Ma Blog‎ > ‎2009‎ > ‎


Feb 28th It seems like I waited around the house all day, achieving nothing. I did manage to watch the latest Battlestar Galactica .

As I didn't cook yesterday, I cooked dinner, and Vince came over. We watched Meet The Feebles, which is... strange.

Feb 27th In the evening, we went out to dinner with Heather, so I could give her a laptop running Windows XP - the previous one running Ubuntu was an abject failure :o)

Feb 26th I met Vince and Larry for lunch - Larry's aiming to meet a guy and sell his Quicksilver so he can learn to fly weightshifts, rather than 3-axis.

Feb 25th I spoke to Vince's weightshift instructor, and he says no, he won't even consider training me to fly. OK then, that's solved that problem.

Feb 24th Strangely, the anemometer for the weather station has started working again out of the blue. I still have my eye on a replacement on Ebay, but I like it when technology fixes itself.

In the evening, I put the carputer back together. It still boots, but I can't seem to get it to do anything with the external monitor - the monitor fleetingly sees a signal as it boots, but I can't get it to switch to it, and, of course, with no way of knowing what it's doing, I can't figure out what it's doing. It's gone into the cupboard of distressed hardware and broken dreams while I think about it for a while.

Feb 23rd Back to work, and I remember why I needed the time off. One of my cow-orkers has found another job, so it looks like I'll get to do twice the work for no more pay or respect from now on. I wonder if this is my last vacation until I quit?

I played some World of Warcraft and got my warlock up to level 80. I guess I should look at progressing my hunter or druid, but I've been busy mining for enginerding materials.

I installed Warcraft II on Vic's laptop, and she spent all day playing. Maybe she'll eventually roll up another toon on my online account (Cyndee was originally hers).

Feb 22nd It rained today. And boy, did it ever rain - there was a point where we saw the equivalent of more than 1.3" an hour on the weather station. That's all well and good, but the anemometer has stopped working. The interesting thing is that it's still spinning, and telling me the wind direction, so it's not the batteries or the transmitter.

I sat down with a soldering iron and finally soldered a new power connector to an old laptop I have lying around. I'd taken the power connector off a dead laptop before tossing it out a while back, so it was just a matter of getting the motherboard out, de-soldering the old, broken connector and soldering on the new one. And putting it all back together. Strangely, it seems to work.
I took the carputer apart to look at the monitor connector on the motherboard, and it isn't going to be easy to solder a connector straight to it. I've left that in parts while I think about it.

Feb 21st I didn't sleep to well, so I was up at 03:30 looking at the laptop screen - I'm tempted to try soldering straight to the motherboard and be done with it. After all, if it doesn't work, I'll be in the same place I am now. It'll take some time though, as I'm not a fast solderer :o)

I sat in bed trying to get Tilly to calm down and let me sleep for a while, and eventually shut her out so I could doze off for maybe 45 minutes. Vince called to see about going for a ride, as it was a beautiful day. We ended up riding up to Georgetown. We're guessing about 1800', but there was snow on the ground where the road's been ploughed. After lunch we rode home again, the DRZ is no match for his Beemer, but I had a good time. I should really try and get out on it more often. Vince has been flying his wobbly one handed and thinks I should be fine with a single seater, so I've resolved to call his instructor down in Lodi again and take a ride, to see if that's practical. If I like it, something like an ATF could be put in the van with the wing on the roof, next to Vic's glider. We'll see.

After Vince went home, I caught up on Battlestar Galactica - not a single space battle, and only 4 episodes to go.

Weird coincidences - when I checked my email, I have a message from Ken in Lincoln who keeps making noises about wanting to buy the Rans. If I like trike flying, maybe I'll sell it to him this time :o)

Feb 20th As Vic's off on Fridays, we went and saw Scott for lunch, then went back to his place and hung about talking for a while. It's ages since we've seen them, but Scott's really into the scouting stuff now. He's still trying to get me to go and be a leader, but forgets how much I hate kids. And parents, from the sounds of some of the ones he has to deal with.
He did hand me back the parts for the laptop that I was going to use as a carputer, but it really seems like it's not going to work, as the wires for the screen keep breaking. I need to have an epiphany here, as at the moment, it's looking like I need to get a Lilliput monitor, or see if the new Samsung picture frames that can be used via USB as secondary monitors can actually be used as the only monitor. The trouble is, right now, that's almost throwing good money after bad - I could probably start again with a new(er) netbook for not a lot more :o( Hmmm... decisions, decisions.

