Story 22Dec2022: Thursday with Ice

Going backward, I went to bed near midnight. I decided to work on my radio, went into the cold garage, and got my soldering iron, wire, and various jumpers. I even have tiny ones that can connect to a little post. I also found my radio brake-out boards from Sparkfun. Apparently, I found three different versions of Sparkfund Si4703 radio in my overflowing draws of electronic stuff. One may be a weatherboard; I remember they made a special weather info alert board. I found that a board had already added pins soldered and was in a breadboard when I found it–useful. One was still in the original bag.

I reviewed the program and managed to connect the IO device to the USB, and then that, a legacy USB, I connected through a converter to USB ‘C.’ Sadly, I will have to spend twenty bucks to get a 3.3V and 5V FIDI in ‘C’ and get some play ‘C’ USB cables to keep up with the changing world. However, I was able to change the program and made a few revisions, mostly commenting out code to no effect.

The radio connects to a station, Charlie FM–playing all Christmas music, but there is a terrible pulsing in the sound. I checked, and the speakers, when plugged into my Apple, are good–I used a universal connector for the speakers when I did the rebuild in 2019, making testing easy. The stereo amplifier is also good. The amp is another nifty breakout from Sparkfun with a nice nob to adjust volume with other options broken out if you need more control. It is based on the LM4853 Boomer® IC. This is a good choice if you need an amp for a project and want something that just works. The chip sells for about $2.50 and is an SMD package (the days of hole-through soldering are fading), but I am not ready to invest in SMD and am happy to keep buying breakouts.

Note: My hands are steady, my solder iron is high quality, and magnifying devices are something I am used to. I could do the SMD tiny work. But I enjoy the old-school feel of components with wires.

Returning to the challenge, I unsoldered the radio board thinking the pulsing, which I heard, was interference from the 1/2 inch of space it has from the microcontroller, an Arduino Mini Pro 328. My skills with solder iron return, but removing wires is never easy. I use my spare hands, a device with pinchers to hold things, and the iron to let me pull the wires.

I then take the other Si4703 and use all the excellent micro jumpers to connect it back to the microcontroller and run power directly to the source (worried that I have a signal from Arduino that was powering the Si4703 before). Again, I get the same pulsing! Puke. The pulsing is about 1/2 a second, close to the speed of the Arduino processing loop.

I reprogram the Arduino with a delay, and the pulsing nearly disappears. Crap–it was the software. Yes, typo in the code. I missed it, and the central loop control is resetting instead of setting the radio station. That is precisely what I thought yesterday. I connect new wires to the old board, and they go back into the holes easier than coming out. I then use the jumpers and connect the old radio breakout, and it works–no pulse. Well, puke.

Friday, I will splice the wires and return the radio to working. I will then program the rest of the logic in Arduino ‘C’ Language. Not Python for this one.

Moving backward, when I arrived, there was a package for me. The Smiths plus Jason had sent me NYC bagels from Zabars. I now had one pack of each flavor I love, adding theirs to Joyce’s. Thank you! It also comes with an apron in Orange Zabar color.

At the last moment, I also received a Kickstarter art project that I was planning for Cat. It just made it. I opened it, removed my copy, left another copy in the black tissue paper, resealed the box, and addressed it to Cat in NYC. So it will be there waiting for her on her return. No need to fly it back in her luggage.

Before this, I enjoyed driving in the snow back from Portland. The ice did not show until Air Volvo’s four-wheel drive turned on in the 26 to 217 ramp. After that, I managed to keep going straight on pure ice. The windshield wipers were frozen, so I stopped and discovered the parking lot was covered in ice. I had to hold on to Air Volvo to be safe. I cleaned off the ice and then reached home without incident. The walkways were icy. I got out the de-icer and sprinkled everything. I then went over to my neighbors and told them I was safe and had plenty of liquor and de-icer. I spread de-icer on their walkways. If the storm got worse, we could just drink it away!

Before that, I met Evan and Miriah in Portland for dinner. Cold weather does not faze me, and Air Volvo is unstoppable (traction devices are in the cargo hold). I could almost hear the Volvo computer giggle–it loves snow. Also, the Oregonians mainly had run away, and the roads included only drivers who seemed to know how to handle the snowy conditions.

We met at Double Mountain Taphouse, which serves food too. I picked Mariah up at her house, the first time I had seen the new place. A small but nicely refreshed home on a lot for a house twice its size. When I got out to pick up Mariah’s trash can that had blown down, I learned that it was 24F (-4.4C) with a constant 20 mph wind which sent my hat flying. I quickly recovered my hat and then got back in the Air Volvo. The wind chill took the feeling to 4F (-15.5C), which is nasty, and my face burned a bit.

We drove to the place, and I parked nowhere near trees.

At dinner, we chatted about cars, and Evan said we had reached the 30-minute limit and changed subjects. We had a beer, just one for me as I did not want to enjoy the driving too much, and the pizza was good. This was our Christmas dinner together, and at the end, we wished everyone Merry Christmas. I dropped Mariah off at her cute house and drove home in light traffic (it was dark), crossing a beautiful Portland all lighted up. The giant lighted martini glass with olive was visible up on the hills–a tradition. I listened to the radio and sang Christmas songs while the snow whirled. The Volvo was pleased, and it might have been singing along.

Before this, I was at the hummingbird house. Susie and I watched the Count of Monte Cristo movie, her fav, and she stayed awake for the film. We watched the movie on the monitor I kept there and played it on my Mac; we use the social room for this, and Susie gets a recliner. So I sat in Susie’s rocking chair. Unforently, I spilled Susie Ensure, strawberry, on the Apple computer. I managed to clean it up before it did any permanent damage.

The Smiths plus Jason called while we were setting up. David did comment that Ensure does not work on Apples. They were crossing the Coastal Mountains to do Christmas in their beach house. Their girls, Cat and Tasha, had flown in, plus Jason, Tasha’s hubby. Cat was over Covid, so they could do their plans. We chatted for a while; they had beat the storm to the pass and would be safe soon in the Beach House. I was jealous–I love the ocean, but we will be staying here in icy Beaverton/Aloha/Tigard/Portland.

We called Leta, Susie’s mother, and connected with her on FaceTime. Susie and Leta talked about the weather and Christmas plans (and cookies). I also heard from Evan, who wanted to meet (as discussed above), and some text from Mariah. After two hours, plus interruptions and spilled Ensure events, Susie was uncomfortable and sleepy. I left with a kiss, heading to Portland, and Susie was happy to have spent a long time together. My only plan for Thursday was to hang out with Susie.

I also gassed up Air Volvo (I have not gone EV yet) and was happy to see gas down to 4.09, but it was cheaper everywhere except my area. Growl.

Before this, I was writing my blog and making coffee at the house. I had one of the NYC bagels that Joyce supplied with a banana. This is with liberal coffee made in my French press. My coughing is faded, but it seems to be a sinuous drainage thing now, and it picks up towards the end of the day. I have to keep blowing my nose non-stop.

I slept until eight and felt better. However, my back is hurting, and I decided to put exercising off until the cough is better.

Thanks for reading.

I found this well-done video of It is Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas for our 22nd day of Advent.

Feel free to call or send cards. Susie resides at:

Allegiance Senior Care

Adult Foster Care Home

9925 SW 82nd. Ave.

Portland, Oregon 97223

The house phone number: (503) 246-4116

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