Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31st

As the 1/8" fuel line for the plane had come in, we went and bought the 1/4" line and went over to the airfield.  The guy seemed to think that 20' was a lot, and even gave me a little extra.  Well, in your face, counter boy, we used pretty much 20', and 18 of the 20 hose clamps (I've only safety wired the 1/8" line).  We were scuppered by not having the drill, so we couldn't do the breather hoses, and by me breaking the old plastic 1/8" tee fitting for the primer lines, but that can be done later - it was too late to fly anyway.

After a shower we headed out to get some dinner - Outback were quoting a 2.5 hour wait (who the hell waits 2.5 hours for dinner?  I'm hungry _now_), so we ended up at the almost empty Fresh Choice, eating healthily.  It's OK, that means 2012 can be spent eating chocolate and donuts.  Right?

Oh, I was pottering around in the garage and noticed that the old window winders from the van were different, and the unbroken one matches the ones that I've put in.  Seems I'm not the first hamfisted idiot to wind up the windows :o)

We went to bed fairly early, as it had been a long day.  Tilly usually goes to bed before 10, so she ended up getting up on the bed when the fireworks at Sun City started.

December 30th

It was a day off here, so I wasted it playing Warcraft until the post showed up... I managed to break one of the window winders the last time I drove the van (hey, they're 26 years old...), so I ordered new ones (the brown ones seem to be unobtanium, and the black ones were $1.99 each).  They were here, so Tilly and I went into the garage to replace them.  Tilly's used to sitting in the passenger seat, but sits in the driver's seat when she can.  So, I confused her by sitting in the passenger seat to change the passenger side winder.  She came and sat on my lap, which wasn't particularly helpful.  Anyway, job done.  I'd ordered a few curtain hooks while I was at it, and there were 9 rather than the 10 I'd asked for.  Oh well, I'm not going to get into an argument over 45c of curtain hooks.  I now have the ends of all the curtains hooked up, which is the main thing.  I keep threatening to make (or get Vic to make) new curtains, but this is less important now :o)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 27th

The furnace wouldn't start again this morning, so I finally managed to get somebody to come and look at it.  They obviously read my blog, as they think it's the pressure switch, and have ordered one for me - it should be here in a few days.

December 26th

We went to see Vic's father in his retirement home, only to find that he'd had a fall in the morning, and had been taken to the hospital to be checked up.  So we had lunch then came home again.

We wasted the rest of day eating cookies and leftovers and playing computer games.  I've done all the instances I can solo from Wrath of the Lich King and Burning Crusade, so I'm now tending to run them to get equipment and stuff for Vic's druid.
I played with the remote control that Dad got me for my camera, and couldn't get it to work.  The manuals don't help, and I was ploughing through the menus when I discovered that you have to tell the camera to expect to receive commands from the remote.  Duh.

December 25th

I started the day tinkering in the garage with a mount for the new camcorder on the hang glider, then came in and sorted out the roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings to go with the turkey that Vic had already cooked.  Cooking the turkey first worked out well, as it meant I could have the oven hot enough that everything cooked well without soaking up too much oil.  Vince came and joined us for dinner, and there were very few leftovers - he took the wings and legs to strip and give to Lucky at the airfield :o)

December 24th

I spent some time in Warcraft, then started playing with the videos we've shot of Vic's hang gliding, ending up with this.  I'm quite happy with it, but we've agreed that we're going to look at actually shooting with an eye to making videos when we get a chance.  As the source is everything from 640x480 to 1920x1080 video, and stills up to 16mp, it's ended up at 480p.  I'm hoping to do something with just hi-def next time.  Movie Maker isn't really up to what I'm trying to do, based on the resolution, and I don't think Live Movie Maker is going to be that good to use.  I'll try Sony Vegas (it's available on a time limited free trial download) when we actually have something to work with.

Once it was past 4pm (midnight in the UK), we opened presents from the UK.  I threw the Kong frisbee for Tilly once before she ran off with it and started tearing it to pieces.  Yay.

Friday, December 23, 2011

December 23rd

We get today off, but sadly a lot of people don't, so I did some work in the morning.  I'm working my way through all the instances in Warcraft, and I've done everything in Burning Crusade (I forgot to do the Isle of Quel'Danas one, so I'll have to go back for that).  Today I started on the Wrath of the Lich King dungeons.

We went out to do a little shopping, and things are chaotic outside, so we got just the essentials, fake Jaffa Cakes and Mike's Hard Lemonada - we'll wait until after the weekend for all the nonsense like bread and meat.

I've started editing the videos from last weekend, and the first thing I need to do is get them into .wmv format so I can get them into Movie Maker 2.6 - I want to try a few little tricks to make up a short video that Vic can show people.  Anyway, I uploaded the cropped videos here, here, here, here and here.  I'll look at hacking about with the videos maybe tomorrow.

December 22nd

I got up disgracefully early and drove to San Francisco for work.  I'm thinking that a lot of people are taking the week off, as I got to the Bay Bridge before the metering lights were on.  Sadly that just meant the traffic over the bridge sucked, rather than queuing to get onto the bridge.

We had our Xmas lunch, and cleared the outstanding stuff, then I headed out, with a big tin of mince pies from the current Mrs Kelly that'll probably last me 3 days.  Traffic sucked and sucked the whole way home - getting out of the city was a miserable experience, compounded by queue jumpers whose time is obviously far more important than everybody else's.  There was a back up at pretty much every major freeway interchange, and then a long backup just outside Davis so everybody could slow down and stare at two cars being towed away.  It took me almost 4 hours to get home :o(

December 19th

I'd tried calling Vince a couple of times recently, and today he called us.  He's managed to bork his laptop, so we had a discussion about replacements (I suggested he order an i3 based one from Wallyworld, rather than just buy the in store Pentium for the same price, as it's a much better spec).  We went out to dinner, to discover that our Mexican restaurant is closed on Mondays, so we had Teriyaki.

We went home afterwards, and I hacked up Vince's old laptop to work with a fresh install of Windows XP so he can sell it, and lent him an old laptop of mine (that maybe I should sell) :o)

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 18th

We got up appallingly early and headed down to Ed Levin so Vic could go hang gliding.  There was pretty much nobody there when we arrived, so we ran Tilly for a while to get some of her energy out of her.  I dropped Vic off at the 600', and was wandering back to the Jeep when her instructor, Rich, showed up.  He'd seen her flight, and gave her another of her spot landings.  The next 600' launch gave her the last of the landings she needed, so now she just needs to pass the written test to have her Hang 3 certificate.

We loaded the Jeep with Vic, Don (Rich's other student), Rich and 2 gliders, and they drove up to the top launch while Tilly and I sat around and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  There were a lot of people up there, so we watched gliders, tandem gliders and paragliders launch until eventually Don and then Vic launched.  When everybody had done the chatting and congratulating (it was Don's first flight from the 1750' launch), we packed up and headed home.

We skimmed through the pictures (many) and video from the day, and I'm impressed at how well the camera works - you can read the logo on the harness from a fair distance away, for example.  We also took pictures of Tilly wearing a Santa hat, as she was too tired to put up much of a fight :o)

 
 

December 17th

We didn't really do a lot - mostly I was playing with the furnace trying to get the damned thing to start.  It looked like the burners weren't firing, so it wasn't working at all.  I climbed back down, and was calling around to try and find an HVAC place that was open when the bastard thing started up.  I've figured out that it only runs when the ladder's leaning against the wall.  Ah well, I can try and find somebody to come and look at it during the week, and not have to pay an emergency call out fee :o)

The high point of my day was finding the replacement for the video cameras I bought for hang gliding on sale for less than half price, with free overnight (=Monday) shipping.  I bought one, and am fully expecting a message to say "there's been a horrible mistake, sorry".

I played with some of the mounts in the garage, and then we got the Jeep all set up to go hang gliding.

Update - I've got a tracking number, so I'm getting it :o)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 11th

I spent the morning tinkering with Warcraft, finishing ripping the CDs and then doing chores, like cutting the grass.  Oh, the fun it never starts.

I've started using the weather station to send my MP3s to Google Music, so I can listen to everything on my tablet, laptop and work machine via the interwebs, rather than having to copy everything everywhere.  It's on all the time anyway, so I'm hoping I canget everything uploaded overnight.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December 10th

I started the day tinkering with the computer and playing Warcraft while ripping CDs.  5 drawers down now, 3 to go.  I ran the Oculus solo, which is great until the last quest where you're stuck on a dragon, so you need a group.  Oh well...

