Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Welcome to the Month of July!- did my stretches, ran a mile, lifted weights, and rode my bike.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 78 to 111, winds out of the NW to SW at 4-16 MPH, humidity around 18 percent, hazy skies. There is a current Excessive Heat Watch for Home (Twentynine Palms, CA) until 8:00pm, Thu Jul 3 2008! According to the National Weather Service “Wednesday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 106. Calm wind becoming southwest between 13 and 16 mph. Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 78. West southwest wind between 9 and 16 mph.”
Went online to read my emails and write my column for the newspaper that took the better part of the afternoon. It was so dang hot outside I decided to just kick back and do a little Sci-Fi reading.
Went for my evening walk with my camera. Took some close-up pics of some anthills that looked very interesting to me (maybe it’s the heat affecting me), but the pics and ants looked cool!
Read a little in “The Cambridge Guide to Astronomical Discovery”; more stories written by astronomers and their methods of finding comets, novas, and binary stars.
Went outside with the binoculars when it got dark. I was looking to the western part of the sky when I eyed what I believed to be Mars. So I got out the telescope to check it out, and it was Mars (last time I saw Mars it was in the horns of Taurus). I also saw a beautiful binary system with an orange and yellow star, but I didn’t know what constellation it was in, so I took out my laptop and ran the astronomy program, and found it was Algieba about 126 light years away. Funny that I didn’t recognize Leo the constellation Algieba lies in, but my excuse is that Leo laid sideways in the western horizon. I also noticed that Saturn was nearby, had it sighted and focused when a faint satellite came zipping across my field of view. So I followed it till it vanished into the west. Cool! I didn’t realize at the time that I had been using a 6mm eyepiece so the satellite must have been very, very small. Maybe it was Ed White’s space glove he lost in his 1965 spacewalk! Nah! Well maybe!
Got inside just in time to watch “Seeing in the Dark” by author Timothy Ferris. I’ve seen it before and really liked it, so I made it a point to see it again tonight. One item I missed last time was when he was talking about the Andromeda Galaxy being 2.5 million light years away. When we are viewing the whole galaxy, the light from the nearest edge gets to us one hundred thousand years before the light from the back does! Now that gave me pause to think of scale, and just how immense our universe is! And there are billions upon billions of these galaxies in every direction we look. Great show!
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.
Wednesday 02- did my stretches and ran two miles. Dang hot out here!
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 77 to 110, winds out of the SE to SW at 4-11 MPH, humidity around 17 percent, hazy skies. There is a current Excessive Heat Watch for Home (Twentynine Palms, CA) until 8:00pm, Thu Jul 3 2008! According to the National Weather Service “Thursday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 106. Calm wind becoming southwest between 15 and 18 mph. Thursday Night: Clear, with a low around 77. West wind between 9 and 18 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.”
Went online to check my emails and catch up on some news. Made my breakfast drinks in the blender: apples, oranges, carrots, and aloe vera. I put it all in the freezer and it lasts four days.
Well it's pretty dang hot here today! Fat Cat is lying in the shade outside where I pour water on a towel for him. I have to do this when I let him inside for breakfast because if I tried to do it when he was there he'd make a dash for the safety of the battery room: he don't like water!!!
Started cracking on the Geometry book that I’ve been meaning to study since January- it was on my New Years list of things I want to accomplish. Now I’ve never been good at math, it’s one of my weak spots. I barely squeaked by algebra in college. Well the first chapter was on undefined terms, defined term, postulates, and theorems, which are the building blocks of geometry. Well I struggled through the chapter and took the test at the end. I didn’t do that bad but I didn’t do that well either. I’ll have to go over it again.
Went to check on my Friend’s house and all was fine. Then I went on over to Stoney’s for dinner. He had made a chicken casserole that was mighty good and I ate a few of those peanut butter cookies too!
Went for my evening walk with my camera again and took a few more pics of the anthills. Sat outside to watch the sunset with Fat Cat on my lap wanting to be scratched.
My friend Jeanne Kula called about a problem she was having inserting a picture into Excel and I was able to walk her through it. I read some Sci-Fi until “Nova Science Now” came on PBS. It was about: using genetic profiles to predict medical problems; using programs to find forged paintings; a mechanical tree to remove carbon dioxide from the environment; and a rock and roll scientist Pardis Sabeti who plays in a band at night and hunts down changes in DNA that is passed down through the generations by natural selection, at night. A very inspirational science program!
Did my stretches and went for my nightly run. When I was done I went back outside with the binoculars for an hour of stargazing.
Called Andrew to see how his new place up in Juniper Hills is coming along. He had some questions on solar power that I was more than happy to help with.
Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night. So much to do and so little time to do it in a day!
Thursday 03- did my stretches, ran a mile, rode my bike, and lifted weight.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 80 to 110, winds out of the NW to SW at 4-12 MPH, humidity around 18 percent, hazy skies. There is a current Excessive Heat Watch for Home (Twentynine Palms, CA) until 8:00pm, Thu Jul 3 2008! According to the National Weather Service “Independence Day: Sunny and hot, with a high near 105. Light wind becoming southwest between 17 and 20 mph. Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 79. West wind 18 to 21 mph decreasing to between 8 and 11 mph. Winds could gust as high as 29 mph.”
Being that tomorrow is Independence Day I decided to do the weekend update to the Copper Mountain Mesa Website and sent out the newsletter. I got all the pictures I took at our Potluck last Saturday and loaded them onto the website for all to see.
Andrew called asking for some more information about solar power. I walked him through the process on how I had mine setup: Batteries, Panels, Controller, and Backup Generator. I think he’s got it now. I should write it up more clearly on my website.
I was reading my Sci-Fi book when Ron Dehart came over and brought me an old astronomy book from 1946 for my collection of old astronomy books. The book is called “Astronomy: a textbook for university and college students” By Robert H. Baker. Looks like it’ll be fun to read!
Went for my evening walk re-listening to the lecture on spectra. I heard some things I had missed before! The lectures are two hours in length each and cover a lot of information. It doesn’t help me not being able to see a chart or slide he is referring to!
Joel came with my mail and we sat in the shade of my new shop (I’m not calling it a patio anymore) and yapped about his newest project. A Canadian film production company wants his advise for putting together a documentary of the life of Iron Eyes Cody. Joel is mighty happy about that! Joel was a longtime friend of Iron Eyes and went on tour to China with him.
Continued reading the Sci-Fi book: it’s getting exciting now that the battle has begun between the forces of good and evil, and it’s hard to put it down. At 11:30pm I finally did have to put it down so I could do my exercises. 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.
Independence Day- did my stretches and rode my bike. Seems to be a lot of humidity in the air.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 80 to 107, winds out of the SE to SW at 8-16 MPH, humidity around 25 percent, altocumulus clouds blanketing the evening skies. According to the National Weather Service “Saturday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 102. Calm wind becoming southwest between 12 and 15 mph. Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 79. West southwest wind between 8 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.”
Got a call from my friend Kula and yakked with her for a while. We talked about old friends and wondered about the health of one who had moved to New Jersey and hasn’t contacted or returned our emails for a long while.
With all the heat and humidity I decided to stay inside and read my Sci-Fi book all day long. Went for my evening walk and decided to call Stoney when I got back to see if he wanted to go down the Marine Base to watch the fireworks display. Well he did and I told him to pick me up at 8:30pm. I got us some chairs to sit in and everything ready when he showed up.
We drove towards the Base down to the end of Poleline Road where we found a place to park on a street that took us closer to the Base. We got out of his Suburban and setup our chairs, had our cameras ready, and waited for the fireworks to begin.
Well it was a mighty nice display, lots of oohs and aahs from the kids down the road from us. We sat there clicking our cameras taking pics of the rockets bursting in air and I couldn’t wait to get home to see what they looked like. When I did finally get to look at the pics on my computer all I saw was squiggly colored lines! I now know that I need a tripod stand to steady the camera and not my fumbling hands.
Finished the Sci-Fi book and then I continued to study the geometry book and finished the test at the end of the chapter. I don’t think that my little brain is wired correctly for math because most of my answers were either half correct or just plain wrong. But I will continue on!
