Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I'm in Pain

Roark and I were playing soccer. One-on-one. Now I'm not into soccer, but how hard can it be against a 5 year old? We had a long game, taking turns scoring against each other. It was really pretty competitive considering his size, age, and inexperience and, uh, my size, age, and inexperience. :D Then it happened. He made it past me up the hill. He kicked it across the back of the house. Instead of just letting him score, I tried to go after it and stop it. It was coming down toward the house. I was moving along the house to intercept it. I stretched my leg out to stop it, but stepped onto it somehow. Next thing I knew it was like I had been catapulted head first into the side wall of the back of the house. It hurt three places. First my forehead. Then my neck. Then the middle of my back. I crumpled onto the ground. Honestly, I thought maybe I would be paralyzed or something. Marae was inside the house when it happened. She came running. Roark beat her to me though. He got to see the whole thing. I got up and stretched out on the bed with ice packs under my neck and back. Now I'm up, and at this point my middle back is the part that feels the worst. Roark said it looked like a monster truck crashing into the side of the house. :D

Monday, August 3, 2009

Amazing Detail

My boy spotted this pretty little flower growing from a weed along the driveway. He wanted me to take a picture, and am I glad he did. Click on the picture to zoom in and see the amazing details that God built into this flower. Amazing.

This evening I wanted a picture of the plant as a whole, instead of just the flower. Either something ate the flower today or it closed up for the night. Anyway, I'm pretty sure this is the plant.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My 1980 Rubik's Cube in 1980

I had no idea we had any pictures of my first Cube. Marae found this while scrapbooking today. How about my lovely wife and son Raymond?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Turkeys, Squirrel, and Blackbirds

God's gifts. Natural entertainment. When we got home the other day there were some turkeys up the hill. Got some pics.

Today I was watching the birds from the dining room window. There were two blackbirds. One was digging for delicious treasures in the grass, and then instead of enjoying the fruit of its labors, it was giving each tidbit to the other one. The "baby" that was being fed was at least as big as the one doing all the work.

We have a new birdfeeder setup now. We have a couple feeders hanging from the hooks on the swingset. I've removed the swings. Robert helped me carry the swingset up under some trees not far from the house.

There have been squirrels eating seeds that the birds fling on the ground lately, but today one of the squirrels decided to take advantage of the proximity to the trees. It climbed a tree, hopped onto the swingset, and made its way over to the full feeder. It couldn't get to the seed at the bottom though. It was entertaining, watching it try to bite through the chain holding the feeder to the swingset.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sierra Discovery Trail June 2009 (Part Three)

(Part One)
(Part Two)

Marae and Breann walked around the hiking trail while Raymond and I relaxed at the picnic table. I sent one of the cameras with them. The cool greenacious plant and waterfall are two of the pictures they came back with.

Meanwhile we were visited by a Downy Woodpecker and a Western Tanager.

When I was prowling around looking to see if the Tanager was still close by, I saw a little rainbow directly overhead. I stretched out on the ground to take the picture.

Sierra Discovery Trail (Part Two)

(Part One)

It was a bit chilly and sort of caught us off guard. Fortunately Marae had something to wrap up in, and Breann warmed up with some coffee. Oops.

Since it was a Fathers Day trip everyone humored me by playing with Rubik's Cubes for a few minutes. Raymond wins the prize for sticking with it the longest. Although he has not played with them forever, he was able to solve 3 scrambled cubes in 3 minutes 40 seconds. I love Cubing, but not for speed. But watching him is fun. It amazes me how fast he is, considering how little he works at it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father's Day Weekend Trip to Sierra Discovery Trail

Raymond and Breann, and Marae and I went on a day trip to Sierra Discovery Trail. Shortly after settling in at one of the picnic tables, Marae and Breann sat around the picnic area while Raymond and I went creek walking in the frigid water.

Here are the photos for this first part of the day. Clicking on a picture will open a large version of the same, so you can see greater detail. God gave us several interesting things to stop and look at, and a good time together.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Yosemite 2006 FLCS Administrator's Conference

I'm doing some housecleaning on my hard drive and am running across some old pictures that I haven't seen in months, if not years. So I'm throwing some highlights on my blog, which gets shown on my Facebook page too, until I delete it from there. I'm thinking I'll leave everything on my blog page, but try to keep Facebook more tidy. If you are reading this on Facebook, click "View Original Post" below, if you want to see what it all looks like on my blog page.

Romans 8:28

Two photos and a Bible verse... A picture of the moon became the purplish ball that the verse is on. The lights in the background are from a picture taken at night on I-80 near Rocklin, California. The verse is Romans 8:28.

Morning Shadows in Springtime

God has blessed us with a beautiful springtime.

