sailing the NorSea


WEEK 43 2012

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Saturday 27 October 2012
Saturday - This was a nice day.

We all got up, had a casual breakfast, and just hung out at the house until near noon, when we went to the nearby park to have lunch and meet with friends. They'd come down from Tehachapi and we all had a nice visit. The weather was perfect - windless and nearly 80F, and the park was clean and while busy with other families enjoying their outings, not crowded. These friends have had a rather tough time of it in the last couple of years, taking on the guardianship of some grandchildren - teenager's and younger - but are taking it with some grace and acceptance. The two kids we met seem happy and content, and the teenager quite excited about being in some sort of robotics competition. It's neat to see a high schooler who can say, with perfect honesty, that they "only program in C++ and solder circuits"!

In the evening we had thought of going out, but just ended up cooking up more brats and chicken and eating at the house, and talking and watching Game 3 of the World Series. The Giants won again. One more win and they'll have won the Series again. I think they just won it in 2009 or 2010.

Friday 26 October 2012
Friday - All the carpets in the house were clean and dry in the morning, which was a relief.

Reassembled all the beds in the morning, made them. Brought in some of the furniture, and hosed and brushed off the patio, and did a final clean up and generally kept busy until my friends arrived in early afternoon. I cut it close and was, in fact, in the shower when they arrived!

Tim had brought a bunch of food, so while we needed to make a food/ice/sundries run before the other guests arrived it wasn't as bad as it would have been. I'd say that he brought 75% of the stuff that was on my list to buy. I think, rather than "guest" he would be rather better described as "co-host", or maybe "the Competent Host". We also picked up a new regulator for the BBQ grill - I remembered that it was bad last time I used it and Tim noted a leak in the regulator that would have made it a hazard to light anyway, when he tested it. Home Depot and Albertson's came through for us, and it was all good!

We had a nice get together - good to seem them, and it's nice to finally be able to return some of the hospitality I've been given over the years down in San Diego. The kids were happy at being somewhere new (and old enough to enjoy the cat with the requisite wariness), and content to play with the computers and iPad and a ball to kick around in the back yard. We had a good turn out of people for the BBQ - people from NASA and contractor's we'd worked with on STARS mostly, and caught up with each other's lives and adventures. One friend told me she'd spend weeks cleaning up her house before her parent's visit last month, which made me feel better about the last couple of weeks. Another mentioned that he'd been forced to take a management position, after NASA killed their hypersonic program, agency wide. Something that he'd spent years becoming an expert in.

The weather cooperated, and it was perhaps 75F in the late afternoon, and while cool in the evening not too terrible. I failed to get wood for my little BBQ pit, which would have been nice, though we couldn't put it under the (wooden) patio cover anyway, I suppose.

Sadly one family was unable to make it, a death of a grandparent in their family that day. I guess it's a fact of life, and something we all see as we get older and middle aged ourselves, but it's sad.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Thursday - I had an appointment to get the carpets cleaned. So yesterday I took everything movable upstairs and downstairs and put it in the garage or patio, on top of unmovable things, etc. This is the new queen bed, both twins, two end tables, two book cases and several hundred books, eight chairs, the cat stand, coffee tables, two love seats and a sofa, computers, printers, the Persian carpet, and amazing amounts of other debris. The house looks a lot better without all the clutter, maybe I'll keep it that way, just bring back soe stuff.

I also tried to pre-vacuum, but the vacuum wasn't working well. So the couches didn't really get cleaned of cat hair and stuff like I'd hoped.

Since I had to take a friend to the doctor down at UCLA in the morning my friend T stayed at the house, and watched and paid the contractor. She said he was quick, but hard working and detail oriented. And the carpet looks good, for a 25 year old carpet.

When I returned, mid afternoon, the carpet was magically clean. It was also a bit damp still, so I set the central heat to 78F and just napped on the sofa outside on the patio until about dark, when the downstairs was dry. Then I schlepped all the sofa's on the patio back into the house, and put up the french door blinds again, for about the tenth time in a week. And slept on the sofa at night, since the upstairs was still damp.

Oddly there was another World Series game. I hadn't realized they played on consecutive days, but I caught the end on teevee after an email mentioned it to me in the evening. The Giants won, again. Blanked the Tigers, who seem rather flat.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Wednesday  - The cat got another squirt of the vile tasting vitamin mix in the morning. There was a reproachful look, then a scramble up the stairs and a half hour sulk before he came down to forgive and to demand to be let out into the cold back yard. But he seems a lot more perky and happy after the first dose, like a much younger cat, so it's doing him good.

