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May 2006

Wednesday, 31 May 2006

My car gave me no trouble at all on the way home from Yakima yesterday. The mechanic did a very good job fixing it.

I arrived home to many messages on my answering machine. Lots of people wanted to know where I was - people at the Spring Fling and people at work. The work problem came about because I notified my boss I would be MIA on Tuesday, but I forgot she was also MIA on Tuesday. I'll straighten all this out today.


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Tuesday, 30 May 2006

A Vacation Gone Wrong

I left Hayden Lake for a campground just west of Packwood, WA, on Friday morning at 6:30 am. I was going to attend the 8th Annual Spring Fling, a teardrop trailer gathering of more than 50 trailers.

It was about 11 am and I was about 40 miles from my destination when my car's engine shut down. It was like someone just turned off the ignition. I looked at the engine, but who can figure out anything on a new engine anymore? Nothing seemed to be wrong that I could see.

Eventually, someone stopped and offered to help me as soon as he got back from Naches, which was the closest town to where I was. About an hour later, someone else stopped and called my problem in on their OnStar system, as cell phones were dead in that area. Still, no one came to help. Finally, a Washington State Department of Transportation guy stopped, radioed his supervisor, who phoned the state police, who phoned a local tow truck. At 2:11 pm, the tow truck guy showed up.

He didn't know I was towing a teardrop trailer. We unhooked the trailer from the car and he winched the car up onto the bed of his truck. We then lashed the teardrop to his moveable hitch bar with chains, then proceeded to drive the twenty miles back to Yakima, where I could have a chance at getting the car fixed.

The tow truck driver, Buz Gosnell, was a great guy. He dropped my car off at an auto shop and then drove all the way across town to the KOA campground and dropped me off. He only charged me for the mileage to the shop and not the campground.

The guy at the shop was short-handed because of the holiday, but he promised to look at the car and let me know on Saturday morning what the problem was. I called him on Saturday and he said it needed a new timing belt. So he was going to try to get someone in to help him on Sunday, or else they would fix it on Tuesday.

Tuesday was the correct answer. I was at the KOA for 5 days. I didn't have a canopy to keep the rain off me, as it was in the car. I had plenty of food, but not nearly enough entertainment. On Monday, it finally stopped raining and turned into a nice day. I was somewhat entertained by the Northwest Sidecar Pilots Unrally, which was also at the campground. But motorcycles are not really my bag, so I kind of had to entertain myself.

I had two paperbacks and three DVDs. I read each paperback twice, and watched each DVD twice. I also worked on a software specification that I kept putting off, but that wasn't entertaining enough.

I guess the moral is: don't use a vehicle with 168,000 miles on it to take long trips. Otherwise you will end up with an 800 dollar weekend, not counting gas.

Thursday, 25 May 2006

We had a layoff at work yesterday. 18 people, mostly from the other major project, were let go. A total of 150 people world-wide. Out of about 25,000+ employees, that is pretty much a drop in the bucket, but it was real personal. There are now a bit less than 70 people left in this office.

The guy who did the dirty deed held a meeting after he was done, so he could try to justify his actions. This will give you an idea of where he was at. He talked for an hour and never once used the words 'people', 'persons' or person. It was all 'resource' this and 'resource' that. And I've never heard so much market speak coming out of one mouth at one sitting.

The guy congratulated us on our 'professionalism' during the layoff. I've got news for him - that wasn't professionalism, that was resignation

I've had it. And considering his views on legacy projects (what I work on), I think it's time to move on.


There will be no new entries posted here until Tuesday. I love long holiday weekends...


New MS Vista direction: "If we can't make it good, we'll make it pretty."


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Wednesday, 24 May 2006

It looks like we will be getting rain over the holiday weekend. It won't prevent me from doing what I was going to do, but it will be very inconvenient.


I printed 10 more copies of the Dutch oven manual we handed out at the workshop last summer. It's a pretty good introduction to cooking with a Dutch oven, so I plan to give them away to anyone who expresses an interest.

I think I have figured out a way to smoke meat in a Dutch oven, but I need to experiment with it before I publish anything about it. I may try the method next week. They are right when they say you can cook just about anything in a Dutch oven.


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Tuesday, 23 May 2006

If you live in Idaho, don't forget to vote today. If you're like me, you will have compiled a list of those you will not vote for - those who send their snail mail ads to you and those who violate your right to privacy by soliciting you on the phone, even though you are on the do-not-call list.