Deer Like Birdseed Too

This morning Molly got all excited about something outside the window. Right outside the window. After getting a couple pictures, I let her go outside.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Molly Dog—Mighty Hunter

Yesterday I noticed a gopher sticking its head out of the ground near the bird feeders. Birdseed bandit? I dunno. This morning we went out to fill the bird feeders. Next thing I know Molly's nose is down a hole in the ground. Then she starts digging a trench. At one point she looked over at me and grinned in her doggy sort of way. I smiled back. Back to digging and... Got it!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Steller's Jay on the Feeder

Last November I took these photos of a Steller's Jay on our feeder. I just rediscovered the photos on my lonely and neglected camera, the Powershot S1 IS.

Monday, May 4, 2009 is mostly dead

I have been paying about 10 bucks a year for the name But I haven't really been doing much with the blog since joining Facebook, so have decided not to spend any more to have my own domain name.

I looked for a free domain name service and found one and tried it out. I registered with, but it only works sometimes.

So now if anyone asks, which no one ever ever does, I will tell them my blog is at

Someone may ask, why not have point to your Facebook page since you use it so much? Because not just anybody and everybody can view my Facebook page. Only my Facebook friends. And they don't need an address to get to my page.

So the blog isn't dead. But the name is.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

This Friday the 13th we had a special treat. Snow in the foothills! It snowed some late Wednesday afternoon, but it didn't stop me from going to work Thursday morning. The area roads were a little slippery, but were not covered with snow. By Thursday evening much of the snow was gone. Overnight Thursday it snowed some more. The driveway and road was covered. Fortunately I did not have to leave home on Friday. This has been a very drippy day as the snow in the trees melts. The road and driveway are mostly clear now, but I am content to stay home and enjoy the scenary.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


It is Saturday. A nice, sleep-in kind of Saturday. Molly wanted to go out a few minutes before 7:00. No prob. Got up, let her out, and went back to the warm bed on this chilly morning. Before I even found the warm spot I heard like a yipping not too far off. It didn't sound at all like Molly. I listened. Molly started barking. It wasn't just her, "Hey, it is freezing out here—I wanna come back in," bark either. She would let out a string of deep barks, then a low growl. I got up and looked out the window. She was looking up the hill from the top of the driveway at the end of the porch. Her tail was wagging. I went and let her in then looked up the hill out the window. Whoa! Crossing the property, about 50 feet up the hill was a coyote! It seemed to be limping and kept looking back over its shoulder.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rubik's Ice Cube

The Ice Cube is a somewhat transparent 2x2x2 Rubik's Cube. I got one not too long ago. Robert picked it up for me at Toys R Us in Chico. It was very hard to turn, so I looked online and found a YouTube video showing how to get it apart and loosen it via the 2 screws inside. Perhaps I didn't loosen them enough, or maybe I just don't play with it enough to loosen it up. Anyway, here is a photo blog of the take-apart process.

(pictures used to be here)

Clicking on any picture will take you to the Flickr page where you can click All Sizes just above the photo, then choose a size to view.

(11/27/09) Little problem. Somewhere along the line I quit paying Flickr $25 a year for a pro account, so now these photos are no longer available. Or maybe I deleted them from Flickr. No easy way to figure it out. This is why I am no longer going to use Flickr! Ah! Found them in Picasa and uploaded them. Here is a link to the photos:
link to Picasa album

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Romans 4:22–25

Speaking of Abraham, whose story is told in the book of Genesis, Paul wrote in the first century that his faith was counted to him as righteousness. Paul goes on to say that these words were written for his sake also and for those he was writing to. In fact he goes on to say these words were written in Genesis for "us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification." So Genesis tells how Abraham's faith was counted to him as righteousness, and Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome affirms that we who believe in God are also credited with righteousness through faith in him.

It is a good thing. I, in my own efforts, counting my own goodness, fall so far short of the righteousness that God requires of those who would enter his eternal rest. Indeed, don't we all. But we can be clothed with the righteousness of Christ through faith in him. Wow. God's love and provision are amazing. He doesn't compromise his standards in order to love sinful people. All his standards are met in Jesus' death and resurrection. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

His eternal gifts are so amazing, but he also gives us little gifts daily for our enjoyment. Yesterday I got to watch as a nuthatch sat on the feeder and flung seed after seed onto the ground until it found just the right one to fly off with. Usually they just land, grab a seed, and fly off. And today I got to see a half dozen pretty little goldfinches on the feeder at once. I was beginning to wonder if they had all left the area.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tag! You're it.

Last weekend Roark was here and did we have fun. In fact, he was here almost a week. We had some great games of Candy Land, and Tag! You're it. Mostly we played indoors, but we played outside too. 

