Friday, February 01, 2008

February 2008

Friday 01 Welcome to the month of February- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights. Then I updated the website and sent out the newsletter.
        The Weather: Temps of around 38 to 62, winds out of the NW to SW at 3-9 MPH, humidity around 40 percent and rising, with more cirrocumulus clouds. There is a High Wind Watch until 10:00pm, Sun Feb 3 with gusts from 22-41 MPH. There is a chance for rain on Sunday!
        Got a call from Hope who needs some help and possibly a dialup service for her laptop; she asked if I knew where Dhamma Dena Retreat was and I told her I’ve been there before but it was a while ago, so she gave me directions. When I drove up nobody was there, so I decided I would come back later after I completed some other errands I had planned for the day.
        My first stop was over at Roger T’s home to pick up some computer parts he had for me. We jawed for a while. Then I drove on down to collect my mail. On the way back I stopped at Cecilia Anderson’s house that she had inherited from her aunt Eva. Cecilia doesn’t live here but had emailed me asking if I knew anyone who would repair a door that had blown off the house. So with some nails, wood I found laying around, and a half hour of my time, I boarded it all up. I got to talk to her neighbor Gary who was working on a van in the middle of the street (seems like they don’t get a lot of traffic there). He had a few children playing in the front yard. I yakked with him for a few, him telling me he has to drive all the way down to LA for work, but stays in hotels while he is down there. Gary bought the house from his Grandma and has been living in the house since 2000, but has been coming up here when he was a child. Seem like a mighty nice and hard working person to me.
        Went over to Dhamma Dena but still no one there. Dropped by Ron Dehart’s who knows Hope and told him my problem. He called Hope up and found that she is at the “Los Vegas House” that is up the street from where I went. I followed him in his truck and I arrived with Hope waiting in the parking lot. She told me that Ruth Denison, who is an internationally known Buddhist teacher, was entertaining some visiting Nuns and that we would be in another room so as not to bother them. I started working on Hope’s Mac Powerbook when Ruth started asking me questions and making comments from the front room. She asked if we had ever met and I told her that I had met her about eight years ago. She said she didn’t remember me and then a few minutes went by and she asked if I was the guy who lived in the white house on Winters Road on the right side of the hill, and I said that was me. She said that I had done a nice job with the place and that at one time she was going to buy it, but someone told her that she would have trouble when it rains being on a hill like it is. I told her that only the folks below me have trouble when it rains hard. Ruth, in her 80s, is recovering from hip or knee replacement surgery and when I left I told her to get well and not to roller skate anymore. She laughed! She’s a fine gal!
        Got home in time for my evening walk. Read some astronomy and then watched “Bones” on FOX about a man who is on death row and says he is innocent of killing a young woman and has only thirty hours before he’s executed. There is some new evidence that was brought to light by a young lady lawyer, and Agent Booth was the one who had caught the guy and wants to be sure that he is guilty, so the “Team” has to rush to find out if he did it or not. There is a twist at the end.
        Did my stretches, lifted weights, but the wind was blowing hard and damp cold, so I skipped my nightly run. Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Saturday 02- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights. I think I am feeling a lot more comfortable running two miles everyday instead of the one mile I used to do.
        The Weather: Temps of around 38 to 53, winds out of the NW at 2-9 MPH, humidity around 48 percent, with cirrocumulus clouds early clearing to a light haze . There is still a High Wind Watch until 10:00pm, Sunday Feb 3 with gusts from 22-41 MPH. There is still a chance for rain on Sunday!
        Did a little more work on the website giving Annelies her own webpage and removing her earlier emails to it, thus saving space on the main page and having only her recent email posted there with a link to “Letters From Kenya”.
        I messed around the house doing this and that, then I went on my evening walk. I decided to pace off my property by putting one foot in front of the other (not quite accurate but in the ballpark) and found that it is about 290 feet/steps squared. Now an acre is 43560Sq feet, I have 2.5 acres which works out to 108900Sq feet. So I took 108900 and divided it by 290 twice and came up with a remainder of 1.2 which is close enough I reckoned. I just wanted to see if what I thought was my property, was. I know, boring stuff, but that’s what I do for excitement around here.
        Dropped on by Andrew’s but he wasn’t home. Went on over to Stoney’s with some ham I had gotten from Roger T. and we had dinner of ham and leftover macaroni and watched an old John Wayne movie.
        Got home and read some astronomy about orbits of planets. Did my exercises early because there wasn’t any wind blowing yet (we are expecting a storm) and went for my nightly run. Then I watched “Explorer 1: Beginning of the Space Age” on PBS about the fifty year history of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the story behind the USA’s first satellite.
        Wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Sunday 03- my day off from exercising so I just did my stretches. It’s a good thing too that today was my day off because the winds were gusting up to 60 MPH and I wouldn’t be able to go for my run anyways.
        The Weather: Temps of around 38 to 51, winds out of the S to SW at 14-32 MPH with gusts over 60, humidity around 48 percent, only clouds we got were dust clouds and no rain.
        Holy smokes it was windy! I had stuff blowing all over and had to go chase it all down. Even stuff I had tied down got loose! My Fat Cat didn’t want to venture outside so I let him stay inside and he don‘t like being inside. I called Stoney up to see how he was faring, he said that his electric kept going out for a few minutes at a time; it even cut out when I was talking to him. We jawed about the thief that had broken into our community center last Friday night and made off with some food. The vermin had busted in through the fenced gate and pried open the back door. Then climbed over the counter to gain access to the kitchen and helped themselves to what food we had. Fortunately the locks on the refrigerators were unlocked for the first Saturday breakfast or else the scumbags would have broken them too. There was enough food left for the breakfast but most of the sausages and bacon were missing, so they reduced the breakfast by a dollar and made do with what they had on hand.
        I called a few folks to find out more about the break in but nobody was home. I called my sister Donna in Florida but she wasn’t there either. I called up Ruth Tuttle and one of her daughters answered and said everyone was watching the Super Bowl. Wow, I didn’t even know it was Super Bowl Sunday! No wonder no one was at home! I talked to Ruth for a few and she gave me a little more info on the break in, but not much and said that she would have her son Steve email me the facts.
        I didn’t want too feel like to much of a nerd, so I watched the fourth quarter of the game until the end where the NY Giants won. I guess I am into other things so much so that these kind of events just aren’t on my radar. I need to get out more often!
        I had a nice fire going in the woodstove and used the water that was heating up on top to wash my hair and soak my feet. Felt mighty good to soak my feet in the hot water, and I gave them a good rub down too, because tomorrow I will be running another two miles if the weather permits it.
        Did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Monday 04- it was cold and windy (39 degrees) but I did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights. I wrapped a scarf around my nose and mouth to keep me warm as I ran into the wind. (I must be crazy!)
        The Weather: Temps of around 34 to 51, winds out of the NW at 9-18 MPH, humidity around 43 percent, with cumulus clouds. It looks like the winds will die down tomorrow.
        Was doing some more tweaks to the website when Steve Tuttle came by to tell me more about the break in at our community center. He said it happened between Friday night and Saturday morning. The police have a good idea who may have done this but so far it is just speculation. The thief may have been interrupted in his pillaging of our center because of what he left behind. I showed Steve my new telescope and we talked about having a star party at the community center sometime when the weather gets better. Steve is also into astronomy and has a telescope too.
