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The Sea Wasp (Ryk E. Spoor)
 
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Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Time Event
10:45a
Thanks...
... for all the kind wishes. I'm hoping to see some improvement by today sometime.

I was taught a clear lesson on just how debilitating pneumonia is yesterday. I made my potato salad yesterday.

Now, I carefully planned this out; I distributed the work over the course of many hours, so I would not spend lots of time standing and working, etc. And while it's something of a chore, it's not THAT hard to do. You boil and peel a couple dozen eggs, you peel, cut, and boil a bunch of potatoes, you cut up red pepper and green onion (and the latter I already had cut up). Then when it's all done and chilled, you mix it together with mayo, mustard and in my case Inner Beauty hot sauce, and that's it.

I started work on it off and on through the day at about 9:30 and finished about 6:30pm, so about nine hours to make one dish.

It still TOTALLY exhausted me, leaving me so beat that I could barely crawl up the stairs.

I must now take this thing deadly (and I mean that literally) seriously. I'll go to the 4th of July cookout we traditionally attend, but no cooking for me, just sitting in the shade, sipping drinks, and watching everyone else work.
11:26a
My puzzlement about the Oil Gusher...
( I say "gusher" because "leak" sounds so puny)

It would seem to me that there is a fairly simple (in the sense of "if I had many millions of dollars, desperation, and the resources to make it happen, this is a lot easier than a lot of other approaches) method to not stop, but nearly completely contain, this gusher.

Clearly the problem isn't getting some kind of pipe down to the area in question; they've done that multiple times. So let's envision getting a pipe very near to the wellhead. From the pipe, a short (relatively) section of flexible pipe, and at the end of that, a wide bell-shaped section of flexible material.

At the top of the pipe, a very powerful pump capable of pumping more volume per second than is emerging from the wellhead.

Start pump running and get bell-shaped section over the wellhead. Maneuver until reasonably centered and then let it drop.

Flexible section is suddenly drawn in to adhere to the wellhead and all surrounding material by the suction. The oil is drawn up the pipe, mixed with some amount of water that leaks in from the not-perfect seal.

Have on station two tankers or processing boats which can handle the volume such that when one is sitting there catching the 90% oil, the other is taking its full self to some location where it can be unloaded and processed, then come back in time to relieve the first one.

The flexible pipe and bell should be relatively cheap and easy to replace, so that if the combination of oil and seawater erode it, they can be replaced easily.

The basic principle should be clear for anyone who's used a vacuum cleaner and had it suddenly get stuck on a curtain. It's not particularly ELEGANT, it's a patch job, but it should WORK. You shouldn't have to be pumping against the pressure of the ocean -- you take the water off the top of the column, the volume is mostly replaced by the welling oil, etc., so you don't need some incredible super-pump that manages a hundred atmospheres of pressure or something.
11:37p
OBLIVION: Elder Scrolls IV for PS3...


First, a surprised but gratified thank you to my Loyal Lieutenant shana for sending this to me after she heard of my SECOND nasty infection of the week (now that the week is OVER I can at least be sure there won't be a third one for that week!), and more so for sending it super-duper special delivery so that it was delivered TODAY. Yes, on the Fourth of July, SUNDAY. I wonder if she paid more for the game, or more for the delivery...

In any case, I did get in some play time on this while otherwise doing very little except for spending a few hours doing very little but talking at my friend Eric's traditional July 4 picnic (at which I did NOT do my usual grilling services).

So far it seems very good indeed; hearing Patrick Stewart's voice as the first thing in an opening narration certainly is a good omen.

I'm not used to the first-person approach yet; the problem with it is that one then has to coordinate turning and moving and listening for things like combat, or you'll have some giant rat kill you from behind.

The only problems I've encountered have been either failures on the part of the tutorial -- which seems to be willing to assume a bit more knowledge or experience with these sorts of games than I have -- or on the part of my brain which isn't grasping the instructions properly. It appears I'm SUPPOSED to be able to just choose my destination on the map and go there without walking or renting a horse or whatever, but I can't even really figure out how to scroll the map or what it represents. I'm not sure how I'll handle a real fight with, well, multiple people or creatures -- they move faster than my sluggish reflexes and perceptions really can manage in the game context (in real life, I wouldn't have to think about how to aim, how to move, how NOT to get turned around and staring in the wrong direction as something gnawed on my leg, etc.)

I'm puzzled by some of the other techniques -- making potions and such; they list ingredients with effects but don't seem to actually produce the effects the ingredients say, and seem to REQUIRE the potions be made with four ingredients, rather than just using one ingredient for that ingredient's effect.

I'm also unclear on how I'll "level up". I've created a character class that's basically an Adventurer -- somewhat more magical than fighter (light armor and blade skill, but several magical skills plus whatever the talking skill is) and I've done a lot of magic stuff. Do I have to use each and every skill that was key for the character in order to level up? How can I tell?

Anyway, it seems fun, the imagery is rich, the controls are actually very well done, and hopefully I'll get the hang of it soon. Unfortunately, they don't have "Intelligent Toad" as a character race.

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