Thursday Musings

Do you remember the days when your parents would call you on the phone and tell you they sent you an email?

Now we’re in the days when our kids text us to ask if the can call us on the phone.


My posting schedule will be a little different the next couple of weeks.  More about that on Sunday,
Andrew

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Rain

It’s been raining this last week. Officially there’s been enough rain to declare the drought in Northern California over. In the southland rains have improved things, but not enough to declare the drought over there. This is both good and bad.

Great that we have the water.

Bad because now programs like water recycling, desalinization, storm water capture, storage, and other programs designed to ease the drought will find their priority reduced, funding cut and likely face increasing criticism of wasting tax payer dollars. Then when the next drought hits, everyone will be up in arms saying, “how come we don’t have a desalinization plant? Or more water storage?” And the people and politicians begin again with the finger-pointing and blame game.

Well, that’s enough preaching about California’s dysfunctional water planning system.

California’s water is a case in extremes – either it’s not raining or it’s raining a lot. The rain can come in what’s called an “atmospheric river.” Seriously, it’s like having a river fly over and suddenly drop everything at once. Floods become common and flood control systems on rivers quickly become overwhelmed.

I live and work near the Los Gatos Creek (my office is about three-hundred yards from it’s banks). The word creek brings up pictures of a small, gently flowing water way. Which it mostly is. However, in the rainy season, I like to rename it to “Los Gatos River.” This year the two reservoir upstream filled to capacity after two weeks of heavy rain and started to spill over. These reservoirs have two functions – water storage and flood control. The atmospheric river ensured that the reservoirs succeeded in water storage and failed at flood control.

With the dams spilling over, the lazy creek became a rushing torrent that triggered a few emergency alerts, many closed roads, mudslides, and a number of my co-workers wondering if now might be a good time to get their cars out of the underground parking garage.

Here are a couple of pictures of the creek/river during the flooding:

This is the Los Gatos Creek Trail as it goes under the highway.  The path is cover by at least 5 feet of water.

This is the Los Gatos Creek Trail as it goes under the highway. The path is cover by at least 5 feet of water.

This is further up the trail a few days later.  The path on the right is covered in several feet of water.

This is further up the trail a few days later. The path on the right is covered in several feet of water.

The flood took out about 20 feet of chainlink fence.  This post was just lifted out of the ground.

The flood took out about 20 feet of chain link fence. This post was just lifted out of the ground.

and this is where the fence went - downstream and wrapped around some trees.

and this is where the fence went – downstream and wrapped around some trees.

Fortunately, the creek never went high enough to flood homes or cause more than just minor damage. The scary thing is that more rain is predicted.

Now I am going to head out to the shop to see if I’ve got enough lumber to build an ark, or at least a sturdy raft.

Till next week,
Andrew

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Friday Wisdom – Third Law of Computing

What boots up must come down.

More wisdom next week,
Andrew

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Wednesday Woodworking – The Shop Reorg Begins

My shop is small.  There are two shop areas each about 12 by 10 feet.  One is my “inside” shop that is just off the laundry room.  This space is well-lit and has a heater.  This is where I do my marquetry and scroll saw work.  The other is my “outside” shop which is a fenced off area inside the carport.  It’s open air and where I do most of my heavier and dustier work on the table saw, chop saw or sanding.  I can use it most of the year, but when the temp is below 60 I can’t do things like glue ups or painting as both require minimum temps.

I have one really bad habit that I need to change, the tendency to have too many projects going at once and leaving bits of these all over the place.  Frankly, the shop has become something of a dump and it’s getting useable.

So I’ve created a new design for the shop that hopefully will remove many of the spaces that collect crap and make the over all space more efficient for the way I really work.  This starts is a major clean up and demo of a couple of problem fixtures.

Here are some pictures of the work:

The outside shop - so packed I couldn't find a good place to take a picture.

The outside shop – so packed I couldn’t find a good place to take a picture.

Overflowing - haven't been able to get to the clamp rack in weeks.

Overflowing – haven’t been able to get to the clamp rack in weeks.

While I am taking some things out, I am putting in one new piece, an old kitchen cabinet.  This is a unit salvaged from our remodel two years ago.  Heather had it in her art room for a while, but it didn’t really work for her.  I could use the drawers and storage space so it’s on the move from the art room to the shop:

Stack-o-drawers waiting for their home.

Stack-o-drawers waiting for their home.

First base unit in its new clean corner.

First base unit in its new clean corner.

It’s going to take a few weeks, but when done I’ll have a better, cleaner space and less room for projects in process.  Hopefully that will force me to finish stuff I start.

If you need me – look for the guy with the broom,

Andrew

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