Did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Saturday 05- did my stretches and ran a mile.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 83 to 106, winds out of the W to SW at 4-15 MPH, humidity around 24 percent, a few clouds. According to the National Weather Service “Sunday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 103. West northwest wind 5 to 8 mph becoming southwest between 13 and 16 mph. Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 78. West wind between 8 and 16 mph.”
Andrew called wanting to know if my Aims 1250watt inverter could power my freezer and LCD TV at the same time- he’s thinking of getting one. I already had my freezer on and I turned on my TV, then my laptop, then I plugged in an electric drill and ran that while he was still on the phone. I asked him if he wanted me to plug in anything else, he said that would do.
My brother Kevin called and we yakked for over two hours or more and had a great time discussing this and that. I derive much satisfaction from debating my little brother! Then I called Mom and Dad to chat with them a little because they were on their way out the door to go shopping. I had spent most of the day so far on the phone!
After checking on my Friend’s home- all was ok, I went over to Stoney’s for barbecued ribs. Roger Smith was also there. Stoney and Roger had already started eating but I had to watch the last half of my favorite western “Quigley Down Under” where he shoots all the bad guys with a six-gun at the end of the movie, before I joined them. Them were mighty good ribs!
Got home and went on a short evening walk because I had to call my friend Terry Watson who would be waiting for me to call at 6:30pm. I had a little time left so I downloaded another Sci-Fi book at the Bean Free Library.
Called Terry and we talked until 9:30pm and I think we would have kept on talking too except that my cell phone lost its signal. That never happened before so I must had overloaded their antenna over yonder on the mountain with so much yakking I did today. In fact I’m all yakked out!
Started reading “1633” by John F. Carr. It’s about a 6-mile circular part of West Virginia that got teleported to 1633 Europe with a bunch of redneck coal miners. I couldn’t put it down until after midnight it was so good! Then I did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night. I think I had my fill of yakking today and will stay off the phone for a while now.
Sunday 06- did my stretches- my body says it needs a rest so that’s all the exercise I did.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 80 to 104, winds out of the SE to SW at 5-18 MPH, humidity around 22 percent, clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Monday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 104. West wind 8 to 14 mph becoming south. Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 80. West southwest wind between 8 and 14 mph.”
Dale from Landers called asking me about my solar electric system I have running my home. Seems like a lot of folks are interested in solar and how to hook up a system! I get lots of emails asking me about it and I answer every one of them as best I can. You can see my solar setup here: Bob’s Solar Page.
My system consists of:
1) AIMS 1250-Watts dc to ac Power Inverter.
2) 4-Uni-Solar US 64, 64-Watts @ 16.5 vdc @3.88 amps.
3) 1-Arco 55 Watts @16 vdc @3.4 amps. (I had this one for 20 yrs)
4) 2-40 Watts @17 vdc @ about 2.3 amps (I bought these second hand)
5) For a controller, I have a ASC-12/16 Specialty Concepts 12 Volt 16 Amp and a Lyncom SR-7 7-Amp Charge Controllers (regulates the amps to the batteries so that they don't over charge)
6) 2-6vdc deep cycle batteries.
7) 1-2500 watt Honda generator (for those real cloudy days and washing clothes)
Worked out in the yard watering and trimming my palm trees. While I was doing this I downloaded Firefox 3 to MacBook- it was 17megs and on dialup it took an hour and a half. I cleaned the bathroom too!
Spent the rest of the day reading “1633” by John F. Carr. Yes again I couldn’t put it down and read it till Andrew called at 11:30pm. I jawed with him for a spell and went back to the book to finish the chapter I had been reading when he called. Then I did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, and posted it to the web.
Monday 07- did my stretches, ran a mile, rode my bike, and lifted weights.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 84 to 111, winds out of the SE at 4-10 MPH, humidity around 30 percent, clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Tuesday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 106. North northwest wind between 6 and 10 mph. Tuesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 81. South southeast wind 6 to 10 mph becoming west.”
It was pretty darn hot today and the humidity was getting up there were it was best if I just stayed inside, except for my exercises when the temps were in the high 90s. And that’s just what I did. I messed around with my computers for a while. Then continued to read “1633” by John F. Carr. Dang good book!
Went over to Stoney’s around 5pm for dinner. Stoney, Roger, and I ate the rest of the ribs from Saturday. Stoney cooked up some mash potatoes with gravy, pea salad, and coleslaw. When we were done we sat down in the living room to watch “Dirty Jobs”: Mike Rowe went to Louisiana to work with cave biologists deep down in a cavern where cave crickets poop.
Got home and went for my evening walk. I re-listened to lecture three about spectrum and blackbody radiation. As I understand it a blackbody absorbs light- like a black surface is hotter than a white surface heated by the Sun. If you took the atmosphere away from the Sun it would be a perfect black body- this was where I got confused: why is something that radiates light a black body? Well maybe if we looked at the hot back surface heated by the Sun in infrared wavelengths we would see that it was radiating- as I’m writing this I think I just now understand why the sun would be a perfect black body without its atmosphere now! Okay this leads us to where we get into absorption lines- the Sun’s atmosphere has gasses whose electrons absorb energetic photons at certain wavelengths which create a dark line on the absorption spectrum. And we can use these dark lines to find what elements are present in a star.
Watched “Bones” on Fox about a young intern whose body was found cremated at the Jeffersonian. When it was over I called Andrew who said earlier that he’d be in the area. Well he was! When I called he was in my driveway petting Fat Cat! He was headed back to his new home in Juniper Hills with a load of his belongings. We took out the telescope for a little stargazing.
Read a little more Sci-Fi and then did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run. As I was running on the road in front of my house I noticed that an anthill that I’ve been seeing for the past week in the middle of the well-traveled dirt road was still there. Not a good place to build their home! I wish I could dig them up and place them off to the side somewhere.
Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Tuesday 08- did my stretches. Dang humidity is making it feel like an oven outside.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 83 to 110, winds out of the E to SE at 4-10 MPH, humidity around 34 percent, clear skies. Excessive Heat Warnings through out our area! According to the National Weather Service “Wednesday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 106. Calm wind becoming east between 6 and 9 mph. Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 80. East southeast wind 6 to 11 mph becoming southwest.”
Wrote my column for the newspaper and sent it to them. I needed to mail a birthday card today so it wouldn’t be late, so I jumped on my Trusty Scooter and drove down to where my mailbox is six miles away. Only two miles of it are paved and when I hit the blacktop of the paved portion the heat just escalated to where I believe that you could’ve cooked pizza on it! Got my mail- no federal rebate check yet. Stopped by Roger Toombs home, which was on the way back, but he wasn’t there. Stopped at Joan’s but she wasn’t there either. Maybe they're hiding from me…
Got back and watered my plants and myself- I was mighty baked from my ride. I then just kicked back to read my Sci-Fi book for the rest of the day. Went for my evening walk and then went right back to my reading.
Did my stretches and went for my nightly run. I noticed a black widow spider had spun its web by my front door and caught a big beetle. I decided to leave it alone since its keeping bugs from entering my door. Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night. Nothing exciting today but at least I stayed cool inside.
Wednesday 09- did my stretches and rode my bike. Dang humidity is draining all the energy out of me.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 83 to 109, winds out of the E to SE at 4-10 MPH, humidity around 38 percent or more, hazy skies with clouds late in the evening. Excessive Heat Warnings through out our area again! According to the National Weather Service “Thursday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 105. Southwest wind 5 to 14 mph becoming southeast. Thursday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 80. South southwest wind between 9 and 16 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.”
Decided to go shopping today instead of tomorrow because there’s a possibility of thunderstorms in our area. So I hopped in the Gross Polluter and headed on down to Twentynine Palms. My first stop was to check on my Friend’s house and everything there was fine. Then on to get some gas. There is a station I go to on Adobe by the drive-in theater. I went to the cashier, a Korean lady, who was in a heated discussion with someone in their language behind the counter. She turned when she saw me and I said that I agree! She said, “you agree huh”. I told her it sounded like she had the winning side of the argument and who was I to disagree with that. She laughed and I gave her a ten for pump number one. I filled up a gallon container for the Trusty Scooter and put the rest in the truck, which topped it off. Yes riding the scooter on local trips in the vicinity of my home is really paying off.
Went to Barr Lumber to pick up some Henry’s roofing tar to seal my new patio/shop this evening. While I was there I also got two cement piers with legs for when I expand. I was standing in line to pay everyone was commenting on the humidity and how hot it is. I said to them that once we get used to the dang heat then it’s time to get ready for the cold of winter- they all agreed.