I played some World of Warcraft and having bought some parts, managed to build the epic flyer, and then got my warlock up to level 79. It's actually fairly nice being able to fly places quickly, just difficult to get, at 5000 gold for the training alone.

Feb 19th I started the day playing some World of Warcraft and got my warlock up to level 78. It's been a bit of a slog, to be honest, as I've done all of this before :o) I got it into my head that I needed an epic flying machine, so I started grinding for the parts to make that, rather than just trying to go up levels as fast as I can. Hey, variety is the spice of life and all that.

Feb 18th Well, today was a nice day, but I've got bits hanging out of the van, so I worked on that. All the lights are finished now, so that's good. Jim came over to ask me about power for his new video card. We decided he needed about $5 in connectors, so I sent him to Frys while I carried on with the van. He came back with a $100 power supply, as the fool in the store said you'd get differing amounts of power using the cables that came with the card. Huh? So, I tore the PC apart and fitted the new power supply, after trimming the case a little to fit it. I left him installing drivers, so it must be working, eh?

Tilly and I sat and caught up on some TV, then I played World of Warcraft until Vic got home from the SPCA.

Feb 17th I've taken the rest of the week off to kill some holiday time. So, obviously, it rained all day. Well, probably - I got out and replaced the batteries in the rain guage, as it was reading 0 when it was obviously throwing it down outside :o) I also worked on some soldering for LED lights in the van - unlike the Subaru, if you turn it off with the lights on, the side lights stay on. I'm working my way around wiring them all up to run LEDs so that the battery won't go flat when I occasionally do that :o) I was going to put 2 little arrays in each of the front lights, but it looks like 1 will be more than bright enough. I've also wired up some little arrays for the read side marker lights from some 3V LEDs - I'd like to use 8 in each, but there isn't the space, so I'm using 4.

A cable I'd ordered for my PC finally came in, so I could hack that about to make a laptop DVD writer work in it. I don't quite know why I felt I needed one when my work laptop and Vic's laptop both have them, but now my desktop has one too. I think it's pretty much maxed out now with stuff I can jam into the small case.

I think I'll have to start sorting through junk like the old DVD-ROM/CD writer to get rid of more stuff on Ebay, as I'm happy to swap money for space :o)

Feb 16th Today was Presidents' Day, when Americans celebrate Abraham Lincoln et al by going shopping.

I started the day in the garage, getting the van mostly put back together. When we went to the gym, I picked up the ring connectors I needed, and after a little rest, finished up the wiring. The inverter works. The auxiliary battery charges. Nothing seems to catch fire. I took it out for a quick drive, and it still didn't catch fire, but I parked it up with exactly 160,000 miles showing.

As she's been cooped up because of the weather, I took Tilly for a long walk between showers - it'll have to do for now, as the Bear dog park is closed at the moment. To say nothing of too muddy to allow her to play in.

I finally got around to draining the hot tub, much to Tilly's annoyance, as she was shut inside. It was a great opportunity to uncover the drains in the back garden, too.

I've been reading about the latest stimulus bill, where the government is spending my money to try and get other people to spend money. For example, there will be a $400 tax cut this year that I earn too much for, and a credit for buying a brand new car that I also earn too much for. Not that I want a brand new car, but it seems that this is missing the point. Here's a plan - how about you spend the money in a way that creates jobs so that people can then afford a car without a tax credit. Besides, I've already paid to bail out the car manufacturers - don't they owe me a car already? And while you're at it, fix health care, as that's what's going to destroy the country financially.
It's also funny to see that the Republicans wanted yet more tax cuts, despite the fact that their tax cuts turned a surplus into a deficit in pretty short order.
Honestly, some people.

Feb 15th It's still cold, wet and windy, so I decided to install the little 220W inverter in the van. I've decided to install it in a hidden little bit of space between some cupboards, so I had to then take it apart to cut out the warning light, and solder in extension wires so it'd be where I can see it. It also lets me know the inverter is on, hence sucking power. I've wired it up to a switch and a socket just above the 110V power from the side connection. Having done all of this, and managed to run the power lines through behind the fridge, I decided to test the auxiliary battery. I've had this idea that it's not getting charged, and sure enough, it's not - it only charges when I plug the van in at home. That meant checking the relay, which meant taking out the battery, which meant taking out the driver's seat. So, a quick job has turned into a major undertaking. Anyway, it seems that the relay isn't working, so I replaced that and it all looks like it'll work now. Of course, I don't have any ring connectors big enough to connect the inverter to the battery, but the testing makes me think that everything's working fine. I'll finish it tomorrow, I guess.

