Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 29th

I've decided I want to play with time lapse photography.  The first thing I need it an intervalometer, and rather than buy one, I decided to start out by making one.  I built an IR blaster from 2 940nm infrared LEDs and an old headphone plug:

You solder the anode on one LED to the cathode of the other, then solder those to the 2 end pins (positive and negative, ignore ground) on the headphone plug.

I've covered this up with heatshrink.  Of course, I soldered it wrong first time, and had to take it to pieces and redo it.

I didn't seem to work with the Android app I was planning to use on my Nexus, so I tested it with an AA battery - connecting the battery one way would light up one LED, and the other way would light up the other, so the connections would seem to work fine.  I couldn't see anything using my camera (CCDs can see infrared).  I then tried my cell phone, and that worked just fine in that I could see the lights lighting up on the camera.  So I tried the DSLR again, and that worked just fine.  Doy.

December 28th

I've put some of the stuff back into the van, and installed a USB charger, so I can charge 2 USB devices (up to 2.1A) without having to plug in a USB charger into the cigarette lighter socket.  It's only powered up when the stereo is powered up.  I'm going to install one in the back, too, but I'm waiting for some switches I've ordered to show up - I don't want these powered all the time.

In the evening we went to get me some parts for some projects, then we watched "RED 2" and "Man of Steel".  Both are pretty good movies, but I'm not sure I like the idea that Russell Crowe is Superman's dad.

Friday, December 27, 2013

December 26th

Back to work.  Ah well.

In the evening, we watched "R.I.P.D.", which is pretty much "Men In Black" with dead people instead of aliens.  Oh, sorry, spoilers.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December 25th

We celebrated the holiday by playing Warcraft (discovering some of the limitations of a "starter" account), putting back the headliner in the van (but not the shelves just yet - I have some other stuff to do before I can get those back in) and watching "World War Z".  For some reason, I'd expected more zombie warring.  In the evening, we had the traditional meal of spaghetti bolognese.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 24th

I had the day off work, so after the Warcraft dailies, I took the headliner out of the cab of van and reglued it (it's been drooping), and cleared a bunch of leaves from the back garden.  Believe it or not, the bins, including the green waste, get emptied tomorrow.

In the evening, we watched "Despicable Me" and "Elysium".  One was a comedy of improbable events, and the other is an animated movie with Steve Carell.

December 23rd

In the evening, we watched "The World's End", as we like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  It was odd, but funny.  I think I prefer "Shaun of the Dead" though.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 22nd

I tinkered around the house for a while, then went over to the airfield to go out.  It was hazy, but the air was pretty stable.  When I got back to Lincoln, it was quite busy there, but there were no problems.  I pulled up and watched a couple of RVs do a break over the runway... eh, the Red Arrows do it better :o)

December 21st

After doing my daily stuff in Warcraft, I pulled the van out to play with the solar panel - basically the solar controller draws power all the time, and I wanted to fit a diode to see if I could stop that.  Well, I could, but it didn't help any, so I ended up taking that back out again.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December 15th

After the usual Warcraft dailies, I went out and cleared a bunch of dead leaves from the front garden.  Joy.  I then went to the airfield and took the plane out for an hour and a half.  I came back when I got cold, and did a couple of circuits before putting it away and going to meet Vic for her dinner break at work.

December 14th

The "key in" alarm buzzer on the van has been causing me problems - I use it as a safety switch for the alarm, so you can't arm the alarm and immobilise the van while you're driving it.  It's been thinking that the key is in, even when it isn't, which means that the remote locking doesn't work.  Bugger.  I bought a new ignition switch, and decided to look at the current one and see if it'd help.  The offending (gray and black) wire comes out of the switch, but I still have no idea how it works.  I pulled the steering wheel, switchgear and suchlike to get to the ignition switch, and it was then a fairly simple replacement.  Putting it all back together was a little more challenging, but it's all back together, and the switch now works correctly.  Yay.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 13th

I got up at 0 dark 00 and headed in to San Francisco to swap Krispy Kreme donuts for mince pies.  Oh, and work.  The LED light installation on the side of the Bay Bridge is quite impressive in the dark.

After working all day, the traffic was horrendous, and at one point I left a space to let somebody pull in from a side road.  The woman behind them decided that I should let her in too, and I declined, at which point she totally lost her shit like a YouTube commenter being told that they're perhaps mistaken.  She pulled her car right up next to the van, and was screaming abuse at me.  Which is totally the way to act when you're in the wrong and want somebody to do you a favour.  With hindsight, I should have taken a picture of her.  After a long trip, I got home and Tilly ran past me to play in the van.

December 12th

I'm going to the office tomorrow, so I went to Krispy Kreme to get donuts.  They were out of the glazed ones that Dave requires, so we went and got dinner, then went back and picked up fresh new ones :o)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 8th

It's still bloody cold, so I went out and did some shopping.  I came back with a bunch of LED bulbs to play with, and tried installing them with a dimmer - they're dimmable, after all.  While they work, they buzz awfully.  It seems that this is a problem with using incandescent dimmers rated at 600W.  I'll look at getting a proper LED dimmer to see how that changes things.  I now have more LEDs than CFLs in use :o)  I should really wait until the CFLs stop working, so I can work through the pile of them in the "bulbs" drawer.

I went and cleaned up all the sticky area where the skylight mosquito screen fits in the van, and stuck on new velcro.  I've used the stuff I've used for the tablet in the plane, and in my experience so far, it sticks bloody well, but you can get it off.  I'll leave it a day or two before putting the screen back up, so it gets the best chance to stick properly.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December 7th

It's been bloody cold here:




so I spent the morning playing Warcraft, then went and borrowed Jim's tall ladder and took the light fitting on the kitchen ceiling apart.

Tilly and I went to the vet, where she passed her annual inspection, then when we got home, I bypassed the ballast in the light fitting and installed 2 LED fittings.  They're maybe a little less bright than the fluorescent tubes that were in there - interestingly they all have black bars on them, meaning that they probably weren't long for this earth.  I tested them in the garage, and they all flicker.  Anyways, now we're using 38W in the kitchen light rather than 128W.  They're an experiment for the moment - when less harsh LED strips arrive, I'll put those in the kitchen and move these somewhere else.

After meeting Vic for lunch, I went and did a little work on the van - in my usual "break one thing while fixing something else", I managed to tear the velcro strips off the roof removing the skylight mosquito net while replacing the cracking skylight.  But at least I don't have to worry about the skylight leaking for another few years.

Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6th

We went to the SPCA Xmas do.  It seemed more subdued than previous events, which was odd.

On the way home we stopped and got yet more tennis balls for the Mook.

December 4th

We went to dinner with Vince for the first time in ages.  It was nice to sit and chat with the old curmudgeon :o)

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2nd

Vince called to say he'd done the annual on the plane, and there was nothing to worry about.  He came over to sign it all off for another year, so that's out of the way :o)

December 1st

I spent a big chunk of the afternoon tinkering in the van - I've installed another voltmeter, so I can check both batteries.  I also ran a wire through from the charge relay, so I can see when the batteries are linked, ie one is charged (either by the alternator or by the solar panel).  Yay.

Oh, the electrickery graphs:

Power we've paid for
Power generated










Oh, no DMARC graph, as they've decided to start charging for that.  So, um, yeah.

November 30th

I did things and stuff around the house, then went over to the airfield and flew for over an hour and a half - it's the longest flight I've done in the plane, I reckon.  I was wearing gloves, and on my first takeoff, I had a little engine blip as I moved my hand on the throttle, so I stayed near the airfield "just in case", even though I thought it was probably my lack of feeling that screwed it up.  There seemed to be a lot of people flying about, as the weather was nice, but the forecast is for it to get worse.  There was some bickering as people just appeared on long finals rather than joining the circuit and so on, but that's life.

It's my last chance to fly for a little while, as the annual's due tomorrow.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 29th

I pottered around the house for most of the morning, then went over to see if Vince is still alive... he is.  I then took myself over to the airfield and took the plane up for about 45 minutes - it would have been longer, but it was getting dark (stupid time change).

