...and from time to time, I forget what an interesting world we inhabit. Saturday night, as I was watching the full moon work its way across the summer sky, I was feeling glad the temperature had cooled down enough to be able to be outside without going in the pool. Don Armstrong lives on the other side of the world, the Land Down Under:
Spent a fair amount of time myself, on and off, watching the moon disappear last night. Full eclipse - not to be repeated anywhere, I understand, until about 2007; and not here for about 143 years. I figured my eyesight might not be in the greatest shape to catch the next round, so I'd better enjoy it now.
In one sense, not that spectacular -shadow crept across the face of the full (naturally) moon, leaving a dim orange-red ghost behind. Ended up that you had to know where to look to see the moon immediately - it was so faint that it didn't immediately draw the eye the way even a new moon will do. Go inside (and it was a COLD clear winter night), come back, and you could spend ten or fifteen seconds scanning the sky before you'd see the moon, even though it was right where you left it. So - not that spectacular, but definitely worth the effort nevertheless.
So, here I am, roasting in the California sun while Don's ready to roast chestnuts in the fireplace.
I like the web...
I was about in full computer withdrawal yesterday. ...compounded by a copy of Mandrake 7.1 showing up as the "goodie" in my copy of Maximum Linux over the weekend. I even had a bit of a game plan for getting in some time working on anything. I've found ordering parts for IT at work does not count and actually may aggravate the situation. Monday was Shelley's birthday; and coincident with that, Sister Olivia (the nun type; not the family type) was in town for one of her rare visits. Shelley, Sister Olivia, and one or two other teacher-types usually get together for dinner out during each visit; Monday was the selected evening.
"Sure dear, no problem; you go out with the girls. The boys and I will have a pizza night." Sounded good and I figured I could throw the Linux HDD in the laptop and see if the new Mandrake could handle the video display as well as Caldera's distro.
How does that saying go? "Good plan; terrible execution?"
Since Daniel had been stuck inside with a fever for the last several days, the living room looked like Toy Central run amok. Soooo, after dinner, I gave the boy's their marching orders: "You guys clean the living room and dinner area; I have the kitchen. That way when mom gets home, she'll have a Real Clean House for her birthday!" Hmmm... that is where the plan went south. Oh, we got things done all right; and the house looked real nice (even the cat box was emptied); but by the time we were through, it was way past their bedtime and way past what my nerves could handle. You see, boys that age are like magnets; every time they get within a certain critical distance of one another, contact is inevitable. ...usually ending with some damage occurring to one or both parties. Sheesh.
Yesterday became somewhat of a "target rich environment" for posting. Something at work reminded me I hadn't mentioned my first real barbecue effort from the weekend (or sent off the photo I promised to JHR). Then a second source went with the latest Microsoft office security leak. ...oh, you're yawning also. Then, my absurd-o-meter went off while I was reviewing prices in a sale flyer. ...and I decided to weigh in on a discussion about motorcycling. Ah, a good day, even if I'm still not feeling up to par...
First and foremost, congratulations and a big "Thank you!" to Tom Syroid for getting Hydras and the world to talk to one another. Things are almost dialed in. ...and man, that's a lot of work and skull sweat.
Redmond has stepped in it again; you can view the details of the latest on Access and HTML stuff over at the SANS Institute. Some of it isn't all that new; then again: What's next and do you even care anymore?
Unrelated to that<g>, I noticed Mandrake 7.1 has hit the local store shelves; Star Office 5.2, personal finance, and backup software are included in the deluxe package. $49.95US at CompUSA.
In medical news, the FDA has cleared Prozac for use in cases of severe PMS. ...and if you think I'm adding commentary to that one, think again. She reads this site. ...they did change the colors to a peaceful lilac and blue combination.
...and that leads me to the latest assault on my attempt to maintain solid grounding in this universe: As I was checking ads yesterday for vacuum cleaners, my eye caught a Eureka product's picture. I read the ad copy and found one line proclaiming their DirtAlert® dirt sensing system. Instant and total vapor lock. I vacuum; I clean; I scrub. ...and the Mark I eyeball assisted by the 25590423-889/A101 white glove system is usually good enough for sensing dirt!
Off to their web site; and I quote:
Electronic Dirt Alert makes sure you get the embedded dirt you cannot see which causes the most wear to your carpet. The beam transmits a signal to the Dirt Alert indicator light causing the light to glow red - indicating that the vacuum is still picking up dirt. When the red light turns off, it is time to move to a new area of carpeting.
