Darling Spouse and azaer have an eclectic mix of friends, ranging from industrial workers to financiers and various flavours of politicians. Yesterday's adventure was mostly about industrial workers, at lest one of whom was (and still is, as far as we know) the mayor of the hamlet of Coombes, in Salishaan. He does double duty as worker and politician, thusly.
Photographs taken with Sony DSC-H90 electro-optical camera, as usual, on distant-focus setting. 'Point and shoot' is the order of the day..
[4610a/17.jpg] Spar tree and donkey-engines. The 'tree' is a large log, brought from about ten kilometres away, atop the western face of the Beaufort Range, about a metre in diameter at the butt end and thirty metres tall. We are not seeing all of its height, here, as we are more interested in the donkey-engines. In the foreground is the steam-powered engine, built by the Washington Iron Works in Seattle in 1928, and lovingly restored by the tradespeople at the Industrial Heritage Society. Steam-engines much like this machine worked all the way up and down the western coastal rainforests of Cascadia, during the first half of the XXth century. The engine's boiler is mounted vertically above its firebox, and it powers wire-rope winch drums via horizontal pistons and connecting-rods. The engine's fuel is wood. It takes about two hours to raise enough steam to do useful work (150 pounds/inch to work the winch drums, but only 75 pounds/inch to blow the whistle).
The red tank contains fire-fighting water, pressurised by a steam-driven air-compressor. The engine rides on two very stout skids made of bevel-ended cedar logs, which in turn are balanced on a pair of concrete-filled steel pipes. The roof is made of rust-streaked sheets of corrugated iron. Barely visible in the orange vest is Ken Fyfe, the steam-engineer who minds the fire and the steam. Ken (a good old friend and former neighbour of ours) is proud of the quality of the steam that he can raise: 'smooth, with no lumps in it'. Lumpy steam is not a good thing.
In the distance between the spar tree and the donkey-engine, can be seen another engine, also sitting on wooden skids but positioned at a ninety-degree angle to the steam-engine. This second engine runs the spar-tree's 'hayrack boom', the horizontal assembly of bolted-together smaller logs and cut-off railway rails, which slews back and forth to load logs by means of a pair of tongs.
The loading engine is powered by a V-8 Ford petrol-powered engine, termed by the loggers as a 'gas fake' (because when it was first adopted for use in the 1930s, this sort of petrol-driven engine was not regarded to be as useful as a 'real' steam-driven engine). The gas fake is certainly not as powerful as the steam-donkey, but it is much nimbler and responsive to its driver's commands, so it is well-suited to running the hayrack loader.
[4614a/17.jpg] Kahvi aika! Here we see Ken Fyfe's steam-powered coffee-pot. Back in the day, the steam-engineer was a popular fellow to visit on a rainy day, because the donkey had a roof over it, the firebox gave off welcome warmth, and the engineer could be counted-upon to have hot coffee. Steam-powered coffee is wholly excellent to the taste, as we know from direct experience thanks to Ken being willing to share a cuppa with us.
Note the control valve on the steam line, and the narrow diameter of the copper tube that carries the high-pressure steam into the coffee-pot.
[4623a/17.jpg] The 'gas fake'. Bill (we didn't catch his surname, but we noticed his bright blue trousers) has to be part-octopus, for his hands and feet are wholly-occupied with driving the motor and controlling the winch drums. The gas fake has a standard clutch-and-stick transmission, an accelerator pedal, and drum-mounted brake bands for each of the winches. The engine is by no means as powerful as the steam-donkey, but it can handily change the direction of the winches, to work the hayrack boom back and forth. One of the two winches pulls the boom towards the gas fake, while the other winch works the loading-tongs. "So, how does the gas fake work the boom in the other direction?". It doesn't. Instead, a large cut-off piece of a big log, called a 'chunk', acts as a counterweight to slew the boom outward.
[4620a/17.jpg] Hooking. 'Hooker' is a legitimate occupational title on our electoral rolls. Properly, it's 'hooktender', but 'hooker' is more to the point. The hooker hooks the logs with a pair of sharp metal tongs, so-arranged as to bit into the log when they are lifted by the gas-fake's loading-winch. Metal tongs are dangerous and cantankerous implements: they fail to stick when they should stick, and they refuse to unstick when they shouldn't stick.
The hooker sets the tongs, and then he leaps out of the way, in case the tongs fail to hold the log.
