Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The speakers, Erika Bauer & Mary Ann Cotter, presented Electric Rain's cool 3D animation application, Swift 3D version 4. A bit (lot) above my needs for now but you could almost do an animated movie like Shrek with the product. Of course, the real reason to attend is the pizza.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Dawn's friend, Abdul, was in need of a visit to Jack In The Box. They evidently don't exist in Georgia. He likes their food. Anyway, we have one a couple of blocks from the house so he was able to solve his problem.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
I was finally getting going on the sidewalk installation, and then, I made the mistake of talking to our yard man. I mentioned I needed to stub out out some pipes for downspouts and and a drain for under the house to our sump pump. I installed a french drain to get water out of the back yard several years ago but I never completed the project by installing the above piping. That would have required trenching the front yard and I just didn't get back to it. Now that I'm doing the side walk on the side yard, I need to get the pipes in the ground. Anyway, back to the yard man conversation. He mentioned that he had a trencher and a concrete saw. So, he came by the next morning and cut the front sidewalk and trenched for the pipes. The trench goes clear across the front lawn. His trencher could only get about 24 inches deep and the trench needs to be more than 36 inches deep to drain under the house. In addition, not all of it could be done by the trencher. So, I've been busy working on this trench project instead of the sidewalk. It takes some time to dig through the heavy clay soil, especially since it's wet. The wet is the reason for the drain. I haven't been watering and the neighbors watering is keeping the clay wet. So, it's taking a while and I knew it would, which is why I'd been putting it off. I need to get the front yard back in shape so we can hit the road for a few weeks with Dawn, before she starts back to school. I hate distractions like this. They goof up my well planned project list.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Today was interesting. The Air Pollution District for the San Francisco Bay Area declared to day a "Spare The Air Day". So what. Well, all the transit systems including San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties possibly other were included. Hop on Hop off at will. Ah, this is how transit systems should be. It's also the only way they will ever replace the car here in these states.
I rode Santa Clara Transit up to the Palo Alto Caltrain station, then Caltrain to Milbrea, then Bart (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to down town San Francisco, then San Francisco Muni Light Rail hoping on and off to see lots of the San Francisco villages. I then walked from Ocean Beach to the Golden Gate Bridge via the coastal trail, then more Muni buses here and there. Dinner in Chinatown, more buses to Caltrain back to Palo Alto, then Santa Clara Transit home. Even though I rode all that stuff, I still ended up walking about seven miles so I'm worn out. Then I heard that tomorrow is free as well. Too bad they'll only do this three times this season. All that hopping on and off would have probably cost 40 dollars into the fare box, assuming I bought day passes for each system.
The above doggie sign used to be at a Doggie Dinner hot dog stand by the zoo and was saved by the city. Street Art?
One of the reasons I went to San Francisco was that we were going to be really hot here in Palo Alto again. San Francisco was very nice, in the 80' not the high 90's and there was a nice breeze as well. Nice day.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
- Straycat.us: My brother's blog chronicling his travels with his two dogs as a long haul trucker.
- Datastormusers.com: A website dedicated to the support of users of mobile satellite systems.
- Tioga And George: George, Ms Tioga, and friends traveling the West.
- Odie's Roadies: 2 computer geeks and one perfect poodle, live and travel in their RV.
- Because We Can: Bob and Linda are recent extended RV travelers.
- Maria Langer: Interesting blog by a computer "how to" book author and commercial helicopter pilot.
- Hitchitch: RV Travel Journals and RV Resources.
- Jon Vermilye's Photo & Travel Pages: Interesting travelog and links pages.
- Traffic Signal Association: An association of traffic signal professionals that I belong to.
- The Camping Machine: The travels of a couple and their two boys.
- RVThereyet: Campground reviews and list of RV blogs.
- Wanderlust: Cyndi's thoughts on: eating, cooking, travelling, stamping, and scrapbooking, and more.
- RV Cooking Show: A full time RVer loves to cook. Videos about their travels and recipes.
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Camera Is Offline. The picture above is an older picture.
Unfortunately, the camera is usually not active anymore. Too much power is required and we usually camp as boondockers with no utility power. When we're in an RV park with power, we're usually too close to our neighbors and a camera seems intrusive. If the power requirements are ever reduced sufficiently, it will become more active.
When active, the image above is updated every 5 minutes. The image is provided by a D-Link DCS-1000 Internet Camera.
To refresh the image, right click on the page and select "refresh" or "reload frame".
Our first RV was a 1968 VW camper made by Concord. This camper was unusual because it had sliding doors on both the left and right. I bought it used in 1973 and put about 250,000 miles on it. The highlight trip was in 1979 when we took a six week trip around the states. We took our two dogs and went north from San Jose, California to Vancouver, Canada; East to Montana; Wyoming; Colorado; South Dakota; Chicago; Rochester, NY and Niagara Falls; Boston; New York; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Philadelphia; Washington DC; Mammoth Caves; Nashville; Miami; Key West, Kansas; and Las Vegas. We left Key West Florida with two days left of our vacation and with short stops in Kansas and Las Vegas we made it back on time, 24 hour team driving. This trip may sound a bit rushed, but it was actually relaxed.
