Return to Gilroy:

One of the joys of living like vagabonds is the ability to change locations quickly. The weather in western Oregon was turning downright cold and damp. One morning recently I went to get something out of the shop trailer and I perchance looked at my lathe and behold it had taken on a distinct red hue. My tools are rusting away before my eyes; Oh the shame of it. A sheet of 600 grit sandpaper and some oil put things right, but it is time to seek a warmer and dryer climate. Read More »

Family Legends

In the big inning there was the typewriter and gelatin transfer mimeo. In that era Judy and I were the leaders of a square dance group called the “Sage Hoppers.” I produced the monthly news letter on “spirit transfer stencils” and a tray of transfer gelatin. Believe it or not, the product is still out there. I Googled it and was directed to a tattoo supply company. The product is used to transfer designs to the skin to guide the creation of the tattoo.

Next came the ham radio and QSL cards for spreading the words. I sold my ham radio intending to buy a better one but instead purchased a CompuColor II computer based on the intel 8080A CPU and 32 kilobytes of memory. With a 300 baud modem we could have posted notes on the popular bulletin boards of the day but that was not exciting to us. Glen and I were both learning to program in Basic and Assembly languages. We were computer geeks with a capital ‘G.’ Read More »

The Salty Geek

Geek: Definition from Wikipedia; “The word geek is a slang term, noting individuals as ‘a peculiar or otherwise odd person, especially one who is perceived to be overly obsessed with one or more things including those of intellectuality, electronics, etc.'”

Salty: As in pertaining to a person associated with the salty seas. Perhaps an “Old Salt,” indicating a crusty old individual who has been too many years at sea, (perhaps even adrift.)

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Something New:

We survived the cold snap. The weather warmed up again but then tonight we are expecting another cold one. This one is expected to be short lived.

We are now in Abilene. No not Texas, but Kansas. It is about 80 miles west of Topeka. It is famous for one of its sons, President Dwight Eisenhower. We will be exploring his Library tomorrow and probably a couple other museums also. We have learned the Kansas can be windy. Arcturus was a real handful with gusty north winds blowing across I-70 today. Read More »

The Science Fair Project

Headline: Three generations of the Dinsmore family work together in the name of science.

Question: How many mad scientists does it take to find out if different sized balls fall at the same speed?
Answer: In our case three plus lots of mismatched technology.

Our grandson, Patrick, is doing his science fair project over the mid winter break. He chose as his hypothesis that different sized balls fall at the same speed because of gravity. Now he has to prove it. Grandfather, Son and Grandson all put on their thinking caps and started tossing around ideas about how we could measure the effect. The stopwatch was quickly ruled out; none of us could time it that precisely. The grandfather person reminisced about physics class and a super accurate spark timing device that burned holes in a strip of adding machine tape attached to the falling weight. Alas and alack the technology was not available to us. Next we tried the digital camera that can take short video clips. That brought us to an interesting new problem; modern technology is too smart. To save space the camera only records a new picture when it notices something has changed. We discovered the camera only recorded a new photo every second or third frame. We tried to fool the camera by placing a floor fan in the field and putting a strip of duct tape on one blade. The fan was too speedy even at the slowest speed. Ah Ha there is a ceiling fan in the master bedroom. We briefly thought about removing the fan and jury-rigging it on the living room floor and supplying the electricity by poking the wires into the socket of the drop cord. Then we pictured in our minds eye the Mother-person arriving home and noticing her beloved fan wopping away in the middle of the living room floor and decided against that option. Well being the skilled scientific thinking team that we are, we hit upon the ingenious plan of bringing an image of the fan to the experiment. Soon there was a mirror propped in the stairway and a sheet of red paper taped to one blade of the fan. By now the living room looked like a cyclone had struck. We had the furniture pushed back to make a safe landing zone. Patrick was stationed at the landing at the top of the stairway. Grandpa was cameraman and Dad was retrieving balls and tossing them back up the stairs.

When the gals returned to the scene we were starting to get the furniture back in place and Patrick was busy counting frames on the computer. He was able to find out that the camera records 25 frames as the stopwatch changes by one second, and the ball falls sixteen feet from the banister of the stairway in about 25 frames. So far the team has not repealed the law of gravity, but we do know that it comes in jumps and starts. Pictures never lie. Isn’t modern technology wonderful?

Judy and I send you greetings from frosty Gilroy California, where we are visiting Glen and Barb and their three sons, Cody, Patrick and Bryce.

Love to all, Gary and Judy.

P.S. Today is our forty first anniversary. We have spent the last year and a half in a thirty four foot RV and we are still together and loving every minute.

We do have to end on a sad note, however. Judy’s brother, Lloyd Starr, passed away in Sequim Washington Saturday, February 18, 2006. He continued to enjoy life to the end, in spite of limitations that emphysema put on him. He enjoyed hand creating model trucks and construction equipment from wood. He is survived by his three sisters, Sonja, Genaveve and Judy and their families.

Gary

Patrick Tests His Hypothesis

Patrick Tests the Theory of Gravity, See Mirror on stairs.

Long Ago, Far Far Away:

We both grew up in the Spokane Washington area. I went to John Rogers and Judy went to Mead High School. Here we are 45 years later, and out in the middle of North Carolina we have been having a Rogers class of 1960 class reunion. Two of my good buddies from school live or work in the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina. As we drew close we made contact and for the last four days we have been reliving all of the old pranks and science experiments that we together conducted “Long Ago, and Far, Far Away.” Read More »