Got all my food supplies over at Stater Bros. to last me another month, and then stopped over to the computer shop that’s in the same plaza looking for a hard drive for a computer I have coming in to work on. Well he didn’t have any but will get some in pretty soon; they’ll be 500Gigs drives at around $100. I asked him if he had any used 20Gig drives that he could let go on the cheap. He said if he comes across one he’d let me know.
Got home and got a call from Chris Young having some problems with a Firewire board he has installed in his Dell 2400. This is for a recording studio and somehow the machine got messed up with the drivers. I told him I’d look into it.
Continued reading Sci-Fi until it got to around 6pm and cooler so I could go up on the roof and use the Henry’s to fill in the gaps and holes before it rains, if it rains, tomorrow. With that out of the way I read and finished the book “1632” by Eric Flint (and not John F Carr like I had written before). This guy is a great storyteller and I really enjoyed the book. You can pick up this book and other Sci-Fi books for free at: www.baen.com/library I read them on my PDA and haven’t found one I didn’t like! “1633” is what I’ll be reading next!
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.
Thursday 10- did my stretches. Think I’ll take a day off from my exercises because of the humidity.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 86 to 105, winds out of the E to S at 6-21 MPH, humidity around 41 percent or more, hazy skies with thunderclouds late in the evening. Excessive Heat Warnings through out our area again! According to the National Weather Service “Friday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Partly sunny and hot, with a high near 98. South southwest wind 6 to 9 mph increasing to between 14 and 17 mph. Winds could gust as high as 21 mph. Friday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 78. Southwest wind between 7 and 17 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.”
Called my friend Joan to see how she’s doing- she is recovering from a hip replacement. She was in good spirits and hoped to be up and at them by next week. Then I got a call from Patty with a computer question I was able to quickly resolve.
Worked on the Copper Mountain Mesa website getting it ready for the weekend update. While I was on the computer I downloaded “1633” by Eric Flint but had trouble with the download of the Mobi Reader edition. So I had to download the Microsoft Reader version and found out that I didn’t have the reader installed on my PDA and had to download that to. Between having other problems with one PDA not being recognized by my computer and having to set it up on an older one, I finally got the whole mess sorted out and started reading the book.
Went for my evening walk listening to an astronomy lecture on telescopes. Talked about Adaptive optics now being used to eliminate the blur that our turbulent atmosphere with a mirror that can be deformed in milliseconds to compensate for it. Astronomers would find a bright star near an object they would like to see better and use adaptive optics on that star for stabilization and fine tuning, but not many deep sky objects had a bright star near by, so now they use a high powered laser and concentrate it at a place in the upper atmosphere where sodium atoms are present and excites the sodium into a laser guide star.
My friend Linda called to say hi. She has been visiting here for these last two weeks and will leave tomorrow to go back to Texas where she now has a job as a grade school teacher. Linda said that she misses her friends here in Copper Mountain Mesa.
Continued reading until around 11pm when I noticed lights flashing from outside on my window and my first thought was that somebody was in my yard with a flashlight and up to no good. But when I went outside to confront them, it turned out to be lightning flashes coming from far away in the western skies lighting up the whole horizon there. I called my neighbor Joel to check it out. He was the only one I knew to be up at this time. We talked while we sat outside enjoying the display.
Did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Friday 11- did my stretches, ran two miles, lifted weights, and rode my bike. It was much cooler today than yesterday, so I took advantage of it to have a good workout.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 84 to 100, winds out of the S to SE at 4-12 MPH with some gusts to 25, humidity around 51 percent more or less, overcast all day. According to the National Weather Service “Saturday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Partly sunny and hot, with a high near 96. Light wind becoming south southeast between 14 and 17 mph. Winds could gust as high as 24 mph. Saturday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 78. South wind 5 to 11 mph becoming west.”
Got right to work on the Copper Mountain Mesa Website weekend update and loaded it up on the web.
Chris emailed me about fixing his computer at his recording studio. I think I’ve found the drivers for his FireWire card he needs to get it up and running, so all I need to do is get my hands on it and see if it will work. He ended up having to call me and I told him that the best thing to do is to reinstall XP without SP2 after I read about some other folks having the same problem. We’ll see.
Started getting the equipment and programs together I need when I go to Chris’s tomorrow. Read my Sci-Fi book most of the day.
Went for my evening walk listening to another astronomy lecture; this one on the optics of telescopes and the different kinds of instruments used for observing in infrared, radio waves, and x-rays. When I got back I noticed that Sam had left the computer that his sister-in-law wants me to fix. She got it from her mother who took out the hard drive saying that she didn’t want me to have the hard drive because of her personal data on it. I was happy to hear that she was wise enough to know about protecting her info on the drive: most folks don’t know or don’t care. But when I looked at the desktop I noticed that there was no CD drive in it. Humm? Well my suspicions were proven correct when I opened it up and sure enough the hard drive was still there! She had the wrong drive taken out! You got to hand it to these older folks! Her personal data is safe with me because I’ll wipe the disk clean with a program I have that does just that. I mean us computer fixer uppers have a code of honor to uphold!
Went back to reading until 11pm and it was time to do my exercises. 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.
Saturday 12- did my stretches.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 83 to 95, winds out of the S to SE at 4-11 MPH, humidity around 53 percent more or less, overcast with rain. According to the National Weather Service “Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 94. Light wind becoming south between 10 and 13 mph. Sunday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 79. West southwest wind between 5 and 13 mph.”
Got all my computer stuff together, jumped in the Gross Polluter, and made my way over to Chris’s house in Joshua Tree. Arrived there around noon to spend twelve hours of grueling tortuous work laboring on his computer to make it do what we wanted it to do. Chris has a recording studio and all his equipment is tied up into a desktop computer that stopped working because his friend broke the connections to the hard drives. He also has a band coming in to do a recording next week and must have it working by then. So he decided to transfer everything over to a Dell 2400 desktop but couldn’t get the studio programs to work on XP Service Pak2. So we put a brand-new hard drive in and loaded XP without Service Pak2 and the programs still wouldn’t work. So I decided to install Windows 2000, but since his computer didn’t have a floppy drive to load up WinNT, I first had to load up Windows ME. Once WinME was loaded I installed Win2000, which we had no drivers for. The rest gets kind of hectic because we had to remove the new drive and put in the old one with a working OS so we could get online to download any programs or drivers that we needed- we did this many, many times! We took one break to go down to Santana’s Mexican restaurant for some food. I called my Mom and Dad there to say hi. Then it was back to work doing this, downloading that, switching drives, as the hours wore by. Finally around 11:30pm we got the last driver we hoped we needed, installed it, and the whole dang thing started to run! Yea! Chris was ecstatic, jumping up and down yelling, and I was completely worn out. I couldn’t wait to get home to my Fat Cat who must be starving by now, and to my bed.
Driving towards my house I noticed that it had rained pretty dang hard while I was away. I checked out the new shop/patio to see if my patching job worked: it didn’t and I had to dump out tools and water from a toolbox that was left open. But it worked well enough to keep most of my stuff dry. I arrived home at 12:30am tired and ready for bed.
Fed Fat Cat who decided to barf on the rug- just what I needed! Did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Sunday 13- did my stretches and ran a mile. Lee and Marcie Hines with Seimi in tow stopped by on their way back from cleaning their rental that the previous occupants totally damaged: holes in the drywall, broken stove door glass, and trash and filth all over the place. I told Lee that he better change the locks or else his former tenants may come back to do more damage. I had helped them fix it up when they first acquired the house some five years ago and that was an unpleasant task because of all the garbage from years of living had been dumped in a large pile in the backyard. Plus we had to revamp the whole house to make it fit for human habitation.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 80 to 98, winds out of the NW to SE at 3-10 MPH, humidity around 49 percent, with cumulonimbus clouds here and there passing us by. According to the National Weather Service “Monday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Partly sunny and hot, with a high near 97. Northwest wind 5 to 13 mph becoming south southeast. Monday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 78. West wind between 6 and 16 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.”
Well I’m still completely fried from yesterdays twelve hour computer repair marathon so I am just going to kick back and read my Sci-Fi book and do nothing else. My brother Kevin called and we had a lengthy discussion on leaving a small footprint on the environment and other things of that sort.
