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September 2012

Friday, 28 September 2012

I did some lapidary work yesterday. I did four cabochons: an agate, a rainbow obsidian, a purple fluorite and a Spencer precious opal. I can tell I need a lot more practice, as I am getting some flat spots and some spots that are not polished correctly. I will continue to practice.

The Spencer opal is pretty large, but is fractured. It won't make a good cabochon, as I needed to leave a lot of the matrix material on the stone because it is fractured. I might be able to put something on the fractures to keep them from fracturing fully. I will have to look into that.


 

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Thursday, 27 September 2012

I'm working on cleaning up the garage, but it will be slow going. The reason is that there is no longer a direct way for me to get to the dumpster station. The way I normally go is closed for construction along old Highway 95. The other way is Lancaster, which is still closed for construction. I went via regular highway 95 yesterday, but could only go 40 mph on a 55 mph road, since my load was uncovered. I wish they would actually complete some of the construction projects they have started around here.


 

I have been trying to create a DVD with short videos of subjects relating to lapidary work. I have been using DeVeDe, but it seems to be broken in Linux Mint 13. In the generated DVD image, I get no menu displayed at all, even though it is defintely there. It there is no way to inform the DeVeDe developers about this behavior, either.

In the meantime, I have installed DVDStyler to do the job. It works well and produces an ISO of a DVD that is completely useful. It lacks some fine control that DeVeDe has, but that is not a drawback.


 

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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

I did some more brush cutting yesterday. The first pass at all this after 28 years of not doing anything is quite a chore. Once it's all cut, I should be able to keep it down much more easily. It doesn't help that there are rocks all over the property. I need to pile those up in known locations so I don't run over them with the bush hog.

I plan to do some dump and recycling runs today. I hope to free up enough space in the garage to get three vehicles into it for this winter. That may turn out to several dump runs, come to think of it.


 

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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A few days ago, I received a letter from the Social Security Administration. After studying the letter, I determined that I could not understand the point of the letter. It started with this:

What does that mean? It sounds like a simple declaration of what happened in the past. It makes it look like something that has already happened can be taken back.

Then they start talking about how I will receive a check for September 2012 in October 2012. I know that already. All checks are a month late. But what does that have to do with the first statement?

So I wasted a couple of hours yesterday, going down to the local Social Security office and verifying that the letter meant that things were status quo. Gah!

Some people think that TSA stands for 'Too Stupid for Arbys'. If that's true, then whoever in the Social Security Administration wrote this letter is a prime candidate for the TSA.


 

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Monday, 24 September 2012

I spent the weekend lazing around Priest Lake. I enjoyed the lake, the weather and did a bit of trolling on the Internet, including watching Joe Dubner working on his plane. It was a good chance for me to use my teardrop trailer for a last time before the snow flies, and I took full advantage of it. I even did some Dutch oven cooking.


 

Once again, my credit card number has been lifted by some crook, and they attempted to use it for themselves. I used the card a lot to buy gas on two separate trips and I suspect the number was lifted during one of them. What good is a credit card if you can't use it without getting it stolen? I will have to rethink how I travel, but I shouldn't have to.


 

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Friday, 21 September 2012

I went to the monthly meeting of the North Idaho Mineral Club last night. While watching the video that was the program for the meeting, I had an epiphany. I thought of what might be on YouTube for lapidary, and how those videos would make good meeting programs, too. I will be looking into that, searching YouTube for 'lapidary', 'cabochon', 'faceting', 'gem', 'mineral', etc. Just not this weekend, though. I will be relaxing this weekend.


 

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Thursday, 20 September 2012

The classic car season ends at the end of this month, so I went to the gathering at Burger Heaven in Rathdrum with my Plymouth yesterday. Frank and his wife, who have the immaculately restored 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook, showed up, but they weren't in the Plymouth. Frank's wife was driving a 4-door 1948 Chrysler and Frank was driving a 1948 3/4 ton Dodge pickup.

The Chrysler has 51,000 original miles on it. It has a straight 8 engine and an original paint job. Very nice car. The Dodge has the same flathead 6 engine that's in my Plymouth. I would think that would make it somewhat underpowered. It's in very good shape except for the wood in the truck bed. That's a common problem - I saw a 1951 Chevy pickup a while ago, where the wood in the bed had completely rotted away.

I'm beginning to suspect that Frank and his wife have way too much disposable income.


 

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

I mentioned yesterday that the main route to my house from town has been shut down until the 21st. Here is what the relevant section looks like in an old Google Earth photo:

Off to the left, running towards the top of the photo is Highway 95. To the right of that and parallel to 95 is Government Way. To the right of that is a patch that has no trees that runs towards the top of the photo. That is the edge of the rimrock. To its left is the Rathdrum Prairie, created by glacial action thousands of years ago. To the right is the area that was not ground under by the glacier and is at least 100 feet above the prairie. That is the rimrock.