These are 'tame' logs; our logger friends have been using them over and over again for ten years, as the unnamed characters in their demonstrations. The bark long since fell off these logs, which does make it more likely that the tongs will gain a good hold on the logs.
[4626a/17.jpg] Loading. Here's the log drawn-up against the heel of the hayrack boom, now swinging around sideways towards the waiting logging-truck. That's probably 2000 kilos of wood flying through the air.
The truck was built by the Hayes Truck Company (out of Vancouver, now defunct) in 1956. It is sized for 'off-highway' loads, 4.5 metres wide and 4.5 metres tall, 100 tonnes' weight. The length of the trailer is adjustable to allow for carriage of longer logs, up to 30 metres' length. The trucks were so well-built, that the Hayes Company went out of business on account of fewer loggers needing to buy replacements for worn-out trucks. Old Hayes trucks are still working the mountains of Salishaan sixty years later.
[4631a/17/jpg] Unsticking. Those darned tongs! Won't come loose when you want them to. Here we see the aggravated hooker whaling away on the tongs with the back end of his log-marking hammer. One face of the hammer is just an ordinary square steel lump, suitable for clobbering things, whereas the 'business end' of the hammer is carved into letters and numbers for stamping ownership-marks into the ends of logs. That's how log-salvagers can figure out how drifted-away logs can get back to their owners, should a log-raft be caught in a storm.
This also gives you a nice view of how the bottom of the hayrack is armoured with railway-rails.
By way of explanation, the logging 'show' is led by another old friend of ours, Jack James. We first met Jack while working with a drilling crew (part of a coal-mining company), drilling exploratory holes atop a mountain whose forests were owned by the logging company for which Jack worked. Jack was a genial host to us that summer (Darling Spouse visited there, too, for a few weeks, so she got to meet Jack and his loggers, along with Doug and all the other drillers). There we all were on the side of a mountain, redolant with the odours of pitch, sawdust, and turpentime.
Jack is eighty-five years old, now. He's happy to teach the 'young pups' (sixty-five years old, and themselves retired from logging) how to run the wood out from the forest, the steam-powered way. Because of the long hot summer and its wildfire dangers, Jack had little chance to lead his crew this year. The Forest Service gave special permission for yesterday's demonstration work, on account of most of the attendees being vistors on a forestry tour from Sweden. It was quite the day, indeed. Swedish visitors notwithstanding, that was good Finnish coffee in Ken Fyfe's steam-powered coffee-pot. Kahvi aika, indeed.
2. I am very slowly beginning to tackle the backlog of Stuff I Kept Putting Off While Studying; this week has been all about the clothes / fabric. I have assorted piles of worn-out clothes and out-grown clothes accumulating around my room. I pulled out all the actually worn-out stuff, and bagged that up to go to recycling. I bagged up two sets of bedding we never use for the charity shop. I bought myself some underwear that doesn't have holes in, and added all the ones that did to the recycling bags, along with my oldest & least useful bras. I sorted through my socks, and chucked a good few pairs in the recycling bags, and a few others into the charity bag. Finally I ended up sorting through my stash of pretty scarves and wraps and kept only the ones that I really love and may actually wear more than once a year. (I sort of aspire to be someone who routinely wears pretty scarves etc but in practice I am never that put-together very often.)
3. I took the charity bag to the EACH shop, and came back with a very shiny pair of not!DMs and a metallic blue stripey hat. (Amusingly, I had been whinging this week about needing new shoes for winter, and hating shoe shopping, so that was very well timed.)
4. Last Saturday I watched Robocop with fanf . He was inspired by this post (linked by andrewducker ), and I'd never previously watched it - not on purpose, just never got round to it. It's very very Paul Verhoeven isn't it? Gratuitious mixed-sex shower scene, gory violence, horrible-future-media & horrible-future-adverts. Although my reaction to the project manager with the huge glasses was a. love those glasses b. you are really enjoying imagining watsisface having his hand broken c. please tell me watsisface dies horribly after forcing a kiss on you and taking credit for your work (spoiler - he does). Watsisface really is a walking example of the unwarranted confidence of the mediocre white man.
5. Nicholas saw Trolls at holiday/after school clubs and asked for his own copy. It's not awful, and I like the music, but after sitting through it with him three times in less than a week, I think I have had enough of it for now. The trailers on it include Home (based on The True Meaning of Smekday) which I've been meaning to watch, and Nicholas is keen to do so too, so hopefully I'll enjoy that more.