Went for my evening walk. It was nice to get out for some fresh air after the rains cleaned all the lingering particulates from the fires and exhaust from whatever from it. Made the air smell sweet and made it a beautiful day!
Went back to reading my book till 11pm. Chris called telling me that he is using a new ribbon with two leads to hook up both of the hard drives to make it easier to connect, but it didn’t work. I told him to go back to the single lead ribbon and we’ll figure it out another time- I just don’t want him to ruin all the work we did yesterday. Then I did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Monday 14- did my stretches, ran a mile, rode my bike, and lifted weights.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 78 to 97, winds out of the S to SE at -11 MPH, humidity around 41 percent, with a few cumulonimbus clouds. According to the National Weather Service “Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 99. Northwest wind 6 to 13 mph becoming southeast. Tuesday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 79. West wind between 5 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.”
Joan called with a question on how to change her email address in Outlook Express. Got cracking on Michelle’s Dell Dimension 800R, the one her mother took out the CD drive to protect her info- I wonder if she took a sledgehammer to it. It’s running an 800-megahertz Intel Pentium III with 128Meg of RAM and a 10Gig hard drive. I have a Dell just like it but it’s a 750L and I checked that both machines had the same drivers. I found a CD ROM drive that I had lying around and installed it. Then I formatted the drive and put Windows ME on it, and then installed all the updates for the OS up to the date that Microsoft stopped supporting Windows ME and Windows 98. I liked Windows ME, never had a problem with it, and still run it on my Dell 750L. Hardly ever gotten a BSOD (blue screen of death) that many others who did an upgrade from Win98 to ME did. I have a full install disk of ME that came with my system and used on Michelle’s computer using her product key. As far as I’m concerned Win98 and ME are abandon-ware but I still feel better using the correct product key that came with the system. I’ll have to hunt around to see if I have some RAM to add to her system and it also need a PCI network card so she can go online.
Went for my evening walk re-listening to another astronomy lecture about the Sun and Moon. When I got back I continued reading my Sci-Fi book. I feel that I’m slacking from reading and studying astronomy and physics, but I think I needed a rest from all that for a little while and just read something light.
Watched an episode of “Bones” I’ve never seen before about a body found in a time capsule from 1987. Then went back to my reading until 11pm.
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 15- did my stretches, ran a mile, rode my bike, and lifted weights.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 78 to 97, winds out of the S to SE at 6-10 MPH, humidity around 39 percent, with cumulus cloud later in the day. According to the National Weather Service “Wednesday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 99. Northwest wind at 9 mph becoming east southeast. Wednesday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 80. West southwest wind between 6 and 13 mph.”
Spent a few hours writing my column for the newspaper then sent it to them. I’ve been doing the newspaper column for almost nine years now. I like doing it but it takes a lot of my time and a little effort getting it out. Sure I wish I had more feedback from folks who read it and maybe a little input too!
Worked on Michelle’s Dell 800R some more. The CD drive I found for it died but I got another one working in it. Found another 128Megs of RAM bringing it up to a whooping 256Megs. Installed Avast antivirus and Sygate firewall. I tried to install Firefox 3 but it came back and said it could only be installed on Win2000, XP, or Vista only. Dang! That really sucks! I tell folks running Win98 and ME to run only Firefox because it keeps current with updates. The only other browser that I know of that will keep current for these OS’s is Opera (I just did a little search and found that Opera 9.5 still runs on Windows 95-98 and ME) and maybe K-Mellon, but K-Mellon is based on the rendering engine of Mozilla, which is Firefox and I wonder if K-Mellon will follow in Firefox’s footsteps. I think I’ll start telling folks to go with Opera! Definitely don’t want to run Internet Explorer on these old OS’s because it is not updated by Microsoft anymore an will leave a computer open to attacks. On July 11, 2006 Microsoft ended support for Win98 and ME leaving many users of older machines that are not powerful enough to run the newer OS’s, stranded and on their own.
Jumped on the Trusty Scooter to check my Friend's home,and everything was fine. It was good to get out of the house and go for a ride!
Joel came by with my mail. Still no Government rebate check! I think they have forgotten about me. I went for my evening walk re-listening to another astronomy lecture, this time about sun and earth; what causes the sky to be blue.
Read my Sci-Fi book till late into the night. Then I did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run. Practiced my guitar, downloaded the newest version of Opera, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Wednesday 16- did my stretches, time to rest my poor old tired body.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 79 to 99, slight breeze, humidity around 37 percent, with a few cumulus clouds later in the day. According to the National Weather Service “Thursday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 102. North northwest wind between 3 and 8 mph. Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 77. West wind between 7 and 13 mph.”
Called my Dad to wish him a happy birthday and sang it to him too! He was none to pleased by my singing though. My sister Shiela was over and I got to talk to her too!
My very old Dell Latitude XPI laptop, 90Mhz Intel Pentium processor, 16Megs, of RAM died today. I bought it used many years ago and duel booted Win95 and DRDOS on it. It was mighty slow but I was able to use the latest version of Opera browser on Win95. On DRDOS I went online with the Arachne browser and was thrilled about doing that! I was going to do an upgrade to it and play around a little- I love messing with the older OS’s because they are a challenge and also very compact- but when I plugged the power cord into it nothing happened. Dang! I tried to do a few things like check the power supply, wiggle the connection, and tear it apart to find what’s wrong. I couldn’t find nothing that I could fix and will have to retire this old buddy of mine to the spare parts drawer. I’ll be looking for another really old laptop soon to run Win95 and DRDOS, but one with a little more power and RAM.
My sister Audrey called and we had a nice chat. She is doing fine and took the day off to take Mom and Dad out to lunch. I thought that was mighty fine thing of her to do!
Went on over to Stoney’s for lunch/dinner. He had leftovers from when his nephew Gene visited. Gene and his wife left early then they had planned, so there was a lot to eat!
Went for my evening walk re-listening to another astronomy lecture on the greenhouse effects on earth and other planets, and about the Van Allen Belts: two belts of charged particles that come from the Sun and held in place by our planets magnetic field.
Jimmy called to tell me all about his fishing trip down to Mexico. Jim and eleven of his friends drove all the way and stayed near the harbor and rented small boats captained by locals. Jimmy got mighty sick (I believe from the water) and missed a day of fishing. All in all he said it was a good trip and he caught a lot of Bonita and one three-foot maco shark!
Read my Sci-Fi book till 11:30pm and decided I’d better wrap it up and do my stretches. Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Thursday 17- did my stretches and ran a mile.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 78 to 106, winds out of the NW to SE from 8-12 MPH, humidity around 30 percent, with a few cumulus clouds later in the day again. According to the National Weather Service “Friday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 104. North northwest wind between 3 and 9 mph. Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 76. West southwest wind between 6 and 13 mph.”
Late last night I went and started downloading Service Pak3 (if you click on this link the download will begin!). It’s a 315Meg download and I started it at 2:30am, and because I’m on dialup it lasted until 11:30pm! So if anyone was trying to reach me by telephone and got a busy signal, this is why.
Sam the UPS man came by with a package for Tom and Aki that I wasn’t expecting- it was a box of clothes, cool! I had Sam’s sister-in-law’s Dell Latitude 800R completed and I gave it to him to deliver to her. I told him to tell her that all it needs is a network card so she can go online and that her son could install it for her.
Read my Sci-Fi book most of the day and completed it about the same time the download ended later in the night.
Went for my evening walk re-listening another astronomy lecture on the outer planets, the Kuiper Belt that resides beyond the planet Neptune where short period comets come from and also a few dwarf planets or Plutoids which Pluto is one, and the Oort cloud that resides about a light year from the Sun and where long period comets are believed to come from.
Finally the download of Service Pak3 was done, all 316Megs of it on dialup, and I ran it on my laptop with no problems at all. I will copy the SP3 to my tool folder on my thumb drive to use on other computers when I work on them.
Did my stretches, practiced my guitar, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Friday 18- did my stretches and lifted weights.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 81 to 109, winds out of the NW to SW from 6-10 MPH, humidity around 23 percent, mostly clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Saturday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 103. Calm wind becoming south between 13 and 16 mph. Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 75. South wind between 13 and 16 mph becoming light.”
