Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Demon Wind

December 1st 2011, probably one of the worst Davis County East winds in my memory. Up all night waiting for one of the trees in the yard to fall. Hearing cracking and crushing sounds all night and debris smashing into the house. The house rumbling when each 90mph plus gust hit. Twice the back door opened despite being securely shut and locked, filling the basement with leaves. Ten hours of category 2 hurricane gusting winds (one gust measured 102mph). As daylight gradually revealed the new scenery, the real damage began to become apparent, a tree down in the neighbor's yard. The other neighbor's tree in our yard. More trees down as we watched. Helpless to even watch the news on TV without setting up an indoor antenna. During the storm I kept imagining our satellite dish hovering somewhere over Wendover, Utah, people pointing and taking pictures of the UFO.
Finally at about 12 noon the wind suddenly stopped.

East winds in Davis County Utah are not uncommon. The first recorded was in 1855. The monster winds occurring on the average of about once every 2 years, some years 3 or 4 incidents and gaps of up to about 10 years. My mother told me that my grandfather used to walk the floor all night waiting for the East winds to cease. This specific storm tattered his old 150 year old barn like a bombed out World War II cathedral.

Right after the wind quit, we assessed the damage: one pine tree nearly stripped of all it's branches, three neighbor's trees hanging over our fences, the old TV antenna sheared off and no where in sight, the satellite dish pointing to that new Hades station, about seven lost shingles, a pile of debris 10 feet around and 5 feet high and a 2 foot hole under the corner eve big enough to let that obnoxious raccoon into the attic.
We fared good compared to some of our neighbors. The back yard neighbor lost 7 or 8 trees, some had their cars and houses crushed by trees. Most of the trees that fell were evergreens, beautiful spruces and trees that were 30 years old. Fences ripped up and carried a half mile away and shingles everywhere.
I spent the rest of the day fixing the roof.

December 2nd, 2011, I wandered the neighborhood like a zombie, looking for my missing house parts, to no avail. But, I did meet some interesting people.

Saturday, December 3rd, did some clean-up work, fixed antennas and cut wood.

Sunday, December 4th was amazing. Many churches let out early, and tons of wonderful people went house to house collecting debris. An empty truck and trailer would show up and five minutes later it would be full. Approximately 50 people in this group that I found myself magnetically drawn into, neighbors that I hadn't seen in years and many from blocks away. My next door neighbor, RJ, wore out at least two chains on his saw. Some ladies brought a van with hot chocolate, cookies and rice crispy squares. That chocolate warmed me up and got me to a house a quarter mile away.
Very good people that day. Humanity at its best.

‘I’d jump up in the wind, do a somersault and spin,’ -Bob Dylan

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bad Modem...Bad!

Two weeks ago I started getting a multitude of disconnects to the internet (about 20 every hour). Talking with the CenturyLink technician, (using that title loosely). He tried to sell me the latest modem/router, of course I'm not going to buy another Craptiontec device. I doubted he had any knowledge of what was really going on. The day before, I had connected my computer directly to the modem and the internet, it worked just fine (as per Xmission technician). I wrongly assumed the old D-Link was the problem. The router was replaced with a Netgear N750 maximum performance, dual band, gigabit, superduper, over achieving internet device (model wndr4000). After installation I was once again suffering from the same disconnects. After much meditation and soul surfing geekdom, I found out that both modem and router thought that they were in charge, they both were issuing out IP addresses to all the computers on the system. The M1000 modem can be used as a crappy router and it thought that it was the boss, but the cool super router was to be my choice for the boss. Taking a pencil, tapping the modem and threatening, “I will disconnect you and throw you out in the street so that cars can turn you into a hundred pieces...you're not in charge!” Not giving up, I then hooked up the modem directly to my computer and using a paper clip I reset the modem to default through the tiny hole on the back (about 15 seconds). Once it finished its dancing routine of flashing lights, I went to its IP address, went to advanced setup only, DHCP settings and turned them off, then saved. Still in advanced settings, I then went to WAN settings, chose “RFC 1483 Transparent Bridging” then saved it. I unplugged the modem waiting thirty seconds (while waiting I connected my computer back into the router and also turned off the router (yes, it has an off/on button...cool). When the modem finished its chicken dance, I turned on the router. When it all was done I was a little bit worried because the amber internet light was still on the router. I disconnected my etherlink at my computer and restarted, up came the green light...yahoo (Trade mark infringement?)...no more disconnects for the last 20 hours. 
Level me up geekdom!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Asteroid YU-55 Spotted

