Log in

Sun, Oct. 23rd, 2016, 06:30 pm
Corvair Club Tech n Tune

Spent a part of the day hanging with the Inland Northwest Corvair Club. Took a lot of pictures!

A 1960 Corvair Coupe

Yes the engine is in the rear as seen on this late model coupe.

Forward Control Jeep, once used by U S Forest Service

Old & new & some fall foliage

Hope everyone has a good week

Sun, Oct. 23rd, 2016, 02:25 pm
Weekly Book Review

So, continuing down the list of book reviews I've written over the years, we come to...
Hornblower and the Atropos
C. S. Forester
Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

            After reading Hornblower during the Crisis, a work which felt unrefined and not quite ready for publication, it was a joy to begin Hornblower and the Atropos.  This book follows the former in terms of Hornblower’s life and career, but it was written at an earlier time.
            The beginning presents a rare view of Hornblower as husband and father.  He is accompanied by Maria, expecting their second child, and little Horatio as he journeys via canal to London.  There Hornblower is to take up his first command as a post captain in the Royal Navy.  Despite his sometimes callous treatment, it is apparent that Hornblower has grown quite attached and protective of Maria.  While he seems to relish domestic life, it is clear that the Navy and devotion to duty are at the forefront of his priorities.
            Once in London, finally in command of HMS Atropos, and facing the eminent birth of his second child, Hornblower is detailed to organize the water-borne portion of Lord Nelson’s funeral ceremony.  History does not readily provide the name of the individual who actually orchestrated this event, but Forester does well to give the responsibility to Hornblower.  With attention to detail and a sharp fear of failure, the relatively junior post captain succeeds, even when faced with the near sinking of the barge carrying Nelson’s remains.  While quite hilarious in some ways, this incident is another challenge for Hornblower to overcome.
            Further endeavors include the capture of a French privateer masquerading as a British trawler, the recovery of treasure from under the noses of the Turkish authorities, and the capture of a large Spanish frigate.  Further complicating Hornblower’s life is the presence of a German prince, a relative of King George III, his Secretary of State, three divers from Ceylon, and a rather unpleasant salvage master.
            Hornblower and the Atropos is one of the better books in the saga.  He comes across as a likable and real individual, carrying for his wife and family, dedicated to his duty, and all the while, unsure of his abilities.  As always, Hornblower cannot realize that others, his superiors, see and appreciate those skills.
            This book is Forester at his best.  Even so, as with nearly all of the series, certain technical questions arise.  Once again there is the title vessel’s classification.  Quite often Atropos is referred to as a sloop, even though rated at twenty-two guns.  Normally a sloop-of-war carried fourteen, sixteen, or eighteen guns and was captained by a master and commander.  Being a vessel of twenty guns or more, Atropos would have rated a post captain in command and would have been referred to as a “post ship” or a “sixth-rate.”  When Atropos faces Castilla, the latter is described as carrying forty-four eighteen pounder guns.  A typical forty-four gun frigate would have carried that many guns or more, but not all would have fired the same weight of shot.  Twenty-eight or thirty guns firing the nominal weight of shot would have equipped the gun deck.  Weapons mounted on the forecastle and quarterdeck would have been of lighter weight, nine pounders, perhaps, if they were traditional naval guns.  Carronades may well have fired shot heavier than those on the gun deck.
            The copy of Hornblower and the Atropos read for this review was published by Back Bay Books in 1999.  ISBN is 0-316-28929-9.  Cover price was at the time of printing, $13.95 US.

Sun, Oct. 16th, 2016, 07:56 pm
Lazy Sunday

Unusually active for a Saturday this weekend. Went some distance north of town to a fellow member of the Inland Northwest Corvair Club's place. He and his family were hosting their annual "Cider Fest." It's sort of a mini county fair... cider pressing demos... and free xider to go, plenty to eat, both what guests bring and BBQ pirk from a catering company.  Not to be forgotten, an impromptu car show.  Fortunately the rain that fell for most of the day held back for the majority of the after noon.

