Thursday, April 30, 2020

More Neighborhood Changes.....

Talked to one of our younger neighbors today, and she filled me in on the local gossip.

She and her husband are now divorced, and she leased a house a few blocks away. No idea where he might go, or if he'll stay in the house.

The young couple next to them are also divorcing, with him going to the Denver area for work, and she's headed to Florida with the kids.

The older couple who moved out a few months back had sold their house to a company that cleans them up and flips them. It was this company that hauled everything away in numerous dumpster loads, not the original owners. It's been sold, and the two cars we see there now are the new owners. So far they're very quiet.

The house next to them, which was a rental, is sloooowly being worked on. The owner lives in Arizona, and nobody knows if he'll rent the house again, or sell it. It's been empty since the two single Mom sisters bought a house about two blocks away. The only activity we've seen has been a single truck and two guys who put new carpeting in the house, and now a single guy who appears to be a painter. I don't think he's painting the whole interior, as it's kinda silly to paint the complete interior after you've had the carpet replaced! That's what the people we bought this house from did, and it resulted in the baseboards not being fully painted. Kinda hard to get down to the bottom of the molding with an inch of carpet and underlayment.

I spent the day spraying RoundUp in the backyard gravel beds, and selectively spraying Weed B Gone in the front and back to get the dandelions, thistles, and other weeds before they go to seed.

And we have a gigantic mushroom infestation at the base of the cottonwood tree we had cut down and hauled away. I was just reading that vinegar kills mushrooms, so tomorrow I'll head out and get (another) sprayer to put vinegar in.

Otherwise, life goes on......

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Sea Launch Back In Limbo

And apparently the owner regrets moving the ships to Russia.

He said he was promised it would be "no more" to berth the ships there compared to Long Beach, when in reality it's costing him twice as much....

And there's no suitable launch vehicle until maybe the "middle of the decade".

Interesting, and so very sad.

RTWT right here on SpaceNews....

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Hey, Springtime....You Gonna Stick Around Now??

Abso-freaking-lutely beautiful outside today. 67*, mostly sunny, 3~4MPH breezes, and with the exception of some rain later this week, it'll be like this for a while.

It's "Springtime In The Northern Rockies", which means we could still get clobbered with 12" of snow, but the chances of that happening are diminishing daily. This last snow was a lot drier than I expected, and was fairly easy to get blown off the driveway and sidewalk. It was a lot more than I expected, meaning it was deep enough to require hitting the same spot twice with the snow blower, and as such, I ran the batteries down just clearing a single 24" wide lane down the driveway and sidewalks.

And the stimulus money we received will be going to fund a GAS POWERED snow blower very soon.

The "Honda vs Ariens" battle will be decided by what I can get at what I consider to be a reasonable price.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Thunderbirds Fly By

Should have used a different lens.....

This was shot with my 80mm~400mm "Image Stabilized" lens. Why is it blurry? Because the lens doesn't focus as fast as my other Nikon lenses do, and a switch on the side of the lens got bumped, slowing it down even more.

And the slot man, all by himself.....

The lens was all the way back at 80mm, meaning I really should have used one of my lenses with a shorter focal length.

Oh, least I got to see them.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Thursday, April 16, 2020

April Showers Bring May Flowers.....

But April snowstorms bust up trees!

We got clobbered pretty good last night. Not as much as the Thanksgiving storm, but a bunch nonetheless.

I haven't crawled out to measure this, but I'm guessing 14~16"?

It even stopped my anemometer and windvane....

And broke two branches on our poor little crab apple tree...

Loaded up (no pun intended, SiG!) my ground radials on the 20 Meter vertical, too...

It's pretty, but I hope the branch on the maple tree makes it!

Bent down the lilac bush by the side of the garage...

And pulled the juniper away from the side of the garage, too...

Oh, well.....Time to get the boxes off this thing, the batteries off the charger and into this thing, and go do battle with the Forces of Nature!

Y'all be safe out there!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Blessed Easter To You All

Rejoice, He Is Risen!

Having The Kids and The Little Guy over for burgers and stuff. We usually have a big family Easter gathering here, but not this year.

Y'all be safe out there!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Radio Control Car Guys Help Local Hospitals

One of the forums I'm a member of is the Arrma Forum for the Arrma brand of radio-controlled models. This is one of the BEST Internet Forums I've stumbled across, and I'm happy to be a member. Rather than in-fighting about who's little toy car is "best", "fastest" or "coolest", like several other radio-control forums I've visited, these guys help each other with tips, knowledge, and humor. "Dumb Newbie Questions" are promptly answered correctly, without prejudice, and the newcomer is welcomed. It's a great forum, and I've learned tons there, along with helping a bit by answering some electronics questions.

Besides all the tech advice, some of the forum members are quite creative at 3D printing. So much so that I've downloaded the required 3D design software so I can start learning about designing stuff again. I've had courses in AutoCad, and in high-school and college I took numerous "Drafting", "Mechanical Drawing", and several other "Graphics" courses. It helped me a LOT in my career, as I could crank out a properly dimensioned drawing, sketch, or schematic diagram in short order to get parts made, or for reference in the future.

These guys go far beyond that, and have started making "Ear Savers" for the hospital masks that health care workers are stuck wearing these days.

 Rather than having the elastic cord rub your ears all day, just use one of these:

How many you can print depends on how big the bed of your printer is, but one guy was printing nine at a time with his printer.

The stl file can be had here if you have a printer.

Pretty clever work from a bunch of "hobbyists", and they're giving them away by the dozen.

Well done, guys!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Just Trying To Keep Busy.....

