Bass on Bass

Friday, July 29, 2011

Grubs...we don' need no stinking grubs

    Grubs and their associated damage WILL be appearing in lawns all across Chicagoland in the next month or 2. It's no worry for me though. Over-seeding this and it's sister grass seed products for ~18 yrs + milky spore treatment back then have made sure of it. These "endophytic" grasses bare a fungus on roots that injects plant-eater toxin into the grass. DON"T GRAZE ANYTHING on this stuff. 
   These grass plants' roots go up to 4' to 6' deep so I have to water maybe once a year.
    The picture is Gardens Alive's main promo photo for the product. A picture of our lawn though nice wouldn't be any revealing thing since we've just received the most rain for any July on record, just in the last week or so. That'd leave ANY lawn green.    
    I'm not sure it's a down side, certainly not for my veggie plants, but all the neighborhood rabbits have learned to stay away from my yard. I guess once or twice getting sick from eating the grass taught them all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Evolving Ornamental Pepper Variety?

    Evidence of plant evolution? I grew these before, ~ 2 and 3 years ago from seed from the same vendor just like this year. Back then the Tricolor Variegata Pepper plants were much more compact and more variegated in leaf than these. The same changed in nature plant form is present in all of the 6 or so places they've been planted this year.
    The photo doesn't do these plants justice. They have lovely little ~1/4" pinkish purple blossoms which produce very small fruits that emerge a deep purple and, over time, mature to either red or orange. The leaves, only some of them this year, have a random, first white and sometimes also purple variegations. I still love them though the new growth habit doesn't fit this location perfectly.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Latops = Desktop price and power?

    New Laptop technologies have just about totally brought them equal to desktops in price and power in the budget and mid range machine categories.
    Here's a laptop that at $399, seems like the perfect one to send your college freshman to school with.  It is so new that it isn't yet included on the HP website. It uses the new AMD A4-3300M processor. 

    Like all the new PC processors, A series AMD Fusion and 2nd generation Intel I series it uses what AMD calls an APU instead of a mere CPU.  An APU is a main processor chip that eliminates the main support chip by including the CPU and GPU (graphics processor) as well as memory management etc. on a single chip. 

    This makes the 2-3 functions work together radically faster by being tiny fractions of a millimeter apart vs up to inches apart when they are on separate chips. Distance apart = sloth in interaction of chips in an electronic device. This also radically reduces their total power consumption and heat production.

    The result is a 15.6" screen fairly powerful laptop that can run up to 7+ hours on battery. There are other design advances that assist in reaching that efficiency but the APU is the main contributor. Here's a laptop that's a near equivalent machine with an I 3-2310M processor. 

    Of course there is the usual small price difference favoring AMD based computers over rough equivalent Intel based computers.

Friday, July 22, 2011

KidKarraige by Nashbar-A BEST BUY

    I received my canopy last Friday that was missing from the Kid Karriage box. I got to try it out yesterday going to the grocery store. It pulls well. Almost the best feature is that it folds up for storage in about 5 min. It fits nicely in the trunk of my Corolla. With the hitch rack, it'll be no problem to take it and the bike(s) out to Aurora and go riding with Liam in it on any of the many trails out there in the Fox River valley. Oh, when I ordered this on line, I also ordered a toddler helmet for my little guy, The one with bunny rabbits on it. Gotta keep his little cranium  safe. It's really cute too.
                                                              Here is the trailer all folded up
    The hitch clamps onto the bike frame just forward of the wheel dropout on the side opposite the chain. The strap gets run around it all and clipped back to the hitch for safety. The hitch pin gets removed and re-attached in the extra hole with the hitch arm folded back under and secured there by the pin for storage / transport. 
    You can see where the "Safe Use Instructions" sticker is visable. It's very clear and concise.
    Safe use instructions for the seat are printed on the seat's fabric in 2-3 places as well, equally clear and concise.
 This is one of the tethered hitch pins, the one for the hitch arm.
   This is how the wheels attach, held in place with another hitch pin.
      Not bad for $100 new, huh? It compares favorably with the trailers I've seen in stores. None of them beat it on price or simplicity. All of the comparable ones go for ~$250, nearly $100 more than this one's $159.99 regular price. These are on sale now.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Defibrillators: now kinder and gentler?

