Category Archives: Travel

Am Back

We are back from the land of loons, woods, and lakes and all in good health. Well, our small dog found the going a little to taxing and we exited early because she couldn’t keep her food down. Both of my kids are talking about when not if we go back. Much sun (and rain) and forest quiet was had by all. Actually probably too much of the black flies and mosquitoes was had, but we also survived that as well.

Summer Holiday

So … in almost a week, my two girls and I are planning to venture into the BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) in northern Minnesota for a 8 day/7 night backwoods canoeing trip. No net. Now news. Only two small flashlights and a watch or two will be the extent of our electrical tech.

That’s a big reason for the light post of late, I’ve been busy at work and we are planning out trip. We leave next Thursday morning, 9 hours of driving puts us the night in Tofte, MN. An hour drive on Friday and we’ll be at the outfitter. An hour or two after that we’ll be on lakes and portages and campsites watching for bald eagles and loons and moose.

Travel Update

Well, we made it to the West (Colorado). Getting up at 3:45 to catch our flight stressed the good graces of my young girls (and likely myself). But we are recovered now,  think. Saturday we all skied, and I managed to tweak my right knee … badly enough for me to be a little shocky Saturday night, but which is healing quickly enough I think to try again tomorrow.  Lesson #1 for me is that my legs are not at the same strength and durability as they were when I was racing bikes. Lesson #2 … caution is not always a bad thing.

 

Interesting Trip

Well, we had a brush with the news on our trip to the East coast. Our connecting train from DC to Trenton was Train number 168 on Saturday, which struck a “trespasser.”

As a kid we played on and around the tracks across the highway, … which didn’t have 100 mph Acela trains on it but … it seems highly likely it was suicide (and this is the season for that sort of thing).

We were delayed for 2 hours, we left on a Metra train at 4:30pm CST and got to Trenton at 8pm EST the next day.

Posting Update

Work started off at a gallop this morning … and an old buddy from my undergraduate collegiate days is in town (1980-84) … so nothing will come tonight. Tomorrow should be more normal.

I tell my kids that I went to college back when dinosaurs roamed the planet, but this being the Interwebs and all, it’s likely I’ll be corrected by someone pointing out that no, dinosaurs weren’t alive in 1980. :D

Update

Well, I”ve been quiet for a bit.

Next week I’ll be back, Friday or on the weekend I’m going to try to kick off a series of essays based on my responses to this book.

I’m so far behind in links review that I gave up and reset them. I may or may not have time Friday to post a few that collect between tonight and noonish tomorrow.

The job I’ve been on has been in Salt Lake City, I thought it was going to be a bit easier than it turned out to be, as I was more prepared than before, but hardware glitches and things kept it interesting.

Format Change for This Week

Normally I link .. and get out essays when I have time and energy. This week, internet access will be limited. I’m going to try to reverse the trend and write more essays and push links to next week. If I do post links there won’t be many.

Cheers

Travel/Blogging Schedule

Well, we’re back from vacation … and I’m flying out to the LA area on work for the next two weeks. I should have time to blog but posting and any writing (besides the hopeful essay I write on the plane) will be probably relegated to the evening hours. I should be able to participate in comments throughout the day after today however.

Travel

OK. I’m back on the left coast, working very very early hours (well, not so early today as my flights got me to my hotel kinda late to get up early today). Links will be posted evenings for the next two weeks. I’ll try to keep up with comments.

Oddly enough, I learned on the flight over I need to get back to essay posting. I started an essay and half-way through it I’d argued myself out of the thesis I’d started with. Essay writing gets me thinking about issues more clearly and more of that is needed. So, perhaps that’s good news.

Ahm Back

OK. Regular blogging will return tomorrow … and later tonight I’ll finish and publish the gun control article I wrote half of two weeks ago flying here, I didn’t finish it on the plane … and didn’t have time to finish it until tonight.

Quick Travel Update

On the way to the left coast …. it’s likely that link posts will move to the evening. I’m going to try to write a post en-route.

Cheers!

