Sailing Hummingbird feeder
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WEEK 8 2005

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Saturday 26 February 2005

Saturday - not a lot to say. Got up late, went out to lunch with my father, spent the afternoon at Fry's Computers.

While talking to a salesman there it came out that he was an ex-Sun engineer, and still loved Solaris on the x86 platform. Another guy came up and had a question - it turned out that he, too, was a silicon valley employee that had been 'outsourced' a couple of years ago.

In the evening we watched 'Riddle of the Sands', an old VHS tape I picked up for a quarter at a yard sale. It's an amusing mystery/spy story, set, we realized at length, before WWI.

It has a young Michael York in it, and some nice sailing scenes - I had the impression that the director actually understood sailing and enjoyed the photography of the same. It's not amazing cine, but sometimes you can tell when directors and actors are enjoying their work.

Apparently the book itself, circa 1903, is heavy with nautical terms and Edwardian sentiment - I plan to read it, now that I've seen the movie.

Friday 25 February 2005

Friday - on the road. Another cat picture...

cat under table

Thursday 24 February  2005

Thursday - a beautiful sunny morning. I went for a walk - the Tehachapi's to the north have a snow cap, the San Angeles to the south none.

Update: Actually the taller mountains the the Angeles do have snow on them. It just wasn't visible earlier.

It seems that the Baby Name Wizard might come in handy - four couples that I know of are expecting. Odd. This time last year there weren't any, that I can recall

I see that I've lost internet connectivity for the second time this afternoon. What a pain.

Wednesday 23 February 2005

Wednesday - researching some thermodynamic stuff. Somewhat interrupted by the cat laying on the text every time I actually start to get anywhere. Sigh.

There's a quote to the effect that "a man who can concentrate his mind completely, for fifteen minutes, can solve any problem in the world". The author of the quote was clearly an Business major, any Engineering major knows the thrill of starting on a thermodynamic problem, and looking up after a bit to discover that it is four hours later.

The rain seems to be breaking, the big low off shore has now moved inland. We did get a nice five minute hail storm out of it today, and an eerie green sunset under some jet black clouds.

Tuesday 22 February 2005

Tuesday - not as much rain.

Over at the Achenblog the author makes a post about his kids leaving all the lights on. Immediately an enviro-nazi emails him on how his children should have been brought up, and insults his child raising skills. He properly mocks this (sigh) Californian...

The other day I sent my middle child to clean the interior of my car with Windex, and she found a bottle of "Windex" with a yellowish substance inside. I assumed it was new Lemon Scent Windex (or whatever), and dispatched her to the car. The interior is now fully coated with furniture polish. I drive through a world enveloped in a dense haze. I see shadowy figures, and fuzzy glowing lights that may or may not be traffic lights. It's a terrible way to go through life, but I'm too busy to track down the real Windex, and have chosen simply to adapt.

Same thing with household fixtures, appliances, pipes and other things that break, or begin to leak, or show signs of being at the end of their days. You could spend a lot of money bringing in a pricey professional to fix them, and you could also try to fix them yourself. But sometimes you just have to do nothing, and hope that these things somehow manage to heal.

Heh. Read the whole thing... Heck, read the whole weeks entry about his child raising techniques while the spouse is away.

Another remarkable image, the moon Rhea against a backdrop of Saturns rings-

rhea against Saturns rings

Monday 21 February 2005

Monday - still overcast and raining. Not as heavily as yesterday. Heh. I saw a report that Los Angeles has more rain this year than Eureka!

There is an article over at the Space Review on the NASA budget Hearings. Aeronautics is not even on the radar, apparently.

Once could argue that aeronautical sciences are mature and don't need the NASA/NACA resources they once did. Once could argue the converse, that space is still, apart from weather and communications satellites, pie-in-the-sky stuff. But the argument probably should happen publicly - somewhere (Congress?) other than USENET and the NasaWatch comment section! I'm neutral on this I think, I like space and airplanes both, but to gut the aeronautical research budget (and I think a nominal 25% to 50% cut qualifies) without even a discussion is just plain wrong.

Okay, interesting, NasaWatch has a link to an editorial at the Virginia Daily Press on this. "Bring Back the NACA". Of course there will be huge cuts in Langley's aeronautical budget and personnel, so cries like this from the local press are to be expected. Which doesn't mean they aren't correct.

A split mission like the NASA charter is always difficult to manage, the temptation being to focus/fund/staff one mission to the detriment of the other is always present. The FAA, with it's split charter to promote air travel and to make said air travel safe has had similar problems in the past.

Sunday 20 February 2005

Sunday - lots of rain. In fact it rained steadily from noon until well after midnight, perhaps the steadiest rain I can recall here in the Antelope Valley. The street is flooded. Most of Southern California is getting hammered.

Mostly I just spent the day reading and watching teevee. Not much else to do in this kind of weather.

The Baby Name Wizard will tell you how popular a name has been since 1900. In real time, with really cool graphic effects. As you type each letter the plot shows all possible names, refining down as you finish. "Cassidy" and "Britney" are going strong. Sadly my own first name seems to have been losing ground since the Edwardian Age ended.

name popularity graph
If you think this is bad...try searching for "Orville" or "Wilbur".

Picture of the Week
sun beams on mountains

Photo Notes: Sunlight and storm clouds on the Southern Sierra Nevada near Randsburg, California.

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