Tag You're It! When Roark was it, I would hustle a bit more to keep out of his reach, but when I was it, I would stalk him relentlessly until I got him cornered, or he was too worn out to run any more, or one of us had an idea to do something else.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Attracting Birds and Other Critters

We have a birdfeeder hanging outside our living room window. I love watching the titmice, nuthatches, and goldfinches eat from it. We have mostly house finches, but the others are more fun to watch. Usually I fill the feeder with black oil sunflower seeds. We have had Doves and California Towhees around the yard throughout the summer and they are still here, but they don't come to the feeder. They are ground feeders. Recently we've had a few Juncos and Spotted Towhees show up also. I love the way they look and would like to entice them to stick around through the fall and winter if possible. So the last time I bought birdseed at the Wild Bird Station on Hwy 49 in Auburn, CA, I also bought his Deluxe Blend (it says Premium Blend on the package, but is different from his own premium blend that he mixes himself) which he says will please the ground feeders. The first day we found out just how pleasing it is. We had wild turkeys, several deer, a squirrel, and even a gopher helping themselves to this new seed. I saw a Steller's Jay today. Molly enjoys chasing the critters away to help save the seed for the juncos and towhees. =^)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Vette Finally Leaves

We finally got rid of the Vette.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Finished. Again.

I finally finished the revisions to Book 1. It (was) posted on the main page of

I have also been working on Book 2 this week. It explains the Corners First Method that I use when I want to solve the cube that way.

The corners first method is my preferred way to solve the 2x2x2 cube, since it is all corners and no edges. I also use it to solve the 4x4x4. In order to solve the middle layer edges of the 4x4x4 and the 4 center sections at the end I also use Through the Door — Bam!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

One less thing to learn. Or one more?

Praise the Lord! I stumbled upon something new while cubing a few minutes ago. Now I'm going to have to rewrite part of my book! =) The very last section on twisting two corners explains how to do it using the 14 move sequence that I learned from Mark Jeay's working corner method. But the same result can be obtained using another 14 move sequence comprised of doing two 7 move sequences that are already used in a previous step! Is that cool, or what? The only drawback is that the corners have to be adjacent, whereas in the other method, they can be diagonal. Also, I pretty much understand what is happening in the working corner method, but in the method I discovered today, I haven't figured it out yet.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Understanding the Puzzle and Solving it Too

I think I am finally finished with my first book. Well, so it is only 8 pages long. How long does a document have to be to qualify as a book?

It explains some standard cube terminology, as well as some of my own cube terminology like "Up-Replace-Down" and "Through the Door — Bam!" There are no live links in the book, but there are links to some of the sites and people mentioned elsewhere on my blog page.

I am ready to do a sequel. In fact, I've already started. It was going to be a multi-chapter book, but I decided to make chapter two into a book of its own. OK, maybe not a sequel. What does a book have to do to qualify as a sequel? =)

So where is this book of mine? I have a paper version sitting on my desk at home, and an electronic copy on scribd and further down this page. Scroll down. You can't miss it.

(11/27/09) My blog page has undergone radical changes and the book is no longer on the blog. But it is available online here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Flip 2 Edges

I made a happy little discovery today.

I've known how to flip 2 edges for a long time using Mi Ui Mi Ui Mi d2 Mi Ui Mi Ui Mi d2. This flips UF and UB, and with setup moves can flip any two edges.

But today, I discovered that I can also flip two edges using the Up-Replace-Down 3-Cycle twice. It came about quite by accident as I was fiddling with the cube. I haven't mastered it. Maybe if and when I do, I'll explain more.

(12/4/09: I guess I never mastered it. Why not? It would take more turns and more thinking to accomplish the same thing as the algorithm above, so the only advantage would be if you were trying to solve the whole cube using Up-Replace-Down. Besides, there is a different method for flipping edges that I got turned onto somewhere along the line that I like better than the above algorithm. It involves moving the edge to a different layer, then putting it back into its slot from a different angle. Then you move the other flipped edge to that spot and retrace your steps.

With the Jing's Pyraminx puzzle it took me awhile to figure out how to apply the principle of flipping two edges, so in the meantime I 3-cycled them out of place and then back into place correctly oriented.)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

You CAN learn to solve the Rubik's Cube

Just below the links on this page is an 8 page document explaining one of the ways I like to solve the Rubik's Cube. It is an attempt to help others not only be able to solve the cube, but also understand what they are doing. It isn't just a list of moves you have to memorize in order to be able to unscramble a cube.

(11/28/09) My blog page has undergone radical changes and the book is no longer on the blog. But it is available online here.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

04:05 06/07/08

It is 4:05 on 6/7/08.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Two Methods in One.

It also occurred to me yesterday that if you wanted to solve all the edges first, then all the corners, you could do so using only the techniques given in my Layers Method. After getting 4 edges on one side, hold the cube so that side is the bottom. Now get all the middle layer edges. Now use steps 5 and 6 to get the top layer edges. At this point all of the edges are home, and only corners that happened to fall into place along the way. Step 7 can be used to solve all of the corners. Use it to put one at a time into place until there are only 3 left, then use Step 7 to put all 3 of them into place at once. Sometimes you can get 2 at a time. If you use setup moves you can do all the corners without having to do Step 8. But if you haven't figured setup moves out yet and just want to use Step 7 to get the corners into place, and Step 8 to twist them, that works too. So basically my Layers Method is an Edges First Method, only if you put the bottom corners into place along with the middle edges, it takes care of half the corners so you don't have to put them into place with the Step 7 moves.

