Travels and Images
WEEK 49 2006
Sun- Mon- Tue- Wed- Thur- Fri- Sat- Next Week
Picture of the Week
Saturday 9 December
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
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:
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:
U.S.S. Intrepid, 5-Dec-2006
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.
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
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.