sailing the NorSea


WEEK 41 2008

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First Post, 17 March 2002
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Saturday 11 October 2008
Saturday - cold and windy. I actually turned on the central air heater for the first time since spring. I was tempted to mow the lawn, but failed to get up the energy. Perhaps tomorrow. I did get the Explorers' oil changed, at about 4,000 miles.

Other chores:
  1. revarnish the French doors in back,
  2. start painting the garage (with the paint I bought months ago),
  3. trim the bushes in front,
  4. water the dry spots,
  5. clean the Explorer,
  6. read a bit and catch up on TIVO.
Somehow item #6 is getting most of my attention today. Go figure.

My friend Roger sent me a link to an interesting Request for Proposal from DARPA. It was originally for a flying submarine, only they couldn't get it to work, so now they want a submersible airplane instead. Okaaaaay.

Sadly my brain has started presenting me with various ideas for this. Stupid subconscious.

Of course, this is just life imitating art. As I recall, in the 1960's teevee show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea they had a flying sub shuttle craft for the USS Seaview. Let's check with the Internet, oh, yes. Apparently a very popular modeling item, even today, check it out. A sample image:

flying submarine

Another Absolutely Riveting 'Books Read' Update: looking a bit more carefully at the books read table, there was an error, Book #20 was Cruel Zinc Melodies, by Glen Cook, on Sunday, 18 May. And it's Book #22 that's missing.

So I've updated the table below, with the additional:

Book #22 is Daddy-Long-Legs, by Jean Webster.  Yes, the same book that inspired the 1955 Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron movie of the same title. The book was published in 1912 and generally the movie follows the book. Jean is American, not French, and there are a few other differences (no World War II, or indeed World War I), but it remains a light hearted and optimistic story, told purely by the means of the schoolgirls' letters (with illustrations!) to her mysterious benefactor.

There is apparently a sequel I have not read, Dear Enemy, wherein her college roomie Sally MacBride takes over Jean's foundling home.

Friday 10 October 2008

Friday - worked, but stopped at 5:00pm so I could watch the Dodger's vs. Phillie's. Only to find that the game had started mid-day, was already over, and that the good guys lost. My father didn't gloat. Much.

Who would start a championship game mid-day on a Friday, when almost everyone is still at work?

Lunch was at Jessica's Cafe in Camarillo, on Pickwick. Excellent pastrami sandwiches, recommended.

One thing I noticed while putting 'The Barbarians' back on a shelf:: someone had written 'Medieval Military History' on the case. It's not strictly true, essentially being Early Roman Empire and up to and including the Middle Ages.

How'd that old song go?

Don't know much about the middle ages,
I looked at the pictures as I turned the pages...

Thursday 9 October 2008

Thursday - watching the Dodger's and Phillie's. The Dodger's have squandered a two run lead, and it's now 3:2 Phillies in the 8th. Not good.

Update: Acckkk. 25 cents poorer.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

Wednesday - back at work. A long day, dawn to dusk. Not much to say there.

Working down near Camarillo Airport, where they have a Lockheed Constellation in USAF livery parked. This has to be one of the most beautiful aircraft ever designed, near the end of the propeller aircraft era. Like the tea clippers, surpassed by more different and more efficient modes of transport.

Lockheed Constellation at Camarillo Airport
Lockheed Constellation at Camarillo airport. Note the odd pod on the belly.

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Tuesday - Stupid Angels. Oh well, my real team, the Dodgers are still in it. The drive down was OK, lots and lots of trucks. I guess Monday is the start of the work week for them as well.

Still in Lancaster. I meant to get in a half day of work down in Ventura, but with one thing after another ended up staying all day in the high desert.

Book #46 #6 was The Barbarians*, by Tim Newark It was, as the title suggests, about the various barbarian invasions of the Roman Empires, East and West. The Huns are covered, as are the various successor plains tribes & confederations, as well as the Germanic and Muslim invasions. Very interesting, in a depressing sort of way. Since it concentrates on invasions, over a span of hundreds of year it is by nature bloody and repetitive. It starts with the Huns and ends with, I think, the Magyars. 

 Monday 6 October 2008

Monday - How about those Angels, grinding out a win in the 12th? There's hope yet. I didn't think the kid could pull it out after Krod lost his nerve, but he did.  I shall drive home a richer man today.

Lesser Goldfinches: a dozen at a time.