Rubik's Cube Facts

It dawned on me yesterday that there is enough info in the Facts section to enable a person to solve the cube without step by step instructions. I think. So if you want to try to figure it out rather than be guided step by step through the solution, here is what you do. Start by getting 4 edges on one side. Hold the cube so the solved edges are on the bottom layer. Now get the 4 edges in the middle layer. The middle layer is the horizontal layer between the top layer and the bottom layer. Now use facts 5, 6, and 7 to solve all the rest of the cube! I am not claiming it will be easy. It may require some trial and error. You will doubtless have to go back and fix the edges on the first two layers (bottom and middle) many times until you figure it out. But in the end, when you do figure it out, what joy and satisfaction it will bring.

Or, you could scroll down to the step by step instructions and use them. I, personally, have experienced the joy and satisfaction of working through various online tutorials to solve the cube.

If you have any questions or comments and would like to write me: robertpauljr at yahoo dot com.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rubik's Cube Tutorial

I am attempting to work up a tutorial for solving the Rubik's Cube. Man, this is tough! I currently use a 6-step method that is a hybrid of the various techniques I learned last year. 1. Solve the 4 edges on one side. 2. Make that side the bottom and finish the first two layers by making and placing the 4 corner-edge pairs. 3. Flip the top edges so they are all top-color up. 4. Cycle the top edges into place. 5. Cycle the top corners into place. 6. (And very rarely since I use setup moves in step 5,) Twist top corners two at a time if they are all in the right places, but not oriented correctly.

Explaining how exactly to do each of these things is extremely difficult. Especially step 2, so I am breaking down step 2 into three steps, which, when mastered, would be easy to transition to the one-step version. But it is still hard to explain. I am hoping this exercise will help me to be able to explain my method to others. I want to have a printout that others can use as they are learning.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Mothers Day

We went to Red Bluff, more specifically, to Grandmother's house, for Mothers Day. It was also Margaret's birthday. Twila surprised us on Sunday by unexpectedly showing up. She lives in Fort Bragg.

IMG_2992We played a little squidgie-dog in the street, but it was too hot to do it for long. I'm not used to the valley heat. So we moved the porch chairs to the shade of the lawn. We joked about the high-energy game we were playing. Robert took pictures while Rory and I played catch with the squidgie. Molly made some really nice catches, but it was a different dynamic for her too. On one of the catches she attempted she slammed into the ground on her back after catching it. And on one she crashed into me and my chair.

To view more photos from the trip, click here.

You can read descriptions of the photos where I added them. You can comment on the photos. And you can view the photos at different sizes by clicking on the photo, then clicking the All Sizes link above the photo. Then you can choose the size you want and download it to your own computer if you'd like.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Four Fours Problem

Can you make all the numbers from 1 to 100 using exactly four fours for each number? Some examples: (4+4)/(4+4) = 1. 4/sqrt(4) x 4/4 = 2.

This is a very old problem. I won't get into the history here, but if you are interested, an internet search will yield many pages on the topic, and many pages of various solutions. As I was working on the solution, I got stuck on 73. I mentioned it to Dan F at work, and he came up with a solution for 73. And as Dan does, he pointed out a way of approaching it that I hadn't considered which led to a revision of my solution in which I tried to find solutions in what I call families. The biggest family is the 4!/F ± T family. 4! is 4 factorial which equals 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 24. F represents a number that can be represented using one Four. There are 6 of them as far as I know. 24, 4, 2, 2/3, 4/9, 4/10. 2 = the square root of 4. 2/3 = the square root of point 4 bar. Point 4 bar is like .4 with a bar over the 4. It means the 4 repeats endlessly and the decimal .4444... equals 4/9. 4/10 is just .4. Getting back to the formula, T represents the whole numbers from 0 to 96 which can be represented using two fours. So 4!/F ± T uses 4 fours. And 79 of the numbers from 1 to 100 can be made using this formula. The next biggest family of numbers I found was the 4!F ± T. It has 11 members. So between the 2 families, 4! times or divided by F plus or minus T, we can represent 90 of the 100 numbers.

I've posted my solution of the Four Fours Problem in a Google Spreadsheet at
Four Fours.

All hundred numbers contain a 4! in them. Most of the numbers in T are simple to generate, but I want to explain how I get 32 using two fours. Before reading further you may want to see how many whole numbers you can come up with from 0 to 100 using two fours and see if 32 is in your list. OK, here is the explanation. Do you know that the cube root of 8 equals 2, because 2x2x2=8? And the 4th root of 81 equals 3, because 3x3x3x3=81? Well the point 4 th root of 4 equals 32. So using two 4's and a radical sign you can get 32 with two fours. If you come up with any numbers using two fours that I don't have listed in T I'd like to know. Maybe then I could fit the 10 remaining numbers into one of the two big families.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Big Boy

There are lots of pictures on my Flickr pages. If you just want to see the birhtday pictures I uploaded check out the April 2008 picture set. Flickr now hosts videos as well as pictures, so if all goes well I can now use just Flickr and Blogger. You can tell if something is a video at Flickr by the little play button (triangle) in the lower left corner of the picture in the photo stream.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Pleasant Spring Day

I thank God for the relaxed, cool, semi-wet, colorful, day with the sweet music of birds singing.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blue Angels at Mather Day 2

Here are two consecutive shots of basically the same place taken about a second apart.

