sailing the NorSea


WEEK 40 2011

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First Post, 17 March 2002
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Two Years Ago, This Week, 2009
One Year Ago, This Week, 2010

Saturday 8 October 2011
Saturday - I heard an advertisement on the radio promoting an "Auto Title Loan", sounds like things are getting pretty bad out there. My "career" hasn't been too stellar lately, but I'm not at the point of taking a loan out on my car, yet. Hulk Hogan was the celebrity spokesman. Wow. I wonder why - does he really need the money? Hogan had a WWF career, then his own show on teevee, and all sorts of endorsements since then, and just recently did a voice for Gnomeo and Juliet.

Working on cleaning up the house and garage. I've been kind of depressed and lazy, and being home a lot things have gotten pretty dirty. I'd like to be able to get both cars in the garage again, and have a clear area to work on things out there.

The cactus in the back yard really liked the thunderstorms. Liked them so much that it grew and burst it's pot:

Thunderstorm water - is it the nitrates, ozone, lack of chlorine?

Book #119 was The Sagan Diary, by John Scalzi. Actually more of a story than a book, but since I bought it thinking it was a book, a book it is. And, after all, Reamde was about 1,000 pages, so it all averages out...

Friday 7 October 2011
Friday - the morning task was to drop off the stanchion parts, and discuss how to build and install them. They did a pretty good job setting up some steps over the wheel cover, to be welded into place. I think it's going to go OK.

Book #118 was The Quantum Thief, by Hannu Rajaniemi. Not bad - it got some good reviews, I'd rate it as "better than average", the 3.5 stars at Amazon seems about right.

Thursday 6 October 2011

Thursday - The roof came through the storm with no problems that I know of.

working on some spreadsheet stuff, estimation. I didn't get out much.

Over at Ghost of a Flea there was an interesting post with some pictures and video of the massive high-tech trimarans that were built for the 2010 America's Cup races. These boats can actually sail faster than the wind. Much faster!


The 2013 America's Cup boats will be 72' catamarans in San Francisco. Because these are so big, so fast, so new to the sailors' there is a competition going on with 45' catamarans to familiarize the competitor's with the new tech. Some of the images are pretty amazing. Some info on the AC45's and AC72's here.

An AC45 "practice" boat has a bit of trouble on SF bay...

Book #117 was The Magician King, by Lev Grossman. This is the sequel to #116, and here it does get a bit more like Narnia, in the sense that the boy king ends up back in the "real" world, against his will. By various stratagems involving the underground of the wizard world (as opposed to the public school/Hogwarts clone training of the first book) and a rogue wizard(ess), he eventually does. But has to, eventually, give it up again. Much against his will.

The character's are 20-something Gen-Xer's, not very likable, which I guess is part of the point, the author's way of making things more real. And he doesn't have any problem in killing them off.

Anyway, things are setup at the end of this book for another sequel. Or a whole series I suppose.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Wednesday  - A nice storm blowing through today with rain, wind and all that good stuff. A nice change from the heat and humidity.

I'm trying to get those pirate ship stanchions together. My friend wants them done, so she can rent the ship out as a prop.

I thought I'd drilled the plates way back when, but apparently not. So I started, but had a heck of a time at first, breaking a drill bit, melting another. WTH? After looking for a bit at the setup I realized the drill press table was out of alignment, maybe 5 degree's or so (and yes, I do need new glasses, actually). So the bits weren't biting properly, and binding when they did bite. Once I fixed the alignment (using a machinist's square) a single 1/8th bit was able to drill about 50 holes through the 3/16" mild steel without any trouble. Sometimes with 4 plates stacked up.

Since I had other obligations I didn't get to welding. I had to de-rust some of the uprights again, and the piece of channel I generally use as a welding table, so I'll do that overnight. I used the specialty stuff I bought at Pep-Boys, but sniffing, it's just diluted pool acid. This is the same as the gallon I bought last year, for the same price as the pint. Bah.

Book #116 was The Magician's, by Lev Grossman. It's advertised as a modern envisaging of the Narnia series, but it it really isn't. In fact I'd say it was anti-religious and anti-Christian, in a mild sort of way.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Tuesday - There is a storm predicted to arrive tonight/tomorrow, so I spent the day fixing roof tiles. I admit that I was a big apprehensive, figuring that I'd have to pry and remove dozens, then redo things. came through, saying that you just pry up the tile above the one you are replacing, and the tile that overlaps it on one side, an inch or two each, then you can slide out the damaged tile and redo things. Worked like a champ. I also replaced a couple of roof ridge/peak/edge tiles that had broken. I think this breakage on the rook peaks was due to age and sloppy installation - I noticed a big divot out of the side of the one that had broken, and some hairline cracks in others. The flat tiles were broken by the tree that was planted too close to the house by the original owners. Long gone, but the damage continues...

Book #115 was 7th Sigma, by Steven Gould. This I would probably classify as a YA, young adult, if not for a couple of (not-explicitly-described) sexual encounters. Gould writes some pretty good SF and in this one the "bugs", self-replicating insectoid robots, have taken over the southwest. They can instantly eat through almost anything, and live off metals, cars, railings, nails, the reinforcement in concrete, and so on. Naturally most people have fled the Southwest, but a few remain. The protagonist is Kim, and the plot makes it bows to Rudyard Kipling's Kim, but doesn't really parallel it. There is a nod to Robert Heinlein in there as well, I think.

News is out about more Facebook invasions of privacy, supposedly accidental.


Monday 3 October 2011

Monday - Book #114 was Edith Nesbit's fun little The Book of Dragons. In the first story Lionel, the new child king, accidentally lets a Red Dragon out of the Book of Beasts.
     Now the next day was Saturday. And in the afternoon the Dragon suddenly swooped down upon the common in all his hideous redness, and carried off the Soccer Players, umpires, goal posts, ball, and all.

    Then the people were very angry indeed, and they said: "We might as well be a Republic. After saving up all those years to get his crown, and everything!"

    And wise people shook their heads and foretold a decline in the National Love of Sport. And, indeed, soccer was not at all popular for some time afterward.

    Lionel did his best to be a good King during the week, and the people were beginning to forgive him for letting the Dragon out of the book. "After all," they said, "soccer is a dangerous game, and perhaps it is wise to discourage it."


Sunday 2 October 2011

Sunday - I helped my friend S deliver the pirate ship to someone who is going to make some repairs and upgrades to it. She has a line on some sort of Hollywood agent that thinks it might be rentable as a prop, for significant $$.

We then went out to a champagne lunch at Don Cuco's - good food, I was so stuffed I didn't even bother eating dinner...

Book #113 was A Planet of Viruses, by Carl Zimmer. Viruses are, apparently, the most numerous form of life. If they are life. They are small, simple, often parasitic, and are everywhere. Zimmer takes a chapter by chapter approach to how they were first discovered, and then talks about several different kinds. Very interesting stuff. It is truly amazing what has happened in the few decades since junior college biology. Everything I know is out of date and/or wrong.

Cheap - $2.99 as a Kindle book special, I think.

Picture of the Week
September Sunset 2011
Photo Notes: A dramatic sunset, 2011, Lancaster, Ca.

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