We tent camped from about 1987 until this year (2003). This was fun but airing up mattresses and pitching tents isn't as much fun when you're only spending one night or when it rains.
We recently acquired (May 2003) a slightly used 29 foot, 1999 National Sea Breeze Class A RV. We had been attending RV shows and studying RV's for a little over a year before taking the plunge. We consider this our trainer and hope to use it for a few years then move to a larger model and possibly go full-time.
We wanted to be able to get around without breaking camp so we equipped our car for towing. We have a 1992 Volvo 240 wagon that we equipped with a Remco drive line disconnect, a Roadmaster Sterling towbar, and a US Gear Unified Brake System. The cost of the modifications probably equaled the value of the vehicle but we like the car.
Don retired June 2004, Lou in June 2005.
We plan to travel about six months per year taking several multi-month trips in the spring, fall and winter probably staying home much of the summer when everyone is traveling. We've put more than 20,000 miles on the RV in the past two years. We're looking for a possible new home town where the cost of living isn't as much as here in California, possibly where income and or sales taxes are less but mostly just a nice less crowded place to live.
Lou (Lois) was born in Yakima Washington and later moved to Bakersfield. Lou attended East Bakersfield High. Lou is a real estate agent but worked for Palo Alto School District as a teachers aide working with special needs students until she retired in June 2005.
Don was born in Bakersfield California went to Fruitvale Elementary School, Bakersfield High School and Bakersfield College.
Don was a geek. Don was president of the Audio Visual Club at high school and worked as a stage hand and projectionist at the county’s Harvey Auditorium.
In 1969 Don joined the Air Force. He was stationed at Lackland AFB in San Antonio,Texas; Lowery AFB in Denver, Colorado; and at Sunnyvale AFS in Sunnyvale California. He worked as a satellite instrumentation technician operating the telemetry ground station.
He also worked at Moffett Field NAS as a projectionist at the theater.
Upon separation from the service in 1973 he continued to manage the theater at Moffett Field Naval Air Station and worked for the Cable TV company in Sunnyvale.
A few months later he went to work for the County of Santa Clara as a senior traffic signal technician. He became supervisor of electrical maintenance in 1985. His section was responsible for the operation and maintenance of traffic signals, a fiber optic network, building electrical, pump stations, and electrical inspection including the construction of a new Light Rail system. In 1996 he setup the Department's website and acted as webmaster. He also worked on the development of maintenance management software used by his section.
In 1985 he setup a network for three PC's that monitored traffic signal systems. That network evolved over the years from 3 to 40 computers using windows NT servers which he administered.
Today I arose early to be ready to deliver the neighbors to San Francisco Airport. I hope I'm able to find my way back in to pick them up.
Before I left, I repaired one of the drawers on a chest of drawers I built about 36 years ago. Nothing lasts like it should. It uses wooden runners instead of the metal drawer guides and on that drawer, under a heavy load the runners caught on the drawer frame. A couple of "L" brackets to hold them up out of the way did the job.
I then dashed down to San Jose and stopped by my former work place to visit. It was nice to see folks again. Somehow, they're doing fine without me. They just got a new contract with the County and it included an increase in retirement benefits. It would have amounted to about $1500 more gross/month. Darn, missed the boat again. But then, they are still working and I've enjoyed a couple of years of freedom already. Looks like the negotiators are nearing retirement?
The real reason I came down to San Jose was to visit Sheldon's Hobbies very near where I worked. I needed to pick up a new frame rail for my RC plane which I crashed yesterday morning. Nice nose dive from '30 feet. Rather odd to fracture the frame rather than a wing or propeller? I also picked up another battery.
The Radio Controlled plane with the broken rail replaced. The broken rail is shown as well.
RC plane is stored in the RV bedroom. The fuselage above the bed and the wing above the window. Creative storage in an RV is important. It is kind of fragile so it can't be stuffed anywhere.
As long as I was in town, I stopped for an afternoon lunch/dinner at my favorite restaurant across the street from work, El Rincon. I had nice Milanesa Torta (Chicken fried steak sandwich).
Lou and Dawn Left Uncle Doug and Aunt Helen's house in Bakersfield headed to Fresno to see Lou's sister Kathy. They'll return later this week.
Monday, June 19, 2006
I arose early to beat the wind. I took my RC Plane out to Mitchel Park to fly. I got it in Las Vegas last January and haven't flown it but once there. I never seem to get up early enough to beat the wind. Today was different, sort of. All went well. The grass was a little high and wet so the take off was difficult and slow but once in the air it flew well, until a tree jumped out. Being an inexperience pilot, I did keep it from being caught in the tree top, however, the flight took a sudden turn, down. The plane dropped straight down from about 30'. Shouldn't have really hurt much, but it did. The frame rail shattered. That was quick, 15 seconds and then pieces. Oh well, this is fun. Off to the store for replacement parts. I've already scouted out a store that has the parts. I knew it wouldn't be long before I'd need something, I just hoped it would be a little longer.