Blue Angels

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. [Oxford American Dictionaries—Mac OS X Dashboard]

Blessing: God's favor and protection—a beneficial thing for which one is grateful; something that brings well-being. [Oxford American Dictionaries—Mac OS X Dashboard]

Blessindipity: the occurrence and development of events by the hand of God in a happy or beneficial way.

When I am in the right place at the right time and able to capture the unexpected blessing in a picture, that is what I call blessindipity.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Share a Sunset

I had a Dove Chocolate the other day. You know the ones that have little things to do inside the wrappers. One of them said something about Sharing a Sunset, so today on my way home from work, I saw the sunset and figured if I were going to share it, I'd better take a picture.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Picasa Web Albums

Today I was trying to upload some photos to my Flickr page and Flickr was not cooperating. It just wouldn't upload my photos, so I started looking for alternatives. My three month Flickr Pro account is about up and I was going to shell out $25 to extend it for a year, but if I can't upload photos when I want to, why pay them? They still might be the best option online, but before I decide I want to try different options.

Picasa Web Albums are a Google thing. There is an option to be able to directly upload to Picasa from within iPhoto, which I use extensively on my Mac. Let's see how it works. Mouse over a picture or caption to see the whole caption. Try out the Slideshow.

From Critters

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Family Fun

Last weekend we went up to Sierra Discovery Trail. It is the first time I've been there in the snow. We couldn't even drive all the way there, but went as far as we were comfortable with and walked the rest of the way. I took lots of pictures and put several of them at my Flickr page. Here are a couple of them.

Today I've created a lot of Flickr Sets and sorted pictures into sets. When you go to my Flickr page you should see a list of sets along the right that will help you navigate more quickly to sets of photos that may interest you. If you don't see the list click the robertpauljr's photostream link and it will take you to my main page which has the list of sets. Some day I may end up putting all the sets into collections, so instead of a list of sets you'll see a list of collections.

(December 2, 2009: I no longer pay for Flickr Pro so I think the sets and collections thing is limited. It may not work as described above.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Detour on the way to work

This morning there was a huge bus blocking traffic on Dogbar Rd. What was it thinking, being there in the first place? Crazy.

I didn't have time to take pictures this morning, so I stopped on the way home.

Here is where the front tire was:

And this is the view of where the bus was from down the road.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Titus 3:4-7

Sometime in the middle of the first century Paul wrote a letter to Titus that included the following sentence:

"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

Wow! There is so much packed into this sentence. We could talk about God's goodness, His loving kindness.

We could talk about how He has appeared to man in various ways from the Garden of Eden, to the burning bush, to the crucified Savior, to the risen Lord, to the Almighty God of the book of Revelation.

We could talk about how He saved us, not because of our good works, for we fall so short of His perfect standard. Rather, we could talk about His mercy.

We could talk about regeneration and renewal, and the Holy Spirit.

We could talk about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We could talk about how, by His grace, we are justified. He makes it just as if we had never sinned through the atoning work of Christ.

We could talk about our eternal inheritance.

Many people think that being a Christian is just about living a certain way, worshipping a certain way, following certain rules of conduct. Read Titus 3:4-7. Being a Christian isn't about what we can do for Him, but about Him, and what He has done to make a way for sinful people to enter into His kingdom through Jesus Christ.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Weimar Still Has Snow

Here at our house we still had a little snow long after it was long gone 5 miles down the road at FLCS. Up at Weimar which is about 5 miles the other direction they still had snow long after it was long gone here at home. This little video shows a little bit of Weimar Cross Road near I-80 that I took on my way to work last Wednesday.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Beautiful Day

I was running errands yesterday and as I got out of the car to drop some letters in the mailbox a guy said, "Beautiful day." "Yep," I replied. "Better than yesterday," he continued. I got in my car and left. Then I thought of things I should have said in reply. Why don't I ever think of things in time to say them? As I replay the brief conversation in my mind I imagine that instead of quietly getting in the car and driving off, I said: "By the grace of God through Jesus Christ, I'm learning that rain or shine come what may if I'm walking with God it's a beautiful day."

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Maxtor One Touch 4

So I have been working on cleaning up the MacBook hard drive, doing things with the movies instead of just storing them waiting until later, so that I can delete them from the internal drive. Like I made a DVD of Roark 2007, that includes everything besides the truck races on the driveway pages on my old blog site. I still have a mega huge job to do.

