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WEEK 51 2005

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First Post, 17 March 2002
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Saturday 24 December 2005

Saturday - on the road early, at 6:00, and after a brief stop for fuel, was out of town at 6:15.

I took the quick route - west on the 138 to Interstate 5. Heading west it was a calm clear morning. At one point there was someone riding a horse through the morning dew - it looked like a shot from an old Marlboro ad, with the big white and black speckled horse and corduroy jacketed rider, in grass up to the horses belly. A few minutes later there was a nice view of a pair of ducks paddling leisurely along in the reflecting mirror of a puddle.

No pictures, alas. I wanted to make time while the making was good...

The Christmas eve traffic wasn't bad, actually. There was only a bit of fog at the bottom of the Grapevine, and, while overcast the rest of the trip was without any weather problems.

Book #50 - was Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, by C.S. Forester. It's probably twenty years since I read this, so the stories were new again. The only bit I remembered was a scene from the dueling story, about his urge to do it again. Indeed, the book is a series of vignette's, strung together in chronological order, rather than a single cohesive novel. Perhaps it was originally a serial, of the sort they used to run in the Saturday Evening Post? At any rate, I have finished my 50 books for the year and can relax.

I might mention, this was from an audio CD as a set of MP3 files - which my circa 1998 car CD player doesn't recognize. I therefore copied it to the Zen Micro, and used a little FM transmitter to listen over the car stereo system. It worked very well - the only caveat being that the little transmitter lacks power and so I have to turn up the volume on the ZM, which exhausts the battery in about six hours. Nearby very powerful transmitters for commercial radio stations will overpower the little USB transmitter (in the Altamont Pass, for example), but that is to be expected, and overall it is a very workable system.

I arrived at my father's in good time, and we relaxed and enjoyed Christmas Eve together. Sadly my brother Bob has contracted the flu, and couldn't join us. We will see the rest of the family tomorrow.

Friday 23 December 2005

Friday - they let us out an hour early at work, for Christmas. There have been times when we were let go at noon, but it's not actually Christmas eve, so... In any case, I kept busy, and didn't actually get out until nearly 4:00.

I still had a bit of packing to do - but "hit the wall" about 8:00 in the evening - finding myself just wandering about without accomplishing much. I had intended, for example, to run out and buy a cheap suitcase or sports bag - the cats having ruined both, but was too tired. Instead I found a cardboard box in the garage and packed my clothes in it. Another box sufficed for the plethora of cables and chargers that I have to pack about - three separate USB cables, two chargers, a music ripping device, two cameras, a cell phone, a MP3 player, and other junk that I can't remember. I couldn't find the video camera - I know it's about the house somewhere, but was too tired to look in every nook and cranny.

And so, to bed.

Thursday 22 December  2005

Thursday - updated the dates, for the daily posts on this page. No one noticed, or at least, complained. My two readers are sleeping on the job...

Yesterday was the winter solstice, and there was a nice picture illustrating the movement of the sun's rising point, at Astronomy Picture of the Day.

It was actually a slightly longer day today - but it went by rather quickly.

My friend is coming by to pick the PC, supposedly. But it needed a mouse and keyboard - she managed to lose those. So I dug around in my boxes of junk and tried a few things out until everything worked. My train of thought:

Does this mouse work? No. Toss it. How about this one? No. Toss it Serial Mouse, wow, toss that. Hey, a USB mouse...and it works. OK, let's try the old Compaq keyboard...nothing. Toss it. The old IBM keyboard...AT, not ATX, can't find a dongle, toss it. How about this old ACER...yup.

My work is done.

Off to dinner with my brother tonight.

Wednesday 21 December 2005

Wednesday - not a lot to say. Updated a friends computer last night - bad Mobo, and a bad hard drive, so it was a bit more work than I expected. Oh well. She's been calling, asking about it, and I just had to get it done before taking off for the great wet north.

I can't find my own copy of Vanderplaat's book. That's annoying. It's a pretty expensive text. It's odd that there isn't much of a description of it at Amazon, it is a classically well written text, in my opinion really a gem.

Helped a friend put up a web page for her business, performing speech therapy for children: Effective Speech Therapy. She wanted a simple, basic, web presence, and we put that page together. Now to get it into all the search engines...

Tuesday 20 December 2005

Tuesday - it is getting quiet at work, as people start to come in late, leave early, or not show up at all. Tis' the season.

Someone - perhaps the former director of the NTSB - pointed out that a lot of the accidents lately have to do with bad maintenance practices. Too early to tell, really, on the Grumman in Miami, but stuck thrust reversers and gear doors seem to bear his thesis out. Cost cutting coming home to roost?

Doing a bit of research on optimization codes for Multidisciplinary Optimization (MDO) at work. It's amazing how many codes and packages there are out there, and how broad the MDO field is. A nice thing about working out at Dryden again is the access to the technical library, and free access to a lot of online resources that would cost dearly if I tried accessing them at home. Also a color duplex laser printer, just outside my office.

 Monday 19 December 2005

Monday - dental appointment in the morning. Ah, the bliss of getting up late on a Monday, sitting about with a cup of coffee, trying to recall if the appointment is at 8:30 or 9:00. At 8:00, they said, when I called them at 8:10. Yikes!

Fortunately for me, the office staff, including the surgeon, were all running late as well. So we all got started about 8:30. End result: I've an infection and need a root canal.

I knew that. Ask me how...

But nothing until the new year, and for now there's a prescription for antibiotics.

Sunday 18 December 2005

Sunday - just sort of a clean up day. Lots of house cleaning, wash, doing bills, running errands, and so on.

I did watch a bit of the Cowboys game - they were just outclassed. How the mighty have fallen - though not as far as the 49ers'.

Picture of the Week

Wild turkeys down at the phantom ranch

Photo Notes: At the Phantom Ranch, down at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, there were a couple of 'wild' turkeys wandering about. I use quotes around 'wild' because, despite the rangers admonitions, they were obviously accustomed to being fed by the visitors. They would pursue people hundreds of feet in hopes of getting snacks.

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