I am finishing up the maintenance work on my C program at work. Little things like verifying if a file exists before trying to archive the file. You know - the nit-picking details.

All I can say is I'd better have no complaints about the back up tables function, as it now does everything for you. It verifies the table list you have provided, converts the table names to file names, shuts down the database server, archives the files, then restarts the database server. This is something we could have been doing in Korn shell scripts, but it is so difficult that only parts were ever done. With my utility, they will be getting the whole enchilada with no work on their part.


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Monday, 22 May 2006

I spent a lot of time over the weekend upgrading operating systems. The upgrades were to SuSE Linux 10.1.

Two of the computers I upgraded use wireless as their primary internet connection, and 10.1 failed to detect and configure wireless in both cases. I ended up going back to SuSE Linux 10.0 on those machines, so I could talk to the outside world. This was extremely disappointing to me, as 10.1 has a new Wi-Fi manager that was supposed to solve all the minor problems I was having with wireless on 10.0.

I would install Mempis Linux on one of the machines (the notebook), but Mepis won't install from a USB CD-ROM drive.


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If you didn't call your mom on Mother's Day, don't forget to call your dad on Father's Day. The NSA needs to recalibrate their equipment.

Friday, 19 May 2006

There's an interesting mini article on The Daily WTF called "More Rube Goldberg design". This is exactly the kind of thing I work on at my regular job.


The tailgate party was a big success. Rob Rector and I did all the cooking - at a guess, at least 150 to 200 weiners, german sausages and bratwursts. I really enjoyed it, but that sun was relentless. And I forgot my hat, so I think I sunburned my head.


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Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, administrate. Those who can't administrate, become lawyers. And most lawyers become politicians.

Thursday, 18 May 2006

We are having our tailgate party today. We will be doing hot dogs, sausages, chili, chips, sodas, and a bunch of other stuff. Activities includ a scooter race, hot wheel race and R/C car races. To top it off, it will be plenty hot, too. Low to mid-90's today.


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Wednesday, 17 May 2006

I'm working on the software specification I started months ago, so I haven't had time for much else.

We are having a tailgate party at work tomorrow. It's part of the effort to boost morale. I will be grilling hot dogs and will provide chili for the dogs. My teardrop trailer will be part of the festivities, too.


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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -Teddy Roosevelt

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

When I found out Skype was going to let us call public phones from our computers for free, I decided to give it a try. So I called my parents to tell them I had shipped SuSE 10.1 to them.

The first time I called, I used Skype on my Linux box. My dad could barely hear me. So I hung up and called from the Windows box. He couldn't hear me at all. I finally called him on a regular phone.

I guess I will have to do some adjustments before I can use Skype on a regular basis.


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Monday, 15 May 2006

I had a good time at the Dutch Oven Gathering in Hauser Lake on Saturday. As requested, I made a dish I had never done before - Pork Chalupas. It was pretty good, but two newbies outstripped me by far. They made beef stew and hamburger stroganoff, which were both truly excellent.


I have downloaded SuSE Linux 10.1 and I installed it over the beta release. It looks very good, but I haven't had a chance to investigate the whole package yet. I have made copies of the disks and will snail mail them to my parents. I found out last night that a power failure has hosed one of their machines, so while we are re-installing, it may as well be with the latest version.

It will be interesting having my father install Linux. I guess I will have to talk him through it on the phone.


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Friday, 12 May 2006

I got stuck behind a young moose on the way to work this morning. I was going past the old Aryan Nations compound and the moose was walking down the middle of the road. Have you ever noticed that when deer are on the road and you approach them, they take the first opportunity to get off the road and into the bush? Moose don't operate that way. This one just kept walking, then trotting down the road. I had to increase my speed a bit to catch up to it before it decided to head for the trees.


There is a Dutch oven gathering in Hauser Lake tomorrow, so I will be missing the North Idaho Linux User Group meeting. I will be cooking carnitas. It's supposed to be a very nice day for it.


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Thursday, 11 May 2006

There are persistent rumors that the following will happen: Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) plan to merge, with the merged entity to be known as the Music And Film Industry Association (MAFIA).

