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WEEK 51 2004

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Saturday 18 December 2004

Saturday - well, the boat I didn't take is going to the wreckers. Here is the email I received. Never to sail for even a day.
Thanks for your concern. The boat is scheduled to be
picked up on 12/20 and hauled to the coast for scrap.
The trucker became available sooner than we thought,
so we decided to go for it.

Happy Holidays,

In other news, I saw this and I had to laugh:

Politics: It all really just boils down to this:

Democrats: Give them a second chance.
Republicans: Give them the swift sword of death.

The poor:
Democrats: Give them some food.
Republicans: Give them the swift sword of death.

Endangered species:
Democrats: Give them protection.
Republicans: Give them the swift sword of death.

Democrats: Give them a way out.
Republicans: Give them the swift sword of death.

The uninsured:
Democrats: Give them health care.
Republicans: Give them the swift sword of death.

Democrats: $9,000,000,000,000,000,000
Republicans: $29.95 (cost of one sword)

[via tryingtogrok]

( The poster's husband wrote about armor on vehicles in Iraq, and it is worth reading as well. The psychology of a soldier is something else...)

Friday 17 December 2004

Friday - it seems that Microsoft might start to charge some some security tools. Slashdot has a thread, starting with

from the rated-r-for-racket dept.
rscrawford writes "CNN reports that Microsoft may charge extra for security software. So first they edge their competition out of the browser market, then they tie IE into the OS so tightly that a crash in IE can crash the computer, and then they make IE so vulnerable that just using it is hazardous to the typical computer's health, and now they want to CHARGE users to fix it?"

but then refuting and confusing their own point with

MS includes a necessary tool for free: "Unfair bundling! They're just trying to muscle everyone else out of the market"

MS charges a fee for a necessary tool: "Charging for this? What a ripoff!" (even though their major competitors charge a fee for similar tools)

Yes, that money may have been better spent in actually fixing the items that need these security tools, but it seems like they can't win either way.

Basically your best bet might Apple or Linux at this point. Windows is just a zombie, now, wandering about, looking for brains to eat.

Friday cat blogging - Phoebe at ease on the arm chair.

Phoebe on the chair
It's like living "Trouble with Tribbles" sometimes

What else? Not much. A quiet day. I've been taking my walk in the morning, rather than the coolish evenings, and usually bring a camera. I've been trying to get some shots of the ravens/crows/whatever in flight. With the 3 megapixel Olympus and a 3x zoom I can handily do it - but the bird portions of the shot are too small to be useful. The Canon digicam has the 18x zoom, and even with the 1.2 megapixel imager would work fine - except it uses LCD viewscreens, and the contrast/resolution isn't good enough to distinguish a small object in flight at low magnification, which is what you need to do before zooming in. What I need is an non-magnifying optical sight, similar to the Telrad finder used for telescopes. They have something similar for handguns as well - where you can easily see the finders crosshairs without putting your eye to the finder. I could put it in the hotshoe on top.

Heck, the stealth fighter kept flying over and I couldn't focus on that when zoomed in.

Thursday 16 December  2004

Thursday - Earthsea came to the SciFi channel the other day. It was terrible. Terrible. Poor Kristin Kreuk, to get suckered into it. Wooden dialog (old, petrified wood!). Caricatures of soldiers, with chrome helmets. Mediocre FX. I actually picked up something to read while it was on, so that I could see it but still have a refuge from it's badness. Le Guin's own politics and beliefs often messed up her later novels, but this was sheer butchery of some of her earliest and best fantasy.

Check out the IMDB forum. The first post was 'I feel like crying', followed by pages of commentary. Well, sure, but anger and loathing feel much better. Do these people have no life?

Hmmm. Clearly I need a rating system for this stuff. Archeoblog has cool egyptian skulls. Tucows has...well...cows. I need something to use for my truly insightful criticism of books and movies. Not just thumbs up, or thumbs down, or number of skulls. It should be cool, and attractive to those of a scientific bent. Not just 'on a scale from zero to ten', but perhaps also a negative axis. Hell, maybe even an imaginary axis. Quarternions would probably be too much.

In other news, the Pearl Harbor memorial to the USS Arizona is sinking. The Arizona itself is still leaking oil, sixty years after being sunk. I believe there was some concern about a structural collapse or failure possible allowing thousands of gallons of fuel out of her bunkers. I'm not sure what they eventually decided to do.

A friend called, saying that he might be able to find space on a friends vacant lot in Pasadena. But I think not.