As far as the G4 iMac, there was nothing wrong with it at all. I just didn't understand that when one user is logged in, say Marae, that it doesn't list how much drive space the other user's files are taking up. Everything is now stored on the external drive so if I need to delete some movies or something from the internal drive, it's cool.

The G4 iMac is now Marae's and the G3 Blueberry is going to be the one Roark gets to use when he visits instead of the old old Performa. I need to load it up with the correct software. Actually Robert plans to install the drive out of his old, broken down G3 which we already loaded with tons of educational software a long long time ago.

Anybody want a Performa 6360 once I am sure I don't want it any more?

[added March 1, 2008] Yesterday I took the Performa to a friend who has an even older Performa with a monitor that no longer works.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Snowy Day

I got to go to work at CTB yesterday, and was supposed to work for several days. I asked for today off though so I could do the tutoring thing after school that I've been doing the last few Tuesdays. What I wasn't counting on was being blessed by the Lord with a snowy day here in the foothills.

8:41 AM

8:44 AM

9:41 AM

9:44 AM

9:44 AM

10:31 AM

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Computers Computers Everywhere

My main computer is my MacBook. It has like 112 GB of hard drive space and about 90% of it is used up, thanks to all the photos and videos I took in 2007 and so far in 2008. My desktop computer is a G4 iMac, but I hardly ever use it. It has like 75 GB of space and even though when you add up all the folder sizes you get less than 20 GB used, it reports that there is less than 20 GB of free space. Argh. Marae uses a Blueberry G3 iMac. It has like 10 GB of hard drive space which is 70% used. I also have an old Performa that has mostly educational games on it. It is in storage right now so I'm not sure how big the drive is, but it can't be big.

I am thinking that I should upgrade Marae to the G4 iMac, and put the educational games on the G3 Blueberry iMac, and get rid of the Performa. One less computer sounds good to me right now. It would also free up some desk space to set up an old Apple // computer to see if it still works and if the software still works after being stored away for years. But before I do any of this I need to fix, if possible, the G4 iMac free space problem. And before I do that, I need to make some space on my MacBook in order to move files from the G4 iMac.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Green Roo... no—Library!

Today Marae and I worked at filling the shelves in the library. She unpacked the tubs, organized, sorted, shelved. I packed them in for her and packed out the ones we don't want any more. Here are some videos showing the library.

(4/12/2013: We still call it the green room. =\   )

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Baseboard Day 1

Nita hosting Ro and Boy
Ro and fam came last night and left today, but not before we were able to buy baseboard for half the house, paint it, and install it in the green room. We moved furniture out of the shed into the green room and moved some out to the shed. We started the process of unpacking into the jelly cabinets. Here are some photos taken today.

While we were waiting for the girls to get back with the baseboard we hiked up the hill to survey the storm damage.


Up the hill there is an oak tree that has a branch growing into a pine tree. Here are a couple views.

If you have been following the story, you know how packed the shed was. Here is what it looks like now. Still crowded, but the three big bookshelves are now in the green room.

Finally a look at the green room.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Carpet Done

The carpet guys got here around 9:00 or so this morning and left at around 1:00 this afternoon. Maybe a little earlier.

And here is my first response when I walked out back.

And finally a walk-through when the carpet guys were done and gone.

Penned Out Penned In

Penned Out
Breann wants to know if I can use my cool little photo printer to make some copies that Janet can bring to her. Hahahahaha hohoho hehehehehe. She figured I probably kept in on a shelf in the closet. Not this time. It is in the bottom of a tub buried about 6 or 8 feet deep in the shed.

Penned In
The carpet guys are here. The first thing they did was move the couch to the kitchen. Then they carried the dining table to the end of the hall, then the corner hutch down the hall, then...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Get to Know the Corners

[May 7, 2008: I use part of this process to finish up the cube now, but I do not get all the edges this way.] This is Part 3 in a series of posts to help you get to know the Rubik's Cube. If you really want to read all this, do yourself a favor and get a 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube first. Last time I checked they have them at Walmart, Target, and Kmart for less than $10. At Walmart in Oroville just before Christmas I saw them on sale for $5. Start with Part 1, which is the Vocabulary section. Study the actual cube as you read through it. Then do Part 2, which is the Edges section. Then when you are able to consistently get the edges come back to this section.

If the Edges get messed up while doing the Corners, you goofed. Fix the Edges and try again.

Conjugation A set of preliminary moves is done before the Corner Piece Series, then after the Series, these moves are undone. That way the Corner Piece Series can be applied to any three corners anywhere on the cube. Sometimes I get lost and can’t remember how to undo the preliminary moves. I end up having to fix edges. The better I get to know the Corners, though, the less this happens.