Thursday, November 28, 2013

November 28th

It's Thanksgiving here, when Americans gloss over the genocide of the Native Americans by eating a dinosaur that's evolved over millions of years to fit in an oven.

We cooked a turkey, and failed to rouse Vince, so screw that guy.  Tilly got to try all manner of things, from celery (eww) to turkey (nom), and we ate at lunch time, rather than late.  We then watched "After Earth", which I thought was spoiled by the annoyingly bad acting of Will Smith's son, and "The Croods", which was pretty good.

November 27th

These 2 day work weeks are killing me.

November 26th

Russ is looking to employ a new guy, so we spent most of the day struggling with the awful search system in LinkedIn to see if we could add a few names to the list of people he has that he's interested in.

In the evening we went to dinner when Vic got home from work.

November 25th

Russ drove up from L.A., and we spent the evening looking at the boot lock on his car... I don't know, you drive a Mercedes, you expect it to work.  Anyway - you click the boot shut and it's supposed to close it the rest of the way, but hasn't been.  He's got the instructions on how to fix it, he's just been too much of a pussy to take stuff apart.  I have tools, too, so we took the leaking (it's pneumatic) pump out, tracked down the leak with soapy water (there were what looked like cracks in it), then epoxied the crap out of it.  Sorted.

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 24th

I went out and ran a bunch of errands and bought stuff.  One of the things I wanted to get was some CREE LED bulbs to try, and Home Depot has them on sale.  Well, sort of - it looks like they're being instantly rebated by some electricity providers, but not others.  When I went to the nearby Home Depot, Roseville Electric doesn't seem to be taking part.  In the parking lot, I ended up talking to an elderly couple who have a diesel Vanagon, and he seems interested in buying mine :o)  So, on the way to the airfield, I went to Lincoln's Home Depot, where they are on sale, but they only had 1 (opened) on the shelf.  I asked the nearby staff member if they had any more, and their inventory system said they had 24 more.  We wandered around and couldn't find them.  They checked out the back, and couldn't find them.  So, I ended up buying them there, to be picked up in the Roseville branch, at the Lincoln (slightly less than half) price.

I went to the airfield and did an hour in the plane - it was chillier than I'd been expecting.

On the way home, I stopped and collected my LED bulbs, and when I got home put them in the family room light, and in the critter room - I figure these are the most used bulbs in the house, so they'll make the most difference.

November 23rd

As it's been rainy:





and windy:


recently, I spent most of the day clearing leaves from around the house.  After I cut the grass, the green waste bin was completely full.  Having been completely empty when I started.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 20th

In the evening I went to the EAA monthly meeting.  We had a talk on the DeLorme inReach system, which looks interesting, but I never go anywhere I can't get a cellphone signal :o)  I gave Jack an LED strobe setup I've got left over from my playing - I ordered 2 red, 2 white and 2 green LEDs, and I've set them up as white and red and white and green, so I had a red and green setup left over, so I've given it to him for his ultralight.  I think he spent the whole evening waiting to play with them with a 12v battery :o)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19th

I got the optician's reports sorted out and sent them over to the doctor in Phoenix.  Hopefully we're well on the way to getting everything sorted out :o)

In the evening, we went out to dinner with Jen.  The plan had been to go to Costco, so I was expecting a hot dog, but we didn't go to Costco, so we had Mexican.

November 18th

We got up early, and went to the airport, where I hopped on an early flight to Phoenix.  Once there, I picked up a rental car and drove to Scottsdale, to get flying medicals sorted out - I went to the address on the CAA web site, and the old dear there said "he's not usually in on a Monday", but suggested I waited.  I waited. After 30 minutes, I was asking if she had any idea where he'd be, and she said he has another office... jeez, if she'd told me that when I got there...

Anyway, I drove over to the other address, and did the medicals.  I have some forms to get filled out by my optician, but it sounds like I'll be fine with the FAA medical, and we're doing some investigation for the CAA medical - his suggestion is that I get a student license medical, then a checkride should solve this problem permanently.

I toddled back to the airport, and managed to get on an earlier flight home, yay!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 17th

After playing Warcraft for a while, I went and got the parts I needed to finish up the van.  I got everything wired up, but was getting some of behaviour, where I got the same voltage from both positions on the switch.  I even backed the van out into the sun to see if that changed anything.  I pulled the switch out again, and did a bunch of testing, and it seemed the problem is down to having the grounds joined together.  I did some testing, and it looked like it'd work if I switched the grounds rather than the positive, so I cut a bunch of connectors off and rewired it all - success!  I put everything back together and tidied up so I could call it a day.

November 16th

I've decided to wire up a little voltmeter in the can so I can see the voltage that the solar panel is producing.  I got a 3 way switch (left, right, off), so the plan is to be able to check the solar panels and the house battery.  Later, I'll do another one for the house vs the car battery, but I need the meter to show up to do that.  Anyway, I ran some wires down to the solar charge controller, and hooked them up to the switch and the voltmeter.  When I hooked the ground wire together, there seemed to be a charge running through, which was odd.  I played around for a while, and gave up and went and asked Fred whether what I was doing would work, and he said yes, it should, so that would suggest that I have the writes the wrong way somewhere.  At that point, I have up as I had arranged to meet Vic for lunch.  As the van was full of tools (I'd been cutting holes in things), I took the DRZ, and wore my new motorcycle jacket for the first time.  I'd forgotten what it's like to have to break in a new jacket, as my old stuff is nice and soft.  Anyway, when I got back, I decided to use the PWM controller rather than the MPPT controller that I think is suspect.  It's sort of working in my tests, but I need to get some crimps to wire it all up properly.

November 15th

Staples were having a $50 off tablets sale, so I've ordered myself a new Nexus 7.  I figure the old one can be just for the moving map GPS in the plane, and I'll just get rid of the old Dell Streak that I've been using for that.  Anybody want a Dell Streak?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 12th

The solar inverter went to generating basically no power for a few minutes, and I went out to see it resetting itself.  It did it again, a short while later.  I called the solar company, and somebody's going to call me back.


The light blue line is the solar generation, and you can see at around 11:20 and 12:15 it goes to 0.  Great - I believe the inverter should still be under warranty, but I haven't dug out the paperwork to see yet.

November 10th

I spent the morning tidying the garden, and cutting the grass (it's green waste this week).  Then I went to the airfield to play with the Flightstar a little, and in the evening we sat in the hot tub for the first time in over a year.

November 9th

I spent the morning playing Warcraft, then ran some errands and spent the afternoon cleaning out the hot tub and throwing water at Tilly, who thinks cleaning out the hot tub is the greatest game ever.  Then filling the hot tub with water, and dumping in all the chemicals.  I turned it on, expecting it to scream about "flow" because the filter was still soaking, but it started to heat the water just fine.  Now it just needs a day to heat the water up.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 4th

I called the FAA to talk to somebody about sorting out a US pilot's license.  The guy I spoke to was very helpful, unlike almost everybody I spoke to at the CAA.  Basically I have to fill in forms and send stuff around and wait, but it sounds pretty straightforward - they'll issue me a US license based on my UK license.  Sadly the CAA are involved, so I'm fully expecting this to turn into a total clusterf*ck.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November 3rd

I started the day wandering around the house changing clocks to normal time.  Bah, what a waste of effort.

Vic went to Oakland to go to a wedding, and, as it's gusty today, I made a start on cleaning out the hot tub.


November 2nd

I started the day playing Warcraft, then took the DRZ for a bit of a ride on the way to Lincoln.  It was earlier than I usually fly, so it was a bit bumpy and gusty in places, but still, it was nice to fly after not being able to last weekend.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November 1st

A new month, so here are the solar statistics:

Power we've paid for
Power we've generated









And, of course, the DMARC stats:








So, Jack at the airfield can weld aluminum, which I believe is like aluminium.  I called him to see if he could weld my cracked wheel, and he offered to swap a perfectly good one for my wheel, so I can fly this weekend.  Also, he can weld it up at his leisure.  Even better, he was at the airfield when we spoke, so he left the wheel in the hangar by my plane.  I went over after work and put it all together and installed it with the better tyre I'd dug out for it.  Progress at last :o)

October 31st

I called Aircraft Spruce, and they don't stock the wheel I need for the plane, so they gave me the number for the manufacturer.  I called them, and they don't make that wheel any more - I need a 2.75" bead width, and the smallest they do is a 3".