We went to the airfield, where we did 6 circuits and came down when it started to get busy.  We were pulling the BRS parachute off when Larry showed up.  He helped me get the last carabiner off, then I pulled the Flightstar out of the hangar again so he could go flying in his wobbly with Vince.  We swapping in the new carb boots - the old ones were starting to crack, so this is just in time.

Vic went to a candle / housewarming party in the evening.  We had intended to go to other things later in the evening, but when she got home, neither of us felt up to venturing out again.  I sat and took pictures of my feet with the new camera to see what the different settings do.

December 8th

Vic's started playing World of Warcraft, so now we can squabble over who gets to play, when.  She's set up a Worgen character, because I don't have one, so I've never done the background quests.  She's a druid, and I already have one of those :o)

December 7th

We watched the last of the Hairy Potter movies.  The effects were OK, but I found the whole thing pretty dull, to be honest.

December 5th

My new camera arrived, so I spent a little time unboxing it and playing about with it.  The manual's not as big as I'd have thought, so chances are it's mostly on the CD that came with the camera.  Great, more clutter to install.

We went out to dinner with John, and Jen showed up from just buying her new diesel Golf.  She claims it doesn't sound like a bag of hammers, but we'll see how long before she fills it up with petrol :o)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December 4th

I started the day playing Warcraft while ripping CDs - talking to Andy has made me realise that there's a lot o' stuff I don't have on MP3s.  I did one of 8 drawers full of CDs before going out and clearing the leaves on the patio.

I went to Autozone and had them test the house battery from the van, and it's OK, just in a low state of charge.  When I went to pick Mum and Dad up, the stereo had lost all its settings, but the battery seemed to charge OK (at least, I could listen to the stereo).  When we went camping, after a ~3 hour drive, the battery was on charge for about a day.  I reckon it went flat sitting for so long, and the extra amperage has damage the 30A charge relay somehow.  I changed the relay (I'll test the old one sometime) and put everything back together.

John's in town, and crashing with us.  When he showed up, we went over to Gwen's for dinner, as a belated Thanksgiving thing :o)

December 3rd

I started out trying to rake up the leaves from the wind storms we've had this week, but decided to just get the worst of it when the wind started to pick up again.  Stupid weather.

I took Tilly for her annual inspection, where she got several shots.  She was all manner of clingy, but seemed OK.  A crazy old woman in reception was telling me how clever "he" was and how I should show "him", while not really understanding that _she_ was a mutt and was 4 years old, not a puppy :o)

I've started playing with Mint as a possible replacement for Quicken.  I dunno, I'm using Quicken to make sure I don't go overdrawn or something, and Mint just shows you what the banks know about.  Still, it does look like less work than updating a bunch of Quicken stuff by hand.

As the weather's been sucky, I resubbed to Warcraft, only to not really have any defined goals.  Well, I guess I can work on maxing out my toons' trades, and maybe run a few lower level dungeons solo.

I've decided that the house battery in the van is dead, as it was charging for about a day when we went camping last week.  The standard van battery is a group 41, which is getting harder to find, but I've put a higher capacity group 48 in the driving battery.  So, I took the van to pieces so I could get both batteries out, and the 48 will fit in the house battery spot under the driver's seat.  While it was out, I noticed that while it was ~5 years old, it has a pro-rated warranty to 100 months, so I called Sears (where I bought it) and they said I'd get ~$40 off a $170 replacement battery.  I'll look into that a little more tomorrow, I think.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December 1st

It was the SPCA open house, so we went and mingled.

New month, so the electrickery:

Power billed, as the hot tub is on again









Power generated










Oh, I got to register the YSR again - has it really been a year?  Oh, that's right, it hasn't, as it took forever to sort everything out last year.  Also, how come 2 tons of Vanagon is $90, but 200lbs of YSR is $80?  Jeez, anybody'd think the system's stupid.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30th

It's been bloody windy all day, so a lot of the leaves have left the tree, but hopefully they're away down the road by now.  I'm hoping they're not all blocking the gutters.  Again.

After work, I got up in the roof and found that the pot I'd left for the furnace was almost full of water, but the thing has been struggling to start.  Screw it, I've plugged it all back as it was before I started.  I'm thinking that the pressure switch could well have failed, so now I just need to figure out how to test it, and where I'd get a replacement.

November 29th

The furnace didn't want to start this morning, but eventually it did, and warmed the house up.  So, I got up in the roof and unplugged all the hoses from the drain for the furnace, and put them into a pot to catch the water.  We'll see what happens now.

November 27th

It was a pretty grim day, so we just did chores around the house.  The furnace seems to be behaving itself at the moment, but I know not why.  I'm thinking I'll be looking at getting a little man in sometime soon.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 26th

We packed up our stuff, as it looked like it was going to be a nice day, and headed home.  Tilly whined a little, then settled down and went to sleep.  When we got home, she checked that everything was where she'd left it, then crashed out.

November 25th

We were still camping, but we took Tilly to the sea side, so she could play in the ocean for the first time - other than that, she's paddled in a river :o)

November 24th

We were camping, so we spent the day avoiding showers, walking Tilly and sodding about in the camp site.  Oh yeah, and it was Thanksgiving, so we celebrated a year of stealing people's land by eating turkey.  Wait, what?

November 23rd

We packed up the van and drove down to the campsite to meet Scott and Becky and friends.  It took us a few minutes to set up, and then we set about the important tasks, and by that I mean entertaining Tilly.  She'd whined the whole way there, but she was happy to play with Daisy and Zeus, and go for a series of long walks around the camp site.

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21st

As this is a 3 day holiday week, I decided to take those 3 days off and have 9 days not working.  I need some time off, even though the weather's decided to screw up anything we'd planned.

I've been tinkering with the Dell Streak, to try and get it to run as a decent GPS.  Yeah, good luck with that - most of the software I'm finding sucks.

There are leaves all over the garden again, so I cleared those.

In the evening, we went to dinner with Gwen and Walter.

November 20th

I got up on the roof to check that the furnace vent wasn't blocked, then went and totally failed to get a replacement hose.  Luckily it's designed to run vertically or horizontally, so there's a blocked hose at the top.  I took that one off, and used the plug in it to plug up a short length of the buggered hose, then used that hose to replace the buggered up one - apparently the manufacturer doesn't like selling spares to DIYers, so 2 rubber hoses cost around $75.

The van's started idling at around 1500rpm, so I prepared for the worst and opened the engine hatch.  The cruise control adjuster had come undone,so it had been slowly tightening up the throttle cable.  Sadly it looks like the threads on the adjuster are crap, so I've put another nut in there as a spacer to get to the unbuggered thread.  It looks like it'll work, and it's easy to get off now I know what the problem is.

The furnace was still throwing errors when I stomped away in a huff, but it seems to be working for the moment.  We'll see how long that lasts.

In the evening we had a marathon Dr Who watching session, and we're almost up to date now.

November 19th

I started out by clearing the leaves in the front garden, then went to look at the furnace which seems to not be working.  I can't see anything obviously wrong with it, but I don't know what the hell I'm looking for.  It lights when it's supposed to, but then goes out.  Except when it doesn't.  I took the flame chamber apart and vacuumed out a bunch of dead moths, and that seems to have made no difference at all.  I then looked at the drainage lines from the condensers, to find one was full of water, but it fell apart when I unplugged it.  I'll look for a new one tomorrow, and go from there.

Friday, November 18, 2011

November 17th

I went in to San Francisco, as Romer's visiting from Philadelphia.  We worked, did lunch, then played poker.  I managed to get away up a bit, for a change, but then Dave and I had to beg entry into the car park to get our vehicles out - apparently "closes at 7pm" means "closes at 7pm".  It was a long drive home, as the traffic was pretty sucky all the way across the Bay Bridge - usually once I get to the bridge it's plain sailing, but it wasn't.

Tilly's taken up stealing the toothpaste tube as a trophy, which makes a change from the tea towels.

November 14th

We watched Attack The Block - mostly because Nick Frost is in it.  It's funny, and I didn't have to translate once!

November 13th

We didn't go flying, as Vic wasn't feeling up to it.  It's ~6 hours' driving, with Tilly getting more and more excited as we get there.  We just lazed around and wasted the day.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 12th

I did the usual weekend chores, then we took the van over to Lincoln and took the Flightstar up for a couple of circuits.  It wasn't too cold at all, but when it started to get busy, we came in and packed everything away.  On the way to get something to eat, we saw Larry, which I thought was interesting, as he'd only have time for a couple of circuits before it got dark.  Sure enough, he only got in a couple of circuits.

When we got home, we got the Jeep all racked up and ready to go hang gliding tomorrow, then caught up on some of the TV from the week.

