February 22, 2003
Rechargeable Battery Info

A great guide to rechargeable batteries:


Posted by jk at 03:56 PM
February 19, 2003
Cases of Champagne?

How many cases of Champagne, er, California sparking white wine, can you fit in a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee?

Quite a few, it turns out.

The forklift operator at Chandon didn't think that 0.47 pallets would fit. Heh. That's down to only 17 cases in our recession-based reality. I easily fit 21 cases last year, plus a co-pilot. And a full tank of gas. Plus we both had a big lunch at Jeanty's.

Once you fold down the seat, you can fit 13 cases of wine on the floor of the Grand Cherokee with the small-sized spare tire, and the rear seats still installed. You can then add a second layer of 14, maybe 15 more cases. You'll need a strap to bridge the gap between the two rear-headrests. Without some restraint, the two or three cases in between the headrests will immediately slide onto the central console. Just strap the first eight or nine cases together and it'll be fine. A set of 4 box corners wouldn't hurt, otherwise the strap will crush the case corners.

If you were desperate, you could stash one case in the passenger foot well, and two on the passenger seat, and you'd be up to 30 cases of wine. Take out the spare tire, and, well, you might be able to get in three more cases for a ludicrous total of 33 cases of wine.

Now, a case of Champagne, er, California sparkling white wine, weighs about 47 pounds. 17 cases was only 800 lbs, and the change in the Jeep's angle of attack (down in back, up in front) was a noticeable. At 33 cases, even with more weight forward, yer looking at 1,551 extra pounds on your long-throw suspension. Stopping distances are harrowing enough at 17 to 21 cases. Don't fill the gas tank and make things worse.

Posted by jk at 06:07 PM
February 10, 2003
France. Feh.

You go Tom.

The French aren't coming up with any solutions, just more problems.


Posted by jk at 07:45 AM
February 09, 2003
A Whale in San Francisco Bay

Sailing out of San Francisco's South Beach harbor today, just off PacBell Park, I saw a whale. Well, not all of a whale. Not even its tail. Just the body of the whale. Twice.

We were quiet, making just 3.5-4 knots on a 10 knot true breeze. I had brief thoughts of this big mammal accidentally coming up beneath the little 27' Catalina and knocking us down. Would a whale even know that we were cruising just above? Would it duck when it scraped the keel? Would the keel shear at the hull, or would we pitchpole? Brief insane thoughts.

It is strange, disquieting and awesome, in the pure sense, to see a wild animal so large, so close, and without warning. More so, I think, to spot one in a familiar location. It's hard to think of waters just in the shadow of a baseball park, a big downtown and a major bridge are wild habitat that can conceal such a large creature.

The current was just at max flood (er, the tide was 'coming in' as people say, nonsensically) at the time of our spotting. However, the whale was heading north to the central bay, the route to the open ocean and Mexico. Bucking the tide was, perhaps, a good sign. A bummer was that the subsequent low tide was a freak, falling only about a foot. The current would be quite weak, offering a scant clue to the location of the Golden Gate. Hopefully whales don't do much navigation based on current.

I hope the whale finds its way out to the open sea.

Posted by jk at 09:57 PM
February 07, 2003
Tahoe Snow, Feb 2-5

At the moment, the snow on the ski slopes in Tahoe is about the worst I've experienced in eight years. The coverage is just fine, about typical April amounts. It's the quality that is truly horrible.

I skied with an east-coaster. He thought the snow was typical Killington. A damning indictment.

If it was warmer, we could just jump into spring skiing mode-- I dig on slush, soft, wet snow and sunny days. Instead it's hardpack, ground ice, boilerplate, and on many of the ungroomed traverses: clear ice.

Oh, and Alpine's specialty, unmarked rocks, is in full effect. A few more weeks and you'll want your rock skis at Alpine.

Forget all that. I'll be waiting for a big dump before heading up again.

Posted by jk at 10:18 AM
Saffron Measurements

Well, it turns out that a quarter teaspoon of ground saffron is not the same as a quarter teaspoon of saffron threads. Not nearly. I'd guess that ground saffron is about 2, perhaps 3 times more dense than saffron threads.

I just made the most overpowering saffron tortilla espanola. It came out the most interesting color of dark yellow. It's practically orange.

If it's possible to get a saffron headache, I had one last night.

Posted by jk at 10:08 AM