Day 505: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. And Beading and Waitressing

Today after home school, Bubbe and Zaidy came out for a short visit. They brought M’s latest parts shipment for his motorcycle. The adage “you get what you pay for” is all too true with his Chinese-made pocket dirt bike. Thankfully, the failures happened within the 60 day warranty period, so this far the parts have been free:

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Here, M is installing a new transfer case following a clutch replacement while I inflate the tire on the replacement rear wheel:

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Meanwhile, B made her first beaded cabochon:

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For dinner, B made a mock menu and produced receipts, as well as an “order up” buzzer made from LittleBits for Trish to use. It’s always good to have a backup career, I guess:

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Day 504: Photography Class – Composition

Today’s homeschool included a composition unit in photography.  The kids have been shooting in manual mode on their DSLRs for the past couple weeks, getting a feel for the interplay between ISO, shutter speed, and aperture in affecting exposure, as well as for controlling depth of field, motion blur, and image noise.  Today I demonstrated using exposure compensation when the subject is not of medium-gray tonality.  We also talked about composition rules like the rule of thirds and lead room.  We also talked about leading lines in a photograph.  Everyone got to work:

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Trish tried out one composition trick, altering the height of the camera to change perspective:

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The result:

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B photographed this series:

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I suggested to B that she try getting lower down to make the truck look more aggressive.  Here’s the before:

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…and after:

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The kids got down low to capture this insect from it’s own perspective.  They also chose a shallow depth of field to minimize background distraction:

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There was a good amount of goofing off too:

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Foreground object and leading lines by B:

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Trish got some good results as well:

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Another beautiful sunset out on the lake:

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Speaking of photography, here are a couple nighttime photographs M and I captured a couple weeks ago:

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The light here is M running towards me with a flashlight while the shutter is open:

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Another great day!

Day 503: Back to Jean Lake

We returned to Jean Lake last night, this time parking on the south side of the lake:

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We did homeschool today as usual. B made a display for the science fiction short story she wrote in Writing class, The Science Monster:

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Tonight is the last night of Chanukah:

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Illuminating Jean Lake with the light of Chanukah:

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M says “Give me a kiss Tattie!”:

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Tricia’s nighttime jewelry making continues.  She is now making beaded cabochons:

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Day 502: Charge Controller, Part 2

This morning we left Camping World and headed to Lowe’s where I bought the parts to complete moving the charge controller. I added the silver outlet box at the bottom of the photo:

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The other end of the cable drops out under the RV and is plugged into the generator to run the charge controller. It only get used when the solar doesn’t charge enough, so it gets used rarely.

M and I stayed at my parents house while Trish and B went with Bubbe, Grandma DiAnn, and Barry to go bead shopping.

Tonight, we will head back to Jean Lake where we will be for the rest of the week.

Day 501: Battery Charger Rewire

We had a nice Day 500 Shabbos in Las Vegas! Last night we had a Chanukah party with our parents, which was nice.

Today I tried to salvage the staircase the was damaged in Alaska by cutting off the bottom-most stair. This allowed me to at least get the staircase to unfold, but after 30 minutes of sledgehammer lovin’, I still couldn’t get the staircase back to a shape that would allow me to mount it back on the RV, so I gave up on it.

The RV’s battery charger, which is powered by our generator on those rare occasions when we strike out with solar, is wired with 6 gauge wire, and is about 20 feet from the battery, which I believe adds enough of a voltage drop (1.19 volts according to the math) to dramatically reduce the ability of the charger to actually charge the battery. I moved the battery charger about 2 feet by wire away from the battery, and used much thicker 2 gauge wire. Voltage drop should now be 0.047 volts. The charger is the silver box in the photo:

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Tomorrow I’ll break out the A/C plug for the charger so it pops out near the propane quick release for the generator. This will save me from having to run an extension cord from the generator all the way to the chassis A/C input on the rear of the RV, like I’ve been doing so far.

This had been on the todo list for months, so I’m happy to finally get to it.

While I was rewiring the RV, Trish went boot shopping with Grandma DiAnn. Sounds like they had a lot of fun!

Tonight we’re overnighting at Camping World, as we have to do a couple more errands in town tomorrow before we can head out to Jean Lake.