Travels and Images

WEEK 31 2004

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Saturday 31 July 2004

Saturday - lots of boring work around the yard and whatnot. Not worth reporting, really.

So that you, dear reader, will not feel neglected, some cat-blogging is probably in order:

can and stuffed penguin
Here Phoebe is attempting to disembowel a Linux
penguin - no stuffed toy is safe in this house.

Friday 30 July 2004

Friday - worked. Almost forgot dinner. Tried to help a friend with a bizarre computer problem - after installing a BIOS update it crashes. Hard. But only when the LAN is connected up. Weird. Plugged in the machine won't boot. Plug it in after the machine is booted and it crashes, and won't reboot until unplugged again.

There are later drivers available, but you have to be able to get online to download them!

Thursday 29 July  2004

Thursday - worked. Ate dinner, swam a bit. Not a lot to say. A poem, from my brother, about stopping late one night in the desert, on a trip we took a couple years ago:

 High Desert

Out on the old route 66,
where the known world ends
at the limit of your headlights.

And the engine stopped, cool-ticking,
dry silence--lights out.
And the whole desert like a shore
where the tide has gone out

That faint haze to the southwest
could be Barstow--there beneath alpha Centauri--
or it could be Armageddon quietly beginning.

Is it the silence that draws
the eyes and the soul to the stars?
Those endlessly banked fires, stirred
and stirred while deafness itself
cowers between their numbing distances.

Whichever way you look
its the future and past,
ending and beginning.
You can only hope for a glimpse
of a part.

You look and you look
and the only answer is the flare
of a meteorite--

star sign of a lost friend.

BH 7-04

Wednesday 28 July 2004

Wednesday - the boss called today. Wanted to know how work is going  I told him the work was going fine.

Aliens and accounting at Chicago Boyz. All I know about accounting is that :
The school apparently believed that computers were only to be used for business, which meant COBOL, and that COBOL programmers needed to know accounting.

Then the engineering department opened a class in FORTRAN. Ahhhhhhhhhh. We had to share key-punch machines with the business people though.

There was a time earlier this year when I thought about going to Florida for a few days. It didn't work out, and probably won't happen. While preparing I did find a book "Roadside America", chock full of  interesting, informative, and educational things to see along the way.

Okay, weird and funny stuff
. Pet cemeteries. Prostitution museums. Reasons for stopping to eat in Ponca, Nebraska.  The pregnancy minnie ball. Edvard Munch's "The Scream", done in insects.

Turns out there is also a website,, that's updated regularly. It's worth a look...

Turns out I visited one already, years ago. It's the TV McDonalds!! I was working nights, in college, running spotlights at night for car dealers, bars, movie openings and such. A commercial needed a spotlight in the background and I got the job one night. It was my introduction to Hollywood and I never looked back. (Hate the place!) They kept complaining that I was turning the spotlight - weighing hundreds of pounds and rotated by hand - too slow. Forty plus takes as I recall, within which the SpaceShip HappyMeal was supposed to land. But there was a lot of free food and drink, important for a college student.

Not to mention Fosters Big Horn. Wow, the memories. My brother and I stopped in Rio Vista, years ago, and it's stuck in my memory. I didn't know it was famous...

Hey, the Star Trek Rocks as well!

Tuesday 27 July 2004
Tuesday - hot again. It is hard to get yard work done, save in the early morning. After 10:30 or so it's already in the 90's and very unpleasant.

It was getting near dinner time and the cat jumped up on my desk to pester me, scattering my bills about (again). And knocking the letter opener onto the floor. I looked at it, then at him. He looked at it, then at me. And I just left it there. Cats have faster reflexes.

Back in school we used to sing "America the Beautiful" and "This Land is your Land". I guess the teachers didn't think we up to singing "The Star Spangled Banner". Anyway, those nutty folk at JibJab have created a little animation set to the tune of "This Land" that is pretty funny. Stupid but funny. No matter who you intend to vote against.  (Thanks to my friend Tim for the link, and pestering me until I actually installed the Flash player to see it.)

Monday 26 July 2004

Monday - finished up the computer install. The card reader for his smartmedia cards was acting up it seemed. After a bit of fooling about we determined that the cards themselves have problems. The camera(s) can't read the cards either, and cannot format them. It may be a FAT12/FAT16 issue, or just bad cards. Other cards read just fine in the card reader and the camera, so...  Oddly my own card reader, from SIIG, had no problems with them, but it was the odd man out.

I got a free breakfast at Crazy Otto's ( and a 60GB hard drive ) out of this, and was still feeling fairly satiated towards lunchtime.

Another friend stopped by for a couple of house and then I got back to work...


I watched a bit of the Democratic National Convention tonight. Bill Clinton remains the most compelling orator of our times, sadly. What he has to say is scary, a Moore-ish farrago of lying by omission, innuendo, and outright falsehood - but he says it so well.


Ehh...lot's of stuff deleted here...the heck with it.

At least the Dems now have a tune to hum, thanks to Clinton's speech:

"Darling you-ooh-ooh-ooh send me,
 Darling you-ooh-ooh really send me,
 Honest you do, honest you do, honest you do."

With apologies to Sam Cooke, here we go...

I suppose that line has worked for ol' Bill in the past...but perhaps Twistin' the Night Away would be a better description of tonight's speech...

The message to the voters was certainly Cupid, draw back your bow...

Heh. I guess Hillary gave out with the tired old mantra "will lead the world, not alienate it. Lower the deficit, not raise it. Create good jobs, not lose them. Solve a health care crisis, not ignore it", speaking before good ol' Bill, who has convinced her that he's reformed.

Mostly the crowd loved Bill, but they really didn't seem enthusiastic about his pushing Kerry's Vietnam service. Careful Bill, don't alienate the crowd!

He too spoke about how we were alienating the world, but I wonder if he was just missing the adulation of the foreign crowds himself.

I could go on...but I won't.

Sunday 25 July 2004

Sunday - did a lot of yard work in the morning, and quite a bit of work cleaning up the garage, though it's hard to tell.

A friend of mine came by in the afternoon, with a computer to install software on. He had gotten some sort of virus/trojan on his old Win98 install, and finally had to have someone completely wipe the hard drive.

We started over, with Windows 2000, and it was a pretty good install. Poor D has a dark cloud hanging over him where computers are concerned, but this went pretty well. Since I've broadband we could easily get the latest versions of all the Windows Service Packs and fixes - and there are a LOT. We also installed the newest versions of drivers and software for his drives, printers, card readers and what not. I put Ad-Aware on, and ZoneAlarm, and defragged and cleaned up the hard drive when finished, I think he'll be pretty happy with it.

Picture of the Week

buzzard soaring

Photo Notes: This is a shot (using my father's Oly 750-UZ) of what I thought was a hawk, gliding overhead in Martinez. I am reliably informed that it is probably a buzzard of some sort, with the forward swept fingered style of wings.

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