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November

November 30th We got up early, and dug Tilly out of bed to go hang gliding. She was quite upset on the drive down to Ed Levin park as it was foggy and there was nothing to look at. We got there just as the park opened, and I left Vic talking with Ganz so I could take Tilly to the dog park to stretch her legs. When they headed up the hill, they had Jason to drive the truck back down, so I fed Tilly and we generally played around until Rich got there. Shortly after that, the gliders launched, so we watched them come down. At this point, Jason was having a lesson with Rich, so Tilly and I took over driving duties.
They got in 4 flights in total, and Vic used the solid state camera mounted on the keel, and pointed roughly where we thought it would look at her.

After a long, tiring day, we headed home, with the overstimulated Mook asleep on the back seat. Bless.



November 29th I spent the morning raking leaves in the front garden, then cutting the grass. I know, it's a constant party here.
We then went out so I could get a new printer in the sale at Best Buy. It's a Canon MP620, and I spent the rest of the day pulling out all of the out of date stuff, setting it up on the network, and then installing the printer software on all the machines in the house. Now you have to remember to turn it on to print, but that's a lot less hassle than turning on my main PC, then shutting it down when you're done.

Later than usual, I put the ladder on the roof of the Subaru and got loaded up to go hang gliding tomorrow. I like the roller on the front of the ladder, as it's possible to load the hang glider by myself. It bends the ladder alarmingly, but I'm OK with that :o)



November 28th Today was Black Friday, the first day of crazy shopping for Xmas. I had a few things I wanted, so I headed out to Frys and picked up some networking stuff I wanted, a replacement USB memory stick to replace the one of Vic's that Tilly recently ate and a slip cover for her notebook. I also hit Wallyworld and got one of the few remaining Garmin Nuvi 200s to play around with. I've since been wasting time and memory by downloading new vehicles to it :o)

I had thought about getting a new printer, as the old one needs $75 of ink, but the ones we looked at had absolutely abysmal print quality - I'm looking at all in ones, so that could be the scanner, or the printer, but either way I don't want less quality than my current setup, thanks.

Once home, I set up my new draft-N router and discovered that my old Netgear router can't be used as a wireless bridge. Doh. Oh well, it occasionally locks up, and the new one should have a better range as it has 2 antennae.

We went out to dinner with Fred and Marsha, then played a few games at their house before coming home to wake Tilly and put her to bed.



November 27th Today is Thanksgiving, where Americans celebrate the beginning of the Indian genocide by eating turkey. Vic went to the SPCA early to look in on the critters, and I played around with Tilly. In the afternoon, we went over to Fred and Marsha's for turkey - left to our own devices, we'd have probably just had cheese sandwiches.


November 24th I finally lost patience with logging such gems as:
11:10 - 11:19 Showered
11:19 - 11:20 Filled in log
and told the boss I was either going to stop logging or call in sick for the rest of the week. He told me what he wants, so now we're at not enough data to be meaningful. Great. Still, it's less aggravation for me on a daily basis.


November 23rd Vic headed off hang gliding, but a bit later than usual, while Tilly and I stayed at home - I was on call. We mostly read, watched TV and, in her case, slept. I've been threatening to make a little cart so Tilly can tow me, so I went into the garage and bolted together some spare castor wheels and a piece of plywood. When we went out the front and I sat on it, rather than pull me, Tilly wanted to climb onto my lap. So, not a roaring success yet. I did take her for a long walk, and played ball in the garden, so she was a bit tired when Vic got home. Vic got 3 flights off the 1750' hill, and it seems that they missed me. Mainly because they had to drive their own selves up the hill, I'm sure.


November 22nd Vic was in a class at the SPCA today, so I caught up on some TV, dragged up the old rug and put down the new one, and worked a little in the garage. While I drilled and screwed and hammered a roller onto the front of the ladder we use for the Subaru when we go hang gliding, Tilly settled down and went to sleep in the van. Once finished, I bolted the ladder to the roof rack, and loaded the glider on it. It seems easier to me, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is easier. Still, the car's all ready to go tomorrow morning.


November 21st In the absence of guidance to the contrary, I continue to log everything I do at work.
10:00 - 10:04 Let dog out, scooped poop, checked inverter
10:04 - 10:05 Filled in log
Vince and Larry came over to see if I wanted to join them for lunch. Having wasted half of my morning logging everything I do, I was in the mood to get out of the house, so I joined them. I wonder how much detail I should be logging here - after all, they said "everything", right?

