Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May Go Bye Bye, Part Zwei

Bike update: WD-40 seems to have loosened up the sticky cantilever a bit on the brake. I am going to go ahead and ride it to work tomorrow and see how it goes. Nice to have it back on line! I learn more about those bike thingies every day.

4. A big solo day trip (continued)

I drove through the Dalles, stopped for gas, and continued south on highway 197. I passed through the sleepy town of Dufur (so sleepy it looked like a scene from The Quiet Earth) and proceeded straight towards Mt. Hood on highway 44. Realizing I was heading home, I ventured onward towards a crossroads called Friend. Once I left the highway, the road turned to gravel and the small puffs of cumulus clouds began to grow.

I found a "pioneer" home beside the road, so I stopped to take a snapshot.

I bet the squirrels liked that little place. At Friend, a paved road took me east back to highway 197. I drove onward to Tygh Valley near the Deschutes river. A small town supporting rafters on the world-famous Deschutes River and local farming, Tygh Valley seemed like a good place to eat lunch. I had a reuben sandwich and a beer at the local saloon and proceeding westward up a canyon wall to the high desert plains towards Mt. Hood again. I stopped to snap a picture of Tygh Valley below...

...and a very visually interesting road cut with lots of interbedded sedimentary deposits (mostly forms of ancient volcanic ash I think).

The highway continued westward towards Wamic and I veered off towards Pine Hollow Reservoir. The reservoir appeared to be a rural community of lots from 1/4 acre to several acres with several single and double-width manufactured homes. It looked like the kind of place that would be good for fishing or pretending to be "rural" while still maintaining the TV-dependent lifestyle. The reservoir was pretty though.

I drove back to Wamic with an eye towards that cloud in the first picture which seemed to get bigger and darker by the minute. After a quick trip to see Rock Creek Reservoir (a USFS fee site which I decided not to pay for), I went to back to hwy 197 and proceeded to the highway 216 junction to take me westward once again. This time the clouds were getting SERIOUS. The picture doesn't do justice to the darkness or tallness of the cloud.

On my way westward, I took a detour to see the small collection of buildings comprising the hamlet of Wapinitia.

Continuing on, there was the smallest (and only) glimpse of Mt. Hood barely visible beneath the clouds.

I continued westward climbing back into the Cascade mountains and away from the storm with only a few drops on the windshield to show for all of the darkness. I passed through Pine Grove and kept driving onward. I stopped for a restroom break at the Frog Lake Sno-Park and the snow is definitely hanging on more than it has for years.

At Government Camp, the snow was still plenty deep for skiing long after season and resort closed down their winter facilities.

Then it was onward back towards home. On the west side of the Cascades, the clouds descended to road level and a persistent mist took over until I reached the foothills.

A little over an hour later I was home. My rear end was numb, but it was a good trip. In reality, I was scouting out the region for a possible future homestead. There were some possibilities, but it wasn't quite what I was hoping for overall. Ladybug and I still aren't sure exactly what will be best preparing for the empty nest but we will keep searching.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May Go Bye Bye

It appears I've pissed away another month of my life. In the blog world, I phoned it in with a bunch of tag-based gliterati posting. In the unelectric realm, a number of projects combined to take me away from the Addiction Chair of computing.

1. Riding ye bike...well, bikes

I'm not sure if it is my weight or newbie incompetence, but the old eBike has given me a few problems. I do have it going again after the pedal came off and stripped the scrank arm necessitating an odyssey in replacing parts no longer sold and finding close subs. The remaining problem is that the front brakes are a bit out of whack and the usual screw tightening and cable adjusting isn't quite doing the trick. I am going to have to adjust the cantilevers I guess (well, Pandabonium, Arkonbey, Seymour, and El Tigre know what the heck that means).

While waiting for parts etc. for the eBike, I rode my regular bike to work a few times. Going 13 miles was too hard on the knees and back to sustain, so I decided to go one way at a time. It doesn't save any gas, but I can go on to ride another day. I am happy that the eBike is nearly on line because I can sustain the exercise twice each day rather than getting really tired every couple of days.

This is the result of a change in my charging system. I bought a couple of low-cost lawn mower chargers on the Internet and soldered up a jack to keep my batteries topped off. My old charge controller died shortly after installation (an apparent weak spot for that bike model). The jack replaces the big 3 prong jack above.

Funny note: The spelling for an informational sticker on the old charger used the word "cuntinuous" complete with the misspelling shown. I laughed and laughed when I saw that (for you Australians, the word play is similar to having the word "fanny" on a circuit board).

2. A little nature

Part of my daily ride passes through a nature park. The morning ride at 6:45am yields an abundance of animals to see, enjoy, and sometimes avoid during the rides. Rabbits, snakes, birds, and squirrels are all more prevalent in the early hours. I just about launched myself over the handlebars to avoid hitting a newt that blended in with the paved path. While the animals were elusive, there were a few fawn lilies blooming in the understory...

The cell phone has a crack in the lens, so the quality is not too good. Just a couple of days ago, we were treated to a "severe thunderstorm warning." The last one of those we had was over 10 years ago, but I saw the thunderhead building for the one that dumped a bunch of hail a scant few miles south of us. The newly restructured Emergency Broadcast System proudly scrolled red across the metro area TV screens. As evening fell, the pinks mixed with the blues, grays, whites, and blacks...

Other than a couple of loud booms from the other severe thunderstorm that dissipated over us, there was only a gorgeous light show.

3. Nonblog Computer adventures

In an attempt to make Ubuntu Linux my main OS, I realized that the Windows partition that was slowing the system down so much had to be converted to something Linux friendly. So I had to back about 60 GB of stuff that had accumulated over years into an unorganized mess. While I try to avoid it in 3D reality, I am a packrat in the digital realm. I back things up onto DVDs, my family's computers etc, then executed the change of my largest chunk of hard drive to the Linux ext3 file system.

