sailing the NorSea


WEEK 3 2012

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Saturday 21 January 2012
Saturday - Sprinkling in the early morning, a bit of wind. Riley was not eager to go out in the wet. My brother in the bay area wrote to say that it was a true storm up there.

In the evening, over at friends, watching Troll 2, widely considered one of the worst movies ever made, and then a documentary about it: Best Worst Movie. It was made by a bad Italian director and his wife (the writer), in Utah, on a shoestring budget with inexperienced actors. It's bad in the way of Ed Wood or Bowfinger,  where everyone is quite serious about their acting, directing, writing and plotting - and completely incompetent at each task. Troll 2 has nothing to do with the movie Troll; and, by the way, there are also no trolls in it: goblins - yes, trolls - no.

Both available on NetFlix for your

Minor Peeves Department, #314159: Weather reports that have a 40% chance of rain listed, hours after it has actually already rained.

Book #6
was Empire of Ivory, Temeraire Book #4. In Book #4 of the series Novik has her protagonists (Temeraire the dragon and Lawrence the human) travel to Africa to see if they can figure out what on their previous travels inoculated Temeraire against the disease ravaging the English dragons. It is well done, but ends with a bit of a twist.

Minor Peeves Department #101325: One thing about this book, and others that share a similar premise. They start off with a world very similar to our own, in spite of some very different elements - say dragons - but then have the world histories diverge quickly and rapidly from our own because of the actions of these new elements. If having living breathing dragons can cause a divergence of world lines in Napoleonic times, wouldn't it have a similar effect much earlier (Roman or Babylonian eras), and by compounding changes over time result in a history that is completely different by 1805?

In other words, the author is having it both ways - change and no change. Just a nitpick, it is a very enjoyable book.

I want to reinforce the front top of the TV cabinet (armoire?), and have a nice dry pine 1x4 that should do. I picked up some forest green paint at Home Depot, that should match the existing trim fairly well. When I returned home I found that my jig (saber) saw is missing. Maybe it's up in Martinez? So, I don't actually have a way of cutting the wood. I do have my fathers scroll saw, but I've never used it, and am not sure if I could make a nice circular arc with it. It'd be had enough even with the saber saw. People do it, so it's not impossible...maybe YouTube will have a video.

While there I also picked up some yellow paint, Rustoleum bright yellow. The idea is that I can paint some of the boat trim, instead of varnishing. Varnishing is a big pain, it is hard to do right, it takes multiple coats initially, then at least a coat a year, and then it is even odds that it is going to flake off even so. At at least one author has suggested using paint until just before you sell the boat, then replacing it with varnish. Heh.

So, in the picture above visualize the cabin top hand rails and hatches still being varnished, but the bulwarks tops would be bright yellow, which would match the boat name, that being gold embedded in a medium blue strip along the top of the hull. I'd probably varnish the bow pulpit though.

Yellow enamel is a LOT cheaper than varnish by the way, the varnish is now running at about $30 per quart.

If it looks terrible I can always strip it off and re-varnish.

Friday 20 January 2012
Friday - A beautiful day, about 70F, with only a few high clouds. Ah, January in California.

Mostly finished with the new TV setup. The big hangup was that suddenly my DVD player no longer worked - wouldn't turn on, wouldn't eject. It's not as old as the rest of the system (July 2003), but so it goes. I went over and bought a new unit, one that actually plays Blu-Ray, DVD, and even audio CD (I haven't had a working audio CD player in the house for a couple of years) and outputs via a single HDMI cable.. Assembled and with everything put into the cabinet I spent the evening learning the various settings and controls. It's an amazing picture, particularly the wide screen HD. DVD's look awesome. I don't own any Blu-Ray stuff, but even up-converted DVD's are great.

At one point I found myself watching the local news at one point, exclaiming "Hey! I recognize that intersection!" or the weather "Hey! That's the pier in Ventura, look at that surf!" I watched a bit of Fringe, and things were so clear that the sets looked fake - the old CRT was like looking through a small blurry window and I guess my mind automatically corrected for the bad image and made things look "real". I'm sure I'll get used to the new thing, and look forward to trying.

The built in NetFlix app works well. It's a bit slower to load than the dedicated Roku (which I need to gift to someone) but that may just be because it's loading a bigger HD image. Vizio has a lot of other apps that I haven't done anything with, yet.

friday cat photos
Riley, helping sort out the various A/V components.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Thursday - Fiddling around, doing this and that. It's getting warm out, though rain is predicted in the next couple of days.

The library loan for the Hitchen's book finally expired. It disappeared from the kindle and there was a little message in it's place, and also an email from kindle central:


The thing about ebook library loans is that virtually every ebook is checked out almost all the time. It was a stroke of luck to get this book on loan. Online loans are a great idea, but supply and demand means that at a price of zero the demand is nearly infinite - i.e., there is almost always a waiting list.