        Went for my evening walk. The wind was still blowing and I decided not to listen to any lectures because I wouldn’t be able to hear them over the wind.
        I called my brother Kevin from inside my camper where it was warm and I needed to get out of the house for a while. He may have sold his property that he has had on the market for a few months now and I am really excited for him.
        Was cooking dinner when my sister Donna called from Florida and we talked of many things. Donna and her husband Roger are scuba divers and world travelers. They have started a new company as business consultants and their website will be up and running in a few weeks. They have spent a few years in China and have friends there that they communicate with. One friend of theirs even reads my journal! I may someday drive the Gross Polluter to Florida for a visit, the place where they live is close to the ocean and it was in the 70s when I was talking to her. I love my Sister Donna! I am bless to have a Family and love them all!
        Did some reading in the astronomy book about gravitational perturbations between two large bodies (Jupiter/Sun or Earth/Moon) and the effects they have on objects like asteroids or smaller debris. These are called Lagrangian points which there are five, and the last two (L4 and L5) are called Trojan points and are the most stable. The two Trojan points for Earth/Moon are 60 degrees in front and behind the Earth/Moon as it orbit’s the Sun. As I understand it two large bodies tug at a smaller body changing its orbit little by little over many revolutions about the Sun. If it’s tugged too much it goes into an orbit of its own. If its tugged just right it stays in a stable position either in front or following behind a planet. You can put a satellite at one of these points and it will stay there indefinitely. And this is an over simplified explanation!
        Watched “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles“. Yes it is getting better! Afterwards I did my stretches, lifted weights, and despite the cold wind, went for my nightly run. Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Tuesday 05- still a little windy, not as bad as yesterday, but colder! I did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights. The temp was 34 degrees when I started my run.
        The Weather: Temps of around 31 to 50, winds out of the N to NW at 6-8 MPH, humidity around 33 percent, clear skies.
        Wrote my column for the newspaper and emailed it to them. Got some emails from friends who read this journal; one from my friend Richard Pearson. He is going to take a bird watching class and the class might take a fieldtrip to Joshua Tree National Park, so while he is out my way he may just drop on over to say hi. Got another email from my friend Carlos who says: “I like hearing about you and Stoney,,he reminds me of my Pops…”
Messed around with an old laptop installing my old Sony Clie handheld software and getting it all synced up with AvantGo. Went for my evening walk.
        Went on over to Stoney’s for dinner. He had cooked up some pork steaks with mashed potatoes and gravy, with a side dish of pea salad that is made from: peas, diced onions, garlic, and mayonnaise. He also baked some peanut butter cookies! We watched the Discovery Channel “Dirty Jobs” where he cleaned a navigation buoy on a Coast Guard vessel in San Francisco bay. And another show about the Sun on Science Channel. Spent four hours over there and got stuffed on cookies.
        Got home and read a chapter in the astronomy book about the atmospheres of the gas giants: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Then I did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run; the temp was 32 degrees already! The sky was really clear and halfway through my run I stopped to look up and saw Orion with all his glory behind a tall electric pole that was buzzing with electricity. Part nature, part man made, which gave me pause to dwell on just how small I am and how immense the universe. What a wonderful sight on a dark and cold silent lonely road! I wish I could have taken a picture of that so you could see what I mean. Hopefully if the weather behaves I’ll take my telescope out tomorrow night.
Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Wednesday o6- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights. No wind, but cold, no problem.
        The Weather: Temps of around 32 to 55, winds out of the N to SW at 3-7 MPH, humidity around 32 percent, clear skies.
        Got a call from Andrew asking me to call Stoney to see if his power is out. I called Stoney and he said it was and I called Andrew back to tell him it was out. I don’t have power outages because I’m off the grid on solar panels. I think the power was out about four hours.
        I got to messing around with the camper and found that the refrigerator in it runs off of 12volts and AC too. So I connected it to AC and it ran! Then I hauled a 12volt battery over to the camper to see if the 12volt was working, it was! It only drew 4amps and got cold quick. I think I may start fixing up the camper instead of the trailer first.
        Went over to Andrew’s and he was home this time. Gina’s parents were there working on a big trailer they had just gotten. Somehow they had lost a key to their car and was in the process of trying to find it when I arrived. I stayed for a little while to help search for it but it was no where to be found when I left.
        Dropped by Stoney’s to say howdy and went on home and read another chapter in the astronomy book about colonization of asteroids and minor moons. Jimmy called up to say hi and we yapped for a spell. Then I watched “Law and Order- Criminal Intent” on NBC about mistreatment of inmates in a psych ward at a prison. Detective Goren goes undercover as a inmate without permission.
        Did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run. It was 39 degrees but no wind. The night was clear and dark so I took out the small telescope for a while. I wanted to checkout Epsilon Aurigae that is 2,000 light years away in the constellation Auriga close to the bright star Capella . I am interested in it because it is an eclipsing binary. Epsilon darkens every 25 years by its unseen companion and there is much speculation if it is a disk of gas and dust forming planets around a proto star, or a very big star too cool to emit light, or even a black hole. The eclipse last two years and the next one begins in 2009 till 2011. I would think that this binary eclipse would be on the list for the Hubble Telescope to have a look-see! I then took a look at Mars which is now between the two stars, Nath and Zeta that form the tips of the “horns” of Taurus the bull. While I was in the vicinity I thought I’d have a peek at the Crab Nebula that was a star that went supernova in the year 1054 AD and is about 6,500 light years away. Well I got a look at it but it was very faint in my little telescope. It looked like a port wine stain on black velvet and not like the beautiful pictures you see in astronomy books. I started getting cold so I put my telescope away and went inside.
        Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Thursday 07- it’s my day off from exercising so I just did my stretches. Nice day outside!
        The Weather: Temps of around 35 to 60, calm winds, humidity around 30 percent, a light haze throughout the late afternoon and evening.
        Did a few things around the house getting ready to go to the movies with Ron Dehart who picked me up a 1pm. Our first stop was at the library in Joshua Tree where Ron picked up a book he ordered and while we were there I checked out two books on HTML on website design. Both books maybe a little outdated since they were published in 1999-2001, but they will provide a little reference on the subject. Then we had lunch over at Santana’s Mexican restaurant. I had a veg burrito and Ron had fish taco and something else that I don’t know the name of. Then we went to the theater in Yucca Valley and saw “Rambo” a very violent and bloody movie. Rambo is in Thailand catching snakes for a living when a bunch of missionaries asks for his assistance to take them in his boat to Burma where there is a civil war going on, so that they can preach and provide medical to the poor caught up in the war. It was the best Rambo movie ever and I will have (and so will Ron) nightmares tonight!
        Then we went to WalMart and Stater Bros to get supplies. There we were confronted by a young panhandler for some money to get a newspaper so he could look for a job. Ron gave him enough to get a paper and watched till he did. Later when we came out he was still there asking for money to by a coke. I told him I was in his position when I was young and I knew what he was going through. He basically told me that I’ve never been in his situation or gone through anything like he has. Maybe so I said but you should just tell folks that you ran out of gas and need money to get home, that way you don’t have to change your story every few minutes. Hey it almost got me to San Francisco from Los Angeles when I was sixteen.