November 11th

Hey, today's 11/11/11, and at 11:11:11, I was working.  Whatever.  After work, we met Gwen and Walter for pizza.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 6th

As it had stopped raining, I wasted most of the day just clearing leaves and cutting the grass.  Oh, the joys of home ownership.

November 5th

We went out and put the van back together, and I managed to chip a few bits of the bed liner off while doing it - no problem, I can touch those in.  We also spent a little while fixing a couple of electrical problems - a burnt out fuse, and a couple of corroded joints. 

I've bought a Dell Streak tablet, and started trying to get it to work as an offline GPS.  I've also installed Angry Birds, so there goes my weekend.

As it was raining, there wasn't much else to do, so we watched Priest, a pretty decent vampire comic book, sorry, graphic novel, adaptation and had a quiet night in.

November 3rd

I was bored after work, so I pulled the masking tape off the van.  In a few places it's pulled the paint off, too.  As I've previously discovered, the respray wasn't done that well, so I'll have to look at patching a few places when it warms up a little (it's too cold to spray now, I reckon).

November 2nd

We went out and put a second coat of bed liner on the van - I used the roller and Vic filled in the bits I'd missed with a small brush.  It's not looking at all bad, and I'm quite liking the green masking tape go faster stripe :o)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October 31st

After work we pulled the racks off the Jeeps, then caught up on the Hallowe'en TV episodes while I trimmed the videos from the weekend.  Seems that I didn't click the record button far enough forward on the wing camera for the 2nd 2 flights, but hey, you get the staff you pay for.

I was playing with stuff in Youtube, and found that you can change the background audio - I chose one of the older videos and tried "I'm feeling lucky", and it chose "Bodies" - hmmm... not the feeling I was going for :o)

Oh, this month's electrickery:








and what we generated:

October 30th

We got up terrifyingly early, threw the glider on the Jeep and waited for Gwen to arrive before heading down to Ed Levin.  Vic got 3 jumps from the 600' launch, and one of those counted as a spot landing towards her Hang 3 qualification.

I discovered that my 14x zoom camera also zooms up to something crazy like 50x digitally, but it's almost impossible to hold it steady at that level, and the picture looks crappy.

Tilly got to run around the dog park for ages before we headed back - she was busy stealing a tennis ball from a 2 year old German Shepherd called Rocko.  He wasn't too bothered, as he got to chase her - she's a lot quicker than a Shepherd :o)

When we got home, Gwen headed off home (lightweight) and we went to dinner with Vince, who's having the usual run-around with the insurance company about his bike.

October 29th

I got it into my head to do some work on the van today, so I pulled the bumpers, lights and mudflaps, them spent a stupid amount of time masking it up so I could paint the wheel arches, under the bumpers and suchlike with pickup bed liner.  The paint's bloody hard to work with, and by the time I'd finished the first coat, it was drying pretty quickly.  I'll leave it a couple of days before going around again with a second coat.

I've been toying with getting an iPod Touch, and we went to see somebody who's selling one.  The thing is, first he gave me the wrong street, then he'd decided to put the price up $10 while we were driving over there, so screw that guy.

In the evening we watched Thor, put the rack on the Jeep then had an earlyish night.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

October 28th

We watched Captain America, which didn't suck too hard.  Now we need to see Thor before the new Avengers movie next year.

We went to watch CSI:NY only to find it was CSI:Miami, which we hate.  I wonder what happened to cause the change?

October 26th

After work, we got to sit in the hot tub for a soak :o)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 25th

After work we went out and started on the hot tub.  I undid the heat sensor (that was caulked in!), then cut the sensor off the wire while Vic plugged the hole, then I plugged the hole while she taped the new wire to the old wire and pulled it through.  Then I screwed the new sensor (with it's la-di-da O ring) in, and went to wire it to the connector.  Here's where I discovered that it looks like there was possibly nothing wrong with the old one - the wires didn't look to be pushed in properly, and I'm betting that the controller fails to a high temperature when it's getting an intermittent read.  Bugger - still, I've cut the old wire, and the new one's fitted.  On turning the power back on, it read 88F, which is probably a lot closer to the truth than the 118F the old sensor was reading.  Yay.

We went out to get something to eat to celebrate, and so Vic could show me a local house that's decorated with spiders for Hallowe'en.  Some people here really get into their holidays :o)

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24th

Vic took the van to get smogged, and the place I usually go couldn't do it "because they don't have the specifications".  I want it tested, not tuned, and they were perfectly happy to just test it the last 2 times it's been there.  Anyway...

Luckily the 2nd place she went were quite happy to just test it.  It passed, but the NOx was high on the 15mph test - I'm thinking that's because there's no exhaust gas recirculating system on it.  I'm not going to worry unduly, I'll just try and remember to put some good premium gas in it before the next smog test in 2 years.  I registered the van so I can cross that off my "to-do' list, even though it's not due until December.   It's $90, so I don't think the loss of interest on that'll kill me.

Oh, I went to the gym, and it wasn't as bad as I'd feared it was going to be.  Yay.

I spoke to the guys at the spa place, and they agreed that swapping the sensor out is fairly easy, but said I shouldn't just let the water leak out of the hole while I change it - apparently it can (so, with me, will) end up on the pumps and stuff, and that's bad.  Or something.  Anyway, I went ahead and ordered 2 sensors online (so I'll never have this happen again), as they have them in stock and the spa place suggested 2 weeks to get them in.  The place I ordered them from is in Roseville, by the look of things, so it would be nice if they arrive tomorrow.

We had a call from the pet microchip people, as our next door neighbour's put us down as an emergency contact for his dog.  That he's given to somebody else.  Of course, we can't find him at the moment, so Vic had a long conversation with the people who have found Jacobi... it sounds like he's not far from his new home, we just don't know where that is yet.  Hopefully we can grab Bill later and get him to sort all this out :o)

October 23rd

I got up early and went out and cursed the hot tub, as the temperature sensor has failed again, so it thinks it's running waaay too hot, and turns itself off.  I managed to get it to run long enough to add the last chemicals (to increase the water hardness), but it's now switched off.  I called the spa place, and they say the sensors are temperamental, but they'll look into things and call me tomorrow.  I did a little research, and it looks relatively easy to replace the sensor, and they're cheap enough that I'll just order 2, to make sure the first one lasts forever.

We were (well, Vic was) expecting a guinea pig looper to show up, so I cut the grass (the green waste bin is now full... shame I need to cut the grass again next weekend before it gets emptied) and wore Tilly out before she showed up, with 4 pigs that Vic's fostering for a while.

In the evening we watched Bad Teacher (predictable, but funny in places), and I then failed to get to sleep until about 4am.  Dunno why.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 22nd

The Apocalypse was a bit of a disappointment.  Again.  I'm starting to think that Harold Camping hasn't got a clue WTF he's babbling about.

We went out and cleaned the hot tub, and filled it with water.

As I was sore, I spent a goodly chunk of the rest of the day pulling bits off the hedge down the side of the house.  I'm trying to make it less cluttered so it grows in better, to replace the volume we lost when Bill cut it back to the fence on his side.

After that, I ran some errands in the van, and looked at a few toys in Best Buy.  We'll see what happens when the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales are on.  I got the water tested, and dumped a pile of chemicals in (calcium, cleaners and so on) while it was heating up.

In the evening, we walked Tilly down to Coldstone to get some ice cream.  I had something without any chocolate in it, so she could lick to tub clean when I was almost finished.

October 21st

After work we braved the coming Apocalypse and barbecued.  Scott and Becky came over, and brought Bug with them to entertain Tilly.

Friday, October 21, 2011

October 20th

My back's getting a little better, but now my shoulder's started to hurt - I usually tense up when I'm aching, so I think that's caused me to pull that muscle.  At this rate, I'll never get better :o(  I've been deliberately not going to the gym, so I don't screw myself up any more, but I'll try and get back there next week even if my back's still bad.  At least I can go on the stepping machine or a bicycle or something.

October 19th

Vic and Christina had watched Bridesmaids yesterday while I was working, and declared it to be funny, so Vic and I watched it after Christina had gone back to Monterrey.

October 17th

After work we watched Zookeeper - it was predictable, but funny enough.  Tilly enjoyed the animals :o)

October 16th

I was still feeling my back, so I pretty much just bummed around the house today.  It sucks to be getting old :o(

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 15th

Vic and Christina got up early and headed down to Lake McClure for their Oktoberfest meeting.  I stayed in bed, and after a while of not being able to get back to sleep, got up.  I tinkered around with the computer for a while before breaking down and cutting the grass.  At some point I've managed to hurt my back, I'm not really sure how.  I finished cutting the grass, and sat inside feeling miserable for a bit.  I had some errands to run, so I eventually dragged myself out to run them.

