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WEEK 41 2004

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Saturday 9 October 2004

Saturday - the Dodger's won! A shutout by Jose Lima in a complete game! I'm 25 cents richer! Dad's 25 cents poorer!

I took the dog for a walk this morning, leash in the left hand and my new camcorder in the right. Reviewing the tape later it is mostly a series of shots of the road, the dog, tree's, sky; with the sound of my exasperated voice in the background, cursing at the dog for winding the leash around my legs. Peg actually managed to do this once when I was seated. The video is clear and sharp, the sound good, the zoom fabulous, but the composition, alas, isn't anything special - hey it's my first camcorder!

The ship's came in today for Fleet Week and should be open for tours tomorrow. I think there is a jeep carrier and some ddg's, along with some Canadian ships of some sort.

The 49er's play the Cardinals tomorrow and are actually the favorite to win, the only time those odds will happen this year, probably.

My father and I were musing over the candidates promises last night.  Each promises to fix the economy. As if there were a magic wand in the upper left drawer of that desk in the oval office and it just needed (paging Harry Potter, please pick up the white courtesy phone) the correct swishing motion and a mysterious incantation in a mix of greek and latin. Some agreement here from an big-time economy blogger at Asymmetrical Information who live blogged the debate:

More never-never promises on the deficit! Bush promises magical spending cuts! Kerry promises that Bob Rubin will spread his fairy dust over the budget and make it balance!

Of course absolute Presidential control of the economy is one of those agreed upon fantasies in presidential politics, like tv actors being able to jump through plate glass windows without getting cut, or the ability to outrun the supersonic blast wave of an explosion on the big screen.

What about Congress - don't they have a say? What about the Fed's prime rate, and our country's monetary oracle Alan Greenspan (who, by the way, actually does speak in mysterious incantations)? What about corruption in Fannie Mae and hurricanes in the gulf cutting oil production there in half? What about oil prices, the demand for energy in booming China and India? What about the aging baby boomers and the illegal immigrants entering/leaving the workplace? What about normal business cycles and the ongoing transition from an industrial economy to an information economy here and abroad?

I guess it would be too much to expect someone to stand there and say "Gee, yeah, times are tough. We all do what we can but it's complicated and **** happens."

But I'd vote for that guy.

Friday 8 October 2004

Friday - after 24 hours the pc is still up and running. Knock on wood, but it seems cured.

We watched the debate tonight. I'd score it about even, so tomorrow expect to find both sides claiming 'victory'. The president's performance was vastly improved over last week's, the senator's about the same. The big evasions on Bush's part: "Any decisions that you regret?" and "What have you done for the ecology?", and on Kerry's side: "How do you feel on abortion" and "What will you do about Iran".  I'm paraphrasing here, but it was fun to watch the politician's squirm.

The hummingbirds are dealing with the new front yard arrangements just fine, thanks for all the inquiries.

Fleet Week here in SanFran. I need to get out and take some pictures and video tomorrow!

A little mystery and some detective work:
My father and I got to talking about the ship in the movie, Mr. Roberts. He said it was clearly a FS class ship, which stands for Fleet Supply. When we went looking in ONI-225, a recognition guide of the period, we couldn't find it. Some sleuthing on the Internet turned up some information.

First, from the DVD's inside cover:
USS from 'Mr. Roger's'
Note: I don't think this scene is in the movie, except perhaps in cut footage

An attack cargo would be with the fleet, or nearby, someplace that the fictional LT(jg) Robert's dearly wished to be. A quick look on the Internet turned up the fact that the author, one Thomas Heggett, had served (and a lot nearer the front lines) on a supply ship. and was reported as being the 'ship in the movie', with Heggett taking copious notes during his service, aboard the USS Virgo AK-20.

But this clearly wasn't the correct ship type, despite several web sites claiming it so. It was far too large for the ship in the movie, for one thing. My father's estimate was that the 'Reluctant' was 200' or less. And a number of other details, like the superstructure being in the aft end of the ship, the number of kingposts (cargo cranes), and so on.

My father found this ship image that looked similar, at a navy historical site:

Finally I found a web site on this entire subject, with the AKL-25 on it, and it seemed to match the film's vessel. These ships were originally U.S. Army ships, whence came the FS/FP designation apparently, before than the A** nomenclature, and they were just a bit under 180' long (good eye Dad!). AK seems to be a rather nebulous catch-all ship classification.

The page linked just above identifies the USS Reluctant as the USS Hewell, AKL-14, (though you have to click on the moving red ball from that page) and gives an eyewitness account by a sailor aboard during the months of filming. Check it out.

And, this is the apparently the same original class of ship as the heavily modified (in)famous USS Pueblo AGER-2, ex-AKL-44, ex-FP-344.
AGER-2  USS Pueblo
USS Pueblo

Thursday 7 October  2004

Thursday - the pc seem stable still. So, actually doing some work for a change...

My father had a tree out in front of the house removed. It's a pang to cut down a tree, but it was completely blocking the view of the valley, any breezes that might cool the house and master bedroom, and growing directly over the septic line. Time to go... The hummingbirds look a little confused at the loss their old perch, but there are several other bushes and trees and nearby.

Wednesday 6 October 2004

Wednesday - we watched 'Mister Roberts' on the DVD this evening. An enjoyable movie. My father says that it was the funniest book he ever read. I think that in some ways it's ancestry as a stage production showed, but that actually adds interest.

I put a new power supply in the computer this morning, why not? System going on and off, what's more likely than a bad power supply, even if it is a fairly new Antec unit? Nope. Which left the CPU or possibly the switch on the case. But... But as I was sitting there glaring into the open case it occured to me....memory. What is there was a RAM problem? I've been getting page faults, things failing to start on boot, things failing to start after boot, corrupted archives in files I'd just downloaded. To make a tedious story short it looks as though I've a bad stick of ram, a 512MB stick. So it's running fine now, no problems, in 128M. Accckkk.

We watched the debate last night. Interesting. I think that Cheney came off the winner. He has gravitas, and his long years in government show when he emulates that terrifying erudite professor you loved and feared in college. Next to him Edwards came off shrill and shallow. And he got in some zingers here and there.

Tuesday 5 October 2004
Tuesday - a favorite book of mine is "Angle of Attack: Harrison Storms and the Race to the Moon",  by Mike Gray. From the first page:

"It was a place alien to humans, a hostile, blistering, snake-infested wasteland where the sand blew over the bones of countless misadventurers, but Stormy loved it. With the San Gabriel mountains behind him, he wheeled the T-bird hammer down through the blackness, the white dashes of the centerline shooting beneath him like tracer bullets out of the night. He and the boys usually stayed at bachelor officers' quarters or some seedy motel in the god forsaken town of Lancaster, but they seldom slept. It was really just a place to play poker and wait for the phone call."

Lancaster today is a thriving splotch of suburbia, a wholly owned subsidary of the California Association of Urban Sprawl. Not a bad place to live, but lacking in character.. .

Computer problems persist. I spent hours reinstalling Windows, with the new motherboard, only to have the problem repeat itself. Not the motherboard. Curses...

Monday 4 October 2004

Monday - the volcano continues to give off little eruptions. I won't bother posting a link here - I had several last week.

Sunday 3 October 2004

Sunday - another nice day in the bay area. We had a nice barbecue, with my brother B and sister G. B has a knack for grilling the steak over the coals just right.

The 49er's looked terrible. I haven't missed much by not seeing their first three games. They lost this game as well, but avoided a shutout.

Picture of the Week

Sailing on San Francisco Bay

Photo Notes: Sailing on San Francisco Bay.

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