Re-re-opening a bit late

I meant to write a post on California’s re-re-opening day, June 15, and I collected a bunch of images, and then I didn’t write the post. I just want to say that while the state’s re-opened, and things are starting to feel normal, I’m not allowed back at work and won’t be until sometime in September. It’s a NASA thing. And I also need to note that while California’s passing 70% vaccinated, much of the Old Confederacy is sub-40%, so the pandemic’s not even done in the US, let alone the rest of the world.

I still haven’t finished making the pandemic house blog. We decided to redesign to reduce the amount of dirt-and-rock moving by attaching the garage and moving the house to the West setback line. Design’s not fully re-integrated yet.

Threadbare Posting

It’s been over a month since the last post. Unfortunately–to a degree, anyway!–completion of vaccination led straight back to insane travel schedules. We did a twice-postponed wedding in Cincinnati, then drove 15 hours to New Hampshire to visit my parents. Then we flew back to California. . .and I flew back to New Hampshire less than a week later. I came back to help get my father some in-home care. He’s not aging well. I’ll return to Cali next week.

The pandemic collapse in Los Angeles County has been breathtaking. Half the state’s now at least partly vaccinated.

LA Times.

The CDC has lifted the mask guidelines for fully vaccinated people. Since we know the Trumpist anti-maskers are also anti-vaxxers, though, I expect we’ll see it continue to spread among them.

Unfortunately the vaccination rate is plunging, too, and not just in California.

The Mate finally bought herself a new truckosaur: a 2021 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. Another blow to my carbon footprint.

There’s not much news on the house-building front. We’ve finalized the concept and have been trying to get bids on the engineering. We’ve had good responses to the energy design requests; less good on the structure. Construction supply costs have been soaring, though–wood has more than tripled in price. So delay might be good!

My own modeling of the house shows very good performance. A 10 kw array should run everything, including powering the Tesla, according to the DOE’s Building Optimization model. Unless I’ve made a big mistake!

We’re planning our usual anniversary trip to Mammoth for the end of this month.

UPDATE: I can’t believe I didn’t blog about the first launch in 2021, on April 10th. Flew the Nike Smoke. There were only about a hundred people there.

Pfizer Pain

Can’t remember if I already blogged this but I got 2nd Pfizer vaccine on Saturday. Initial response was sore arm, passed by Monday. But. . .vaccination seems to have set triggered lower back and left leg nerve pain. Since Monday, I’ve just been on fire. It’s super distracting and so far not getting better. Not fun.

We did the Mate’s birthday dinner Tuesday outdoor at the Raymond, and tonight another friend’s birthday tonight at Luggage Room. It’s nice to be able to see people again. Planning to visit the (fully vaccinated!) parents later this month.

Launches resume this month, too. I’m planning to go unless my leg keeps misbehaving. I’m planning on flying the Nike Smoke finally.

April 5 update: the leg pain is shingles. The rash appeared on the 3rd. Still a big ouch.

May 14 update: Valtrex knocked the shingles out in a week. Pain mostly gone in 3 weeks. Rash is still visible, but well below the surface of the skin.


Yesterday I got my second Pfizer dose at The Forum megapod. Very fast. We were in and out in 19 minutes. Arm is sore and some of my various aches and pains are worse than usual. I think Pfizer is a pain amplifier.

Planning on heading out to visit parents at the end of April. We’re all vaccinated now. I was actually the last one in the family.

I couldn’t face staring at this computer all day again so I spent the day doing chores and other puttering instead. I hope to still get Jed’s book out the door this week. I’m waiting on others now to finish.

Suddenly busy social life–brunch with David and Monique at the Ath yesterday morning; birthday dinner for the Mate on Tuesday evening at the Raymond; another birthday dinner for Sifling on Friday. All outdoors–we’re not willing to do indoor dining yet. A few more weeks maybe.

Running on Empty

Back on March 6th, I wanted to write about the ever-changing vaccination rules, but two weeks later this seems unimportant. The Biden administration has used the Defense Production Act to accelerate manufacturing HUGELY, and we’re back to having a backlog of doses vs capacity to inject them. Cali’s over 14 million first doses, and the infection rate here is still declining (though other states are not so well off).

Things feel over here, but it’s not. There’s still a possibility of another wave; lots of stuff is still very restricted (we’re in the Red tier, which means 25% capacity on indoor stuff, etc.) But it really does feel like the pandemic’s ending. We’ll see if it actually is.

I’ve been putting all my “free” time into finishing the two book manuscripts. I plan to get Jed’s electrical manuscript out on the 30th. I’ve got two more things to do on the Magic manuscript, but we’ve got the students doing all the notes. Hopefully we’ll get it out to the press at the end of April.

We’ve gotten the third iteration of plans for Area 52 this morning. I need to get the house blog going but I haven’t had time (and i find this web stuff infuriating anyway). But last trip up Lia found a good spot for conventional septic (right behind the garage, unfortunately), so that’s a big advance. Here’s what iteration 3 looks like. We’ll have the great room slightly expanded south, and an entrance/mudroom added on the west end.

My Huntington long-term fellows group held a Zoom reunion last week. It was very fun. Two babies born in the pandemic, and unfortunately two assaults on two of our Asian fellows. Anti-Asian violence is way up right now due to the horrid ex-president’s white supremacy. There was also a massacre of 8 people in a set of massage parlors in Georgia last week by a white guy. WTF is wrong with people. Anyway, I feel like I have to participate with this group more somehow.

I found a cool thing in No Man’s Sky last night. Hadn’t logged in for a month. It’s the grave of a great sea monster, supposedly.

Things changing fast now

LA County reaches the Red Tier tomorrow. ROC will resume launches in April. Vaccination delivery is soaring. . .it’s almost amazing.

We spent the weekend in Mammoth, drove back today. Found a good septic spot Friday, skiied Saturday, hauled back to ‘Dena today. Was a good weekend all around. Now I have way too much to do to make it through the next 3 weeks of March.

Today’s my One Year Anniversary

Of Pandemic Lockdown.

This is the day I returned from Friday Harbor, Washington, in 2020, and began my 14 day quarantine from JPL due to travel restrictions then in place. We were all booted out on mandatory “work from home” by the time my quarantine expired.

I’ve been there twice since.

(Sigh. This was supposed to post on March 7th.)

First long power outage of my Powerwall era

So SCE had a scheduled outage starting last night, and supposedly ending at 8AM this morning. Power actually restored 16 hours, 17 minutes later. Finally got to see how the Powerwalls + Solar PV + solar thermal worked.

Ended the day with no issues, Powerwalls fully charged, PV generated 25 kWh, thermal collector got the tank over 115F without help from the (offline) electric heaters, and I even squeezed a couple of kWh into the Model 3. Not bad for a February day.

Holy Crap!

Today we did release the EDL video. It’s amazing.

There’s a high-res, no commentary version too.


I’m glad for them this all went so perfectly. They really worked hard to pull this off in an absolute shit year.