Category Archives: SoCal

In praise of biology

Posted by lex, on August 14, 2006

Well, that’s a blow: Got a call back from UC Cyclery, where I’d dropped my bike off for a shakedown after my little car-vaulting excursion last weekend. It turns out that carbon fiber is susceptible to stress risers – bubbles in the frame – that can propagate over time into sudden, catastrophic failure modes. They’ve found flaws in the both the fork and the head tube, ugh:

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It’s Getting Hard

To live here.

 

By Lex, on Thu – August 18, 2005

 

Traffic today, on the northbound 5. Like you’ve never seen before, a parking lot before we even got to LaJolla. Seems that there were earlier delays, and so many of those who finally broke free just couldn’t wait to race into their own accident. Jaysus but it was a mess.

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The Hive Mind

By lex, on October 20th, 2003

Social Psychology in SoCal, defined by traffic patterns

I live in Carmel Valley, just across the 5 from Del Mar, California, home to the Del Martians. The Del Martians are blessed by proximity to the ocean, and exceptionally high property values. Nothing so enhances the value of a house, whether it be a shotgun shack or pleasure dome, as an ocean view. In a pinch, a “peek ocean view” will suffice to raise the fee of admission by a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Lawsuits have been lodged against those down hill that have, over the course of the last 50 years or so, permitted a tree to obscure what once had been a peek ocean view.

We Carmel Valley types are not quite there yet. We have ready access to the Elysian fields, even the same area code, but we are definitely across the 5.

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Off the Grid

By Lex, on October 8, 2008

 

Magic Mountain all day, at the behest of SWMBO V3.0 and one of her cohort. The Hobbit having taken a pass.

Pray for me, and talk amongst yourselves.

Update: A pretty good day. Traffic up the 5 was smooth at 0730 – herself can be quite the slave driver when it comes to her entertainment – and we got to the park with time to spare. Your correspondent immediately saw the X2 ride and determined to have at it, but the lady insisted upon intervals of warm-up in lesser contraptions. Wise beyond her years as it turns out.

Only $29.99 if you purchase on line, as against $59.99 at the door. Which makes it a no-brainer. They still nickle and dime you here and there: It costs a dollar to stow all loose gear in a little locker for the two minutes spent shrieking on the ride. A smarter man might have left it all in the car, but who goes anywhere without a cell phone anymore?

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A couple of data points

 

By lex, on September 28, 2008

 

The limits we impose on our Vargas for dogfighting are +/- 60 degrees of bank and +/- 30 degrees of pitch. Any more than that and we’d be in aerobatic flight, upping our insurance premiums and forcing the use of parachutes.

Which, who needs that?

I have come to the tentative conclusion that while demonstrating the bank angle limit is appropriate and in fact necessary (bank angle plus g turns the machine), demonstrating the pitch limits is probably a bad idea. I’ve got a very high correlation between showing a guest pilot the transition between 30 degrees nose high to 30 degrees nose low on a hot day – a self-evidently stomach churning sixty degree change taken all together – and himself speaking into the white plastic megaphone.

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Amphibian

Posted by Lex, on June 12, 2008

 

There are planes that land on airstrips and planes that land on water and then there is a third, more rare category of machine: One that can do both.

Amphibious aircraft saw their heyday back in World War II, when such versatile Grumman variants as the GooseWidgeon and Mallard were adopted from their civilian designs for military work. One workhorse was the Grumman J2F Duck, a biplane atop a monocoque pontoon that housed retractable main landing gear. During the war, Grumman designed a replacement monowing before pitching the contract at Columbia Aircraft to focus on the fighters they were building for the Navy.

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A real treat

By Lex, on June 9, 2008

 

As I hinted earlier, Tailspin Tom offered your correspondent the right seat of a C-45H from Palomar all the way up to French Valley, near Riverside. Hating to let a good man down, I reluctantly said, “Sure!”

An uneventful toodle up the 5, and and eager transit back towards the private hangars until, there she is. The first thing that strikes you is what a beautifully maintained machine the Beech Belle is. And then your eyes are inevitably drawn to those two, big Pratt and Whitney R-985s, each of them holding 450 trembling horses in check. These were built when Wildcats and Hellcats ruled the skies. It can make a man ret pondersome.

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