Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year, and Carving Almost Complete we are, which is most likely not where we'd thought we'd be. A staged pandemic, an election with absolutely breathtaking amounts of fraud, and economy in shambles, and all the other stuff I can't be bothered mentioning, but we endured.

Yes, "endured".

No, it's not The Great Depression or a World War. Those may be Coming Soon To A Former Republic Near YOU!, but it's still not 100% decided. I don't know what's coming up this year, but I don't think it's going to be "pretty", for given definitions of "pretty".

So take care, keep your head on a swivel and your powder dry, and we'll see what comes.

On to more mundane matters....

Trevor The Tree Carver has been busy since the last update. He's just about finished, and has only some final detailing, sealing, and clean-up to do. It should look quite nice this summer.

Awwwww....RATS! Booger uploaded my pix in the reverse order I selected them in.

And I'm too lazy tonight to correct it.

A fitting end for 2020! Think I'll be down in The Bunker with a portable radio until 2020 is out of here.....

Monday, December 28, 2020

A Bit More Tree Carving....

 Took this today after Trevor left due to blowing snow!

He's been working on the trunk, turning it into a stack of boulders with roots growing down through them. The baby owl on the small limb was supposed to be a squirrel, but as he carved away the wood, a crack in the limb started to open up, and he was afraid it would break apart in a few months, so he cut the limb back, and carved the owl.

Should be pretty impressive when he's finished carving it, burning in more detail, and sealing it.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Tree Carving Resumes....

 At least for today and tomorrow.

Trevor is almost finished, and the next few days will be devoted to finishing it up, burning in some details, and then slathering the whole tree in boiled linseed oil to seal and preserve the wood.

The new figure is another owl. He started roughing in a squirrel, was a pretty far along on it, and the trunk split along a line he was worried about. So, we another owl instead of a squirrel.

Christmas Eve aftermath.....

Yes, the wrapping paper has been stuffed in a bag, or we'd be waist-deep in it!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas!

To you all. Christmas has always been special for me, like most people. The family gatherings, the food, the presents, and all the other things that go with the season.

But let us never forget the most important reason we celebrate this day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Cold and Windy....

 Going down to the low teens tonight, and it's been pretty windy since about noon. Winds have been pretty steady at 25~28MPH with some gusts to 40+.

All the snow has melted, so no White Christmas, but the backyard is now dry enough I can gather up the one trunk of the crab apple tree the arborist removed and cut up for me. I'll drag it in to the garage to let it dry out and season until next winter. The sections I saved from the big branches that broke off last winter are really great firewood. Burns very cleanly, and throws off a lot of heat and light for the size pieces I wound up with.

TLG will be here Wednesday, and we're going to bake some bread for when he comes back with his Mommie and Daddy for Christmas Eve dinner.

Wishing you all the best for a Blessed Christmas and Joyous New Year, just in case I don't get off my duff and put something up for Christmas.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Snow, Finally!

 Been very lightly snowing for a bit over an hour, and there's maybe 1/2" on my snow gauge.

NWS is forecasting 1~2" accumulation tonight, and possibly 1" on Friday. This is good, as we desperately need the soil moisture. Saturday is forecast at a 40% chance, and I'll watch that closely, as I have to go down to the airport to pick up SLW Saturday afternoon. I'll use the next two days to "test" the difference my 4WD system has between "4-HI Auto", which electronically controls when the front axle engages, and just "4-HI", which has the front under power all the time. The rear differential is an electronically-controlled locker, and it's been a while since I drove a vehicle with a locker-style rear end. 

Back In The Day, lockers could/would engage at inopportune times, causing the handling to change, sometimes radically. The people on the Chevrolet Colorado forum say you can tell when these lock-up, but the electronic controls make a world of difference compared to a mechanical locker. And they've said pretty much the same about 4-HI Auto and 4-HI, in that you can tell when the front axle engages, but it doesn't jerk the steering wheel or make the handling change dramatically.

My Jeep was true All Wheel Drive, and was very sure-footed in bad weather. If I flat-footed it on a slippery surface I could force all four tires to spin, but I don't drive like that. It'll be interesting to play with the Chevy in the snow to see how it feels. In dry weather it handles better than it has any right to, and the brakes are very good with outstanding pedal feel. GM's chassis group really has a handle on things in this department, and I'll see how it does in snow the next couple of days.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Unflipping Believable! WELL DONE SpaceX!!

 I watched the entire launch and "landing" of the SpaceX SN8 flight test today, and I'm pretty near speechless.