New (to me) TV:
Midnight Texas 1x09 & 1x10
Atlanta 1x01 - 1x05
Iron Fist 1x02
The Mindy Project 6x02
The Good Place 2x01 & 2x02
The Orville 1x01 - 1x03
Agents of SHIELD
I’m really glad that Midnight Texas is done (for now at least). I’m not sure how much more of it I could take. I did start out enjoying it a fair amount, but by half way through I was just about done. By episode 9 I was so done, but with only one more episode to go, it seemed silly to stop there.
Hulu finally has Atlanta. It is really good. Different and good. I like Donald Glover anyways, and this is very well done.
Iron Fist: Yes, I’m continuing to slog through this for some reason.
I borrowed Gracepoint from the library, but after seeing Broadchurch, Gracepoint just didn’t work for me and what was really the point when I’d already watched the original?
I’m really only still watching The Mindy Project because it’s the last season.
I already wrote about The Good Place here. [SPOILERS]
I’m really enjoying The Orville. I didn’t think I would, but I do. The first episode was a bit weak and uneven, but the second and third episodes were better. I’ll keep with this for now :)
I’m almost done with my Leverage Re-Watch. I’m watching the finale today. I love this show. I’m tempted to start again at the beginning when I’m done. It’s a major comfort watch for me, and I’ve really been needing that lately.
Sea Otter Awareness Week falls on the last week in September and is an annual recognition of the vital role that sea otters play in the nearshore ecosystem. Each year, zoos, aquariums, natural history museums, marine institutions, filmmakers, researchers, academics, educators, and the public participate in various events and activities highlighting sea otters and their natural history and the various conservation issues sea otters are faced with.
Events are being held all over the U.S. and in Vancouver, Canada; Brest, France; Lisbon, Portugal; and Denmark! Click here to find one near you!
Above photo via mayuniu
How has your week been?
Housekeeping (the usual stuff)
Reminder that we have a suggestion post if there’s a topic that you’d like to see discussed but would like to ask the mods to look into. This can be anything from general information, or a how-to-do-a-thing, or something you may want to discuss as a community. Folks are welcome to post directly to the comm as always, but if you’re not comfortable/don’t have spoons, we can help too.
As we don't always get the time to pull things out of the suggestions post into their own separate posts, it may be worth checking every week (or tracking the post) to see if there's any new information you're interested in.
Also if you need help with tags, PM redbird, who is our tag guru. Both tassosss and I are very grateful for the help.
Links for how to help with the relief efforts for Irma and Maria
For lots of links for hurricane relief for Harvey, see the check-in post from two weeks ago
Another Obamacare repeal attempt is afoot
Other ongoing actions and activities
Hope not Hate launches US site Includes some links to the amazing project by the UK organisation involving an undercover reporter infiltrating the alt-right.
Find or sign up to host an event to support National Voter Registration Day on September 26
Events to prevent a Muslim Ban leading to an rally in Washington on October 10
DACA: Defend DACA is the place to go.
Women's Convention Detroit October 27-29
Find every election you're eligible to vote in with the EveryElection app
So, what have you all been up to in the last week or are planning to get involved in next week?
This week, I...
called my one senator
called my other senator
called my representative
called my governor
called my state reps
sent a postcard/email/letter/fax
attended a town hall
donated money to a cause
attended an in-person activist group
participated in phone/online training
went to a protest
signed up for alerts
took care of myself
not a US citizen but worked in solidarity in my own community
did something else
committed to action in the coming week
Getting a horse for Christmas when I was 11. Penny and I were soul-friends and I had so many good times with her. Here is a photo of us the next summer: https://flic.kr/p/63nL6f
2. What's the saddest thing to ever happen to you?
Maybe when my 2 best friends broke up with me when we were 11-ish (6th grade). In therapy, I determined this to be a watershed event for learning to shut down my emotions; and also the ringleader probably sensed something gay about me, and that is why she decided to stop talking to me. Also, the way they did it! They just stopped talking to me one day. I was bewildered more than anything.
3. What's the thing that got you the most angry in your life?
Probably at a therapist. I was about a day or two into a hypo-manic episode (?) after coming out and I thought she could help me. She didn't. I did write about it at the time http://sasha-feather.dreamwidth.org/
I got so angry about the Vivid Con ableism stuff in 2010 that I made myself ill. But, that anger has faded. I don't really feel it anymore.
