Sunday, August 31, 2014

Flying Through A Fireworks Display

Found this over at Bill Whittle's website.

I'm speechless.......

But thinking of buying a quad copter to mount my GoPro on! 

It's in High Definition, so watch it in full screen. You'll be amazed.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Papa Oom Mow Mow

Was scratchin' around for some Surf Music today, and came across this.

The Rivingtons sound great, but the artwork really caught my eye!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

*Almost* Went to a Car Show Today

The annual "Legends Car Club" Car Show By The Sea was today, and the wife and I tried to go see it.

I hadn't heard about it until last week when my radio club had their August BBQ, and we noticed a sign for it.

WELL....T'was not to be. It was also the "Tall Ships L.A." festival this weekend, and the traffic along Harbor and Gaffey Streets in San Pedro was insane.

Having lived in San Pedro (or "Speedro" as the natives call it) for a few years, and going there all the time for my radio club and the Battleship Iowa, I pretty much know my way around, so we went in the "back way" (Western Ave South to 25th St, then East to Gaffey) to Point Fermin Park, and avoided 90% of the traffic that was clogging up Harbor and Gaffey.

Right about the time we got to Fort MacArthur (Our Field Day site), we hit the car show traffic.

I probably should have known it would be like this as their flyer said they limited entries to "the first 600 cars that apply", but I thought we'd chance it anyway.

Oh, well, at least we got to see some pretty nice cars in the "overflow"  lot, and a ton of tricked out Big Bikes, as we drove by.

Coming up on September 27th is the "Japanese Classic Car Show" at the Queen Mary, and hopefully I'll get to meet some of my fellow Supra owner's there.

Last year they had a Toyota 2000 GT, and I'd really like to see one of those "In The Aluminum"!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Dad's Birthday

He would have been one-hundred years old today had he not passed away in 1991.

And like most adult sons, I miss him every day, and long to talk to him.

He taught me a lot of things, and for that I grateful.

Happy birthday, Dad!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.........It's OVER!

Well, I was processed out today, along with 27 other people from my group.

My former group is down to TWO people, and the facilities guys went from 12 people to three.

All three of the purchasing people are gone, along with one of the two Safety guys, the Communications Manager, 3 of the 4 IT people, and the guy who ran Document Control.

That's 46 people that I know of, out of about 70 people on-site, or well over half the staff.

One of the security people has already found another job, and the other is seriously looking.

In the next week or so, several managers will be released, and then there's 8 the Boeing people still there.

I expect the Boeing guys to be released in the next week or so, as my former employer wants to weasel out of renegotiate their contract to get costs down (they're already about as low as they can be made and still make a small profit), and eliminate the $20 million early termination clause that's in the existing contract.

I expect them to shutter the place by the end of the year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Big SIX THREE Today!

30 didn't bother me

40 didn't bother me

50 didn't bother me

BUT....when I hit 60, I realized I wasn't a kid any more, and some changes would have to be made!

Well, Mother Nature took care of that last year, first with a MRSA infection, and then my cardiac incident requiring three stents to fix.

Still have some weight to lose (I can drive by an In-N-Out and gain 5 pounds), but I've been getting more active since the first of the year with things like walking the dog nightly, doing yard work (we fired the yard service and I bought a small electric mower), volunteering on the Iowa, and scrambling around working on the Supra.

I know my limits, and when I first started getting more active, I had to stick to about a "50% duty cycle", of 15 minutes yard work followed by a 15 minute break.

Now I can do about 30~40 minutes, and only need a 5 minute break to drink some cold water.

After either this Thursday's or Friday's layoff, I'll have LOTS of time to get my groove back, along with building up my stamina back to where I think it should be.

And the dog will probably lose a little weight, too!

Monday, August 18, 2014

We Choose To Go To The Moon.......

Another home run from Bill Whittle.

Makes me almost cry when I listen to President Kennedy......

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Coming Soon!....UNEMPLOYMENT!....

And it won't be a minute too soon for me!

According to my Reliable Sources, who haven't been wrong yet, the axe will fall Thursday, and if they can't process everyone out, it will continue on Friday.

Frankly, this will signal the Beginning of the End for the company as NOBODY will come back, no matter how much our "services will be in great demand" in 2016.

The only way I'd go back would be as a subcontractor to help the Boeing guys pull all the Boeing Proprietary equipment off the ships, inventory it, and help pack it up to be shipped back to Mother Boeing.

Getting a new set of people in there to run all the payload processing and monitoring equipment would slow the process flow down to a crawl, and throw the schedule seriously out the window.

The sad thing is that Boeing just shipped ALL the equipment and fixtures required to build the Payload Accommodation (fairing, avionics, launch vehicle adapter, ordinance, etc) down here in anticipation of us building it up on-site, saving the company about $500k per launch.

