Archive for February, 2007


Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Here’s Loyal Reader Number Twelve looking particularly determined to give Grandma a hard time. She did a pretty good job of it too, from time to time. This picture is a couple months old because I haven’t received any new ones from Loyal Reader Number Five. Hint hint.

How nice to hear from Loyal Reader Number Sixteen in yesterday’s comments. How’s everything in the frosty north? Got enough Global Warming these days?

I went directly from work to church for my new member discussion. The new member didn’t show. Talked to him on the phone. He couldn’t get a ride. We’ll try again on Sunday after church. Sigh.

Busy day at work, rainy day outside. The commutes were just a little bit slow – not as bad as Monday but not as good as usual. I went to a going-away luncheon at The Fish Market in Santa Clara. I’ve eaten there many times before when I was traveling to Sunnyvale with ILS. The food’s pretty good, if a little too expensive for lunch. It was nice to go out, though.

There’s not much else to say today. Maybe it will stop raining tomorrow. I hope so, since the landscapers haven’t been able to work at all this week. The concrete truck is scheduled for Thursday, but it has to not be raining for that to happen. We’ll just have to wait and see. Sigh.

I just got a new issue of Make magazine. There’s an article about art-generating machines. That got me thinking – maybe that could be a project for the Arduino. Then I decided it would probably be more suitable for one of the computers. Then I thought it might be better to link a computer and the Arduino together somehow. Then I had the brilliant flash – why not link together every computer in the house to either cooperate or struggle against each other to create Great Art? Brilliant indeed. I’m going to get right to work on it.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, February 26th, 2007

Here’s one of the strangest racing cars ever built – the Bugatti Tank. Built in 1923 and raced – quite unsuccessfully – by Bugatti only once. Five were built and one was written off in its one and only race. That makes this a pretty rare car. Photo taken using my first (cheap) digital camera at the museum halfway between Nice and Cannes.

Short shrift today. It’s 9:31, home evening just ended, and it’s already time to wind down for the night. So there’s not much time for anything else.

Loyal Reader Number One was deathly ill all weekend. Very sad. He’s not fully recovered yet by any means, but I’m happy to report that he’s doing much better. Sadly, he had to miss some things he really wanted to do, some of which were mentioned in his comment to Friday’s post. Poor LRN1.

Otherwise, not much news. I did some Ward Mission Leader work, some home teaching, and a lot of reading. I really wanted to get my lantern rebuilding project done, but neither the weather nor my photographer’s health would support that. There’s always next weekend, though. Didn’t work on the websites either. Sigh.

Loyal Reader Number Four volunteered me to maintain the Modesto opera company’s website. They called today and were very interested in having my help. They asked her for my websites’ URLs. Having looked at those, I’m pretty sure they won’t be calling back. Sigh. I really need to get my website designer’s input (that’s Loyal Reader Number Two to you and me) and prettify these things up. It’s hard to get his attention on this subject, though.

I’m really enjoying those Bob and Ray radio shows. They’re low-key and hilarious. Highly recommended.

See you tomorrow!

Business end

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Here’s the aft end of a Proton rocket on its way to the launch pad a few years back. Picture courtesy of me. It was featured briefly on the ILS website, but it came down pretty quickly when the upper stage developed a problem immediately after it got to the pad and had to be returned to the processing facility for rework. And a several-week launch delay. Oops.

Fine day today. I ended up staying home, and we canceled our daily 10:00 meeting due to lack of interest, so I didn’t have to think about work much at all. I did read a bunch of emails and respond to some of them, and I did time cards in the afternoon.

Also finished all the planned weekend work on the Miata. I put the window channel rubber back in its proper place and lubricated it with silicone spray. I also lubricated the other window rubber just for good measure. They’re both moving up and down much more quickly (the windows, that is, not the weatherstripping, which was the problem in the first place). I kind of wonder whether the previous owner actually worked on the windows at all, as she had promised she would do. was a great resource for how to get it apart, as usual.

I also installed the new plugs and wires and I’m delighted to say that, while there’s still just a little power drop at around 3,000 RPM, it’s running way better now, it feels a lot racier, there is no longer any misfire, and it doesn’t smell like raw gasoline at the tailpipe anymore. There’s a nice, fresh exhaust smell now.

I love the smell of freshly-burned gasoline, don’t you? I mean really properly burned, catalyzed, and muffled exhaust. Maybe I should figure out how to make air fresheners with that smell. They’d sell really well to single guys. I have a sneaking suspicion married guys probably won’t be buying much of that particular product.