        Got home and read some astronomy about stars, their colors, and how hot they are: Red is cool and Blue is very hot. A Dark Line Spectrum, using a prism that spreads out light, tells us what elements there are in a star’s atmosphere by what wavelengths atoms absorb, this creates a dark line on the spectrum which is the missing absorb wavelength . Also certain atoms absorb light at different temperatures creating a dark line telling us how hot a star truly is, thus giving a star its spectral type: OBAFGKM, where the hottest is “O” and the coolest is “M“. Earth (yellow) is a “G” type star at 6000 degrees Celsius. Rigel (blue) at 12000 Celsius is “A” type, and Betelgeuse (red) at 3000 Celsius in a “M” type.
        Did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Friday 08- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights.
        The Weather: Temps of around 41 to 65, calm winds, humidity around 29 percent, clear skies. Warming trend?
        Did the weekend update for and sent out the newsletter. Then I did some yard work watering all the plants, and replanting some cactus that had gotten decapitated by a board that had taken to the air when we had those 60 MPH winds a last week. Did some computer work trying to sort out all my duplicate files from different computers that I have had in my life, to combine them into a single source. I’ve been sorting them for a while now and this will differently take some time to complete. Joel came by with my mail and I gave him a CD with some of his files on it that I had found on an old malfunctioning hard drive I had of his.
        Went for my evening walk and then over to Stoney’s for dinner. We had leftovers and watched “How It’s Made” on the Science Channel. Got back home and did some more sorting of files. Then I watched “Bones” on Fox that was a rerun from Nov. 2005 that I’ve never seen before. It was about the remains of a small boy that was found in a field.
        Did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run. Practiced my guitar, and then I watched “Numbers” on CBS. A rerun that I had seen about a religious fanatic who thought he was Christ and was killing all his disciples that were picked from a telephone book by a some set of calculations made from numerology out of the bible.
        Wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Saturday 09- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights. Tomorrow is my day off from exercising and I feel I’m needing it.
        The Weather: Temps of around 44 to 67, calm winds, humidity around 29 percent, clear skies. Another fine day, the best so far this year!
        Got an email from Annelies who is in Kenya, so I posted it to the website. She is doing good! Mac stopped by to jaw and touch base. I did a lot of work in the yard moving a wood pile from the front to the back yard so I could park my “Faithful Truck” (the one with the blown transmission) in its place. Then I move the truck, pushing and pulling it with the Gross Polluter, and a little grunt work of my own, until I got it in place and out of the way.
        Went for my evening walk and called my Mom and Dad when I got back. The Sun had set, the skies were clear, and the weather calm and warm, so I took out the big telescope for the next several hours. I hunted down the Crab Nebula again to see what it looks like with the big scope, it didn’t show up well in the little scope last time I was out. Well with the big scope it looked bigger (of course) but with one exception: I was able to see some luminosity! I also saw two globular clusters in the same vicinity and will have to check a star chart to see which they were. I am still not satisfied with the big scope: the mount is hard to use and it jerks when trying to sight an object, the finder scope will not sight an object in the cross hairs no matter how I try to adjust it, and I am getting Coma (comatic aberration) at higher power even after I collimate the scope, which means I’ll need to take the whole scope apart to check the primary mirror to see if it is mounted too tight. I’m still learning my new scope and will get it right! While I was looking at Mars with the 2 inch eyepiece I had two airliners and a satellite come cruising on pass my field of view. The first airliner kind of startled me! Lots of traffic out there! I put the big scope away and took out my smaller one to watch the Moon set behind the mountains to the west. It was a great night indeed!
        Joel called to say that his friend wants to buy my little trailer that I use for storage and that she’d be here on Friday to check it out. I said ok, but I am selling it as is.
        Did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run.
        Then I completed the first lessons of the two online courses I am taking: Website design, and How to give a Great Presentation. The website design class I need, but the one on presentations I just did on a whim, who knows, maybe I’ll need it someday.
        Wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Sunday 10- did my stretches and went for a little walk.
        The Weather: Temps of around 47 to 68, a slight breeze out of the NW but mostly calm, humidity around 31 percent, hazy skies.
        Spent the whole day clearing stuff out of the small trailer that I’m selling. I had stored a lot of “Junk” in that trailer and now I have to find places to stash it, donate it, or throw it away. I have a whole bunch of books I need to get rid of because I don’t think I’ll ever get around to reading them. And most of the tech and reference books are completely outdated; it’s time to let go of them and move on.
        I got calls from a number of folks while I was working. One from my brother Kevin, who is really jumping for joy that he had sold his house. Another call was from Dale of Landers calling to complain about this and that and other things pertaining to the government, his neighbor’s dogs, and life in general. Stoney called gasping for breath to ask for my help in lifting a refrigerator onto a trailer. Stoney, who is 87 years old, and Chris, who is a little younger than Stoney but heavier and just as out of shape, were trying to move it all by themselves and got as far as the trailer. I drove on over there and gave them hell for not calling me in the first place! I called Roger T. to ask him if he wanted a Nintendo 64 game system for free. Roger came by a little while after my call: he saw it, he looked at it, then he was gone, and so was the game system.
        Went for my evening walk and when I got back home I started working around the house messing with this and sorting through that until I discovered that it was around one in the morning and I haven’t started writing my journal. So I did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web and called it a night.

Monday 11- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights. Another fine day outside.
        The Weather: Temps of around 48 to 72, winds out of the N to NW 3-8 MPH humidity around 28 percent, with some cirrus clouds here and there.
        Started gathering bits and pieces together for my column so I’ll have something prepared for tomorrow when I write it. Then I went outside to remove the rest of my belongings from the little trailer. I inflated both tires and they held air! I then manually picked it up at one end and turned it around so as the hitch was facing toward the street. I call Stoney to have him come over with his truck that has my trailer ball on it and we towed it from behind my house to the front yard. This will make it easy to hookup and drive away for the folks who are going to buy it. Then I spent much time sorting the stuff that came out of the trailer and have much to donate to the center.
        Was just about to go on my evening walk when Stoney call to say he needed help finding a spring he had lost while fixing a sliding shower door. I got over there and found the spring and ate some of his cookies too! I still had time to go on my evening walk before it got dark.
        Did some reading in the astronomy book about the difference between a sidereal day, solar day, and a lunar day. Sidereal come from the Latin word for star and is based on how long it takes a star to appear in the same spot the next night (1,436 minutes); solar day is the same position of the Sun the next day (1,440 minutes); and a lunar day is same position the Moon is in the following night (1,490 minutes).
        Watched “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” on FOX. Yes I am into it now! Then I did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run as the Moon set in the west. Practiced my guitar. Read a little of the HTML books about files and directory structures. Wrote to my journal. Posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Tuesday 12- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights.
        The Weather: Temps of around 46 to 70, winds out of the N to NW 3-6 MPH humidity around 28 percent, clear skies but with a little haze later in the day.
        Spent a few hours writing my column. When I write about something technical I have to check my facts and this consumes much of my day. Ron Dehart came by while I was writing and I took a break to yap at him. Then I finished my column and emailed it to the newspaper.
