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>Monday, Paid Holiday

31 May

>Sunday was Memorial Day; today’s just the semi-official start of summer.
Tam points out that Monday actually was Memorial day; I didn’t pay enough attention when I did my homework. This means I did my memorializing on the wrong day, too.

I goofed off: slept in, had a nice bath — well, semi-nice, the tub at Roseholme is on the short and shallow side (I’d install a big clawfoot tub in the basement if I could figure out how to fit it in).

Then I Actually Got Some Things Done, like trim mowing with the weedwhacker, laundry and replacing the lamps and rectifier/regulator on my motorscooter (more work than you’d think, since the windscreen and top of the “headset” (instrument panel in the handlebars) have to come off to do the headlight and instrument lights — I seem to have been shipped two less than I needed, so I left off the high beam and fuel gauge lamps — and swapping out the regulator requires taking out the battery and removing a sturdy bracket, which mounts the starting solenoid and regulator. Installed the new battery strap (hooray! I’ve had to use little bungee cords instead for years) and a fancy chrome headlight surround for pretty. Also the old one was loose.

Took the scooter around the block and it was okay; ran by Locally Grown Gardens and found the shift linkage (looooong cables, this being a classic scooter: you twist the left grip to shift) felt a little stiff. But not too bad, so I made a run to Kroger for cat litter and other necessities. (Linkage loosened up but I may take the headset apart again and check things are properly arranged.)

Not too bad, though a guy turned in after me at the parking lot and squealed his brakes when I slowed more abruptly than he expected. –My fault, he wasn’t signalling and I foolishly took him at his word. I have some relearning to do, all the habits and reflexes that improve the odds on two wheels in a four-wheel world; there are 2152 miles on the Chetak and this year accounts for about two of them.

Returned from the Market and started charcoal for a feast: burgers, roasted corn, salad, chocolate milk. Charbroiled burgers on toasted rye, with coarse Dijon, chili sauce and thin slices of tomato and onion: heaven! The roasted corn-on-the-cob (cleaned, buttered and grilled in its own dampened shuck) was ambrosia and an herb salad with plenty of carrots and red bell pepper capped it off. Ate too much and watched Bill Maher play true to type — a horse’s patoot — in an old Max Headroom episode.

Not too bad for a day off, even if I did manage to get possibly a bit too much sun on my face: suncreened everywhere but, confident my facial moisturizer had an adequate SPF. It doesn’t.



25 May

>At the Broad Ripple Art Fair On the Hidden Frontier.
How’d you like to have to peel one of these off the hull? Vacuum Mites!“Mites.” Yeah. Three feet long. Not common but usually found in (where else?) Linden/Lyndon’s planetary system. Supposedly an inert, “preserved” specimen. I don’t trust it.

Back on Earth, the propbike!Does it work? Is it dangerous? Two questions with but one answer: “Gee, I sure hope so!”

>A Trip Down The Monon Trail

22 May

>Headed south from the Broad Ripple Art Fair, we encounter…a busker!
Pretty nice sound, if you ask me. Video shot hand-held aboard my bicycle.

>Decisions, Decisions

18 May

>Rush out the door to pick up a sealed motorcycle battery and charge it in a hurry so I can ride the Yamaha to work and not have to contend with parking a block away ‘cos of some client event? Or beg Tam for a lift to/from, or just grit my teeth and do the difficult thing like a grown-up?

(Plan D: ride my bicycle! But that would be teh suxxor if it rains, also calls for tripping through a bad neighborhood, “unarmed.” So to speak. Plus if it’s a tough day, it’d be a super tough ride home, uphillish all the way.)

But geesh, I hate the long walk from the temp lot. It’s not that great an area, which is why Skunk Works Main Campus has a high, bobwired (as we say) security fence and cardreader gates with cryptic warnings. (“AVISO: SHOGGOTH IN USE!” “PORTAL MAY OPEN RANDOMLY. STAND CLEAR” “THAT WAS MY LUNCH, DARN YOU.” Heck, it looked like axle grease to me.)…Which randomness reminds me, if the fast food industry only exists to tempt us with the sugar and fat we crave, how come my chilled mixture of brown sugar and butter has never taken off as a snack food? Heat it up, stir it up, cool and enjoy. Everything you long for and no annoying healthy extras! Oh, well. Maybe it needs lard.

