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Tower of Bleyddyn ap Rhys [FireflyFans.net] [The OB] ['Versal Board] [My BlogSpot page] Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "bleyddyn" journal:

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August 26th, 2010
05:15 pm


Solar Panel Costs
Just a rough cut this year. And I forgot to keep the links where I found each of these. I added one wind generator to compare.

Brand Model Type Watts Cost ($) % Change Cost/Watt ($) Effic. (%)
Sunforce 44444 Wind 400 $499.95 $1.25
Kyocera KD210GX-LPU Multi 210 $560 $2.67
Solarworld SW 230 Mono 230 $640 $2.78
Sharp ND-216U1F Poly 216 $795.95 $3.68
Sharp (kit) UL 1703 Mono 175 $654.91 $3.74
Sunforce/Sharp 39110 Poly 123 $594 $4.83

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April 25th, 2009
09:32 am


Story Idea: Your prophesy can't defeat my Legions
Fantasy setting.

Young boy has his life turned upside down when the bad guys raid his village.

He finds a sword. Turns out he's the hero of a prophecy who is supposed to turn back the invaders.

Sets out to do that. Slowly gathers a small group of others who help him.

One or two die along the way. There's sadness and drama.

Two doubt the whole prophecy thing. There do seem to be a few inconsistencies.

Get to know and like the characters, but moreso the doubters than the hero.

Everything looks like it's heading toward the great battle of the prophesy.

A month or so before the great battle the hero and his team are trying to save some villagers as they evacuate from the path of the invaders. They are attacked by a small scouting party.

[ed. All of the proceding takes 1/2 to 2/3 of the book.]

During the battle the hero dies, unoticed and decidedly not heroically. He gets cut up pretty badly, then just shoved out of the way, where he painfully bleeds to death.

Party is stunned and bascially disintegrates. Some just run. Others try to take up the hero's sword and continue his work (they all die). Doubters return to the wise-man who told them all about the prophecy. They 'convince' him to tell the truth: it was all lies designed to give the kingdom hope. He's done the same thing in numerous places with different heros and different prophecies.

Ok, not sure how to end this.

Copyright 2009 Andrew M. Salamon
License. For attribution please link to this post.

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09:29 am


Story Idea: Good in the kitchen
A male cop. A bit on the young side but very good at what he does.

He's been dating a woman, who hasn't quite moved in with him, but does spend a lot of time at his small house.

She cooks (not very well) and cleans (enthusiastically, but not very skillfully), in between looking for work. She does go visit with family every now and then. She also spends a a fair amount of time working out so she's quite athletic looking.

He's been working on a serial murder case. Working a bit too hard, he feels like he's been ignoring his girlfriend.

The killer has always been one step ahead of the police and seems to know a lot about them. Finally, the police feel like they are getting closer and closer but their sting fails. Turns out it was all a setup by the killer, all the clues were planted. No one is hurt, though. As they are cleaning up the mess, his phone rings. It's his girlfriend who just whispers "someone's in the house" then we hear a sound of the phone being set down. He shouts but get's no reply, although he does hear some sounds in the background, including gun shots.

He rushes home with most of the police force a few minutes behind him.

He breaks down his own front door and rushes through the house, gun drawn. He finds a trail of blood and follows it to the kitchen where we find...

The girlfriend calmly bandaging one of her arms using dish towels and her teeth. There's a bloody kitchen knife on the counter and a very dead serial killer on the floor.

There's the usual "are you hurt?", "what happened?", etc. Then the cavalry arrives. Two sets, actually. Most of the police force, plus three tough looking guys, one in a military field uniform (a seargent).

Turns out she's a (mostly ex) ex-special forces soldier. She still has an emergency locator which she triggered right before calling him. Her unit would prefer that her involvement not become public knowledge so they ask if the boyfriend can cover up her part in it.

Copyright 2009 Andrew M. Salamon
License. For attribution please link to this post.

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March 27th, 2009
01:45 pm


A Green Boat
All of these technologies exist, and they've probably all been used on sailboats. They also all have their limitations. I do wonder if anyone has tried them all on one sailboat.