Hello. I need to look at a little red light on the front of the machine's base to tell when it's okay to move on to the next piece of carpet???? Sheesh.
Janeen and I talked it over; she disagreed with my thought that it was some engineer dreaming of the vacuumer wearing the French maid's outfit while... Never mind; Janeen felt that this was more along the lines of the dumbing down of The Consumer. ...kinda' like those warning labels on rotary mowers that tell you not to put your hand under them while the engine is running.
I'd rather move on from that one... And not mention how they tout their infrared system as superior to the competition's silly use of microphones that cannot even react to cat hair like their fancy smancy system that turns up the power of the Ir beam when the emitters get dusty..... Arrrggghh
So, how's about some barbecue? I tried out The Beast this weekend for the first non-grilling cooking test. I knew I would be working in the back yard most of the day, so I asked Shelley to pick up a chunk of dead cow on her store run. "What type of "dead cow?" Heck, I don't know what I'm doing... "A pound or two of some tri-tip will work."
I could tell she didn't quite trust me; she picked up the smallest tri-tip they had (1.25 pounds). Good idea, though; I just wanted to play with things. ...and I'd have dinner when it was ready.
I fired up the fuel (more later), cooked it for about twenty minutes on each side on the grill closest to the firebox, then moved it the the far grill for another ninety-minutes. The meat thermometer said done; it looked and tasted just fine; and Shelley even tried some... This from the lady who puts grilled turkey burgers in the microwave. ...just to make sure.
Lessons learned: Opening the grill to check the meat temp just adds time. That's not a problem if I'm talking with someone while relaxing with a beer. But for the yard days (and an wife who'd like to target a serving time), I needed a remote sensing thermometer. Problem solved: the local Bed, Bath and Beyond had a Polder knockoff under the Pyrex brand name for $20US.
Lesson two: Briquettes and wood don't quite get it. Al likes mesquite charcoal; Tuesday I found forty-pound bags for $9.99US at the local Smart and Final store (Orchard Supply has the same item for $14.99).
All in all, an okay experience. I still need to pick up rubs and mops; but when we get back from next week's vacation, I'm going to fire up some mesquite, stick that probe in some ribs and see if Daniel will go near anything cooked outside.
Tom's site is down for the moment; his DNS got caught up in the great GraniteCanyon debacle. Rather than set up new virtual domains (...and reset everything after his DNS records move to his new domain-records host. ...and potentially cause problems when things sort out), he's going to just leave things alone for the few days it takes for the correct DNS information to make it's way through to the servers. If you have mail for Tom, please pass it along to any Daynotes gang member and we will forward it to him through the back channel.
Daynotes.com appears to be propagating well through the web; hopefully Tom's information will follow as quickly.
Farquhar update, short version: alive and nothing major to report. Details when I can talk for more than a minute without coughing.
...and short shrift for a day or so; we're gearing up for Part II of the Bowman Summer Vacation. Usually we use one of my vacation weeks in July and another in August. This year Shelley's brother is in the middle of a move and a change of school districts for his kids; that is forcing him into an August trip to the condo. Since I start teaching again in mid August, it's now or never (unless we can slip a short one in later). ...and I'm hoping the clean, salt air over on the coast will help clear whatever it is that's dragging me down.
Worse, companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars to keep us from thinking of their product the way we want to. For example, when we hear "Kodacolor," we're actually supposed to think, "Warm, memorable family times," not "Chemical-soaked, light-sensitive cartridges for our cameras." And when we hear "Jell-O" we're supposed to think "Cute kids having fun," not "Gelatinous substance made from hooves and eaten by the sick and the toothless."
There's a few other articles on that page that may also divert you from any productive work...
Tom is now "visible" from my work site (Pacific Bell DSL); perhaps things are moving more quickly than usual. Sheesh; the guy could use a break...
...and I wasn't going to put anything up, but I just can't resist: today marks the tenth anniversary of Shelley's putting up with me as a husband. Thanks, babe!
Ah, a nice relaxing anniversary dinner yesterday evening at one of the local steakhouses. ...both the boys enjoyed themselves immensely. We did too.
...and New Media seems to be "getting it". After putting up quite an assault on the Worst of Show category (and just flat ugly, and useless, and terrible navigation, and... Oh, you get the idea), they've finally unveiled a new look. We'll see how it goes; I'll dig around a little this weekend and see how deep the changes have penetrated.
Daynoters: the back channel is once again in service. If you didn't receive a test message I sent from Hydras on Thursday, email Tom to confirm your preferred email address.