And speaking of the Miata’s previous owner, I had asked her to realign the headlights when I agreed to buy it; they were pointing in pretty much every direction but straight ahead. She promised to do it and said it was done, but when I got it home that first night, the headlight aim was just as bad as before. I was trying to figure out why she would have lied about it when I noticed a picture I had taken of the car at her house before I picked it up. The headlight doors were WAY out of alignment with the hood, and now they line up beautifully. So it turns out she misunderstood me and aligned the wrong thing. No problem, though, since I took care of the headlight aim myself, which was simple to do, and I have no idea how to align the doors with the hood. I may not have gotten what I wanted, but I definitely got what I needed. Cool.

The landscapers did a bunch of work on the back yard today. The cement forms are mostly in, the sprinklers are mostly in, and the cinder blocks for the wall are mostly in. They think they only have a day or two more work to do. I don’t have any reason to disbelieve them, but I’ll be pleasantly surprised if that turns out to be true. Seems to me like there’s still lots of work left out there. It will be really nice to have a pretty back yard again.

Spent most of the afternoon at an alignment shop in Stockton. The Suburban’s alignment has been pretty bad for a little while now, and we finally found the time to get an appointment. It seems to have stopped pulling, so I suspect they did a pretty good job.

Loyal Reader Number Four’s sister Melanie (link note: I wonder why Melanie is conducting college predatory classes) is coming to town tomorrow. LRN4 will pick her up at the airport and bring her here for the day. We’ll have a nice dinner and then she’ll go back to San Francisco for her conference or whatever it is she’s doing here. I’m looking forward to seeing her.

Poor Loyal Reader Number One. He’s feeling really sick today. He has a big piano competition tomorrow, and he hasn’t been able to do much practicing today, and he’s really hoping to at least not feel any worse tomorrow. I’m hoping the same thing. Get well soon, LRN1!

I think that’s enough for today. Have a great weekend.

Rollout day

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

Here are my friend Bill and me at a Proton rollout. Looks pretty cold, huh? Well, you’re right. It was freezing. One of us dressed properly for the weather, though, and suffered much less than the other. Photo by I don’t know who.

No post yesterday. As usual, my Wednesday meeting precluded the possibility. Thanks for your patience, Loyal Readers.

I’ve been listening to a bunch of old Bob and Ray shows on the iPod the last couple of days. I found them on the Internet Archive. In addition, I got a bunch of Blondie and Bob Hope radio shows, and there are plenty more where those came from. I really love those old shows.

The landscapers have started working on the back yard, but just barely. It rained cats and dogs this morning, and they can’t get much work done on such days. We even had a little hail. However, there’s a nice pile of cement blocks on the driveway, which I suppose is a start. I can’t get the convertible out of the garage until they move them, though. It’s still grounded for a couple more days anyway.

It’s off Friday tomorrow, and I’m planning to stay home again this week. I need to do a few hours’ work, but it’s just as easy to do it here and I don’t need to spend four hours driving just to spend three hours working. Maybe I can start getting the Miata’s door torn down too.

Loyal Reader Number Four just got home from the store, so it’s time to quit and be hospitable. See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

In keeping with the Macworld Expo theme, here’s an interesting modded computer we saw. Very strange, yet oddly compelling.

Very long workday today, so very short post. I had a bunch of stuff that simply had to get done, so I stayed until about 7:20 to do it. Fortunately, I’m ready for tomorrow now. The whole day was pretty hectic, and there’s a pretty long task list tomorrow, too. It’s nice to be busy.

Disaster! I rolled down the Miata’s window as usual to show the guard my badge, and the rubber in the window channel got pushed way up and all wadded up at the top when I rolled it back up. I’m not sure why, but I need to take the door apart to fix it. That will have to wait for the weekend, so the car’s grounded until Saturday. Dang.

And to make it even worse, the new plugs and wires arrived today! I could have installed them quickly on Thursday evening, but I guess I’ll let them wait for Saturday too. Plus, I want to rebuild the lantern that day too. Plus, I was hoping to bring the trailer home to clean up and fix up that day too. I think the trailer will have to push out unless I can manage to be home for a large part of the day on my off Friday this week. Time will tell.

Loyal Reader Number Four hired a landscaper today. It wasn’t the guy we talked to on Saturday, but we think he’s even better. There’s a good plan and a good chance it will be done within just a few weeks. We’re excited to get it done.

One other good thing today is that all the scriptures I ordered showed up today. I can give them to my new-member friends on Sunday, when Patrick is confirmed. Great!

It’s already time to get ready for bed. See you tomorrow.