sailing the NorSea


WEEK 39 2014

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Saturday 27 September 2014
Saturday - A busy morning. First I gave all the shelves another coat of varnish, on the other side. Since you can't really see that upper sides for most of them it may seem a bit pointless, but the first coat was so thin that the varnish was still a bit porous, this seals things. And it didn't take much. I'm tempted to do a third coat, for wear and abrasion resistance, but am reserving the rest of the can for the upright side, which will require about 16SF of coverage, done twice, so 32SF.

After that I can assemble things and reclaim my garage!

Then I mowed the front and back yards, did the dishes, and some other chores. By lunchtime I was ready to head out and have a hearty Thai meal with friends.

In the afternoon I worked on the app, working out a way to highlight things during a gesture pass, sort of a home-rolled "hover" to hint to students where the drop area is. I think I have it, a delegate callback thing again, and it doesn't, so far, seem to interfere with the start/end of gesture itself.

In the evening I went over and watched Season 7 of The Big Bang Theory with friends.

Book #42 was The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis. This ends the series, with the destruction (and re-creation) of Narnia, and the death (and resurrection) of the various (good) characters.

Friday 26 September 2014
Friday - Book #41 was The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis. 

I think that I mentioned taking Suzy's old and shredded white ribbon away (choking/eating hazard) and replacing it with a new scrap of red ribbon. It excited her so much that I ended up taking that one away again as well for a couple of days, before returning it. She treats it much like Phoebe treated his treasured boa, carrying it about in her mouth, wanting me to play with it and her. After a few days she has calmed down, but it's still her favorite item in the house.

I'll hear a sound and look over to see her crouched on the carpet or coffee table, ribbon between her paws, looking at me wistfully.

I varnished shelves in the morning, six of them. Hopefully another coat will improve their appearances. Indeed, I'd put the thinnest coat I could apply on (to avoid runs), so maybe that's part of the problem. Fortunately this stuff covers well on the second application, I probably used 4 ounces to cover 24 square feet today. I was concerned that there wouldn't be enough for the shelf side, but it seems like I'll have enough.

Update: I guess they're OK, looking at them in the evening. Not perfect, or even good, but "good enough".


S called, but as she was pretty busy, and I was pretty busy, and the computer lab was only open for a couple of hours anyway: we blew off lab. I'll have to get more hours next week I guess, but I can do the assignment at home this weekend.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Thursday - Book #40 was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis. I had forgotten all of the various adventures prior to them reaching the end of the world, and even the details of Reepicheep's departure, though I'd remembered he'd gone on alone (to Aslan's country).

I assembled the roto-rooter unit with A, not much to do there actually, and we did a brief test on my line to check out the motor and the power feed. I also cut a piece of scrap flat bar, 1/4" x 2" x 8"long, to use as a tool to open flush-height cleanouts, such as the kind you find in garage's like mine.

I'm a bit behind in bonehead computer graphics at school, so I again tried the old XP box that overheated last week and: success. I guess it just shutdown then via a thermal switch. I can put Photoshop on it and take the side off and use an extra fan to cool it I guess. I still need lab hours, and have agreed to go over to the school with S tomorrow, when it is (briefly) open.

I also checked and Gimp will export a Photoshop (.psd) file, so I think I'm OK.

I also started up on the shelves again, getting all of them in one place and cleaning them, polishing with steel wool, cleaning again, and getting them ready for varnishing again. I'm rather unhappy on the quality of my varnish work, it's kind of spotty, with runs here and there. I'm not usually so bad, but this stuff is neither fish nor fowl, both lacquer and clean overlay mixed up. And, as I keep reminding myself, it's just a garage shelf!

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Wednesday - Book #39 was Prince Caspian, by C.S. Lewis. I'd forgotten how short these books were, but I was probably in my teens or early twenties when I last read them.

I happened to read this on the Kindle, and it had the original color illustrations, which, outside of texts, I don't think I've seen done in an ebook.

Riley seemed a bit better, but not exactly bouncy.

S had called on Tuesday night and asked if I'd go with her to look at a power drain cleaner at Harbor Freight in the morning. She's been battling plumbing issues at her properties, mostly sewer related, and those mostly tree root related, and the expense this year alone would easily pay for a unit. So we went over and looked at them. The one in the ad was fine, 1/2" and 50', but for more money you could get one with a power feed and a wheeled cart, and I suggested she get that one. The plan is for a handyman to do her four properties up here several times a year, and then to take it down to San Diego and use it at her mother's property. So ease of use was a priority and I think the $100 extra would be worth it.

We dropped it off at my place. Tomorrow the handyman will come by, we'll assemble it, try it out on my lines (plastic and in good shape), then he'll start on S's lines.

I reiterated my suggestion that a free video inspection of her lines might be worth doing.

