Sunday, May 31, 2020

Getting a Bit "Spicy" in L.A.

Just got a text from my son. They're boarding up all the windows and doors at the large grocery store he works at near LAX.

No word on if they're going to send the employees home.....yet.


And on the local front, I see there were protests in front of the local PDHQ the last couple of days.

Read all about it here.

I have no idea of the history of our local PD in regards to complaints of excessive force.  I suspect a lot of these people are the local snowflake population out doing their virtue signalling.....

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Late Spring Storm!

I've been watching the weather today, and we went from a 20% chance of rain to 30%, then to 40%, and now it's pouring, with "garbanzo bean sized" hail.

And it hurts when it hits!

It just started to rain, then small hail started coming down. By the time I'd cleared space in the garage,(maybe two minutes), and ran in the house to get the keys for SLW's car, it was raging, and I got pelted with a whole bunch of big hail while running (well, what *I* call "running") from the garage to her car.

That stuff hurts!

We got .15" of rain in a few minutes, and the yard was covered with hailstones. The hail melted within minutes as it was 85* here all day, and yesterday, and the ground was pretty warm.

I think we'll get some more rain, but the heavy stuff has passed.

Here's what my weather station recorded. Not the rapid rise in barometer and humidity, accompanied by a large drop in temperature.



And the radar from 2025 local time.


Still some out there, and the radar return indicates we should be having sprinkles, but nothing yet.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Spring Cleaning the Garage.....

Should probably call this one "Wake up, honey..."



Jammed up in the back, too....



And along the driver's side....



But after moving things around, rearranging things, and tossing some things away, we can see some progress....



I can walk through there again!



And finally, I can get to work on the ugly front bumper!


The tires that were in the bags taking up way too much room were the ones I had on the Jeep when I moved out here. They still have about 3/4 the tread depth on them, but I drive so few miles out here that I'm just going to leave the Blizzaks on the Jeep year-round. The "Summer Tires" are in the Jeep and will be going to Discount Tire for disposal, unless somebody wants them.

The small LED light fixture I had over the workbench went casters up, so I'm finally getting around to hanging the 48" LED fixture I bought last year.



This will get hung from the ceiling between the workbench and the front of the car. Should give me plenty of light on the front of the Supra, and some on the bench.

Sweet Little Wife has picked up a new hobby....refinishing furniture, of all things! She bought this really cool, very well made drop-leaf table at the ARC Thrift Store. It had some damage to the finish (it's 50+ years old), so she tried cleaning it. No joy....So she's gone down the rabbit-hole of learning to use stripper to get the finish off, then block sanding it with increasingly finer grit sand paper. She put one coat of finish on it, decided she didn't like the color, and stripped it all off again! She's learning very fast, and is getting an appreciation of what "Hand Made" means. In the meantime she's also picked-up an equally nice side table for $10, and an absolutely killer cedar chest made by Lane. We decoded the serial number and found out it was made in the Summer of 1941! So she now has a Pre-War, solid cedar with veneer, American-made classic piece of furniture. It has finish damage on the top veneer, and after realizing she had a real "heirloom", she decided to take it to a guy in town who does exquisite work.

Things are opening back up here, and life is slowly returning to normal. I'm sure the sheeple in town and the students will be talking of "The NEW Normal", but that's just something the chattering classes do. For the rest of us it means we can go back to living our lives pretty much as if nothing happened.

You know, kinda like "Global Warming"?

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

New Canoe for Drjim??

Hmmmm....change the hull number to 61 and I might be interested.....



Bummer about SpaceX scrubbing the launch, but the weather was a bit too iffy. And clear weather will help the Photo-Optics Team get better film and/or video of the launch. Considering it's SpaceX, they probably do 100% video. I went to a High-Speed Imaging conference some years ago, and the recording of high-speed events had pretty much gone to all video by then. The company putting on the conference was literally the last place in the world we could get our high-speed (400fps/16mm) film cameras serviced, so I got to spend two extra days in training with the guy that worked on our cameras.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Finally On Kubuntu 20.04_LTS

I downloaded it a couple of weeks ago, and slowly began the process of getting all my bookmarks and stuff off the drive in this PC and on to a portable drive. Then, before I started, I realized I had some new drives in the workshop, so I went and got one of those. I swapped the drives, and completely disconnected the "#2 Drive" in here that I use for storage. I've had issues in the past where the installer for the Operating System saw two, matched drives, and went ahead and nuked the second drive, and set the two drives up is a kind of a RAID fashion, meaning I lost all the stuff I had on the other drive.

Good thing I have backups!

So I now have a new 4TB WD "Black" drive (the "High Performance" version compared to a "Blue" drive) in here, my secondary storage drive is safe and reconnected, and things seem to be running smoothly.

I'm snagging and installing various applications as I remember/need them, as I usually do a "Minimum" install. The "Standard" installation adds all kinds of stuff I'll never use, and duplicates of popular programs so a new user can try them and see which they prefer.

Do I really need three music players, four text editors, three different photo viewers, and a dozen games I'll never play? I mean choice is good, but at some point it becomes clutter, especially if you've been using Linux as long as I have.

