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My camera contains a 128 GB SD card for storing pictures and video. I didn't need a card this big, but back when I was building the Sun Dragon I bought a 128 GB SD card rather than a micro SD card. Rather than return the card I decided to put it in my camera. This way I wouldn't have to worry about clearing off the camera to make room.

This was indeed the case. I've only cleared it off a couple of times (really, like 2 times), and not because I needed to. Currently my camera has 10,243 pictures on the card, but the camera estimates I should have over 7,600 pictures left. There is a problem though. I've noticed my camera is a little slow starting up and slow when playing back pictures. I doubt much optimization to the file system functions has been done, and this quantity is a bit much for the camera's computer. So I think I might clear it off. This hasn't been done since June.

   I am a big fan of snow, and was very happy when we got a significant snowfall so early in the season.  However, I also knew it probably wouldn't last.  So today, with the temperatures reaching almost 50 ºF (10 ºC) I set off to enjoy the snow covered scenery.  The route started in a south-westerly direction because the winds were pretty much directly from the south.  I worked my way out to Cross Plains Interpretive Site.  The initial part of this ride is rather dull, moving through a commercial area and into the suburbs.  But once at the end of Old Sauk it starts to get pretty. 
   My loop totaled just under 17 miles, and fresh air was nice.  Tomorrow is suppose to be even warmer, but is forecast to rain all day.
   Did a slow run of the Airport-Ashton loop.  During the summer I was doing this loop in under 50 minutes.  Today it took an hour and 8 minutes.  There were spots of the trail were there was significant ice cover—especially bridges.  For those spots I slowed to a crawl.  Pictured is the trail on the north side of Quisling Park.  The complete snow cover meant I was fairly stable—snow I can bike on, ice I cannot.  This run normally has a return through the Pheasant Branch trail, but I knew those would be covered in ice.  So I turned onto Blatzer Road and followed it through High Road for the return trip.  That seems to be a functional alternative to the trails and I'll have to continue that in the future.
   I finished my audiobook covering the politics during the last months of World War II, which set the stage for the Cold War arms race that followed, and started a book on book on Napoléon Bonaparte.  Despite the cold, I need to ride more as I'm not getting enough reading done.
Elmwood Park

Elmwood Park

   Several days ago I picked up some Edison-style LED bulbs.  While I really like them I wanted to have the bulbs not shine as bright.  The bulbs are dimmable so I decided to pick up a couple dimmer switches.  One bulb I put in the kitchen.  The switch was already a dimmer, but the dimmer never worked.  So I swapped it for a new dimmer.  This particular dimmer switch is just like a normal light switch except you can position the knob between full-off and full-on.  In theory that is really cool.  In practice the switch sucks and the light flickers like mad.  Unlike filament bulbs, LEDs can change brightness very quickly.  I suspect a dirty rheostat in the switch because if you wiggle the switch enough you can find a location that doesn't flicker.  It is just cheaply made and probably would work fine for incandescent applications, but for LEDs it doesn't work so well. 
   For my second bulb that I keep to illuminate the entrance to my work area I put together a dimmer switch setup.  This dimmer is your typical rotary dimmer, and it works much better.  I keep the light at about 15-25% brightness for a warm glow.  Looks pretty good.
   Shoveled some rather slushy snow when I got up.  The sidewalks had about 2 inches.  It wasn't worth using the snowblower on this.  The wet snow was pretty heavy, but I found I rather enjoyed myself pushing through it.  I did fire up the snowblower for the end of the driveway.  While I didn't need it, I wanted to make sure the machine was in good working order and to see how it would do with the heavy wet snow.  The heavy snow did plug the machine up a few times.  Seems that if the flow going out the machine was too low, it would plug up.  After observing this I found that keeping a steady flow did seem to prevent plugs.  So tick noted for the future.
   This evening was skating, and a rather strange session.  I ate well about 3 hours before and should have had plenty of energy, but I felt I was under preforming the whole night.  What's strange is despite this feeling, I set several new personal records.  I burned my first 1,000 Calories in 1 hour, 5 minutes (2 minutes faster than my previous record), and my peak heart rate hit 191 BPM (104.4% of maximum) which is 1 BPM faster than my previous record.  Despite this I felt like I was dragging much of the night.  And I wasn't the only person who felt that way—several other skaters said the same thing.  I burned 2,000 Calories in 2 hours and 15 minutes, totaled 2,440 Calories for the night (an other record), and averaged a heart rate of 160 BPM (an other record), yet felt unaccomplished.  Wonder what caused this feeling?  The numbers are clear—my performance was about as good as I've ever done—but I didn't feel that way.

