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Arizona Lou

Blog Archive 2011 Jan

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Note: While not kiteboarding, I plan to update my blog infrequently, or when something special happens.

Sat 1/1/2011 - HAPPY NEW YEAR! I escaped jury duty this time. My group, 1514 was dismissed. And am I glad. The sinuses I mentioned before have been a real pain - in the head. I've had a low-grade fever (100.0 to 101.3) and have been spending a lot of time trying to sleep it off, which does not seem to help much.

Sun 1/2 - I canceled shopping with Mildred today - trying to stay mostly in the house and much in bed to get better. The only problem is she worries about me, which I respect but it does not help the situation, as I have two people to be concerned about - her and me.
- Final word from Hawaiian Airlines is they did not find the keys that evidently fell out of my backpack on the airplane. My biggest concern is the keyless entry fob, which will cost about $120 to replace and an additional $65 to program.

Mon 1/3 - Today I started humidifying the house. Hopefully that will help reduce the symptoms of my sinus cold - pretty miserable.

Tue 1/4 - Ventured out shopping and bought an old Presto pressure cooker for humidifying the house and a dead blow (steel shot-filled) hammer to aid in cracking open my old eeePc netbook computer battery. Got the battery cleanly opened with little trouble.

Wed 1/5 - On the Internet, ordered two new keyless entry fobs (one new and one used) for about $60 for the two. Interestingly enough, the company is in Fountain Hills (about 20 miles east of my house).

Thu 1/6 - The drivers' side window/lock switch panel has some bad switches. That, combined with having no keyless fob means I have not been able to electrically lock or unlock the doors except from the passenger-side switch. Need to replace the driver side panel. That was the motivation for this morning's trip to Fred's Auto Salvage near Deer Valley Airport (no dice) and then Power Dodge where I found the window switch assembly but had to order the unlock switch. Pretty pricey! Then on to LA Fitness for a little socializing, a shower then on to Mildred's community center for her 95th birthday party. She was in rare form! I saw a number of her friends again and met some new ones. Then to Home Depot for the best key-maker I have found. Greg Saviaso, there, is the first person who has been able to make my van ignition keys (double cut) that worked either side up in every lock!
- This evening I opened up my van's old door lock and window switch assemblies and found that the switches were all OK but the push pins were rusty and binding. A little fine sandpaper and lubrication made them as good as new.

Fri 1/7 - Today I sprayed Round-Up on the many tiny weeds in my rear and front yards, did a little shopping, a light full-body workout at LA Fitness and picked up the new door-lock switch for my van at Power Dodge on the west side of Phoenix. They were nice enough to let me return the $120 window switch assembly which I bought yesterday, as I fixed the old one. The right passenger and rear wing windows now need some attention to function properly. I currently do not need the new door-lock switch I bought, as the one I fixed works perfectly. However, it won't hurt to have a spare since it will work for either the driver or passenger door. Also I went ahead and bought it because wanted to show my appreciation to Power Dodge for ordering the switch special for me.
- My keyless entry key fobs arrived today in the mail. Seeing Ted Williams (homeless man with a golden voice) is inspiring and encourages us all to not let opportunity slip through your fingers.

Sat 1/8 - Power Dodge on West Bell Rd programed both my new remote keyless entry fobs today. It is amazing how luxurious it is to have them after doing without for a couple of weeks.

Sun 1/9 - Created a donation spreadsheet on my little old ZPPC (Zeos Pocket Computer) and included everything on my give-away shelf as I packed the items up and then loaded them into my van for Goodwill. Total thrift-store value was $115.30, as printed out on my good old IBM Wheelwriter 6 with a Centronics Parallel printer interface.

Mon 1/10 - Got yelled at and threatened by another member at LA Fitness today for asking if I could work in with him on the inclined bench.
- The passenger power window on my van is an up-and-down situation. Sometimes it works, but mostly not. In an attempt to fix it, I took the door and actuator motor apart. It worked OK for a while, then became intermittent again so I stopped by Auto Tune, had them take a look at it and scheduled installation of a new regulator (almost $200 but less than half of what a car payment would be).

Tue 1/11 - Today's big event was shopping with Mildred. We added Sprouts Farmers Market (for blueberries on sale) and Trader Joe's (for $55 worth of nuts for my next three months), Fry's Signature Market Place (for cheese slices) and Millie's bank (to deposit a check) to our usual itinerary of Fresh & Easy and Food City. Got my checking account resolved this evening.

Wed 1/12 - Took my van to Auto Tune for the new passenger window regulator. I used the opportunity to clean and organize some of the garage shelves that are blocked when the van is home. Also I backed up all the modified files to the 1 terabyte Western Digital hard drive I keep in a fire-proof box in the Library closet.