Later in the evening I met up with a few folks from work for an evening of bowling, a few beers, and some snacks.  Thinking it had been ten years or more since I'd last bowled.  Still, I thought my form wasn't that bad.  Can't say the same for accuracy! Through two games I recorded two spares and two strikes...and I only folled one of those.  Somebody got confused as to what frame it was and rolled a strike that got credited to me.  Fun evening, though, with no one really keeping track of scores

"Cosmic" Bowling iast night

Classic cars (including two red Corvair coupes) at Cider Fest

So today I've been lazy...watched the Seahawks game abd now the second game if the National League Championship Series between tge L A Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. I'm hoping for the Cubs to go all tge way and win the World Series. (Dodgers just won second game...each team now has one win.)

Tue, Oct. 11th, 2016, 05:41 pm
New Rear Engine Review

A couple days ago I mentioned creating the latest issue of the Rear Engine Review, the Newsletter for the Inland Northwest Corvair Club.  Just noticed that it's on the web-site now, in case you would like to check it out.  Just look for and click on "Newsletter" and then click where it says "Click Here."

Some Corvair pics under the cut
Air cooled CheviesCollapse )

Sun, Oct. 9th, 2016, 03:35 pm

A good weekend, so far.  So far I've been fairly ambitious and have gotten more stuff done than I usually do.  Completed the latest edition of the Rear Engine Review for the Inland Northwest Corvair Club and got it e-mailed out to members and others.  Had hoped to print the few copies that go by USPS, but the printer was messed up yesterday.  One of those glitches that I find I cannot seem to figure out.  Took Jessica's expertise to get it working.  So today, got the ten or so copies printed and have them ready to go out in the mail.  (Guess they'll go Tuesday as tomorrow is Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day, depending upon where one is in the US.)  Anyway, if you are interested in the newest Rear Engine Review, check the Club's web-site... linked above and look for Newsletters.  Hopefully our webmaster has gotten the new issue up by now.  (I don't do the web-site for the Corvair Club, just the newsletter.)

This is the second time the printer has went on the blink and we've had to have Jessica fix it.  Usually happens after Eva has used it... not trying to blame anyone, but I think she's accidentally pushed some wrong buttons when it's been out of ink or paper.  A lot of the problem ends up in the communication links between the computer and the printer.

Since Jessica is no longer living here, Stormie is generally a bit leery of her when she comes by.  Last night however, the bird took off and flew a few feet, ending on the floor.  She let Jessica pick her up and stayed on her shoulder for a while.

Stormie and Jessica getting along!
Got ambitious enough to get out and get the lawn mowed earlier this afternoon.  I'd sort of let it go for the past few weeks, but it wasn't really bad.  Hadn't watered like I should have been as of late, so it wasn't that high.  But we've had a fair amount of rain lately, so it has been starting to green up and grow again.  More than likely this will be the last, or perhaps next to the last time it gets cut this year.  Over the next couple of weeks I hope to get a final "weed-eating" edge trimming done, and as well trim up the shrubs and bushes.


Sat, Oct. 8th, 2016, 04:11 pm
Book Review of the Week

HMS Victory: Owners’ Workshop Manual
Peter Goodwin, MPhil, IEng, MIMarEst
Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney
           This relatively slender volume is billed as “an insight into owning, operating and maintaining the Royal Navy’s oldest and most famous warship.”  It is a must have for anyone with an interest in tall ships, the age of sail, the great sailing navies, and in particular the Royal Navy and Lord Nelson.
           Through the pages, we learn of the previous Royal Navy ships bearing the name Victory.  We come to understand the reasoning behind its design and construction and to know in fairly great detail, the events of its active duty career.  Readers are taken on a detailed tour of the entire vessel as we examine it from keel to main topgallant mast truck.  The author also delves into the problems and resultant solutions required to keep a near two hundred and fifty year old ship in serviceable condition.
           As informative and impressive as this book is, it is not without some problems.  It seems to have been rather hurriedly written.  Many topics are lightly touched upon, and sometimes appear to end arbitrarily. Drawings and diagrams give one a start at understanding the complexity of an Eighteenth Century warship, but fail to follow through.  More illustrations, demonstrating and defining those things mentioned in the text would be greatly appreciated.  At one point the 98 gun Impregnable is referred to as a first-rate, when in fact it would have been classed as a second-rate.  There are also problems with some of the tables for the characteristics of Victory’s guns.  It appears that data for one type of gun was recopied and placed in the listings for another.
           Nonetheless, this book is a great addition to the collection of anyone interested or fanatical about the age of sail.  It definitely adds to, rather than subtracting from the field of knowledge available to those with such interests.
           From Haynes Publishing in the United Kingdom, ISBN 978-0-85733-085-7 carries a cover price of £21.99 or $35.95.

