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WEEK 49 2006

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Saturday 9 December 2006

Saturday - down to Oxnard. We didn't sail. We got a late start, and it was blowing pretty hard - small craft warnings. The real kicker were the swells - big messy swells smashing over the breakwater. Discretion is the better part of valor...

Friday 8 December 2006

Friday -  I was hoping for a short day - I've lots of overtime right now - but it was a nice long day instead. Lots' of futzing about, we were going to fly, then we weren't. Then there was going to be a crew brief, then there wasn't. Then a party of folk interested in the beowulf cluster at work showed up and I spent time with them.

Afterwards I went over for steaks at a friends. They were a bit tough, so we sliced them up and grilled then as strips, with some sort of peppery salt. Very tasty indeed! Afterwards we watched the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Dead Mans' Chest. I was tired, and fell asleep, but I suspect the movie wasn't as good as the first movie...

Mike and I are going down to the boat tomorrow, and hope to sail, but the weather is pretty bad. If not, we will still watch the Channel Islands Harbor Parade of Lights from a front row (my boat) seat! Then we plan to sleep aboard - the first time for me. I'm looking forward to it. I've done it on the Coronado 25, but it was a bit claustrophobic.

Motoring about in the dark in a crowd isn't really my idea of a good time, but it's fun to watch!

Thursday 7 December  2006

Thursday - we were talking about supersonic aircraft the other day at work, and I mentioned seeing the Concorde once, at Ontario International. Doubt was cast on my claim, as it wasn't possible to fly the Concorde supersonic over land, and I began to doubt myself. But, when in doubt, Wiki... It did. But I can't seem to come up with a date for it. It was most likely to have been when I was in school at Cal Poly Pomona, or soon afterwards.

Wednesday 6 December 2006

Wednesday - Book #51 was The Burning of Washington: The British Invasion of 1814, by Anthony Pitch. Again, a not very flattering look at James Madison and his presidency. James Monroe, his Secretary of State, comes off much better. The Secretary of War should have been shot. And the militia, the horrible horrible militia, make their way onto history's stage again. The Navy and the Marines, feared and kept poor by a government enamored with that same inexpensive citizen militia (despite proof of the militia's incompetence and cowardice during the Revolution) generally performed superbly, winning the praise and admiration of their British opponents. Though the abandonment and destruction of Fort Warburton by Captain Dyson was equally bad.

And there was an interesting digression chapter on what Francis Scott Key was doing when he was detained by the British.

Tuesday 5 December 2006

Tuesday - Inquiring minds want to know - if you end up in space without a spacesuit: do you explode?

It looks like they got the U.S.S. Intrepid free of the mud:

uss intrepid 5 dec 2006
U.S.S. Intrepid, 5-Dec-2006

Viking-1 made it's Mars landing on July 20, 1976. It took some striking photographs of the surface - I remember waiting to see them at the time:
viking 1 photo

 It has now, itself,  been photographed from Mars orbit on the surface.

No sign of the Giovanni Schiaparelli canali, or even better the canals of Percival Lowell, Edgar Rice Burroughs, or Ray Bradbury.

A princess of mars, cover
An artists conception of life on Mars...

I wonder, what would ancient canals and crystal cities look like from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter?

I recall reading somewhere recently, that there is a new book (fiction) about a Solar System in which the Sci-Fi old visions of a old desert Mars and a young jungle Venus, with intelligent life, was true, and how modern science, politics, and culture might interact with them.

There were rumors of a big studio production of  'A Princess of Mars'. If only...

 Monday 4 December 2006

Monday - busy again, but not quite as stressful.

I finally saw a video clip of the famous F-15 that landed without a wing, after a training accident. Amazing.

A gorgeous full moon tonight - but it's probably going to be very cold. This morning it was about 14F going in to work - actually the Explorer thermometer read -8C! I didn't know that it could do negatives for Centigrade, so now I'm wondering about negative temperatures for Fahrenheit. It doesn't generally get that cold in Southern California.

Sunday 3 December 2006

Sunday - busy. Book #50 was an old Agatha Christie story collection: The Incredible Inspector Poirot. It was an OK listen, but I was never that big a Christie fan.

So I've made the 50 book level, but there are a few weeks left in the year. We'll see what I can get too. Right now it's another historical book, about the burning of Washington D.C. in 1814.

I learned a bit about the burning in the James Madison biography - for one thing we had earlier invaded and burned the capital of a Canadian province, so it was a bit of pay back by the British. They pointedly didn't, for example, burn private dwellings and businesses. But it backfired on the British - rather than breaking the spirit of the USA it just made people mad. Despite Madison's obvious incompetence in setting up defenses and his appointment of political hacks as key generals, they didn't even get mad at him.

By 1812 the British had won the war with France, and they didn't need impressment any more. So the main reason for the war (and a good one, since an internal American study during Madisons administration showed that 1/3rd of all "American" seaman were British) would have been over, if Madison had even some rudimentary foresight.

Picture of the Week
Transom detail, Bill Tripp flush decker

Photo Notes: Transom detail of a Bill Tripp flush decker.

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