Lancaster Road runs from left to right and runs around a hill in the middle of the photo to get up on the rimrock. That run around the hill is what they are eliminating. Here is what they are doing:

The red line changes were finished up this summer, except for paving (note that this is an old photo without the changes). To complete the project, they need to cut through the original road (green line), then pave the whole thing. I doubt they will be finished by Friday.


 

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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

I did some more brush cutting yesterday. It's getting harder to do, as the brush that is left is older than what I've been cutting, and therefore larger and harder to cut. I probably won't be finished before the snow flies. I guess I will have to finish up in the spring next year.


 

I am going to record the weirdness that the radio in my Plymouth does and send it to the guy who installed the radio. I'm hoping he can figure out what my problem is an suggest a solution. Or he can tell me to ship the radio back to him to be fixed.


 

The main route from town to my house has been shut down since the 11th. They are tearing up the old road in one place and are prepping so they can put the new road in. Hopefully they will be finished on the 21st, as advertised.


 

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Monday, 17 September 2012

I am having trouble transfering the last of my web domains from GoDaddy. You must request a code from them to give to the new company, and GoDaddy keeps giving me a bad code. This is not the first time I have had trouble with them and it is a secondary reason why I am moving from GoDaddy to Namecheap.


 

I didn't do much of anything this weekend, although it is getting towards fall and a lot has to be done. I just took the weekend off.


 

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Friday, 14 September 2012

It has been a little over two months since I had my 1952 Plymouth painted, so I spent quite a bit of time yesterday waxing the car. Before the waxing, when I stirred up dust with the car, the dust just clung to the car like it was attached with magnets. Now the dust comes right off. The car looks pretty good, too.


 

I transferred the last two Internet domains I had with GoDaddy to another registrar yesterday. I started doing this mass transfer 9 months ago in response to GoDaddy's support of web censorship. It took so long because I wanted each domain to get close to expiration before I changed it over.

One of them has already been completely moved. The other one may have some problems. I will look over the raft of emails both companies sent me to see if I have missed any step. I want to get completely away from GoDaddy and this will do the trick.


 

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Thursday, 13 September 2012

I worked on getting the garage cleaner yesterday. I still have a ways to go, but I should be able to park at least two vehicles and my teardrop trailer in the garage when I am done.

I took the Plymouth down to have the radio looked at, and did not get a solution to my problem. I may have to ship the radio back to Wisconsin to get it fixed. I really would like to have tunes in the car, as it is way too quiet in there on long trips. Basically, the radio acts like it is constantly scanning for FM stations. Makes it a bit hard to listen to.


 

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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

I will do some garage cleaning today. I need a place to store a machine, so one of the car bays needs to be freed of its junk. It should be a relatively simple effort, as a lot of the stuff in that bay is computer junk. Like 12" green screen monitors and a 10MB removeable cartridge hard disk for the S-100 bus. In other words, the junk is so long in the tooth that all the teeth have fallen out. At least it can all be recycled.

I also need to transfer yet another domain from GoDaddy to Namecheap, if I can actually access GoDaddy. I understand they have been having problems. Color me unsympathetic.


 

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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

I put the hard drive from the toasted HP machine into my Quad-core machine yesterday. Here is a tip: if you add a SATA hard drive to an existing Linux system, be sure that the drive is empty first. Unless you want to boot up in that drive, of course.

When I powered up the machine, Grub decided that it would boot into the new drive. So I found myself in Ubuntu. Not quite what I wanted, so I booted again and directed the BIOS boot loader to use the other hard drive, which contains Linux Mint. Once I was in there, I used Gparted to remove all the old data from the new drive. I then rebooted to make sure it would come up correctly. It did not - I got a Grub error 22, which means it couldn't find a partition it was looking for.

I googled for the error and all the web pages I found assumed it was an operating system problem instead of a hardware problem. None of the web pages had the proper solution. I finally powered down the computer, unhooked the power to the new drive, then powered the system back up. The system came up fine, since the drive was no longer there to look at. I then powered down again, hooked the drive back up and powered up with no problems. Apparently, Grub is too smart for its own good. It had saved information about that hard drive throughout all the changes I made, so it just knew there was an operating system out there. When I unplugged the drive, it forgot that, so when I hooked it up again, it started fresh.


 

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Monday, 10 September 2012

I brought 2 computers back with me from Arizona. Both would not boot. One of them has a bad motherboard. Since it is an HP machine, it is not worth fixing. I removed the 400GB SATA hard drive and will put that in my Quad-core AMD machine.

The other machine is an older AMD Athlon machine that I originally built, with 1.5GB of memory and a 200GB hard drive. Something had screwed up the Linux kernel on the machine, so it would not boot. I installed Ubuntu Linux 9.04 on the machine and it now works fine. Slowly, but fine.


 

The Learning Linux talk I gave on Saturday went fine. It was shorter than I anticipated, so I added a few other items that had to do with using GIMP.