        Got all the trash out of the little trailer and tomorrow I will sweep up what’s left on the floor. Joel came by to get the VIN number off of the trailer, I didn’t know they have VINs, and he told me that the lady who is buying it will be over on Saturday to tow it away. Well we looked for the VIN and couldn’t find one but found some other numbers that we wrote down along with the license plate number.
        Went for my evening walk and then went over to Stoney’s for dinner. We had Chicken Alfredo with garlic bread: toast with too much garlic salt Stoney added, which we both had to scrap off. We sat and watched the Science Channel about massive black holes at the center of galaxies.
        When I got home I completed the next lessons of the two online courses I am taking: Website design, and How to give a Great Presentation. Then I watched “Nova: AstroSpies” on PBS about plans of the US and the USSR to militarize space with manned orbiting spy satellites in the 60s. Very interesting story because it has been classified and little was known about “our” other astronaut corp.
        Then I did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run. Read some astronomy about the Sun vs. planet gravitational pull on moons. How the moons are at different distances from their primary. Some are natural satellites that are within a certain maximum distance and others are captured satellites that are beyond that distance. Also there is a point that is close to a planet where there can be no moons and this is called the Roche limit. At the Roche limit a moon would be pulled apart by the gravitational forces of the planet and become a ring, like that of Saturn.
Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Wednesday 13- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights.
        The Weather: Temps of around 45 to 60, winds out of the S 7-8 MPH humidity around 31 percent, cirrocumulus and some lenticular clouds.
        Went to town to get a 10 dollar haircut. I haven’t had my haircut in six months and it was getting pretty long. Then I got gas for the Gross Polluter and dropped by the library next door and checked out two books: Weather and Geometry. Then I stopped off at the Health Food Store to get some health stuff and talk to the pretty gals there.
        When I got home I did the weekend update for the website and just went ahead and uploaded it early because I have a story about the Total Lunar Eclipse that is on Wednesday of next week that I want everyone to know about. Then I went out to the little trailer with the broom to give it a good cleaning. Now it is all ready for the folks who are buying it to pick up!
        Went for my evening walk and the wind was starting to really blow hard. Got back and read the first chapter in the Weather book where they explained some rudimentary stuff about the National Weather Service and the terms, charts, and equipment that they use. Then it was on to reading the astronomy book about comets and their orbits around the Sun. I went online to the World Meteorological Organization and found that they have online classes, so I signed up for an Introduction class and completed the origination lesson.
        Did my stretches, lifted weights, but it was way too windy to go for my nightly run. Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Thursday 14- dang could and windy outside, but it’s my day off from exercises.
        The Weather: Temps of around 40 to 51, winds out of the N to NW at 12-16 with gusts up to 35 MPH, humidity around 45 percent, stratus clouds covered our area all day. It looked like it could have rained but it didn’t.
        Since it was cold outside I spent my time inside going through some old papers and bills, some from the 90s, that I don’t need anymore, So I sorted them, kept the important ones like stock statements and old tax forms, and tossed the others in my woodstove and will fire it up tonight to warm up the place. I ended up cutting down the mess from five boxes to one. More room and less clutter for me!
        The FedEx driver arrived with some RAM I ordered for my ASSUS EEE laptop; now I have 1Gig of memory instead of the 512Meg and it seems to make a big difference in performance. Then I went over to Stoney’s to eat tacos with him and Roger S. We sat around and jawed for a while about politics and gossiped about neighbors.
        Got back home and continued to sort through my files and started a nice fire with what I had thrown away. Went online for a spell just playing around surfing from one website to another. Read my astronomy book about what it would be like if our Sun was a binary star system and had a second star in the orbit of Neptune. Then I did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Friday 15- the wind was still blowing and the morning was cold, so I decided to just do my stretches, take the day off from exercising, and let my poor old tired body get some rest.
        The Weather: Temps of around 32 to 55, winds out of the N to NW at 8-19 with gusts up to 25 MPH, humidity around 28 percent, clear skies all around.
        Went online to send out the newsletter and read my email. Then I continued my quest for uncluttered nirvana by going through more boxes of papers and bills, to feed them into my woodstove tonight. These last two windy days have really set the stage for doing this kind of work; I get to stay inside where it’s warm, and there ain’t much else I need to be doing.
        Joel dropped by with the money from the woman who is buying the trailer. We sat and yapped for a while about nothing in particular, when Stoney called asking for my help picking up his new chair tomorrow. He said he wanted to get down there early, and I told him it would have to be after 10am. So, Stoney will be knocking on my door at 10am tomorrow. After Joel left I continued to go through some old files sorting for what to keep and what to feed to the woodstove. I came across some old letters from gals I use to date: those are for keeping. And old bills and receipts from the 80s: those are for the woodstove. I sat around for a while reading those “love letters” and thinking of times gone past and what could have been but never was,
        Went for my evening walk, a short one because of the wind. When I got back I started reading: chapter 2 in the weather book about air masses, how the Sun powers the weather, and how the tilt of the Earth effects the seasons. And then two chapters in the astronomy book about stars and their intrinsic brightness vs. their apparent brightness. Did you know that a quarter held nine feet away from you is the same size as the Moon at that distance?
        Kath called up with a computer question, and when it was solved to her liking we talked for a while. She studies bones and told me some stories of when she was younger and defleshing road kill or leftovers brought to her from a local taxidermist which stunk up her house and backyard. It had her neighbors calling the Humane Society. When the guy showed up she had to explain that she wasn’t burying them for good, which is against the law, but burying them to dig up later after the flesh had been eaten off by whatever was in the ground that eats stuff like that. The guy chewed at his pencil after writing this all down on his clipboard and then said he would have to talk to his supervisor and get back to her; that was the last she heard from them.
        Mike called from Hermosa to chat for a spell. We both been thinking of going back to college. I like to take a course in geometry, and he in Spanish. When we were done talking I did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Saturday 16- Stoney came knocking on my door at 10am to get me out of bed (I usually stay up late till 3am) and go down to a thrift store in Twentynine Palms where he bought a lift chair to replace the broken one in his house. We got the chair into his trailer and then he treated me to breakfast at the Carousel Café where I had a cheese omelet, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy (a pretty heavy breakfast for me). Afterwards we got the chair into his house, plugged it in, and it stopped working. There was a short in the controls and we replaced it with an old one off his broken chair.
        The Weather: Temps of around 36 to 63, winds out of the N to NW at 3-7 MPH, humidity around 28 percent, clear skies.
        Got home, did my stretches, ran a mile, an rode my bike. I had to work off that breakfast! Then I messed around online reading emails. I called T-Mobile to have my prepaid changed to a monthly service. I gave the lady all my info to run a credit check, she ran the check and said that I needed to purchase it at a T-Mobile store. I asked her what was the problem, that I have excellent credit and that the nearest store was some 60 miles away. She told me that she could do it another way without verifying my credit, but I’d need to purchase a new SIM card for $15. I said no problem, lets do that. She then told me that I’d have to purchase the SIM at a T-Mobile store! I said to her that the purpose of the whole thing was not to go 60 miles to just have my service changed. Frustrated, I told her goodbye, and then added another $25 to my prepaid phone.