Sat, Oct. 8th, 2016, 04:06 pm
Birthdays, etc.

Manager at work is celebrating her Birthday this weekend.  As she likes her "suds", a co-worker baked her a cake in the shape of a mug of beer.

Cupcakes represent bottle caps!
Tomorrow would be Edward Pierce's Birthday and I'm sure he would approve of such a cake.  He'd just as soon have the real thing, a mug of beer, with which to celebrate the day of his birth.  And for any Beatles fans, tomorrow marks the Birthday of the late John Lennon, which might explain why I ended up deciding that Edward Pierce was born on October 9th, but in the year 1776.
Speaking of Edward Pierce and the Stone Island Sea Stories, I should point out that today (October 8th) is Indie Author Day!  Both Stone Island Sea Stories are available on-line from Amazon and at Barnes and Noble OnLine.  They can be had in both paperback and in the respective e-book formats.  Also, they are technically in "distribution," so if you were to check with your local bookstore, independent or otherwise, they should be able to special order either or both for you.

Believe it or not, this is what I'm currently reading.  I'm hoping to get back into the flow by reading the two published works and then continuing on into the work in (very slow) progress.  Interesting to read again after some time away from it.

And of course, book 2.  Hoping to have COMMANDER and HORNBLOWER's HISTORICAL SHIPMATES soon, so I might hold off on this one for a while.

Some may remember that several months ago, a book I was reading at work disappeared.  At the last Spokane Authors and Self-Publisher's meeting, I ended up winning another copy of it.  Hopefully this time I'll have a chance to finish it, once i start it again.

Mon, Oct. 3rd, 2016, 06:08 pm
Stormie's New Perch!

I tried to post this picture yesterday but for some reason couldn't get it to load on to the post.  Sort of a silly and nonsensical image of our new blue Quaker Parrot and where she decided to perch the other day.

Worked fine today! Hurray!  I'd also tried posting a short video of her a few days ago, but it ended up all distorted, so I took it down.
Hope everyone has a good week!

Sun, Oct. 2nd, 2016, 06:25 pm
The Weekly Book Review

This week's offering in the way of book reviews I've written takes us back to the Hornblower books by C. S. Forester.

Flying Colours
By C. S. Forester
Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