Thu 1/13 - I have been trying to engineer the recording of Catchin' Air (about kiteboarding in Key West, the Colombia River and Alaska) on Discovery's High Def Channel. The programs should be pretty interesting - if my scheme works out.
- I was reminded, again, why I hate duct tape. I used it to hold some shoe souls in place while Shoe Goo dried. When I removed the duct tape it left a sticky white residue all over the shoes, so now I'll have to use paint thinner to get that off (gerr).

Fri 1/14 - Around noon I got out my torn 14m Cabrinha Contra, inflated it and took pictures of it in preparation for getting a repair estimate.
- This afternoon I pulled the paperwork together and arranged for automatic deposit of the buyer's payments for my sale of the 10 acre parcel at 255th Ave near Wittmann, northwest of Phoenix

Sat 1/15 - Today was mostly Outlook day. I have not been able to get it to run on my eeePc 900HA. I just get a dialog box saying it cannot find my files, or something like that.
- You might say I am crazy (some already think so), but I have started aggressively rubbing my feet and beating my chest and ribs. The theory: Rub the tops of my feet where my kiteboard foot straps tend to cause blisters in order to toughen the skin so I do not get blisters when the season starts. Beat my chest and ribs (starting more gently at first, of course) to stress them and increase their strength, hopefully reducing the chance of breaking something if things go south if I have the guts to try spins and rolls on my spring/summer kiteboarding trip. You see, one of the first things that happens to astronauts in the microgravity of space is they start to lose bone mass, and thus strength, due to the absence of the stress of gravity we experience here on Earth.
- At the weekly Ham Feast I had a very interesting and informative discussion with Dennis Campbell (KA7VAB) about deep cycle batteries, controllers and solar for my van. The conclusion: probably NiMH would be better than Lead/Acid

Sun 1/16 - Took down the Christmas lights; spent about three hours researching deep cycle batteries for my van. Found MiMH cells have advantages in weight, current/voltage draw-down, recharging profile, messiness and out gassing of hydrogen.
- I checked my risk of ID theft at myidscore.com. My risk is low at 193 out of a possible 999.

Mon 1/17 - Major cell phone usability improvement with a long press (4 seconds) of END. I found I could program it to make the phone go into or out of Airplane Mode. No longer is it necessary to go through the menus. With the voice command I can go to the calendar, contacts etc. etc. and immediately return to where I was, avoiding returning to the home page and then going through a bunch of menus.
- Carrot of Major proportions - Kindle Challenge: I'll reward myself with an Amazon Kindle if I get to bed with the lights out before 9:30 every night for a month, starting tonight. This is something I have always wanted to do but never have been able to accomplish. I'll call this my Kindle Challenge.

Tue 1/18 - Sorted software CDs and at the same time looked for the installation CDs for my Microsoft Office 2002. I need to install Outlook on my eeePc 900HA; Made a paper model of the Amazon Kindle for the purpose of drooling.

Wed 1/19 - Roasting my 3-month supply of nuts was today's project. It took about five hours from start to finish. It is a big job but my almonds, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds and walnuts taste so much richer.
- Gangplank: This evening I went through about a hundred images related to the University of Tennesee Body Farm (to which I am donating my body when I leave this earth). Remi and Andy helped me pick the one to use on About Lou.

Thu 1/20 - Ordered two rolls of Gaffers Tape and took Mildred to Bally's Fitness.

Fri 1/21 - Got up this morning to a bad computer. My eeePc 900HA was running in a continuous boot loop. Since it will not even get as far as Safe Mode, I can not restore it from my last C: drive image. My last data backup was about a week ago, January 12th. I moved my 15" Toshiba laptop from the kitchen table to the office and plugged in all the goodies like the printer, scanner and big monitors.
- Sorted a short stack of paperwork, trying to keep ahead of the clutter monster. Started using my Honeywell HEPA filter, trying to eliminate some of the smoke smell left over from the roasting of the sunflower seeds. Next time I won't roast them quite so long.

Sat 1/22 - Researched boot-loop recovery and found nothing to help with my eeePc 900HA. Also researched NiMH battery pack chargers. Learned lots, found lots - one which sounds as though it might meet my needs: the iCharger 106B+.
- In the continuing attempt to keep my brain agile, I have printed out a long list of Gmail keyboard shortcuts and am now forcing myself to learn and use them.

Sun 1/23 The new 1-Calc calculator (on my Technology web page) is so cool. I'll gradually add to the features list as I solve some technical problems. Today I familiarized myself with its Financial Calculator and found that if a person would invest for 50 years and have $5 million at 10%, they would have only $1.6 million at 9%. That would be the difference with an account with a 1% higher annual expense ratio. More on my Smart Stuff web page.
- My son-in-law is being promoted to the Chief of Safety at the air force base in Altus, OK.

Mon 1/24 Did some website organizing today and some emails.

