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December 31st We got up and went about our day, getting things ready to go camping. We went out and looked at putting the roof rack on the van, but it touches the pop top. So we took it off, and mounted it to the adapters, and put the ladder on it. It looked a bit precarious, and we discovered that the hitch goal post adapter we've got for the Jeep won't fit in the van's hitch adapter - it needs the corners shaved down a little. I then realised that I'd mounted the roof rack over the pillars on the van - it's stronger there but there's a raised part on the top. We're only carrying maybe 60lbs, so we took the rack off and mounted it further forward and as far back as we could. Success! We put the ladder on, bolted it down and put the hang glider on. Excellent! Now we just needed to load everything up and head for the hills to go hang gliding. Um - it was 2pm, and it's at least a 6 hour drive. And it'll be raining tomorrow. We decided to call it for the day at least.

We went to the airfield and got the instrument panel fitted in the Flightstar, there's a little wiring to do, and then testing stuff, but it's essentially done. Ken was there working on his Hurricane, and Larry test flew his wobbly with its new wing. Brian did a few circuits in his S-6, and Gwen showed up with her mother just to show her what weird people we are.

At home again, we were both pretty tired and sore, so after unloading the hang glider from the van (it's too tall to put in the garage, and did I mention that it's going to rain?), we went and sat in the hot tub for an hour. We actually spent the New Year calming Tilly down from the fireworks, and playing computer games. Vic's playing Warcraft III, and in World of Warcraft I got my death kniggit up to level 81 :o)
Roll on 2011.

December 30th As we're talking about taking Vic hang gliding at the weekend, I went out and looked at the roof rack situation on the van. It doesn't work, and it doesn't look like it ever will - I have Thule roof rack adapters, and Yakima towers, so as you tighten the towers, they push against the adapters, meaning that if the rack fits, it won't tighten up, and if it'll tighten up, it won't fit. Screw it.
After work, we ran over to a local Thule dealer and picked up the extra tall towers, and cross bars. This means that we can mount the rack to the actual rain gutters, rather than onto the adapters on the fibreglass pop top. We can't pop the roof like that, but who'd want to pop the roof with a 17' hang glider on it anyway? I'll look at the lower towers if I ever need to pop the roof with something on it, or we can just use the extra tall ones we have and suffer the aerodynamic consequences.

December 28th After work, I went over to the sports hall for the reception after Debbie Mello's (Ray's wife) funeral. There were a lot of the flying types there, and Ken told me that he'd chased the tach wire for me - if I'd cut a few more zip ties, I'd have found it myself. When I was telling Ray that we were leaving, he asked us to come over to the house. We went home to feed Tilly and give Mike some ice and ibuprofen for his knee, then headed over to Ray's. The house was full, and after a few hours, we left them to it. Some of us have to work in the morning.

December 27th Today was still a holiday, so I went to the airfield to look at the instrument panel and the Flightstar again. It'll all fit up, so I put all the instruments back in the panel, and started looking at the wiring for the engine information system. After a bit of prodding and poking, I cut off the 14' of wiring that it came with, and started getting everything sorted out. Of the many connectors, I just needed the EGT, CHT, tach and power lines. I labelled those, and crimped bullet connectors on. I then cut the EGT and CHT wires on the plane, and crimped connectors to those. I couldn't find the tach connector, as all the wires in the cockpit are white. Ken has a doohickey for chasing wires, so he's offered to find it for me tomorrow. I've taken him up on the offer :o)

December 26th We went over to the airfield to look at putting the instrument panel back on the Flightstar, but we've cut the holes for the 12v adapters too close to the edge. Bummer. Still, we got a spring fitted to the trim cable, to hopefully stop it bending so easily in future.

I spoke to Vince about it, and he said the easiest thing to do is just file the fibreglass from the tub out a little... I'll look at doing that.

I sat down in World of Warcraft and got my druid, warlock and my hunter all sorted out and ready to go. I've started running my death kniggit in one of the new zones, Vashj'ir.

December 25th Happy winter solstice celebration!