Corner Pieces Use the Corner Piece Series to move all but three corners Home. Rarely can three be moved into place at once. Don’t even think about it. Once in a great while you can move two pieces Home at once. Usually you can get one. Sometimes some pieces can not be moved Home without conjugation, or without moving them somewhere else first. At first, don’t worry so much about the Corners that are difficult. Work with the easy ones. Sometimes a Corner is in the right place, but not twisted (oriented) correctly. Move it away while moving another piece to its place. Then move the twisted one back into place in the correct orientation. I kept getting lost as I tried to take Corners Home at first. Make sure you turn the Cube so the trio of Corners that you are moving are situated with one on the Front of the Upper Layer and two on the Back of the Upper Layer. After you get good at putting one corner Home at a time, if you want, you can use conjugation to put two Home at once.

Once you are down to three remaining corners, use the Corner Piece Series one time with conjugation if necessary—and it usually is necessary—to place the last three corners in their Home Positions. Find a Corner Piece which may be moved along a cube edge and into place. If none can be found create one. Note the face color (of the second corner piece) which will come to the top face of the cube in a target position during a Corner Piece Series. Locate the third corner piece in the cube face of this same color and note the color of the third corner piece face which is in that cube face. Bring the third corner piece to the top of the cube, by various face turns, such that that color is in the top face of the cube. Perform the Corner Piece Series so that the target color of the second corner piece replaces this color. Reverse the preliminary face turns indicated above.

Get to Know the Edges (ignore the corners for now)

[May 7, 2008: I no longer use the following method of getting the edges, but am leaving it here in case I ever want to refer to it in the future.] This is Part 2 in a series of posts to help you get to know the Rubik's Cube. If you really want to read all this, do yourself a favor and get a 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube first. Last time I checked they have them at Walmart, Target, and Kmart for less than $10. At Walmart in Oroville just before Christmas I saw them on sale for $5. Start with Part 1, which is the Vocabulary section. Study the actual cube as you read through it. Then do this section, which is the Edges section. Then when you are able to consistently get the edges go on to the section on Corners.

Edge/Center Pairs Pair up an edge with its matching center. Do it for various edges getting a feel for what is involved in various scenarios. When you get good at it, pair up four edges with a common color to their common center. Do so in such a way that you end up with a single-color cross on one side made up of the center and four edges. Do this for each of the colors, focusing on only one color at a time. If it hasn’t occurred to you yet, the next step is to solve the cross in such a way that each piece is in its Home Position. In fact from now on when I refer to a cross it means with each piece in its Home Position.

Middle Edges Make a cross on one layer. With the cross facing down, move any three of the Middle Layer Edges to their Home Positions, leaving one Last Layer Edge Piece in the Middle Layer. You will have to temporarily move one piece of the cross at a time out of position, but it will go back into position as you put the Middle Edge pieces into place. If the Middle Edge piece is in the U layer it takes only 3 or 4 moves to put it Home. If the Middle Edge piece is in the Middle Layer but in the wrong place or in the right place but flipped, then it could take 6 moves—3 to move it up to the Upper Layer and 3 to move it Home. If all four Middle Layer Edges are in place, move one of them to the LL, and replace it with a LL Edge Piece. After you figure out how to take a Middle Edge Piece Home from any of the possible places it may be, scramble the cube, get a Cross, and take 3 Middle Edge Pieces Home, leaving one Last Layer Edge Piece in the Middle Layer.

3 Last Layer Edges Make sure one of the Last Layer Edge Pieces is in the fourth Middle Edge spot. Hold the cube so the unsolved Middle Edge is in front with the Last Layer color facing front. The edge piece is on two layers: the Front Layer and either the Left Layer or the Right Layer. Spin the Upper Layer—I could have said “Spin the top” but the short version is “U” for Upper—so that the last middle edge piece lines up on the same side—either L or R—as the unsolved middle edge spot. Spin the layer that contains these two edges away from you. If it is on the right, do R; if it is on the left, do –L. Spin U so that an edge piece that does not have the Last Layer color face up replaces the edge piece you just moved up. Spin the R or L side back down so that the First Layer Cross is restored. Continue this process until there are 3 Last Layer edges with the Upper Layer color face up. My suggestion is to scramble the cube again and get back to this point several times before going on.

Finish Edges You now have 3 edges in the Upper Layer that belong in the Upper Layer. But how many can be positioned correctly at once by spinning the Upper Layer?

If only 1 at a time can be placed correctly by spinning the Upper Layer, use the Edge Piece Series on three of the LL Edge Pieces so that there are still three face up, but now two of them are in, or can be spun to, their Home Positions. Proceed to the next paragraph.

If 2 LL Edge Pieces are Home, or you can spin U to take two Home then hold the cube so the LL Edge Piece that is still in the Middle Layer is at the front of the cube with the Upper face color facing front. Spin the top so the LL Edge Piece that is not correct in relation to the other two lines up on the same side—either L or R—as the piece in the Middle Layer that needs to replace it. Either use R or –L, depending on whether it is on the Right or Left, to spin the Edge Piece up to the top. Spin U so that the last of the Middle Layer Edge Pieces spins down into place when you spin the side back down toward you. Spin U if necessary so all the LL Edges are in their Home Positions. All of the edges are now in place! Go to Step 3.