I installed Service Pak3 in my IBM laptop I use for writing my column, paying bills, backups, and that kind of secure stuff. No surfing on this computer! It is strictly for business and to keep things separate from my “play” laptop- I like it that way!
Worked on the weekend update for the Copper Mountain Mesa Website, uploaded it to the web and sent out the Newsletter.
Went online and downloaded another Sci-Fi book from the Baen free Sci-Fi Library by Eric Flint called “The Ring of Fire” that is an off shoot from the last two of the books I read of his: 1632 and 1633. I like his style of writing and found the history of that time very interesting and accurate for that medieval era.
Went over to Stoney’s where Roger, Stoney, and I ate steak and baked potatoes with gravy! Filled me right up! Then we sat around and jawed some about other folks and their problems- like we don’t have any ourselves!
Went for my evening walk re-listening to another astronomy lecture on exoplanets or extra solar planets. At this time there are 307 that have been found. Most exoplanets have been discovered using the Radial Velocity or Doppler Method by studying spectral lines and looking for blue and red shifts as the star and its planets orbit around a common center of gravity called a barycenter that create a wobble- a stars blue shift is coming at us, and the red shift is going away. Astronomers need to use computers to sort this out because the shifts are so minuscule. Then Professor Bloom went on to discuss the formations of planets around protostars that form out of the gas and particles of nebulas. By loosing angular momentum these particles fall into the protostar by the effects of gravity that then creates a flat disk. These particles begin to heat, which causes pressure, and depending on the gasses makeup- heavier particles closer to the central mass and lighter particles in farther orbits and their closeness to the central mass determines when a cohesion process starts to bind them to one another. Astronomers have found these protoplanetary disks in other star systems. I think I got this right.
When I got back from my walk I had a few messages on my answering machine. Dale called to tell me he is coming over to pick up some old L16 batteries I have so he can use them as cores for the new ones he is getting. Joel called up needing help putting a battery in his wireless mouse. I told him to come by, he did, and I put them in for him. Read some Sci-Fi till it was time to do my exercise. Seimi called to say that the computer ribbons I wanted are in my box in front of my house.
Did my stretches and went for my nightly run. The ant hole is still there in the middle of the street despite the rains and the grader who plowed over them! Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Saturday 19- my brother Kevin called to yak at me for a spell. Then I did my stretches.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 81 to 109, winds out of the NW to SW from 6-10 MPH, humidity around 23 percent, mostly clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Sunday: Isolated showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 93. Light wind becoming south southeast between 13 and 16 mph. Winds could gust as high as 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Sunday Night: Isolated showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 76. South wind between 7 and 10 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 20%.”
Dale came by to collect the four old L16s of mine that he’ll turn in as cores for four new L16s he will be purchasing on Monday. These four cores will save him $30 a piece! He showed me his new 1750-Watt inverter he bought at some RV store in Apple Valley that should power almost anything he will be running off the solar panels. We move all four of the batteries to his truck and lifted them onto the tailgate, dang they’re heavy, must weight over a hundred pounds! Dale told me in return for the batteries he would bring me two trailers full of wood for my stove. I told him to keep an eye out for a thousand gallon water container that I want to use as backup incase the main city water fails. He said he knew a place that sells rejects that have small blemishes on the cheap, and another store that sells fifty-five gallon plastic barrels too. I had bought a 2500-gallon metal water tank back in 1999 but the bottom had corroded out- I going to cut a door in that one and use it for storage.
Called my Mom and Dad to catch up on what the Family has been up to. Then I watch “NCIS” on CBS about a Marine that was found face down on a snow bank and presumed dead by local police and brought to CSI headquarters for autopsy but awakened when Chief Medical Examiner “Ducky” was about to open the man up. I haven’t seen this episode yet, because I stopped watching it for a while when they killed off Caitlin “Kate” Todd who I really liked and it pissed me off.
I was going to take out the telescope to do a little stargazing but the sky was overcast with clouds. So I read my Sci-Fi book till 11:00pm, then I did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Sunday 20- did my stretches.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 75 to 96, winds out of the S to SE from 6-10 MPH, humidity around 56 percent, cumulonimbus here and there with rains or light sprinkles. According to the National Weather Service “Monday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a high near 94. Calm wind becoming south southeast between 10 and 13 mph. Monday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 75. Southwest wind between 10 and 13 mph becoming light.”
Ron Dehart called wanting to go to the movies this afternoon but I had to turn him down because I need to get out on the shop/patio roof and seal all them leaks that water came through the last time it rained, and it just might rain today! I had to turn down Stoney for dinner when he called to invite me over because of the same reason.
Spent about three hours on that dang roof patching holes that I didn’t see last time. When I was all done and had put everything away, I found a few more and had to get everything out again. But I think I got them all but will have to see when it rains.
Called my sister Shiela and had a nice little chat. She retired a month ago and is still getting used to a slower pace of life, and is doing her walks with some running in between, and I think that a mighty good thing.
Went for my evening walk re-listening to an astronomy lecture on stars. How to read the HR diagram, the classes of stars: OBAFGKML, the temperature of stars relating to their mass and their color. Read a little Sci-Fi when I got back.
Then I watched "Foyle's War: Broken Souls," on PBS, about a small town detective chief superintendent who investigates the murder of a doctor in a psyche ward, and the murder of a German POW who had the hots for a married farm gal whose husband comes home after escaping a German POW camp.
Did my stretches and went for my nightly run- sure was nice and cool for my run! Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Monday 21- did my stretches, ran two miles, lifted weights, and rode my bike. The temp was a nice 93 degrees and it made for a pleasant workout.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 78 to 103, winds out of the S to SE from 6-11 MPH, humidity around 43 percent, clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Tuesday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 98. West northwest wind at 11 mph becoming south. Tuesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 75. West wind between 7 and 11 mph.”
Started gathering the stuff that I need to write my column for tomorrow that used up a little portion of my day. Went online to read some of my emails. I get a lot of jokes from Friends and I usually put them in my “Jokes” folder until I find the time to read them. Now the folder is mighty crammed with unread jokes. I like the simple text jokes without all the graphics that take a while to download on dialup. I guess most folks are on broadband now and don’t give it a thought about large file emails they send. I get some emails that have links to YouTube that would take me hours to view- those go in the trash folder.
I temporarily installed a solar panel to the 12-volt battery in my camper, and also charged my backup batteries in the battery room. I need to get a couple more charge controllers to connect into my solar system.
Went over to Stoney’s for dinner. We had leftover chicken mixed with rice from last week sometime that was stored in the freezer. We watched “Dirty Jobs” where Mike Rowe was on Vomit Island tagging baby birds and counting nests. The baby birds would puke up whole fish and crap from the trees as a way to fend off intruders. Mike got mighty covered in bird pooh!
Went on my evening walk re-listening to another astronomy lecture on “The Fate of Stars”, about what happens to a star when it leaves the main sequence of the HR Diagram, and also emission and reflective nebulae: Young hot stars with temps of 13,900C excite the atoms and cause them to re-emit the UV light that they absorb when they cascade down to a lower energy state drive emission nebulas. Reflective nebulas, on the other hand, are particle clouds near a star with a temp less than 13,900C and the light is reflected. The emission nebulas are the most colorful.
Watched “Bones” on Fox about a man found with his body partially eaten and his knee caps missing. Yuck!
Did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run. Andrew called to jaw for a spell. He and his dogs are doing just fine at their new residence up there in Juniper Hills. Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Tuesday 22- did my stretches and ran a mile. I just feel plum tuckered out today.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 75 to 104, winds out of the SW to SE from 3-12 MPH, humidity around 33 percent, clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Wednesday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 100. North northeast wind between 3 and 11 mph. Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. Southwest wind 6 to 15 mph becoming northwest.”
Spent some time writing my column and sent it to the newspaper. We had two new attempted break-ins but our new deadbolt locks prevented the thieves from gaining access to our community center, so this is what I wrote about. I think it is a shame that these dirty scoundrels steal from the folks in our community, and that’s just what they are doing when they rip off the center.
Messed around with my computers doing updates. I installed Service Pak3 on my Toshiba Tablet, and squeezed some more space on the IBM laptop with the Flash IDE drive. I’m still looking for a replacement for my old Dell Latitude XPi laptop that I run old operating systems on.