While I was out, Larry called and said he and Vince were going flying, so I toddled out to see if I felt like flying - I didn't.  There's a bunch of new junk in the hangar, as Ken's obviously been on some sort of buying spree.  Vince showed up, and has some very colourful bruises after his adventures on Thursday.  I went home, and just watched TV until the ladies got back, when I got to watch them unload the hang glider.

October 14th

Christina was coming up to stay with us for a while, so we waited around for her to show up.  Apparently there were 5 separate accidents on the way up.

While we were waiting, we got the Jeep all racked up - I've included a sacrificial aluminium bracket on the light bar that Dad suggested - the idea is that it'll stop the light bar being worn away by the ladder bouncing on it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

October 13th

Vince called me to say he'd been knocked off his bike for the first time in over 20 years.  It appears that some old dear did a U-turn from the right hand lane without looking, scooping him up on her way.  He's fine, but the bike'll be written off for the scuffs and dents.  He rode it over to show us before going to A&S to get a written quote.  As the fuzz showed up, and she admitted everything was her fault, it shouldn't be too hard to get this all sorted out.

October 12th

Despite the stupid holiday that nobody who doesn't work for the government celebrates, the new wheel nuts for the van showed up, and got fitted.  Yay.

Vince and I rode over to the Chinese buffet place for dinner, and he signed the annual off for the plane.  Yay.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 10th

I received my wheel nuts for the van, only to find out I'd been sent 20 wheel bolts.  No, I don't understand the logic - stock Vanagons have 10 bolts and 10 nuts, the Syncro and vans with the big brake kit have 20 nuts, _nobody_ has 20 bolts :o)  I spoke to Van-Cafe, and they're sending the correct nuts and a label to send the bolts back :o)

In the evening, we watched X-Men: First Class, and thought it pretty good.

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 9th

We got up - I'd hardly slept as Russ snores like a train - and headed over to the Glen Canyon Dam.  After that we had the worst breakfast experience at a Denny's that I've ever had, then headed in to town to get the Antelope Canyon tour, where we took a bunch of pictures.  After that, we went to Horseshoe Bend, and then back across the Glen Canyon bridge on our way back to Las Vegas via Utah to fly home again.



October 8th

We got up early so Vic could drop me at the airport, where I flew to Las Vegas to meet Russ and Dad.  We rented a car (I'd hoped for a Cadillac CTS, but they were all out, so we got a Lincoln Towncar) and headed to the Hoover Dam to take some pictures.  After sorting out the GPS, we actually got there :o)  From there we drove to Page, Arizona, where we crashed the night.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October 5th

I sloped out of work a little early, and headed out to get the new tyres fitted to the van.  I was just up the road when there was a lot of noise coming from the back, so I was slowing down to pull over when I saw the wheel nuts fling off the rear wheel in the mirror.  I carefully stopped off the road, and went back to look for the wheel nuts.  I found 3, and put them back on, and went back to look again, and found another one.  At this point the police showed up.  2 cars.  Apparently somebody had called to say I was wandering around looking for something.  I gave up looking for the last nut, and just did the 4 I had up really tight and headed over to get the new tyres fitted.  They didn't have a spare that would fit, so I carefully drove home, then put on one of the stock wheel nuts.  Obviously I'm not driving with my usual wild abandon, but the new Geolandar tyres seem quiet and well mannered, which is what Stephan said he's seen with them on his Syncro.

I'll order a whole new set of wheel nuts tomorrow.

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3rd

It's good to get back to work for a rest :o)

October 2nd

I ran Mum and Dad to the station so they could head down to Los Angeles, then went home to rest up and watch TV with Tilly.  Tilly's very tired, having had to entertain 4 people for the last week.

Vic went to Barktoberfest, but I just laid around the house.  Oh, and cut the grass.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October 1st

I was disappointed to find that the new tyres for the van won't be here until next week, so we dinked around the house most of the day, playing with Tilly while Mum and Vic went to an eggplant festival.  In the afternoon, Dad and I went to pick up another iPad Touch from Fry's, then on to the airfield so we could go up for a short flight - there was a cold front coming through, so we cut things short.

New month, new solar readings...

Power we've been billed for










Power we've generated

September 30th

We pretty much sodded about all day.  I did replace the worst of the wheels on the Vanagon with the spare, for the drive over to the tyre place when they're ready.

In the evening, we barbecued, and Vince and Jen came over to eat.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September 29th

We got up early and went to the airfield to try and get an early morning flight, but Vince was there doing the annual.  Apparently Thursday morning is the time when Lincoln is hopping - there were a lot of planes coming and going, and doing circuits.  Mum and I ended up going up for 30 minutes at Vince's insistence, and afterwards we went for frozen yogurt.

In the evening, we met Scott and Becky for dinner.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September 28th

We decided to go up to Apple Hill, mainly to get some apple wine.  We took the van, and it's developed a worrying wobble from the rear end.  I was figuring it had lost a wheel weight, but I couldn't see any sign of this when we got there.  We went to a couple of orchards, and things were a lot worse on the way home - not a wheel weight then.  Running in neutral proved that it was unlikely to be an engine mount, so I was thinking along the lines of a CV joint, or a wheel bearing, and limped home.  Not one, but two of the tyres are starting to separate.  I briefly spoke to Stephan at the Autohaus about the Yokohama Geolandar tyres he's running, and then ordered a set of those.  They're light truck tyres, so are going to be a lot stronger than the passenger tyres I'm currently running, despite the 1600lb per corner weight rating.  Hopefully they'll be in in a couple of days.  In the meantime I'll put the spare on to replace the crappiest tyre, and not drive the van anywhere.

September 27th

Mum and Vic were going to some nursery or other, and looking for shoes, so Dad and I went to see about a test drive in a Chevy Volt.  I came away very impressed, as it's obviously quiet, but it's quick and handles pretty well.  In a perfect world, I'd be looking to drive it with the onboard generator running, to see how noisy that is, but meh.  So, a 20 minute, 12 mile test drive used 3.7KWh - about 90 minutes of absolute peak daylight generation from the solar panels on the roof.  And that, ladies and germs, is why it's so hard to get away from petrol as a fuel source.

On the way back, we stopped at Harbor Freight, so Dad could see how you can buy enough tools to hurt your back carrying them for $25.  Then we went to Fry's, where he ended up with a Macbook Air.  And an iPod Touch to replace his PDA.  Pretty much the rest of the day was spent playing with those - it only took us 15 minutes to figure out how to click on stuff.  I sense a fairly steep learning curve :o)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 26th

Dad and I went over to Freedom Field to check that Vince is still alive - we've not managed to get hold of him for about 2 weeks.  He's blaming his phone.

We went to Best Buy and the Apple store, as it's starting to look like Dad's going to get a Mac, and in the evening met Gwen and Walter for dinner, then went over to their house so Mum and Dad could see it.

September 25th

We got up early and went to Ed Levin, where Vic did one flight from the 1750', and 2 from the 600' launch.  Afterwards we went to her mother's for dinner, and so everybody could meet up.

Tilly was happy to see us when we got home - she'd spent the day with her Aunty Gwen, but she was a little bit off around bed time.  She woke up at 4am and was sick, and was right as rain after that.

September 24th

We just pottered around for the day.  Vic and Mum went to a nursery, and Dad and I went to Fry's to look at toys.  They picked us up and we went to dinner at the Claim Jumper, only to find that they no longer server liver or brisket, so they're probably off our list of things to do next visit.

September 23rd

I got up early and took the Van into San Francisco to work from the office.  Mum and Dad showed up at lunch time, so we threw their stuff in the van and went to lunch.  They wandered off, and after work we headed home again.  It was a pretty long trip back, as it seems everybody was slowing down to look at everything.  When we got home, Tilly ran out into the garage and went to jump into the van, but there was somebody there already, which she found most upsetting :o)  Everything worked out OK, and she spent the rest of her evening playing ball.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September 19th

Arrr, ye scurvy dogs, it be Talk Like A Pirate Day.

September 18th

I'd managed to pinch a nerve in my back yesterday, and today this pretty much stopped me from doing anything.  At least I finished my book.

September 17th

I started the day getting up on the roof to wash the solar panels.  Well, first I dropped the ladder on myself, bruising my shoulder and elbow.  Then I found that the window washing stuff that I'd used last time had either leaked out or evaporated away.  Bugger.  I managed to put the squirty hose nozzle back on, but didn't have the usual bucket of soap with me, so I just rinsed them off... that'll do for now.