Start with a sailboat designed for long distance cruising, or offshore passage-making as it's sometimes called.

  • Replace the diesel or gasoline engine with an electric motor and as large a battery pack as possible.
  • Replace all lights (internal and "running" lights) with LED's.
  • Replace at least one head with a composting toilet.
  • Add one bank of solar (PV) panels and one wind turbine.


  • Reduced thru-hulls. Both the electric engine and the composting toilet should require fewer holes in the hull than the systems they replace.
  • The electric motor should require less maintenance than an internal combustion engine and eliminate the risk of a fuel/oil spill, which can cost large fines and also reduce the risk of fire.


  • Reduced range with the electric motor vs diesel/gas engine.
  • Composting toilets don't always handle liquid waste, so there would still need to be some way to pump out or get rid of that. Possibly adding a heater and fan (separate solar panel/battery?) would allow it to handle liquid waste.

Other systems that could use some green upgrading: hot water heater, AC, refrigerator, stove/range.

I recently saw a picture of a sailboat that had both PV panels and a wind turbine. It's a news story about a teenager trying to circumnavigate the globe single handed.

I'm in the process of re-doing this entry...

Electric Auxiliary Engine

Estimated Cost

$3700 (30' boat) to $5400 (40' boat)
Looks like batteries might cost another $1500 - $2500


Seems to be about the same as for a diesel engine plus fuel tank: 350 - 550 lbs for the electric (including batteries?) vs 400 - 600 for diesel.



  • Much lower maintenance costs
  • Less fire and explosion danger
  • Fewer through-hulls


  • Shorter range than diesels
  • Slower to recharge (refill)

Composting Toilet


Nature's Head ($850)
Air Head Toilet ($969)
Lets Go Green ($1700 - $1800)

LED Lighting (internal and navigation)

Not done yet

Solar Panels and/or Wind Turbine

Not done yet

Other Passagemaking changes

"It is built to Category 0 standards and is designed to self-right in the event of capsize" from Abby's Blog

Copyright 2009 Andrew M. Salamon
License. For attribution please link to this post.

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March 24th, 2009
07:21 am


Story Idea 1: Breaking the Loop
I have a few ideas for stories that I've written down over the years. I'm not a writer and will never do anything with them so I thought I'd post them. They are all copyright but distributed using the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States license. If, by some remote chance, someone actually wants to use one of these for commercial purposes, please contact me.

Oh, one more thing. These are just ideas not finished books/movies/etc, some aren't more than simple concepts.

Now, on to idea number 1...

An very unsavory looking character walks down a residential street (latin american?) 20+ year old cars, houses, etc
He sees a young (5-8?) boy playing, obviously farther away from his home than he should be.
He kidnaps the boy (entices with candy, possibly) and drives away with him
Shot of mother calling for him.

Short snapshots of his life.

Abuse, chains/ropes, hard labor of different kinds, last is working in factory making illegal drugs.
One or more freinds among other slaves are killed, badly beaten.
Escapes by causing fire/explosion (expensive for drug lord) (16 years old at this point?)
Runs, almost caught several times, beaten, shot, hurt
Poor furtive existance, found by henchmen several times, but always escapes (never fights back)

Longish (3 years?) period of 'safety'.
Comes home from work to find roommate (not close freind, but still...) dead, killer waiting for him
Starts to run, but snaps
See brief glimpse of him as a child, playing, reflected across his eyes.
Killer chases but literally runs into him as he stops
Kills killer

Starts working his way back up drug lord henchman chain
Violence ensues

Finally corners drug lord in his largest warehouse/factory, but badly wounded and heavily outnumbered.
Drug lord was scared but sees situation has changed and starts to gloat.
Hero glances at crate that we saw being delivered earlier (child flashes across his eyes again)
Something on crate lets viewer know that Hero was responsible for it being delivered.
Drug lord notices glance and is immediately suspicious.
Hero points gun at crate and smiles.

Fade to distance, large explosion, followed by other smaller ones, building is completely toast

Another child looking similar to first, but obviously different (modern cars in background, etc), playing farther from home than he should
Unsavory character (different from first) approaches child, but slowly grows transparent, blows away on wind like smoke (hint of flames?).
Child looks around, but sees nothing.
Image of Hero flashes across his eyes.