I decided to take a break on my evening walk and do some file management, sorting and deleting duplicates. I watched “NCIS” on CBS about an informer shot dead while trying to turn himself into NCIS Director “Jenny”.
Then I read my Sci-Fi book until late into the evening. The Ebook has several stories written by different authors, most are good but the one I was reading tonight stunk so after reading about a quarter of it I skipped to the next story.
Did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Wednesday 23- did my stretches and ran a mile, lifted weights, and rode my bike. I just feel a lot better today, maybe it’s because the humidity is lower.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 74 to 103, light breeze, humidity around 20 percent, clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Thursday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 101. West northwest wind around 6 mph becoming calm. Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 76. Southwest wind between 3 and 9 mph.”
Worked in my yard watering plants and doing a little clean up, while I was defragging my two main laptops.
Decided to get cracking on that geometry book by rereading the first chapter- I’m not very good at math and I’ll just have to take it slow and to make sure I understand it all before I go on to the next chapter. I need to lay off the Sci-Fi for a while and get back to my studies.
Started reading a book by Richard P. Feynman call “Surely Your Joking Mr. Feynman!” It is a bunch of stories put together about his life. Feynman was a physicist and led a very interesting life.
Went over to Stoney’s for lunch/dinner. He re-cooked the chicken casserole into its third reincarnation. It seemed to be missing something we both agreed on: flavor! We jawed for a spell and I left when he started watching TV, and I want to cut down on the TV that I watch, especially old westerns that he seems to like.
Went for my evening walk and re-listened to “Fate of Stars II” about the processes that power stars. Hydrostatic equilibrium is where the outgoing thermal pressure is in balance with the gravity of incoming matter. This Hydrostatic equilibrium is caused by the fusion of four hydrogen atoms that overcome the Coulomb barrier (at high temperatures strips away electrons from the hydrogen atom leaving protons) that collide at high velocities forming a new helium atom. The energy left over after this process (a helium atom has less mass than four hydrogen atoms) is released in the form of neutrinos and high-energy photons. These photons eventually slow down as they make their way through to the stars surface and radiate into space. Our Sun converts hydrogen to helium at a rate of four million tons a second. After a star runs low on hydrogen (our Sun in about five billion years from now) will start fusing helium into carbon and oxygen and go off the main sequence of the HR diagram becoming a red giant. At this point blowing off its outer shells creating a nebula, and if it is below 1.4 solar masses, with a white dwarf at its center. Above 1.4 solar masses and depending on how massive the star is you can have a neutron star or a black hole (this will be discussed in the next lecture). The electron degeneracy pressure holds up a white dwarf core. Wow did I just write all this!
Watched “Science Now” on PBS about Stem cells, filming underwater critters, SETI and the new Allen radio telescopes, and leaches used for modern medical purposes.
I forgot to add that last night I setup my telescope (as I did tonight) to view Jupiter before the Moon came up. Well last night I believe I saw one of the moons go behind the planet: there was a little bump on Jupiter’s edge that slowly disappeared, cool! Tonight I saw four moons lined up.
Did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my evening run. I didn’t see the anthill on the middle of the road, so I guessed that they have moved somewhere else or were killed off by attrition. Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Thursday 24- did my stretches and ran two miles.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 74 to 102, light breeze out of the S to SE, humidity around 20 percent, clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Friday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 101. West northwest wind at 11 mph becoming south southeast. Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 77. Southwest wind 14 to 17 mph becoming west northwest 6 to 9 mph.”
Went online to read and answer some emails. Saw an ad from Dell Computer for “Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007” at $84 and I just had to have it at that price. I’ve heard some good reviews of it for a while now but it’s been too expensive at $124. I been using Microsoft Word 2000 since it came out and it’s a little behind the times, but I’ve found that I like it better than some of the newer open source word processors. I spend a good portion of my time writing and I thought it was time I invest a little of my money into this. So I went ahead and bought it. It comes with Power Point, One Note, Word, and Excel. I always wanted to try my hand at creating a Power Point presentation. It should arrive on the 29th!
Went on down to my mailbox on my Trusty Scooter and then on over to Roger T’s home. He had a movie “10,000 BC” and paid for his dialup Internet too. We sat around and jawed for a spell. He’s been working on one of his cars and told me all about the problems with the air-conditioning that he was going to fix himself before he found out how difficult it would be and decided to take it to an expert and have them fiddle with it.
Messed around on the computer some, and worked around the house doing this and that and a few electrical things. I’m setting up by backup power supply and running it into the house where I’ll have a 300-watt inverter installed to run my laptops. I have a 40-watt solar panel charging two 6-volt batteries that I run in series to get 12-volts to the inverter. I think the 40-watt panel will be enough because I’ll only be using it once in a while, which should give it plenty of time to charge the batteries.
Went on my evening walk re-listening to another astronomy lecture about supernovas. There are many ways a star can go supernova but the lecture was on type 1A and type 2. A type 1A supernova is formed in a binary system where one star is a red giant and the other is a white dwarf. The white dwarf accretes matter from the red giant and if the white dwarf exceeds the Chandrasekhar limit of 1.4 solar masses it goes supernova- 5 million times brighter than the Sun. Type 2 is from massive stars with at least nine solar masses and releases so much energy that it out shines the galaxy they implode in. Heavier elements than iron are created in this process by electrons and protons that merge to create neutrons. If it wasn’t for type 2 novas we wouldn’t exist because there wouldn’t be any heavy elements heavier than Iron 56. Oh there is so much more on type 2s that I could write about, but time grows late.
Watched “10,000 BC”. It was a good movie if you just forget about factual history timelines for a while.
Did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run. While on my run I met Joyce my neighbor as she drove by and we had a little chat. Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Friday 25- did my stretches, ran a mile, lifted weights, and rode my bike.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 80 to 107, winds out from S to SE at 5-10 MPH, humidity around 20 percent, clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Saturday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 102. Light wind becoming south southwest between 10 and 13 mph. Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 79. West southwest wind between 7 and 13 mph.”
Worked on the weekend update for the Copper Mountain Mesa Website and uploaded it to the web and sent out the Newsletter.
Messed around with an old IBM ThinkPad 570 and upgraded the BIOS on it to the newest one- 11-11-99. I have Win98SE running on it and I have a 2Gig IDE Flash drive that makes it really quick.         Continued studying Geometry and I am now on chapter two and will have to reread it again before it all sinks into my little brain.
Andrew called to ask a question on hydrogen fuel setup for cars. His friend saw plans on Ebay for $50, which combined with gas, would get 100 MPG. Well I told him I was a little wary of such plans, and he said he was too.
Took a break and read a little Sci-Fi, then I went outside to gather wires and other parts for my backup power supply. I sat inside the battery room for a spell planning on where I want to bring it into the house without doing to much damage.
Dale called up to yap about his new solar system he is building for his home. Patty called to ask a computer question for her daughter’s computer. Seems like every time her air conditioning goes on she is knocked off line. I told her to try a different electrical circuit than the one the conditioner is on.
Went on my evening walk re-listening to an astronomy lecture on Neutron Stars. Neutron stars are formed in type 2 supernovas. During the process of a star’s death where it’s burning through different elements it finally reaches iron 56 which cannot fuse. This iron core builds up pressure to the Chandrasekhar limit and electron degeneracy pressure takes over. Different outer layers keep burning lighter elements until they reach iron 56, which falls into this core (which is the size of the Earth) to exceed this limit. When the Chandrasekhar limit of 1.4 solar masses is exceeded and the pressure of the electron degeneracy pressure can no longer hold up against gravity the core implodes very fast at .01 the speed of light (I think that is the speed he said) and compresses around two solar masses into a sphere ten miles in diameter. As this takes place electrons and protons are squeezed together forming neutrons and it is the neutron degeneracy pressure that takes over the fight against gravity. Neutron stars spin very fast because of the angular momentum it got as it collapse into a smaller area- like a skater pulling in her arms to spin faster. Neutron stars emit high-energy radiation because of the spin and electrons flowing on its surface between its two magnetic poles- like a lighthouse. These are called Pulsars. This was how neutron stars were first found thirty years after Fritz Zwicky anticipated their structure. The next lecture will be on black holes.
Did a little more reading until “Numbers” came on at 9pm. It’s one I saw before about letter bombs, but I like the show and watched it again.
