Ken's Thoughts...
Recent Pictures

Wed, 31 Dec 2003

Happy New Year!
Happy new year! Tomorrow,
spam is illegal!


Posted at: 14:08 on 31/12/2003   [ /diary ] #

Sun, 21 Dec 2003

I've been a slacker the past few months. I didn't realize how much of a slacker until this afternoon, but it's pretty bad. I hadn't downloaded a single image off my camera in months.. Ooops. Well, they're all downloaded and
my album has been updated.. Pictures include work on firing up the radio observatory, halloween pics including a hay ride and corn maze, the weekend get-a-way we made to steinhatchee last month, and my trip today.

Yesterday Sandy and I went to Iain Monkeys party. We had a pretty good time and stuck around till 11:30 or so. At about 10pm I called the dna to wish him a happy birthday and then passed my cell phone around to everyone at the party and told them to wish him a happy 30th. I think he appreciated the thought.

This morning Sandy and I went over to Squidlee and Josh's for breakfast. She made us waffles, and they were yummy. After I decided to head down to check out the Ozello Trail, which is just south of Crystal River. It turned out to be a really pretty road that goes through a marsh. Some nice twisty roads, and some damn beautiful swamp.

Minimal running for me this past week.. It's been too cold, and I've been feeling wimpy. It's supposed to warm up next week though, so I'll get some good runs in then.

As for other stuff, I need to buy new tires for the K12, and I guess it's about time to pick up the extended warranty. I'm also going to buy the kila jacket that I've been eyeing. Expensive.. It also looks like I'll have a riding partner next summer for the big trip since the personal chef is headed in the same direction I am. I was surprised he remembered me, but he gave me a call when I sent him an email. I'll give him a shout tomorrow or Tuesday.


Posted at: 22:42 on 21/12/2003   [ /diary ] #

Wed, 17 Dec 2003

CNN Reporting of war crimes
Our guys
are committing war crims in Iraq. Lovely. But, in all honesty, all our guys are doing is liberating the Iraqi people. That's not soo wrong, is it? And victory is right around the corner..

At least we don't need to worry about our president lying to us, do we??

From Florida Today

Senators were told Iraqi weapons could hit U.S.

Nelson said claim made during classified briefing


U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday the Bush administration last year told him and other senators that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction, but they had the means to deliver them to East Coast cities.

Nelson, D-Tallahassee, said about 75 senators got that news during a classified briefing before last October's congressional vote authorizing the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Nelson voted in favor of using military force.

Nelson said he couldn't reveal who in the administration gave the briefing.

The White House directed questions about the matter to the Department of Defense. Defense officials had no comment on Nelson's claim.

Nelson said the senators were told Iraq had both biological and chemical weapons, notably anthrax, and it could deliver them to cities along the Eastern seaboard via unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones.

"They have not found anything that resembles an UAV that has that capability," Nelson said.

Nelson delivered the news during a half-hour conference call with reporters Monday afternoon. The senator, who is on a seven-nation trade mission to South America, was calling from an airport in Santiago, Chile.

"That's news," said John Pike, director of, a Washington, D.C.-area military and intelligence think tank. "I had not heard that that was the assessment of the intelligence community. I had not heard that the Congress had been briefed on this."

Since the late 1990s, there have been several reports that Iraq was converting a fleet of Czechoslovakian jet fighters into UAVs, as well as testing smaller drones. And in a speech in Cincinnati last October, Bush mentioned the vehicles. "We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States," the president said.

Nelson, though, said the administration told senators Iraq had gone beyond exploring and developed the means of hitting the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction.

Nelson wouldn't say what the original source of the intelligence was, but said it contradicted other intelligence reports senators had received. He said he wants to find out why there was so much disagreement about the weapons. "If that is an intelligence failure . . . we better find that out so we don't have an intelligence failure in the future."

Pike said any UAVs Iraq might have had would have had a range of only several hundred kilometers, enough to hit targets in the Middle East but not the United States. To hit targets on the East Coast, such drones would have to be launched from a ship in Atlantic. He said it wasn't out of the question for Iraq to have secretly acquired a tramp steamer from which such vehicles could have been launched.