In the early evening we went to Lincoln and took the Flightstar out for a tootle around the area.  It was cooler than it's been recently, so the plane flew quite nicely, plus it wasn't so bumpy.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

September 16th

We barbecued, and Don and Lori came down the hill to join us, Gwen and Walter.  It was nice to see everybody, and Tillamook had an absolute blast keeping everybody playing ball with her.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 14th

We watched Ironclad, which is a lot more depressing than the other movies we've been watching recently.  Good film, though.

September 13th

I went to the dentist this afternoon, for the usual teeth scraping and counting - apparently my teeth are in good condition, despite the amount of Dr Pepper I drink :o)

We watched Your Highness, and it's nice to see Natalie Portman do something less serious.  The movie was OK, but rude words != humour.

September 12th

We watched Paul on DVD, and wholeheartedly enjoyed it again.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th

I spent more time looking at the desktop monitor thing, and realised that the 2511x (driven by the HDMI port) was scaled down - I couldn't get the Catalyst Control Centre to see the monitors, so I pulled apart the office, and set it all up again.  The monitors are now driven by VGA and DVI, they just swap between the laptop and the desktop.  I've also put the HP on the left, so it doesn't reflect the back door - it has a shiny screen :o)

I upgraded the graphics drivers and gained control via the CCC, but also lost the scanning line, so imma call that good for the moment :o)

I can't switch between the laptop and the desktop without playing with the monitor inputs, but I pretty much never run them both at the same time anyway.

September 10th

While in San Francisco, I picked up a docking station for the work laptop, and this'll allow me to run 2 external monitors (plus just yank the thing out when I'm headed to the office, rather than spend 20 minutes unplugging everything).  So, I wanted a second monitor.  Sadly everything's 1080 lines these days, but I picked up an HP2511x on sale at Frys.  I plugged that in as a second monitor, and it all appears to work OK, but there's a weird scan line on my desktop on the 2nd monitor (I swapped the monitors over in the control panel, and it moved to the 2nd monitor).  I'll have to look into that at some point, but I don't use the desktop that much in the summer - I'm not playing Warcraft until the weather turns :o)

Walter and Gwen came over to play with Tillamook, and then we headed over to the airport - Gwen has a pop up trailer that she wants to make a rack for, so we picked up the remains of an old hang glider and headed home - Walter and I have a good idea how it'll all go together, we just need to sit down and cut stuff and drill other stuff.

It looks like there's a storm on the way in, so the wind is all manner of pissed off - I decided against flying this evening, so we just sat in and watched TV.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September 6th

I got up disgracefully early so I could ride the DRZ to San Francisco for work.  It was a weird ride in, and the dense for around Vallejo and an accident that everybody slowed down to gawk at meant I was later into the office than usual, and the traffic was heavier on the Bridge.

In the evening I lost $20 at poker so I was allowed to leave and ride home - Tilly was happy to see me, once I took off my helmet, of course.

September 5th

Today was Labo(u)r Day, when Americans celebrate the successes of the union movement by going shopping.

We took Tilly over to the airfield so she could run and chase her frisbee, boomerang thing and ball, which she did until she was knackered.  On the way home, we found that she'd actually worn one of her toenails down to the quick, so she was bleeding on my shorts.  No sense, no feeling.

In the afternoon we met Larry at Lincoln, and when Vince showed up, we all flew over to Far West Lake, and pottered around the foothills until it was starting to get dark.  I was going to do a straight in approach to 15, but there was somebody else in the area, and he ended up doing a straight in approach to 33 - landing downwind!  I then extended my downwind to let Larry do a straight in approach for 15, and we both scurried along the runway to get out of the way of an incoming Pilatus turbine.  Everything worked out OK in the end :o)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September 4th

I managed to get up on the roof and wash the solar panels, and cut the grass, and all the other stuff I've been meaning to do.

I called Vince for a chat, and he said he was waiting for Larry to call him, and he was going to meet him at Lincoln.  Fine, I said, we'll see him there.

We went to Lincoln and threw in an hour of circuits while waiting for Larry to arrive - he didn't, so we packed up and headed home, passing a powered parachute on the way :o)

September 3rd

I tidied up in the garage a little, as there have been too many "projects" lying around undone.  I can see the work surfaces again :o)

After that I rode the DRZ over to see Jeff's new workspace - he's gone from about 600', and having to move customer's bikes outside every day to get to work to having 2400' and having enough space to set up a ping pong table.  Or, it seems, an archery range.  I "helped" him put the motor back in a Honda quad that he's bought - he's put off customers until next week to allow him time to move.

In the evening, we went and met the crazy cat ladies SPCA volunteers for the monthly dinner.  Jen came - we haven't seen her for ages.

September 2nd

We barbecued, but nobody showed up.  If you're hungry, we still have chicken in the fridge.

Friday, September 2, 2011

September 1st

It's a new month, so here are the solar panel reults:

Power used
















Power generated

















I'm going to say it's been hot, and we've been using the air conditioning a lot.  For grins, here's the year's data from the TED5000 (it's not exact, but it's close enough):

Green is used, blue is generated, purple is the difference :o)





Here's the data for just August 31st, hour by hour:

Not bad, eh?  From 8am to 3pm we generate more power than we use.





Of course, the temperature doesn't peak until ~4pm:







OK, I need to get out more.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

August 31st

We watched My Girlfriend's Boyfriend.  I wanted "the secret" to be that the Alyssa Milano character used to be a man, but I was denied.

August 30th

I went out an installed a length of pipe insulation in the Jeep, so random junk (like the ignition key) won't end up falling behind the dashboard.  Again.  Of all the stupid...

Vic rented Rio, so we watched that, and Tilly's reaction to that.

August 29th

Fresh Choice are having some sort of "buy one meal, get one free" promotion, so we went and took advantage of that.  As there's a Border's just up the way, we wandered over there to pick over the carcasses and I found a couple of Nick Hornby books that I haven't read yet.  And a Richard Dawkins - I've not read any of his books, but he seems to be an engaging speaker.  Oh, and a Sarah Vowell, and she's always funny on the Daily Show.  Oh, and I Am Legend, which is apparently significantly different to the movie.

At this rate I'll never catch up with my dead tree reading and start using the Kindle again.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 28th

We got up fairly early, loaded the Jeep with the hang glider, stuff and Tillamook, and headed down to Ed Levin.

On the way, the "Low Tyre Pressure" warning light went off, and I had to buy a pressure gauge at a Chevron, as their air pumps don't include one.  Screw you, we'll buy our gas somewhere else, dicks!  As the tyres were all OK, but the light didn't go off, we've agreed that it's probably the spare - I never bother yanking the cover off to check the pressure, so now maybe I will.

Once there, Tilly and I went to play in the dog park while Vic managed to lose the Jeep key behind the dash - no, I don't know why there's a horking great gap there.  After throwing a tantrum, I managed to get the key out with a borrowed magnet on a stick, but for a while there it was touch and go - we'd left through the garage, so I didn't have my spare, and we didn't take the spare downtubes, so we had no tools either.  Oh well.

I drove Vic up to the 1750' launch, and managed to get the Jeep into 4-Lo easily while waiting for her to open one of the cattle gates (you need the Jeep to be in neutral to change it).  Tilly and I ran around the top of the hill until she was knackered, then I threw Vic off the top and headed back down.  We were experimenting with a ContourHD camera mounted to her helmet, so everybody's interested to see how that turned out.

After a long drive home, we checked out the video - it looks excellent, but editing out the dead space at the beginning and end in Movie Maker seems to have reduced the quality a little - it might be time to investigate some proper editing software.  Anyway, it's here - select 1080p :o)

August 27th

I spent a chunk of the day working on the ladder that we use for mounting the hang glider to the Jeep - hacking it to try and make it fit better and more solidly. 

After all that, we went to the airfield where I wanted to change the spark plug caps for the Flightstar.  One of the caps hasn't been clipping down properly, and caps are cheap, so screw it.  Well, it seems the problem is that the nipple thing on the spark plug had come unscrewed, but I didn't figure this out until I'd changed the caps.  I then decided that now was as good a time as any to put in some new plugs - I've bought some of the gold tipped BR8EVs, to replace the Autolite equivalent of the BR8ESs that I put in at the beginning of the year.  I hadn't gapped them, so I had to squirrel around until I found some feeler gauges, so this whole process took a bit longer than I'd anticipated.  I threw in a few circuits while Vic watched from the ground, then we went home and put the roof back on the Jeep before we mounted the ladder.  It's still not perfect, but it's good enough for now.

Friday, August 26, 2011

August 25th

We watched Dylan Dog, which is sort of a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Men In Black.  It was okay.