Wait a minute, maybe they already have! Since when is the MPAA a police organization? Since when is it illegal to mail homemade DVDs? It isn't, and they aren't. The MPAA has been given carte blanche to pursue their outrageous profits at the expense of our constitutional and fair use rights. I hope they sniff out a DVD of SUSE Linux I when burn one for my parents and mail it to them. Opening other people's mail is a federal offense, but they don't seem to recognize that.


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Wednesday, 10 May 2006

My neighbor's horse got into my pasture last night. I don't know how it got in, but it got tangled up with some barbed wire trying to get out. This came to my attention as another of the neighbor's horses came through my front yard, as it was attracted by the commotion the original horse was causing.

I think my neighbor is in really big trouble with his wife, who is the actual owner of the horses.


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The Divine Right of Kings states that a monarch owed his rule to the will of God, not to the will of his subjects, parliament, the aristocracy or any other competing authority. This doctrine continued with the claim that any attempt to depose a monarch or to restrict his powers ran contrary to the will of God. The monarch considered himself above the laws that he instituted for the rest of his society. Now, who does that remind you of?

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

I have posted pictures from the 13th Dam Gathering of The Tears, which I attended last weekend. For those who have not seen my trailer, it's the first picture.

This was my third trip to a Dam Gathering. With the price of gasoline, I don't know how many more times I can attend gatherings that far from home, though. It was a 1360 mile round trip, and I spent a lot of money on gas. Way too much money.


I have edited out about 60 recipes from the Dutch oven cookbook I am working on. It is now a more reasonable size. I still have to add introductory information and do a complete proof of the entire book. It won't be ready for quite a while yet.


Do you enjoy science fiction works, but just don't have the time to sit down and read? Give Escape Pod a try. They publish a weekly podcast and each one of them contains a short story. The stories range from G to R, and the narrator will warn of stories with adult content.


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Monday, 8 May 2006

I spent the last four days at the 13th Dam Gathering of The Tears, at Shasta Lake, CA. I had a good time, took lots of pictures of both the teardrop trailers and the people, and lost six pounds on a vacation weekend. You can't beat that.

I headed off to the gathering from work on Wednesday afternoon. Spent the night at an RV park in Moro, Oregon, had breakfast in Shaniko and got into the Antlers Campground at Shasta Lake on Thursday afternoon. I spent quite a bit of time walking around taking pictures and talking with all the teardroppers. I was parked across from the people who organized the gathering and next to a brand new Cozy Cruizer, owned by the people who manufacture those trailers. Boy, was that a nice one.

It was also gratifying to know I was not the only computer geek there. Also across from me was Dave K, who was an IT manager at Long's Drugs. Nice to meet you, Dave. I'm impressed that you and your wife spent so much time living in your teardrop trailer while you were in Mexico.

I have all the pictures downloaded and on my file server. I hope to put them on the web site tonight, but that will depend on how long it takes to reduce 129 pictures down to 1024 x 768.


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Wednesday, 3 May 2006

I probably won't be updating this blog until Monday. I'm taking some time off.


At work, I am still working on a C utility program for UNIX servers. It's getting more challenging, since the additions our customer wants us to add to it are kind of complex. It's gonna keep me out of trouble for a while, that's for sure.


If you are looking for a weather forecast, you can try Accuweather. It will give you a 15 day forecast of the area you are interested in. But beware: the web site is what I would call very cluttered. It is really hard to find what you are looking for on the site as there is so much visual information packed into it. And most of that visual information is just garbage.

But they give a good forecast....


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Tuesday, 2 May 2006

I created a bunch of Live CDs of Mepis Linux last night. I hope to pass them out at the various events I will be attending in the next three months. Mepis is very good at identifying hardware, so most people should have no problems with it.

There was a power glitch in the middle of the disk creation. And, of course, the machine I was using is the only one not connected to a UPS. I lost one of the copies I was making, as the machine rebooted after the power glitch. That'll teach me, huh? Probably not.


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Monday, 1 May 2006

Kind of a weird weekend. They were predicting rain and overcast on Saturday and a nice Sunday. Saturday was sunny and 75°, and it snowed Sunday morning.

We also had a power failure on Saturday morning. I waited for 1/2 hour for it to come back on, then I went to town to do my normal weekend errands. By the time I got back, the power was back on. No way for me to tell how long it was off. I was gone for 3 1/2 hours.

Power failures seem to happen more often here than other places. I think we have too many people up here trying to mow down power poles.


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