"The notion that someone could launch a missile from a ship off our shores has been on Rummy's mind for years," Pike said, referring to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Sen. Bob Graham, who voted against using military force in Iraq, didn't return phone calls concerning the briefing. Spokespersons for Reps. Dave Weldon and Tom Feeney said neither congressman could say if they had received similar briefings since they don't comment on classified information.

Posted at: 22:57 on 17/12/2003   [ /diary ] #

Mon, 15 Dec 2003

Sometimes I feel like a chicken who's head has been cut off. Although the semester is over, I'm beginning my winter break upgrade projects with enthusiasm (hooray). I hope this year I can get the major systems upgraded before the big holiday period happens, so at least I can have Christmas or New Years day off...

I ran in the Jacksonville Half-Marathon yesterday. My time was not great, but it was "OK". It was raining at the start, and I hit a water filled pothole at mile 2. I developed a nice blister on the ball of my foot by mile 6 and it hurt pretty badly to finish the race. Stupid.

Spain and Morocco have agreed to build an underground rail to link Africa and Europe. They plan to have it go under the Med 40km west of Gibralter. It sounds pretty ambitious because that section of the ocean is still 1000' (300M) deep.

We caught Saddam. I guess it happened on Saturday night. They announced the capture right at the starting line for the race. So, why have we been unable to capture Osama yet???

Posted at: 13:09 on 15/12/2003   [ /diary ] #

Sat, 06 Dec 2003

It's crunch time, and I'm tired..
Ever have one of those weeks? Where all sorts of things go wrong, or at least seem to go wrong, and you can't catch a break? Where you feel your life might be a
miserable failure and you're not sure why?

It's been one of those weeks for me.

Monday, Sandy wrecked her car. It wasn't her fault, some old coot just backed up into the front of her car. He destroyed the hood, bumper, and both light assemblies.


Then, Sandy's dad decided to help the situation by convincing both her and the old guy not to file a police report, and to keep it from the insurance company. Oh, that was choice.

At least I ran on Monday, and boy did I run.

BTW, if you're EVER in a car accident, GET A DAMN POLICE REPORT!!!

I spent Tuesday getting estimates for her car, and driving them up to Lake City for the old guy to agree to pay half of the bill. It finally came out to $1640 or so to fix her car.

By Wednesday, I had a pounding headache from all of the problems with the car and figuring out how we were going to pay for it. The old guy wasn't returning our calls, but he was calling the body shop to raise hell with them for the cost of fixing the car.

Oh yeah, in the middle of this I had my second to last test, plus a research project to work on.

And then, I also had a ton of work for my job, you know, that thing which pays the bills. I shouldn't have taken Tuesday off, it put me behind quite a bit and I spent the rest of the week playing catch up.

As it is I setup four compute servers (one with a terrabyte array, 3 in a mini-cluster), migrated 8 boxes to suse, diagnosed and corrected a problem with autoyast and Optiplex GX-270's, and a bunch of other things in the hours I was there this week.

One of my faculty expressed his concerns that David wasn't doing a lot of work lately. I suspect this stemmed from a project which he's been very interested in which has been pushed way behind schedule. He wanted to know if I could let David take over some other duties, like maybe working on this project that he's interested in.

I tried to explain that I didn't want David doing certain types of projects, without going into detail about how he is often careless and misses the details which can make, or break, a project.

It's not that David's a bad worker, he's fine if I outline exactly what steps I'd like him to follow in a project, and he'll follow them to the letter.

It's just the whole "creativity" bit. If it's not specifically listed as a step, it won't get done. Like "make sure all non-essential services are turned off" -- if I didn't mention that, it wouldn't get done.

Case in point, Tracey asked that we add one of the two new secretaries to the secretaries email list. While editing the list, David must have seen that the other new secretary was not on the list either. Rather than either adding her, or asking Tracey if she wanted the other new secretary on the list, he just blissfully added the one and ignored the other.

It aggrivates me sometimes. I suspect it's an experience and maturity issue, you know how kids are these days (boy I'm feeling old, but what the fuck I'll be 35 next month).


So, I decided to give David a project. It's not really what I'd call a big project, but it is relatively important.

Kehoe's been running processes on every workstation in the department, and unfortanetly when he's running jobs on a workstation, the workstation may be unusable for daily tasks.. About 6 weeks ago I received 15 Ultra 5's from CISE. They're not the best machines in the world, but they're capable of running a *nix operating system and a fortran compiler.