August 24th

The SPCA had a thing on where the local Chili's was donating 15% of their take for the day, so we went over there.  It was a lot busier than we'd expected, probably because there were a lot of evacuees from the fire in Lincoln staying in the nearby hotel.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

August 21st

We went to breakfast, collected supplies and loaded up the Jeep before heading to Ed Levin to go hang gliding.  Vic's mother and her boyfriend Roger followed us, and got to watch a bunch of paragliders before we headed up the hill.  Roger came up with us, as it's an exciting drive - this is the first time the Jeep's been properly off road, and I left in in 4-Hi where it should probably have been in 4-Lo.  The transmission oil temperature warning went off as we were nearing the summit, so I ignored it - after all, what was I going to do, just stop there?  We got to the top without any problems, and launched Vic and a couple of other gliders, then Roger and I headed back down.  The gliders had got down way before we did.  After the one flight, the wind was starting to pick up, so everybody packed up and headed home.  We got home and Gwen and Walter were at the house with Tilly, so we chatted to them as we unloaded everything.  When they headed off to the "music in the park" thing, we had a quiet evening before crashing early.

August 20th

I started the day going around looking to try and find an HP Touchpad for $99 (or even $149 for the 32Gb version).  No luck - Staples had sold all 4 (woo!) that they had as soon as their doors opened, and Best Buy were sending all theirs back to HP rather than selling them to the great unwashed.  Whatever.  Maybe I'll be able to gt one of the returns from the HP web site, when they're listed as back in stock.

We were going to Los Gatos, so Gwen came and picked up the Mook for the weekend.  We went out to load up the Jeep, and Gwen had called to say Tilly was getting on OK with their cats - as I'd expected, she got smacked in the face and decided to give them a wider berth :o)

We modified stuff to mount the ladder on the Jeep a little differently, with the brace that I'd made on the front.  It's now got 3 support points - the front, the rear and it rests on the light bar by the windscreen - when the hang glider's on the ladder, I strap it around the light bar there, so everything's held down well.  Having finished loading up, we headed on down, with the roof down, and it wasn't too noisy after all.

We unloaded the Jeep and got changed at Vic's mother's, then went to her 25th high school reunion.  It was shared among 6 different years, and most were from the 2 years after Vic - there were a whole 3 people from her year.  At one point I was sitting near the dance floor, and a girl who was obviously something special at school came and asked if I remembered her - I looked at her for a second, then said "no".  If her boyfriend (who I was talking to at the time( hadn't told her I was a guest, I'm sure she'd have been crushed :o)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

August 14th

I started the day on the roof, washing the solar panels - they looked a lot grubbier from the ground than they did from the roof, but meh, I was up there by then.


We watched the new version of Arthur, which is a lot worse than the original - Russell Brand is a lot less likeable than Dudley Moore, and he seems more arrogant about being rich.

So, it's the rental version, which means before the movie starts, you have to watch (ie you can't skip through):
  • A piracy warning
  • A Blu-Ray advert
  • A WB Rewards advert
  • 3 movie trailers
  • A Film Foundation advert
  • 3 upcoming DVD trailers
And then they wonder why people download movies.

In the late afternoon we went to the airfield and threw in a couple of long circuits.  We spent a bunch of time orbiting to keep out of the way of the parachutists and the jump plane - there was a fair amount of crosswind, and I had visions of them being blown further over than usual.  As it was none of the jumpers landed near their target mark :o)

August 13th

I just did stuff around the house and garden, and in the evening we watched the last episode of Green Wing.

Friday, August 12, 2011

August 12th

John had crashed the night, so when we were all awake, I gave Tilly her new red collar and beach ball.  She crashed around the house (as usual, she can't control something that big), so I sent her outside with it.  Shortly afterwards, it was burst - I'm leaning towards it being pushed against the roses.  Anyway, her job done, Tilly came in and went back to bed.

In the afternoon, Vic bought her another beach ball, and I videoed her playing with it.  For 49 seconds, until she burst it.  That was money well spent then :o)

August 11th

Vic and Jen went to San Francisco for the day, leaving me and Tilly to entertain each other.

John was town, so he dropped over to say "hi".  We went to the airfield so he could see (and sit in) the Flightstar, then we met Vince for dinner.

August 10th

After work, we went over to the airfield so I could replace a rivet in the tail trim on the Flightstar.  I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time I've done this.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August 8th

After work I went and met up with a clown guy who was buying an old tablet PC I'm selling.  After waiting 30 minutes, I called him and work him up.  Then he took a while to get to the place we were meeting, but he bought it in the end.  He's going to (try and) install Windows 7 on it - um, good luck with that, as it has 512Mb of memory and a 30Gb disc.  More space on my desk to carry on clearing out old junk :o)

Monday, August 8, 2011

August 7th

I started the day on the roof, rinsing the solar panels (they didn't look bad enough to need a scrub, they've just not been generating as much power as I think they should recently).  I did the usual Sunday chores around the house, and got some more junk stuff on eBay, then took Tillamook to the dog park to run her legs off.  She was upset that there were no paddling pools out, so lay in any small body of water to cool off - including a small puddle in the corner of the area where you can hose her off after she's been lying in the mud.  So, I took home a tired, damp dog, who immediately wanted to go out again.

In the evening I went to the airfield, and took the plane out for an hour's circuits.  The guy in the jump plane had obviously got used to me being fine with getting out of his way, as he asked me to get out of his way so he could take off sooner - he'd pulled on to the runway at about 1/3 distance rather than taxi to the end.  I pulled an early crosswind leg, and did the quickest circuit I've ever done there :o)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

August 6th

I finished up finishing moving Caroline's web stuff to the Google while watching The Green Wing.  In the evening we went to see the SPCA volunteers for dinner, then I sat and spent a bunch of time arranging the shipping of some junk stuff I've sold on eBay.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August 4th

I managed to get Vic's new laptop all ship shape and working, with everything I could think of installed.  Now I just need to make sure everything needed is on it, and we can see about getting rid of the old one.  It's generating some pretty good benchmarks, so that was (hopefully) money and time well spent :o)

I also spent about 3 hours on the phone with Russ (hi, Russ!) as he drank a bottle of wine - he's out of beer, so it was that or the hand sanitiser.

August 3rd

As Vic's beaten her old laptop to death, We ordered her a new one.  It's never shown up on UPS' tracking, but it arrived today.  I spent the usual 2 hours installing updates and rebooting, and was just copying files when I thought "hang on, where's the Program Files (x86) directory?

Doh, it's running 32 bit Windows 7 (Professional, woo).

Bummer.  So, I'd been wasting my time.  I decided to install the extra memory I'd bought (it has 2Gb, and 4Gb was $50 more.  I bought 8Gb for $50), and couldn't get the cover off.  Everything I could find made it sound simple - just pop the battery, and the cover should drop off.  Having struggled with it for about 20 minutes, we finally found that running your thumbnail under the cover at the front releases it.  Good to know.  I'd reply to the forum posts where people are complaining about not being able to get the cover off if I didn't have to bloody subscribe to do it.

Anyways, I reinstalled it with 64 bit Home Premium, then immediately used the "anytime upgrade" to get it to Professional, using the code that came with the laptop.  I'll install the drivers and suchlike tomorrow.  Damnit.

August 2nd

After work we watched Soul Surfer.  If you fast forward through the religious bits, it's distinctly mediocre.

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1st

The day started early (like 4am) with Tilly hearing something in the garden.  I let her out just to shut her up, and she ran around like a mad thing.  We later found footprints in the vegetable garden, so we think it was a raccoon.

After work we barbecued a bunch of chicken, so we have chicken if anybody's hungry.

Power we generated in July

July 31st

I spent the day checking my stuff on eBay and watching for mail from Craigslist without success.  Oh well. 


In the evening we went to the airfield and took the plane out for about 80 minutes - we flew along the new bypass they're slowly building around Lincoln, to see what it looks like up close, and were over Freedom Field as Vince was pulling his trike out.  We circled for a while, then headed a bit away to circle some more so as not to annoy Ray's neighbours.  Vince showed up and was heading to the river.  We were going to follow him, but then I figured that we only had about an hour's fuel left, so should really be toddling back.  I executed a not great landing, and we packed everything away as the last parachute jumpers of the day were landing into the sunset.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 30th

I started the day adding more articles to Caroline's archive - I'm over half the way through now.  Phew.

