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May 31st I peered at the cruise control in the van again, and thought maybe it was the brake connection - after all, with my 5 brake lights (seriously) plus the 2 LED bars, it only sees about 10v. I wired in a relay to boost just the power to the controller from the brakes, but that doesn't help - the controller passes power back via the brake line to test that the brake lights do work, so there's no chance of a runaway condition. So, after putting a diode in there, it wouldn't work anyway. I took that out, and set it up for a manual transmission, then tested it in the driveway with the brake just connected to earth, and it'll cause the revs to rise for a second, then disengage when you enable it. It does the same with the brakes connected correctly, so I'm giving up and calling the manufacturer to see what they think could be wrong with it.

May 30th I took the van for a test drive, and sure enough, the cruise control doesn't work. I'll need to get out my multimeter and test that. Bah.

All the testing I could do made everything look fine, so I'll have to think about that.

In the afternoon, I went over to Scott and Becky's for Taylor's birthday party, and the annual celebration of Becky's 29th birthday :o)

May 29th I got the electrickery bill, and thanks to the solar panels, we generated 182 KWh more than we used this month. That's all well and good, but the air conditioning has only kicked in a couple of times - it'll be working it's guts out soon. If I get a new cover for the hot tub, that'll be running too, at some point, and that uses a fair amount of power.

I finally finished installing the cruise control system in the van. I need to wait a while for the glue on the speed sensor to dry, so I haven't been able to test it yet.

Gwen came over again and joined us for the roast beast in the evening. I managed to slop the ash from the barbie all over the floor and myself while cleaning up, so I figured it was as good a time as any to give it a clean.

May 28th I spent most of the day under the van - I got most of the wiring done, I just need to pull 4 wires the length of the thing to plug everything in and have it hopefully work. Fred brought over some cable wrap stuff, and I've pushed the extra length of cable through it to hopefully protect it from the stresses of being under the van.

May 27th Today was a van day. I've started fitting the cruise control kit, and I've got the throttle controller and the speed sensor pickup installed. I didn't have any epoxy, so I couldn't get the magnet installed. It's mostly wiring now, and that looks to be a lot of fun. Not. I also I sanded, and threw some more paint on the step, so that should be good to go now.

May 26th I rode the DRZ over and met Jeff for lunch - he's closed the shop this week to go to Hangtown as a marshal.

At home, I sanded, and threw some paint on the step for the van.

May 25th Today was Memorial Day, when Americans remember their military dead by going shopping.

Vic stopped at a couple of rest stops on her way home, so ended up arriving back from Hat Creek at about 6am. Tilly and I left her to sleep while we went and did other stuff - I worked on the step that Vince had made me for the van, and got it primered and ready to spray. Well, it fell over, so I'll need to wait a day or two for the primer to dry, then sand it down first.

When Vic got up, we went for a late lunch, and ran into Kirk, Krista, Tim and Michelle at the pizza kitchen, so we ended up staying there for a few hours catching up, and talking about hang gliding a lot, as Kirk flies.

May 24th We got the Subaru all packed up, and Vic headed to Hat Creek to go hang gliding. Tilly and I stayed home as we've not been there before, so we don't know what they're like with dogs. Plus it's about a 5 hour drive, and we thought 10 hours in the car with Tilly is a long enough day, without flying anywhere.

I pottered around the house, and eventually went to Vince's to supervise him making a step for the van to make it easier to get into the upstairs bunk. He's welded some rusty steel together, so I need to clean it up, prime it and spray it, but it's basically done. Cool. We were sitting in the garden playing with Tilly when Vic called and said she'd had about an hour in the air, and had had a great landing. She was going to get all packed up and head home, to arrive late at night, or, if she stopped for a kip en route, early in the morning.

May 23rd The last time I was at the airfield, the fuel line I use didn't seem to want to pass fuel into the Rans - I think it's a sign of the coming cowpocalypse, but I got a line with a squeeze ball pump built in. I'll probably see about lengthening the hoses, and storing it somewhere on the plane in case I ever need to refuel away from home, and don't have a ladder to get to the tank in the wing.

The rest of the day was wasted just bumbling around the house / garden and playing with Tilly - a full time job in itself.

May 22nd After going to the gym, I spent a little time dealing with a couple of picture submissions for the USHPA 2010 calendar competition. Here's hoping that one of my pictures of Victoria makes the calendar :o)

I then crawled around under the van and got the gray water tank Vince and I made all fitted up. It looks lower than I'd expected, but I don't think I've lost much ground clearance.