I've decided to let David setup a 12 node cluster on the suns. I'm letting him choose the OS (he's set one up with netbsd, one with gentoo, and one with debian linux). We'll let Kehoe decide which OS he's happy with, and then let David setup the 12 node cluster. I'm also going to make him responsible for documenting the steps he does to install each node, and the configuration of the cluster.

Once the cluster is config'ed, I'll let him continue to manage it. What the heck, it'll give him a project he's solely responsible for, and it will give me something I could show that he's working on that has value.

Now, if I could just get Oliver to move his stuff out of Room 11 so I can have some space in there for our server racks...

Posted at: 02:13 on 06/12/2003   [ /diary ] #

Fri, 05 Dec 2003

Christmas treats
Looking for that extra special gift for that extra special someone? Well, look no further -- the best presents can be found

Posted at: 15:40 on 05/12/2003   [ /diary ] #

Wed, 03 Dec 2003

Motorcycle Travel the old fashioned way
These guys were really tough.

Posted at: 21:26 on 03/12/2003   [ /travel ] #

Thu, 20 Nov 2003

American Red Cross
I feel like the american red cross.


Five months ago Derek and Alex moved to Alaska, and I just shipped them an important care package. It's value is immeasurable. I'm sure they'll be appreciative.

Some people said it couldn't be done. The vendors themselves were skeptical, but where there's a will, there's a way.

Yes, indeed, I just sent off two-dozen black bean burritos to be delivered to Chugiak, Alaska just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

Burrito Brothers to the Rescue.

Posted at: 20:34 on 20/11/2003   [ /diary ] #

Wed, 19 Nov 2003

News from the land..
Massachusetts says that
gays can now marry. I think that's a good thing; there's no reason for couples who are committed to each other to not be able to share the same legal protection as everyone else simply because of their sexual orientation. Of course, the neocons now want to make a constitutional ammendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Jeesh.

Meanwhile, the Shrub is having the CIA investigate how the Iraq-Al Queda memo leaked to the press. Too bad they don't seem as concerned about tracking down who in the administration leaked the identity of a certain spy..

Rush Limbaugh is being investigated for money laundering. Maybe we should use the patriot act to lock up that guy like the narcoterrorist that he is. Yeah, we should just treat all addicts as terrorists and lock them up rather than give them treatment, and we should equally apply the law to everyone. That includes Rush, and even the presidents Niece. Do you think they've learn yet that drug abuse is a disease?

Philip tells me I should get a copy of Bushwhacked and that I'd enjoy it. If someone wants to get it for me maybe I might find time to read it, but like I told Philip, I'd rather get a copy of Treason. It's important to pay attention to what the whacko's are doing..

And speaking of the whacko government, George Soros has decided that Dubya is evil and is pledging lots of money to defeat him as a matter of life or death.

Posted at: 00:34 on 19/11/2003   [ /diary ] #

Tue, 18 Nov 2003

What to do if your mom finds your blog...
What to do if your mom finds your blog...

hi mom.

Posted at: 18:45 on 18/11/2003   [ /diary ] #

Sun, 16 Nov 2003

Busy busy busy
I've been working 6-7 day weeks for the past few weeks. Unfortunately I'm behind on my projects for school and may wind up dropping a course. Crap.

I went out to the fire tower at usher today to replace one of the WAP's that connects the radio observatory to the internet. It didn't bring the link back up which means more time will be spent at RHO/Usher/Oldtown this upcoming week. I've also been burning all of Henry's data onto DVD's and tracking down data sets for people who used to collaborate with him.

I've also decided I hate head cases. I'm too busy to deal with other people with emotional and psychological problems. Sorry. Keep your drama to yourself.

I'm still finding time to run. I ran Newnans Lake 15k yesterday, ran it mostly slow until the last half-mile or so. I wanted to keep the pace around 9-min and came in at 8:42. Although I could have run it faster, I wanted to keep it easy and avoid injuring myself -- the goal is to show up in Key West prepared and healthy.

That's about all he wrote.


Posted at: 23:52 on 16/11/2003   [ /diary ] #

Wed, 15 Oct 2003

We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia.
I haven't written any updates lately just because I've been in a funk. I think the political climate of this country is bugging me again.