When I went to shave, the trimmer battery went dead just as I was left with a goatee - I managed to leave it a minute, then get enough power to finish trimming a couple of times, but I'll leave it and see what I think.  All the cool kids have them, and I'm thinking of myself as my evil doppelganger :o)

I then spent a fair amount of time getting a bunch of crap valued belongings on Craigslist and eBay, so that hopefully I'll have fewer of these things hanging around and cluttering the place up.  I'm hoping the heavier stuff sells on Craigslist so I don't have to deal with shipping it :o)

In the later afternoon I headed over to Lincoln, where I ran across Larry.  We chatted for a while, hoping the wind was going to die down, and eventually we decided to commit aviation.  I took off, and he got as far as the run up area before bailing out - he crashed his hang glider during the week and his elbow's been giving him gyp.  On my second circuit, the jump plane called a 2 mile final at 4,000'... I offered to extend my downwind, but he's approaching at something like 200mph, so that wasn't necessary.  As I turned base, he went around.  I asked if there was anything I should be worried about (like a dead deer on the runway), but he couldn't get a green light on his nose gear.  I pointed out my nose gear was down and welded, which made him feel better.  Everything looked OK on his downwind, and I was still climbing out when he turned finals - I offered to go for an early crosswind, but he said we should be fine - he'd let me know if they were going around.  They didn't.  In total I did 3 circuits, as it seemed that the wind was picking up.

July 29th

I got the electrickery bill, and was concerned that it's just $11 - that covers water, sewerage and garbage collection.  It's OK, the rebate for the new washing machine (as it's Energy Star rated) has been applied - I'd forgotten about that.  Once again, we have generated more power than we've used:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 27th

Hulu has been recommending Ultraviolet to me for a while, so we checked it out.  It's not bad, but there are only 6 episodes in all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26th

The Surewest router barfed, and got progressively worse - first the printer wouldn't connect until eventually a wired machine couldn't connect either.  So, after a brief chat via my Verizon 4G modem, Vic went over and swapped it for a new one so she could watch Hulu.

After work we watched Season Of The Witch, which was actually pretty good.  I think I like movies where Nicholas Cage's character (spoilers!) dies.

After that, we watched Suckerpunch.  Well, we sat through about 15 minutes of Blu-Ray commercials and previews.  And then they wonder why people just download torrents of pirated movies.  Anyway, the movie... WTF?  There were enough explosions for me, but the story was a bit convoluted. 

July 25th

After work I changed the oil in the Jeep - this involved not putting the drain pan far enough away from the sump, so oil hit it and spread across the floor, and dropping the old filter next to my head, so I got oil over my face.  And then only putting in 4 litres and wondering why it was low - last time I used 5 of 6 litres, rather than 4 of 5.

Still, all done now.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24th

Still nailed to the house, so I did a little work, cut the grass and so on.  Then I watched a live stream of the MotoGP race from Laguna Seca.  Not a bad race, per se, but not that thrilling once Stoner had got to the front.

We finished catching up with Dr Who, now we have to wait for the second half of the season in the autumn.

July 23rd

Still nailed to the house, so I did some more work on Caroline's web archive - I've done a crapload more BBC articles, but there are still so many to go :o)

We spent part of the evening watching the new season of Dr Who.

July 22nd

I'm on call this weekend, so pretty much nailed to the house.

In the evening we watched the DVD of Splinter that Vince lent us.

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 21st

I rode the DRZ down to San Francisco for work, to see a visiting cow-orker, and bid "adieu" to another who's leaving.  I set off shortly after 5am, with my jacket not quite closed.  It was warming up on the way in, but I had to stop and do my jacket up before I got into the fog in Berkeley.  Boo.  The car park I use now has actual motorbike spaces - they're in a corner you can't get a car into.  They still need to lay down a metal sign to get you a ticket though - my bike's too tall / not metallic enough, so it still needs work.

After work I managed to not lose all my money playing poker for a change, but it was a long old ride home again.

July 20th

The washing machine guy came and looked at our machine - he thinks it's the sensor, but had to order one - they don't keep it in stock.  We'll be seeing him again in a few days, one would hope.

Larry dropped off Vic's harness, with its repacked parachute.  Now we just need to organise going hang gliding some time.

July 19th

The washing machine threw an error code, so we called that in.  Sounds like it thinks it's leaking water, or the sensor's screwed.  There's an engineer coming out to look at it tomorrow.

The DMV said my license would take ~30 days, and gave me a temporary until November, but the new license arrived today.  I look old.

Tilly's feet are a lot better, so she's running around again.

In the evening we watched Red Riding Hood, and spent the whole time trying to guess who the wolf was.  We were wrong :o)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 18th

Tilly's feet are hurting after blistering them by sliding around on the sand and gravel yesterday.  I keep hearing pathetic whining, to find that, for example, she's jumped up on the bed to sleep, and can't get off again.  So I lift her down to the floor.  Again.

Vic got home from her mother's, and Tilly hobbled off to say "hi".

The new bands for the vacuum cleaner arrived, and I spent a few minutes installing one.  So we're now back to having more or less everything working how it should, so I after work I got to fiddle with the settings for the cruise control in the van while Vic washed critter laundry in an effort to break the new washing machine.

Oh, and we watched Fast Food Nation, that Vince had lent us.  It's depressing because it's true.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 17th

I started the day getting up on the roof and washing the solar panels.  It seems like they were generating more power when I climbed back down the ladder, but the sun was coming up.  I also hacked some branches off the tree - now they have leaves, they'd hit the van as it goes up the driveway.

I loaded up the new washing machine for it's inaugural run... I had to grab towels and even Tilly's blankie as the new washer is bigger than the old washer - I figured fewer guinea pig laundry runs was a good thing.  It didn't explode, and seems quieter than the old washer.

Tilly and I went to Freedom Field so I could try the new boomerang, and her frisbee.  The boomerang might work when it's not blowing a gale.  I thought Tilly had heat stroke (again), as she was walking all funny, but she actually has a lot of blisters.  She still wanted to chase the frisbee, so I ended up bringing her home.

She ran around the house like an idiot, as Gwen had been in to check the guinea pigs while we were out.

After a brief nap, I went to Lincoln and took the Flightstar up for a few circuits.  It was really bumpy, so I only did 30 minutes.

July 16th

The new washing machine was being delivered.  I checked last night, and they said between 10am and 1pm, which meant I couldn't go with Vince etc for the breakfast fly in at Colusa.  The delivery bods called shortly before 8am to say it'd be with me between 12pm and 3pm, but by then it was too late to head to the airfield.  Oh well.  Vince was whining about having to wear his winter suit anyway :o)

I sat down and converted more of Caroline's news archives to the Google.  Of course, it's still a work in progress as there are many BBC articles still to do, but the Australian stuff is all finished.

They delivered and installed the new washing machine, and Tilly first barked at the pile of stuff from the laundry room that'd been lying in the hallway since last night, then barked at the new machine.  I think she was asleep in the garden when it was delivered :o)  The old machine's now gone - I had thought about taking the motor out to play with, but it looks a lot more complex than the garage door motor I've already got sitting in the garage.

In the evening, Vince and I went to the Chinese buffet place - we rode, and, as usual got split up when he zipped across a changing light when I stopped.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14th

The latches for the van came in today, so after playing with Tilly in the garden, she went to sleep on the driver's seat while I installed one in the hole vacated by the broken one.

I went shopping, and managed to do a deal on a new washing machine.  Hopefully it'll be here on Saturday - I have to call them tomorrow to arrange a time.

July 13th

Vic took the Jeep and headed down to her mother's for a few days off from me and Tilly.  We'll be looking after the guinea pigs though.

Rather than go to the gym at "lunch", I went to the DMV and sorted out my replacement license - the last 2 renewals were done online, so I had to go and get my photo taken and my eyes tested.  30 days, they say, but then give me a temporary license that expires in November, which isn't a good sign.  Still, it's something off my "to do" list.

After work I futzed around with the washing machine in the garage, and sure enough, it's broken.  The motor seems to work, so it's the controller, and that'll be half the price of a new one.  So I'll get a new one, rather than fix a 10 year old one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 12th

Gwen called to say that the wireless router I've lent her wasn't working, and it sounded like a DNS problem.  I have had the Surewest DNS servers hard coded in the past, so we went over there to find... her cable modem plugged into a LAN rather than the WAN port :o)

We then spent a while getting the roof down on the Jeep, and putting the soft top cover and bikini top on.  I swear the bikini top fit better last year, but what do I know.

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11th

The Surewest dude showed up first thing with a new VOIP adapter box.  And, of course, he couldn't just plug the thing in and bloody leave, he had to look at the line and suchlike, which meant downtime.  I used my doohickey so I could stay working, and it's now getting 4G :o)  ~5.6Mb/s down, ~700Kb/s up, 65ms latency.  I reckon I could play Warcraft over that :o)

As it doesn't look like I can just go and buy a new band for the vacuum cleaner, I've ordered a couple.  10 days shipping?  Are they walking here to deliver it themselves?