New Joiseee Here We Come

Well our triple train travels went well. Chicago Metra was on time to get us to downtown Chicago. Amtrak delivered us 7 minutes late in Wash DC on the Capitol Limited from Chicago, and 2 minutes late to Trenton (Northwest Corridor Amtrak from DC). We boarded Metra at 3:37PM Tuesday and arrived in Trenton at 6:30pm Wednesday not much worse for wear.

Normal blogging (hopefully + daily weekday essays as in days of old) will resume.

Delay

At job site, links tonight (and replies to comments).

Just so ya all know

Travel + Fires

After putting out fires at work, now travel … and I’m running late on that regard.

Anyhow, links, posts and replies to comments tonight. Sorry ’bout being tardy.

As Noted Earlier

I’m traveling today. I’ve done the research now for tonight’s post on Star Wars and religion and will have a “double” links post in the morning.

We’re vacationing (at my girls request) in Florida (in the summer!?) … near Destin (Panhandle, Gulf beach).

Fly Fly Away

Off to the left coast am I. On business. The unusual aspect to this trip is that “go live” is scheduled for Monday … and the site is far enough from transport that travelling back on Saturday, returning Sunday didn’t make sense. So, I’m staying the weekend. We’ll see what I find on the weekend in California.

Hopefully the flight isn’t very full. That’s always nice (for the passenger, not so much for the airline).

Vanishment

I have not. Vanished that is. I’m at a job, near Chicago but far enough that I’m not staying at home, starting early finishing late … and the hotel has iffy connection. Anyhow, I’m collecting links, probably alas a monster post of stale links will be posted later this week. Maybe tonight?

Vacation and Some Questions

Well, a week off. Due the inability of our family to make a definite decision in a reasonable amount of time, we waited until low rates for airlines and such had passed (and the time is somewhat fixed by this being the week of spring break). Our first choice had been to go to Sante Fe for the break. But instead we are driving to St. Louis for the week, in part just to get away we a have no clue what we are doing. Any suggestions of “things to do” in the St. Louis area would be appreciated.

On the drive, I read one of the “econ” books recommended/linked Friday (I think). It was purported to give an overview of economics. Anyhow, I have a question for those who might have a more substantial background in economics. In the micro-economics section they show a plot of supply/demand curves. These curves plotting price and quantity (if I remember correctly). The slope at the intersection points seem to be termed “elasticity”. What also seems to be assumed is that these curves are monotonic, smooth, and well behaved. These assumptions however do not seem to be realistic. An example of non-monotonic behavior would be the assumption that if a price there will be higher demand or that more of a thing will be sold. But product that prides itself on being “high quality” will not necessarily sell at a lower price because that lower price nobody would believe that high quality would be possible. High price can also signal elite/elitist products. These products would not sell more, their cachet is in part inseparable from their high price.

So here’s my question. Are these curves assumed to be mathematically well behaved in these ways. If they are not, what breaks done in their models?

A Quick Question

Recently jobs numbers came out … two data points are of interest and can be used, perhaps, to judge the bias of the sources. One set, points out that January job numbers are up and by one metric unemployment has dropped to 8.3%, getting firmly below 9. The other set, which is new as well, points out the divergence between two proxies which normally track but recently have diverged. Unemployment, as tracked by those applying for unemployment benefits and jobs, normally tracks well with the number of unemployed. Yet in the last 18 months this tracking has diverged. More and more people have (according to the second unemployment proxy) have given up seeking work. By that second metric, unemployment is above 10.5%.

Honest reporting would, I offer, report both points. There are many, who for political reasons, decide on or the other figure is more significant. Are there good reasons besides the nominally “bad” political partisanship ones for not noting both?

Oh, by the by, I’ve got to run early to get to a job site about an hours drive north. My links post will go out tonight.

Admin News and a Short Unrelated Question

OK. Well all is not well in the deep dark underbelly of this blog. Sometime soon I’ll get to the bottom of it. Regular blog posting will resume tomorrow (noon? night?). Tonight I’ve got to head to bed early to catch an early plane home. Things went successfully and the next job is local. I’ve started reading a bunch of things on which my regular discussion fellows likely have read more than I, that is neuroscience and evolution … and I still want to write more on the Ratzinger/Habermas discussion.

The rss feed works … but google is ignoring it and I’m trying to figure out why. Well, that should shake out.