    Wow, first bi-phasic defibrillation (see the subsection of the Wikipedia article on this per link) to reduce required delivered energy and now this to go way further in reducing same. "Rather than one big shock to the heart, a series of 5 small pulses can also restore our heart beats, scientists show. And it uses 84% less energy".  
    The thing about defibrillation is that, yeah, it saves the patient's life but with myocardial tissue damage from the defibrillator's energy injection. Less energy required to normalize the heartbeat = less tissue damage.  The tissue damage reduction may even be exponential!

    For AEDs, the ones in public places, the risks to "amateur" users giving care on the spot is greatly reduced by lower energy delivery. Newer Defibrillators are of designs that may allow conversion to this new lower energy technique via mere software upgrade!

   The greatest effect may be in the area of implantable defibrillators.

  The new lower energy method may allow smaller implantables that run longer on battery charge and whose actions may go undetected by their patients. They may be able to react and defibrillate without the patient sensing any symptoms of the event.

Friday, July 8, 2011



    Just got back from my Doctor's office for my 2nd day later examination of my 12 stitch wound. Per him my assignment for the weekend is to sit around with my hand up like a student who is trying to get the teacher's attention. Fool that I am I mowed and raked debris off the front lawn and vacuumed up the debris from the yew trimming yesterday. When I got inside and sat down in my recliner my body just crashed. I wasn't ready to move for a couple of hours. Later I had a serious coughing episode such that I couldn't go with Jeanne to see Geoff's new condo. Based on what Dr Nelson said, it's all my body's normal reaction to the wounding. Such events kick all of the body's defense mechanisms into overdrive to protect the body and heal the wound. Luckily these wounding episodes are rare enough to forget that. Rarity + remembrance? One can always hope.
    The wounding occurred when I was about 98% done trimming the yews that grow in front of the house. I started the job on Tuesday using the chute/tube/bag setup shown in the last Garden Groom photo above. I "finished" (it finshed me?) on Wednesday when I was using the on-board receptacle for the trimmings instead. As I said at the point of ~98% completion the receptacle was full so I stopped cutting, I lifted it to empty it whereupon I somehow managed to get my left hand longest finger into the business end of it before the blade stopped. My left hand had been gripping the large looping handle which has a whole front surface grip switch. Releasing same stops power to the motor but does not brake the blade. My finger did that. 
    The Garden Groom does the tidiest, cleanest cutting job on my yews of anything I've used for the job in the 28 years we've lived in this house. It's a great tool, as long as you keep your fingers away from the blade, something I hope I can now manage to do.
    I have sent a web message to the Garden Groom folks about the accident, suggesting they look into incorporating a blade braking function per safety switch release.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Garden Trellises, D.I.Y.

       This is a re-post from last year with some added material.
        Follow the instructions on the picture I made and mount the netting loaded top with #10 or #12 sheet metal screws. Then pull the netting down the sides to complete the trellis. Once installed one can either plant climbers under it or tie up the netting to the top of the frame per whatever the plan for the year is. They have lasted ~ a decade so far. at least 2 of the original trellises just got their first re-netting.
     Once you drive the 3/4" conduit into the ground with the fence post driver, you'll want to cut the top to your desired height with a tubing cutter(for metal tubing see the pics above, which you spin and tighten to make the wheel cut deeper each revolution). The fencepost driver can sometimes make the top of the pipe "mushroom" a bit. In any case you'll need to use a ladder to work with the top of the "posts". Otherwise you'll have a terrible time trying to drill the pilot hole for mounting 1/2" X 5' top. 
  These become part of your garden's "permanent bones" so install these only where you want them present for many years. I have a line of 3 of them along the east edge of both 16' long veggie beds and a pair of them on the south side of our brick home to grow self seeding morning glories to shade the wall. I think it saves a bit on the air conditioning bills. The latter are full 8' height trellises.