In the evening we went and picked one of the guinea pigs up from the vet... she had a lump on her bottom lip that needed removing.

October 30th

The new wheel for the plane arrived, and it was the wrong one.  Of course.

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 27th

It was windy today:

so I didn't feel I was missing out on any flying :o)  I went and fixed a few loose electrical connections in the van, then looked at the sliding door central locking.  After a lot of investigation, I figured out that when you actually open the door, it moves the lock actuator, so when you then try to lock the door, it doesn't know where it is.  This is an artifact of how I connected the actuator, so I spent ages trying to get that to work, until I broke the steel rod that does all the work.  Luckily I have some welding rod, so I made a new rod out of that, and it seems to have fixed the problem.

I cut the grass in the wind, and called it a day.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 26th

I have a list of things to do this weekend, so I started on the van... a while ago I repurposed the "key left in" buzzer as a "lights left on" buzzer, but now the ignition switch is getting old, it keeps thinking the key's in when it isn't.  And then the alarm won't arm and lock the doors.  So, I went out to look at motorcycle jackets, and while I was out, I bought a couple of diodes.  I've wired the lights and the ignition switch through diodes to the buzzer - this way the key won't turn the lights on, and the lights won't make the van think the key's in.  1 down...

I went to the airfield and run a new ground in, as I've had a few glitches from the EIS.  I decided to change the tyre on the front wheel, and managed to break the wheel taking it apart.  I went over to see if Vince might have a wheel, or even half a wheel from a similar break, but he doesn't, so the plane's down until I can get a new wheel.  It was incredibly tight, so Vince reckons it was most likely cracked when it was put together, but I swear I heard it crack.  He reckons I'd be fine to put a big washer on it so I could fly tomorrow, but I'm hoping a new wheel can be here during the week, so it's a lot of shag and hassle for 1 day's flying.

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 20th

I ran around trying to spend money and failed.

I went to Best Buy and looked at the TV I've been thinking about, and while they match online prices, they don't match anybody who sells the TV for less than they do.  I'm thinking "unauthorised" dealers can sell the TV at a profit, but below the price that the manufacturer wants them to sell it.  And I'm not likely to pay Best Buy an extra $400 (plus tax, of course) for nothing.

I've been thinking about getting a new motorcycle jacket, as my old Scott jacket is ~20 years old.  Cycle Gear has the one I like, but not in my size.  They have as many as you'd like in XL though.  At least it saved me from having to choose what colour to get.

I went to the airfield and tinkered around with the plane, then went for an hour or so aloft.  When I got back, Jack and Danny were just arriving, so I stuck around to see Danny's new navigation lights, which are pretty bright, especially his landing light, which is a hand held LED torch duct taped to the frame :o)

October 19th

I started the day playing Warcraft while I waited for things to warm up a bit, then went and ran some errands while wending my merry way to the airfield.  After trying some plastic polish on the screen of the plane (it's better, but the marks that were created by probably gas dripping on the screen before I bought it are still there) I went up for a flight.  It was bumpy, but I stayed up about an hour.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October 16th

I went to the EAA chapter meeting, and Frank talked about the CozyJet.  He saw it on EBay with 38 seconds left, and bid on it :o)



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 14th

I started the day stupidly early by driving the van in to San Francisco to spend the day in the office.  I got to drive over the new Bay Bridge, but it's partly surfaced in concrete, so you can be forgiven for missing the fact that it's new.  It seems to have fixed the traffic getting out of the city on to the bridge though... you now get to sit in traffic by Emeryville.

When I was on my way back to the van, I saw a Brammo Empulse on charge at the electric charger in the parking lot:

I'd like one, but the freeway range is listed at ~55 miles, so I'm not sure that'd be much use for me.


In related news, the van did just under 18mpg on the trip there and back (over 200 miles, including a bunch of slow traffic), so I'm guessing that the oxygen sensor has fixed my mileage problems.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 13th

I started the day again playing with the mirrors on the van - I've bought (and installed) some 3/8" x 7/8" x 1/16" rubber washers, that look like that's what they were made to do.  Hopefully this is the end of the problems.

We watched the Sepang MotoGP race, and enjoyed it despite the poison dwarf winning.

I changed the oil in the Jeep, managing to throw the new oil all over the engine (I'm blaming this on the 5 quart container - I've dug out an old 1 quart container to decant oil into if we're doing this again), then cut the grass.

In the afternoon we went over to the airfield and barbecued.

October 12th

I started the day playing with the mirrors on the van again - the passenger mirror has been flopping in and down as I drive on the freeway.  I figured that the rubber isn't thick enough, so I added another layer of inner tube, then went to the airfield - the mirror still moved, but not as much.  I washed the worst of the crap off the plane, then went for a flight.  It was pretty bumpy, so I didn't do much at all, and ended up landing and chatting with the guys.

I went home and then Vic and I went out to dinner, as she wasn't working this evening.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 7th

On my lunchtime bicycle ride, I almost ran into a tree that had fallen on the trail in the latest wind storm.  Glad I didn't ride on the 20+mph days now :o)

In the evening we watched the movie Flight that Sean lent us.  It was pretty good, and kept us guessing about what was going to happen right up until the end.

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 6th

I played about with the mirrors on the van, as the passenger door mirror folds in on the freeway.  I put a piece of rubber cut out of an old innertube in the mechanism, and hoped that'd fix it.  I also cleaned up all the contacts and got the horn working.  I tried putting a relay in there (it's a ground-switched system), but that didn't work, but it's a relay I'm unsure of - I didn't think I needed a 60A relay, so I've just taken it out for the moment.  I met Vic for lunch, then went over to the airfield and flew for about an hour.  The passenger side mirror folded in again on the way there.

October 5th

I spent the morning tinkering around with putting tar roof sealant in the front doors of the van, to help deaden sound, then met Vic for lunch.  I went from there to the airfield, where I went for a dart around in the Flightstar.  I was on downwind and spotted another Vanagon at the airport, so I stopped and said "hi" to Mark, then talked for about an hour :o)

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 4th

Vic got me some washers in one of her hunting expeditions, so I finally finally managed to get the passenger seat mounted in the van.  Yay.  I cleared all the tools away and vacuumed up all the crap that's been all over the van for the past 2 weeks :o)

October 3rd

It's been bloody windy today, to the point where I decided against cycling at lunch time:

After work, I managed to get the seat mount all built up and ready to go.  Of course, I need a few washers to finish it off completely, but I'm almost done.  I'd like to think I'd have finished it all last week if the seats had both been OK.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 2nd

I finally decided to do some soldering for the running lights on the DRZ, and at the same time soldered in the new capacitors for the subwoofer.  The sub's working, and I got the DRZ wired up and back together.  Now if the vibration damping I've added doesn't stop the HID from failing, I'll at least have 2 pretty bright LEDs, so I won't get a ticket for not having a daytime headlight :o)

While I was doing all this, the replacement seat for the van showed up.  I've taken it out of the shipping box and put it all together, but that's all I had time for.

October 1st

A new month, so new stats:
Power billed
Power generated


And the DMARC stuff:








After work, I managed to get the remaining shelf back in the van, so now I'm just (still) waiting for the replacement front seat so I can get that mounted, and I'm finished for the moment.

I tried to get the running lights wired in on the DRZ, but didn't have enough of the mini spade connectors I'm using, so we went to get some of those while the mosquitoes took over the garage.  There's always tomorrow.

September 30th

Working all days sucks, doesn't it?  I have to wait for the evening to get things done.  I tried (and failed) to get the remaining shelf back into the van, so I started looking at some extra running lights for the DRZ.  I got them all figured out, but was getting eaten alive by the mosquitoes, so I called it a night.

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 29th

We managed to get the adopter to come and pick up our remaining bunny, and then we went down to Los Gatos for Vic's high school's 125th anniversary.

When we got back, we watched the excellent MotoGP race from Aragon.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 28th

I started trying to get the van back together, but couldn't get the headliner back in by myself.  I said "screw it" and went to cut the grass, then tried again... this time I was successful, and I got all the insulation back in and buttoned it all up.  I got one of the shelves in before I took the DRZ and went to meet Vic for lunch.