        Went over to water my friend’s garden and call my Mom and Dad. I told him of the T-Mobile fiasco and he got a good laugh out of it. Then I went over to Brenda’s to collect for her monthly dialup service, she had called earlier and she lives over by my friends place, so I didn‘t mind dropping by, it was on the way. Got back home and called my Brother Kevin. He has moved out of his old house that is still in escrow and moved into a trailer he had just bought. The trailer park where he is living has a pool. Jacuzzi, and weight room!
        I watched a excellent movie called “Miracle” on ABC about the 1980 US Olympic Men's ice hockey team and their journey from being underdogs to winning Gold. I remember watching the game when we defeated the Soviet team who were much older, more skilled, hadn’t lost a game in some fifteen years, and were considered the world‘s best. It was a time when America’s image and pride was at a real low; the Iranian “students” took over our embassy in Tehran and held American hostages, and a failed attempt by our government to rescue them; oil embargos and long lines at gas stations; the economy was in the pits, with much layoffs and high unemployment. It seemed like we, as a great nation, couldn’t bring forth anything of meaning or success in the 1970s. So when our team of young men won against a seasoned Soviet team, it was a great boost to our pride! Great movie!!!
        I did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Sunday 17- as I woke up the phone was ringing, it was from a man that I know who lives in our community telling me about a neighbor who is causing much troubles in and around the neighborhood where he lives. He also said he has twelve other neighbors who are just as upset. He wanted to know, being that I write for the newspaper, if I could do something about the problem. I told him that they need to keep calling the proper authorities so that there is a record of the complaints when and if things get out of hand. I also said that I would write something ambiguous about the subject. Then I called the person who owns the property to let him know what was going on. He said there wasn’t anything he could do until there was some concrete proof, like a police report. But he did talk to his renter’s uncle, who said he would drop by and have a talk with them.
        The Weather: Temps of around 41 to 65, light breeze, humidity around 29 percent, clear skies.
        Was doing my stretches, it’s my day off from exercising, when my old friend Larry Carlock called. We talked about astronomy and a bunch of other science stuff. We also had a remembering of the band we used to belong to in the early 60’s called the “Aces Wild” and had a good laugh of the lyrics to our theme song “We comb our hair with a hard, hard, hard nail file”. Jim Carter was on drums, Ernie Taylor was lead singer, Larry and I were the guitar players. We played at a few parties and store fronts (with the owner’s permission). We weren’t very good, but we found that if we played loud enough at a party no one noticed. It was fun!
        Went for my evening walk. When I got home I called Tom and Aki to touch base with them. Read chapter 3 in the weather book about: ocean currents, precipitation and condensation, and the water cycle. I took a college course on meteorology in the 80s, so there is nothing new here for me, but it’s a nice refresher to review what I know and remembered. I also reread my college meteorology book last year. Then I read a chapter in the astronomy book about Cepheid variable stars, that helped astronomers measure the size of our galaxy, the distance to other galaxies, and the current size of the universe.
        Did my stretches, practiced my guitar. Completed two lessons of my two online courses: Web Design, and Presentations. Then I wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Monday 18- did my stretches, ran three miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights.
        The Weather: Temps of around 40 to 64, light breeze, humidity around 27 percent, high cirrus “mares tails“ during the day and replace by altocumulus into the night. I hope these clouds are not present on Wednesday night when we will be having a “Total Lunar Eclipse”.
        Did some work in the yard watering plants. Then I wrote my column for the newspaper and sent it in. Went back outside and did a drawing of my home. Went for my evening walk.
        Went over to Stoney’s for dinner. He made biscuits and a chicken casserole from a “box” from Banquet Dinners. It tasted pretty good. I stayed to watch “Myth Busters” on the Discovery Channel about busting James Bond movies like: the exploding pen, the hat that cutoff a statues head, and steel jaws that could bite a 2” cable apart.
        Got home and read the weather book chapter 4 about jet streams and trade winds. Then read some astronomy about novas, supernovas, and at what distance you could see our sun with the naked eye if you were out in space. Using absolute magnitude which is how bright stars would be if they were all placed ten parsecs away from earth. A parsec is 19,150,000,000,000 miles, or 3.262 light years. A parsec (as I understand it) has to do with parallax (using the earth orbit 6 months apart to view a stars offset from background stars) to find their distance, but only works on near by stars (the 1989 launch of the Hipparcos satellite has extended this outwards to 1600 light years). The absolute magnitude of the Sun is 4.86, Sirius is 1.36, and Capella is -0.6 (larger numbers mean less visible). So to sum it all up, you could only see the Sun with the naked eye from Alpha Centauri which is only 1.3 parsecs away, where as Capella could be seen 260 parsecs away, being a much bugger and brighter star.
        Watched “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” on Fox. I’ve been a fan of the Terminator movies ever since the first came out in 1984! Did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run. Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Tuesday 19- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights.
        The Weather: Temps of around 43 to 64, winds out of the NW-SW from 2-12 MPH increasing during the night, humidity around 38 percent, altocumulus clouds. It doesn’t look good for our “Total Lunar Eclipse” tomorrow night.
        Spent the whole day going through old cassettes and sorting them out. There are a lot of them that haven’t any names of what they are and I have to put them in the tape deck to find out. I am especially looking for songs that I have recorded long ago.
        Went for my evening walk, and then continued to go through the tapes. Found all my old recordings that I made during the 70s and 80s, listening to them brought back some old memories. I labeled them all and put them away.
        Watched “Nova: Ape Genius” on PBS about the re-examination of the great apes and their ability to reason and recent behavior to execute complex tasks that was previously thought to only be a human trait. The program gives a reason why ape culture hasn’t evolved. Very fascinating!
        Did my stretches and lifted weights, but it was a cold damp wind that blew outside which prevented me from going on my nightly run. I then went online looking for a cell phone carrier other than T-Mobile for my monthly service and so far I think I’ll go with Sprint and their $30 plan. I just need to call them to get a few things straight, like the coverage area. Then I practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Wednesday 20- did my stretches and got ready to go down to Yucca Valley to meet my friends Kula and Tom who are driving up from the Southbay for a visit! They have a nice home in Palos Verdes overlooking a canyon where there is a trail for folks to ride horses.
        The Weather: Temps of around 41 to 56, winds out of the SE from 8-18 MPH, humidity: rain, cumulonimbus and nimbostratus clouds.
        got on the rode at 11:30 to do some errands and shopping before I meet them at Carls Jr. for lunch. Returned some books to the library, and then went to WalMart to get supplies. As I was pulling onto HWY 62 from WalMart heading to Carls Jr. for our planned meeting, Tom called saying that they had just came over the pass into Yucca, I said I‘d be waiting outside for them. We all met up at Carls for lunch and sat around jawing about this and that, catching up on the latest news, while we ate hamburgers. Then we piled into Kula’s car for the drive to the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve for a hike. But once we got over the pass it started to sprinkle, and the farther we drove down the hill the heavier it became. We got to the Preserve and it was coming down pretty good. So we got out of the car and sat inside the visitors center which is mostly open to the elements but provided shelter from the rain. We sat and read all the exhibits displayed on the two walls. One exhibit was about humming birds and showed little tiny feet, a nest, and scull. Tom and I, having both taken meteorology in college, were most interested in the Davis Vantage Pro wireless weather station that is setup to give real time reading (I want one!). We kept waiting for the rain to stop so we could go on our hike but it only worsened with little white pellets call “Graupel” bouncing on the ground, so we decided to leave after spending about an hour or more there. Kula and Tom wanted to stop to get some food to take to the motel that they will be staying at tonight, so we went to Staters Bros, and I picked up a few things there too. It was still raining pretty good and we ended up back over at Carls Jr. to jaw some more until it started getting dark and it was time to bid my dear friends goodbye. I will miss them and I will have to plan a trip sometime soon and brave the big city with all its masses of folk running around here and there with objectives I no longer care nor understand anymore, to see Kula and Tom.
