Monday, January 31, 2011

The Event, and New Foots!

My local SCA group sponsored their annual winter event over the weekend, and a fine time was had by all. This one of two events the group sponsors every year. This a "collegium" event, with classes on various subjects, and is indoors because, well, it is winter. The event went well this year, was well attended, and featured a wonderful feast. We were graced with the presence of the Queen and Crown Princess of the kingdom. They held a court, and presented awards to several folks, including two of our own members - our own Corrin was presented with an Award of Arms, and is now Lady Corrin. In addition, my brother Conrad (known in the Society as Sean Oneill, was presented a Grant of Arms; he is now The Honorable Lord Sean Oneill, and will be addressed as "Your Lordship". All of this and $4 will get him coffee at Starbucks, but within our Society, is a well-deserved recognition of his hard work and dedication. Sandy and I arrived at about 8:30 Saturday morning, and by the time it all wound down at 8:30 that evening, I was toast; I barely had the energy to drive home, but a good time was had.
On another subject, Wednesday I went to the prosthetist to be evaluated for new sockets for the fake foots; my stumps have changed a good bit since I got these, and they are becoming difficult to use. The technology has changed a great deal in a few years. The practice in the years I have used these things has been to make a plaster cast of the stumps, and a blank made from those, then the sockets cast around those blanks, in a heavy, semi-polyethelene plastic. These days, to my surprise, an elastic sock was pulled over each stump, markings were made at the bottom of my kneecaps, and the stumps were laser-scanned! These scans will be fed into a computer, which will operate a miller to CNC a reproduction of the stumps,and a pair of plastic test sockets will be made, which I will wear for a week to make sure they are just right (this was not done before) and on my approval, new sockets will be made in carbon fiber, which will be lighter and stronger than the heavy white plastic ones that I now have. I am impressed. Since they will be thinner, and better-fitting at the top of the socket, they should be quite the advantage.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Even more Winter! [sigh]

Saturday, I wrote about the upcoming snow and ice. It did, in fact, arrive Sunday evening, with a twist. I live in a portion of the county which seems, because of topography, wind currents and limited sun exposure because of the aforementioned topography, always to be 2-4 degrees cooler than the rest of the county. This is more common than to be worth me mentioning it, but the past few days, it has become critical. We are far below average temperatures for the past few days, with high temps barely above the freezing point. Unfortunately, that leaves us in my neck of the woods with high temps at or below that magical freezing point. As I write this, the Birmingham airport is reporting 35F; at my house, it is 32. We are still frozen in! Sandy and I tried to get out to run some needed errands, and could not get either vehicle to the street. The snow cover got a bit soft yesterday in the sun, and last night, the 14F low froze it all solid. Now, instead of snow, we have solid ice. As an example of our little winter wonderland here, tomorrow every school in the entire county is open as usual - except for the four schools closest to my house, because the lingering arctic icing makes it too dangerous to run school busses, or in one case, to even get to the school! We will try again tomorrow; if the sun tries to make it a bit soft again, I will get out and try to shovel some tire track areas to the street. Neither Sandy or I are in any condition to get out shoveling, but we have a pharmacy run to be made. In the past week, we have had more snow than we have had in all the years since the Blizzard of '93. Is it time for spring yet?

Friday, January 7, 2011

So this is winter...

So this is winter. It appears that those of us in central Alabama will have two snowfalls this year; a front is due tomorrow night, and the computer models are pretty much agreeing on 2"-4" of snow, with some icing from freezing rain. Around these parts, that will be a major winter event. We average a trace of snow about every eight years, and as a result, the county and cities here have no snow plows, no spreader trucks to lay down cinders, etc. The semi-rural road that meanders out this way has a few places that, because of the topography, never get direct sun this time of year, so icing on those spots may remain for days. It may be entertaining. Sandy and I have no place to go until Tuesday, so we will just hibernate here and see what happens.
I have just finished replacing a failing alternator in my pickup, and outside it does not seem like winter storm potential - 61F and sunny, but with an aggrevating wind, right now reading 24mph from the WSW, and my weather station thingie shows a gust of 39mph a little while ago. We will see.
As to the alternator, what was 10 years ago a 30 minute job today took an hour and a half, and I had to sit and rest twice. Because of neuropathy, I have little feeling in my lower arms and hands, and kept dropping sockets and bolts and things, and I cut my arm somehow, which I did not realize until I saw a drop of blood fall on the fan housing. [sigh] Health problems are not for sissies...
OTOH, I now have a back-in-business pickup, and am relaxing inside, out of the wind, in my recliner, with a cup of good coffee on the end table next to me. It does not suck...