Ma Blog‎ > ‎2009‎ > ‎

March

March 31st I started out the day putting the van back together so I'd have a way of getting around. Tilly got to play inside, standing on the flooring I was trying to put down or take up. I had thought about taking up the old floor, but as it's all glued together, that looks impossible without taking the rest of the cabinetry out. I don't feel like doing that at the moment.

I called the employment department again, but they were off for Cesar Chavez day - not even the post office gets that one - maybe I should work there.

I went for a cycle, and got home all tired as usual. Still, it's only 70F at the moment, and I need to get used to cycling before the temperature hits 100F every day :o)

My new helmet has arrived, so I sat and played with that for a little while. I'll need to get out on the DRZ to test it out :o)

I ran a few errands, then ended up at the airfield so I could take the Rans out for an hour or so. It's quite thermally at the moment - I was flying along at about 850' and 40mph and there was a hugeassed bird above me, at a similar speed just gliding along in a thermal.
It looks like it's going to be windier for the next few days, so I probably won't get to fly again for a little while.



March 30th How do I explain to Tilly that I don't need to be dragged out of bed at 7am any more?

Surprise, surprise, I didn't get paid today - that's 2 months that I haven't been paid on time. At least I won't have to worry about that when I've had my last pay cheque.

I basically just tinkered around with stuff on the computer, looking at job listings in the area to see that there's basically nothing I would do for the pittance they're paying just now. That's good - I'm still aiming to take some time off.

I got a letter from the unemployment people saying that they wanted to interview me while I'm in the UK. You have to call to say that you can't make the appointment, but the machine basically says "we're too busy to talk to you" and hangs up. Outstanding.

Gwen came over to see Vic, and I fixed the wheel for her wheelbarrow - basically the tyre wouldn't bead up until I used a tie down to squash the tyre against the rim.

Jim came over, and we looked at a power connector in his PC.

It's all good.



March 29th Vic did indeed go to work today, leaving Tilly and I to play ball in the garden, watch TV and do a little fiddling on the van. At least, it started as a little fiddling - I thought I could take the front off the rear seat bench so I could get the laminate floor under it. You can't, but you can unbolt the whole thing, so I did. I then had the brilliant idea tat I could put a longer piece of floor under there, and I can't. Having collected lots of dust, 5 pens but no dessicated mice. I've left it all in parts so I can look at it later in the week when my fingers have stopped bleeding.

It blew a gale all day - 25mph and up, and I collected bits of dead wood from the garden while Tilly lay facing into the wind with her face all squinty and her ears flapping.

I got around to booking a flight back to the UK to see people, and attend Nan's funeral. I'm thinking I need to get my suit dry cleaned.

When Vic got home from work, we went to dinner with Vince at a local Mexican place. I should probably stop eating out so often, being unemployed :o)



March 28th Vic thought she was working today, so got up early and rode to work. Then found out that she wasn't working today, and rode home again.

Ah, a beautiful NorCal spring day - it was in the low 70s by 10am, so I pulled the bicycles off the hangers in the garage, and we went for a leisurely 10 mile or so ride. It's the first time we've ridden this year, so we took it easy :o) When we got home and checked the messages etc, we decided to take the motorcycles for a run to lunch. We ate locally, then scooted up 80 and came back through Lincoln on 193 - it's a nice little run with some corners.

Vic went to drop off a guinea pig at an adopter's, and I played with Tilly until she was done chasing the ball in the back garden. As it was Earth Hour today, just before 20:30, we turned off all the lights and took Tilly for a walk to the local Starbucks, getting home just at 21:30, so we could turn the lights back on. Vic was pretty sure she's working tomorrow, so had an early night while I played with the computer. I ran across this piece about the sad state of affairs with the AMA motorcycle racing organisation. As an update, it seems that Jamie Hacking apologised and got away with a $4,000 fine. The author's making a lot of the points I made to the AMA when they sent me a questionnaire about renewing my membership. This sort of nonsense, plus their idiotic whining about riders' rights while refusing to stand up to noisy Harley owners is why I've declined to renew. I find it amazing that they'll report on small towns banning motorcycle events as if they've somehow succumbed to terrorism without pointing the finger at the pricks that have made the small towns want to ban motorcycling events - it's not because they don't want visitors, it's because they don't want the noise or the alcohol fueled trouble that a motorcycle rally entails these days.
Anyhoo...



March 27th As we were both off work, we went out and picked up some supplies for dinner. When we got home, I rode the DRZ over to Jeff's, only to ride most of the way home in his car so he could pick up a pilot jet for a customer's bike from the local KTM dealer. I haven't seen him for a while, but business seems to be going well for him.

In the evening, Vince came over with ribs, and after dinner we watched, and watched Tilly watch Bolt. I watched it for the dog, and Vic watched it for the hamster :o)



March 26th As I had to send my laptop back to my erstwhile employers, I decided to reorganise the office. It was overdue for it's 5 yearly dusting anyway. I've moved my home / World of Warcraft PC to the other side, and plugged it in to the weather station.