I got (kind of) smart though. While repopulating the drive, I took the opportunity to file things in some semblance of hierarchical order so I might be able to find them later. Time will tell if I did it right.

Does Ubuntu measure up on the second go round? Well, it does well enough I will say. Without going into too much detail, the general functions are there but it takes a geek to really do what you want to with it. When trouble strikes, the average power user will find nothing but roadblocks in some areas...thankfully my IT chops got me through so far.

4. A big solo day trip

On Monday, I grabbed our RED Nissan Versa (thanks Moody) and headed to the East. Most people think of Oregon as a giant rain forest, but only the smallish area west of the Cascade Mountains is verdant and damp. Passing through the gorgeous Columbia Gorge with its basalt spires reminiscent of China's landscape art, the mist and fog and hanging waterfalls give way to a stone, grass, and oak terrain with a springtime mixture of green, gold, and black.

Ah, the heck with it...I will continue this tomorrow.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Well, Dean Wormer tagged me to continue a story...

I had been shuffling around the house for a few hours and already felt tired. The doorbell rang. I opened the front door and saw a figure striding away from the house, quickly and purposefully. I looked down and saw a bulky envelope. I picked it up. The handwriting was smudged and cramped, and I could only make out a few words. (Splotchy)

"Meet me at two o'clock at Grisham Square. Don't be late!"

What? I already had an appointment at that time. In fact, that was the only reason I had even taken off work that Wednesday. But, when I saw the photos, I knew I had to go and see what the hell was going on. Oh gosh, now I wish I hadn't, but how was I to know then that Elizabeth would take this whole thing so far? (
Freida Bee)

She had exposed the nefarious Republican oil-for-neckties program, skillfully dismantling its diabolically brilliant mind control scheme, giving each man, woman and child his or her freewill back, and this had made her a national, nay, worldwide, heroine, but -- the fear -- the look of stark, otherworldly terror on the -- could they even be classified as faces anymore?

No, I had to swallow the overwhelming dread that was threatening to force me into complete shutdown, collapsing on the hallowed ground where I would silently, naively wish it all away until it came for -- me. Fruitlessly wiping away a flood of icy sweat, I knew I had to steel my resolve, look upon those photos once more and let them burn their horrific images in my psyche. Permanently. (
Randal Graves)

Yet something was tickling my psyche, trying to work it's way to the surface of my consciousness like that bad memory for grade school I buried long ago. The one where I had to give a speech to the whole class and was trying to imagine them in their underwear so I wouldn't be nervous, when I suddenly realized I was the one who was in my underwear as I had forgotten to wear pants. I realized that the faces in the picture weren't faces after all. I was holding the picture upside down. (
Dean Wormer)

Ah, that was better. What had first appeared as people and then abstract art now resolved into pictures of cells. Plant cells. I stifled a chuckle thinking the cells were heads of people, but wait! The lower row of cells had twice as many chromosomes as the first row. Then it hit me, the gaunt figure striding away from my door was Elizabeth's old botany professor. His ambling gait percolated back into my consciousness. What could he want with me and why give me pictures of mutated cells? (Don Snabulus)

I tag Moody Minstrel, DewKid, TheHim, and Hypatia


Moody's thread is here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Obama is an appeas...wait, WHAT?

From Talking Points Memo

McCain was for negotiation with Hamas before he was against it. Bush is calling the wrong guy an appeaser.

Senator Clinton's trip to Bosnia "under fire" was parodied so nicely in the video Moody had here a little while back. Now McCain gets equal time except the comment needed no editing to be a parody this time.

For the record, McCain's 2006 statement about Hamas is a lot more sane than Bush's position. Unless you completely annihilate a group of people, you eventually have to talk to them. Just the way it is. Sorry if it isn't macho enough for some people.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Book Meme

Tagged by Swinebread with another blog nugget!

It’s the Book meme. I have to grab the nearest book, turn to page 123, locate the fifth sentence, and then post the next three sentences on my blog, and then tag five other people.

The book is Tales of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

The passage is:

"A little gift," Diamond said indistinctly. "Enough for Tricks."
"How do you know that?"
Rose was very dark-skinned, with a cloud of crinkled hair, a thin mouth, an intent, serious face.

I tag whoever wants to be tagged.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Six Questions

Dean Wormer tagged me with a small activity to perform. So here goes:

* The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
* Each player answers the questions about himself or herself.
* At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Ten Years Ago I Was

Chewing tobacco then quitting and undergoing nasty withdrawls

Five Things on Today's To Do List

1. Repair pinched wire on bike computer

2. Wash clothes

3. Buy groceries

4. Pet the kitty

5. Write this post

Things I'd do if I were a Billionaire

Start an alternative to the Boy Scouts of America that accepts all the good people they reject (specifically women, atheists, and gays).

Create a robot army to destroy all surveillance cameras. What could possibly go wrong?

Start a series of independent think tanks bent on destroying the Democrat and Republican parties and electing smart people instead.

Develop a wind-blown bacteria that eats explosive materials and craps edible oils. Finally a way to beat swords into plowshares.

Three Bad Habits

1) Food
2) Water
3) Shelter

Five Places I've Lived

Milwaukie, OR
Monmouth, OR
Aumsville, OR
Dufur, OR (for short periods of time)
Portland, OR

Six Jobs I've had in Life

1) Rifle Instructor
2) Light Industrial (crap work)
3) Inside sales at an industrial distributor
4) Freewheeling computer gadfly, esquire
5) Technical Writer
6) Software Developer

Five people I tag

Hillary Duff
Dick Cavett
A pencil