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November

November 30th Stuff we've ordered has started to arrive. Today we received my new camera and Vic's iPod. Eschewing the manual, I charged the battery and started to play with it. It's a bit bigger and heavier than the old camera, but it's got an absolutely massive zoom, which should come in handy when Vic's hang gliding. Of course, my first pictures will all be of Tilly, as is tradition.


November 29th We got up disgustingly early and headed over to Stephan's Autohaus to pick up the van. The web site says they open at 7am, so we got there shortly after that, but it was all closed up, and the sign on the door said that they open at 8. Bugger. We pulled up the street, and I was trying to find the nearest Starbucks when we saw a Vanagon drive along behind us. We went back, and they were open. I paid the bill and drove home just in time to start work. Joy.

When the mail arrived, my new 5570 graphics card had arrived, so after work I sat down to install it. Where the old 4650 scored 5.0 in graphics and 6.4 in gaming graphics, the new card scores 6.7 and 6.7 - I might be able to get a little more out of it with the latest drivers and suchlike. Hopefully when I start playing World of Warcraft again I'll be seeing better than the ~30fps I was seeing with the 4650.



November 28th It was a crappy day, but Vic went to the SPCA to go out on the Petmobile. It did brighten up eventually, so I rode the DRZ over to Freedom Field to see the Flightstar that Vince has been working on. It's looking pretty good, all in black with fluorescent yellow sails. Mike apparently drove home last night.


November 27th As it was raining and I had nothing to do, I decided to buy the the latest version of PowerDVD, so I spent a while downloading and installing that. While it'll play the special edition of Avatar, it's doing it in a black frame. Interestingly, if you quit Media Centre and run the program in Windows, it doesn't display the frame. I can find others who have reported this same problem, but no solutions as yet. After a lot of work which saw me lose some of the add-ons I've installed, I gave up and logged a support ticket with Cyberlink. I can still cancel the software within 30 days, so here's hoping they fix it.

I got in a gas cap for the DRZ and installed it - the Clarke one's torn the gasket, and there's at least one piece of rubber still in the tank. The hot ticket is apparently to use a Honda XR cap, so I ordered one of those.

As the sales are getting crazy, I've ended up buying a new laptop - I've been threatening to get something faster than my netbook for ages, and now I have. I figure I can try and sell the netbook on Craigslist or something.

Vince called to say Mike had driven up, so we were expecting him to show up at some point. After a while, we went out to dinner, and there was still no sign of him.
Eventually we gave up waiting and went to bed. Vince has an air mattress and a spare sleeping bag after all.



November 26th Today was Black Friday, when everybody has their crazy sales for Xmas. I woke up fairly early, so I say and looked at stuff online. I had been thinking about the obsolete Canon SX120, as it was on sale at Target for $130. But then I found the replacement, the SX130, online for $150, so I was considering that when I found the camera I wanted, the SX210, on sale online for $200. Then I found the SX210 online with a 4Gb memory card at Amazon for $200, so no sales tax. I went ahead and ordered one.

We went out and braved the sales a little, as there were a few things we wanted to get. I managed to totally fail to get them, but Vic did decide that she likes the new iPod Nano. Luckily Best Buy were out of the 16Gb ones, as when we got home we found that the Apple Store had them on sale and ordered one. It was shipped that evening, and should be here on Tuesday - outstanding.

When we got home, I took the Tilly out for a few laps of the block. I stopped and adjusted the throttle cable, and I think I still need to do the clutch a little, but it worked just fine. The thing still feels totally unstable though :o)

In the evening we just lazed around watching TV and eating leftovers.



November 25th Today was Thanksgiving, where the Americans celebrate the conquering of the Indians by eating turkey. Vic had bought an organic turkey (that looks like a normal bird, rather than one of the steroid bulked freaks that you get frozen at the supermarket), so we cooked and ate that. Vince came over to entertain Tilly and eat with us.


November 24th Sara called from Stephan's Autohaus to say that the van is ready to be picked up, but I couldn't get over there to pick it up today, as they were closing early :o(

In the evening, we went out to dinner, and stopped by Best Buy while we were out. There are a bunch of people in tents camping out for the Black Friday sale. Um, it's been below freezing at night recently, so whatever they're getting had better be worth it.



November 23rd Sara called from Stephan's Autohaus about the van. Apparently the leaks are just gasket leaks, so they're going to use sealant to stop those. I'd asked them to look at the air conditioning, as it pretty much didn't work when we drove down to Los Angeles. Seems that it was empty. They'll fill it and add a dye, so they can see where it's leaking. I'm starting to wonder whether it was ever filled, as I don't recall being charged for the refrigerant :o) There's also some leaks and suchlike on the rear brakes, so they'll look at that too. Another big bill, but I don't think there's much that hasn't been replace or rebuilt now.


November 21st After clearing the leaves in the front garden, and getting up on the roof to clear the gutters after the latest rain, we packed up some stuff and headed for the airfield to look at doing a little work on the Flightstar. Sadly the cable I've bought to replace the cable for the trim tab is too thick (it's the only size you can get, so I'll have to replace the outer, too), and the bolt I'd got to replace one that Vince pointed out as too short in the annual inspection is too big. Still, I did manage to get the tyres pumped up.