        It was dark when I got home and the sky was cloudy but I caught a glimpse of the Moon peeking out. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it will be clear when the eclipse starts at 7pm. Found a whole pizza in my mailbox that Joel had left there, cool! I called him and told him about my day while I ate a piece. Well 6:30 rolled around and I went outside and found that the sky was clear of clouds and the Moon was already being covered with the Earth’s shadow. Really Cool! I setup my small telescope and then called a few friends to tell them that the eclipse had begun. It was 40 degrees outside with the wind blowing so I put on my long johns and wrapped myself up really good for an hour of Moon gazing. I noticed a difference in this eclipse than the last one I saw late last year; this one wasn’t as red. Seems that the right lower quadrant of the moon was brighter. I believe this was because the Moon didn’t go through the whole umbra but skimmed the lower right side of it. Plus the last eclipse lasted longer I believe. Anyways it was a wonder to watch and I was lucky to even see it. I watched the TV news later on where they were discussing the eclipse. The reporters were asking folks about what they saw, and the usual response was: Wow! I think astronomical events like this brings to peoples minds an awareness of their position in the universe and reminds them that there is much more going on than what takes place in their everyday lives.
        Watched “Law and Order Criminal Intent” on NBC about a dentist that was found murdered and kids who drank mouth wash that was contaminated with antifreeze, killing them.
        I did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Thursday 21- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights. This was suppose to be my day off from exercising but since the hike yesterday was rained out I decided to exercise today so I wouldn’t feel guilty.
        The Weather: Temps of around 40 to 57, winds out of the S to SW from 4-11 MPH, humidity was around 63 percent, stratocumulus clouds.
        Decided to purchase a cell phone from Sprint and spent the next hour on the phone with a nice gal from the Philippines trying to fill my order. I’ve been using a T-Mobile ToGo phone and I was already spending $25 a month for that and only got a hundred or so minutes. Now that my Family found me over a year ago I need to stay in touch and what I was using just didn’t do the job. T-Mobile would have been my first choice but they wanted me to take my water bill down to the nearest T-Mobile store but that was sixty miles away! And my credit is excellent! Well I got thirty days to see if Sprint will work in my area and if it doesn’t I can send it back.
        Was going to go on my evening walk but it started to rain, so that was a no go. Went on over to Stoney’s for dinner. We had tacos and watched “Myth Busters” on the Science Channel about a “Death Ray” designed by Archimedes consisting of a bunch of mirrors that could be focused on approaching Roman war ships. The Death Ray was supposed to have been used during the Siege of Syracuse 214–212 BC.
        Got back home and went online to surf the web for a while. Read some astronomy about how at this time of year when we look out to the Milky Way we are looking outward from the galactic center and that’s why the Milky Way isn’t so bright right now compared to the summer months when we are looking towards the galaxy’s center. Did my stretches (too windy and cold for my nightly run), wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Friday 22- as soon as I woke up I had a call from Joan wanting help on setting up a new email account and was able to walk her through it, eventually. Did my stretches; very windy and cold outside so I couldn’t do my exercises. Looks like I’ll have to make them up on Saturday.
        The Weather: Temps of around 41 to 54, winds out of the S to SE from 8-20 MPH with gusts up to 45, humidity was around 51 percent, stratocumulus clouds.
        Worked around in the house cleaning my computer room. I also messed around with some of my really old laptops running Windows 95 and Windows 3.1. Went online with both of them and it was like watching paint dry they were so slow. I even disabled pictures on both and this seemed to speed up the process a little. I like messing around with these old operating systems. The Win 3.1 I run on a Compaq Contura 4/25 with a 512Meg hard drive! When I went online it kept trying to cache everything to disk so much that I thought it might burnout the drive. Ah, such fun!
        Called Stoney to yap at him. He was cooking beans for potluck tomorrow. He had them on the stove and was only going to heat them up for 10 minutes and then let them soak for a while, but he went online on the computer for a while and forgot about them. He started smelling smoke, so he thought it was his wood stove and settled back into surfing the web again. After a while he started seeing smoke in the house and discovered the beans in the pot were burning up. He grabbed two thin potholders to carry it outside but the pot was so hot that he had to set it on the floor. At the same time he ran out of breath and had to go get his oxygen. When he got back in the kitchen, the pot had burned a hole in the floor. He finally got the pot with the smoking beans outside after fighting with the screen door that has a tendency to slam shut as soon as you open it. He said that he has started up a new batch of beans and they will be ready for tomorrow.
        Way too windy for my evening walk, so I did some reading. Two chapters in the weather book about clouds and how to identify them. Did you know that in Latin Cirro means “a curl of hair” high clouds, Alto means “middle”, Stratus means “layer”, Cumulus means “heap”, and Nimbus means “rain”? Well I didn’t! Now I have a better understanding of the meaning of the words for different clouds and a better way to identify them. Thus: Cirrus are high clouds (about four miles up), altostratus are medium high layered clouds, and nimbostratus are low layered rain clouds (from the ground all the way up to a mile and a half). Tada!
        Was going to watch “Bones” on Fox but all the channels were off the air due to the high wind, so I went back to my reading. Read a chapter in the astronomy book about novas and supernovas. Then I did my stretches (too windy for my nightly run). Wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Saturday 23- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights.
        The Weather: Temps of around 40 to 58, winds out of the S to SE from 82-12 MPH, humidity was around 43 percent, stratocumulus clouds.
        Got a call from my credit card company asking if I had purchased a phone from Sprint today. I told them no, but I did purchase one two days ago. Well someone at Sprint put another one on my card today that was not authorized and I asked the credit card person to deny it. I then called Sprint and got transferred to their fraud department, but the line went dead. I called back and did talk to someone there who told me that the fraud department would be open on Monday and if it happened to him he’d be real mad, I said I was. Well I can’t wait till Monday with somebody using my credit card! So I called my credit card company’s fraud department and talked to a gal (in the Philippines) and told her I needed help on this. She said that the fraud department didn’t work weekends. I said to her that they may have weekends off but the identity thieves work 24-7 and may be charging stuff to my card right at this moment. I was put on hold for a few minutes as she consulted someone, then she came back and said that I could report it lost or stolen. Lets do that, I said. Now I won’t have a credit card for a week, but I wasn’t planning to buy anything anyways. When I call Sprint on Monday they will feel my pain for sure!