            C. S. Forester ends the Captain Horatio Hornblower trilogy with Flying Colours.  Now Napoleon’s captive, Hornblower is transported from Spain’s Rosas Bay to Paris so he might be tried and executed for supposedly violating the rules of war.  Accompanied by the severely wounded Lieutenant Bush and Brown, his coxswain, a chance to escape down the river Loire arises during a cold snowy night.  When the river makes kindling of their stolen boat and spills them into the freezing water, immediate self-preservation demands they seek shelter at the nearest inhabited dwelling.  Will such action mean the loss of their new-found freedom?  Will they be forced to resume the journey to Paris and their inevitable death?
            However, good fortune is with Hornblower, as he and his companions find themselves guests of the Comte de Gracey.  The French nobleman and Marie, his widowed daughter-in-law welcome the Englishmen and provide them a place of refuge for the winter.  While Hornblower is anxious to be on his way, weather and the condition of the river demand they wait until spring before continuing their escape.  Besides allowing Lieutenant Bush to heal, a boat to be constructed, and disguises prepared, the delay provides Hornblower an opportunity for friendship and draws him into an illicit romantic encounter.
            With the arrival of spring, the three continue their journey to the sea.  At the French coast, Hornblower and his companions re-take Witch of Endor, an English cutter now in French hands.  Fighting through French defenses, the cutter gains the open sea and at last joins up with the British Channel Fleet.  Acquitted of any wrong-doing in having surrendered Sutherland, Hornblower arrives in England to be hailed as a hero.  He is rewarded with a knighthood, other honors, and the realization that finances are no longer an overriding problem.  The triumph of his return is marred by news of the death in childbirth of Maria, his wife, although that pain is eased somewhat by his reunion with the now widowed Lady Barbara.
            Once again Forester tells the complex story of a complicated individual in a very simple and straight forward fashion.  Throughout the story Hornblower is obsessed with Lady Barbara and yet feels guilty regarding his distaste for Admiral Leighton, her husband.  It is also plain that he does not love Maria who was expecting a child as he left England.  He reproaches himself with regards to the conception of that child, which on his part took place in a fit of despair at news of Barbara’s pending marriage to Leighton.  Yet, there are indications that had he returned and found Maria alive, he would have continued as her husband, putting aside his desire for Barbara.
            Marie adds a bit more complexity to Hornblower’s personal life.  To him, their affair is one of need and convenience.  She is there.  She is willing.  He simply takes advantage of the fact, and true to his character, chastises himself for doing so.
            Flying Colours was the third Hornblower book to be written, while in order of his life and career, it stands as number eight.  Once again, the fact that the books were written out of order causes some details to not fall into place.  Once again there is reference to Hornblower having been a lieutenant during the action with Castilla, while when actually described in Hornblower and the Atropos, he is already a post captain.  Near the end of the story, it is mentioned that he has held his present rank of post captain for eleven years.  Based on that and Hornblower and the Hotspur and Hornblower during the Crisis, Flying Colours would have taken place in late 1815 or 1816.  Yet, from information presented in Forester’s own The Hornblower Companion, this story occurred during the winter of 1810 and the spring of 1811.  That would have seen Hornblower advancing to post captaincy in 1800 or so, a time in which other works indicate he was a very junior lieutenant aboard a ship of the line in the West Indies.
            As is usual for Forester’s nautical works, there is a discrepancy with regard to technical matters.  Aboard the Witch of Endor, Hornblower mans one of the cutter’s six pounder guns to drive off French guard boats.  At times it is noted that he adjusts the gun’s elevation with the elevating screw, although at that point in history it would have been more likely that proper elevation was achieved by use of a wedge or quoin.
            In spite of this technical glitch and the disagreement of facts from those presented in Hornblower stories written later, Flying Colours is a very good and exciting book.  It provides a fitting end to the larger encompassing Captain Horatio Hornblower trilogy, and sets the stage for the stories detailing the remainder of Hornblower’s career.  This part of the overall three part story is glossed over in the 1951 movie starring Gregory Peck.  In no more than ten minutes, Hornblower, Bush, and Brown escape down river, capture the Witch of Endor and sail to England.
            Like the previous two books of this trilogy, the copy read for this review is a very early edition and contains copyright dates of 1938 and 1939.  No ISBN or pricing information is available.

As a side note to this... I am currently reading Patrick O'Brian's Blue at the Mizzen, the last published book in the Audrey/Maturin series.  At some point in the story they have encountered an American frigate, USS Delaware.  Coincidentally this is the name used by Forester in The Captain from Connecticut.  Interesting to speculate as whether this was supposed to be the same fictional vessel in the writings of two separate authors?  It should be noted that USS Delaware was in fact a 74 gun ship.

Sun, Oct. 2nd, 2016, 03:51 pm

Just watched the Seattle Mariners play their last game of the season.  Up to the very end, they and all their fans were hoping to make it into post season play.  Those aspirations fell by the way with the loss to Oakland last night.  Of course everyone was hoping for a win today, just to finish out the season on a positive note.  Disappointing though it was, the season as a whole was hugely successful.  They won more games than the lost, and they were in the hunt for a wild-card berth, right up to the next to the last day of the season.  I suppose now I'll be hoping to see the Chicago Cubs make it to the World Series and hopefully win... for the first time in over 100 years!

The first of the books I ordered last week at Auntie's Bookstore has arrived.  It's the one about Smartphones and Seniors.  Looks like it has a lot of good information in it.  I don't see it as something to sit and read, but rather it's a reference book, something I can go to if I need to find out something about my phone.

Lastly, Stormie, our Blue Quaker Parrot has discovered a new perch.  (I tried posting this on LJ yesterday via the phone, but it didn't seem to work out.)  And today I seem to not be able to upload the prerequisite pic from my files... the one showing Stormie sitting on top of my head!  I tried another pic as well, and it seems nothing wants to upload.  And, I've had to try a time or two to get the thing to post, even without pics.  One more try and let's see what happens.

10 most recent