Friday, February 17, 2017

It's Raining Cats and Dogs!

Or so says my weather station.

Rain was supposed to start last night at 1900, then the rolled it back to 2200, but it didn't start until about 0600 this morning.

As of right now (1522 PST) we've picked up about .65", and it's cominf down in sheets.

I'd give you a wind speed report, but it looks like my anemometer has decided to take the day off, and I'm not going outside to even check it, let alone attempt a repair!

This screen shot show the current NWS weather radar image:

And this one shows the sat image:

So as you can see, whe're in the middle of a storm cell, with more coming.

The barometer is dropping like a rock, currently at 29.30. and it promises to be a pretty wet and windy night.


We've received 1.7" as of 1645, and the rain rate is now 2.40" in/hr.

"Lake Long Beach" is coming back for a return engagement.....

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pretty Much Back to "Normal"....

Or as "normal" as I get!

Went out on my mail run last night, and did the grocery shopping for the first time in, oh....years.

My wife is still fighting off the remnants of this crud, but she soldiered off to work this morning. Since she's the Office Administrator, when she's gone for a few days the place kinda runs on autopilot, but always seems to hit some turbulence requiring her to answer the phone even when she's out sick.

Looking forward to Wednesday, when I give LL the Grand Tour of the Iowa. I'm sure he'll enjoy it, and since I have access to nominally "Off Limits" areas, I'll show him some of the more interesting things.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Feeling Better, Finally....

Getting back to being myself after almost a week since this bug bit me.

Not coughing all night long, but I'm still congested and a bit worn out.

Nothing else to post today....maybe something later.

Monday, February 6, 2017


Been in bed all day.
 Nose is still running like Niagara, every single muscle in me hurts, I have a pounding headache, and it took ten minutes to write threse lines.

Go read the good people in the links....I'm going back to bed..........

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Miscellaneous Stuff

Family medical emergency is somewhat under control.

I'm coughing and sneezing every 5 minutes, all my muscles ache, my nose is running like Niagara, my head feels like a balloon, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I'm sure I picked this bug up one of the two times I went to the ER last week. Most everybody was wearing face masks, and there were signs up advising people to wear them.

My wife just ran out to pick up some NyQuil and Mucinex, and she'll probably be sleeping in the front bedroom tonight so I don't wake her up with my coughing.

My friend Randy who posted, and then mailed me, the pix of a very young drjim in his basement Ham Radio shack also posted the only photo known to exist of my 1969 Dodge Charger R/T.

This was taken in the 1969~70 school year, as we sold the car in the spring after Allstate found out that it was a Charger R/T, and not "just" a Charger, and TRIPLED my insurance rates.

$500/year I could handle with my parents help and my part-time jobs, but FIFTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS PER YEAR was an astounding amount of money back then, more than a "college kid" could afford. With 100 Octane leaded premium fuel costing thirty eight cents a gallon, $5 a week was enough gas to go to/from school, my job, and cruise around a bit when the weather was nice.

For those that don't know....the car is a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T with the SE (Special Edition) package, 440 Magnum V8, TorqueFlite automatic trans, 3.23 SureGrip ("POSI") rear, power steering, 11" manual DRUM brakes, tinted glass, and an AM radio. The SE package included "leather" (worst automotive leather I've ever seen) seating surfaces on the front seats, a simulated wood grain dash and steering wheel, a lighting package (light over ignition key, door panel lamps, and hood-mounted turn signal indicators), clock, and "SE" emblems. The paint code was "T5 Copper Metallic", and it had a tan interior. It did NOT have the R/T "Bumblebee" stripe because we ordered it from the Dodge dealer (Melvin Teasdale Dodge) in Morris, IL that my Mom grew up with, and since it was "her" car, he checked the "delete stripe" box on the order form, and also specified white wall tires instead of the standard Red Line F-70x14 tires they normally came with. With the stripe delete (There were discrete "R/T" emblems on the rear quarters) and white walls, it was a real sleeper! The best it ever ran at the strip was a 15.60@102MPH as it was severely traction limited with those skinny tires on 5" wide rims. I could spin the tires as long as I wanted to, and it would get pretty boring after a block or three. I wanted to get the 15" Magnum 500 styled steel rims with white letter Goodyear PolyGlas F-70x15" tires, but that would have put me WAY over budget, as that option required extra cost power disc brakes, and I wanted the SE package. My friend Randy and I took this car out one night and I held the accelerator down until it topped out at an indicated 130MPH. I don't know what RPM the engine was turning, because the tach would have cost about $100 extra, and I just couldn't afford it. Window sticker on it was exactly $4004, and I think we got it for about $3600~$3700.

"Mindbender II" was the name of a road rally a friend of mine and I laid out, and "JJC" stood for Joliet Junior College, also called "Ju-Co" or "Super High". It was the first public junior college in the USA, and this was the first year the school was located at its new campus, waaaay out on the West side of Joliet, on a high plateau surrounded by cornfields.