For your information. it's a Park Zone Slo-V park flyer. An electric radio controlled plane. We saw a fellow camper using one at Pismo Beach State Park last fall and it looks like fun. It's carried in the RV hanging from the ceiling.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
It was in the mid to high 90's yesterday and today, and will be hot for at least the next week. We don't usually get the inland heat because we're near the coast and by the San Francisco Bay, but this is the second longer hot spell this year. Might as well learn to enjoy it! I have been holding off on working outside though.
Yesterday I mostly just played with the websites and got some rebar for the sidewalk project. This morning, I dashed off early to get the Toad (tow car, 92 Volvo 245 wagon) smog tested. It was sent to a "Test Only" station this year like the 86 Volvo was earlier. Fortunately, the 92 passed with flying colors with about only 10% of the allowable emissions, unlike the 86 which required three trips to the Test Only Station and two trips to the regular test/repair shop. Now, both cars are the same and If I had to guess, I'd say the 86 ran better than the 92 so would expect emissions to be less on it. Both cars have been identified as "suspect vehicle", I assume, because of their age. Being a person who always suspects a conspiracy, if one could exist, I think the test computers results are influenced by the classification of the vehicle rather than the actual emissions. But that's just me. Anyway, now the 92 is good for a couple more years.
I'm thinking about it, but, frankly, I'm disappointed in their performance and communications about the problem. The only reason I'm thinking is that I liked the server administrative interface, and, being Scotch, I'd like the lower cost of their service. I'm going to wait and see if I can do what I need to do on my current, new ISP, WestHost. I've got 30 days to decide if I like it.
Meanwhile, everything is back working on the new server, except for the WordPress applications that each site was just converted over to. The recent posts on WordPress were lost.
Even though "daily backups" were supposedly being done, it just goes to show that you need to maintain regular backups of your own, which I fortunately had done just two weeks before the failure.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Monday, June 12, 2006
We finally delivered our passport applications to the post office in Mountain View this morning. We don't plan on going anywhere but into Canada. Kind of ridiculous to have to pay $97 each to do nothing more, and with no greater security, than what our drivers license did before?
Dawn's computer needed a new hard drive so I walked over to Fry's Electronics, a few blocks away. Unfortunately, they are preparing to dig a big hole to build a new parking garage next door. Of course, "they needed my help". I watched the activity of driving the steel I beams for the retaining walls. It's neat to watch a forty foot beam be pushed in to the ground in about 30 seconds. When I finally had my fill of their work, I moseyed over to Fry's and picked up a nice 300GB drive for $89. Wow. What a change in drive capacity and cost in a year or so.
Lou and Dawn went down to San Jose State to register Dawn for next semester. Of course, they also visited many thrift stores on the return trip.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
We then continued up to Golden Gate Park. A nice place to visit that has free parking.
We walked out to a street faire in Haight Asbury. Interesting group of people. Nice Victorian houses.
We went back to the park and strolled the Strybing Arboretum. This is probably the best arboretum we've visited, and it's free. I like that, as you should know if you're a regular reader here. Lots of flowers, of course.
A couple of water features.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Breakfast in the yard. All the refrigerator left overs made a nice omelette.
We went to a swap meet at Palo Alto High School. Nothing Lou or I couldn't live without. Dawn, of course, found some interesting books.
The Palo Alto High School Flea Market. Art at Stanford, a large roll of garbage. OK!
Afterwards, we walked onto the Stanford University campus across the street. Looked over the stadium reconstruction project. Stopped by the bookstore. Walked out to Lake Lagunita, a couple of blocks from the campus center. Lou and Dawn picked up a bunch of frogs here a couple of days ago to restock our yard. We then rode the Margarite shuttle bus to check out it's route. Dawn dropped by the Palo Alto Library book sale while Lou and I went to get the BarBQ LP gas tank refilled.
Our web server is still down. I'm looking for new hosting service that can provide the same features for the same amount. May be hard. Finding better service won't be hard at all.
Friday, June 9, 2006
Still no website. I called the web host, RegisterFly. It shouldn't take this long to restore the server? They say they're rebuilding the server. So?? Where's my site?
Thursday, June 8, 2006
Green House Before I cleaned up the side yard in preparation for sidewalk installation. It was a long day. Lots of junk to be moved. Empty pots and planters from the green house. Pruning the neighbors plants that found their way into our yard. Cleaning the gutters. Hosing down the side of the house and green house. It's nice to see it clean after many years of ugliness.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
We tried out a new chinese buffet in Sunnyvale called Crazy Buffet. Odd name, very good food. I especially like the Hot and Sour soup. Best I've had. Lunch (M-F) is the best deal. Only $7.99 instead of 14.99, but you do miss out on the sushi bar an mongolian BarBq bar. No loss for use.
All my websites went down today. The server failed. I notified the hosting service.
Saturday, June 3, 2006
The arbor in the back yard. It is a wisteria but also has a lavender trumpet vine, flowers shown above.
Fountain flowers and a strawberry bush.
Dawn picking a berry snack and enjoying the reading yard.
The new fountain barrel replacement.
Back yard critters. Lou feeds the birds each morning which the squirrels also utilize.
Fence all complete. The gate lock was installed. The key for the lock fits all gates and the house key can open it but not the reverse. I don't like to carry a bunch of keys.