Here's some recent news stories of the US of A's abuses/hypocrisy/doublethink. Orwell Revisited and The Bush Doctrine. Yeah, I know those aren't the real titles but they should be.

Posted at: 00:29 on 15/10/2003   [ /diary ] #

Sat, 20 Sep 2003

Run run run, as fast as you can!
You can't catch me, I'm
The Stinky Cheese Man!

I had a most excellent run this morning. We decided since The Hillbillies were in town for the game that it might be fun to run on campus to see the tailgators. Drake, Coleen and I did the 7 mile campus course and had a ball. It was really a circus atmosphere; a few people were passed out (at 8:15am), several were grilling, and many offered us bloody mary's and other libations. I got a nice cold red cup from some friendly fan, which just made the run that much more fun.

Well, the game starts in half an hour. I'd like to study a bit before, then after we're off to Iain monkeys party.

Posted at: 15:27 on 20/09/2003   [ /diary ] #

Sat, 13 Sep 2003

I'm Spent
So the half-marathon training is going along well. We all got together to run 7 today, but only ran ~6. It wasn't that big of a deal since I did a 7 miler with eDrake on Wednesday evening.. I'm up to 25 miles for the week, and my time is finally starting to get down into the low 9's on the short routes.

Riding is also going good. Thor and I went and did some riding after our morning run. He dragged me down to some other trails near the Oaks, which could best be described as a sand trap. I learned the proper way to fall when mountain biking (down, falling down is the way to fall!!!!), and it really pumped my cardio up. We also did a little bit on the road ( starting with 8 miles at a 17.5mph average pace; I wonder if that included stops at lights?).

The biking's REALLY been a lot of fun. Especially getting out on the trails. It makes me feel like I'm 14 again, back when Geordan, Mike, and I used to ride the huffy express all over South Miami. It's so much fun I feel almost dirty as if I've been doing something very naughty. Oooh, I've been a naughty boy!

Total workout stats for the day, 6 miles run, ~25 miles ridden, and I'm feeling spent. I just finished a nice veggie burrito from El Indio and am off to go run some errands.

Posted at: 18:42 on 13/09/2003   [ /diary ] #

Thu, 11 Sep 2003

Who was I before 9-11?
Today marks the two year anniversay of the terrorist attacks on the US which brought down the world trade center. Several mailing lists I'm on have taken the opportunity to ask their readers Where were you when the attacks occurred? but what may be an even more important question to ask is Who were you BEFORE the attacks?. There is a
page dedicated to reporting the various answers to this question, and here is my entry.

So who was I before 9-11?

Professionally, I was pretty much the same person. At the time I was working as the unix system adminstrator for the deans office in the College of Design, Construction, and Planning at The University of Florida. I was in charge of managing the unix and linux systems which provided web service, email, DHCP, DNS, printing, and other similar services. I often wrote code in perl and shell (bash) to get some of the tasks done, and I found the work rewarding.

Now, I'm the computer operations manager at the Department of Astronomy within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida. I'm responsible for the 180 or so linux, solaris, OS-X, and windows machines, as well as all of our services (DNS, DHCP, printing, etc). Professionally, things really haven't changed much since that dreadful day.

But, I think I've changed in different ways. Let me start by digging through the refuse of my email archive for a note I sent out on the dreadful day:

    Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 13:12:09 -0400 (EDT)
    From: Ken Sallot 
    Subject: dear Mr. President
    I just wanted to say that the prayers of myself and my family go with the
    victims of this tragedy, and yourself for the tough road ahead.
    Ken Sallot
When I wrote that email to the president, I, along with the entire nation was completely awestruck by what had just happened. The memories of the emotions that I felt on that awful day still run very strong within me.

The emotions that I was filled with that day were strong.

How could someone do this to our country? How did our intelligence agencies miss these attacks? Why would they go after us? Who will pay for these crimes? Let's get revenge!

Initially I supported the presidents reaction, and the beginning of his war on terror. I felt that someone had to pay for the crimes that were committed against mi patria, and like many of my fellow Americans, the blood lust raged within me.

However, as time marched on and I saw the things our country was doing in the name of national security and the war on terror I began to grow concerned. Stories of unlawful detentions of foreign nationals started to circulate in many of the underground news outlets. Although I initially supported some of these actions, as the shock of the September 11th attacks wore off, I began to see the sinister way in which our leaders were using the attacks as a mandate to engage in any action they wanted.