Besides baking, house cleaning, garage cleaning, and goofing off with TLG, I've been quietly tinkering away on my Arrma Limitless "Speed Run" car.

The best it's done is 62.6MPH, and that was limited by the amount of room I had to run it in.

Following the advice of the guys on the Arrma Forum who have run these cars well over 120MPH, I trimmed down the front and rear spoilers to cut the drag down.

Arrma provided some molded in "cut lines", so I trimmed the front spoiler down to the lowest cut line.

And trimmed the rear spoiler down a little over half-way. The prevailing wisdom, proven by track testing, is the the rear wing has "way too much" downforce, which will push the rear of the car down. If that happens and the front hits a bump, the front of the car can lift, causing a "Blowover", like I'm sure you've seen with hydroplanes, and Top Fuel dragsters.

I'm going to trim the rear wing (more of a "spoiler" than a true wing) down one more line. I'm not entirely convinced you need to cut ALL of it out, as a bit of downforce makes the car more stable.

But too much is bad.....

I also took the center "spool" apart and shimmed all the slop out of it. It was grossly loose, with .05" clearance on the left side where the big silver washer is sitting, and .025" on the right side, where you can see a thin silver shim between the bearing and the thin red spacer.

And I ordered a set of driveshfts that are about .100" longer than stock, to get rid of most of the fore-and-aft slop as shown by the two pix below. One picture shows the shaft all the way forward, and the other shows it all the way aft in it's drive coupling.

Another trick is to put a small O-Ring into the drive coupling before you install the driveshaft. The O-Ring will fill the remaining space, and yet be soft enough to have some compliance to compensate for chassis flex.

And I installed a motor cooling fan using a 3D printed fan mount that one of my friends sent me.

After just a few runs the motor is getting to the "Ouch Point" when you touch it, indicating it's about 135*F. The little fan should keep that somewhat cooler.

And I installed a new motor mount plate and center spool mount made from billet aluminum.

The motor mount uses a screw thread to move it back and forth so you can set the gear lash precisely, and the other aluminum parts are both lighter and stiffer than the plastic parts they replaced.

Tonight I'll get started on making up the new wiring harness so I can install the upgraded speed controller.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Let There Be......Cornbread!

I decided to try my hand at something a bit different today, and it came out stunningly well.

This picture was taken literally 5 minutes after I pronounced it cool enough to eat.

This is the first time I've made a non-yeast type bread, so I was extremely careful not to over mix it. You have a fixed amount of leavening in it, and after it burns out, it better be baked! Mix your dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls, then dump the wet stuff into the dry stuff (W-Stoff and D-Stoff?) all at once. Whisk it all together just enough to combine it all and get all the dry stuff completely wetted by the wet stuff. It'll look more like a "batter" than a "dough". Dump it into a buttered glass baking dish, pop it into a preheated oven, and wait about 20 minutes. When the sides pull in and the top is brown, stick a knife in the middle, and if it comes out clean, you're done!

It came out with a nicely crunchy top crust, and a soft, moist inside with a great texture.

I'm calling this one "Outta The Park and Across The Parking Lot" good.

I've always liked cornbread, but this is the first time I've ever made it, and the first time since I was knee-high to a married grasshopper that I've had it fresh out of the oven.

Super simple to make, and you spend more time cleaning up and waiting for it to bake than you do actually making it.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Quick "Recon Run" Into Town

Well, it was actually a trip to the local Target/CVS to pick up some meds, but "Recon Run" just sounded so much more.....exciting!

Traffic was extremely light, as to be expected, and the Target was a ghost town. All the checkout lanes, and the Pharmacy pick-up lane, had "Social Distancing" stickers 6' apart on the floor tile, and the self check-out lanes had a little signpost telling you to stay out of the area until called. As soon as you were done using the keypad at the kiosk, a Target employee swooped in and wiped it all down. I was In-N-Out in about 15 minutes, almost a new record for me.

The one thing the struck me on this short trip was how many businesses are shuttered. Chipper's Lanes was completely empty, and normally at 1400 there'd be a bunch of cars in the lot. Several restaurants which had opened in the last few months are closed, most with signs listing their carry-out hours, if they offered it.

A few places had signs proclaiming they were still open, and to come on in.

Most of the gas stations I passed had NO cars at the pump, and maybe a person or two (that I could see) in their convenience stores.

The kids report that my favorite little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Laporte, Vern's Place, is carry-out only, as are all the other restaurants in their town.

So even out here in my part of "Flyover Country" things are pretty much closed down. Many relief funds are set up with either PayPal or GoFundMe asking for help for local groups, and I hear about them on the radio and from signs ate the places I've visited since Emperor Polis decide to shut down the whole freakin' state.

My SLW has a cold, so she went to the clinic yesterday to get checked out. Based on her symptoms, the Doctor said "It's a cold. You'll be fine", so she came back home and has decided to "self quarantine" for two weeks.

Uh-huh.......Don't know who she's trying to protect, but if it makes her feel "better" know the rest.....

And I crossed a million total page views sometime last night. Took a little over 11 years, and some of you get that many hits in a month or two.

Back to the basement. Got some parts in the mail for the "Bonneville Car", so off to install them.

Be safe!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Bizzare Total Page Count...

This is "one of those things" that we all see in life from time to time.

I know, it'll be over 1 million today, but "999,666" just seemed too strange not to comment on and record...

Egad....'Tis a Trifle HOT This Week

 Or for what's remaining of the week. It was 97* today, and is expected to be 100+ through Sunday. The humidity is only 17%, so you step...