Neil's News


25 October 2020

The American response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been less than satisfactory. For example, there were 23 new daily cases in California when they closed the schools -- but now that our new daily cases have shot up to 6,271, schools are reopening. Not surprisingly, we have chosen to keep Beverly home. She seems to be enjoying online classes.

Since Beverly's mask has a cat face on it, I built some matching cat ears out of plywood and mounted them on her bicycle helmet.

One of our hobbies is placing discarded masks on various statues around the neighborhood. This is a never-ending process as the local anti-maskers remove them and tear them up. But it keeps us busy.

After a week of using training wheels on Beverly's new bicycle, it was time to increase the difficulty. Since the wheels couldn't be raised, I used an adjustable hole cutter to create a smaller diameter wheel.

A few days later she was fully independent.

This period of forced isolation has been an opportunity to handle a lot of smaller repair jobs that have been pending for far too long. My typewriter had a broken key, and its bell didn't ring. Both of which were simple to repair once I managed to gain access to the afflicted mechanisms.

The Ethernet, cable Internet, telephone, and power wires under the stairs were a mess. The original builders assumed that their sloppy work would never be seen. Since Beverly is now using that space as a secret hideout, I rewired it all to get everything neat and tidy.

Some animal dug an extensive tunnel network under a public path near our home. Over the years the paving stones have been steadily sinking. When Beverly flipped her scooter due to a wheel getting caught in one of the trenches, it was time to do some guerrilla maintenance. We pulled up the stones, stole a bunch of rocks and gravel from nearby landscaping, graded the area, and replaced the stones.

I tried teaching Beverly to play Frère Jacques on the piano, sadly without much luck. We'll keep trying periodically. But in the mean time I was able to learn "Music Box Dancer" by Frank Mills. Below is a recording. Still need to increase the tempo a bit.

Since we are stuck at home so much, we installed a humming bird feeder outside the front window. It took only a couple of hours for the first bird to spawn. It gives everyone in the family (including Albert, our cat) something fun (or delicious) to look at.

And finally, I upgraded all the scripts that power this website from Python 2 to Python 3. So many issues relating to Unicode...

Be safe.

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