Here is a Bruce Roberts 43A, for which someone is asking $18,000. Steel boats tend to rot from the inside out so the lack of a cover on this boat, in Florida no less, is probably not a good sign. Though it might have been removed for the photo.
bruce roberts 43aClick for details

Here's an unfinished boat, but with Perkins diesel engine, on the hard in Minnesota, for $15,000. Looks a lot like the boat I was offered. And it has a trailer of some sort.
bruce roberts hullClick for details

And a finished boat, in the water, in Texas for $29,000. Which puts to rest my idea of finishing/refinishing/refurbishing old Robert's designs for a profit.
bruce roberts afloatClick for details

Looking around on the internet, Robert's designs have a bit of a reputation as slow boats, and the early 43's had serious helm balancing issues (though correctable). Boat enthusiasts, like car nuts, tend to be overly concerned with speed however. Cruisers will spend 90% of their time at anchor. Clawing off a lee shore is probably the one time a knot or two extra speed actually important. At which point you should probably be running the auxiliary. Arguably you could hit a coral head or an awash steel cargo container and survive the experience in one of these. And there is always the issue of rogue waves breaking aboard - it has been suggested that many otherwise seaworthy fiberglass boats will flex enough, when impulsively burdened with tons of water, to separate the hull/deck seam.

Wednesday 15 December 2004

Wednesday - somebody from the city came by this morning, to 'check off' the patio roof construction permit. I had it built quite a while ago, but this officious city has to have it's nose in everything - and to get paid for the privilege of intruding into my private life and personal property. The roof was fine - built by a licensed contractor and all designed and permitted out properly, but sheesh, I thought the paperwork was finished a year ago.

"You don't race across the parking lot like that unless you want to kill yourself. That, or he is the worst parallel parker in the world."

He should have read Dorothy Parker all the way through:

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.

Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Tuesday 14 December 2004
Tuesday - I've an idea. I have spent a lot of time on 'hold' lately, waiting to get through to a big bureaucracy's representative, which task I normally handle by putting the phone onto 'speaker' and listening to Muzak. What we need is a voice mail option, that allows the caller to listen to the music they prefer - be it classical, rock, country, jazz or whatever, rather than the usual horrendous drivel. I heard the Who's song 'Who are You?' the other day, done with violins. Good god.

I think I forgot to link to the main I'M SORRY web page last week. There are a lot of very sorry people there. Which means, I guess, that it's a sorry excuse of a place. Heh.

You know, it's funny, I was clicking on the "random" button, and I suddenly had the urge to apologize myself, in person, over dinner and some drinks. Or ride to the rescue (it's the knight errant in me I guess). And be assured, politeness means that I wouldn't ignore our northern or  southern neighbors gestures of friendship.

I had a dog just like this, when I was a kid. But no dogs like this. Or this. Or this. We did have a poodle. I do have a black cat. It's not a tabby. Kittens are so cute. But not litter boxes. Someone stirring up trouble between the animal allies? Shouldn't the mice lovers be red staters?  Horses now? I do think that we need to draw the line, and stick to live animals for these essays - no stuffed animals or  rubber duckies.

I had an etch-a-sketch too. As a small child though. Perhaps it belongs to his kid?

But seriously, it's amazing that it was even close...the brutal disenfranchisement helped, of course.

I shouldn't mock, I guess.

I'm sorry.

riley isn't sorry

Monday 13 December 2004

Monday -Just working away on things.

Someone offered me a free steel sailboat hull the other day, 38 feet long, welded and primed, but a hull only. No mast, no engine, no prop, winches, or interior of any kind. Just primed hull. Intriguing, but looking and calling about I found that 'active storage' can run upwards of $12/ft-month. So, $450 a month, just to have it sit somewhere. And it would take, realistically, years to fit out. Then you have to transport it to that somewhere (it was built in someone's back yard and they are moving) which means a crane rental at both ends, and a special 'lowboy' transporter  rental to move it. So, I think, no. It's too bad.

You can buy a fully fitted out boat and refurbish for a lot less than building a new boat. And be sailing a lot sooner. I think even the guys at the EAA - those crazy people who build planes in their garage - usually say: "If you like to build planes, build them. If you like to fly them, buy one."

Plus, although I hate to admit it, the allure of long distance sailing is diminishing for me. Being cold and wet for long periods of time isn't much fun, and many of  the former romantic destinations have now become tourist traps.

Defensetech is an interesting site.

Sunday 12 December 2004

Sunday - Since I'm out of town at a friends, and he has only dial-up (if that), this is a non-real-time post. So, it's short.

For Christmas: It's a Wonderful Life, done in 30 seconds, by bunnies. So you don't have to sit through the black and white, or TNT  colorized film versions.

Picture of the Week

Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh, windows

Photo Notes: The ruins of Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh, Scotland.

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