In the evening, we went out and go a new rug to replace the red one in the front room that Vic hates, and that Tilly has chewed a corner off. We ended up with another red rug, but it has other colours too. We dumped it in the van until we can get the time and motivation to get stuff out of the way so we can bring it in the house and put it down.



November 20th The boss has decided we need to log everything we do so he "has the data" to get more support staff. So, I took "everything" to mean "everything", and sent him such gems as
08:00 - 08:04 Fed dog
08:04 - 08:05 Filled in log
I've been through these exercises before, and they're a total waste of time. Either you get too much data to actually work with, or not enough to be meaningful. We're also supposed to be logging all the time we spend on individual calls, so they can try and figure out a way of reducing the time it takes to close problems. I've suggested that what we need isn't more statistics, it's more documentation and training, but I think I'm being ignored as a troublemaker.


November 17th We were all pretty tired after a long day hang gliding yesterday, but I had to get up and go to work. Tilly just spent the day looking for comfortable places to nap.


November 16th We got up early and headed out so Vic could go hang gliding. It's almost funny dragging a bleary eyed Tilly out of bed at oh dark thirty. We met John and Rich at Ed Levin park, and while I took Tilly to the dog park, they went and flew from the 600' launch site. We wandered over, and then I drove them back to the 600' launch so Rich could watch them land. No drama there, so it was decided to go on to the 1750'. It's a long way up, and there were several gliders there. Vic launched first, as she was ready first, and had a great long flight down. After John had landed, I drove his truck down the hill so Rich could drive somebody else's car - people are always looking for drivers to run them up, or drive their cars down, the hill. As Vic and John were packing up, I asked if they wanted me to drive them back up for another launch, and it was decided that John would drive Vic up, as he didn't feel like flying again. We ended up picking up a couple of paragliders, so space was getting kind of short. Tilly and I stayed on the ground with Rich and watched Vic fly. She landed nicely in front of us, and we packed up and got out of the area just before the 4pm curfew. The Berkeley hang gliders were up to the 60' launch, and we watched 4 of them land heavily in the creek... it seems that saying "don't land in the creek" makes them focus on it. One broke a downtube. While they'll probably all be sore tomorrow, none seemed to be hurt.
On the way home, we stopped at Rich's to do the Hang 2 paperwork, so that's all out of the way now :o)


November 15th Vic was at the SPCA all day, leaving Tilly and I to ourselves. I put her on her long lead in the front garden so she could watch Fred cutting bits off his trees, and got some work done on the YSR, basically getting it all back together. I ran it up and down the street a couple of times, but it's still doing some weird stuff, electrically. Fred has a 6V charger which I'll probably use to get the battery fully charged, and then we'll see what can be done.
I then pulled the van out and got the roof racks all working. I can't get it in the garage with the racks on, but it looks like we have the ability to take one vehicle to go hang gliding for weekends next year.

In the late afternoon, I went and got some bulbs for the house number light which has stopped working on my way to the airfield, where I put some gas ($2.03 a gallon, woo!) in the Rans and went for a flight. I got in about 45 minutes before it was getting dark. As the engine's now got 50 hours on it, I swapped in some new spark plugs, pumped up the tyres and gave it a good looking over before it got too dark to really do anything else. Maybe next time I'll wash it :o)

Vic got home late, and we loaded up the car to go hang gliding tomorrow.



November 14th I was at the gym when a complete bloody stranger said "Hello". It seems he's Santa Claus at weekends, and remembered Tilly as a "cute dog". He declined to buy her though.

I finally received an RS232-USB adapter that works with Vista, as the only thing that runs all day now is my work laptop. So now I've installed FreeWX so I can upload data from the weather station to Weather Underground. My data's here when I'm online.



November 13th Tilly's Santa photo arrived. She's such a dork.

It's a shame it's getting dark at 5pm, now that the clocks have changed. So that Pilot and Mckenzie can be driven to school in the daylight.



November 12th I came in from the gym to find that Tilly had grabbed some of Vic's paints and opened them. On the rug. She'd spilled some paint, which I managed to get up, and got some on her feet, which I left.


November 11th After work I took the DRZ over to Circuit City to get Hellboy II, but they were "having trouble with their shippers". I'm thinking that's more like their suppliers don't want to send them anything they might not get paid for. When Vic got home (late - picking up a guinea pig at the vet) we watched the movie. Tilly was unhappy at this. I'm thinking it's the subwoofer she doesn't like, as she's OK with most stuff on TV, but Two and a Half Men doesn't have that many explosions.