 

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Sunday, 9 September 2012

My mother, Margaret 'Peggy' Burton passed away this morning. She was 83. I am very glad I went to Arizona a few weeks ago to see her. She has had health problems for quite a few years, after suffering a stroke. She broke her hip on Christmas day last year, and was doing much worse after that. Recently, the doctors discovered she had colon cancer, but she was too weak to operate on. She just kind of faded away. Though I rarely saw her, I will miss her a lot. She was a big influence in my life.


My Mom and Dad - Christmas 2010

Friday, 7 September 2012

When I got to the KHQ-TV party yesterday morning, I finally found out what it was about. First, it was a sales meeting. Second, it was a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the station. and finally, it was a retirement party for George Maupin, one of their weather forecasters. It was interesting how pieces of Hollywood ended up in Spokane. That is, many of the people acted like they were in Hollywood. I met all the news people and most of them are short. They certainly don't come across like that on the tube.

While I had nothing much to do, I wrote down the rest of what I was going to say for my learning Linux talk tomorrow at the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting. I have all words down, but I have to add them to the web page and post the page. I will be done in plenty of time before the meeting.


 

When I got back from Spokane, I did some more brush cutting. It's going to take me weeks to get it all done. I think today I will move some rotten logs so I can cut room for a slash pile.


 

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Thursday, 6 September 2012

Yesterday I cleaned up my teardrop trailer and charged its battery. It is all set to go to KHQ's celebration of NBC's 100th anniversary today. When I come back from that, I plan on stopping to order some touch-up paint for the Plymouth. There are a couple of hidden spots I would like to be the same color as the rest of the car.

I cut a lot of brush yesterday. I still have a lot more to do and I will work on that this afternoon. I need to clear a big area so I can start a slash pile. If it ever starts raining again, I can then burn the pile.


 

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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

I made Salsa Verde the other day. I had some Herdez Salsa Verde in Arizona last week and decided it had a pretty good taste, so I copied down the ingredients listed on the jar and created my own recipe for it. I added one extra ingredient to it: garlic. Just because I love garlic.

I posted the recipe on this web site here.

I also posted the recipe on the Camp-Cook.com web site. That got me thinking about peppers. I thought that a nice list by heat index would be a nice thing to have, so I made a list up and and posted it here, too. Just so the chili-heads would have someplace to go for a specific list.


 

KHQ television is celebrating the 100th anniversary of NBC tomorrow. They are having some kind of event going at their downtown Spokane offices, and I have been invited to attend with my Plymouth and teardrop trailer. I have washed the Plymouth for the event and I will clean up the trailer today. They want me over there at 7:15am, so I will leave here about 6:30am to ensure I am on time. The event goes until noon.


 

I will be cutting brush from around the house when I am not doing the other stuff around here. There is a lot of brush accumulated around here in 28 years, so it will be a huge chore.


 

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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

When I travel, I usually program my GPS for the destination. 99% of the time, I pick the fastest route to a destination, but last week when I drove to Arizona, I picked the shortest route. My goal was to travel the length of Highway 95, as I live just off of it here in North Idaho and my parents live just off of it in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

It was a bad choice. The last time I used shortest route, it tried to lead me into fields that used to be roads and dirt roads with locked gates. Bad idea. After the first fiasco, I attempted to get updated maps for the machine. Despite the fact that the GPS unit runs Linux, the only interface to it is through a Windows program. Every time I tried downloading that program in a virtual copy of Windows XP, it would download, but then never install.

Once i got to Arizona, I decided that enough was enough. I googled TomTom One download, and found a web page on the TomTom site that had a download of the program specifically for the TomTom One. I downloaded that in my Windows XP virtual machine and it installed fine. I then started the GPS update, and got not only new maps, but also got a firmware upgrade. The box now connects to GPS satellites much faster and it works much smoother. And it only took me about three years to get there.


 

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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

I usually visit my parents once a year - at Christmas. Because of my mother's health issues, I decided to visit early, so I was in Lake Havasu City, AZ all last week. Here is how it was in that town:

I left to come home on Saturday, so I don't know what the high was on that day. I do know that when I left town at 6:30 am, the temperature was 96° F. I never use my car's air conditioner, but I sure did last week.

The trip down to Arizona was not uneventful. I dodged a huge dead steer in the road down by Plummer, ID and went through a very windy lightning/rain storm east of Boise. The lightning had set off a brush fire whose smoke was rolling across the freeway, so everyone had to slow down. The fire department was having trouble with that one.

On the way back, I ran into a very windy lightning/rain/hail storm in Fairfield, Utah. The lightning had set a huge stack of hay bales on fire and the fire department was out for that one.


 

There were no problems with this web site last night, but when I woke up this morning, my web account had been suspended. I talked to my web host and got the account restarted, then installed a cache for WordPress. I also updated my .htaccess list with two of the most egregious offenders, both of who seem to be robots. Hopefully, I won't have anymore trouble.


 

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