Can anybody explain why Mr Obama (and his Democratic) supporters believe that the “regular grassroots” $5 contributor had (and will) be the mainstay of his fundraising efforts when there are 72 million voters (of both parties) eligible, 60% of those vote and only half of that 60% for the Democrat … and he is expected to raise 1 billion? How’s that logic work out?

Quick Update

Links will either be later tonight or a double set in the morning (hotel bandwidth is horrible).

Yikes!

Customer emergency calls me on the road today. Links might be doubled up tomorrow if I don’t get some free time after a long drive and a fire to deal with. Links tonight if I’m in a hotel, otherwise … if I’m driving back late, likely not.

MPG Silliness

Yesterday driving to a job site (24 miles) mostly on 2 lane not-limited access highway with a 45-50 speed limit (I was mostly driving 40-45) in moderate traffic I clocked 107 mpg and on the return in heavier (some stop/go traffic jam) that dropped to 94 mpg for the whole trip.

Anyhow, 107 mpg (actually 106.7) is a new record for my car although the trip was only 24 miles (94 mpg for 140 miles was my prior record).

 

Hiatus

I’ll be on vacation this week … and will be completely out of the reach of all electronic devices and networks. We’re canoeing for the week in the BWCA (Mon-Fri) … and unless the local moose are wired to the net … I’ll be completely offline. Kinda like Mr Adam’s weekend WSJ article on the value of boredom. Hopefully I’ll be back with kids full of stories to tell and with my battteries recharged.

Travel Update

Today’s schedule … links tonight. We’ve been moving “vacation/early” to drive to the next locale, and do stuff when we arrive. Evening I’ll have some free time.

A Quick Update (on my relative silence at this spot)

Sunday night I was directed to fly out for an emergency service call with the East Coast customer at which I’d been during the last two months. Daytimes have been busy and during the evenings Internet has been very very (repeat the “very” for a while) sluggish. Anyhow, I should be home Thursday night at which time … life will resume.

For now, I’m going to try to catch up on sleep and read on the Kindle, at least there the page turns don’t take 3 minutes.

Posting Update

Travel delay, finally (really) the NJ job is up and running and I’m leaving the site for more occasional remote support. Because of yesterday’s snow conditions I felt a later flight time might have a better chance of not being delayed. I’ll post links in the early afternoon if matters go as planned.

Travel Update

Done. Back home … to return by flight for a few days next week. But I get home for family, class, church, and a CSO concert … and a belated birthday celebratory dinner. 

For those who might be curious, I got 69 mpg for the 340 miles I drove Thursday evening … and 60 mpg for the 500 today … for a 63.3 aggregate. Not a whole lot better than the way out (which was just under 62). The reason for the drop today was the temperature was 15 degrees lower and the pavement was wet for much of the drive from the various snowfall regions. During the drive Thursday the average was 74 until I hit the snow. By the time I gave up it was down to 69. During the evening the temperature dropped (and was got colder as I progressed West). 

I’ll catch up on comments and do links this weekend well. 

Ancient Chinese Curses and Suchlike

There is an saying, attributed commonly I believe (without resorting to Wiki or Google) to the Chinese, “May you live in interesting times.” Well … It was offered at work because of snow conditions in Northern Indiana perhaps I should postpone my drive a day or so. I Googled, and didn’t see much.

Well, Northern Indiana was OK. Central Indiana not so much. That part of the drive was “interesting” but while traffic slowed to 40 or so for about 20 minutes of the drive the three or four cars in the ditch were unoccupied, indicating that the occupants had already been eaten by bandicoots. Uhm, I mean that traffic safety personnel marked the cars and transported the affected individuals to warmth and safety. Eastern Ohio and Western Penn on the other hand with night falling and lots of blowing snow was a bit more ridiculous. Lots of cars off the road, many still with occupants. I have driven longish distances on snow covered roads (Green Bay to Chicago in a storm for example). This was some of the worst conditions I’ve experienced. In the blowing snow the roads were mostly OK in Pennsylvania on I-80 (in Ohio prior to Youngstown on there was significant buildup on the roads) but the visibility was quite bad. Most of the traffic on the roads were trucks. One thing I’ve never seen, the truckers all kept flashing their emergency lights when conditions got bad. Most of us car drivers followed suit. 