This is so close to the Big Silver Rockets of Bradbury and Heinlein that I grew up dreaming about that it's.......huh....not sure what to say other than some adjective I can't think of. It's one of those "American Exceptionalism" things that aren't supposed to exist, are hugely Politically Incorrect, make liberal heads go nova, and prompt questions like "How Many More Teflon Fry Pans Will We Get Out Of This?" (I actually heard that at a NASA presser) from the "press", and make me smile and feel a sense of pride.

I won't analyze the landing, other than when I saw the plume go bright green, I knew something was wrong, and remembered the line "All Hand Brace For Impact!" from the movie Destination Moon.

Here's the broadcast, courtesy of a link the Silicon Graybeard provided. The launch starts about an hour and 47 minutes from the beginning, so you can skip forward quite a bit.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Chuck Yeager Has Passed.....

 God Speed, General Yeager.

L.A. City and County Force Closure of Battleship Iowa.

 Gruesome Newsome and his Evil Minions strike again.

A partial quote from the management aboard the Iowa:

While we have operated safely outdoors since the end of May without a single Covid-19 case, we have been ordered to close. This resulting closure will undoubtedly set us back and without an immediate increase in donations, we will have to cut expenses and wages during the holiday season. Without your support, the decision on how much we cut and where we cut has to be made no later than December 13th.  


If you can afford to during these times, please consider donating to The Pacific Battleship Center.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

More Tree Carving

 "Trevor the Tree Carver" came by this morning and got started on one of the big limbs coming up out of the trunk.

It's going to be a pine tree!

He's thinking of turning the third limb into a squirrel sitting on a stump.

Not like we need more squirrels here, but it should look cool.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Arecibo Drone and Camera Video of Collapse

 Just saw this on a random YouTube ramble.

These are separate videos; click to play.

Easy Round Trip To DIA

 Got SLW to the airport in plenty of time. It was very nice to see the mountains again, as last time we drove to DIA there was so much smoke from the fires that it was like Armageddon. 

BTW, all the fires I've been following have been declared 100% contained. "Trevor the Tree Carver" told me he took a drive up through there now that the roads are open, and some of the areas got singed, while other parts are just gone. He said in the hottest places the trees burned right down to the grass, and then the grass burned away. Nothing but dirt and rocks now. He also told me he's been trying to get some of the "Beetle Kill" wood from areas where the bugs got the trees, but it's quite difficult unless you know somebody. Some is on private land, and some is Forest Service land, and he's still trying to figure it all out. He said the wood is quite beautiful, with many different colors running through it.

And I finished up a work space in one of the unused basement rooms so the DIL could "work at home" from here. Her employer has had to severely cut back the number of people on-site due to Emperor Polis' latest Unlawful Edicts. So, most of the office staff is now telecommuting, and since she does some kind of customer service/liaison function, she can easily work from "home". It had previously been the desk with the weather station and mini-server, along with having all the gear I use to program radio gear with, so I had to pack up the PC I normally have sitting there, and rearrange the weather station and server, roll over a good chair from the workshop side of the basement. She brought over her laptop and docking station yesterday, and we set everything up and tested it. Worked fine, except that all these new fangled laptops ONLY have an HDMI video output, and one of the monitors I'm loaning here ONLY had regular video, and a DVI video port. She was supposed to bring another monitor and cable by tonight, but she hasn't shown up. Oh, well.....

So it's me and the dog for the next 10 days, and the "DIL-in-the-Basement" starting on Monday. She'll bring over TLG on Wednesday, so I've got to get cracking here to come up with some "Grandpa" stuff he and I can do.

And no, Beans, I still haven't bought a snowblower. We've got ZERO precip in the forecast for the next 10 days, and as soon as the model I wanted came in, it was gone. I may just have to order one on-line so I'm in the que for the next delivery.

And speaking of the weather, I just read where KFTG, the NWS Weather Radar in Denver, will be down hard for three weeks. The "Bull Gear" (like a giant-size ring gear) used to rotate the antenna in azimuth has failed. The parts are on-hand, and the specialists from the NWS Radar Operations Center in Norman, OK are either here, so since this is a well-known procedure, they should have it back up per the schedule.

I was about ready to spew some venom about this like geez, don't you guys inspect them at regular intervals, and then I read the story about how they did this to the weather radar in Binghamton, NY. The gear is buried inside the antenna pedestal, and doesn't appear to have any inspection ports you can use to look inside.

Le OUCH.....

Good thing the normal service life of this gear is 15~20 years, which is about how old most of the NEXRAD (rabbit hole alert!) sites are. The NWS is researching Phased Array Radars for the replacements, but I don't know the status of that program.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Areicbo Is Gone.......

 One of the three main support towers broke in half last night, sending the entire Receiving Platform down into the reflector.

You can see the failed tower to the lower left of the photo.

This is the Receiving Platform before it fell.

The remains of the dome can be seen resting on the reflector in the top photo, just left of bottom center.

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...