I spent a little time looking at job listings, and then reminded myself that I don't actually want to go back to work soon, so I went and dropped off the laptop at Fedex. Hopefully that'll get there tomorrow, and they'll send me my final cheque and I can put all this behind me as a painful memory.



March 25th Well, today wasn't a good day. I got laid off from work. I mean, who the hell gets laid off at 2pm on a Wednesday? I'm not supposed to say anything disparaging about the company, so I'll leave that there, but I was very disappointed in the way it was handled. Still, I'll send back my laptop (oh right, now you have a Fedex account number) and Blackberry (so don't try and call me on that number ever again), and sign up for unemployment, as I sense this could take a while until I get a new job. I don't think I'll miss this job, I really don't.

It's a shame that they didn't tell me before I ordered the new helmet, but then, maybe I'll use the thing that much more now :o)

I called Vince and told him I was finally free of the shackles of "the man", and we rode over to Outback for dinner. Now I just need to figure out what to do with myself in the meantime.



March 24th In anticipation of my California tax rebate, I decided to order myself a new helmet. Basically, my old helmet is over 5 years old, and I want to get an Corsair rather than the new Corsair V, which would entail a new set of visors. The RX7RR4 uses the same visors as the Vector that Vic got a few weeks ago, so we have a certain amount of parts commonality, which is nice. I finally decided to get a Randy Mamola replica, in yellow. That's the only yellow RX7RR4 you can get these days, as they discontinued the Colin Edwards yellow, and it never came in sport yellow. Hopefully it'll be here next week.


March 23rd Vic got up early to go hang gliding while Tilly and I stayed home.

As it's been sunny (but windy) for a while, I got up on the roof and cleaned the solar panels for, I believe, the first time this year. While I had the ladder out, I put new batteries in the outdoor temperature sensor for the weather station.

In the evening, I got to play a little World of Warcraft and got my druid to level 76. Vic called to say she was on her way home, having not got to fly at all - the wind was coming down the hill.



March 22nd We left the house early to go to breakfast, and came back to messages from Dad on the answerphone. That's not good. I called him back to find that Nan had died during the afternoon :o(

In the afternoon, I went to look at the hot tub, as for once it's not raining. Having managed to get Tilly off it (she lies up there when it gets warm in the sun), I discovered that the lid is full of water - the stitching's collapsed, letting water in. I guess I need to replace that before I bother cleaning it all up.

I wandered past the inverter for the solar panels, and ran it through the numbers only to find that in the bright sunshine at about 2pm, my 2.5Kw rated system was generating 3Kw. I watched it for a few minutes, not believing it, but sure enough it went between 3060W and 3056W for a few cycles. It's probably due to it being cold at the moment, so they're especially efficient at the moment.

I fiddled around with some LEDs for the instrument panel on the van, and got them working. I'd been thinking about blue, but apparently that's very hard on the eyes, so I went with red. My soldering was holding up just fine, but the LEDs wouldn't light. A brief test showed that one was wired the wrong way around, so I then managed to swap another one, so now I had 2 that were the wrong way round. I took them both off, and resoldered them, realising afterwards that I'd just made 4 joints, where I could have just taken the centre section and swapped it around, leading to 2 joints. Whatever. Now the light on the heater controls and the gear selector are looking at me, begging to get changed.



March 21st Another grim and rainy day. We managed to walk Tilly down to Starbucks between showers - we had hot chocolate, while she got a lid full of whipped cream that she smeared all over her face.

I found that the outdoor temperature sensor for the weather station needs new batteries when I saw that it had been 41F all day. Oh well, that's the last of the batteries to replace, so I'll put it on the list of things to do.

In the evening, we went to dinner with Fred and Marsha at an Italian place in Sacramento. They're regulars, but it was our first time there.



March 20th Fred came over, and we looked at all the crap computers and stuff we have between us with a view to making him a betterer machine. All we managed to do was put a 2nd hard disc in one of my work machines, and a second DVD-ROM in his machine. Still, we have a pile of e-waste that can be got rid of now.

In the evening, we fired up the barbie and charcoaled a piece of steak, and watched the finale of Battlestar Galactica - finally space battles. And, by the looks of things, a spin off :o|




March 19th I got to play a little World of Warcraft and got my druid to level 75.


March 17th I got to play a little World of Warcraft and got my druid to level 74.


March 15th I spent the (cold, windy, but not quite raining) day catching up with Battlestar Galactica (I thought the ship was too broken to do anything, and now we're going into battle?) and the WSB races from Qatar.


March 14th Happy Pi Day :o)

I started the day going out to look at some local motorcycle shops' sales, and ended up with nothing. So the hunt for a new helmet continues.

I then went to the airfield to tinker with the Rans - a couple of guys have been talking about buying it from me, and have put the pod back on and played with the seat. Without my permission. As this renders it unflyable by me without taking tools to it, I've been none too impressed, and it's taken me a while to calm down and get out there to look at it. That's finally done. While I was there, I washed the worst of the dust off it, but it was too windy to get it really clean - it lifted a wheel once, so I decided to put it away.

In the evening, I cooked on the barbie for the first time this year, and Vince came over to help eat the roast beast.