Copyright 2009 Andrew M. Salamon
License. For attribution please link to this post.

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January 22nd, 2009
10:04 am


Apple and Battery Prizes
I was going to post this as a comment on this article but it really doesn't belong there other than the fact that the article mentions that Apple Inc. now has $28B dollars in the bank.

One thing I really wish Apple (or someone, anyone, please?) would really do is dump some of their billions into battery research. Or possibly even battery prizes.

$5B to anyone who creates a production ready battery that matches gasoline for power to weight and power to volume ratios. Possibly with smaller prizes for lower benchmarks. One of the great things about using prizes to spur development is that they don't even need to pay out a dime unless someone delivers. Well, OK, there are costs associated with administering the prize, but still.

One reason why Apple in particular might want to do this is because so much of their product line relies on batteries and, let's be honest, the most advanced battery currently on the planet is an absolute piece of *bleep*.

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July 8th, 2008
07:42 pm


Solar Panel Costs

This is my third year posting retail solar panel prices. Here are the first post and second.

Overall averages, by year which probably doesn't mean much since the number of panels from each manufacturer has changed so much.


Brand Model Type Watts Cost ($) % Change Cost/Watt ($) Effic. (%)
Sharp ND-208U1   208 $1040.75 $5.00
Sharp   180 $955 +%6.81 $5.31
Sharp   175 $873 $4.99
Sharp   mono-crystal 175 $819.00 $4.68 13.8%
Sharp ND-123UJF   123 $624 $5.07
Sharp   142 $704 $4.96
BP BP4175 175 $1125 $6.43  
BP BPSX170B 170 $835 $4.91  
BP BP3125U 125 $810 -%8 $6.48  
BP BP3125-slv 125 $813.80 $6.51  
BP BP380U 80 $469 $5.86  
Kyocera KC180GX-LP 180 $849 $4.72
Kyocera KC175GT 175 $770 -%172 $4.4
Kyocera KC130TM 130 $625 $4.81
Kyocera KC120 multi-crystal 120 $535.95 %03 $4.47 14%

1Compared with the Sharp 180 watt panel from last year.

2Compared with the Kyocera 167G panel from last year.

3Compared with the Kyocera 120 watt panel from two years ago.


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September 19th, 2007
10:00 am


Saturn Woes
On Saturday September 8th Cathy and I were returning to San Diego from a family visit in Colorado. On Interstate 40 about twenty miles east of Holbrook Arizona, while traveling at about 75 miles per hour, our car just died. The engine quit with no warning and we had to pull off the side of the road. We called AAA who dispatched a tow truck, which fortunately took less than an hour to arrive. Unfortunately, the driver managed to lock our keys in the car, with the lights on and most of our stuff still inside. We were towed to a garage (Scotty and Son) in Holbrook, where they said they couldn't work on it until Monday because they were already closed for the day and didn't open on Sundays. The owner listened to me trying to start the engine and suggested it was the timing belt.

We reluctantly got a hotel room and prepared to wait until Monday. The next day was my birthday which I 'celebrated' by moping in the hotel room and watching movies. Trust me, there's nothing else to do in the grand metropolis of Holbrook AZ.

Monday morning Cathy called the garage while I started to look into other possibilities. Turns out that was a good thing because what the mechanics had failed to mention was that none of them work on Saturns anyway, and they would need to find a friend who did work on Saturns and see what his schedule was like. Plus they had no idea how long it might take to get any parts.

So, I called the nearest Uhaul (fortunately right in Holbrook) and said I wanted to rent their smallest truck and a car trailer. Also fortunately, they agreed to come pick me up, since it would have been a longish walk in 90+ degree heat (and very scary locals). Many hundreds of dollars later I drove the truck to the garage and got the car up on the trailer with the help of the mechanics. Cathy and I piled all of our stuff in the truck and hit the road. I tried very hard to get us home that day, but six hundred miles at considerably less than normal freeway speed was just too slow so we ended up getting one of the very last dog-friendly rooms in Yuma AZ. We got up early the next day and made it back to San Diego by 9 am. We dropped the car off directly at the Saturn dealer, unloaded our stuff at home, then dropped the truck off. Plenty of time for us both to go to work (oh, joy!), which was unpleasant in the extreme, but we had already missed one day more than we had planned on. Total cost so far, $1000, and that doesn't include any work at all on the Saturn.