Did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run. Wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night
Saturday 26- did my stretches- I’m going to take the weekend off from my exercises.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 82 to 105, winds out from S to SE at 5-15 MPH, humidity around 40 percent, cumulonimbus all around us but no rain here. According to the National Weather Service “Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 99. Calm wind becoming west southwest between 12 and 15 mph. Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 74. West southwest wind between 7 and 16 mph.”
Spent most of the morning calling Friends and Family. Had a nice chat with my brother Kevin. Called my friend Kula and yakked at her for a spell. Then got caught up on those emails that been sitting in my inbox wanting a reply. Found an email of a person who wants me to design a website for his new business- maybe I’ll make a little money off of it! Just a lazy day and I hope tomorrow will be the same.
Cooked up some macaroni and cheese for potluck and headed on down to the community center. Karen and Dana were there with Karen’s sisters husband who lives out near Fresno. He has a home out here where he plans to move in with his wife when she quits the IRS in two years or so- brought fried roadrunner they said, but I believe it was chicken. Dian and her mother Dorothy brought squash and stuffed peppers from there garden and some mighty fine chocolate cake. Chris brought his macaroni salad which I ate plenty and took some home with me. Marcie brought lasagna and ice cream. Donna brought this outstanding dish of scalped potatoes that everyone raved about. There was a lot of food and the center drew quiet as everyone started feeding. Well I ate the food like a starving coyote and woofed it right down. Someday I’ll learn to take my time eating when I’m at these gatherings and not be such a hog. Everyone stayed around and helped cleanup the mess we made.
Got home to call my Mom and Dad, then I went on my evening walk re-listening to an astronomy lecture on Black Holes. These lectures are an hour and twenty minutes long and cover a whole lot of territory and it’s hard for me to remember most of what I hear. If I could take notes while I walk it would be easier to write these blog entries. Black holes start out as stars larger than three solar masses or through accretion from another star, and goes through the phases of electron degeneracy pressure, down passed neutron degeneracy pressure, and onto a singularity with zero volume and infinite density- light cannot escape. This is the short version of the lecture I type here. The lecture gets into relativity and quantum physics, dual virtual particles that leak out, creation of x-rays from matter falling into the event horizon, spinning verses non spinning black holes, and tidal forces. The next lecture is more on black holes, yikes!
Did some reading of the Feynman book. Then messed around with my old IBM 570 ThinkPad trying to install VLC, which is an opensource media player. I tried to install it but it was missing unicows.dll. I downloaded the dll from Microsoft’s website, installed the dll, but the VLC player still didn’t work and came up with a message “Only for Windows 2000 and XP”. Dang! So I guess I’ll download an older version of VLC to see if it will work or just stay with WMP9.
Did my stretches, practiced my guitar. I was writing my journal when Andrew called to yap for a spell. He says that there are these blue birds that hang around his yard and eat the dog food that he puts out for his doggies. Now he has to hide the food under his trailer. Finished my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Sunday 27- did my stretches- like I said I’m going to take the weekend off from my exercises.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 82 to 105, winds out from S to SW at 7-16 MPH, humidity around 40 percent, clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Monday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 100. Calm wind becoming south southwest between 12 and 15 mph. Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 74. West southwest wind between 6 and 15 mph.”
Did some work on my computers, answered a few emails. Called my brother Kevin again to see how he’s doing. Then I was off for a visit to Dana and Karen’s home. I got to see their new garden that they used metal siding for a fence to keep the critters out and it does a great job at it they said. Bruce their brother-in-law came by before his trip back to Fresno and we watched a car race on TV at the Indianapolis Speedway. They were rooting for their favorite drivers, and I was just watching the fast cars go around in circles. The pit crews can really change them tires fast.
Went home and read some of the Feynman book, and then I was back off on my way to Stoney’s for lunch/dinner. On the way I stopped off at my Friend’s home, who has been out of town for a while, to check to see if everything was ok. Some how a dove got into his garage through a broken window and was trying to get out by ramming into a it. I got the window opened and I believe the bird had escaped because it wouldn’t come near it until I left the vicinity. On over to Stoney’s where we had barbecued chicken with mash potatoes and gravy. I was mighty full from yesterday’s potluck and tried not to pig out too much. Watched a little of the Science Channel about the birth of the universe and I stayed there till it was over.
I had to do some online searches for info that folks I know want and I gotten carried away because the next time I looked at the clock it was 12:30am! Yikes! I still have stuff to do before I can go to bed. I did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Monday 28- did my stretches- well I decided to make it a three day weekend away from my exercises.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 81 to 104, winds out from SE to SW at 7-14 MPH, humidity around 30 percent, clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Tuesday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 100. West wind 7 to 15 mph becoming south southeast. Tuesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 75. West southwest wind between 6 and 16 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.”
I went online to see if my Microsoft Office 2007 was going to be delivered early and sure enough it was! It’ll be coming in today sometime and I need to be around in case the DHL driver wants me to sign for it.
I messed with my laptop getting it ready for Office 2007 by deleting the old Office 2000. Then I spent most of the day going over files deleting duplicates. Found a free program online called “Easy Duplicate Remover” that does it automatically; cool! I downloaded it, tested it out on a few files until I felt confident, and ran it on the entire picture files I have- I did a backup first! It worked okay but I found that if you do your whole Document folder it will find every occurrence in other folders there! So it’s best to do your picture folder by its self.
It got to be around 5pm and DHL hadn’t delivered my package yet, so I went outside and there it was on my doorstep. I guess I didn’t hear him when he drove up and left it because of all the fans in my room blowing air on me and making noise.
I installed Office 2007 on my Toshiba laptop without a hitch and started figuring out where everything I was used to on Word 2000 was- it has no instruction book. The toolbar takes up almost a quarter of the screen and I can’t find a way to minimize it yet. It has a dictionary that when you right click on a word a dialog box will pop up with options to cut, paste, and “Look Up” . Click on “Look Up” and screen will open on the right side giving you a description of the word, or it will search online too! I like that!
When I went online to register Office 2007 I noticed that the little yellow shield for Microsoft update came on in the taskbar, so I guess Office is getting updated. I let it run while I went for my evening walk re-listening to an astronomy lecture on galaxies. It was mostly about the history of discovery where we first thought that the Earth was the center of the universe, then the Sun, then the Milky Way, and then we discovered that there are billions upon billions of galaxies and our status as being central has dwindled throughout the years. I still believe that we are the center of “our” universe in a non scientific but meaningful way. It’s like the old saying: “Where ever you go there you are”. And if that ain’t the center I don’t know what is!
Read a little more of the Feynman book until it was time to do my exercise. Did my stretches, practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal (using my new word processor), posted it to the web, and called it a night.
Tuesday 29- did my stretches, ran a mile, lifted weights, and rode my bike.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 80 to 105, winds out from S to SW at 4-14 MPH, humidity around 29 percent, clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Wednesday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 102. West wind 5 to 14 mph becoming south. Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 77. West southwest wind between 6 and 14 mph.”
I was writing my column for the newspaper when I received an email from Karen Van Noort asking me if I felt an earthquake this morning at 11:43am. I went to the USGS website for Recent Earthquakes and this is what they said: A moderate earthquake occurred at 11:42:15 AM (PDT) on Tuesday, July 29, 2008. The magnitude 5.4 event occurred 4 km (3 miles) WSW of Chino Hills, CA. The hypocentral depth is 14 km ( 8 miles). I spent almost three hours writing my column and sent it to the paper.
Called my brother Kevin and had a nice chat with him. He went to see the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight” and said it was very well done, so it must be good because my brother is very fastidious.
Went for my evening walk re-listening to an astronomy lecture on galaxies and dark matter. There are different types of galaxies: Elliptical, Spiral, and irregular galaxies with odd shapes that don’t fall into the other two types. Dark matter makes up 90% of the mass in galaxies. No one really understands dark matter and what it consists of, but there are a few ideas floating around. First inferred by Fritz Zwicky of Cal Tech in 1933 when he was observing a galaxy cluster and compared their calculated mass with their motion about each other and found there was four hundred times more mass than should be. Zwicky also came up with the idea of neutron stars. I would like to read more about him!