People were being interrogated, threatened, and having guns pointed at their head for no reason other than "homeland security." Our rights have been eroded; laws such as the Patriot Act which give broad powers to the department of justice were rushed into place. But our leaders weren't happy with those powers and have sought more..

The "Terrorism" Information Awareness (TIA) program is now being pushed through the channels of government; it will allow the government to monitor almost every aspect of your daily life (where you had lunch, what books you bought from borders, the type of music you listen to, etc) and develop profiles with which they could seek out the "undesirables".

Librarians are now required to submit the names of people who read subversive works to the FBI. One of the best ways for us to learn from history is by reading the works of the past, and there is no reason for someone who reads Marx and Guevera to be turned in for trying to expand their mind. Even many City Councils have stood up and taken notice, and recognized the erosion of our rights under the Patriot Act.

Meanwhile, back in D.C., our leaders march on. They've marched us into a war in Iraq, when there has been no positive link proving a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, but a positive link to the country and Halliburton has been proven.

The war in Iraq was engaged under the premise that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that he was a threat to our country. The U.N. Weapons Inspectors could not find any proof of WMD, and to this date no weapons of mass destruction were displayed in Iraq.

The war in Iraq bothers me deeply because it was started in an effort to root out terrorism, but unfortunately we have become the terrorists in this action. A five year old Iraqi child does not understand what is going on in his country; he just knows that before the Americans came, his father and brother were alive and living with them, and they had running water and electricity. But, once the Americans came, all of that changed. He can't play with his friends, he can't get enough fresh water for his family, his father and brother may be dead and his life has been shattered.

That child may well grow up to become the worst terrorist we could ever imagine in our wildest dreams. He may grow up in a fundamental society so filled with rage and hatred towards America, a hatred borne from the fear that we have instilled in him, that the hatred may very well consume his every thought for the rest of his life. And, when he is old enough, he may decide to do something about his hatred and seek revenge against our country.

Although I have joined the ACLU, made enough phone calls to D.C. that the White House is in my cell phone speed dial (202-456-1111 if you care), and written my senators and congressmen, I feel powerless to stop the madness. At this point, the only chance for hope I have is that the 2004 presidential election is not once again stolen.

Meanwhile, as Ashcroft, Bush and Cheney, marched forward with their actions, a poem by Martin Niemoller keeps repeating in my mind...

    They came for the Communists, and I didn't object - For I wasn't a Communist;
    They came for the Socialists, and I didn't object - For I wasn't a Socialist;
    They came for the labor leaders, and I didn't object - For I wasn't a labor leader;
    They came for the Jews, and I didn't object - For I wasn't a Jew;
    Then they came for me - And there was no one left to object.

Posted at: 17:24 on 11/09/2003   [ /essays ] #

Mon, 01 Sep 2003

It's been way too long since I've written in my diary, my bad. it's also been way too long since I've updated my photo album, again my bad. My only excluse is that I've been busy the previous four weeks with work.. I'll get into that as well.

A little over four weeks ago we had an intrusion. I can't really go into too many details, but it was a physical intrusion into a locked room. Regardless, the police investigation pretty much kept me busy for that week.

The following week was the attack of the MS-Blaster worm. Although our machines at work were mostly immune because I had applied the appropriate patches back in July, the resultant network traffic wrecked our departmental network and created chaos and confusion.

Well, right on the heels of the MS-Blaster worm the entire world was hit with sobig.f which was an annoying Windows virus. Once again, the majority of our machines were immune to it, but the amount of mail traffic we received was ridiculous. The large number of bounces bogged our mail server and kept us all busy.

Last week my new eMac and Powerbook arrived. I'm using the eMac to test integrating OS-X into our NIS domain, and so far it seems to be going well. I'm going to write some scripts to generate a few key configuration files (filer, mail) for all of our users and then I'll integrate Ata's G4 into the NIS domain. In the interim I'm playing with the powerbook and using it for work, etc. I've figured out how to create an xml import file to import all of my mp3's into iTunes, and I'll probably write the actual code to do it for all of them tomorrow.