Later that day Saturn called Cathy back. The timing chain had broken and because it had happened while we were moving one or more valves had gotten bent. Their solution: $7000 for a new engine! The only other solution is to put a used/refurbished engine in, but they said none were available. I thought the idea behind using a chain instead of a belt was that they didn't break!

After some searching (thanks Tanc!) it really looks to me like this is a known design flaw in certain Saturn engines. There's an oil valve or nozzle that fails to provide enough lubrication for the timing chain which can cause the chain to break. And if that happens at any time other than engine startup, presto biffo bammo, new engine time. Cathy tried calling Saturn headquarters, but they refused to help us in any way. An acquaintance who's a lemon law lawyer said we probably didn't have much of a case.

As a side note, Cathy had been taking the car into the Saturn dealer for regular maintenance. You would think they might at least of warned us that we should have checked for any timing chain related problems.

(All ratings are out of 10)

2002 Saturn LW200 Station Wagon. Less than 80,000 miles on it.
Comfort: 8
Cargo capacity: 7 (with roof racks)
Fuel efficiency: 5
Reliability: 2 (this was not our first problem)
Overall grade: 4

Saturn of El Cajon:
Courtesy: 9 (they did wish Cathy a good day as she had our car towed home)
Overall grade: 4

Saturn Corporate:
I guess someone will need to die because of this problem before anything is done about it. The National Highway and Traffic Safety board is apparently looking into it.

Tow truck/garage
Courtesy: 9 (they did drop us off at the hotel and spent a lot of time jimmying the car open)
Competence: 2 (they did lock the keys in the car and failed to inform us that none of them actually work on Saturns)
Overall grade: I hope never to use them again. I hope to never 'visit' Holbrook AZ again.

Bottom line: We're out $1000 plus the value of the station wagon (somewhere between $5000 and $7000). I strongly recommend that none of my friends buy any Saturn made after 1998.

Current Mood: angryangry

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June 4th, 2007
02:45 pm


Solar Panel Cost update

This is a follow-up to my previous post. All panels that are still available have gone up in price. The cheapest panel I could find as of June 4, 2007 is still more expensive per watt than the all of the panels I found as of June 10, 2006.

Brand Model Type Watts Cost ($) % Change Cost/Watt ($) Effic. (%)
Sharp   mono-crystal 185 $920.00 +4.5% $4.97 17.5/14.21
BP 3125U silicon nitride multi-crystalline 125 $749.51 +25% $6.00  
Kyocera KC120 multi-crystal 120 NA2 NA NA 14%
Kyocera KC167G   167 $890 +15.7% $5.33  
Matrix PW6-110 polycrystalline 110 $550 NA $5.01 15% (cell)
1 17.5% cell efficiency, 14.2% panel efficiency.
2 The Kyocera KC120 doesn't seem to be available anymore.

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January 4th, 2007
12:18 pm


Blue Origin
A couple of days ago Jeff Bezos announced details and video about about the first flight of their new rocket. It sounds like it's a prototype of a sub-orbital tourist rocket. Ho, hum, been there done that. Right?


A couple of years ago there was a serialized story called "The Rocket Company" by Patrick J. G. Stiennon & David M. Hoerr. Unfortunately, it's no longer available online, but you can buy it from Amazon (here is some info about it).

What struck me when I saw the pictures and video of Goddard is how similar it is to the description of the second stage of the rocket described in the book. The rocket in the book consists of a hybrid first stage that uses both jet engines and rockets to climb vertically. Once above most of the atmosphere, the second stage would separate and gain the speed needed to reach orbit, while the first would return for a vertical landing.

I wonder if something like that is Blue Origin's plan or is it just a coincidence in design.

Current Mood: impressedimpressed
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