After lunch, I rode over to the airfield and took the Flightstar out for about 50 minutes - it started to blink the "low gas" light at me, so I went back to the airfield.

Friday, September 27, 2013

September 27th

I tried again to run the wires for the solar panel, and struggled with dropping the wires down the door pillar.  That wasn't working, so I took off the other damn shelf, and cut a hole behind it.  I then ran the wires down behind the kitchen, and I ran them out to the charge controller, which instantly started charging :o)

That was enough for the day, so I tidied some stuff up, and put the van back in the garage.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 26th

Before Vic went to work, we lifted the luggage rack with the solar panel onto the roof of the van, then I steeled myself to drill holes in the roof for the wires to run through.  I threw some paint over them to hopefully prevent any rust.  Once I'd put the grommets in, I ran the longassed wires through, then totally failed to get them down the B pillar - I think I need a long wire coat hangar or something.  I put the luggage rack back on, then pulled out the driver's seat so I could wire up the solar controller to the battery array that lives under it.  I then took the new seat from the passenger side and installed it on the driver's side, so the seat back adjuster is on the left hand side.  It's also a pain to do anything on the driver's side, so that's all over and done with - when the new seat shows up, it should be easy to install now I have all the parts out.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 25th

We went and dropped off the Prius.  If the rental agreement is correct, we drove 885 miles (it didn't occur to me to figure out how to reset the trip computer when I left), which means we averaged 45.2mpg.  Not bad :o)

After Vic left for work, I started work on the solar panel for the roof of the van.  I took the luggage rack off the front, and made up mounts for the solar panel.  I'm running the wires down one of the water drain holes, so they have to be put in place before I do anything else, as the connector ends are too big to feed through the hole.  I've put garden hose filters over the other 4 holes, so that hopefully the next time I have the rack off, it won't be full of dead insects and foliage.  I also took out half the bloody interior so I could get the headliner out - the wires will be going under this.  While it's out, I've added a few strips of the tar paper, to help quieten things down by changing the resonance.

In the evening, I had an email conversation with the seat (for the van) seller, and they're sending me a replacement.

September 24th

We got up ridonculously early, packed Tilly and one of the foster bunnies and headed down to Los Angeles.  After a long, boring trip, (other than me managing to average >100mpg for 15 minutes coming down the Grapevine) we skipped around the HOV lane on I-405 and got to the rabbit rescue.  I walked Tilly around while Vic took a tour, and then Russ met us.  Tilly barked at Russ, so he pointed out that she's put on a little weight.  We headed out and had lunch, and the rescue called Vic to say that the adopter they'd lined up was insanely happy with the rabbit.

After lunch, we said "tara" to Russ and drove home, getting quite late.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23rd

The washing machine has been doing this thing where it doesn't run the spin cycle, and the latest load wouldn't spin even when I'd taken some stuff out and shuffled it around so it should be able to get it balanced.  The Google makes it seem like the problem is a filter by the drain pump, so I decided to take a look.  It's a filter, meaning that it collects stuff, but you have to take the whole boot off, and it's full of water.  To get to it, you need to remove the front panel, and as the door's coming off, you have to unhook the sealing boot.  To get the panel off, the control unit has to be removed, and the top has to come off too.  So a "simple" fix took a while, but it's fixed now... yay.

In the afternoon, I went and picked up some things and stuff I need for the next van project, then headed over to Freedom Field to check that Vince is still alive.  He was even there, and has just been chilling out and doing as little as possible.

When I got home, we went and picked up a rental car.  I decided to pay the extra and get a Prius, just because I've never driven one.  They're... odd... you press the "start" button, and the car tells you you're ready to go, but the engine isn't running.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 22nd

We started the day at the SPCA sorting out the adoption of one of the rabbits.  Joy.  We  decided to go to breakfast on the way home, and took the bikes.  When I got there, the new headlight on the DRZ wasn't working.  I sulked through breakfast, but it was then working when I started the bike and rode home.  Um... whatever.  I'm thinking it must be some sort of loose wiring or somesuch, as the DRZ rattles like a 4 stroke single, which is exactly what it is.

Once home, I started working on the seat into the van project.  There are many, many ways to mount the sliders to the seats, and without any instruction, I must have tried most of them before I found the right way.  I then got to the point where I needed some more hardware, so I went out and did a bit of general shopping that's on my list while I was out.  When I got back, I managed to get the seat mounted to the Vanagon seat base (with a couple of holes drilled), then installed it in the van.  As it was getting dark, I thought I'd just mount the sliders to the second seat, only to find that one of the mounting holes just isn't in the seat.  Couldn't it have been the first seat that I went to install?  Oh, FFS...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 21st

I've booked some time off work to do some projects that'll take a bit longer than I usually have, and to fly.  So, it's raining.  As I couldn't get the van out to poke around the roof, I installed a HID kit for the DRZ.  It all went swimmingly, once I'd figured out that the headlight connector was wired wrong - luckily it's the type you can take apart if you're careful.  And I was careful.  I also changed the dashboard to use a permanent power line, as I've been having trouble with it losing the clock and trips - it seems that's a vibration issue where the internal battery loses contact.  Permanent power means you don't need the battery, but we'll see how long the backlight stays on, and if that bothers me.

I've bought some new seats to replace the worn out ones in the van, and I spent some quality time pulling the passenger seat out of the van, cleaning everything up and disassembling it to try and get the slider mechanism to fit on the new seats - no dice.

Friday, September 20, 2013

September 20th

I went for my daily lunchtime cycle (I'm up to 10 miles), and somehow it seemed like I was riding against the wind the whole time.  Surely that can't be possible, can it?  Vince says the only time I'm not heading in to the wind is when I'm landing.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 18th

I went to the EAA monthly meeting, where we had our last barbecue of the year and saw a new avionics system where everything plugs into a central hub, rather than being hardwired together.  It looks like a good idea, but I have no need of something like that - I've (hopefully) finished all my wiring :o)

September 17th

Today is Vic's only evening off this week, so we watched "Epic", and it was OK for a kid's movie.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 15th

We started the day watching the MotoGP race from Misano... it was excellent at the beginning, before it became a bit of a procession at the front, then it got better again.

We did some tidying up in the garden, then headed out to look at things and stuff in the shops.

In the afternoon, we went over to the airfield to barbecue with Sean - we were sitting around chatting when Frank came over to chat, and said he was going to do a test flight of his CozyJet at gross weight and max fuel, to see if he gets off by 3000'.  Sean suggested I go along as ballast, so Frank took out the bag of ballast he keeps in the front and off we went.  6000' climb, and ~200kts... we did a 100' pass with the smoke on, then another at ~20', then landed, and parked.  9 minutes... and 12 gallons of Jet-A at ~$6 a gallon, but I think it was worth it :o)

September 14th

I started the day building up another raised flower bed... yes, I thought I'd built the last one too.

When Vic went to work, I went for a ride on the DRZ... up 193, then a few miles on the freeway to Auburn.  A couple of squids on R6s, wearing shorts and T-shirts came past me, and I caught up to them on the freeway exit.  One had a twisted tail section where he's obviously crashed before, so I figured I wasn't going to race then or anything silly.  At the next light, they filtered up to the front, and I started about 4 cars back.  When we got to the interesting part of 49, heading down into the canyon, I was approaching maybe the third corner when I saw a bike under the railing, and the rider just getting up.  Most of the cars drove past, but a Honda stopped behind the crashed bike, and I stopped my bright yellow bike next to it, so we could be seen.  We dragged the bike out, and upright, then turned it around.  The guy was OK, and his buddy arrived shortly afterwards. They had cell phones, so I thanked the guy in the Honda, and headed out.  I realised that the squid hadn't actually thanked either of us, but screw him.  I went up over the Forest Hill bridge, back on the freeway to 193, then got stuck behind a pickup stuck behind a Harley riding like it was his first ride without the training wheels, but after the morning I'd had, I wasn't in a hurry.