In the evening, I cooked on the barbie, but Vince was at the airfield for a party there. Screw him, that's what I say. still, Gwen came over and joined us.

May 21st We started the day going to Stephan's Autohaus and picking up the van.

I spent some time fiddling with my new laptop, installing a 2Gb SODIMM, then killed time until I went to the airfield so I could take the Rans out. First I had to reorganise the hangar, as somebody's dumped a powered paraglider in my space. Not happy. Still, I eventually managed to get the thing fueled up and take it out and have fun.

May 20th I started the day by washing off the solar panels, then talked to a guy about a job - it sounds interesting, but I don't want to rush into anything just yet.

May 19th I spoke to Sara at Stephan's Autohaus and the van is ready - now just need to get over there and pick it up :o)

In the evening, we went to Roseville Downtown Tuesday Night and saw the classic cars and suchlike.

May 18th I went to the gym early, and arrived home to find another 2 guinea pigs being delivered. It's OK, they're only visiting while their owners are away for a week or so.

We went to see Star Trek, and it's excellent.

I finally got an unemployment cheque :o)

In the evening, we watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It's OK, but seems overly long.

May 17th While I busied myself around the house, Vic's tearing apart the whole garden. Our next door neighbour's talking about getting a pool, so she's getting to pick through his roses and suchlike. Tilly thinks it's all very exciting, even though she's not allowed near the flower beds.

In the evening, Vince came over and I decided to barbecue, but had a hard time getting even paper to light. Eventually it all worked out fine, but I'm wondering if the >100F temperature had anything to do with it.

May 16th Vic got up early, met Gwen and headed off to McClure for a hang gliding meet up there. That left Tilly and me to lie in bed until almost 9am. I pulled the glider off the Subaru, and, I think, hurt my shoulder doing that.

May 15th I spoke to Sara at Stephan's Autohaus about the van. Apparently now the gearbox is out, it looks like the transmission cooler's had it. </sigh>

In the afternoon, we loaded the hang gliding onto the Subaru and headed to Freedom Field so Vic could practice ground handling in the wind. That promptly died off. Still, I got to run Tilly ragged. We think she was suffering from the heat, as after lying down under Vince's truck for a while she got up all gimpy and was obviously not happy. 5 minutes later, she was up and running around again, wanting the play ball. After chasing around like an idiot again, she got gimpy again, so spent the rest of the afternoon on her lead for long periods to force her to calm down. Vic went for a flight with Vince in the wobbly, but it was a bit bumpy, so I declined a ride :o) We packed up and dropped Tilly at home to sleep it off and went for pizza.

May 14th I spoke to Sara at Stephan's Autohaus about the van. Apparently the inner CV boots will soon need replacing, too. Still looking at getting it back next week.

May 13th I started the day washing the solar panels, then killed time trying, and finally succeeding, to get through to the employment department. Sadly, you just talk to somebody who takes a message and promises you a call back in the next week. Hopefully. I got to explain my situation, namely:
  • I received a letter saying I was approved
  • I received a letter saying I was denied
  • I received a letter saying I was approved
  • I sat patiently waiting for a telephone interview that didn't happen
  • I still haven't had any sign of benefits, despite filing over 6 weeks ago
We'll see if this helps at all.

I spoke to Sara at Stephan's Autohaus about the van. The gearbox isn't leaking from the pan as I thought, but one of the major seals. Bummer. As I'd asked them to look at the engine oil leak, too, they've found that it's just the valve cover gasket, but they've also found the drive shaft boots are torn. I should be getting it back some time next week.

I then went for a 10 - 12 mile cycle ride, arriving home tired. After that, I spoke to Vince, and we met up for dinner.

May 12th I dragged myself out into the garden and cleared some leaves from the winter, cut the grass and threw the ball for Tilly.
I also rode the DRZ over to meet Scott for lunch - he's been busy with work and Scouts.

I finally got the return packaging for the DirecTV receivers, so I got them packaged and shipped. At this rate, I'll have all the extraneous crap out of the house by Xmas. 2016.

May 11th We were all tired from yesterday, so didn't get much done.

In crawling around under the van, I'd found that the gearbox was leaking, so I spoke to Stephan's Autohaus, and we dropped it off there to be looked at.

In the evening, Vic went and picked up Amber and Brownie from their adopters, who had them living in squalor in their garage.

