Saturday, April 30, 2011

Canoe on Flathead Lake

A picture of my canoe on Flathead Lake. The lake could actually flood this year. There's a lot of snow in the mountains and it keeps snowing.

(I retain all rights to my photos.  Please do not use without prior permission.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shooting Stars, wild flowers

I have my own little patch of shooting star wild flowers at Flathead Lake in Montana. Well my mom and I do.. She said a bird must have brought the seed in because they aren't anywhere else around there that I've seen. None of the neighbors have them. They're sort of out of place there anyway. I've taken ownership of them because one time I mowed them down before they went to seed and my mom said that they might not come back as a result. So now every year make sure that they have gone to seed before I mow in that spot. Each year they come back to greet me, so each year I take their picture. They mark the arival of spring for me, at least in Montana at Flathead Lake.

This picture doesn't show how big the patch is. It's huge by shooting star standards, as they are very small flowers.

I retain all rights to my photos.  Please do not use any of my photos without permission.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mandolin set up part 2

Ok so the first time I changed the strings on my mandolin, I decided to flatten out the bottom of the top part of the bridge as it didn't mate right and I knew it would lower the action. So I did that. But the action was still on the high side so I did some surfing and found that I should remove material from the bottom of the bridge where it meets the face of the mandolin and raise the turn wheels up until I had the right string height. Well I found out that it is a lot harder to do. But none the less I was determined to do it.

So first I marked the position of the bridge with a piece of electrical tape on the body forward of the bridge, and I lowered the tension on the strings so that I could flip the bridge forward onto the tape and remove it without scratching the finish. Then I scribed along the bottom of each foot on the bridge a mark of how much material I wanted to remove. slowly with some sand paper on the edge of a table I sanded until I met the mark and matched the radius of the face. But I had to keep working it until I couldn't see any gap on either side. I didn't want the bridge to put uneven pressure on the face of the mandolin. That process took over 2 hours.

Then I used the turn wheels to raise the top part of the bridge until there wasn't any fret buzz. I was getting just a little on the D string. I had to bring the strings up to pitch and back down again a couple of times and turn the wheels. I coudln't turn the wheels with the strings under tension. I finally got the height to what I read online was ok. .070 inch on the G string above the fret at the octave and .060 on the E string.

Now this cheap import is about as good as it's going to get. There's no fret buzz and it really did improve the intonation. Over the weekend I replaced the strings with D'Addario J73 Phosphor Bronze Light ones. That seemed to help the intonation a little too because I could hear the harmonic overtones better and that helped tuning.

(photo will get bigger if you click on it)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April showers

I went skiing on Saturday, which could have been my last day of the season and it was my 32nd day of alpine skiing for this season. I guess the pictures tell the story. I got soaked in the the morning but then I rode the gondola down to the parking lot and changed my jacket and then it cleared off so the afternoon was somewhat decent. Plus it didn't cost me anything because when I was standing in line to get my lift ticket this guy asked if I wanted a "free" lift ticket, and of course I did.. So bonus!
A picture from inside the gondola. Got to get every turn in I can at this point..

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong

Ok I'm going to try this one last time! They changed the code or something and now for the life of me I can't make a paragraph. Even the tag Jules sent me doesn't stick..

Anyway there's an article called Lance Armstrong's Endgame in Bicycling by Bill Strickland in which he suspects that Armstrong did use performance enhancing drugs. He didn't have any evidence BTW or even anything new, just a feeling about it. They were talking about this and the Barry Bonds trial on NPR the other day. One caller asked why they are spending so much money on Bonds,. as if it didn't matter. Another caller thought they should leave Armstrong alone because he's done so much good for cancer patients..

Well here's why I think it matters.. If someone like Marrion Jones wins a gold medal in the Olympics by cheating she has denied someone else who might have been clean the honest fame wealth and career, and they might never get another chance.

If we have to cheat at sports, then heaven help us. It goes to the core of our morality as a society.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Certificate of Live Birth

Donald Trump was on TV this morning doubting Obama's citizenship saying that a Certificate of Live Birth isn't the same as a Birth Certificate..

Ok so here's a picture of what I always thought was my "Birth Certificate". Gosh I wonder if The Donald is going to fire me, and kick me out of the country if he becomes president.. Take away the passport I got with this.. It's reason enough for me not to vote for him anyway.

(I was actually born in Kenya but don't tell The Donald.. They gave us all these phoney birth certificates.. and the way you can tell they are phoney,.. they say "Certificate of Live Birth", not "Birth Certificate"...)

Good grief.. Can you imagine if Trump actually became president..?

Bike to Work Spokane

outside of the bubble has been listed on the Bike to Work Spokane website. I suspect Bike to Work Barb is behind this.. :) but I'm guessing. That's cool as I do try and bike to work at least some of the time and with gas prices going up every morning it is going to make a lot of sense for me. Now if they'd ever finish the bridge I usually use to cross the river I'd have a pretty safe commute, and about half of my commute would be on a bike path.
Well there's always some reason not to ride a bike to work. But there seems to be more and more reasons to try and make it work. (picture of me last summer on one of my old bikes)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

All these worlds are yours except Europa

I was in Walmart today and they have these flat screens that sense when you walk by, they come on and try and sell you stuff. It's kind of surreal. This is a new store so it's always kind of empty for a Walmart and I get a sense of isolation and space in there. I always feel like I'm in a movie myself or something.

Anyway I was walking by the cereal department, and of course I was thinking about, well,.. cereal because that's all I saw, and suddenly this screen comes to life and this woman starts telling me all of the things I could do with Frosted Flakes.. Very strange..

So I stopped and watched the program about cereal. After a while I expected her to say, "All these worlds are yours execpt Europa. Attempt no landings there.."