Friday, May 21, 2010

Random Bits and Pieces

Maybe I'll start off by relating this morning's printer paper adventures. Those of you who don't have the stomach for this level of nerdyness are advised to skip ahead. For those of you who are still here let me first explain why it is that I have been on a quest to purchase a package of printer paper that has been punched for a three hole binder along both edges. Well, it turns out that if the printer paper orientation choice is "Portrait"  the holes should be on one side, and if the choice is "Landscape" they should be on the other. I can never remember which is which and on the boat during the delivery and race I don't feel like messing with it. So.............

When I went to the local FedEx store a couple years ago and tried to buy a package of printer paper drilled down both edges for a 3-ring binder they quoted me a $55 price. Five dollars for 500 sheets of paper and 5 cents a sheet to drill the holes (twice). So, I ended up buying it in Walnut Creek.

But I decided to try the local store again. I think the FedEx computer said $55 again but after some discussion among themselves the staff (not knowing that I knew what they were discussing) decided that $15 would do it. I tried to bargain them down a bit more to $10 without success. So, I left without the paper. A couple weeks later I decided "What the hell. Go for it. Spend the big bucks. You only live once. Etc." So, I went back to FedEx and this time the boss was there and he wanted $30 and would not budge. I left again without the paper.

This morning I just happened to be driving past FedEx and (since three visits had resulted in three different prices) decided to just give it another shot. Back to $15 again. Since this was historically the best price I had seen I took it and am now the proud owner of a box of double, 3-ring drilled, computer printer paper.

You might want to skip this one also. For that matter you might want to skip the whole day. Anyway, the next item concerns the new GPS that had rather crude charts. The helpful person at West Marine claimed that there was an "options" setting that would give me any level of detail that I wanted. He was right! It is working fine now. In retrospect, I realize now that part of the reason I was having trouble was that I just could not believe that such a tiny box could contain so much stuff. Such are the wonders of the digital age we live in. Pretty soon when you buy a hand held reader like Kindle or iPad they will simply contain everything on earth that has ever been written and will update each day everything (in every language) that has been created in the last 24 hours.

While fooling around with the GPS I did notice that the performance is pretty crappy (below decks and without an antenna). If you look at the photo you will see that Cirrus is in the wrong slip and facing the wrong direction. Also note (in passing) that digital photos of a digital screen can produce interesting patterns. I tried to fix this and everything I did made it worse.

The next item is the wrap up of the new engine panel saga. As those of you who follow these pages are well aware the old engine panel containing the tachometer and emergency  alarms disintegrated awhile ago. It has been replaced and an enclosure fabricated to keep the rain off. Now the job has finally been completed with the mounting of a "Tupperware" box to protect the back of the panel that protrudes into the space just aft of the galley (and up). The switches on the box are not hooked up at the moment, but they could be used if the switch on the binnacle panel should fail.

As an aside, let me mention a little unexpected benefit from this last project. When I was heat shrinking the insulation onto the lugs connected to the switches the tiny puff of hot rubber smell that was produced set off the smoke alarm. Thus proving that the alarm is working and that I can hear it. Made me jump!

Inside the cabin and just below the back of the engine panel there are three switches mounted along the side of the port-side quarter berth. These switches are:

  • The propane tank solenoid operating switch
  • The Battery selection switch that allows us to isolate the refrigerator battery from the rest of the "house bank" of batteries.
  • The protected on-off switch for the refrigerator

I spent the whole morning recently on the first of these. "What?" You say, "It looks just like the last time I saw it." And that would be correct. What would be missing from these remarks is the fact that I accidentally broke off the toggle switch and had to replace it. I had one in spares but it was the wrong size so I had to drive across the island to buy one, (I got two.) Then  I installed it, and, lo-and-behold it looks like it did before. Now you see why the refrigerator switch has a protective cover. The propane switch could use some protection, but I didn't want to cover it up because that makes it too easy to forget to turn it off.

The covering on the jib luff that gives some sun protection to the furled sail was looking ratty and some of it was starting to come loose. On a recent quiet morning Ron Dodini helped me take the jib down and replace it with another similar sail. The sailmaker was too busy to fix it (in a week) so maybe I'll get Quantum to do it when I'm in the Bay Area.

1 comment:

  1. Wrong slip? AND wrong direction? OhmyGod! Could Einstein have been wrong on the relativistic corrections?