For the most part, my running has been going good. Last week I only ran 19 miles, but that's because I only ran 2 miles on Tuesday and Sunday, and took Thursday and Saturday off. Aside from that, I'm running 5-6 miles per run again, and that feels really good. We're all getting ready to gear up our mileage so we can do the Half-shell Half-Marathon on January 25th. It should be fun.

I also recently picked up a Kona Lava Dome mountain bike. I have only had it for two and a half weeks so far, but have put a little over 100 miles on it already. I would have done more, but this weekend I was out of town (I rode 12 miles today including 6 on trails).

Friday I had dinner with Geordan and Karen and their passel of chill'n. They were on their way back south after spending the week camping in Blue Ridge with Karens' parents. They camped out in O'Leno and we went up there to join them for dinner. Sandy invited Ayaka to go with us because she was at home by herself, and aside from the rain I think she had an OK time.

While having dinner a good rain storm came through. Geordan, Logan and I stayed under the canvas eavesment on the trailer, but unfortunately the weight of the water was too much for the eavesment and it collapsed. Logan, being all of about 3 years old, was quite shocked when a solid 10 gallons of water came crashing down on his head, but after he recovered from the shock, he laughed and asked for us to do it again.

This weekend we left town to go to Marissa's wedding, which was held in Jesup, Georgia. We left Saturday morning and arrived around 2pm. I spent the afternoon swimming in the pool and relaxing, and then we left at 6 to get to the wedding. It was literally held outside of a cow pasture. The minister was a fossil and kept mispronouncing the groom and bride's names, oops.

Sunday we left Jesup and headed back to Gainesville. On the way back I convinced Sandy to let us stop at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and we spent half of the day there. We hiked several of the trails, went up to the pioneer homes, and spent time in the visitors center. We finally left around 1:30pm to continue the trip home so we could feed the pets.

Today Thor (not the cat), Dallas, and I went biking at the San Felasco. We hit a little bit of the tung nut trail and did all of the first trail. We got a late start of it, and the florida sun cooked everyone pretty quickly, but it'll be there next time.

Posted at: 21:45 on 01/09/2003   [ /diary ] #

Mon, 04 Aug 2003

The Masked Bandit Strikes Again
Last weekend (the 24th), Sandy and I went down to
Jensen Beach to visit my mom at the condo. Well, like any good trip to south florida during the summer, the masked bandit struck the local fruit trees. We scored mangos, apple bannanas, limes, and starfruit. It was a pretty good haul, and this time Sandy did a fantastic job of playing scout (rather than last summer when she just kept muttering we were going to jail).

Sure, we should probably not purloin fruit like that, but every single tree we hit had rotten fruit that had fallen to the ground sitting underneath. If the people that own the land will not take the fruit for themselves, then by god we will. It sure beats paying good money for the same fruit at the local Publix!

On the bad side, my allergy to mango sap flared up and I have a nasty rash on my left forearm. Cortaid helps keep the itching from driving me nuts, and benedryl puts me out at night, but it'll be healed within a week.

I'll post pictures of our haul today or tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy my luscious fresh fruit!

Posted at: 15:40 on 04/08/2003   [ /diary ] #

Tue, 29 Jul 2003

Last November a kid in Quebec shot a video of himself re-enacting the fight Darth Maul fight scene in Star Wars Episode I. The video was posted to the internet in April, and now the legend of the
Star Wars Kid was born.

The Jedi Master site has several re-mixes of the original video. I'm sort of a fan of the Star Wars Kid Reloaded clip myself.

There's now a grass roots campaign afoot to get Lucas to put the Star Wars Kid in a cameo role in Episode III. Won't you take a moment and sign the petition and give a huge fan some redemption?

Posted at: 13:00 on 29/07/2003   [ /diary ] #

Fri, 11 Jul 2003

Keepin' on, keepin' on..
Sandy quit her
job last week.

She came home on the last Friday of June in tears because of the grief that those bastards put her through. We spoke about it, and agreed that maybe the best thing would be for her to quit before it got worse.

First thing on Monday morning, she walked up to Susan and turned in her letter of resignation. Susan was immediately mortified and, as Sandy described the scene, wandered in circles clucking to herself until Eldin arrived. Susan has not spoken more than two words to Sandy since then.

Her last day is July 16th. I'm nervous that it may be awhile before she finds relevant work, but I hope that she takes some time to relax and recuperate from the torture that those sadists have put her through.