        Did a little work around the house. Dale called from Landers to yak about my column in the newspaper and to ask me if I wanted to have lunch in Yucca next Friday, sounds good to me. Then I cooked up some Bush’s Baked Beans for potluck, put on my good clothes, and headed on over to the community center. But first I had to stop at Lee’s house to fix his computer. He is always getting something from the sites that he visits. So the last time he messed it up I created an extra user account for him to use only when he was online. So all I had to do when I got over there was delete that account and create a new account for him. Simple, quick, and easy!
        There sure was a lot of good food sitting on the table waiting to be devoured at potluck. I think I’ll have a sugar rush tonight from all the cakes and other desserts that were pleading for me to eat, which I did. All the usual suspect were there including a few newcomers: Sherry and Thomas Felix with their Mother who made a chocolate cake to die for, Dyan Carroll with Bill Mccavley and Dorothy Jacobsen, Bill and Jan Bonner, and Cal and Donna Myers. We all ate our fill and sat around jawing. We all had a fine time!
        Got home and made a call to my Mom and Dad in Tucson and chatted with them for a while. Told my Dad of my experience with the credit card and Sprint, he said to give Sprint hell. Touched base with Mile from Hermosa. Then I got online and started cracking on those two classes (Web Design and How to Give a Good Presentation) and completed two lessons on both. Did my stretches and lifted weights (too cold and windy again to go for my nightly run). Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Sunday 24- did my stretches. It’s my day off from exercising, I was going to do it anyways today because of the couple of days I have missed because of the wind, but it was dang windy today too!
        The Weather: Temps of around 43 to 59, winds out of the SW to W from 25-35 with gusts up to 55 MPH, humidity was around 50 percent, stratocumulus clouds looking like they wanted to rain, but didn’t. (Yesterday I made a misprint of the wind speed: 82-12 MPH, it should have read 8-12 MPH. Sorry about that!)
        Worked around the house some. Updated some files and did maintenance (clean and defrag) on two of my laptops. Boy I’ll tell you I am getting cabin fever! It is just too dang windy to be outside. The wind did die down a little and I was able to go for my evening walk, but halfway through it picked up again and I had to fight my way back to the house.
        George S. called up asking me to hook him back up on my dialup service. I got him all setup and walked him through the process of configuring it on his laptop.
        Seems like everyone that I called today wasn’t home or couldn’t talk because of company or what ever. So I said the hell with it and went online all the rest of the day and just surfed the web. Am I lonely? Depressed? I get this way if I am sick or cooped up in the house. Some call it melancholy, I think of it as cabin fever: when you feel down and depressed. Kind of like asking a girl you really like for a date and she answers, “It’s only going to be platonic, isn’t it?” Yeah, right! Lately I’ve been feeling like there is not enough time in the day to get things done and I am falling behind in those things I want to accomplish. At least this is a rare occurrence for me, this feeling of ineptitude, and I seem to weather through the rough of it pretty good. So while I was lethargically going from one website to another checking out this and that, time slipped by, and before I knew it, it was 1am in the morning and I haven’t done my stretches or practiced my guitar! So I got cracking on those, then wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night. Hopefully the high winds will stop blowing tomorrow!

Monday 25- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights. Not windy today!!! I feel much better.
        The Weather: Temps of around 43 to 59, winds out of the NW from 6-8, humidity around 32 percent, no clouds worth mentioning.
        Called Sprint to raise hell with them about my credit card having an unauthorized charge made by Sprint. My first call was to their fraud department and the guy their wasn’t helpful or seemed to not be very sympathetic about the whole matter. So I next called costumer services and got some gal in the Philippines who I could hardly understand, so she gave me a number to call that connected me with costumer service in the states. I finally got to talk to someone who could help. It turns out that the charge was suppose to be a credit to my card and not a debit, but that I’d have to fax them my credit card statement to get it resolved. One funny thing out of all this was this last guy had trouble with his headset and I could barely hear him. He kept on saying “Can you hear me now” as he adjusted it. After the fourth time of “Can you hear me now” I said to him that I thought I called Sprint and not Verizon! I got a chuckle out of that from him. Anyways out of all this I must have spent over four hours on the phone today and Saturday, and I had my credit card canceled because I thought it was fraud. All this just to get a dang cell phone.
        Was cleaning up the yard and about to go on my evening walk when Sam, our UPS driver drove into my driveway in his big brown truck with my new cell phone. We jawed for a spell, me telling him of my Sprint fiasco, and catching up on his Family’s doings. I was due over at Stoney’s at 4:30 for dinner, so I just had time enough to unpack the cell phone, put the battery in, and put it on charge.
        Got to Stoney’s and we had leftover chili beans from potluck and cornbread. Watched an old 1959 Western called “Face of a Fugitive” starring Fred MacMurray as a fugitive from the law for a crime he didn’t commit and falls in love with the Sheriff’s sister.
        Got back home and started reading the book about my new cell phone. A thick little book with tiny print. Watched “Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles”. After which I did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run. Called my friends Mike and Andrew to test out my new phone and it works mighty nice! Maybe it is worth all the hassle I went through to get it. Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Tuesday 26-did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights. Got up later today than usual, I must have been tired.
        The Weather: Temps of around 46 to 68, winds out of the NW to NE from 3-6 MPH, humidity around 28 percent, no clouds. It was a really nice day!
        Got cracking writing my column for the newspaper and sent it in. Did some yard work watering plants and wondering where to start when I do the big clean to get rid of all the stuff that I have accumulated over the years. I got junk that folks had given me and I being polite accepted. Stuff that I found out later was broken, stuff that I’ll never use, stuff that they had gave away to clear their yard of junk. Anybody want some?
        Went on my evening walk and decided to walk on over to Roger Smith’s, but he wasn’t home, so I walked over to Stoney’s who lives just across the way from Roger’s. I jawed with Stoney who had just gotten back from eating Chinese with Mary down in Twentynine Palms. On my way back I noticed that Roger was home so I stopped and yapped with him. He was cleaning parts that go to the breaks on his VW.
        Got home and had a message on my answering machine from my brother Kevin. So I called him and had a nice talk. He is getting used to living in a trailer that he had just acquired after selling his house. He had mineralized his belongings down to just what will fit in the trailer. I gave him my new cell phone number and told him to warn the rest of the Family that I’ll be calling them more often now that I have unlimited weekend minutes.
        I was just ready to eat a fried egg sandwich and sit down to an evening of reading when Andrew called needing help finding his lost dog Guinness, who ran off after a coyote while on a walk. I drove over to Andrew’s to pick up his four wheel drive car and headed on over to where he took the dogs for a walk. It was way back over by the mountains and I was only able to find him when he flashed the lights on his car. We spent the next two hours or so driving and walking around that area calling out for Guinness, but there was no answer. We feared the worst! Andrew was really upset and couldn’t believe that Guinness would take off like that. After we searched, I took his other dog, Monica, home in the other car and left Andrew there in the hopes that Guinness would find his way back.
        Got home just before 8pm and watched “Nova” on PBS about a fossil that was found in China of a small dinosaur that had four wings. And a debate among scientists if it was related to birds and if it climbed trees to glide or just ran on the ground.