...and that's a wrap for the week. I've been busy catching up and trying to get ahead enough to feel comfortable leaving. In a few hours it just won't matter anymore<g>.
It's a travel day; and we were packed enough last night that I think we may make it out of here before the heat builds up too much. ...heat being a relative Good Thing. ...relative to the coastal weather. You see, when the weather is nice in the central valley (as it was over the July 4th holiday), the coastal weather is usually windy, cold and just no fun for the sand sitters. When the weather in the valley is hot and stagnant (as it's been for the last few days and projected for the next several), the coastal weather usually starts out foggy in the morning and clears to a warm, calm afternoon. The beach time starts late, but also extends to sundown. We're hoping it's real hot at home while we're gone...
That blasted Bilbrey... He did it to me again. Here's an excerpt from an email I sent his way last night:
...<Sigh>Just yesterday I checked with the IT tech and asked if he had any more rejected HDDs from the pen-based machines. "Sure Dan; here's two. Have a fun time." I figured I'd get maybe one good one out of the two and throw Mandrake 7.1 on it (the base CD came with Maximum Linux magazine this week) as a diversion while at the coast.
I was planning (note the use of the past tense) on just letting DiskDrake have the entire drive. But Ooooh Noooo; here comes Brian on Friday's belated post telling me that I can keep a base Win95 installation and dual boot the thing???? ...now if it will only recognize the video. ...and the sound. ...and the PCMCIA modem.
Sheesh; just what are friends for????
and an excerpt from his response:
You might be VERY pleasantly surprised - the only things that Mandrake choked on were the sound and the winmodem... since it's a lucent chipset thingy, I might could make it work with the binary only linmodem driver (look for it via google), I think, however, that older PCMCIA modems (not 56K buggers) are OK. Caldera found the old Motorola 33.6 just fine, in the legacy laptop a couple weeks ago.
Another <sigh>; I'm almost certain there's a Motorola 33.6 in the bag for the CE device...
The brass band woke me up this morning. I'm not sure I was even planning on getting up. ...and I've learned to sleep through most anything; those years on the rigs gave me a few good skills<g>: kids screaming (the non-damaged scream), sirens (duh), noisy neighbors (handy at the condo; someone was firing off fireworks last night as I passed out... Oh, man; here comes that brass band again!
Perhaps I'd better start with yesterday... We cleared the house early enough to actually stop for breakfast on the way out of town; and we blew into Cayucos before noon, a new record for us. Before we left I'd heard Shelley on the phone saying something about "I'll call you when we get there and we'll give you directions." A shiver ran up my spine... I did recall something about one of her friends camping over on the coast. Hmmm.
What I didn't realize: the kids from across the street were going to the beach and it seems someone had suggested Cayucos as a nice place to spend time. We were no sooner in town than the phone rings advising that they're down by the pier and settled in for the day. Of course, the boys want to go play with their friends and someone needs to go watch them. Deal; I'll go to the store; get the groceries; unpack the bags; make the beds and generally handle the settle-in chores.
Side note: if you are not up to speed on my social skills, they are somewhat lacking; I come here to relax. Exceptions occur; the Bilbreys being the most notable...
...anyway. Shelley took the boys down to the beach and I popped off to the store. When I got back, there was a message on the machine from Shelley's friend advising of their imminent arrival on the way back from Hearst Castle. WT...? Two families worth? Directions given, I proceeded to make the beds and unpack (okay, one bed; they boys are using sleeping bags in the living room this trip). About the time I'm finishing up, Shelley calls on the hand-held and says the first group is leaving and we're invited to the other couple's campsite a little later for toasted marshmallows and Smores. Sheesh. Okay; ten years: put on Nice Husband Smile and Good Father Hat...
All that went well enough; but by the time we got back to the condo, I was so beat that I just needed to pass out. No post, no beer, no nada; just sleep. ...until about noon.
...forgetting completely about the Portuguese Festival that is always scheduled for the last weekend in July. The Sunday routine starts off with a parade from the VFW hall to the church with all the festival queens led by the brass band. Services over; they repeat the process; striding down the main street: brass band, queens and princesses, oxcarts, floats, ...and Shelley. Seems she got caught in the line of cars at the tail end of the parade on her way back from her store run. The kids were so proud of their mother! ...'course with that dark hair and those good looks; she could have been one of the queens.
...and on that note:
Congratulations to Zannah and The James on their nuptials. From us to you: many happy times.
...and to Al: hang in there, big guy; just another night or two and you can fire up the grill once again...
All content Copyright 1999, 2000 Daniel C. Bowman . All rights reserved.