In the evening, I went to the airfield and took the Flightstar out for just over an hour... when I got back, Sean said he had been worried, as I'd been fine for a while, and he's been used to me doing circuits :o)

Once home, we watched "The Expendables 2", which is just as silly as you'd think, but at least the stars are in on the joke.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11th

Vic had put the parts of the raised flower beds in place, so I drilled a hole for the watering system to run in, and screwed them all together before we watched "Star Trek Into Darkness".  It's almost as good as the first one, and it's interesting figuring out who all the people are :o)

September 10th

Vic was working late, so I put together the last (maybe) of the raised flower beds, with the usual help from Tilly.

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 8th

I started the day cutting the grass, then I filled up Fred's wastebin (they're away) with cut up wood from the old raised flower beds in the garden.

In the late afternoon, I went over to Lincoln and took the Flightstar out for a while - it was the first time this year I've been away from the circuit, as I'm pretty sure I've nailed the CHT reporting problem.  I flew over Freedom Field, and there was no sign of Vince, then practiced some turns (normal, steep, climbing, descending) before heading back to Lincoln.  As I was taxiing up, Danny was getting his Quicksilver out to go flying.  He and Jack tried to get me to go with them, but I was tired and thought I only had ~3 gallons left in the plane.  They headed out just as it was getting to sunset, and I put the plane away and headed home.  I was almost home when Vic called me - Jack had crunched his ultralight landing it, and wanted me to go and help him out.  I tried to call him, but went straight through to voicemail, so I turned around and headed back... I was about halfway there when I managed to get hold of him, and Danny was there, so he didn't need me after all.  Apparently he'd run out of gas... he was fine though.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 7th

I had a pretty uneventful day, just breaking down the boxes from John's stuff, and tidying up silly things here and there.

Tilly and I played with video a little - after a request from a YouTube user, we shot her bursting a large ball - it lasted 5 minutes, and I have them all on video.  It's a little dull, as the ball just goes down, albeit quickly, so we shot a video of her bursting a balloon.  She's done it before, and I'm pretty sure she hasn't learned anything this time either.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 4th

Vic started the day getting the final raised flowerbed finished, and John packed and headed to the airport.  Me?  I worked.

In the evening, we watched "Oblivion", which is pretty good.

September 3rd

Vic started the day taking one of the guinea pigs to the vet for his breathing problems, where it was decided to put him to sleep (this is an ongoing thing, and there's no solution).

While John spent his day getting the car washed and shipping stuff back to Amazon, I worked.  In the late afternoon, I walked the Mook, then we went to the airport so I could fly John around for a couple of circuits - at least now he's seen what it's like to fly the Flightstar :o)

We went to dinner, and Vic joined us there on the way home from work.

September 2nd

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

It was raining on and off, but we got one of the new raised flower beds sorted out, and Vic filled it with soil and plants.

John and Jana arrived back from Burning Man, and we had brunch, then unpacked the car and got Jana packed up to fly home.

We played a little with the last raised flower bed, but ran out of time - John took Jana to the airport, then met us at Lincoln for a barbecue.  In the rain.  Jen showed up, and I haven't seen her for months.

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 1st

We started the day taking the very old guinea pig Kenya to the vet to be euthanised - she's been getting frailer for a few months, and this morning wasn't eating, and it looked like her back legs were paralysed, so it was time.

After that, we watched the excellent MotoGP race from Silverstone, then Vic went to work.

I pottered around the house tidying up the garden and pulling out the (still green, in September) tomato plants, and building up the frames for the next raised beds.  I had to stop and charge the battery on my drill, which gave me a rest for an hour or so before finishing the second set.

In the early evening, I went to the airfield to do some more circuits, but the wind was gusty (yesterday it was strong, and a little crosswindy, but this was bumpy) so I gave up after 2 circuits.  There was a plane parked alongside the runway, and I wandered over to watch them finish up changing the flat tyre, and help push it back onto the runway so they could taxi it back.  Sean gave me a ride back to the van, and I drove home via an auto parts store where I managed to get a couple of gas can lids :o)

Oh, it's a new month, so here's the solar statistics:
Power billed
Power generated










And, of course, the DMARC statistics:

August 31st

Vic was working today, so I spent the day doing little chores, and ran a few errands, ending up at the airfield.  I did a little work with some fuel hose on the CHT probes, replacing the old, burnt hose where it _had_ been touching the exhaust, and I made a little stand-off to hopefully stop this happening again.  Looking at the other planes in the hangar, people usually route the probes on the other side of the engine, so I'll bear that in mind if I'm still having problems.  I went home to do some other stuff, then discovered that the lid of one of my gas cans is split when I went to get gas to go back to the airfield.  Oh well, I'll use the lid of the (slightly leaky) backup can for now.  Once at the airfield, I put in several circuits without any worries from the CHT, regardless of how I climbed out.  Sean called me on the radio, but I couldn't understand what he wanted (he was on a handheld), so I landed and taxied over to see what was up, and he wanted to go for a ride.  It was late, and I was low on fuel, so we just did a circuit, but it cheered him up.  Just after I'd put the plane away, Kerosene Dreams went out for a few fast passes as it was getting dark - I snapped a few pictures with my cellphone, but they were, as expected, crappy.


Monday, August 26, 2013

August 25th

We got the rental (really, who takes their own vehicle to the playa to be sandblasted for a week?) packed, then John and Jana headed off to meet their mob in Reno.  Vic headed off for the first day at her new job, and I worked on a few little niggles on the van.  At this rate I'll be glad to get back to work for a rest.

In the evening we watched the excellent MotoGP race from Brno.

August 24th

Once we were all awake, John, Jana and I walked the Mook to Starbucks.  Once we were home, we did a trial pitching of the tents that were going to Burning Man, and sorted out some of the supplies before we barbecued dinner and sitting up drinking.

August 23rd

John and Jana are stopping here on their way to Burning Man, and they arrived today.  They opened some of the approximately 5,000 Amazon boxes that have been awaiting their arrival, and went to do a little shopping, and then we went out to dinner.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August 20th

We boxed up the LED TV and took it back to Costco.  Basically I'm not that happy with the display (it looks a bit washed out), and it leans back a fair bit.  Having spoken to Vizio (the manufacturer), they said it needed a warranty claim, so I decided to just take it back.  The whole thing was an experiment, after all.  If it weren't for the stand thing, I'd have sucked it up and kept it, I think.  They can't refund your money to the debit card you use, so we then had to stop at the bank on the way home to pay the cash back in :o)  We set the old Panasonic plasma back up, and I was instantly happier with the colour it shows.  Now if the model I want would just come back into stock... or I'll end up waiting for Black Friday :o)

August 18th

I started the day washing the solar panels for the first time in ages.  I cut the grass, and pulled a bucket full of weeds to kill time, and then we watched the MotoGP race from Indianapolis.  What a great race, with me shouting corrections at the TV constantly :o)

The clock on the DRZ has reset itself a few times recently, and from what I can tell, this is due to vibration and because I'm not taking power from the bike's battery all the time.  So I took the front beak off so I could get to the battery slot, and I put a little cork pad in there to push the battery up to the contacts better.  Problem (hopefully) solved.  I also retaped one of the turn signals, that keeps turning itself - I use electrical tape to hold it in place.  I don't think there's anything outstanding on the DRZ now, which is far more than I can say for the Van, but I don't have the energy to tear into things on that for the moment :o)

August 17th

There was an EAA pancake breakfast at Lincoln, so I took the DRZ over and partook.  Dilly, the local FAA drone, showed up and talked us through how they can help (help?  This is the FAA!) with registration of new planes and so on.  It was an interesting talk.

In the afternoon, I went back over to the airfield and took the plane up to try and see what's going on with the CHT probe.  I discovered that in a shallow climb, I could hit ~6250rpm, and at that point the right hand temperature would climb quickly.  If I climbed out harder, I'd be at ~6000rpm, and this wouldn't happen.  As the "problem" had moved from the left register on the display to the right register, it's the probe, rather than the cylinder.  As the wind was getting quite unpleasant (gusty and crossy), I gave up and parked the plane and headed home.

