face longer - I had intended to go on with
an explanation that he was digitally replacing Chewbacca - but just
couldn't control my laughter.
Today I helped out by watching the same boy during the afternoon. Not
one to let any opportunity go by unseized I showed him how to mow a
lawn. My lawn. He wanted to try it out, ( noisy internal combustion
engines, whirling blades of death, hey, it's a guy thing). Craftily I
held out for a rat on a string, but afterwards let him mow the front
yard. He did a good job, for a beginner. Observing, umbrella drink in
hand, I would offer pointers and suggestions as he toiled away in
the 90F+ afternoon...
I think my firewall/router/WAP has lost the WAP part. At least my
laptop shows no signal strength at all. One of the router ports has
been dead for a while, and if I have more than a couple of machines
connected I lose wired connectivity altogether. It's only a year
or two old :-(
I'm not getting into the whole forgeries 'Rathergate/Memogate' thing, except for a little fun:
Here's the back of the submarine book - I'm not sure I know anyone with a record player!
Walter Cronkite, narrator at large...Click to enlarge.
Wednesday 15 September 2004
Wednesday - finished and sent off the
taxes, and a bunch of other bills. Acckkk. The shooting pains in my
head have now subsided...
Talking to my friend today I found that the pool hydraulics are all
finished. The repairman was a trooper, spending hours face down
reaching into a small hole to get to the bothersome fittings. I helped
clean out that hole so I know
just how small it was. He apparently had choice words for the original
designers and installers. At one point he was ready to quit and
recommend it be jack hammered out, but my friend convinced him with
gentle soothing words to persevere, even at $50/hour. His replacement
hoses use quick disconnect
fittings... The ancient failed hose was rated at 2500PSI . Since he
couldn't find out what the system was running at he replaced it with
Looks like Hurricane Ivan is coming ashore in Alabama, and still quite
energetic, spawning off tornado's, already with loss of life, despite
the advance warning. The eye may his Penasacola, Florida. There are a
lot of Navy facilities there, flight test engineering folk that I know
who live out that way. Hopefully they'll be OK.
The submarine book mentioned yesterday brought to his mind an amusing
story from my brother about life on the USS George Washington: "Stupid questions. I know there aren't supposed to be any, but..."
I'm paraphrasing here, but the story goes like this:
Apparently there was a new guy, who noticed water in the bilge's one
day, while submerged. He didn't know that it was bad, but brought it up
at lunch later. "Hey guys, funny thing, there's a bunch water sloshing
about in the ******, is that normal?". Fortunately a more experienced
hand was at the same table and immediately shot up to the command deck
to tell the person in charge there that they had a problem.
Bob's final remark: "Well, I guess you have to act as if there weren't any stupid questions...you can't get guys nervous about speaking up."
Here is a page from that book (need to get the ISBN from my Dad)
talking about the early history of the GW. Bob said that it still said "Scorpion" in the escape hatch/diving trunk, in the late 1970's, probably welded on in a metal bead
Click to enlarge and read..
Tuesday 14 September
Tuesday - working away on things again. A little bit of taxes too...
My friend found a book on nuclear submarines at a yard sale. It's so
cool. It was written in the 1960's and mostly features the U.S.S George
Washington SSBN-598, my brother's old boat, the first Polaris
submarine. It was designed for classroom's, and includes slides and a
45 audio recording by Walter Cronkite. Ah, for the good old days of
My brother was entertained by the swooshing
wake...in reality you come almost to a full stop to launch missiles.
Monday 13 September 2004
Monday - working away. I was with a
coworker and I noticed that his PC was very noisy. It's a fancy new
case with an exhaust fan in the side, and it was clearly running warm (
I am, alas, all too familiar with this). So I switched the fan so that
it sucked air into the case, directly onto the cpu, which seemed to help.
Our simulation jobs are getting large enough - into millions of
elements and nodes now; that the stock 512MB of ram we've been using is
no longer enough - we need to go with a gigabyte or more. Fortunately
memory prices seem to have come down so it's not too big a deal. We are
doing a convergence study - double the number of elements, check
results, double again, check results, and trying to find a place where
the solution doesn't change. When you start out with a grid size in the
millions this means things get big fast.
The office, with my new LCD monitor, in Martinez...
Sunday 12 September
Sunday - working a bit on my taxes,
which are due Wednesday. It's shocking what you pay when self employed.
I need to get a tax program or an accountant I think. My head hurts.
It's amazing what a bunch of bureaucrats can do with to simple math.
It'll be interesting to see what NASA does with the shuttle. With the wrecking of the critical thermal tiles facility, and the damage to the VAB
they will be seeing an unexpected hit of many millions of dollars, or
perhaps hundreds of millions. And a time delay. Will they still try to
return the shuttle to flight? As far as I can tell nothing is really
happening on a replacement, even the paper studies seem up in the air.
It's too bad, they desperately need a take-charge hard nosed
engineering type to whip the paper pushers into line and get something
done, but it ain't happening I guess. Which leaves it to the private