We got up and unwrapped our presents, fed the beasts and settled down for the day. I then gave Tilly her toy from her grandparents, and while she worked on tearing that to pieces, I installed the Cataclysm expansion pack to World of Warcraft. When I was checking out my account page, it offered a 10 day trial. I thought that was going to be on my account, but it's actually a new account... duh. Anyway, the new laptop was quite happily getting at least 20fps with everything turned up to 11. The desktop gets about the same frame rates with the new Radeon 5570 graphics card, but that's running at 1920x1200 (the Nvidia 335M in the laptop is pushing 1366x768), so it's pushing a lot more data around. I then remembered that the Radeon came with an overclocking utility, and that brought me up to 23fps. I'll see what it does when I get my normal account running - Dalaran was always quite a busy place, and put a strain on the system.

In the afternoon, Vince came over for lunner :o)

I broke down and started getting my Warcraft account in order... I've sorted out my warrior and my death kniggit, but as all the portals are gone, it'll take me a while to get back to Stormwind to start actually adventuring :o(

December 24th It wasn't raining, so I threw another coat of paint on the instrument panel for the Flightstar, then talked to Russ on the phone for about 2 hours. After that I cleared the sticks, leaves and suchlike in the front garden and cut the grass for the first time this month. I think I need to get the ladder out and strip out some of the branches of the trees, as the stupid thing is interfering with itself. Joy.

When Vic got back from the SPCA, we went and stocked up on stuff for tomorrow, then went home and watched Salt. It was better than I thought it would be :o)

December 23rd We finished work early, as tomorrow's a holiday, so I sanded the new instrument panel for the Flightstar, then threw a coat of primer over it. I got a coat of paint, then tidied it away.

Vince called to say he'd had a good day, so we went and met him for dinner to celebrate.

December 22nd I got up just after 4am and got myself all set, then went to the office in San Francisco. I picked up mince pies, and dropped off chocolate and Xmas pudding. As people are dicks, it took an hour to drive the half a mile to the Bay Bridge. Basically there is a lane to get onto the bridge, but that was hardly moving as the people in the faster lane were running up to the front and jamming their cars infront of everybody else. When I got to the front, I found that you can really upset these people by refusing to let them in. They get into a full on rage when you pretend that you can't hear them screaming at you - you cup your hand over your ear and shrug, while smiling. I eventually got home shortly before 9pm :o(

December 21st Ken called to say that my instrument panel is ready to go, so after work I went and picked it up.

I also watched an episode of the new Hawaii 5-0 to see if it's got better. It hasn't.

As I was going to have a long day tomorrow, I went to be d early and missed the lunar eclipse. Still, I don't think I'd have seen anything with the cloud cover we've been having.

December 19th More rain (1") and storms. I went over to Freedom Field and watched Vince cut holes in my sheet of aluminium to make up the new panel. After we were done, we met Vic for lunner (too late for lunch, too early for dinner - we're hoping it catches on), then I took Vince back to Freedom Field. I went to go and drop the new panel at the airfield so Ken can bend the bottom of the panel over to make it stronger. Some of the roads were flooded, and the power was out at the airfield - luckily one of the gates seems to power fail to "open" so I could get in. I had intended to look at a few things, but with no light, I figured I'd just go home and start planning that ark.

December 18th It was raining (0.9"), so in between doing nothing, I got Vic to come over to the airfield and help me pull the instrument panel out of the Flightstar. I've bought an Engine Information System from Vince that means I can lose some instruments and gain a big LCD and a red idiot light for when things are running out of specification. This means I need a new panel to bolt all the instruments to :o)

December 17th After work we went to check out a new gym. It's a bit further away than our current gym, but all the equipment is new and it's cheaper. We'll see what happens when we tell our current gym that we'd like to quit to save money :o)

December 14th As the coven were meeting at the house to watch Eat Pray Love, Vince and I went out to dinner. We got back towards the end of the movie, and were sent into the front room to play with Tilly

December 12th Mike got up and went over to Freedom Field to work on his S-14, while Tilly settled down on the sleeping bag on the futon - it would seem that any sleeping bag is a bed to her, so I'll leave that there for the moment.