In the evening, I spent a little time playing World of Warcraft and got my warlock to level 76.

Feb 14th As Tilly just finished destroying her latest Kong toy, we went to get her a new one. While there, we picked up some dog food (they can't actually survive on rubber fragments, but don't tell her that). We looked around a couple of the closing down sales, but I couldn't find anything that I wanted that was cheaper than I could buy it from a company I can take it back to.

At home, we watched the latest Battlestar Galactica episode...

Spoiler Alert
So Ellen is the last of the final five Cylon, but WTF is Daniel?

I then started trying to fit a bar end mirror to the DRZ, and ended up breaking the mounting. So I made up a new one, and mounted it so it's below the left handlebar. This works pretty well, as I can see under my arm, rather than being able to check that my elbows are still intact. I'm going to give it a little while to see if I like it, and if I get hassled by the police - you have to have a rear view mirror, but this one isn't so obvious from the front :o)

Feb 13th Friday the 13th, yay! Well, it wasn't all bad, I got one of my outstanding rebate cheques (either the memory or the video card, it didn't say which) and the final Ebay payment. I also got that shipped out, so now at some point I'll go through old stuff in the garage that I don't have a use for that might sell. I also made dinner - just a take it out of the box and throw it in the oven lasagna. Vince showed up, and we watched Joe's Apartment.

Feb 12th I played a bit of World of Warcraft and got my warlock to level 76.

Feb 11th I finally managed to get the tax updates and get my taxes printed and in the post. There's no rush, California has said they won't be sending out rebates until they've fixed their latest financial crisis :o(

Feb 10th I played a bit of World of Warcraft and got my warlock to level 75.

We also watched Tilly watch Eight Below.

Feb 9th I got most of my latest Ebay items sent out - I'm still waiting for payment on one of them, which cheers me up no end.

Feb 8th I started out trying to get my taxes done, only to find that there's an update scheduled for the 11th, so I can't finish them just yet. How can they be changing 2008's tax code in February 2009? Don't people get at least a chance to prepare for their taxes? Obviously not.

Feb 7th I spent the morning playing World of Warcraft while dealing with the end of my latest Ebay auctions. Including an idiot in Canada who's bought the old car MiniDisc player, despite me saying I'd ship it to the US only. Oh well. I watched the latest Battlestar Galactica episode...

Spoiler Alert
No more Gaeta. I'm happy about that :o)

In the evening we went for dinner with a bunch of volunteers from the SPCA, and Vic stayed there while I came home and fed and played with Tilly, then managed to get my warlock to level 74.

Feb 6th After work, Vince came over for dinner, and we watched Serenity - Vince has never seen it, and we like watching it :o)

Feb 5th As it's raining again, I picked up a new World of Warcraft subscription card, and spent a little time working on my warlock.

Feb 4th I spent the morning working on the mailstorm problem from yesterday, then went to lunch with Mike before dropping him at Freedom Field to pick up his plane.

Feb 3rd After a crappy day at work (some idiot customer managed to mailstorm himself with 1.7 million messages), Mike arrived at Freedom Field to have Vince do his annual inspection on his S-14. We all went out for pizza, not realising that it was family night. Still, we managed to get Vince a balloon hat. Mike crashed with us overnight, much to Tilly's excitement.

The solar panels have now generated 5MWh. Not bad, methinks - that's about $420 worth of electricity :o|

Feb 2nd It was the last day of my World of Warcraft subscription, so I spent a little time getting my warlock up to level 73. I'm going to get another 60 day card when I get around to it. When that finishes, I figure it'll be warm enough out to do stuff, so I'll probably leave it for the summer.

Feb 1st We all got up early and went hang gliding. Tilly and I haven't been to McClure, but there were only Richs pupils there today, so she got to run around off lead most of the day, chasing her little tennis ball until she was too tired to bring it back. A fun time was had by all, and Vic got 2 good flights without any drama.
A guy showed up in a Flightstar, and provided some entertainment with an impromptu airshow. He was a lot braver than I am - I wouldn't be doing stuff like that, that low, with a 2 stroke engine :o)

Tilly slept the whole way home, which was nice.