I worked on the app in the afternoon, updating the prompts and animating them. S had some more suggestions for user feedback - highlighting the drop frames when the user is hovering over them, so that's another animation and logic set to deal with. Gestures return their location in views, and I could use the location to highlight a frame with a semi-transparent layer, but I'm not sure if I can communicate between the gesture method in the stamp object and the main screen. Collection Views highlight automatically, so possibly I could put one of those in place of my own home-rolled UIView collection. Something to think about anyway...

Tuesday 23 September 2014
Tuesday - Hot, but not crazy hot. A nice day, really.

In the morning I made an afternoon appointment at the vet for Riley. He was still being needy, and off his feed, so it was time. The Vet didn't find any obstructions in his bowels by palpitating, but gave him several shots, and some new vitamin drops for me to give him. They also took some blood for tests, and I'll get the results in a day or two. He didn't seem remarkably improved in the evening.

Other than that, kind of a wasted day. Vacuuming & housework in the morning, some app work, a visit to the vets, then a bit of reading in the evening.

For some reason the cats, rather than relaxing in the afternoon, have taken to coming into the office and bothering me. What's that about? I may have to reinstall the cat proof door addition I had a few months ago.

Book #37 was The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Book #38 was The Horse and His Boy, both by C.S. Lewis. I'd read the first, decades ago, but not (I think) the second.

It's Week #39 and I'm behind in my reading (four weeks of no new books!)  - I leave it to the reader's imagination to guess what I'm reading next (hint: it was recently made into a movie).

Monday 22 September 2014
Monday - Up in the morning, and off to class. I hadn't started one of the five(!) assignments, and of course that's the one the instructor wanted to review. S had reminded me by text, but I didn't understand which assignment she meant. Well, so it goes I guess.

The instructor gave a decent lecture on color, and how the old Goethe Color Wheel that we are all taught in school is WRONG, and how Young's Color Wheel is CORRECT. Interesting. He also discussed additive and subtractive color. Wish he'd started lecturing a few weeks ago... Then he spoiled things by showing a video on the history and power of advertising in America, post WWII. Interesting, but not particularly relevant to the class IMO.

The afternoon, despite modest efforts to work on the app, was taken up by this, that, and the other thing. Well, I was pretty tired, so no big deal.

Riley seems a bit under the weather, so I might just take him to the vet tomorrow. He's licking his lips, which generally means he's dehydrated, and was standing by the litter box meowing, which generally means constipated (bad in an old cat). He was also nuzzling me for affection. I was only gone two days!

Sunday 21 September  2014
Sunday - Out at Red Rock Canyon State Park, Ricardo Campground, Friday evening, and back mid-day Sunday.

As I had mentioned, we were down to two scouts, but still needed just two adults. The Scouts operate on a buddy system, no scout is ever alone with just one adult. If I had ducked out there would have been no trip...

I had a great time. I didn't have to drive, T ferried me to/from the pickup point and Mr. B did the driving.

We arrived at the campground just a bit after local sunset on Friday and had plenty of light for setting up tents. The camp sites are located along the base of some eroded sandstone bluffs, and we picked one relatively near water and outhouses, but not too near, and not where any latecomers would shine headlights on us.

It turned out that the tent Kirk loaned me was the wrong tent - it was huge, a generously sized four man tent! Well, whatever, I wasn't carrying it anywhere and the Scouts did most of the setup. We had a sack dinner, then did some star gazing (the skys were so dark that the skies were amazing!) then hit the sleeping bags.

Saturday morning I got up before sunrise and took some photographs of the morning sun on the bluffs.

Red Rock at sunup.

Mr. B, thankfully, had the smarts and experience to bring coffee, so we sipped that and talked until the scouts arose a bit later. The deal is that they do the labor and make the menu, so they made breakfast for everyone - potato's and sausage's. It took a while, which made it all the more tasty.


After everyone was awake and fed we went off for a nice day hike up in the hills behind the campsite. It's a pretty desolate view from up there - rocks and scrub, and the occasional hawk.


Around lunchtime we headed back, and the scouts rustled up lunch for everyone, then we all washed up and found shade to huddle in for the afternoon. It was hot, generally, but nice in the shade of the rocks.

There were clouds in the east, that alternately advanced and retreated towards us. At one point in early evening we had a very light sprinkle, just a few drops, and everyone put up their rain flys and made sure everything was staked down.


As evening fell we had an interesting sight - clouds and lightning to the North and East, and stars overhead. I took some timed exposures and caught some of the lightning strikes.


Eventually we all went to bed, expecting a desert deluge at some point, but it never happened.

In the morning we arose, put up our gear, policed the site and local area, and headed back to Lancaster, arriving a bit before noon. It was a great trip.

Picture of the Week
Lightning storm over the I-14, Red Rock State Park, Sept. 2014 
Photo Notes: Thirty second timed exposure of lightning strikes,
to the northeast over the I-14, Red Rock Canyon State Park, Sept. 2014.

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