November 28 (1977, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1986, 1997)
“Second-Known Ascent of Spooky Tooth”

11/28/77   morning. clear. oh how the morning sun comes into my cabin, so nice and warm. yesterday i went into dutch flat a little early, saw no one astir at neil's, and decided to drive around a bit before the 10 o’ clock meeting. i headed up to monte vista and took the road that winds up the southwestern end of moody ridge. i thought i'd look around and see if i could see some of the cabins that were recently red-tagged by the building inspector. however, after climbing up out of canyon creek onto the middle slopes of the ridge, i saw a flat beside the road with a couple of enormous oak trees. i parked ruby and walked around. almost immediately my suspicions were confirmed: i found a flake of chert that had been worked by the indians. soon i saw a couple of old grinding rocks nearby, broken ‘manos’. not many flakes, probably just an occasional camp, although i didn't look around very much. a dried-up spring nearby. so instead of finding a red-tagged cabin i found the signs of an entire culture that was red-tagged in its way, over a hundred years ago. as kurt vonnegut would say, ‘and so it goes.’


then i went out to ron's and we drove out to moody ridge, in between my place and lovers leap, where ron [Ron La Lande] and his two brothers are considering the purchase of a forty-acre piece with fine views up the canyon. ron then took me out to see the big oak just west of lover's leap. i have never checked out that part of moody ridge before, and want to go back soon for a leisurely stroll. there is an unusually pure stand of young ponderosa pines near there that must be a quarter of a mile long. then we returned to casa loma.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

See 11/30/79 entry for an account of this adventure, which earned the above notation on the cover of this volume of Russell's jounal. ‘Spooky Tooth’ is what Russ dubbed the formerly-labeled ‘absolute ultimate’ spire, the furthest north spire of the Pinnacles Ridge, the southern rib of Giant Gap.

11/28/80   Well. The great Battle of the Shower rages on. After writing yesterday morning, I scouted around for odd fittings to see if I could make up a replacement for the street elbow. Sure enough ~ a 1 1/2” nipple and a regular elbow did the trick. So, just at dawn, came the longed-for moment of filling the system with water, lighting a fire in the woodstove, and heating that water up. However, I soon discovered that the thermosiphon wasn't working, as the hot lead out of the Holly unit in the stove remained cool while the cold line in—coming from the bottom of the tank, some 20" above the Holly—the cold line became hot as a pistol. Since the other line—the hot line out of the Holly—has a check valve before it joins the cold water supply on its way to the tank, (whew!) no water could come from the tank or the cold water supply to replace what ever hot water left the Holly via the inlet. So the only cold water return for such water would have to travel within the same pipe. If it traveled at all?

So. I suspected, and still wonder if there might be some sort of air bubble trap in the Holly which prevents normal thermosiphon flow. Incomplete siphon. However I discovered that if I turn the cold off and on at the sink, I can force water to flow in the right direction. I haven't determined if it only circulates while I'm slamming the valve open and shut or if the condition persists on its own for a while. I've been trying many different combinations of opening and shutting valve and bleeding lines but nothing seems to be effective in curing hotspots on the inlet except opening and shutting the cold water to the sink. Why? My theory is that it briefly lowers the pressure in the cold water supply, thus allowing the warm water out past the check valve and up to the tank. But it won't hold. In fifteen minutes it will reverse; the inlet will grow very hot while the outlet cools—how can this be? What is happening? I've been trying to understand the logic of plumbing.

Now work commences on the road above—boulders crash down the hillside. Will they smash my forest to smithereens?”

[Russell Towle's journal]

November 28, 1985

Rain, rain, rain. Some snow during the night. The battery is caput on the Toyota, and it must be coast-started: in the snow? I am going to the McClungs’ for Thanksgiving dinner. [...]

[Russell Towle's journal]

11/28/86   [...]

Later… after midnight… still snowing.


Yes. It began snowing this evening about ten-thirty.

One inch or so is on the ground.

Just remembered today that at one time, some twenty-five years ago, I hit upon the idea of what I called to myself ‘algebraic’ writing-style; and I early on considered Julius Caesar to be the original master of that genre. I think I developed that picture from studying sentence diagramming in the seventh grade, algebra in the ninth, logical symbols in the seventh, and read in and about the divine Julius around the same time.

This idea of “algebraic” style I carried forward into the 1970s; I recall explaining it to Susan B. (while helping her write a grant proposal) in 1977—she said something to the effect of, “I never heard of that before”—no, of course not, that's another Towle original!

’Tis frustrating as all get out to not have electricity when I need it; tonight, for instance, I couldn't review my Hades tape—not enough juice in the batteries. They are in a state of permanent discharge, it would seem. Near-discharge.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

November 28, 1997

Just after midnight, after Thanksgiving dinner with the McClungs. Gay and Gem and Gus are away on a camping trip, so it was just Janet and Greg and I.

I’ve been very busy lately, most lately, kind of burned out and depressed. The large house going up out along Lovers Leap road is even worse than Jon’s old place, next door, so far as imposing itself upon the canyon and the view of Giant Gap from Casa Loma, etc., goes.

I have initiated a more serious effort to establish a trail connecting Lovers Leap and Garrett Road, which has led to a lot of time working on maps on the computer, so some progress has been made in Mathematica, and I have been converting the MMA graphics to EPS and bringing them into PageMaker to add lines and legends.

Since my last entry I have made two major discoveries in the realm of zonohedra, first, what I am calling the zonohedral “completions” of convex polyhedra, wherein every face of a convex polyhedron is used to form a set of vectors from the center of the polyhedron, to the corners of the polygon, and then each set of vectors is used to make a zonohedron; so that a bunch of zonohedra radiate from one common point. A non-convex zonohedron is usually formed. Then the deepest “cups” between the radiating zonohedra are found and filled with more zonohedra, until, after some undetermined number of stages of filling cups, eventually a convex zonohedron closes up.

The other discovery is of an infinte family of non-convex zonohedra related to polar zonohedra, wherein the same vectors are used, but taken in the order of a star polygon, instead of cyclically as in a regular convex polygon; so that strange zonohedra with interpenetrating faces result. These sometimes look kind of like sceptres.

I have some of my drawings and POV renderings at an art gallery in Nevada City, in a show running for the month of November.

I have supplied graphics for a cover for The Mathematica Journal and another math journal in France.

Working also on maps and stuff for the petrified wood project. Another theft of a ton or so took place this fall.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

No comments:

Post a Comment