May 24

Progress with projects.

Guilty cat hides his eyes in shame after destroying the Inductrix.
Bart hides his eyes in shame after destroying the Micro Inductrix.

My latest major build called “Project Rome” went live on Monday 5/23 and has been declared hugely successful.  I built a new engineering/compute environment in San Diego and migrated the workload from Sunnyvale into it this weekend.  Monday was day 1 on the new infrastructure and we had only minimal issues.  Months of planning, hard work, and stress.  The sense of relief feels very good.  Of course the work doesn’t stop here – I have to tear the old environment down and dispose of the equipment and a lot of other things, but at least I feel like I’m moving forward.

Hal finished up the engine in the 97 NA MX5 and it runs like a new car.  In fact it turns over on the first turn of the key now, just boom, instantly to life.  I think the last thing he needs to do is set the timing more precisely and then it should be good for another 150,000 miles.  We really have gone over nearly every inch of that car in the last few years and it’s a very fine example of a first generation MX5.  I think our next project should be restoring the 1974 Sun Beetle.  (However the racing team has voted that the next project be race-car suspension rebuild, and so that will probably be Project Next.)

Concrete wall rebuild is done and all of the gravel on the sides of the patio has been removed, graded, and replaced with compacted sand & clay.  Essentially it’s just desert hardpan earth which is very natural in this environment.  It feels like about 50% soil & 50% finely crushed gravel.  After it gets wet a few times, it’s nearly hard as stone.  We’re going to have the block walls painted to match the colors of the house.  I think the entire yard will be very pleasing to the eye with a matching color scheme.  Next autumn I plan to get some large 18-20″ pots to plant some desert flowers in.  I’ll place them strategically around the yard and add a bit of color.

Hal and I have been playing with quadcopters lately and have built quite a fleet.  We just picked up two Zeyrok quads and two of the Inductrix models.  One of the Inductrix is about 3″ across and generally for indoor use only.  It was a hoot until I flew too close to Bart and he smacked it out of the air with authority.

It slammed into the ground so hard that two of the motors were damaged.  C’est la vie, eh?  The wind has been a bit stiff the last few days so we haven’t gotten a lot of air time, but I did get enough video to upload a few here & there on the Youtube channel.

I’ve also been doing a bit of gardening lately.  I have had a number of succulents and cactus on my kitchen window sill since I bought the house, but since Sue passed away I’ve taken a bit more interest and gotten quite a few more little green friends.  Sue gave me one of the first plants I had in the house and just a few weeks before she departed, she had given me some clippings from her golden Pathos plant in her kitchen.  I really wanted to keep them healthy so I nursed them in water until they started growing roots and then moved them into a hanging planter near the sink.

Now there are about 20 different succulents in pots, various cactii being spawned, and the makings of two closed-jar moss & succulent terrariums with a collection of at least six mosses.  I have a couple of epiphytes about to spawn even.  Sue used to say that helping plants grow was good for the soul and I think she’s right.  It makes me feel better to do the little pruning and watering and even talking to them a little bit so they can absorb the carbon dioxide.

The weather is getting warm but we’ve been able to get by with using the swamp cooler, which essentially cools the air by adding humidity to it.  Average humidity in this area is 7-12% in the summer – quite dry.  By passing humidified air though the house, it brings the temperature of the air down and does the plants a world of good.  Of course before long (when Monsoon arrives), the air will be too humid for the swamp cooler to work so we’ll have to turn up the HVAC.  But we’re certainly going to enjoy it all we can.

I hope my next update comes sooner than this one did.  I’ve been stressing and working lots over this project, but now that it’s wrapping up I hope I’ll have more free time.

Until then.

 

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