I didn't get angry a lot before I came out; and then I was angry *all the time*; it seems better now a few years on.
4. What's the most frightening thing to ever happen to you?
Scary situations don't really "happen to me" so much as arise from my anxiety. I have gotten super anxious in totally mundane situations. It seemed like the only way out of the problem was to speak, and I was so anxious I could not speak, so I was stuck and frozen. Also, I didn't know why this was happening. Everyone else seemed to have no problem in these ordinary situations, like speaking to a teacher or knocking on a door. Then having random panic attacks sent me to therapy.
In a more traditional sense of frightening-- there was some scary-to-outsiders stuff with the horses, like getting bucked off. But it never seemed scary to me. Animals are easier than people, and that basic fear is easier to deal with than anxiety.
5. What's the most unbelievable thing to happen to you in your life?
a. Getting scholarships that paid for my college education
b. Getting a horse for Christmas!!!11!1!!!
c. Not realizing I was queer until age mumblety
d. getting facial pain that has no real diagnosis
e. Being on the State Champion poutlry quiz bowl team!
At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: "degenerate" works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world's great art from the Nazis.
It's the book the movie was based on. I really wanted to see the move, but couldn't get past my dislike of movies with George Clooney and/or Matt Damon.
A note about the movie: Among those leaked e-mails from Sony studios was one from Clooney (who directed as well as acted) apologizing for the movie not doing very well. My brother saw it on one of those "entertainment news" shows where they tried to make it seem like it was a bad thing, but my brother said: "If anything, it makes him seem like an even nicer guy than you hear about. that whole "gentleman George" thing,"
The book was interesting, if long & is one of those forgotten stories of World War 2 that more people should know about it. To that end, they have an official site about the real men (& women) behind the story. And there's a monuments men foundation to help preserve art that is in danger from armed conflicts today. they are also looking for info on missing cultural objects from WW2 & other wars.
I've read several books about little known or forgotten people & stories of WW2 & am convinced that if a movie studio just did movies about them, they could put out movies for at least a decade.
My first attempt was the Malai Chickpea Dumplings. The recipes have a few amounts or ingredients left deliberately vague. "Indian spice blend," for example, or "fresh ginger" without a quantity. I went with 2 tsp. garam masala plus 1/8 tsp. turmeric and 1/16 tsp. cayenne for the spice blend. I used 1 1/2 Tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger. I also used about 1/4 c. parsley as a sub for the cilantro (we hates it, precious). And I used 1 can of light coconut milk + 1 can of regular coconut milk because holy calories, Batman!
The sauce was rich, creamy, mildly spicy, and pretty darn good. Two thumbs up for an Indian vegan recipe that has that particularly Indian blend of spice and buttery mouthfeel. BUT. The chickpea dumplings basically dissolved in the sauce. They were not very dumplingy at all. Maybe I did not make them large enough or cook them hot enough? I don't know. Also, the pilaf was a disappointment. Turns out that if you dump almonds and raisins into cooked white rice, it tastes like that's all you did.
There was SO MUCH DRAMA at the dinner table because the kids wanted plain white rice, which was not available. Curries are usually a thing that works to feed the kids in my house, but this didn't work. It might if I also made plain white rice and offered the option of having the rice and curry in a chapati, burrito-style.
Vegan yogurt is really expensive. It takes much longer than you might think to make chickpea flour in a food processor. Spinach sauteed in olive oil with a little bit of onion and salt and pepper ends up tasting pretty good! (Even if it contributed to the SO MUCH DRAMA from the kids.)
Might make the sauce again, but it's too calorie-heavy to be a regular meal and the dumplings and pilaf are a no-go.P.S. Malai means 'cream', if you were wondering!
Picture from Purple Carrot
Free one-card readings are still available, as are longer readings. Tips are always welcome! So are signal boosts.
I'm doing the readings over here on Dreamwidth.
I had cause to pull this off the shelf the other day in order to write a Tides of Time article. I'm sure Perfect Timing wasn't the first Dr Who charity fanfiction anthology but it was the first of a new wave that started during the "wilderness years" when the line between fan and professional Dr Who fiction was particularly blurred. Perfect Timing 2, obviously, was its follow up and charity fanfiction anthologies, as far as I can tell, have continued to be published on a regular basis ever since.