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Merry ChristmasWEEK 52 2008Merry Christmas

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First Post, 17 March 2002
Six Years Ago, This Week, 2002 Five Years Ago, This Week, 2003 Four Years Ago, this week, 2004 Three Years Ago, This Week, 2005 Two Years Ago, This Week, 2006
A Year Ago, This Week, 2007

Wednesday 31 December 2008

Wednesday - New Years Eve.

I spent it working for free. Helping to put together a proposal for some more work. Can't really charge that kind of stuff. Worked fairly late, then went out for a nice spaghetti dinner with friends, and home and in bed by 10:30. I didn't even hear the fireworks go off.

If they did go off, it was in thick fog. There has been a pretty nice conjuntion, they say, of three planets and the moon in the western sky, but it hasn't been visible.

I have no idea of what is going on with the font here. Weird. I'll grab a different template for next week.

Happy New Years to you all.

Tuesday 30 December 2008

Tuesday - back to work. 

Monday 29 December 2008

Monday - of course, this should really be Week #53, but I decided long ago to just make Week #52 as long as it needed to be. Back to work anyway, putting in about a half-day. It's warm down in Ventura! Well, above 45F anyway.

Snippet from last week: watching Phoebe walk through the snow was entertaining. One step, then a shake of the left rear foot. Another step, shake the right rear foot. Another step, gnaw at the left forefoot. Another step, shake the right forefoot in annoyance. Repeat. And repeat. All while Riley watches from the safety and dryness of the concrete patio. Then the wind shakes the neighbors wind chime and both cats bolt for the house...

I cleaned and replenished the hummingbird feeder, despite the icy nights and cold days. Much to my surprise Mr. H came to visit, almost immediately. I would have thought the valley empty of them. Perhaps with their hyperactive metabolism the cold isn't that much of an issue.

Sunday 28 December 2008

Sunday - Not too much to say. Back to work tomorrow, so there is a lot of cleanup and washing to do. I thought I had it under control, but found another two loads of laundry. I also fixed some of the inspection gear, repacked the laptop, printed out the VBscript code, moved the vise to the correct location on the workbench, did bills, and other errands.

Riley is not happy with the signs of imminent departure. He went over and sat in a corner, back to the wall, and watched me. Poor little guy.

I watched the 'Niners win - which cost me a quarter - on the Slingbox. My brother is up in SF watching the game locally, so I could get the stream on my computer. Nice.
Saturday 27 December 2008
Saturday - feeling better. Indeed, my double dip bout of flu, or whatever it was, is easing and some energy and strength returning. I started organizing and cleaning the house - I referred to the bookshelf's, but that's only part of it. I also started cleaning the garage, because I was looking for some tools to work on the birthday telescope and could not even reach the workbench to find them.

It's so cold out that even during the day it's better to keep the roll-up garage door closed and use the house heat to keep the garage warm enough to work in. Fortunately it's an insulated door, so it works reasonably well - I can keep it at 50F or so.

Friday 26 December 2008

Friday - I took my friends daughter down to LAX in the morning - it seemed the least I could do after a home cooked mincemeat pie from Sheryl! And it was an OK trip, despite various threats on Thursday night from the weather people about ice and snow down to 2500' - the roads were clear and dry. There was almost no traffic. Ninety minutes to LAX from Lancaster, and then home again.

Riley, nearly ten years old now, is happily playing on the stairs, tossing a small Christmas stocking in the air, watching it with a predator's gaze for a minute or so, then pouncing!

It's odd. I was looking at a blog the other day, and there was a question about allowable skin temperatures for aluminum structures. The basic agreement by commenter's' was that, in lieu of a more specific question, one would normally use the simple mach dependent stagnation-temperature relation, relative to the static temperature at whatever flight altitude the vehicle was flying at. But someone mentioned that the Marquardt Rocket Ramjet Reader had a plot of that. A faint bell went off. I seemed to recall owning that pamphlet (I was a big ramjet buff in school).

So, after almost completely rearranging my aeronautical engineering bookshelves, I found this:

the Rocket Ramjet reader
Sixty Pages, including the index.

And it indeed had, on page 12, the correct plot:

rocket ramjet reader stagnation temperature
from page 12

So...where did the United Technologies imprimatur come come from? My first guess was that UT bought up the Marquardt Company in one of the many aerospace mergers of the last quarter century, but Wikipedia says otherwise, that Kaiser Aerospace bought them. Wiki has gotten things wrong before, and it's also possible that the ramjet technology division or group was sold off separately.