So, there's a warehouse full of stuff to build a complete set, plus spares, that might never get used.

Right now the launch platform is in "cold lay-up" (unpowered and unmanned), and the command ship is in "warm lay-up" (minimum crew and power), and all the equipment on board is deteriorating from lack oe.

Having brought all my former systems back up after the bankruptcy (an 18 month down time), I seriously doubt some of them will come up and operate after another two year shutdown.

Oh, was fun while it lasted, but I'm really looking forward to retirement!

I'm just too damn old and busted up to continue doing the job I was doing, and I think it's a fine time for my exit.......

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

PC and UPS Maintenance Day

Several weeks ago the UPS in the living room that runs my weather station mini-PC and Uniden HomePatrol scanner started screaming that its batteries were dying.

Rather than pay the premium that APC wants for their batteries, I picked up a couple of individual AGM batteries from my local supply place, put them on the trickle charger I have, and promptly forgot about them.

WELL.....Monday night I logged in to my weather server, only to get a "404" from its network address.

Hmmm.....go out to the living room and see that it's completely cold, and the UPS has shut down.

Time to swap out the batteries, I guess!

Rather than just replace the batteries, I pulled the covers off the UPS and blew out all the dust, and checked that the fans were easy to spin, and then rebuilt it.

Pulled the covers off the mini-PC, and blew all the dust out of it, too.

So now the weather station is back on-line, and sending data to NOAA via the Citizen's Weather Observer Program.

And they still haven't said a peep about the pending layoffs at work....

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014

50 years of "Doctor Who" Themes

Thanks to the BBC, us whovians can now watch all the iterations of our favorite them music

Presented in two parts, just click where indicated in the video.

It's very interesting to watch how the title morphed over the years, as well as seeing all our beloved Doctors.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday, and I'm STILL Employed *and* Navy Days L.A.!

Damn....I sure do wish they'd get this lay-off thing rolling.

I have more important stuff to do, like work on the Iowa, work on my car, and mow the lawn, than continue to go in each day at 0-dark-thirty and do NOTHING for 8 hours.

And I'm there with only about half the people who are normally there, as most everyone else is burning up their vacation in anticipation of the cheap, evil, slimy bastids not paying it to us when we leave, although I think Kaliforniastan law forbids that.

On a lighter note, it's "Navy Days L.A." this weekend, and I got to see the LPD-23, USS Anchorage, and the DDG-111 USS Spruance today.

 USS Anchorage

USS Spruance

They're both docked immediately North of the Battleship Iowa (we're not allowed to call her the USS Iowa as she's no longer a commissioned USN vessel), and all three of them sure make an imposing sight as you come into San Pedro!

Some of the active duty personnel from each ship came over to the Iowa to help us do some grunt work, chipping, scraping, and painting, and I was privileged to get to meet a few today.

All I can say is we have a terrific bunch of young folks in our Navy, and I thanked each one of them I met.

I had an opportunity to have dinner on the Spruance, but missed it by *that* much.

I would have been most honored to have been allowed to share a meal with these fine people, but I sent my application and donation in about 12 hours too late, and all available seats were taken.

Oh, well........

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Things To Do When You Don't Have Anything To Do

Or, "How To Keep Busy".

Since they've shut down half the lights in the building I work in, and turned off the air conditioning, the place rapidly turned in to a dark, dank, humid sweatbox.

After all of us complained by repeatedly email-bombing the facilities people and upper management, they brought in some portable air conditioning units, plumbed their hot air exhausts into the ceiling air return ducts, and hot-wired the air handlers to run independently of the rest of the A/C systems so the hot air exhausted by the portable units would at least get pulled out of the building.

The portable units are pretty humorous looking, and requiring emptying the 5-gallon water catch can daily, but they keep the office comfortable.

SO......what do a bunch of Engineering Geeks with way too much "free" time on their hands do with one of these funny looking boxes?

Float a ball in the airstream of the outlet, of course!

We've got 5 of these units in our office area, and each one has a different colored ball floating in its cold air outlet, but this one happens to be by my desk.

BTW....the bookcase full of binders is a small part of the documentation required for a single launch.

My first manager used to joke that a rocket wasn't ready for launch until the stack of paperwork exceeded the height of the launch vehicle.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sleepy Dog Daze!

Had some rain last night, and it's really humid outside.

It's about 88* with 50% Relative Humidity.

Was out trimming our lemon tree, and was soaked in about 15 minutes.

Think I'll hang out inside where it's cooler with the A/C running.

Even the dog knows better than to be outside this afternoon!

Meet Luna!

 Great name for our new pup, eh? She's camera shy, and "Red Eye Removal" doesn't work for dogs! She's two years old, p...