Tyler Cowen blogged about this over at Marginal Revolution, Eventually P=0 catches up to you. He links to an article that states that 80-85% of all ebooks are checked out at any given time, spiking after the Christmas season to 98%. If you want the lastest Grisham thriller the waiting list had 288 people ahead of you.

The new purchase for the house is a big screen TV, a Vizio 47". As I mentioned recently the old CRT was getting long in the tooth - after removing it I could actually see the manufacture date was November of 1998. It's actually older than my cat. I had a few requirements I was looking for: front speakers, physical on/off buttons, preferable 120Hz, 1080, LCD/LED rather than Plasma. At a somewhat higher price than I wanted I took it home.

Then the hard part started: where to put it. Being cheap I hadn't bought a console or bracket. The idea was to remove the superstructure on the old entertainment center and use it as a console base. Checking measurements I realized that if I knocked out the internal partitions I could still use it, and not have to find a new home for all the DVD's, components I was keeping, and the pictures that littered the top. By quitting time I'd removed all the media components and used a Sawz-All to cut away the internal partition.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Wednesday  - It seems weird to deliberately not write something, but I guess, as a web site proprietor, however small, I have to get on board with Google and Wikipedia and everyone else that believes in free expression and the rule of law (hint: apparently not the US Congress).

So much amazing content that is just going to have to wait until tomorrow...

down with SOPA and PIPA
The EFF on why this is bad legislation.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Tuesday - Book #5 was The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean, by Susan Casey. This was an interesting book, with two themes running through it. The first was surfing, and the second Freak waves.

Surfing and in particular, surfing big waves is interesting. Over the past fifty years surfing has exploded in popularity, and in particular the sport of surfing huge waves, swells coming ashore from huge storms far away has increased. There is a prize offered for surfing the first 100 foot wave, as yet not collected. People have been photographed and filmed surfing 60', 70' and 80' waves at Hawaii, Tahiti, California and other places but no one has yet (verified by photo or other means) surfed a 100 foot high wave. The author spends a lot of time with the famous Laird Hamilton and his friends, and with the gang of photographers that assemble when big waves are predicted to arrive (people have businesses that are devoted to predicting ocean conditions from distant storms). The spot where a wave will break is directly related to the energy in it - big waves break further out than small ones.

The second theme is Freak waves, rogue waves that rear up, two or even three times as high as the "normal" deep water waves in a storm. Using standard methods these are statistically predicted not to arise but it's become clear that non-linear effects allow them to happen, and much more commonly than once thought at that. The author doesn't claim to understand the math, but does interview a few scientists on the subject, Penny Holiday and others. Holiday had the fortune to be caught in an North Atlantic storm on an oceanographic vessel, with enough instruments to prove that wave heights were far above what simple theory would predict. Casey also talks about known rough water areas - the Agulhas Bank off South Africa is notorious for the ferocity of it's wind vs. current & shallow water. Literally hundreds of vessels have been lost there, and continue being lost to this day (John Vigor in last years Book #148, Small Boat to Freedom, talked about his concerns and experiences of sailing though that area).

She also makes a detour into talking about Tsunami's, which is really a third type of wave, the energy coming from a geologic event, rather than the fetch of wind. These waves can be tens of feet to thousands of feet high. Lituya Bay in Alaska and, to a lesser extent, Crescent City in California are locations that have suffered because of their local underwater topography amplifying Tsunami's, but really no coastal region is "safe" in any absolute sense.

Interesting stuff.

Quarterly taxes had to be done and sent in :-(

I received a nice "thank you" card from two young friend, for their Christmas gifts, very cute:

I'll have to save the ornament for next year.

Window Crayons? I'll have to ask.

Monday 16 January 2012

Monday - Very cold and windy. Riley went outside once or twice, then decided discretion was the better part of valor and watched the leaves blow by from the central heat comfort of his cat tree indoors.

riley watching the leaves blow by
Leaf watching done right.

In the early afternoon went over and looked at TVs at Costco. Vizio has a big presence, and apparently are decently made and reasonably priced. Something near 50" would fit the room pretty well.

In the evening, watching John Adams Disk #2 the TV seemed OK again. Bah.

Sunday 15 January 2012

Sunday - The Giants beat Green Bay, so they'll be facing the 49er's in Candlestick. Should be a great game!

I'm thinking about a new TV - I was watching the game and my TV "fuzzed out". I was sitting about three feet from the screen and could barely make out some plays and the score/time box numbers. I'm not feeling rich right now, but the current (old style CRT) TV dates to about 1999/2000. Twelve years is a pretty good run for an even then not-top-of-the-line JVC.

While watching that I was also fooling around with the old laptop. I tried putting lubuntu on it, but the live CD wouldn't run past the "choose language" screen - I guess 384MB isn't enough. Puppy Linux works well enough, but when I went to install to the hard hard drive showed up. I guess the ancient internal  10GB disk finally failed. It was always a toss up as to whether it was the hardware or WinMe - or both ;-)

Well, there may be an old laptop hard drive around here that I can use.

Picture of the Week
Half Moon and a Crow
Photo Notes: Moon and crow at Apollo County Park.

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