November 20, 2015

First Snowfall of the Season

   The weather has been warning of a big snowstorm all week, and tonight it began.  The temperature dropped at least 10 degrees, and the insane winds have died down.  Last night's ride I had furies, but we are forecast to get several inches tonight.  In preparations I made sure the snowblower was ready to go, the shovels sitting out, and picked up a couple bags of sidewalk salt.  The snowfall thus far has been light powder snow.  The sidewalks and road surfaces were too warm for the snow to accumulate until recently, but we have a few inches on the ground.  I gave the sidewalks a once over before turning in for the night with the snow sill coming down pretty good.
   So, the website has changed over to the winter theme.  This is pretty early for snow, but I'll take it!
   Biked to the weekly meeting of AHA on the UW campus to listen to lecture by (now) Dr. Chris Calvey.  On the ride in I had a strong tailwind of around 20 MPH and made great time despite not putting forth much effort.  The way back was much slower.  Winds were out of the south west, but it seemed more out of the south.  For much of the ride I had a wind break to the south, but noticed my speeds were about 2-3 MPH slower than usual.  At one point I was turning off University Ave and encountered a strong south wind.  I was giving it everything I had and barely moving 8 MPH into the headwind.  I can climb Hell Hill at 8 MPH with that kind of effort.  But it was fun to be pushed a little.  I haven't been getting out to ride much at all and my body is complaining about the lack of movement.  Need to come up with a winter solution to my cycling needs.  Maybe I just need to get use to biking in the cold.
   Our house found that the downstairs toilet occasionally leaks.  Looks like we were not the only ones to have discovered this as their is calk around the outside edge of the toilet where it meets the floor.  This isn't typical.  The leak is almost random.  It would go for a few months without issues, and then randomly one day there would be water on the floor.  We were pretty sure it just needed a new wax seal.  However, when Xiphos tried to remove the screws that hold the toilet to the floor he found nothing but rust.  They refused to move.  So the project has sat on the to-do list.  With leaks starting again, I decided we needed to look into this.  We had the new wax seal for around a year already.  Xiphos said he would replace it if I got the screws off.  I'm not a fan of plumbing myself as it always seems something leaks when I'm finished.  But removing stubborn screws I can do.  I started with a high-speed rotary tool, but after burning through two cutting disks I decided I wanted something with a lot more kick and broke out the angle grinder.  The screws didn't want to give up and I turned them bright orange before I finally cut through them.  What I didn't consider was the hot screw stop flying off onto the floor.  Metal glows orange around 1,500 °F (815 °C).  And when metal this temperature hits a linoleum floor it makes a burn mark.  I wasn't please about that, but the screws were defeated.
   True to his word, Xiphos pulled up the toilet and replaced the wax seal.  I picked up some new screws and in no time the toilet was back in working order.  Thanks Xiphos!
Speaker Disconnected

Speaker Disconnected

   I've had this clock radio since 1989.  About a few weeks ago it started randomly making chirp sounds.  Messing around with it I found the noise could be silenced by moving the volume knob, but not for more than a few hours.  So I opened it up and gave the PCB a good cleaning with alcohol.  That didn't seem to help either.  I clock radio has been nothing more than a clock for around 20 years.  So tonight I disconnected the speaker.  26 years isn't a bad run for an electronic device.