>Hello? Is The Caller There?

17 May

>Ever have one of those mornings? Can’t pull any of the threads together?

This one’s mine. So, hey, life gives you lint, make dust bunnies, right?

“Dust bunnies” is the word of the day: Turk Turon is rumored to be arriving tonight and Roseholme Cottage is in its usual state, looking something like a post-apocalyptic library. I’m tellin’ ya, if Civilization does go “Thud” all of a sudden? Tam and I will have plenty to read between fighting off the hordes and/or trying to contact other survivors via radio. And we’ll be able to knit warm, comfy sweaters from dust bunnies for the winter. Simulating any degree of organization is…a struggle.

Steven Hawking’s latest pronouncement on The Afterlife has riled some folks. I’m not sure why — it’s right up there with the Pope’s opinions about particle physics: interesting but not Expert Opinion. (This is Fame Syndrome: just ‘cos someone is well-known for something, even if it is major cleverness, they’re still only qualified to make sweeping statements in a few areas — if even that many; anything else they comment on, it’s just another unwashed opinion. But their public tends to forget. In many cases, so does the Famous Person).

Scooter repair parts have begun to arrive. Two of the best sources have proven to be Pride of Cleveland and Javacycles; with Bajaj out of the motor scooter business, these (and other) former dealers, along with the former importer, still provide parts support. (Java is still selling Bajaj Scooters, even!) Highly recommended. I doubt I’ll have time to fix my scooter this week — planning on it for next week.

Y’know that “image enhancement” trick in crime shows, where grainy, low-rez security footage is “enhanced” into readability via Cheap Storytelling Shortcut Tricks? It’s mostly nonsense; video doesn’t work that way. You can only read things a little past the smallest-original-pixel level and doing that takes the human eye and human guesswork. –Except astronomers now have a version of this kind of enhancement that really works! “Lucky imaging” lets them back out atmospheric scattering and “stack the deck” to extract information buried below the noise. There are still pixel-size limits but it’s an interesting technique and has probably already come home to roost in ways we won’t soon be hearing about (other than in heavily-redacted responses to FOIA requests).

Those are only the loose ends I had time for. Y’all be good, now. No pogroms against the infidel without you followin’ WWE rules, okay? And no foreign objects; if it’s not U.S.-made, you can’t hit one another with it.

>I Should Post Something

14 May

>–The Indiana Supreme Court has given me a headache; anyway, I’m blaming them by default.

Let’s see: my birthday’s coming up, and I’d like one of these. Or even this. And a cargo carrier and saddlebags for it.

But what I’m gonna actually get is some cards and a whole lotta OT. Well, a little OT and darned few days off. Beats not workin’!

Elsewhere: Carl Bussjaeger links to the “Florida Outlaws Sex (only not)” reports but points out that the Sunshine State has recognized some Constitutional rights for pigs, which does give one to wonder just exactly with whom — or what — the Legislature has made sex not-illegal? (And here I thought thought the hip, modern bents for Our Elected Officials were pederasty and pedophilia; I guess there’s always a traditionalist or two in the crowd? Certainly it is not a notion of which most of them have never been accused). It’s for sure pig-rights are yet another reason why bacon (the real staff of life) is so darned expensive. (Y’know, there wasn’t even any civilization as such before there was bacon. I’m just sayin’).

>The Scooter Electrics Saga

10 May

>So, having installed not-quite-exact replacement tail/brake and rear turn signal bulbs, I took the scooter on a little 2-mile ride last night: the new bulbs (and low beam headlight) all survived! Hooray, at least so far.

The former importer (Bajaj doesn’t make scooters any more) reports they haven’t got any rectifier/regulator units in stock and didn’t sound hopeful of getting more, so that could get interesting. Hoping a Stella (LML, another India-built scooter) or Vespa replacement will do if needed. Trying to reverse-engineer one could get interesting, despite it being a straightforward-looking four-terminal device: vehicular electrics tend to be very specifically engineered for the application and “generic electronics” approaches can run the unwary into some interesting gotchas.