May 10th We got up early and headed over to pick up Vince. While there, we ran Tilly until she was tired, then headed down to Ed Levin park so Vic could go hang gliding. When we got there, we ran Tilly in the dog park for a short while, then replaced the bent downtube from last time. As it was quite windy, they were focusing on spot landings from the 300' launch, and in trying to help Mark with the ground handling of his glider, I ended up getting nailed in the chest with a glider. Oh well. When most of the students went to work on ground handling, Vince and I went up to the 1750' launch to throw Johnny off.

We ran Tilly again when we got back to Vince's, then headed home.

May 9th Vince had been to Vallejo and looked at some ex-police BMW R1150GS' that were going to be auctioned off, so we went down there for the day of the sale. Well, the "good" ones went for around $4000, with some crash damage and holes drilled in them to mount the cop stuff, and the "parts" ones went for around $3000. Too much, in other words.

In the evening, Vic and I went to the monthly SPCA volunteer dinner meetup, then came home and loaded the car up for hang gliding tomorrow.

May 8th Vic went out and picked up a couple of 3 week old guinea pigs from a couple who bought what they were told was 2 males from a local pet store. Obviously when one of them gave birth, they were proved wrong. The store took back one of the original cavies, but refused to take the babies. </sigh>

After I had another begging phone call from DirecTV (no, I'm happy with no TV, thanks), Vince and I got together and went to Lowe's for supplies. Then I let him do most of the work of building the gray water tank for the van. We stopped just short of mounting it, and barbecued dinner.

May 7th The main thing I achieved today was getting hold of James from Beandawg Artworks, and sending him the new tent I bought for the van. He's going to tie dye it for me :o)

May 6th We got up and hung around at Mike's until he was dispatched to collect a couple of bathroom vanities at Lowe's. Whereupon a comedy ensued when his truck was full of junk, so he borrowed a friend's smaller Toyota, which only just managed to hold them. We then went for breakfast. After a bit more hanging around, we ended up driving home. On the way, we stopped in at a local plumbing supply store, and picked up stuff so I can have another go at building a gray water tank for the van. Having dropped Vince off, Tilly was happy to see me. Then she got her ball so we could play in the garden.

May 5th Vince had wanted to look at a BMW motorcycle in San Jose, so we'd talked about going down there and seeing it, then meeting Mike. He's decided to look at a local ex-police bike auction, but we went down to Prunetucky to see Mike anyway. As usual, he's in a state of chaos - this time he's torn out 2 bathrooms to remodel them. He showed up after we'd been there for about an hour, without the promised steak to barbecue, so we went out to dinner.

May 4th DirecTV have turned off the satellite service, so I spent a great part of the day taking the huge ugly satellite dish off the side of the house, and getting it into small enough pieces that it could go in the bin. We then had no idea what day or time anything we watch is on, and eventually sat down at the prescribed time to watch House. How quaint. I see a TiVo in our future :o)

May 3rd I got a phone call from DirecTV to try and talk me out of cancelling the service. They started off by offering service at $25 a month, but when I asked what I'd get for tat, it magically ended up being $49 a month, so I told them to go ahead and cancel it. As they hadn't, we watched the excellent MotoGP race from Jerez. I'm glad Rossi beat the poison dwarf at his home race :o)

May 2nd Today was Petfest at the SPCA, so Vic went in to work for most of the day. Tilly and I played in the house, because it's been raining. Apparently the average rainfall for May is about 0.8", and we've passed that already. Not to worry though, we're still several inches below where we should be, and it's been a few years since we saw average rainfall anyway. Damn you, global warming climate change! I did go over to the shelter, and they were pretty busy - apparently they raised more money this year than in years gone past.

For some reason I've suddenly had a lot of interest in the remaining computer monitor. Interest, mind you, people haven't been showing up to buy the damn thing.

I called DirecTV and cancelled the satellite service - now we're in the summer, it's not worth paying for TV, Krod Mandoon notwithstanding.

May 1st It's been raining here since last night, so we didn't do much today. When we were at the gym, I picked up some scotchlocks and finished connecting the extra rear brake light to the trailer wiring on the van. When we pulled into the garage, I threw the packet into the van, and it burst open, throwing the scotchlocks everywhere - it took me longer to fish them out from under the fridge than it did to finish the wiring and get Vic to help me test it. It's the annual Petfest at the SPCA tomorrow, so Vic went in to help set up while I cooked dinner. As usual, Vince came over and ate it :o)