However, just to make things really weird, on the blog where this whole quest started...there is no reference to the MRRR now.

Thursday 25 December 2008

Thursday - Merry Christmas!

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Wednesday - Christmas Eve. Cold and gray out.

My good friends Roger & Sheryl have invited me over for Christmas eve, and Christmas day, so I won't be home alone, morose and feeling sorry for myself. Some of their family are already sick, so I didn't have to fear infecting them.

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Tuesday - after a sneezing and coughing fit today it became clear that I really couldn't go north and infect people for Christmas, up at my Dads'. It feels weird: that's always where I spend Christmas, has been for decades. I have missed perhaps one or two holidays there, over the years, not many more. Checking I see that the blog has me in Martinez for every Christmas from 2002 through 2007.

Bah. Hopefully I'll be well enough to get north for New Years.

My brother Mike stopped by and picked up a few presents to take north, from me to the nieces there.

Also the data disk with the *.WMA files on it. I never managed to turn them into music disks.

Book #54 was Mage-Guard of Hamor, by L.E. Modesitt. Modesitt has a formula that works for him and he just grinds these books out, a couple a year, year after year. Sure income for him. Except that it's a library book, so I didn't have to pay for it. My advice: if you can get it for free, read it, otherwise just re-read another Recluce novel that you already have, and get much the same experience.

Monday 22 December 2008 

Monday - cold and a bit wet out. My cold continues, but in a much milder fashion.

Book #52 was Use of Weapons, by Iain Banks, and his Matter was Book #53. These are more of the 'Culture' novels, and are very similar in style, plot, and outcome.

Books read this year:

The Year In Books, 2008
#1 The Family Trade
#2  The Hidden Family
#3 Around the World Single Handed: The Cruise of the "Islander"
#4 The Last Colony
#5 The Sea For Breakfast
#6 The Barbarians
#7 The Outback Stars
#8 Spindrift
#9 The Clan Corporate
#10 Fleet of Worlds
#11 The Sons of Heaven
#12 A Day on Mars
#13 Alexander Hamilton*
#14  Spindrift*
#15 The Third Lynx
#16 Lando*
#17 Lord of the Silent Kingdom
#18 GPS for Surveyors and GIS
#19 Over on the Dry Side
#20 Cruel Zinc Melodies
#21 Crystal Rain
#22 Daddy Long Legs
#23 Evil For Evil
#24 The Escapement
#25 Medieval Bridges
#26 Pastoral*
#27 Devices and Desires,
#28 Pale Blue Dot*
#29 A Sailing Primer
#30 On The Wrong Track
#31 To Ride a Rathorn
#32 Halting State
#33 Iron Sunrise
#34 America's Victory*,
#35 A Sundial in a Grave: 1610: A Novel.
#36 Juggler of Worlds
 A Dark Traveling.
#38 The Broken Worlds
#39 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay*
#40  In a Sunburned Country*
#41 By Schism Rent Asunder
#42 Still River
#43 Galileo's Daughter*
#44 No Highway*
#45 Monsarrat At Sea*
#46 Anathem
#47 Martin Van Buren
#48 Cold Oceans*
#49 Hell Hath No Fury
#50 Moonrise*
#51 Consider Phlebas
#52 Use of Weapons,
#53 Matter
#54 Mage-Guard of Hamor

The Year in Books, 2007 (64)

The Year in Books, 2006 (53)

The Year in Books, 2006 (53)

Sunday 21 December 2008

Sunday - the winter solstice is today. The shortest day of the year, in the northern hemisphere.

Megan McArdle had an interesting post the other day, where she wrote about the history of the auto companies in the US. I'm not sure how correct she is, but there was an interesting proposition buried in the middle of the article


But perhaps more importantly, Detroit turned from making money on cars to making money on financing.  Detroit didn't make a big profit by selling you a Ford Taurus.  It made money on financing your Ford Taurus; often, the car was sold at a loss in order to get the finance business.  The Big Three were banks manufacturing cars as a loss leader.

That's why they could afford to pay their workers above market wages.  They were not trying to make a profit on the manufacturing process.


Colored emphasis mine. Which is an interesting way to look at it. Is it true? I suppose you could look at the yearly reports, and figure out the profit margins of the various divisions, and see. I'm just not that dedicated. And all the comments to her post. Which are right, which are wrong, which are correct but mis-interpreted? I'd hate to be in Obama's shoes today.

Picture of the Week
House in the snow, Lancaster Ca., 2008
Photo Notes: House in snow, Lancaster, December, 2008.

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