And since this is a release with Long Term Support, I'll have a much easier time upgrading it to the next release, rather than having to start from scratch again.

Time to see if I can get my webcam up and running so I can join the Skype session used for a "Virtual Meeting" of the Amateur Radio club aboard the Iowa.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Memorial Day.....

Others can and will say things much more eloquently than I can, so I'll just leave this here.....



Haven't seen anybody selling poppies this year, or I would have bought one, just like my Dad taught me to.

Thought  I'd add this pic of the USNS Mercy departing Los Angeles on 15 May.

Got dusty in here when I first saw it.....


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Out and About Today

Had some items to ship, meds to pick up, COFFEE to buy, and several other errands to run.

Zipped in and out of the FedEx place in about 15 minutes, typically quick for them, but the USPS was a mess.

All three of their do-it-yourself kiosks were down, so I had to get in line.

A very LONG line.

And it moved sloooow.

I finally get up to the counter, put the first package on the scale, and quipped with the clerk that I usually do this myself, but the self-service machines were down. The clerk replied, "Gee....that must be why we're so busy today!".

duh.....

Oh, well, he's behind the counter all day and I don't really expect him to know what's going on in another part of the building.

Then it was up to the North side of town to do a curbside pick-up of two magnifying lamps at the Home Depot. I'd thought I'd checked "Free Shipping To Home" when I placed the order, but something must have burped when the order went in, so they did the free shipping to the store. Unfortunately they were sent to the store on the opposite side of town from where FedEx and the Post Office are.

Granted the whole town is only about 9 miles North-to-South, with minimal traffic, but it would have been nice if they had been shipped to the store I always shop at, a few blocks from the FedEx store.

Some stores had "Must Wear Mask" signs, and some didn't. People out here seem to fall into two categories.

1 - "Sheeple", who blindly follow everything the media say to do "For The Children!" without questioning. They're easy to spot because they look so meek and downtrodden, shuffling along, almost broken.... Some look almost normal, but with an air of sadness about them.

2 - "The Rest of Us", who grudgingly put a mask on when required, and immediately take it off when exiting the premises. They're also easy to spot, especially upon exiting a building, but they walk with a sense of direction and purpose, showing the pride and confidence a Free Man has.

As far as people driving along with all the windows rolled up tightly, and wearing a mask? Well, you've seen them before "unmasked". They're the ones blissfully driving along with the turn signal flashing away, usually 5~10 under the speed limit. And after several blocks or more, they abruptly change lanes lanes to make a turn in the opposite direction of what the flasher had been indicating.

Be safe out there!

And now for a little humor.....















Thursday, May 14, 2020

Rainy.....

We've received over 1/2" of rain this week, most of it in nice, gentle showers. Makes me glad I was able to fertilize (good old "Weed-N-Feed" like Dad always used) the yard a few days before it started, and even got some grass seed properly sown in a couple of the Big Bare Spots alongside the garage. Still have about half the backyard to reseed after I went bonkers with the chemicals  the first year here -AND- didn't water enough.

Whacked the grass damn good, I did.....Reminds me of the "lawns" back in SoCal.

I wasn't used to being allowed to use so much water without risking bankruptcy and the Water Police (Lost Angeleez is NUTZ!), so I was being conservative with the water.

Didn't work and I burned out half the yard.....Le Sigh....

And swapped out my Sweet Little Wife's studded snows today for the wheels and tires that came on the car. It's a 2013 Hyundai Elantra, and the tires are just now down to the tread wear bars, and a couple of them are "chunking" in a very minor way, so looks like a trip down to Discount Tire is in the immediate future. The OEM tires are "Hankook", but I think we'll go with something better this time.


/RANT/

This lockdown BS is getting on my nerves. Not so much here, but in seeing what's happening in other states.

Kommiefornia is staying locked down for another THREE months! That's going to cause some permanent damage to the state's economy and make it even more a third-world shit hole than it already is.

It wouldn't surprise me if some of the blue states stay locked down until after the election, allowing "mail in" ballots and an astounding level of blatant voter fraud to occur.

And like some of the Interent memes are saying, why haven't we heard of massive die-offs in the homeless camps around the country?

Why are the politicians who forced this shutdown still drawing full pay and benefits?

And they took an extra vacation?

It's starting to look like time to water the Tree of Liberty again.....

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Red Dots!

Since my wife has trouble with the iron sights on her TRR-8 357 revolver, *AND* her instructor mumbled something about the gun needing an optic, I popped for an early birthday present for her with a HOLOSUN Reflex Sight.

It got very good reviews on several sites I read, and Brownell's had it in stock  at a good price, so I ordered it.

I'll wait'll she goes out on one of her shopping excursions, and sneak it on to her pistol and set it up after it gets here.

Never thought she'd turn into a "gunney", but life is full of surprises.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

ARRRGH......PC Isuues of My Own Making....Jeep Repair, etc, etc, etc

Some time ago I was having a great deal of trouble getting a version of OpenSUSE installed on a few machines, and threw in the towel. I decided on Kubuntu 19.04.