November 20th I managed to spend the day installing Windows XP on an old Asus EEE. It would have been far easier if I had an external DVD drive, but I don't, so I did it with a flash drive. I don't need an external DVD drive now :o)

In the evening we sat down to watch the special edition Avatar on Blu-ray, only to find that the software on the PC can't read the disc. A peer on the Google found that this is a problem with the version that we have - it was patched for the theatrical release, but it's out of life now, by the looks of things. I figured we'd look at the the latest version, but we've already demo'd that, so it's no use right now. I ended up downloading a trial of ArcSoft Total Theatre so we could watch the movie now. I'll have to look into this further when I get time.



November 19th Mike's had Colleen come up and get him, so he's leaving his plane here for Vince to fix when he gets to it. He's a ways down the list at the moment, as it seems that everybody's suddenly wanting their planes worked on.


November 18th After work, Vince and Mike came over and we went to dinner again. It seems that Mike's replaced the windshield on his plane (that needed doing from the last annual), but the parts to fix it haven't come in yet.


November 17th Mike actually came up for his annual on his plane, and managed to slam it into the ground just short of the runway. Hard enough to break the undercarriage on one side, and damage the horizontal stabiliser. We have our theories, but he says he ran out of fuel, so we'll go with that. Vince wasn't around at the time, as he's been hard at work on his Flightstar, so Mike had to get Ray to help him drag it to the hangars. Luckily Ray has a spare hangar at the moment, so it's all cuddled up there.

In the evening, we all went out for dinner and Mike stayed with us.



November 16th In the past few days, Tilly has gone through tennis balls at an incredible rate. She won't even play fetch with them before lying down to tear them to pieces. The current bag is made by Penn, so as an experiment, Vic got some Wilsons - the ones that had lasted well before. Tilly was happy to carry her new Wilson around and play fetch. We gave her a Penn, and she proceeded to tear it to pieces. So, there's something about a Penn tennis ball that screams "kill me!", and this'll be the last bag of those we get.


November 14th I raked up all the leaves and cut the grass, just in time for the wind to get up and replace all the leaves, making it look like I'd done nothing all bloody morning. I did ride the YSR around the block, and I'm not sure that the battery's charging. Or maybe it's not holding a charge. I might just disconnect one of the headlights when it's not on full beam. Hmmm... there's a parking light circuit that's not being used :o)

When Vic got back from the SPCA, once again I headed out in the Jeep to run some errands. I ended up getting a new wireless keyboard for my computer - mine's currently held together with duct tape. Sadly it won't work with my KVM switch, so I got to take it back again. Joy. At least Best Buy aren't dicks about returns.



November 13th Vic was working on painting, so I got to take the Jeep to run my errands. On the way to the airfield, I passed a crazy old woman pushing a motorbike, so I went and ended up taking her to get some gas for it. Once at Lincoln, I pulled the Flightstar out and went for a quick flight. It was very bumpy, so I didn't really enjoy it too much, so I went home and fiddled with some O rings I'd bought for the YSR until we went and met Vince for dinner.


November 10th I filled in and posted all the paperwork to get a new license plate for the YSR, so it'll hopefully be ready to get registered soon. I'm going to see how that works out before I decide whether to register it now, or wait for the renewal form. Basically I'm not going to register it for a couple of months in the winter if I have to pay for a whole year's registration.


November 7th The clocks changed here, so I spent a bunch of time resetting clocks. I know there are going to be some I haven't remembered, but I'll do them as I come across them.

It was a rainy day, so I fiddled with the YSR in the garage, getting it (mostly) all back together now I've got nearly everything working properly. I've put raw gas in it, and I left it running outside for about 10 minutes while I checked all over for oil leaks and let the paint on the exhaust cure. It didn't seize, so I can only assume that the oil pump is working how the manual says it's supposed to be.

I also sat and pulled the bits of the grille modification for the Jeep to pieces, then pulled the grille and epoxied the cable tie towers on (the sticky blocks had come apart in the heat). I then zip tied on plastic gutter mesh, so that looks better and will hopefully deflect anything headed for the radiator a little. Not a lot. It's mostly for the look of the thing.



November 6th It was a nice day, so we went and picked up some bits and pieces I needed, then met Vince for lunch. After that we headed to the airfield so we could chat with Larry and Sid, and tinker with a few things on the Flightstar. We had all talked about flying, but the wind was getting up (it was over 10mph), so we all gave up on that and headed home.


November 4th The van has started to mark it's spot again (I think the drive up the Grapevine on the way to Los Angeles overpressured something - long long hills always seem to be the thing that kills the seals), so we took it in to Stephan's Autohaus for them to look at. Again.

On a bright note, the flasher relay for the YSR finally arrived (don't ask), and I got that plugged in and sure enough the indicators flash how they're supposed to. Excellent, now I can bolt it all back together and look to see how hard it's going to be to register the thing. And get a new license plate, as I never had one for it.



November 3rd Yay! Carly Fiorina lost her battle for a Senate seat. I (and a lot of other ex-HP employees) never understood how she could run for senate based on "her experience destroying running a Fortune 500 company".


November 2nd It was election day here (finally, I'm sick of the ads), and at least Christine O'Donnell had lost by the time we went to bed. Of course, seeing as the voting machines are hardly secure, I'm just waiting for somebody to bring that up.