Another Vacation

Well, I’m back from another 5 day vacation. All in all it was fun, relaxing, and I got a surprising amount of stuff done this time.

I messed about with some Arduino programming, nothing awesome, just some more getting used to the IDE and my Arduino Uno. I’ve been looking at and studying a couple of intervalometer programs…I mean sketches…to see how I want to implement mine. Most of them seem overkill or to not offer what I want but two appear to be close to what I want and those are the two I’ve been messing with and reading through.

I replaced the valve cover gasket on my ‘93 Geo Tracker as the last replacement was leaking more after than before I replaced it. I also busted off the exact same filter I busted off last time the exact same way. That really is a bad place for that little plastic filter, it gets in the way of the mallet when I knock the cover loose. It was a lot easier to do this time around as I had a much better idea what needed to be done to remove the mass of aluminum from the air filter that’s across the valve cover to the intake on the opposite side of the block from the air filter. As to the busted filter, I glued it back on…again. 😀 So far, I’m not seeing oil leaking and the glued filter seems to be working just fine.

I also did some work on a webOS program that I’m supposed to have done by the end of the month. This is a training/skills enhancement for at work. I will have to talk to my boss about this based on what I found out that day. Right now I’m set up to study/work on the webOS program for an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The way I do things, that’s really not enough time to get back into it and get some real programming done. So, I think I’m going to talk to him about just making it a single two hour block instead. That way I can get started, get focused, and accomplish something.

I had to switch to programming in a web page instead of directly into the webOS environment. I knew what I needed to do, but was spending so much time trying to figure out where it had to be located to be “proper” webOS programming that I decided to just do the web page to test out the code and then move it into the webOS app. I got a whole lot done that way, all but the final user input of data. Frustratingly, though, I hit a math syntax problem. I have the formula and even when I bracket everything with parenthesis down to the simplest level I still get the wrong answer. I’ll figure it out, I know, but even after studying it for an hour and trying different parenthesis combinations I still can’t find the mistake. The formula works fine on my trusty HP 48 SX calculator so I know it’s correctly formatted. I’m going to break it out into four variables, one for each section of the overall formula, then combine them and see if that works. It better!

I also started studying the Elementary Go Series. The first book, In the Beginning, happily covers in what is for me great depth and detail what I see as my main weakness in Go: playing the opening. I don’t feel too bad, though, about that being my weak area as I discovered that even professionals may use the first day of a two day match just for the moves of an opening phase and the second day for the whole rest of the game. I’ve learned a few important points that really enhanced my understanding. I had an idea of the importance of the opening from my readings in the Learn To Play Go series but no understanding of how to utilize the opening phase. I knew what I needed to do, but I had no clear grasp of how to leverage those 361 points on the board. As good as the Learn To Play Go books are and as well as I understood what was being said, the Elementary Go Series actually made it much more clear for me. I’d recommend both these series for anyone starting Go. At this point, I’d suggest Learn To Play Go being read first for an overview with the Elementary Go Series as a followup with a deeper, more detailed focus. Strictly my opinion, folks — that’s what’s working for me.

Finally, I got to watch two movies that I’d been wanting to view for some time: The Go Master and Thor.

The Go Master is a 2006 biography about Go Master Wu Qingyuan, aka Go Seigen. Perhaps it’s my Western sensibilities, but I found it somewhat one dimensional. It has a lack of continuity, seemingly hopping from one incident in his life to a successive one. They may be turning point incidents but unless you know the person’s history, it doesn’t really tell you much about his full, turbulent life. Everyone’s acting is also very flat, to me flatter than some other Oriental movies that I’ve seen. The style of the movie is what I expect of an Oriental movie and there are some wonderful video shots but overall you definitely need to know at least the general story of Wu Qingyuan to get anything out of this movie.

Thor was fun. It was also very predictable. I had a minor objection before even watching it, but was willing to give it a chance: Heimdall. I was aware, going in, that a black person was playing Heimdall. Before you break out the pitchforks and torches, let me explain. I don’t care who plays what in any movie, but I do care about things that are so obviously “wrong” that they break the suspension of belief that lets you fall into a movie’s story. I love mythology and history, and that is where it jarred with me. Simply put, Heimdall should have been the same skin color as the people whose mythos he was part of. That’s all there is to it. It jarred me the same way that a white right hand man in a movie of Shaka Zulu would. It’s just not right, but that’s Hollywood for you…they’ve rarely ever care about being accurate. It might have been possible to merge Heimdall into the movie arc better so that you get used to him, but he’s the gatekeeper and you only meet him briefly a few times so he stands out every time. Oh, BTW, Sif’s hair is black and short, but that might be acceptable as being from before Loki cut it off and was later forced to replace her locks with long golden ones.

I’m glad to be back at work again, but that was a nice vacation.

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