On the way home I figured out what the problem is... what else happens when the revs go up?  The EGT goes up - I reckon that's overheating the metal sheath on the wire, and that's causing the high reading.  Of course, I need to fiddle with this to see if that's truly the case, but it makes sense.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August 13th

I rode the DRZ down to San Francisco for work.  Joy, there's nothing I like more than getting up at 04:30 then riding >100 miles in the cold and dark :o)

The ride home was pretty quick, but dull.  I'd filled up on the way down, and with a 3.9 gallon tank, made it home in one shot, so I was home before 20:00 :o)

August 12th

Today was Tilly's birthday, and despite her sore feet, she got a large ball.  Once that was burst, I gave her a rope toy with a tennis ball attached.  She's got part way through the rope loop, but hasn't touched the ball yet.  Give it time, and it'll be in fragments all over the floor in no time.

August 11th

Vince has been on at me to go over and look at a hitch mounted motorcycle carrier that he's built, so I took the van over there with Tilly.  Only to find he wasn't there.  The trolley thing he uses on the trike was outside, so I figure he'd gone flying, even though it was the middle of the day.  I threw the ball for Tilly until it seemed that she was starting to have sore feet, and then I took her home.  She has blisters, stupid dog.  At least she was tired out, so we left her and went out to watch the Perseid meteors.  I took a bunch of pictures, but there are no meteors in any of them.

August 10th

I pottered around the house for most of the morning, then took the van and did some shopping for Tilly's birthday (ssh, don't tell her - she thinks I've forgotten).  I ended up at the airfield, where I swapped the cylinder head probes from front to rear - my idea being that I could see the temperatures change if they're the problem.  It was pretty bouncy, but I put in 3 circuits, and didn't see either temperature go very high, but it seems that the right hand number was higher a few times, so maybe that probe is on its way out.

Interestingly, Ken's added 30lbs to the nose of the Quicksilver... I thought it was tail heavy when I hurt my back moving it :o)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 7th

We replaced the base board in the critter room, and re-caulked everything, so now we just have to wait for the caulk to dry so we can clean everything up properly.  Despite not seeing any more ants, I've filled the gap between the "wood" floor and the wall with ant powder before putting the board back in, and that's all sealed in now.

August 6th

The solar panel was wired up wrong - basically I wired it up following the colour codes on the wires they provided, despite thinking that was wrong, saw no charge and thought it was the lack of sun.  Just for grins, I reversed the wiring (making it correct) and saw a fault, so I made it wrong again.  When, in daylight, I reversed the wiring (making it correct again), the battery started charging.  Yay, go me.  So, it took my spare plane battery (12Ah) from 11.99v to 13V through the day, just leaning on a chair on the patio, so I'm calling that a success.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 5th

I'd ordered an 80W solar panel kit, and that arrived, so I set about wiring it all up.  If course, the sun had pretty much gone down by the time I finished, but I was still seeing ~17V at the inverter, but nothing was getting thrown into the spare plane battery I've wired it up to.  We'll see what it does tomorrow in the daytime.

August 4th

I started the day playing with a radio controlled helicopter and traumatising Tilly.  She went out, so I started playing with it again, and she looked in the door and saw it flying around, and I found her cowering behind the hot tub.

We went to Costco and picked up an LED TV.  We can take it back if we don't like it, for any reason, within 3 months, so I figured I'd see if I like it.  We then spent a while pulling out extraneous wiring and suchlike to get the thing plugged in.  I need to tweak the settings and suchlike, but it seems OK so far.  It looks like it's a lot crisper than the old plasma, but that could be just that it's got more dots :o)

August 3rd

We dinked around the house doing this and that.  There have been a bunch of ants in the critter room, so we've moved the critters out of there and put down powder to kill them.  Hopefully.  Of course, this means that there's a lot of stuff being move around constantly, and Tilly's been having a ball watching everything moving around constantly.

In the evening we went to the airfield and took the plane out for ~45 minutes.  I've been concerned about the cylinder head temperatures I've been seeing, so I set the computer to tell me the individual head temperatures, and and one point one was 80F higher than the other.  I'm starting to think it's a problem with the sender, rather than the engine, so I'll look at swapping the sensors - if the "problem" moves to the other cylinder, it's a sensor problem.  If not, well... we'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

We were sitting about talking to Sean, the parachute plane pilot, when I got paged for work and had to go home.  Stupid work.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 1st

I know, you're waiting to know the solar stats.  Here they are:
Power billed
Power generated










I was a little bothered that this is the most power we've used since I started logging this stuff.  It must be the weather, as only the air conditioning can use that sort of power:
2012 temperatures
2013 weather






Well that doesn't look so bad, so I lumped everything together:






The interesting thing is that the high temperature average for the month is roughly the same, but the _low_ temperature average is almost 5 degrees hotter.  And there you have it - the house didn't cool down as well, so the A/C would have started earlier in the day and run longer.  Bah.

Oh, and the DMARC stats, for anybody who's interested:

July 29th

I got the cover off the rollers on the side of the van, cleaned and got Vic to help me PTFE tape the runners.  I've also put some asphalt roof tape on the inside of the cover, to hopefully quieten that down a bit too.

July 28th

I spent a fair chunk of time cleaning up the rollers and runners for the sliding door on the van, and then Vic helped me stick PTFE tape on them.  Hopefully this'll make it easier (and quieter) to open and close the door.  I still need to do the bit on the outside of the van, but I couldn't get the cover off :o(

Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 27th

We went out and got supplies (supplies!), and I stuck a few strips of asphalt roof sealant to the inside of the van's door - the idea is that this changes the resonant frequency of the panel, and should make the van a little quieter.  I'm going to play with this and probably try it on the rest of the panels as and when I have to do something to them.  I sealed the edges with metal tape, so that if it gets hot, it won't droop down.  Having done that, I buttoned the door up again.

In the evening we watched "Thale" - an odd Norwegian movie that was obviously dubbed by people who were really, really bored by the time they got to the final take :o)

July 26th

We watched "Oz the Great and Powerful" - it ties in well with "The Wizard of Oz", and was quite enjoyable.

July 25th

Vic went to put some gas in the Jeep, and came back with the check engine light on.  It seems that the gas cap was open, too - so likely somebody had been trying to siphon gas at her work (it's unlikely that they'd try when it's in our garage when the DRZ is right next to the cans.  The light didn't reset when we went to get the van (it can take a while, from what I've read), so she took the bike to work.  That meant I got to fire up Torque on my tablet to interrogate the ECU to see what the problem was - P0440 - General Evap System Failure means I'm calling it the gas cap, even though there's a fault (P0457) just for that.  I reset the error, and we'll see if it comes on again.

In the evening, Gwen came over to pick up an old window air conditioner that's been sitting in the garage for years, and we went and got some dinner.

The sliding door on the van is playing up, so I took the panel off and found it's the rod that connects the handle to the rear latch.  I don't know why it got stuck, but it's working fine now.  I'm not going to put it back together, as I want to get some stuff to play around in there.

July 24th

Stephan called to say the van's ready, so tomorrow we'll get up early and go and collect it.  I bet Tilly's too excited to sleep - she misses having the van in the garage.

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 21st

I went over to the airfield, dragged the hangar open, dragged Ken's Quicksilver out of the way, then pulled the Flightstar out.  I thought I'd put Ken's plane back in the hangar, then when I got back, I'd put mine in the front, but in moving it I hurt my back.  A lot.  I sat down for a while, and it didn't get any better, so I tried sitting in the Flightstar, and that wasn't too bad, so I figured I'd try a circuit to see if I could at least fly while I got over it.  It was too bouncy, really, so I was hurting myself trying to fly, so I only did the one circuit and put everything away, carefully, then rode home, carefully.  Vic looked at my back and there's a bit of swelling, which isn't a good sign.

We then watched the OK, but not great MotoGP race from Laguna Seca, and just took it easy for the rest of the day.

July 20th

After doing my Warcraft daily quests and going for a cycle, we went to see "Pacific Rim" with Gwen.  It's a pretty good flick, and I was especially impressed that there was a man and a woman, and they didn't have a romantic interlude.

Friday, July 19, 2013

July 19th

We went to dinner with Vince - he's been hiding from the heat, and working on (a different) Vic's Kolb - he bent the undercarriage in a heavy landing.