After work, I threw some paint over the welds on the Vanagon exhaust.  Gwen and Walter came over to pick up a spare wireless router, and play with Tilly.  After they left, I went out and reinstalled the exhaust.  It doesn't seem like it's leaking any more :o)

July 10th

What a crappy day.  I got in the van to go and look for parts for the broken vacuum cleaner, and it's cracked the exhaust.  I took the Jeep, and it looks like I'll need to order the belt.  Bugger.

I managed to get Vince to weld the exhaust back up, now I just have to put it all back together.  We went for pizza afterwards, and when I got home we found that the washing machine is truly broken - I poked and prodded and it looks like the controller's had it, which means it's probably time to replace the thing.  When I've got the van back together, I'll try and get it into the garage so I can take a proper look at it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

July 9th

The VOIP box for the telephone has stopped working, so I spent half an hour or so talking to Surewest about getting a replacement.  Sadly they don't keep this model at the local repair depot, so I have to wait for an enginerd to come and replace it on Monday.  Bah.

While we were up at Don and Lori's I'd broken the latch on the cooker in the van trying to open it.  It was all covered in a sticky substance, like (probably) Coke.  I spent a while cleaning everything up so I could actually get the cabinet door to move, then managed to jimmy it open with a screwdriver.  I cleaned up the inside and took the latch out.  I've found a replacement on Ebay, I just need to wait for it to get here.

I dropped Vic's hang gliding harness at the airfield, and Tilly wanted to come with me, so she got to ride in the van there and back.  I think she thinks we go for wild parties whenever we leave the house, so I think it was good for her to see that's not the case :o)

In the evening we barbecued, and Vince and Jen came over to eat.

July 8th

As Russ has sent me back my old Eee 701, I decided to set it up for the weather station.  I had to install the FreeWX-Wi 1.02 beta to get the outside temperature (and humidity and pressure) probe to work, but now it's passing data just fine.  I've put the sticker on my home page, but all the data's here.



I think I'm going to see about getting the data from the TED-5000 uploaded somehow, as the Google are giving up on Powermeter.

Having got that working, we sat and watched The Mechanic.

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 7th

I sloped out of work earlier than usual (so, just the 9.5 hours today) and we headed up the hill to meet Don and Lori for pizza

We got there a little early, as I'd assumed that all the traffic was going to be as bad as driving to the Galleria, when once we were past the Galleria, it was smooth sailing all the way there.  So we wandered around the block and ended up looking in an art gallery for a while.
The pizza was better than the Round Table stuff we usually eat, so much so that I actually ate the bready stuff that didn't have meat on it :o)

We went back to their house in Cool so we could see the incredible amount of work they've done on it, and so I could see if my Verizon doohickey works up in the sticks - it does, at almost 400Kb/s both ways :o)  Their poodle, Millie, is getting on a bit - she looks a lot older than I remember as she's going gray around the face, but Tilly's going gray around the face all the time.
When we got home, Tilly was incredibly happy to see us, as it meant she could go to bed :o)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th

The 4th of July is a holiday in America, where they celebrate independence from Great Britain (seriously, look it up) by going shopping, then blowing stuff up.

Early on, before it got hot, I got up in the roof of the house and it doesn't look like we can install a normal whole house fan.  I might look again in the autumn when I have longer to look at things before being boiled alive.

We tinkered around in the garden for a while, playing ball with Tilly to wear her out, then I took the YSR out for a lap of the area.  With the new sprocket, it tops out at around 55mph, but any higher gearing would kill what's left of the acceleration.  For now, I think we'll call this good.  When I got home, I picked up the DRZ and Vic on her V-Star, and we rode up 193, 80 to 49, across the Forest Hill bridge (as used in XXX) and to lunch.  After wearing Tilly out again, we went to the airfield and took the plane out for an hour.  As we were earlier than yesterday, it was a lot bumpier.  We watched Jim flying his S-14 at around 20', and just looked at stuff, like the remains of the recent fire.

In the evening, we watched Toy Story 3 while distracting Tilly from the fireworks.  It was as good as the other films in the franchise, which is rare these days.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July 3rd

Another grotesquely hot day.  Tilly spent a lot of time either lying on the tile or lying in her paddling pool.  As it was starting to warm up, I got the grass cut, then spent some time moving Vic's website to the Google, which is easier to work with than Microsoft's Small Business Server.  And just as free.

In the afternoon, we went to Lowe's to look at whole house fans.  They had precisely one, so we went and looked in Home Despot.  I now need to get up in the roof to take a good look at things, and do some measuring.  The idea is that we can hopefully cool the house down better in the evenings.  We'll see, it looks like it'll be a lot of work to get one installed.

Having worn Tilly out, we went and got some frozen yogurt, then headed to Lincoln airport to do a bunch of circuits in the Flightstar.  It was probably the best evening I can remember - there were no breezes, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

We got home just as it was getting dark, in time to distract Tilly from the early fireworks.

July 2nd

It was a punishingly hot day, so we mostly stayed inside, out of the heat.  We did run Tilly to the point where she was done a few times, especially when Vic's friend Diane brought over their guinea pig to be looked after while they're in Disneyland.  We also got her paddling pool out so she could lie down in the water to cool off.

I managed to get out into the garage and look at the new sprocket for the YSR.  It looks and measures as the same size as the old one, so I heated it for a few seconds and managed to get it to fit just fine.  Now I just need to remember I've done this when it comes time to take it off :o)

In the evening we went to meet some of the SPCA volunteers for the monthly dinner, this time at a sandwich place.

When we got home, we watched Unstoppable, which Vic saw on the plane to the UK.  She enjoyed it enough on a fuzzy 4" screen to pay $1 to rent it from the Redbox :o)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July 1st

After work, we ran Tilly into the ground, then I went to install a new front sprocket on the YSR.  That doesn't bloody fit.  Oh well.  I downed tools, then we went to the airfield, and drove past this.  Larry was at the hangar, so we pulled out our planes and headed out.  We did circuits, but he was taking a friend for a little cruise around.  On the way home, there were still a lot of flames at the fire, but it seems like they're just letting it burn itself out.


Here's the electrickery we've been billed for this month  









And here's what we've generated

June 30th

I'd printed out the stickers for the dash on the Flightstar, and Vic cut them out.  So I went over to the airfield to install them.  I got them all stuck on, but couldn't go and fly as I'd forgotten to bring a jumper - I get cold at 50mph.  Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 29th

We took Fred and Marsha out to dinner as a treat for Fred's birthday (last week, everybody's been busy).  When we got back, we fed and dosed the animals, then headed over the street to see their puppy Cashmere.  She's quite funny, all 3.5lbs of her.  I don't think Tilly was ever that small :o)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26th

I wasted the day tinkering around with the YSR and cutting the grass.  Oh, and moving some more stuff to the web site.  In the afternoon, we went over to Freedom Field to pick up a labeller from Vince, then on to Lincoln where I made up some labels for the instrument panel.  We then went for a 55 minute flight around the area, culminating in 2 landings.

June 25th

I started the day washing the solar panels for (I believe) the second time this year.  While I was up on the roof, I decided that now was a good time to hack some parts off the tree that were now touching the house.  I got Vic to help me, and we beat it into submission.  I then got to spend a while cutting everything up to put in the green waste bin.  I'm not sure that there'll be room for me to cut the grass this week, so that might have to wait until the bin's been emptied on Wednesday.  Meh.

I checked the YSR for oil leaks, and there didn't seem to be any.  I put the cover back on the oil pump, and was going to do the fairing but it currently doesn't look like it'll fit easily.  Screw that.  I took it over to see Jeff at work, and "helped" him troubleshoot a bigass quad before riding it home.  I think I'm going to try a smaller rear sprocket, as currently it's pull away, change gear, change gear, change gear, change gear,topped out.  I'm pretty sure it can pull higher gearing if only it doesn't run out of revs.  Oh, and the rev counter needs a new battery, I didn't go above 2500rpm all day :o)  Still, it's a fun thing to ride, I just need to figure out what to do with the clutch basket, as finding neutral is always a pain.

Vic picked up her latest money pit guinea pig from the vet, and she (the guinea pig, not Vic) would seem to have pneumonia.  So she (the guinea pig, not Vic) is on antibiotics for the moment.

In the evening, we barbecued, and Gwen, Walter, Jen and Vince showed up to eat and torment Tilly.  Larry called with some cockamamie plan to fly to Lodi for breakfast tomorrow, but he wants to be leaving at 7am, which is too fscking early for me.  Vince says he's going, which I think will be funny to see, but still, 7am?  On a Sunday?  Is there even a 7am on a Sunday?