        After Nova I called Andrew to see if he had found Guinness but had to leave a message instead. I had just completed my stretches and weights and was outside preparing to go for my nightly run, when Andrew drove up. He had Guinness in the backseat! He told me that he drove back home and got Kimmy, his other dog who is good at tracking, and took her to the last place where Guinness was seen. He then said “go find Guinness” and the dog picked up the scent and took off down the trail. After a while Kimmy came back with Guinness in tow. What a wonderful ending to what would have been a sad day.
        I read my weather book, a chapter on hurricanes; how they form, forecasting their tracks, and the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. And then read a little astronomy about Castor, a star in the constellation Gemini, which is 45 light years away and is really a combination of three binary stars. I think if the weather is nice tomorrow night I’ll take out the big telescope to checkout Castor. Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Wednesday 27- did my stretches, ran two miles, rode my bike, and lifted weights.
        The Weather: Temps of around 48 to 70, calm winds, humidity around 26 percent, no clouds. Another perfect day!
        Was outside cleaning the yard when Joel called wanting to pick up the trailer. He came by a half hour later, I connected the trailer to his truck and away he went down the road. Then I repotted some aloe vera plants and made one up to take to Stoney. Went through my book collection and found some that I’ve already read, or are so out of date they aren’t worth keeping, and boxed them up to donate.
        Went for my evening walk and then over to Stoney’s for dinner. We had leftover chili beans with cornbread again. He was watching westerns so I didn’t hang around and left for home.
        Read a chapter in the weather book about winter storms and where they originate. Tom called asking for my opinion on purchasing a computer and which options should be included. Then I did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run.
        Took out the small telescope to checkout Castor of the constellation Gemini. While I was doing that I was also on my cell phone talking to Andrew. Now that I have free nights and weekends on the cell, I’m going to use them! Castor appeared as a binary star in the little scope, so maybe tomorrow I’ll take out the big one to see if I can see all three binaries of Castor. Also checked out Mars, but there wasn’t much to see, just a light red disk. I put everything away and went inside, and was practicing on my guitar when Mike from Hermosa called. We talked about cell phones (he got a new one too) comparing features between the two. Wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Thursday 28- it’s my day off from exercising so I just did my stretches and went for a little morning walk.
        The Weather: Temps of around 49 to 72, calm winds, humidity around 28 percent, a few high cirrus clouds. Another dang fine day!
        A guy named Bill who lives back east somewhere where it’s mighty cold called up to ask me about my solar power system. He had found my website where I write about my solar home. We yakked for about an hour. He has a huge pond where he has stocked with fish and when it freezes over folks ice skate on it. Very nice guy and I told him what I knew about solar power.
        Worked on the website preparing it for the weekend update. Then I answered some emails that have been wanting a reply.
        Went through some more old books to donate or keep. I hate to give away my old SF books but I’ll never read them again and somebody else may get pleasure from them. All most done cleaning and rearranging my computer room, cleared up most of the wires that were strung all over the place and now it doesn’t look like some mad scientist works there devising ways to rule the world.
        Went for my evening walk and just took my time wandering around on a different path than I usually take. I am in no hurry, enjoying the warmth of the Sun and seeing all the plants that are greening up and coming back to life. Pondering on many things as I do when I walk, I remembered being at someone’s home where they had a goldfish in a very small glass sphere filled halfway with murky water. It looked so lonely that I asked why don’t they get another fish to keep it company. I know I’d hate to spend my whole existence in a glass sphere, alone.
        Decided to finish the weather book tonight, I want to get it back to the library tomorrow, and read five chapters. Troposphere: sea level to about 8 miles. Stratosphere to 30 miles. Mesosphere to about 52 miles. Thermosphere over 70 miles.
        Afterwards I got out the big telescope and spent over an hour outside until some high Cirrostratus clouds moved in; I was wondering why the stars were getting fuzzy. The big telescope is very difficult to aim because the finder scope is useless. Also the mount for the scope wobbles and it is very hard to track and stay focused on a star. When next the Moon starts washing out the night sky I think I am going to take the whole telescope apart and do some tweaks to it. It is almost useless as it is except for its ability to really bring in the stars and other nightly objects of the sky.
        I was putting honey on some crackers when I read the label and it had an expiration date 0f 02/06/2010 on it. I thought that honey kept almost forever! Maybe it’s the plastic container that goes bad? I don’t know but thought it was kind of weird. Did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.

Friday 29- did my stretches. I am going to town today and that’s all the exercises that I could fit in.
        The Weather: Temps of around 50 to 75, winds out of the SE at 6 MPH, humidity around 29 percent, a few high cirrus clouds again.
        Went online to update the Copper Mountain Mesa website and send out the newsletter. Then I jumped into the “Gross Polluter” and headed on over to Dale’s house and from there we took his truck down to Yucca Valley after saying goodbye to his dog Shadow. Our first stop was at the library where I dropped off the weather book I had just got done reading the night before, then we went to the Sizzler Restaurant and hit the salad bar. Dale is a big guy and he sure can put away the food. He had two big plates stacked high with food and two bowls of clam chowder! Went to Auto Zone for Dale to get some kind of smog device for his truck and for me to get two quarts of transmission fluid for Stoney, who forgot to get it when he went to the store yesterday and is afraid to drive his car without it. The last time I was at WalMart I had left without one of my bags that had bleach and a bottle of vitamins in it, so we stopped off at WalMart and we stood in line at returns to see if I could get a refund or credit. The line was long and we started a conversation with the folks around us. There was Donna who was originally from Oklahoma but lived out here most of her life. She would like to move back there one of these days but doesn’t want to leave her two grown kids who live here. She does have another kid in Oklahoma and I told her that she should move there to keep that one company. Then there was Michael, he lives in JT and smokes Bugler “roll yer own” cigarettes, two packs were stuffed in his shirt pocket. He had his roof blown off during the wind storm we had a while ago. He was laying in bed when it happened, saw it rip right off so he could see the night sky, and rolled over and went back to sleep, only to be awaken again later by the rain falling on him. There was another lady who joined us. Her name was Janet from Arkansas. Skinny gal, about 35, flat chested, and looked to be dressed for a Grateful Dead concert. She seemed to be with Michael but I wasn’t sure. Janet said she hadn’t been here in the desert very long and that there was more jobs in Arkansas then here. Well my turn came to go to the counter and the lady there went through a book that had stuff that folks had left, but didn’t find mine. I told her that the folks who came after me may have inadvertently picked it up. The lady said that this happens all the time, told me to go and get the bleach and vitamins and bring it back to her so she could check me out. I did that and said goodbye to my line friends that I just made. We got back to Dale’s house and sat to jaw for a spell and then I was on my way back home.
        Stopped off at Stoney’s to drop off the transmission fluid and watched the ending to “The Rifle Man” with him. It was getting late and I needed to go for my evening walk before the sun set, so I left and did just that. I must have been mighty tired because after my walk I laid down and dropped right off to sleep, and slept for over an hour. I went online for a while to check my emails, and then it was after 9pm when I get free minutes on my new cell phone so I called my friend Billie who lives in Redondo Beach and yapped with her. Called Andrew after that and jawed for over an hour. It’s nice having free minutes! Then I did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night. Goodbye to February! You‘ve been a stormy month, but interesting all the same!