July 18th

I spoke to Stephan about the van - it seems that pretty much all the air conditioning hoses are rotting away.  Basically as they replaced a couple, leaks sprung in other (28 year old) hoses.  I just said screw it and told him to replace them all... everything should be new then.  Oh, and I asked him to look at the wheel bearing that's been leaking grease for ages (after being overtightened when it was installed).  Might as well have nothing on my squawk list when I get it back, eh?

July 17th

I was aiming to go to the EAA member meeting after we'd been to the vet with Aidan, but that took hours - they had a couple of emergencies while we were there, and ended up closing around us.  Still, I got to ride the DRZ with it's new tyres.  It feels a little skittish, but I'm blaming that on the release compound on them - they should be fine once they're worn in a little more.  I pulled up at a traffic light on the way home, and a Hardley Dangerous pulled up next to me.  I nodded to him, and he did the theatrical "look away" thing that a lot of these pricks do.  So I felt no compunction in blowing him into the weeds (on my dirt bike (o:) when he gunned it when the lights changed.

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 14th

I just wasted the whole day, so sue me.

July 13th

I managed to get the wheels finished on the DRZ (though I'm a little unsure about the speedo drive's placement), and go for a cycle ride.  Yay me.

July 12th

I started installing the wheels on the DRZ.  Sheesh, that's a lot more hassle than on the Hawk :o)

Friday, July 12, 2013

July 11th

Jeff called to say that the DRZ wheels are ready, so Vic picked those up on her way home (I have no transport, other than my bicycle at the moment).

In the evening, we watched "A Good Day to Die Hard", which was entertaining enough.  Somehow I missed "Live Free or Die Hard" though.  Yippie ki-yay, mofos.

July 10th

We dropped the van off at Stephan's to have a pile of work done on the front end.  He was talking about having it back for Friday, but I told him there was no rush, so he can take his time.

July 9th

Vic dropped the DRZ wheels off wit Jeff on her way to work.  Jeff's been really busy since his wheel balancing machine broke, so he'll get around to them when he gets around to them.

July 7th

Just a lazy day, with nothing much achieved.  If only I had more time for more days like this :o)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 6th

It wasn't so crazy hot, so hopefully that spell's broken, but I was still pretty tired from all the recent fun.

We did go flying in the evening, but just did a couple of circuits as it was quite windy and bumpy.  Oh well.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

July 5th

Tilly and I took the van to San Francisco to see Mum and Dad.  Having picked them up, we went to Ocean Beach, where Tilly got to run and play on the sand and paddle in the sea.  We went from there to Fort Funston, where we watched the hang gliders zipping back and forth.  After a stop at Starbucks, I dropped the parents back at their hotel and headed home.

Now, on the way there, all freeway, I'd stopped and filled the van and it had got 15.5 mpg, which is where it's been since the "rag incident".  I figured that the new oxygen sensor hadn't fixed anything.  When I got home, I filled it up again, and driving around San Francisco with its hills and traffic, and then the >100 miles on the freeway home again netted 17.25 mpg.  Fixed?  Maybe... I think I need some more data points.

July 4th

Today was Independence Day, when Americans celebrate the birth of their country by going shopping.  It was also bloody hot.  With Vic's help, I jacked up the DRZ and took the wheels off so I can get new tyres spooned on when Jeff has the time.  We cut up the old wooden boards that made up the (rotting) flower beds before it got too hot, then other than going for a cycle and running Tilly around the garden to tire her out, I didn't do much.

In the evening, I watched "Starship Troopers", as has a lot of noises to distract Tilly from the neighbours throwing fireworks at each other.

July 3rd

The local Sun City had their fireworks display, so we sat outside and watched that.  Tilly wasn't too bothered, it would seem, but the windows were all closed as it's too bloody hot.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 1st

The fuel economy on the van hasn't been great for a while, and Stephan suggested that it could be the oxygen sensor.  He was on about taking it out and testing it, but I figured I'd just put a new one in there and see if that solves it.  The new one arrived today, so I swapped it in.  Now I just need to drive somewhere to make sure it works OK, and fill up so I can test the fuel economy.  Here's hoping that problem's solved.

Power we've been billed for
Power we've generated
DMARC follies

June 30th

Another bloody hot day.  Vic went down to Los Gatos to see her mother, so Tilly and I mainly hid from the heat.  I took the front wheel off the mountain bike, and found the tyre full of little thorns.  Luckily there only seem to be 3 punctures, but obviously they're all right next to moulding lines on the tube.  I've patched them as well as I can (Tilly was most upset at me using her paddling pool to test for leaks), but I had a thicker (and heavier) "puncture resistant" tube in the garage, so I've thrown that in there for now.  I just have to wait for the rear to get holed now, and try to find another puncture resistant tube for that, too.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 29th

It was stupid hot here today (>105F), so I played Warcraft and did a little tinkering in the garage (early, before the heat really hit).  I did go for a cycle (well, after having had to come back and put air in the front tyre - looks like a slow puncture), but stopped for a rest, and only did ~7 miles.

We watched the excellent MotoGP race from Assen.  Good to see Valentino's got the front end sorted out on the M1.  And good to see the poison dwarf choke and only gain 2 points on Lorenzo :o)

June 28th

It's got stupid hot here - to the point where I had to stop and catch my breath on my bicycle ride at lunchtime :o(

June 27th

We watched "The Call" - Vic enjoyed it, I found it a bit predictable.  It annoyed me that the abducted chick can cope with zombies but not this douchebag.

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 23rd

Vic went down to the Bay Area to see her mother, leaving Tilly and me to kick around the house.  It was threatening to rain, so I got all my chores out of the way, then we went over to Freedom Field to chat with Vince while running Tilly's feet raw.  She's now hobbling around like a little broken thing as she has blisters, but she had a lot of fun while it lasted.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22nd

After doing the daily stuff in Warcraft, we spent some time in the garden building the new flower beds.  We're hoping that the redwood lasts better than the whateveritis that's in there now.  I did manage to get 3 layers of 8", rather than 2 layers of 12", as I think it looks nicer.

I went for a cycle, and clocked the walk I took Tilly for the other weekend - just over 2.5 miles.  I did try a few trails that I keep cycling past, and they're a bit more exciting than I'd aimed for - I'd rather not have to get off and push so often.

In the evening we watched "The Dictator", which was pretty predictable.

June 21st

Happy summer solstice, everybody!

I got around to chipping the worst of the crap off my mountain bike, and lubricated the cabled and adjusted the brakes.  Now watch me go over the handlebars at the first red light.

June 20th

Vic took the van over to Stephan's for an oil change, and as usual it came back with a list of stuff that needs doing.  I spent a while talking to Stephan about doing a bunch of bushes in the front - basically an upgrade to urethane from the old dead rubber.  Better start saving :o(

June 19th

I went to Lincoln for the EAA member meeting.  It was a talk on the XV-15, and was interesting.

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 16th

I got out and cut the grass, then we went for a longish bicycle ride.  Yeah, the fun here never stops :o)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 15th

I got the new sensor for the weather station, so I put that up in the roof, and moved the old outdoor sensor to the front of the house so it'll be less likely to be interfered with.  Interestingly, the old sensor seems to read high.

We put together a storage doohickey, then lifted it down the side of the house (there isn't the space to put it together down there).  Yay - that thing seems to have been sitting on the patio for ever.

Vic went to some fundraising thing, so I went over to the airfield.  It was pretty crosswind-y (190 at 11mph, the runway's 150), but not very gusty, so I enjoyed it.  I'm still constantly checking the cylinder head temperature, but hopefully as I get more relaxed, I'll stop doing this.

June 13th

On my cycle ride, I saw an RV towing an SUV with the license plate "IPUSHIN" :o)

We watched "From Paris With Love".  I think I prefer Travolta in his pre-steroid rage days.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 12th

We picked Aidan up from the vet - he's had pneumonia, so he'll be on antibiotics for a while.

June 11th

We watched "Hansel and Gretel", which wasn't bad.  I'm starting to tire of the whole "surprise twist" thing, that you can see coming miles away.

