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merry christmasWEEK 51 2006merry christmas

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Saturday 23 December 2006

Saturday - It was a late start once again. I did get up at five, but didn't get out of town until after 1:00 pm. Partially it was due to incomplete packing, but most of that was done by 9:00 am. No, the Explorer let me down. The "running warm" turned to "overheating", and despite two separate attempts involving adding a bit of oil, rapping on the thermostat cover, checking all the fluids, I just couldn't make it past 70th west.

At about noon I had to decide - try to get a shop to fix it ("Well, you can bring it in but we can't promise that we'll get to it"), replace the thermostat myself, or take the Probe. I opted to take the Probe.

The battery in the Probe was dead - I think I left the overhead light on the other day. It was also about a quart low on oil and had low pressure in the tires. So I hooked it up to the old charger while I transferred the contents of the Explorer to it. Amazingly it all fit, though it was piled a bit highter than it had been in the SUV. Folding down the seats really adds a lot of room, and the hatchback helps to load it quickly. Nonetheless, it was mid-afternoon before I finally hit the road.

I'd hoped to visit some friends in Tehachapi, but it was much too late. Plus the idea of attemping a big grade in the old car didn't seem wise. So it was out the 138 to the I-5 and north from there. Traffic wasn't bad, I think having Christmas on a Monday means that the holiday traffic was split amoung three almost equally likely "travel days": Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Christmas Eve).

And the Probe went well. It's easy to forget what a tank the Explorer is, comparatively. The Probe justs zips along. The zipping is noisy because the tires are worn weirdly, so I started with earplugs and just kept them in for the entire drive, turning up the book on tape so I could hear it.

So, up in Martinez, and light blogging over the holidays.

Merry Christmas, to one and all.

Friday 22 December 2006

Friday -  went to work. There was a bit of excitement as it looked as though the Space Shuttle might land here - lots of news vans outside, and people had family come out, but it went to Florida instead.

Spent the evening getting ready for the trip north - packing the car and dropping off and picking up presents. Helped my brother get his wireless configured - and got dinner out of that.

The Explorer seems to be running warm. Given the near freezing temperatures this isn't a good sign. I'll check the oil and water, and the air cleaner, before I leave tomorrow.

phoebe looking up
The hummingbird gets this look all the time.

Thursday 21 December  2006

Thursday - there is a small chance that the Space Shuttle will land at Edwards AFB tomorrow. White Sands is actually favored, weather-wise, but it's desolate the the dust gets into everything - NASA would prefer Kennedy or Edwards, but the rules say they have to land tomorrow and the current forecasts are not good for those two sites.

I should bring my camera to work.

The Fargo library sounds a lot like the library at Diablo Valley Junior College, where I spent a lot of time. Note there aren't any windows visible in the picture. It did have windows, rather largish, but they are deeply buried in window wells, and I don't believe that there are any in the roof. It was always sort of depressing. But the collection was decent, for a community college.

The library proper was up on stilts at the edges, with the media center underneath in the center. The bare concrete substructure of the library floor/media center roof had waffle grid pattern was always a bit ominous - like a giant fly swatter. I can recall wondering whether, if the Big One struck while I was under, I could position myself in a hollow and survive. Probably not.

Ah, the memories. I spent many miserable hours trying to learn German in that media center.

Who decided that bare concrete was attractive, by the way? Ugly and gray, it's everywhere. Even the relatively new Lancaster Public Library is a grey/white concrete bunker. (I suppose it's a cheap finish.)

Yay, the present wrapping is done. Well, for the few presents I am giving. I'm a bit of a slacker this year, I feel, but the parents keeps saying "Gift Certificates". So be it.

I haven't done my cards though.

I did do my laundry and dishes, however. The new fish tank is in the living room, but I haven't installed it. I think the old stand may be part of the problem, something isn't level there. I vacuumed the downstairs a couple of days ago, it'll have to do.

I need to pack.

And drop off, and pick up presents, tomorrow night.

And do the bills.

I need to call my house/cat sitter as well.

A peeve of mine: web pages that:

Wednesday 20 December 2006

Wednesday - it's time for the big event, Link Wednesday!

I just made that event up. But anyway...

§ That Wallet Test. Who are the more honest of, uh, different groups? (Ans. Old women, that's who!)

§ Extreme high resolution imagery on the web. Pretty cool stuff. But it's definitely a fast DSL or Cable type of site. My low speed DSL lags noticeably. [via Ezster's Blog]

§ James Lileks mentions that they are tearing down the 1970's vintage library in Fargo.
I’m sad to see it go, but  understand: something with windows would be nice. That’s right:  the designers were so besotted with their empty spacious interior that they only allowed thin slits through which the outside world could be observed – and these were constrained by slabs of aggregate that jutted out around the glass, as if to shield you from Stabby the Sun.

Well, perhaps the new one will look like these.

§ Some Stars and Planets in Scale. A cool video showing how big/small things can be. Recommended!

§  An attempt to visit the planets...

§  It made me laugh-
With today's online order of a pony-size saddle blanket for my grandma, I have officially completed my 2006 Christmas shopping.

Sadly it's an older post, or I would have commented:    "You already have a saddle?"

§ How your professor really grades your exam.

§  No-one is above suspicion, no one.

§ Factoid of the day:

Did you know that cat food manufacturers spray something called Digest on cat food, which simulates the smell of rotting meat, to make it even more palatable to the ultimate customer? Well they do. But humans can only smell the Digest when their olifactory powers are enhanced by pregnancy. [via Cathy Siepp]


Tuesday 19 December 2006

Tuesday - I've got to wrap presents. I hate wrapping. If it's like most years then I will run out of wrapping paper or tape half way through. And I haven't even started my Christmas cards.

Bah. Bah Humbug!

Really, you do need eggnog and Captain Morgan to get through these Christmas things. Speaking of which, one of the engineers at work, a fresh graduate, tried some eggnog today at the DFRC Open House, after being teased by friends. She wasn't much impressed. Threw the rest of a small cup away after a sip.

I was discussing economics the other day with a friend - he's convinced the housing market is about to crash, and take the nations' and worlds' economies with it. I doubt it. We were discussing stock picks, "just in case", so maybe I'll send him to these experts... Miss May is up 37% for the year!

Interesting pick for a charity, considering what she does for a living.

 Monday 18 December 2006

Monday - Book #52 was The Tyranny of the Night, by Glen Cook. It was OK, not up to his best, but readable enough. He spends a lot of time developing his worlds, and sometimes I just can't get into the complicated politics and ethics of imaginary religions and countries. But it's a decent book anyway, in the Sword and Sorcery vein.

I put up some lights on the house - some new, colored, lights. Staggered around in the dark, in the misting rain, and managed to get a couple of strings up. I have the scars from the rose bushes to show for it. I also had a new string of "theater lighting" lights, but it turns out that it won't plug into the end of the lights I put up, it wants a standard 110Vac outlet plug. Well, so much for that, maybe next year.

Sunday 17 December 2006

Sunday - I've been following the news about the climbers in Oregon, on Mt. Hood. A terrible thing, but I have to wonder why someone would deliberately climb a mountain in the winter? Perhaps it is good practice for other places, glaciers and such, that always have snow and ice? I've hiked a bit - by necessity - in snow,  and it wasn't much fun.

The reporters keep asking if the search and rescue people have "given up". They never say that, and they will just keep hunting until they find the climbers, dead or alive, or someone calls them off - I've seen it here in Southern California and I'm sure it's the same up there.

Picture of the Week
Waterfall near the Mt. Whitney trail

Photo Notes: A waterfall and a wall of rock.

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