March 13th I managed to play a little World of Warcraft and got my druid to level 73. Finally. It's been a bit of a drag, so I've headed over to the other side of Northrend, where there's another bunny area, with easier quests that I've never done :o)

I also managed to get the oil and filter changed in the Subaru - it's a bit overdue, and now I need to start thinking about the timing belt change in 5,000 miles.



March 11th It's been sunny for a few days, so Tilly and I played catch in the garden now we could move around without needing waders. We played until she was too tired to chase the ball any more, then went in where she demanded to play ball for the next few hours until bed time. I'm looking forward to her getting as old and creaky as I am.


March 10th I got my federal tax rebate today. That always cheers me up, until I remember that it was my money in the first place, and I've been lending it to the government (the same government that's bailing out people who are building cars I don't want) interest free for the past year. Oh well. I'll get the California rebate at some point, as apparently now they've agreed a budget, they're processing rebates. I bet they're behind somewhat, eh?

After work, I went over to Pat's - one of the SPCA volunteers, and fixed her PC. A bit. It's better than it was, but I have no idea what it's doing half of the time. Windows, eh?



March 9th Vic got me some glue while she was out and about, so I got the door threshold thingy all glued down. Well, I say that - it fits into the plastic carrier better than the old MDF ones, so I glued that down, and just pushed it into the plastic carrier. I wonder how long the rest of them are going to last now :o(


March 8th I stumbled out of bed when Tilly made it obvious that she was ready to get up, even though I still haven't caught up from Friday night yet. To add insult to injury, the clocks went forward last night, meaning it was almost 8am. After feeding Tilly, she settled down a bit, so I changed all the clocks then went out and fiddled with the floor in the van. It doesn't clip together as well as I'd like, as the floor needs to go in flat to fit under the rear seat unit. I decided to call that a work in progress, and threw the grubby floor mat back on top so I could get cleaned up and go out. While we were out we checked the last Day of the Circuit City clearance (all junk) and the Expo closing down clearance (still just a 40% discount on the list price of area rugs - they have nearly a month until they close, so the prices are roughly what they'd normally be charging anyway).

At home, the tennis ball fairy left a new tennis ball in the back garden. We don't know where it came from, so we let Tilly grab it. We'll see how long that lasts, as she already has one. I got everything ready to get the door threshold thingy sorted out, only to find I don't have any glue. It's the type that you use once, then generally throw the tube away as it's all gone hard. I shouldn't have been surprised. I've dropped the bits into the hole, as Tilly's taken to licking the concrete that she can now get to, and I'm sure that's not a good idea.



March 7th I played a little World of Warcraft and got my druid to level 72. I also sat and watched Battlestar Galactica . She cannae take it, cap'n. I hope they have a few space battles soon, as I'm getting tired of all the mystical stuff again.

One of the door threshold wood effect thingy's split recently - I thought it had worked it's way out of the plastic holder, but it had actually split in such a way that I need to replace it. So we jumped into the Subaru and drove over to IKEA and looked for a replacement. Interestingly they're painted aluminium now, so I don't think I'm the first to have one of the MDF ones split. Ehh... great :o( While I was there I picked up a pack of cheap floor laminate to try and fit in the van. Once we'd got home, I remembered that I wanted to go and look at helmets for Vic. We drove about 2/3rds of the way back to IKEA to go to PCP Motorsports and picked up a Arai Vector in camo green (she likes green) as it was on sale. I seriously considered getting a new Corsair, but they didn't have the colour I really want, plus I'm tempted to try a XD3 to go with the DRZ.

Straight from Sacramento, we went to meet some of the volunteers at the SPCA for dinner, then went home and entertained Tilly for a while before bed.



March 6th I went to a poker party at Scott's, only to lose $10. It was nice to see everybody though.


March 4th It didn't rain all day, so I took the DRZ out for a short ride at lunchtime, to run some errands.

Today was Scott's 40th birthday, but he was at a Scout meeting. After the meeting, we met them for a late, late dinner. He was still in his man scout uniform (dork), so attracted a passing nutter - that taught him to at least take off the shirt (luckily he had a shirt on underneath it).



March 3rd I played a little World of Warcraft and got my druid to level 71. It's actually quite dull, so I'll probably rest for a while when this subscription card runs out.

Finally got to see the second WSB race from Philip Island. That's a shame, as it was a pretty good race - better than the 1st one, I reckon.



March 2nd Still bloody raining. Tilly's getting quite depressed, as she doesn't like getting her feet wet pottering around the garden, poor ickle thing.


March 1st It's raining again. I'm thinking that maybe this year won't be quite so drought-ridden, but that doesn't mean everybody should empty and refill their swimmy pool every week.

I went and picked up a tablet PC that I'd seen on Craigslist that I'll hopefully be able to use as the new carputer in the van. Basically it was cheaper than any screen solution I've come across.
I then spent most of the afternoon installing updates, and deleting crap. Now I just need to make up some sort of mounting bracket.

I sat down to watch the WSB race from Philip Island. Well, race 1, anyway. Speedvision aren't showing the 2nd race until Tuesday, as they're busy showing NASCAR reruns. I hit the web to find that Spies won the second race - just as well after borking the first race after Yamaha paid all that money to bring him to the team.