In the morning I came within a hair of canceling the carpet cleaning for tomorrow, but decided to go ahead. I was tired and a bit depressed at the amount of work it was taking to "fall clean" the house, but it's best to not change a decision when in that condition, best to stick with what you planned unless there is an incontrovertible argument not to do so.

A least the issue with linens is resolved, a friend showed up with loads of towels, sheets, blankets and even pillows. So that whole chore of sorting through what I have, washing what's salvageable and shopping for what isn't, is now avoided Yeah Sheryl!!!

Mowed, edged and weed whacked the back yard. Finished a bit more trim painting when that was done. No time to put the draft barriers back on the doors, but the weather is turning warmer and calmer, so it's not urgent.

I installed some new mini-blinds in the family room, since the old set pretty much disintegrated when I tried to clean them. It looks a lot nicer with them, I hadn't realized how dilapidated and ugly the former set had been.

I've started taking an evening shower, when work is done, much as I did when rehabilitating my parent's house in Martinez. It's nice to be clean, but it also soothes sore muscles and helps me sleep and be more productive the next day. I'm getting a bit old for these massive bouts of physical labor, I guess.

I put water in the old fish tank, and started up the filter. It was easier than moving the darn thing. Maybe we'll go out and get some new goldfish with the kids when my friends arrive. There isn't a  lot to do in Lancaster, and that might be a fun little diversion.

San Francisco rather convincingly demolished Detroit - 8:2. You'd expect a closer game, but so it goes. SF was at home, so that helps. Scutaro is on a roll, definitely the MVP for the Giants, despite being 37 years old.

Tuesday 23 October 2012
Tuesday - A bit warmer today. I mowed, edged and weed whacked the front lawn, which is still growing like crazy. As is the back yard, which I will do tomorrow. I've arranged for a carpet cleaning, but if it stays cool I'll probably cancel that. It is supposed to warm up into the 80's. It has been down in the 40's at night.

The San Francisco Giants won the NLCS, in a crushing game over the Cardinals, that ended in the pouring rain and the catch of a fly ball by Scutaro, who performed brilliantly in the game.

There was a meteorite in Northern California that was big enough to hear, very unusual. Some people have all the luck.

"The AMS also pointed out that the fireball hitting the lower atmosphere and setting off a sonic boom was not indicative of normal cometary activity."

Monday 22 October 2012
Monday - Cold and very windy.

It was in the news they've discovered signs of an Earth sized planet at Alpha Centauri. It's far too close to that star to be habitable - it is closer to Alpha Centauri B than Mercury is to our own star Sol (the Sun), but it's still pretty neat.

The Alpha Centauri system has three stars, A, B and a red dwarf star C - often called Proxima Centauri. I had thought this made the system a bad candidate for having planets,  but my ancient copy of 'Planets for Man' by Dole and Asimov says otherwise (as does the evidence, now).

"Even at periastron distance, the separation of the 2 stars is sufficiently large to allow each to have a full ecosphere, undisturbed by the other. Although there is no theoretical method of completely determining the stability of orbits of planetary bodies in multibody systems, approximate methods of treatment suggest that habitable planets (if any) orbiting withing the ecosphere of Alpha Centauri A or Alpha Centauri B should have highly stable orbits."

Sunday  21 September 2012
Sunday - Did a bit of work around the house, mostly just straightening things up. I hope to get the carpets cleaned this week, it's been a couple of years, so I am picking up in advance of that.

I'm trying to relax on the weekend, but once again no west coast football teams being televised in the AV. It's odd. Obviously the NFL Network wants me to buy a subscription, but it doesn't avail CBS, NBC or ABC to lose viewers to them. So why eight games, sixteen teams, and not one from withing 1000 miles of me?

We went to lunch at our favorite Thai place. The usual wait staff was absent, and things were a bit slow and confused, but the food was as good as ever, so it seems likely it's the same cook.

The cat will eat the special dry food, but not the moist stuff. After a week of trying to get him to eat it I've given up, and started mixing it with some regular soft food. Some food is better than none. And I squirted a bit of the vitamin supplement down his throat. He was a little surprised, but otherwise tolerated that. It tastes vile enough (apparently) that he won't even eat the dry food if it is squirted on it first.

Picture of the Week
Photo Notes: Riley and Cactus, 2012.

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