Gwen came over so I could fix the network on her other desktop, and we went and joined Mike and Vince for breakfast, then went back to the house. Gwen and Vic watched Avatar while I fixed the network on the PC and downloaded patch after patch after patch.

December 11th The family Kelly had been aiming to come up and see Tilly, but #1 child was sick, so they bagged the trip for now. Still, we decided to take Tilly to the Bear dog park and run her for a while anyway. As she spends half of her time playing in the mud and laying in the paddling pools there, Vic hosed her off as we left - I walked her to Starbucks, rather than have her getting the Jeep all dirty(ier). Tilly was approaching this as a death march by the time we got there, but brightened up considerably when she got a cup full of whipped cream, and even mustered the energy to walk home again.

We went to the airfield so I could replace the trim cable on the Flightstar, and while we were there I replaced a bolt that Vince had pointed out should have a few threads showing past the nut in the annual inspection. Now we're pretty much up to date with the maintenance. On the way home we called Vince to see if he wanted to meet us for dinner, and Mike was there working on his S-14, so they both joined us. Mike ended up crashing with us, so he could work on the plane both days. As Vic was in the guest room keeping an eye on Amber, Mike slept in a sleeping bag on the futon in the office.

December 10th The new laptop came with World of Warcraft pre-installed, so I figured I'd connect and get all the latest patches. >10Gb... screw that. I thought I'd get my desktop all patched up, then just copy the warcraft directory to the laptop, but that also said >10Gb of patches, so I left it all day downloading. It went to sleep a few times until I disabled the power saving, but eventually it was up to date. I then started copying everything over my network to the laptop, and that was >23Gb, so took a bit of time.

I looked at Gwen's PC, and other than sucking in all the cat dander and dust, discovered that the problem's the motherboard - I don't think I can fix that, and the PC's old enough that spares are going to be hard to come by. We're going to talk about it over the weekend, as apparently her other PC isn't connecting to the interwebs properly (it worked fine when I put a new hard disc in it earlier this year).

December 9th My new green card showed up. It's actually sort of green, where the old one was pink. It also comes with it's own little tinfoil hat, so it won't be accessed wirelessly. Uh huh.

Vic cooked mystery meat for dinner, and Vince came over to eat it. Gwen called up with a computer that's refusing to start, and ended up coming over to drop it off for me to look at. And play with the guineas and Tilly of course.

December 8th My new laptop was delivered, and I've started the long process of getting all my stuff transferred onto it.
Also delivered was the new battery for the weed whacker, so I spent a bit of time taking it apart and replacing the battery, then getting it back together in such a way that it still worked and I had no parts left over.

December 7th Tilly went to the vet for her annual inspection. She's just fine, and they're very happy with her teeth. Chewing tennis balls would appear to be the hot ticket for keeping them white. I should patent that.

December 6th After work, we got in the hot tub for the first time in months, now it's all up to temperature. It was a nice change of pace :o)

December 5th It was a fairly grim day, but while it wasn't raining I went out and cleaned the hot tub, and bailed out the last few gallons that collect at the bottom. Tilly got to run around the garden like a mad thing while I was throwing water and trying not to get her wet. I got it all filled and full of chemicals, and it can now spend the next day or so heating up.

December 4th I cleared up the worst of the leaves in the garden until the green waste bin was full, and gave up. I spent the rest of the day getting over the silly amount of exercise :o)

December 2nd We went to the Xmas open house at the SPCA. Vic's usually working, so it was nice that she could just chat to people and eat the food. I was a bit too tired to pay much attention :o)

December 1st After a pretty busy day at work, Vic's managed to get a virus or something on her laptop that looks to have buggered up the boot sector. So I got to spend a few quality hours reinstalling Windows and all the associated updates. As we don't have a recent backup, I just installed it in it's own directory, then dragged all the pictures, tunes etc from windows.old. Still, it gave me something to do while I waited for my midnight teleconference - there were attendees from California, France and Japan, so somebody's day was going to suck.