Last night I thought that I could try to get a glimpse of the near earth asteroid YU-55. First I downloaded the program Stellarium and determined the approximate location of the asteroid, in the lower corner of the constellation Pegasus, almost in a straight line with Jupiter and the moon just slightly lower. So I proceeded outside in a frosty 30 degree temperature. Right off, I could see it was going to be difficult, the moon was bright and washing out almost all the stars in the region. I lined up Jupiter with the moon and determined the area where I thought it would be, nothing not even the stars in the constellation Pegasus were showing. Not giving up despite sniffling and shivering I continued to search. Then suddenly...I sited it, moving fast towards the East. What a great experience I will always remember…only why did it have a red light on it and a flashing white light?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Whistling In the Dark

This morning I was woken by a bird outside my window. So as I lay there listening no sound. I soon drifted off to sleep and once again I heard the bird and I again listened, no sound came from the bird. How did the bird know that I was listening? Or was I just having sound hallucinations. I drifted off two more times, finally I was awake enough to realize it was my own nose whistling. Previously, I was running the old wood chipper and still haven't got all the stuff out. I was ready to get out my shotgun and blow that dumb bird away. When it was me that needed the blow. Eat your heart out Bacall, I do know how to whistle.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Uncle Jimmy Has Been Rapturized

Uncle Jimmy is gone but I'm still here. The Rapture has taken my righteous Uncle Jimmy. He was here for the picnic, but disappeared sometime between the hot-dogs and Aunt Mabel's apple pie.
He was considered to be a religious man, despite his gambling problem. He owed a bookie named Big Al quite a lot of money.
He will be missed by us Left Behind individuals. Of course he will miss the new Harry Potter movie and would have liked the new health care plan because Uncle Jimmy kept falling out of trees and off of roofs, he was always breaking his legs.
If Jimmy were still around he might have ended up in some local land fill or rolled into a shallow grave in desert sands with his dead smiling intimidating pale face crushed in by large rock thrown from a huge man named Mucowsky alias Moose. His body raised and resurrected by hungry mange infested coyotes. His callus encrusted well gnawed thigh bone, later to be found by a sheep herder and hung above his camper wagon door as an example to the sheep to not stray too far from the flock.
Yes Uncle Jimmy was taken by the Rapture on May 21, 2011.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ubuntu Unity is Poo Poo

Unity is Comiconical's new graphical interface replacing Gnome 2.3, sort of. When I first opened it up (defaulted to 640x480) I thought that I was looking at Windows 3.0. After fixing the video size. It still was weird looking. Some goofy dock on the left ( I love my desk-top clean) and window controls in the upper left status bar. The dock was loaded with LibreOffice and a couple of other items. I quickly figured out how to change the dock items to what I wanted using the the plus thingy in the dock. I'm not too impressed with it, giving me some ideas of new programs to install and hunting for my programs to run.
None of my Compiz settings worked, I love to use cube with horizontal work spaces. What I got was a workspace icon in the dock. Activating cube broke Unity.
I also like a status bar at the bottom so I can quickly tell what windows are open not the little white arrows in the dock. While using Firefox sometimes a pop-up window gets past the blocker showing in the status bar. In Unity you have no idea that it is even there.
As for the window controls being in the top left bar, what are they thinking! Go to Compiz and check “Windows Decorations” that might help.
I lost my weather applet in the top bar which gave me nearly instant outside temperature and clicking gave me a satellite image of rain or snow. There is supposed to be a weather applet for Unity but it wasn't in my current repository.
Also it was pointed out that Firefox and Blender Render do not work together, yep, it's true.

Firefox 4 was installed by default, it is fast and I like it, but I had already previously installed it.
Banshee music player was installed, it might be a little better than Rhythmbox, I don't use it much anyway, except for Last-FM and none of them seem to work now anyway. I prefer a small Audacious player.
LibreOffice is a good replacement for Open Office it's very similar and should be better supported with new updates.
There are ways to get the cube in Unity, for now it is a Hacker's Hassle. When I broke Unity with Compiz. I decided to log in to Ubuntu Classic. It was the same great Ubuntu as I'm used to, with great updates and Gnome 2.3. I was about ready to go to LinuxMint as it is using Gnome 2.3 in its new soon to be released distro. For now Ubuntu Classic will suffice. The future of Gnome 2.3 could be bad because Gnome has decided to end its 2.3 version. Gnome 3.0 is just as goofy as Unity with the stupid dock on the left. If I wanted a dock I would have added Docky or Awn. What GUI will be used in the future is a mystery to me and many others.
In the final, I'm sure Apple users really like the new Unity and Comiconical has the solution.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Review

"Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10" by Marcus Luttrell

My rating:5 of 5 stars

The first half of the the book was real slow. Half way through...I was up till 03:00... had a hard time putting the book down. Exciting real life events, giving the reason for the slow start, a rough and tough training, useful at a later time. They should make this book a movie.