Sunday, October 11, 2015

Unusually hot nights in Southern California

The last three nights, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 8-10, 2015, have been unusual for southern California. This graph shows the outdoor temperature in Fahrenheit for the last five days running. The horizontal axis shows midnight for each day. The nights of October 6/7 and October 7/8 show the typical southern California pattern, a smooth even cooling off starting at sunset, with the coolest part of the day being just before sunrise.

I've taken the curve from the first night on this graph and overlaid it on the last three nights. The bold, jagged line is the actual temperature, and the grayed out smooth line below it is what the night temperature might have looked like if not for the unusual hot dry air that caused the jagged warming effects throughout the last three nights.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Simple Shower Water Recapture System

In spring of 2015 we implemented a variation of the "bucket flush" concept. If you search with terms like "bucket flush graywater" there is plenty of material out there, but all of it that I found is either too complicated (involves plumbing) or talks in generalities.

We have been using a bucket flush system in both bathrooms for about six months now; this is a write-up of exactly how we did it, and how it has been using it in practice.

Catching the water

I found these plastic organizer boxes from Really Useful Boxes at OSH, and it turns out they're available online direct from the manufacturer for about what I paid at OSH (just over $10 each). While they are not the cheapest organizer boxes, I chose them for a number of reasons. On top of being very sturdy, they are wide-mouthed for catching water, a good size for the shower stalls and are a manageable for kids to carry and pour. They hold 8.1 liters (about 2 gallons) each. You won't need the lid, and the handles pop off easily if you don't want to use them.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Advice From Dad: Installment 1


I am the father of two wonderful teen girls. Over the past 15 years, I’ve occasionally heard well-meaning, but old-fashion clich├ęs such as, “Two girls? Watch out dad! Better have the shotgun ready!” I know the sentiment behind this is well-meaning, but it implies that girls are helpless. I trust my girls to carry their own metaphorical shotguns.

I strive to help them feel empowered. I trust they will try to practice common sense. Of course they will make mistakes, but that is how we all learn. For years I’ve been contemplating what kind of dating advice I might give them when they’re old enough. I hope to impart self-confidence, and give them some advice that will help guide them as they begin to navigate the fraught waters of adolescent sexuality.

I acknowledge that the following advice may be more frank than some parents are comfortable with. I wrestled with the decision to publish what is fundamentally personal material. Before I shared it with my daughters, I sought feedback from a few parents of their BFFs. I didn’t want my kids to share it with their friends, without first having vetted it with some fellow parents. I received positive feedback, and some encouragement to publish it. So here’s the first (and possibly only) installment of “Advice From Dad” for my two wonderful daughters.

Installment 1

Hello my darlings,

You are both old enough that I want to start a dialogue about some adult topics that we haven’t discussed much in the past. I’ve been working on articulating these first few topics over the summer, and I think they’re ready to share now.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rain wrap-up 2015

The Stonehill News weather station recorded 11.82 inches of precipitation for the rain season ending June 30, 2015. I have made a tradition of reporting what my neighbors Dan Gollnick and Bill Westphal recorded, going back to 1999 and 2003 respectively.

Here are the available seasonal totals:

Season    PacRad     KCAALTAD1   SHN       Avg
1999-2000  19.76"      --        --        --
2000-2001  21.22"      --        --        --
2001-2002   8.27"      --        --        --
2002-2003  24.47"      --        --        --
2003-2004  15.47"     14.72"     --        --
2004-2005  62.56"     56.66"    61.61"    60.28"
2005-2006  24.06"     22.37"    23.35"    23.26"
2006-2007   6.81"     6.52 "     6.15"     6.49"
2007-2008  26.04"     24.66"    23.64"    24.78"
2008-2009  16.34"     15.77"    15.09"    15.73"
2009-2010  26.50"     25.55"    24.92"    25.66"
2010-2011  34.49"     34.17"    30.70"    33.12"
2011-2012  13.62"     13.66"    13.39"    13.56"
2012-2013  11.58"     11.59"    11.39"    11.52"
2013-2014   6.38"      6.82"     6.66"     6.62"
2014-2015  12.81"     10.28"    11.82"    11.64"
(04+) Avg  21.93"     20.73"    20.79"    21.15"