Friday, July 30, 2010

The Bacchanal 2010 map

Bacchanal 2010 is coming up soon, so here's the map that includes lots of little bits of info on how to get to the lake, and about the things that will be going on.

So first, here's the link: Link to Bacchanal 2010 map.

Now here's the embedded version:

View The Bacchanal of 2010 in a larger map

Sunday, July 18, 2010

To Counter Yesterday

Something Positive

After reviewing yesterday's post, I realized that I was kinda negative. Anyway, yesterday evening wound up okay (rhymes with nothing superlative and nothing terrible, not the author's literary laziness) and we went to the Shroyer Center bluegrass barbecue. 

At the moment I have a warm purring cat on my lap competing with the warm purring computer. Too bad it's 85 out and I really don't need the extra hypothermia protection. Note: a feline toe pad is much more accurate than a human fingertip on the touchpad.

The weather's been interesting, and I got some shots that may be stereo worthy. Stay tuned for details on this and other photo projects.

Good news form ASU: They finally figured out where they put my paperwork, found it, passed it through to the proper channels and signed off on things. The proper people have "recommended [the request for compassionate withdrawal] for approval," which should mean that I will be forgiven a significant amount of debt, and allowed to register for fall semester classes.

One last thing: I only have two block exams and a final left in my summer class at the UNM EMS Academy. In two weeks I get to sign up for the next available state test, on October 2nd.  Also in two weeks, I get to sign up for and take the National Board examination that just about every other state recognizes for licensing (rhymes with getting myself a job in Arizona).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sailing, sort of.

Today I tried to take out the only boat available to me right now: the MacGregor 26, Syzygy. It's an old, "fine sailing machine," if you don't actually want to sail.

My dad hasn't exactly spent a lot of time with that boat lately, and the time he has spent on it hasn't exactly been the most beneficial to its long term health. The wiring has never been good, but after my dad stepped through our solar panel that kept the batteries charged, the batteries died. He doesn't want to replace them, but he wants me to get the system working again. Also, we've had problems with the stereo. A few years ago the stereo burned out, starting a small fire on board. Since then, we've had the wiring replaced a few times, but that hasn't helped too much: the stereo still has issues when the engine is running.

That brings us to the next fine piece of equipment on the fine sailing machine: the engine. It's an older Tohatsu 9.9, but effectively it's more of a 0.0. It sometimes runs, but only if it's taking you toward disaster. Otherwise, it counts as deadweight. We've replaced every single part on the engine at some time or another, but that just made our wallets thiner.

Now that we've covered the secondary source of propulsion, lets move onto the primary propulsion: the sails. These sails are great if you happen to be a bat: they make nice nesting places, and they already have enough of that guano smeared in to smell like home. They even make a decent place for a bat to die without having to worry about remains being eaten by insects. Unfortunately, those attributes aren't the best for using the sails as sails. These soft, floppy, blown out, torn up bits of canvas mark best of twenty years of aging in the sun. Of course, along with the old sails go old lines. Old stretchy halyards the droop in the slightest zephyr are accompanied by shaggy sheets and other powder filled cordage.

So we set sail at the dock (the motor just wasn't in the mood) and take off. We start tacking out the Narrows, but the shifty winds and 120 degree tacking angle make that difficult. Halfway out, the wind kicked up, and made life rather more interesting (rhymes with, "Why isn't that BLEEEEPing thing working now!?") as the roller furling on the genoa broke and the winches jammed. At this point we fall off, jibe (mainsheet fiddle bearings on the cockpit floor) and start heading back. Once running, the furler started working again, so we furl the genoa in, since we don't need extra power now. The motor really doesn't want to start now, but with the wind in the west we've got a dead downwind shot at out slip. We cop a spin, drop the main and sail in under bare poles. By the time we were done, I could see a person at our slip, so I assumed that the dockmaster was going to help us land. Just then the furler let out six or seven feet of sail, and in the confusion I lost sight of the dock.  As we got the jib back in the wind shifted to the southeast, blowing us straight back, away from our slip. We could've thrown the line to the dock, but there was no one there now. Now we force the jib back out, and we try to sail up wind back to the dock where the dockmasters let us go. Without a mainsail, the boat will not tack, and there it takes a long time and space for it to jibe. It turns out that it takes too long for it to jibe. We wound up on the north shore of the cove, and we were held there while the weather built into a thunderstorm right on top of us. There wasn't much to be done, except to try to use the VHF radio and talk to the folks at the marina. The radio died right when they tried to come back, so we wound up without communication beyond air horns.

Eventually the wind died down a bit, and some samaritans came and towed us off the shore. our stern was further out, so we tied on there. Unfortunately, we found out that the centerboard line that was repaired over the spring, hasn't been repaired. I moved the tow line to the bow, and we eventually swung around and out. Getting to the slip at that point was relatively simple.

I have found that while I have some aptitude for boat repair, I just don't want to deal with the glorified bleach bottle that is the MacGregor. I also have little tolerance for things that have been repaired that don't work, and for things that really shouldn't be breaking that break. On top of all that, I was told that all systems were go, and that there would not be any issues. That is the single thing that annoys me the most.


Syzygy is for sale.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Another General Life Update, brought to you by…Caffeine!

As mentioned in the last post, I'm still working out how to get some software from the disks it ships on to my disk-driveless computer. I have a Mac that has a drive but is gradually fading because its hard drive is dying. I have a PC that has a disk drive, but no network to use the drive remotely, and no means of creating a disk image on a flash drive. Also, we've got a laptop with a disk drive that runs Vista, but it also won't burn a disk image, and seems to be incompatible with using the drive remotely. I'm almost think of going to the Apple store to use one of the display machines to copy the DVDs. The other option would be to spend a little dough on getting a compatible external drive. I'd really like to hear any ideas or suggestions from the audience.

In other news, I found out today that my mail to the post office (change of address form) got lost in the mail. Irony or just bad luck?

Stay tuned to the Flickr gadget, new uploads will be coming online soon. Good news is that these are all going to be straight from the camera, no tweaking. Bad news is that these will all be straight from the camera, no tweaking.

Stereo, It's not Just for Music

I'm still getting the new computer to be the full clone of the Air, which means that at the moment I'm still without some of the software I've been using in the past, like iPhoto and the rest of the iLife suite, along with the whole Microsoft office for Mac suite. The issue I'm facing is that the software comes on DVD, and that this computer has no disk drive. I have an external drive, but it's only compatible with the Macbook Air, which isn't even staying on long enough to copy the disk images to a USB drive. The downside of not having the software is that it's harder to do some tasks, and that I got behind in my photo loading. the upshot is that the Mini has a built in SD card reader, and that it handles data much faster than via USB cable to the camera.

This photo is from last sunday, after I was in Los Alamos for the weekend. We drove back to Albuquerque via Highway 4, through the Valles Caldera and down through the Jemez mountains.

These stereo pairs were shot out the window as we rolled down the highway. We were traveling at an approximate speed of 35 mph for this set, so shooting at four frames per second give a spread of about 12'10". I cheated a bit for the web resolution sets here: I just used quick view to  put the images on the screen with a black background and then I grabbed the screenshot.

As usual with the stereo pairs I post, these are best viewed by crossing one's eyes until the two images merge into one. Let your eyes relax and fall into focus,