If 3 LL Edge Pieces can be placed in their Home Positions then hold the cube so the LL edge piece that is still in the Middle Layer is at the front of the cube with the Upper face color facing front. Spin U so the last Middle Layer edge piece is at the front. If the LL Piece that is still in the Middle Layer is on the Right, do: R U –R U R U –R then spin U so the LL Edges are Home. If the LL Piece that is still in the Middle Layer is on the Left, do: –L –U L –U –L –U L then spin U so the LL Edges are Home. Once you do this a few times and understand what is happening, you won’t think in terms of R’s, L’s, and U’s at all. You won’t think about clockwise and counterclockwise. It is a simple sequence, but was easier to explain as face turns, than in words.

You know the drill—scramble the cube and get all the Edges Home. Do it over and over again until you can do it consistently without looking at any notes. Now you know the Edges, and are ready to get better acquainted with the Corners.

Lesson 1—Getting to Know the Rubik's Cube—Vocabulary

Center There are 6 centers. They each have one face. They determine the color of a side.
Edge There are 12 edges. They each have two faces. On a solved cube each edge will match up with 2 centers. An edge is flipped if it is between the correct centers, but oriented opposite to what it should be. For example, red to white and white to red, instead of red to red and white to white. Getting the 4 edges of one side all in their Home Positions is commonly called getting a Cross.
Corner There are 8 corners. They each have three faces. On a solved cube each corner will match up with 3 centers. A corner is twisted if it is in the correct place, but its 3 faces do not match the side they are on.
Side, Face, Layer There are 6 of them. On a solved cube each side will be a solid color. When solving a cube some methods rely heavily on naming the layers:
U = Upper Layer D = Down Layer F = Front Layer
L = Left Layer R = Right Layer B = Back Layer
Home Position The place any given piece lives when the cube is solved. Being in the Home Position means it is oriented correctly as well as in the right place.
Clockwise In relation to someone looking at the face. R means to turn the Right Layer clockwise;
–R means to turn it counterclockwise. R´ (R prime) is a more common way to indicate –R.
First Layer The first layer worked on. Some methods solve a whole layer first; some solve all but one corner; some solve only the edges; some solve only corners; some use a different approach.
Middle Layer The four edges that are adjacent to the First Layer Corners.
Last Layer The last layer solved. Even methods that solve corners last, have first, middle, and last layers when it comes to the edges. LL = Last Layer.
Move Twist a layer either a quarter or half turn. U is a move of the Upper Layer Clockwise 90˚. R2 is a move of the Right Layer 180˚. A move can be clockwise or counterclockwise.
Corner Piece Series
U R –U –L U –R –U L cycles 3 top corners counterclockwise. The Front Right Corner doesn’t move. Cubes twist clockwise. The Front Left Corner moves diagonally from the front to the back. No edges are affected.
–U –L U R –U L U –R cycles 3 top corners clockwise. The Front Left Corner doesn’t move. Cubes twist counterclockwise. The Front Right Corner moves diagonally from the front to the back. No edges are affected.

The Carpet Installation Begins

The three guys from Carpet One got here at 9:00. They brought the pad, moved furniture and beds out of the three bedrooms, laid the pad in said rooms, and at 10:30 went to get the carpet.

Here's how things looked after they moved all the furniture.

I set up shop in the Green Room since it was my only option at the time.

It smells really good in the bedroom section of the house. I think it is the glue they use to attach the pad to the floor. Mmmmm. Don't worry. I'm spending most of my time in the Green Room, far from the fumes.

Nick said I could use the tools if I needed to while they were gone. I just laughed.

The following video shows the new carpet. They got the day's carpet done, moved the beds and furniture back, stored their stuff in the green room, and left by 2:00 this afternoon.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Other Video Options

OK, so I tried the Yahoo! Video thing. The thing I don't like about it is the search link it puts on my video after it plays it. So now I am going to just upload a video directly to this blog. This is another video I took during the dry-out process. This video was taken on January 4.

Recap of Water Woes

Ruptured Flex TubeHere are a couple pictures of the hot water flex tube that ruptured under our kitchen sink while we were in RB for Christmas. We got home on December 29.

Almost All DryRuptured Flex Tube

On January 5, we were down to one dehumidifier and one blower. Not surprisingly, the only remaining dampness was under the kitchen sink, the source of the leak.

On January 7, ServiceMaster Clean came and declared the moisture totally under control and removed the drying equipment altogether. That was a week ago. This last week we have been busy preparing for the installation of the carpet that is replacing all the carpet that was ruined in the leakage.

If you want to view any of these photos larger, go to my Flickr page.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rubik's Cube Mania

This spring I rediscovered the Rubik's Cube and it has become an all-consuming pastime for me. I had to do some extensive traveling and figured it would be a good way to pass the time on the long flights. I fell in love.