Anyhow, I’ve stopped a little West of where I’d planned to be … but will be in Jersey in the late morning. 

Oh, links won’t come out tonight. Sorry. I’ll do a double length post in the morning.

Travel Advisory

… or something like that.

Today begins a long business trip … which because of its duration and proximity in time and space to the holidays and my parents home … means I’m driving and going to be away from home (Illinois/Lemont) for about a month. Today I’m driving and hope to make it most of the way to New Jersey where my parents live and the job site are located. Wish me luck. Links + comments and maybe I’ll have time for a post.

The Battery Saga (Part One)

My primary car that I drive (our family has two) is a 2000 Honda Insight which I purchased used a few years back. Mid summer after some heavy rainfall I drove through some deep water and tore a plastic panel off the underside of the car. Two months ago the “IMA” and “Check Engine” lights came on. IMA is the term for the Honda hybrid system, the acronym IMA means Integrated Motor Assist. Thus begins the battery saga.

So … I took the car to the Honda dealer with which I had previously been taking the car for checkups and tuneups. They informed me that the panel could be replaced but that three units related to the IMA system cause the IMA light to trigger. They said the MCM, BCM, and the big NiMH battery pack all needed replacing and that would come to about $6.8k. The two control modules would came to about $4.4 and $2.2k for the battery pack in the cost breakdown. I had them replace the panel and told them I’d “think about” the other repairs.  Continue reading

Travel Update

Well, I made it one-eventfully to Dallas. I’ve hand written two posts which will be up very shortly … and a third explaining the “one-eventfully” as well. One post is an honest (on my part) pointed question for the left on healthcare the other on anthropology and economics and their influence on hermenuetic. Anyhow, I’ve also collected links, and they will be up shortly … as I can find time between tasks during the day.

Posting Update

Well, an Internet-less weekend … and I’m behind getting posts ready. It was a mid-range (3 hour drive) travel weekend for my daughter’s gymnastic team … she had fun so it was a success, right?

Anyhow, “normal” blogging will resume shortly. I might even have my links post out at lunchtime.

Timing Today

Links will be late. Sleep won.

A Personal Note

Well, it’s been a long day, as I noted Sunday night and I thought I’d do something different tonight … and talk about my day and what I’m doing down here in Florida. I’m not going to mention the name of my customer for obvious reasons. Two co-workers and I flew down Sunday night to install two in-motion printers on a shipping/manifesting system, each of which should be able to process 15-20 cartons per minute. It was the middle of last week when we decided the work required would be impossible to complete in two weeks for just two people, so we added a third. I’m the software guy (developer, maintainer, installer, documentation and all the rest) on the job plus the project manager. The other fellows are responsible for the electrical and mechanical installation. When the wiring is completed and the I/O checks out (both digital and serial hardware is tested and verified) one of the installation guys will head out. My nominal schedule has that for tomorrow night. We look to be on schedule for that … but it’s going to be close. So … for the last two day’s I’ve mostly been doing whatever I can to help out the install. Schlepping boxes, pulling cable, climbing ladders, crimping cables. Tomorrow I’ll be verifying I/O as the field wiring is landed in our panels.

So far it’s been a happy project. The overall project manager for the installation is a friendly guy and things seem to be going well. The schedule has slipped some but his customer must not be giving him what-for on that account (and it very well was their fault). The other subs have been pleasant too. While the facility is warm it is somewhat air-conditioned so we don’t have to deal with the Florida heat and humidity all day. We do in fact marvel at the contrast between the Chicago and Florida summer (and flora and fauna). The systems we’re installing are on a high mezzanine with a steel grate on the floor. As that is the case, we’ve been instructed where possible to pass wiring under the floor. So I’ve been up ladders and scissor lifts a lot in the past two days. 

My feet are very sore, pads and tendons both. After spending a day on my feet (or two) working on steel or concrete floors I always end up in awe of people who work on their feet for a living. As this week progresses I’m going to be on my seat pounding the keyboard more and more … which will be a welcome relief.

Anyhow, that’s what I’ve been up to.