June 10th

One of Vic's guinea pigs has been feeling sick, so she took him to the vet.  Of course they have to keep him overnight.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June 9th

It's been bloody windy here today, so I didn't do anything exciting.  I played with the cruise control on the van - I'm trying to make it smooth, but effective.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 8th

The weather station's outdoor temperature probe has been playing up a lot, so I went up in the roof and got the one down from there and mounted that on the wall outside.  It was having problems sending too, so I figure it's an interference problem (I had problems with the anemometer when I propped up the solar power monitor behind the antenna on the base station).  I've put the smaller sensor that was in the roof by the front door for now while I decide what I can do about this... which'll probably happen when it's cooled down a bit.

If you look at the weather station data, you'll see that it hit 107F here today, so we ran a few errands, but mostly stayed inside out of the heat.  No cycling for me today.

June 7th

We went to dinner with Vince, basically because it's going to be so hot this weekend that we won't leave the house.

Friday, June 7, 2013

June 6th

We watched "Warm Bodies", which was funny enough.

June 5th

In my almost-usual "lunchtime" cycle ride, I decided against lifting the bike over a fence, and thought I'd just ride the few hundred feet along the flattened grass (fire break?) to where the fence ends.  Great idea, but the flattened grass hid a bloody great hole that had me over the handlebars.  At least I wasn't going fast :o)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 2nd

We watched the MotoGP race from Mugello.  It was a bit of a "meh" race, but that could be because Rossi was knocked off on the 3rd corner.  Oh, spoilers.

Tilly's been all sorts of excited now it's warm, so we decided to take her for a long walk to tire her out.  Vic dropped me at one end of a trail I cycle down, and we walked a mile and a half to two miles and she picked us up again.  Tilly treats everything like a race, but we saw wild turkeys (they're stupid, you have to make a lot of noise to make them aware that you're catching them up) and people standing in the creek.  Tilly got very hot, despite several water stops, and was pretty pooped by the time we got back in the Jeep.


June 1st

The all important solar stats:
Power we've paid for

Power we've generated

And the DMARC stats:








After doing my daily stuff in Warcraft, I went for a longish cycle ride.  I think I overdid it, as I felt like crap afterwards, and decided against flying with a headache :o(

May 28th

We took the van over to Folsom to pick up a plastic shed for Vic, and while we were there, got the remainder of the wood we need for the flower beds.  Yay.

May 27th

Today was the day off for Memorial Day, when Americans celebrate their war dead by going shopping.  So, of course, it rained.

Monday, May 27, 2013

May 26th

It's been pretty gusty, so I gave up on cycling, so we had lunch with Vince, and I went to the airport again.  I got in a few more circuits before it started getting bumpy again, so I went home.

May 25th

I started the day washing the solar panels.  I've installed a shutoff valve up on the roof, so I can take the nozzle off and use window cleaning chemical stuff, which is easier than using the mop :o)

We cut up the wood that we've got as we pulled it out of the van.

I went for a longish bicycle ride, then went to the airport to take the plane out.  The first climb out, it seemed to get quite hot (437F), but after that it was OK, even of subsequent climb outs.  I only did 3 circuits, as it was bumpy.  Taxiing back the last time, I saw a couple of coyote pups run across the taxiway - one stopped and looked at me  like he had no idea what I was doing.  Maybe they'll keep the rabbits down.

May 24th

We went to Lowe's to buy a shed thing that they didn't have in stock, and a bunch of wood for Vic's vegetable garden adventures.  We went through all the 2"x6"x8' redwood that they had, and found 14 that weren't too warped, split or barked.  We need 18 :o(  Oh well, part way there.

Friday, May 24, 2013

May 23rd

I got up horrifically early to ride the DRZ to San Francisco for work.  After a tedious ride home, we were watching TV when Vic felt and earthquake.  Call that an earthquake?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 22nd

I'd been into our local big box store and looked at the Panasonic TC-P55ST60 plasma TV, and thought it looked OK, but the input source was terrible (DirecTV, with their overcompressed MPEG-4 stream).  We went in to look at it with a thumb drive with at lot less compressed MPEG-2 files, and it looked a lot better.  The guy in there treated this like the most amazing thing he'd ever seen, and I found it amazing that a) they don't do this to make the TV look better and b) I'm the first person who's ever done this.  Anyway, still interested in getting one.  the Sony 4K TV looks good, but won't fit in the space I have for it as the speakers are on the sides.  I have a surround sound system, so why would I?

May 21st

We went and had dinner with Vince, so I could pay him for the engine work on the plane.  Through ham handedness, I think i managed to stiff him for $20, but I don't think that's the difference between eating and going hungry just yet.

May 20th

I spoke to Vince, and the planes all ready to go.  It was a cold seizure, and we have a few theories about what happened - basically the new pistons make everything tighter, and the air scoop means that the engine gets colder on a power off approach than it would with fan cooling.  Meh, I'll just make a note to try and keep it >3500rpm when flying.

May 19th

It was bloody windy, so I gave up on going for another cycle ride.  It was even windy enough that Vic bugged out of the hang gliding meeting, having won the speed glide award.  I got all the usual chores out of the way, and when Vic got home we watched the interesting (but not outstanding) MotoGP race.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May 18th

I spent the day playing Warcraft, getting all the recycling dropped off, and going for a cycle ride.

May 17th

Vic was off to the Coyote Howl at Lake McClure, so after work we packed the van up, with the hang glider on the roof.  Poor Tilly was all excited that we seemed to be going camping, but somebody needed to stay home and look after the guinea pigs.

May 15th

I took the DRZ over to Lincoln for the EAA meeting.  I'd been hoping to see Jack White there, as Ken's bailing out of the hangar business, and I believe Jack has space available.  I'm pretty sure I don't want to take over the running of the hangar and all the associated headaches.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 13th

Taylor's doing some food drive thing, and wanted a large number of items, so I went to WinCo and bought a bunch of cans and cuppa-soup thingies, and dropped them off at her house.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 12th

I cut the grass, then fixed the lights in the van - it was a broken (not blown, just old and broken) fuse.  Doy.  While I was in there, I found a ground wire that was chewed up, so I ended up doing a little tidying while I was in there.  Of course, now it's all buttoned up, I've thought of some more stuff I want to try when I'm _next_ in there.

I spoke to Vince about the plane, and he agrees that it sounds like a cold seizure, but that that shouldn't have happened.  We talked about the Teflon coated pistons, and how Jack's seen a lot of the Teflon scuffed off after ~10 hours on one of his engines, but we won't know until Vince gets into the engine.  He'll order a top gasket set tomorrow and hopefully be unbolting stuff by next weekend.

I went for a ~10 mile cycle ride, and it wore me out as it was ~95F here.  Still, I drank around half my Camelbak's worth of water, so I'm OK to go further if I get fitter.

In the evening we went to dinner with Vince - it's ages since we've done that as he's in hermit mode at the moment.  I think it's because he sold his BMW, but he claims to not be missing it.

May 11th

I started the day doing my daily stuff in Warcraft, and then Vic and I went for a bicycle ride.  We rode ~12 miles, which is the furthest I've been this year.  Must get out more.

When we got back, Fred and I tried to get his new domain set up to use Google Apps.  Sadly the free stuff I use was stopped at the end of last year, but we soldiered on through pretending to set up an application.  The DNS registrar he was using (1and1) doesn't offer anything like the control we'd need to be able to do everything (A, MX, limited CNAME only), but he'd only paid $1 for that domain.  So we registered another domain with GoDaddy, then went through the pointing the domain at Google stuff.  It seemed to work OK, but we're limited to 1 user.  Bah.  I'm going to try and add that domain to my account, but we have to wait a while for everything to be deleted first.

I went out to Lincoln, to fly the plane.  I was at ~550' on my first take off when the little red light came on for the CHT, and then the engine quit, so I turned back and landed.  It restarted OK, but seemed to be running a little lumpy on the way back, which suggests a cold seizure.  The CHT was 230F or so before I started on to the runway (it's something I always check).

On the good news side, the cruise control in the van will hold it at 70mph, but I think I still have a little tweaking to do (it seems to go over the set speed from time to time, and I believe there's a dip switch for that).  I have a few things to fix in it - the light for the gear selector, and the reverse switch aren't working, but I think that's a grounding issue.