November 10th We watched War Of the Worlds, but Tilly was a bit freaked out. We're not sure if dogs don't like 3 legged octopii, or if it's that the 2005 version just wasn't that great.

After the movie, while Vic put the critters to bed, I went and put a new (old) regulator on the YSR and fired it up quickly in the garage. While the voltage dropped to 2V (from 4V) when I turned the key, and stayed down there, the battery was supplying 6V when I turned the engine off. That suggests to me that it's charging.

Shame that having charged me $9.95 to get the regulator here, the eBay seller put 96c of postage on it, leaving me with a bill for 55c. I see negative feedback in his near future.



November 9th I started the day by taking down all the remaining masking tape before Tilly pulled it off and ate it. I thought she was eating some paint, but upon dragging a piece of rubber out of her mouth, I realised that I've pained the walls the same colour as one of her bloody toys.

We then got her all ready to go out, and she chose to take the van. We went over to the SPCA so she could get her photo taken with Santa. Last year she was very good, but this year she was all excited from waiting in the lobby, and was a bit of a handful.

We later found out that her picture from last year was used on the flyer for this year. Ook At Da Coot Poopy.



November 8th I helped Fred get his PC on his network (stupid XP didn't load the network card drivers, for an Intel motherboard), then got back to work painting. I'm hoping I'm done, as I'm out of paint. Out, as in I was scraping around the bloody can trying to do the last of it. After a day's painting, we went out to a Hibachi grill for dinner with Fred and Marsha.


November 6th More painting - this time the really high bits that required me standing at the top of the step ladder, 2 steps beyond the "don't go above here, you could fall and sue us" label. Maybe I should be a school caretaker, and sue the educational district instead. Oh right, that was in England.


November 5th I painted the corners in the hallway. I'm trying to do little bits, and often, rather than painting everything all at once, as I get impatient and put too much paint on the pad and end up dropping half of it on the floor / Tilly.


November 4th After work, we went out to dinner with Vince, and came back to see that Obama had won the presidency. Just as well, as nothing else has been going on in the world for the last week or so.
I was a little disappointed that the anti-gay marriage proposition has passed in California. If you don't like gay marriage, don't marry a gay person is my take on this... I don't understand why people think they have the right to tell other people how to live their lives.


November 3rd Today was my last day off work (I can't take a Tuesday off, due to staff shortages), so I wasted it doing a bit more painting. Just as well I'm almost done, Tilly's started taking down the masking tape I've put up. I figure it all looks finished to her, what with being more or less colour blind.


November 2nd A nice blue sky greeted us in the morning, despite the forecast of rain and jet lag from the clocks changing. Oh, and according to the weather station, we got 1.89" yesterday. Well, I guess the garden needed it.

I went over to help Fred with his computers - who knew that Windows won't install on a disc it can't understand the partitioning on? It just freezes completely, with no error or warning. fdisk fixed this, once we'd figured out what was going on.



November 1st Last month I checked to see how much power we'd generated, so I checked again this morning. In the (calendar, not billing) month of October we generated 407KWh, and used 115KWh for a total of 522KWh, about 100KWh less than the billing cycle for October last year. So, at the moment, I'd have to assume that we're using about 15-20% less power than last year (probably because everything's compact florescents now, and I'm more aware of wasting power), and generating about 75% of our power usage. If I get an extra 500W of panels (about 20% extra) then we'll probably come close to being energy neutral through the year. Cool.

It threw it down with rain all day, and we did some shopping and so on before settling in at home. While we were out. we stopped at the local Subaru dealer, and Vic sat in a Forester, but the seat isn't high enough to be comfortable over long distances, like to Ed Levin park and back. They had a Toyota Tacoma there, and that's no better. When we got home, I continued painting the hall, and Vic hit the garden when Gwen called to remind us that it was the SPCA first Friday volunteer dinner tonight, rather than next Friday. Whatever. We got cleaned up and headed out. When we got back, Tilly was waiting patiently the other side of the puppy gate - I'd half expected to find her this side, covered in green paint. I carried on painting, now I've found the handle for my paint pad, and ran out of paint.

Later on, I decided to clear out the overflowing gutter by the front door - I figured that that weight of water in it really couldn't be a good idea, so I should do something about it. Even though it was raining. Basically, as the ladder was already by the front door, it wasn't that big a deal to carry it outside and poke a screwdriver through the goo sticking up the downpipe. Tilly and Vic watched from the warm, dry front room :o)