Tue 1/25 The universal USB hard-drive cable I ordered arrived today. To check it out and practice before I start messing with my main computer (eeePc 900HA), I removed the 80g hard drive from my old HP laptop via the easy instructions on the Internet and reformatted the drive using the cable. Now I have a free 80g hard drive to use for shuffling and backing up.
- There were two possible ways to avoid losing any data on my eeePc 900HA and get it working again. You see, the computer has one hard drive which is partitioned so the computer sees two drives, C: (the Windows drive that was malfunctioning) and D: (my data drive). One way to do the recovery would be to remove the hard drive, attach the USB drive cable and backup D: safely to another drive, then attempt to restore the eeePc 900HA's C: drive using the F9 image on its recovery partition. I was not sure about this because I had not yet tried that cable connection. The second way would be to just do the F9 restoration, hoping that my data would still be safe on D:. I did the second, successfully and all my data was safe (whew!).
- Between computerizing, I swept off the back patio and hosed off the patio furniture. I also logged the pitches of a couple of the train horns I had recorded on my little digital recorder in May, 2008 during my gulf-coast trip through Louisianan and Mississippi. It was about time to log and delete those files, wouldn't you say? I also finished reading The Wealthy Barber, a classic book by David Chilton.

Wed 1/26 - After backing up my D: data again, as an experiment, I removed the hard drive from the eeePc900HA and found that I could access everything through the universal USB hard drive cable. Now I have it in case of a future disaster. Thank goodness for backups!
- There was no reason to go to Gangplank this evening, since my computer was in the process of being restored.

Thu 1/27 Mostly a very good day today. I picked up Mildred and we went to Bally Total Fitness for our respective workouts. Then I went to the monthly meeting of the Arizona Repeater Association (ham radio operators). Clark Jones, coincidentally, made an excellent presentation on the
solar system he has in his back yard. Coincidental, because I have been exploring the possibility of a solar system for the top of my minivan. After the meeting I picked some of the finest brains in Arizona on the subject: Greg Pitz who specializes in
solar panels, Art Felsinger who specializes in battery technology and Clark Jones who has a good knowledge of how it all fits together. It made for a long evening, but what I gained in knowledge was well worth getting to bed late. Since I planned it that way, I did not count it against my Kindle challenge.

Fri 1/28 Britt, the wife of Christian Canese, a local kiteboarding buddy planned a surprise 50th birthday party for him this evening. About 30 of us (many were kiteboarders that I had not yet met) were waiting in the back room of the Phoenix City Grill when Britt phoned us from the emergency room. Tommy, their daughter, had had a head-on auto accident and was suffering from a broken leg but they were still coming. The threesome arrived: Christian, Britt and Tommy hobbling in with crutches. She said she would have not missed the event the party, not the accident for anything. This was one of the most fun parties I have ever been to. I even gave a short toast to celebrate the event. I shared a table with Chad & Brook and Steve & Chris. Great company!

Sat 1/29 To my Technology web page I added the 1-Calc calculator which I downloaded for my smart phone. This calculator does more than any other calculator I have ever seen. I'll keep refining the description as time goes on.
- This morning I went to my first EAA Electric Automobile Association meeting in downtown Phoenix. It just about knocked my socks off. I saw some of the latest battery technology in everything from a bicycle to a solar-augmented electric pickup and also the first Nissan Leaf (all-electric car) in Arizona. It is so new that the Arizona dealers hadn't even seen it yet. The meeting was very interesting and I learned a lot more about solar and battery technology which I will be able apply to my van's auxiliary power system research project. After the meeting most of us had lunch a near-by Sweet Tomatoes.

Sun 1/30 Mildred (95-year old lady that I help) and I went grocery shopping. Snapped up the bargains at three stores. I put together a diagram of the auxiliary power system I am considering for my van. It was my first experience with Open Office, Draw.

Mon 1/31 Christian Canese and Steve Meikle are probably going down to Mexico for kiteboarding this weekend. I'll put myself into get-ready mode and plan on joining them, if I can get everything done by Thursday morning.
- I tried something interesting and scientific. You see, in the winter I keep my house at 68 degrees and it is always chilly - especially in the mornings. This morning I took the 4' x 5' piece of the sunshield material (like double-layer foilized bubble wrap) I use as a solar reflector, made an open-ended cylinder out of it and stood it up with me in the middle at the focal point to put on my clothes. Immediate warmth as it reflected my body heat back. It is too much trouble to do every morning, but it was an interesting experiment.
- Christian Canese left word on my voice mail that they have moved their departure to Wednesday morning at 5:00. I'm still in, but will have to do nothing but get things ready. This afternoon I took all my kites from the big travel bags, put them in their respective back pack bags and reconfigured the van for the trip to Mexico. Also I laid out my cold-weather stuff like dry suit and warm wet suit.

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