WELL......I screwed the pooch by NOT getting one of the "Long Term Support" releases. And now this version is unsupported, and since I also missed upgrading it to version 19.10, I'm stuck with it, and no longer get any updates, and don't have an easy path to upgrading it to a newer one.

Yes, I suppose it could be done by somebody with more linux-foo than I currently have, but after spending two days trying dozens of "Recommended Solutions" with ZERO positive results, I'm tossing the towel in again, and going to do a clean install of 20.04_LTS, which is supported until April 2023.

I'm grabbing my passwords, bookmarks, and some other files off this disc, then I'll install another hard drive, and put 20.04_LTS on it.

I'm glad I have several 4TB disks sitting around, and I'll make sure not to miss the next "End Of Life" notice for 20.04_LTS.

I had to take my Jeep into the dealership yesterday for some work. My Check Engine Light has been on for about 6 months, and my code reader told me the code was for the Oil Pressure Sending Unit. Looking it up online reveals that code means it failed "Off Scale High", and although I can clear it, it throws it again about 10 seconds after the engine is up and running. I bought a new sender at O'Reilly's, but I can't get a wrench or socket on it without having the Jeep several feet in the air (No Thanks!), or getting it on a lift. I would have taken it to a local garage like "Grease Monkey", but I also had four recall notices on it for various things, so I bit the bullet and took it to Fort Collins Jeep.

I dropped it off at 1000, and they called at 1245 to come and get it. The sensor (Genuine MOPAR!) was $60, and the labor charge was $108.75, for a total bill of $191. Looking at the receipt I see they charged me $16.31 for "Customer Pay Shop Charge For Repair Order", which is a bit cryptic, but most likely means I paid that amount to just issue and process the work order. Back In The Day when I was running a shop we never would have charged for something that. It was just considered part of the overhead in running the place, like the lights, heat, telephone bill, parts washer and shop towel service, and was included in our hourly labor rate.

Kinda reminds me of McNamara and his "Whizz Kids"  squeezing every penny they could out of things like the M16.

"Well, if we delete the chrome plating and change the powder type in the ammo we can save $3 a rifle!", or whatever the cost was.

To take a little sting out of handing over $200, I'm going to write it off that I paid about $75 to get the sensor swapped, and the other charges were for the recall notices.

The $40 I spent on the sending unit from O'Reilly will get stuffed into the "Bad/Uncollectable Debts" column.....

I certainly can't complain about the service. It's a brand-new building, the service bays are immaculate and have all the latest diagnostic equipment, and the free ( ? ) coffee was very good. The staff was very efficient at getting me checked in, and equally efficient at taking my payment and getting me back on the road.

Two of the recalls were for reprogramming the "Final Drive Controller Module" and one for the "EBC Controller Module", and the Jeep appears to start and run smoother, so I can't complain there, either.

I talked with the Service Manager, who was out writing tickets, and he said their business is down about 70% compared to what it was before The Virus. Cars are selling OK, but he didn't know how much the volume was down. He winked and said you could get some really good deals on certain cars in stock, and they'd make me an exceptionally good offer on my existing Jeep. I'd imagine they're getting eaten alive by their "Floor Plan" with Jeep/Chrysler, as they're a fairly high-volume dealer.

The next things I have to do on the Jeep are to get the oil changed, get it smog tested, and then renew the plates. And I still need to get the windshield replaced, and it needs new front struts and rear shocks. I'd ordinarily get new inserts for the front struts, but that means tearing them apart to replace the cartridge, and as long as they're apart I should replace the top strut bearing and the rubber-bumper/strut-rod protective boot parts. If I just buy complete replacement units I get all that, plus new springs. It also cuts the repair time significantly, because as soon as the old one comes off, the new one goes on, saving me a couple of days of tearing things apart, cleaning and replacing parts, and then putting it back in.

The rear shocks are easy-peasy, just regular "Tube Shocks", and I'm kicking myself for not doing it when I did the rear brakes. Once you take the rear wheel and tire off, the shock and all the mounting bolts are right there in front of you. The hardest part is getting it in the air and pulling the wheel/tire off.

So, Life Under Quarantine continues, and projects are being worked on.

And I just about have my Lightning Detector Project from last summer finished, just in time for the Spring storms!

Be safe!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Local Wildlife In Action

In the most realistic enactment of a National Geographic episode, I just saw a rabbit get nailed by a hawk in our neighbor's front yard.....

I'd been watching the rabbit from the garage for a while, and it was watching me. It's was a much lighter shade of brown than I'm used to seeing, so I guess the local rabbits develop a lighter coat in the winter.

So anyway.....this big, almost white, rabbit was smack dab in the middle of our neighbors brilliant green front yard just minding it's own business, Fat, Dumb, and Happy, when this brown bolt slams down from the heavens.

And I mean it SLAMMED down! I could hear it hit and hear bones crunch. The rabbit jumped a bit, and made some blood curdling noises as the hawk finished putting it down with talons and beak.

The hawk then looked around a bit, clamped on the the rabbit, and lumbered aloft at what was probably a bit over max gross.

Stunning reality check if you think about it, and it happened about 35 feet from me.