There was nothing to break the wind and snow in the winter time, and it could get pretty brutal for the Midwest, with 30~40 MPH winds, and temps of 10*~20* below zero. The closest parking spot to the temporary classrooms (trailers) was over a quarter mile away, and you typically walked at least a half mile, usually  more, from parking to your classroom.

People who didn't dress properly could, and did, get frost bite walking in to the classrooms from the parking lot.

JJC was a nice transition from high school to "college", but if you weren't careful, you'd treat it like an extension of high school ("Super High"), and fall flat on your face if/when you went away to a "real" college or University.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

Flag Raising Ceremony on the Battleship Iowa

This time it was for two people I knew and volunteered with.

Farewell, shipmates!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Headed Out.....

It's 78 degrees, the sun is shining, and I'm wearing one of my Celica Supra T-shirts.

I just cleaned the windows, and she's idling in the driveway to warm up a bit.

Time to hit the road, shake out any rain water still in her, and blow some cobwebs out of the brain.

Just got back with all the carbon blown out of the engine, and all the cobwebs blown out of the head.

Put about 60 miles on the car, and found it it has a water leak, probably the sunroof, that got the passenger seat and all the junk I had sitting on it, pretty wet.

SO.....I'll be leaving the windows down during the day for the next few days.

And I'll put a tarp over it so the rain won't go where it's not supposed to!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

"Edge of Space" It 'Aint!

Rant time.....

I just received my new QST magazine, and on the cover as the lead story is an article about "Amateur Radio At The Edge Of SPACE!".....

It's an article about a group of high-school Hams who send home brew instrument packages up ~120,000 feet using balloons, and recording the downlinked data.

This is great stuff, and I greatly admire the young men and women who are doing it.

BUT....for crying out loud, STOP calling it "The Edge of Space"!

It's NOT.

It's not even close!

The official definition of "Space", is an altitude ABOVE 100km, or about 62 miles, a bit more than 328,000 feet.

120,000 feet is a bit more than ONE-THIRD the required altitude to be in "space", and as such is pretty far from being "the edge" of anything meaningfully close to "space".

I remember not too long ago when the guy jumped out of the balloon sponsored by Red Bull, and they insisted on using this same "Edge of Space" nonsense.

I sure don't have the big brass ones it takes to do that, and I also greatly admire Felix Baumgartner for having the cajones to do it, but it wasn't, and never will be, "The Edge of Space".

Knock it off,'re just demeaning the people who really do go into space for your own cheap amusement....

/rant off

Friday, January 27, 2017

50 Years Ago Today

The Apollo 1 fire occurred, taking three of our Astronauts on their final voyage.

Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee  perished in the fire inside thier Apollo Command Module.

The cause of the fire was eventually traced to some chaffed/frayed wire that caused a spark, resulting in an extremely hot flash fire accelerated by the pure Oxygen used at the time in the Command Module.

In the race to beat the Russians to the Moon, compromises had been made in the design of the Command Module, including the use of a pure Oxygen atmosphere. At the time it was deemed too expensive, and more importantly, too heavy, to include the required Nitrogen system so the the atmosphere in the Command Module would be "air", and a much simpler pure Oxygen system was used.

The hatch on the side of the Command Module had also been designed to open inward, and had many bolts to secure it closed, making it very difficult to get into the  Command Module quickly from the outside.

And many materials used in the interior of the Command Module were later found to be extremely flammable in a pure Oxygen atmosphere.

Manufacturing carelessness also played a factor in the accident, as quality controls were not up to the standards used today. One of the things that NASA did with the remaining Command Modules in the inventory was to put them on shake tables, and shake the living daylights out them to see if anything was loose. One thing I remember from from my NASA Soldering Certification classes was that several POUNDS of loose solder bits and loose solder "balls" were shaken loose from the Command Modules that were tested.

Every one of these little things was a potential short circuit that would be floating around in the microgravity experienced by the Command Module during it's flight, and the Engineers were horrified to see how much junk came out after the shake tests.

Wiring was also rerouted, tied down, and encapsulated with tubing at any point where it rub against anything to ensure that the insulation would remain intact.

And the pure Oxygen system was replaced with a system that used a 60/40 mix of Nitrogen and Oxygen until the Command Module was in orbit, at which time the Nitrogen was slowly purged, and the atmosphere replaced with pure Oxygen.

Manned spaceflight is an extremely risky business, even when practicing on the ground, and you will lose flight crews. You take every precaution you can, design things with triple redundancy, have detailed checklists that must be rigorously followed, and still, you cross your fingers and say a little prayer when the crew boards the spacecraft.

Man is a curious, exploring animal, driven in his quest by a thirst for knowledge and understanding.

And brave men like these lead the way.

God speed, Apollo 1 crew.

Per Aspera Ad Astrum