12 finches

My father noted that the finches generally have no problem in 'sharing' food, while the hummingbird four feet away strongly defends 'his' feeder, driving away all newcomers. But we have noted that there is an apparent maximum limit to the goldfinches communal magnaminity: beginning at about 10-12fpf (finches per foot)  they do start competing and driving interlopers off the sock.

A longer sock would probably allow more finches, but they are eating about1/2" of food an hour already.  

Extrapolating we would predict that a 2' long sock's content  would be devoured in a single day, and a 24' sock in a single hour. A sock longer than that would be dangerous, as we'd be into negative territory, with the finches swarming and then smashing through the window to eat the Nyjer Seed that hasn't been put out yet. It's possible that small dogs and elderly humans could be a risk themselves in such a feeding frenzy. Best not to go there.

In other news, Wall Street is crashing, as are the fiscal systems of the rest of the world.

Poor Iceland, for example, just took over a bank holding something like 650% of the countries GDP. Kinda makes AIG & the rest look like small potatoes, relatively speaking. But hey, they have a plan...

Me? Maybe I'll take all my money and put it into mackerel.

Sunday 5 October 2008

Sunday - well, the 49ers' didn't come through for Dad, so sad... Heh.

Book #45 was Monsarrat At Sea*, by Nicholas Monsarrat. It's actually a collection of books, novelettes and short stories. This was a fairly rare audio edition from Books on Tape - doesn't seem to even know of it's existence.

The first three novels were written during his wartime duty on corvettes, and in paper formed Three Corvettes, these being (1) HM Corvette, (2)East Coast Corvette, and (3)Corvette Command. Very interesting if you've previously read The Cruel Sea, his later and most famous novel. They form the germ of that novel, and you can see the underpinnings. As they were written with wartime secrecy and censorship in mind the author was necessarily limited in what he could and could not say - firstly there is a frankly unbelievable gush on the high morals of British seaman ashore(!) - and of what they can't say: RADAR is not mentioned, though it is mentioned in one of the post war stories.


There is also a bit of anger shown at 'petrol wasters' and coupon dealers. Convoy escorts risked their lives to bring wartime supplies to Britain, and he speaks of the merchant sailors crewing the tankers with a real respect. I was reminded of a bit in Nevil Shute's Pastoral, this years Book #26, wherein the airman and his girl take a brief detour to stop at a pond while using a car for official business. They get caught and reprimanded by a senior officer for wasting petrol, but let off easily because of the airmans' bravery.

Also included were some short stories, one about Dunkirk, one about the sinking of the RMS Lancastria, and two novelettes: HMS Marlborough will enter Harbor and The Ship that Died of Shame.

An excellent read listen.

The book table hasn't been updated since Week #24, so here we go:

#1 The Family Trade
#2  The Hidden Family
#3 Around the World Single Handed: The Cruise of the "Islander"
#4 The Last Colony
#5 The Sea For Breakfast
#6  ?? The Barbarians (added)
#7 The Outback Stars
#8 Spindrift
#9 The Clan Corporate
#10 Fleet of Worlds
#11 The Sons of Heaven
#12 A Day on Mars
#13 Alexander Hamilton*
#14  Spindrift*
#15 The Third Lynx
#16 Lando*
#17 Lord of the Silent Kingdom
#18 GPS for Surveyors and GIS
#19 Over on the Dry Side
#20 Cruel Zinc Melodies
#21 Crystal Rain
#22 Daddy Long Legs (added)
#23 Evil For Evil
#24 The Escapement
#25 Medieval Bridges
#26 Pastoral*
#27 Devices and Desires,
#28 Pale Blue Dot*
#29 A Sailing Primer
#30 On The Wrong Track
#31 To Ride a Rathorn
#32 Halting State
#33 Iron Sunrise
#34 America's Victory*,
#35 A Sundial in a Grave: 1610: A Novel.
#36 ??
 A Dark Traveling.
#38 The Broken Worlds
#39 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay*
#40  In a Sunburned Country*
#41 By Schism Rent Asunder
#42 Still River
#43 Galileo's Daughter*
#44 No Highway*
#45 Monsarrat At Sea*

So, what the heck happened to #6, #20, and #36? Did I add them and then delete them in editing the blog page? Did I just miscount? Either seems unlikely, as I've been doing this for years, but something happened.

Update, 10Oct08: It should have been #22, not #20, but still..

Picture of the Week
Eucalyptus and Palms in the fog
Photo Notes: Eucalyptus and Palms in the fog.

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