Read more of the Richard Feynman book until it was time to do my exercises. Did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run. When I got back I took out my telescope to do a little star gazing. The night was clear but the atmosphere was a little unstable. Jupiter was bright in the sky and I watched it and its moons for a while. Two of its moons were very close to the planet and on opposite sides. I could barely make out the two bands of the planet tonight. Then I just did a sweep of Sagittarius looking at a few globular clusters and the rich star fields near the Tea Cup.
Practiced my guitar, wrote to my journal, posted it to the web, and called it a night. Last night I enrolled myself in an online class for Word 2007 and I have until Aug 8 to finish it. The class is usually a month but I was a late enrollee.
Wednesday 30- did my stretches, ran a mile, lifted weights, and rode my bike.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 77 to 103, winds out from S to SW at 4-12 MPH, humidity around 26 percent, clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Thursday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 103. Light wind becoming southwest between 12 and 15 mph. Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 77. West southwest wind between 9 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.”
Ron Dehart arrived at 12:30pm and picked me up to go to town. We planned this last night and we both didn’t eat any breakfast, so our first stop was at Santana’s Mexican restaurant where we had vegetarian burritos. I couldn’t finish mine and I’ll eat it later in the evening. Then on to the library where Ron wanted to see about a book he wanted to read about some Hippies who went to Alaska. I ended up checking out three books: “T is for Trespass” (I really like Sue Grafton!), “Microsoft Office 2007- Plain and Simple”, and a book on Photoshop 7.
There is a new bakery in Joshua Tree called the Tea Cup (or something like that) run by some French women. It’s right on hwy62 north side by the yoga place. It was the first time we been there and we didn’t even know it was open because there wasn’t any “OPEN” sign hanging on the door (shops in JT keep weird hours and are closed on different days, usually Tuesdays). But they were open for business and we were greeted by a very nice gal who said that yes they are going to get a sign when I mentioned it to her. There wasn’t a very wide selection for us to choose from because it was mostly all bought up by the morning crowd. We bought the last loaf of bread that goes by the name peasant bread, and a large chocolate cookie. We had them cut the loaf in half and we split the cookie ourselves in two. The cookie was mighty delicious! I had a slice of the bread later in the night and it was the same! I will definitely buy there again.
Went to WalMart to pick up a few things and got behind a lady in the checkout line who just kept adding things to her cart as her items were being rung up. She would go get milk, then eggs, running here and there. I struck up a conversation with two guys from Switzerland behind me who were on “holiday” for a month. I told them we workers in the USA only get two weeks. They were here to hike in the Joshua Tree National Forest and were having a great time and loved our country, they said. I mentioned that I was in Switzerland once back in 1979 and that got the conversation moving. The lady in front was paying with a check now! So we continued our conversation about the cities I visited when I was there; Geneva, Lucerne, and Zurich (I think I passed through Zurich). The lady then asked the clerk for a pack of gum and the clerk had to go hunting around for it. Then the lady decides all of a sudden to leave and we guys were hollering to the clerk “she’s gone, she’s gone!” and then we were able to get checked out and on our merry way. Made a fast trip to Stater Bros. for a few supplies and then drove home. On the way we saw Andrew in his jalopy pulled off to the side of Winters Road and we stopped to see if he needed help. He said no that he only lost his hat because the jalopy has only a small windshield. He said that he and Stefanie would be over later on in the day for a visit after he gets a few things done in town.
Got home and had just put all my groceries away when Dana dropped by for a visit and brought the Kodak camera book I had lent his wife Karen. I told him that I’d seen Andrew in the jalopy that Dana was working on when I visited them last Sunday. He told me that Andrew had gotten hit in his other car by a Fed-Ex truck and did much damage to it. So that’s why Andrew picked up the jalopy, I thought to myself.
Took a DVD drive out of an old computer so I can connect via and USB interface to my IBM laptop that only has a CD ROM drive. I needed to do this so I can load up and install Microsoft Office 2007, which I did, and now I have two laptops with Office 2007.
Called my brother Kevin and we yakked for an hour or so.
Went for my evening walk with my camera, but there wasn’t anything interesting to shoot, so I just did some thinking. Isn’t it strange that my isolation up here in the desert makes something so ordinary like going shopping so dang interesting and wonderful to me! Gives me a lot to write about too!
Started reading a few chapters in “T is for Trespass”. I had just enough time to read the introduction to “Microsoft Office 2007- Plain and Simple” before “Nova Science Now” came on PBS. The first segment of the show was on the Phoenix Explorer that landed on Mars. The Next segment came on when Andrew and Stefanie showed up. They brought me gifts: a USB car adapter and two jelly filled donuts wow!
It was Stefanie’s first visit so I gave her a tour of my solar home and played some guitar for her. Then I asked Andrew about being hit by a truck. How you know that, he asked. Well I told him that I am just a mind reader then I did a Vulcan Mind Meld on him and said it was a delivery truck of some kind- he didn’t know that Dana had told me! And I left him wondering how I knew. We were outside and saw four or five meteors in the span of fifteen minutes! The Perseid meteor shower peaks on August 12th so I’m thinking that these may be a prelude to the shower. I had Andrew point out the stars and constellations to Stefanie that I taught him.
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.
I had a vivid dream last night that I was back in Redondo Beach Harbor. I was going to the bars there but I had little money and the bartenders were unhappy that I wasn’t ordering drinks but just talking to the girls there. So I would go to different bars- there are a lot of bars in the harbor area. I was on my way to a bar by way of the beach where there were big waves washing up and down. One big wave came and I waited for it to recede before I made my crossing. When I thought the wave had passed I started across but a larger wave suddenly hit me and I was trying to make my way up the hill of the beach when the previous wave came back down the hill to hit me too! I was sandwiched between the two waves but was able to swim out and get back on the beach to the next bar. At the bar I was sitting at a round table talking to a gal on the other side when she told me that I would be her second choice. Well to hell with that! I then went to the marina where the waters were calm and turquoise. Standing at the railing I saw a sailboat under power with the sails reefed come cruising by with the name Orion painted on the stern. The guy on board yelled to me that he caught a lot of sea bass and acted like he knew me. He did look familiar, but I wasn’t sure, it came to me that it may have been Denny who had lived in the marina when I did many years ago and had passed away at a young age. Then I woke up.
Thursday 31- did my stretches and ran two miles.
Today’s Weather was: Temps of around 80 to 104, winds out from SE to SW at 4-11 MPH, humidity around 21 percent, clear skies. According to the National Weather Service “Friday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 105. Calm wind becoming southwest between 11 and 14 mph. Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 80. West southwest wind between 7 and 14 mph.”
Got really cracking on the HP Microsoft Word 2007 class. I was so consumed in the the material that I completed all four lessons in five hours. I now know how to navigate around the ribbon thingy and the quick task bar and get things done. It helped that I have used word from almost its conception on DOS! Very excellent class!
Spending five hours on the computer made my back ache so I spent the rest of the day reading a few chapters in each: “T is for Trespass” by Sue Grafton; my Geometry book; got caught up on “365 Starry Nights” ; and Richard Feynman’s book “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman”. One quote from physicist John Von Neumann caught my attention: “you don’t have to be responsible for the world that you are in”. This will give me much to think about.
I took a break from reading only to bug spray around my house- I felt kind of sad about killing off the little bug critters but they were starting to intrude into my house, and I’ll have none of that from them!
Went for my evening walk re-listening to an astronomy lecture on colliding galaxies, galaxy clusters, more on dark matter, and the Hubble’s law that the receding galaxies redshift is proportional to its distance and are speeding away at 72 kilometers a second per megaparsec. A parsec is 3.3 light years or 30 trillion kilometers, so a megaparsec is a long ways away! The Andromeda galaxy is .077 megaparsecs away and that is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way. Our Galaxy belongs to “The local group” that has around 36 galaxies with a diameter of 10 million light years. There are larger clusters, one the super cluster in Virgo has around 1300 or more galaxies and extends 2.2 megaparsecs out from its center, mighty big!
Went back to my reading until it was time for my exercises. Did my stretches, lifted weights, and went for my nightly run. Then I went back outside with my binoculars and sat down with Fat Cat in my lap while I observed Sagittarius and all the wonderful nebulas, globular clusters, and open clusters that were filling the night sky. I saw five more meteors stream across the sky coming from the SE!
Wrote to my journal, posted it to the web and called it a night. Goodbye to July! You’ve been a wonderful month!