Posted at: 02:13 on 11/07/2003   [ /diary ] #

Sun, 22 Jun 2003

My trip to the Sport-Touring.Net 2003 National, in Custer, South Dakota.

You should read Part I first.

Part II. From SLC and to Minnesota

I arrived at the BMW dealership at 8:00am localtime, even though I knew they wouldn't open until 9. That was fine, I wanted to have the time to let the bike cool down so they could get started on it as soon as they opened; it needed it's 18000 mile service, annual service, and a new rear tire, and I still wanted to get part of the way into Wyoming before calling it a day.

I pulled out my camp chair and read until 9am when they opened. The guy who checked me in asked, "Where are you from" and I told him. Unimpressed, he said "We've been getting lots of people from Florida lately" -- what, are we lepers or something??

At any rate, they took the bike in, and got started on it while I made myself comfortable in their visitors lounge. Now, if you're a beemer rider and you're near SLC, you really need to check this place out. Their visitor lounge has it all, every single map you can get your hands on, espresso machine, and internet kiosks. I spent most of the morning sending email to a few friends, as well as composing and posting Part I of this report to a few web-boards (note: I've revised Part I after reviewing my journal for the trip, and included route numbers and daily mileage for the curious).

By 1:30pm localtime my bike was ready and I was on the road. Although I really wanted to avoid the slab as much as possible, I knew that there was no other way to make decent time into Wyoming, so I reluctantly headed towards I-15. I took I-15 south to I-80, then headed East into Wyoming (Land of Wind Tunnels).

Unlike New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah, the rock formations which framed the road in south-western Wyoming were not red. Instead they were a greenish-blue, as if they were loaded with copper ore. The roads were apparently made of the same rock becaue the asphalt on the interstate had a bluish tint to it. The contrast between the roads and the surrounding countryside produced an eery image when viewed through polarized lenses.

I continued on I-80 to Rock Springs, exit 104, where I headed north on 191. The wind was howling coming from the west, and I rode at a serious lean. A few miles on 191 and I came across a lone rider on an ST-1100 with Tennessee plates. I waved as I passed him, and he decided to keep up. We rode at a rather spirited pace along 191, the wind causing us to work the left side of our tires pretty well, as we raced (not figuratively) along the prairie.

We stopped at a park in the town of Eden, and chatted for a bit. His name was Robert Lee, and he's from Memphis; but I doubt he's named after the famous general from the War of Northern Aggression. He was on his own solo trip and was heading on 191 into Yellowstone. I told him about the national, and invited him on the trip -- offering to give him Josh's meal ticket since Josh was a no-show.

He thanked me, but said he always wanted to visit Yellowstone. We talked for about 20 or 30 more minutes, as if we were two solitary travelers exchanging news from some long forgotten time, before finally heading our seperate ways.

I veered east on WY-28 and headed toward Lander. The wind in Wyoming was howling now, and I noticed that it was such a persistent entity that the tops of many of the surrounding hills were scrubbed clean as if they were bones in an acid bath. The grass could not establish a foothold in the places where the wind continually tore at them.

In Lander I hopped on 789 east towards Riverton. Of course, I ran into that persistent thorn in my side, 'road work ahead,' on 789. There was a five mile stretch where the road was nothing but dirt and gravel, and several other places the road was one-laned.

I stopped in Riverton for dinner, then took 26 north into Shoshoni. On 26 I encountered the most unique single-laned road -- it was completely self-serve. A light stopped one side of traffic for two minutes while it let the other side travel. How odd, but if it works for them...

In Shoshoni I hopped on 20. While on 20 I passed "Red Canyon" which was stunning. Beautiful red hills with lush greenery everywhere. The contrast between the orange and green was very pretty.

Continuing on 20, I eventually came into Boysen State Park and Wind River Canyon. They had road-side camping for $12, so I went ahead and pitched my tent. A valuable lesson was learned, camping in a place with the word "Wind" in the name can be trying; even with my ear plugs in, I still thought I was stuck in a hurricane all night long. I'm sure Lewis and Clark didn't have it so rough when they came through here..

Total miles: 383/3149

Wednesday, June 4th

I woke up bright and early and broke camp in a hurry, mostly to keep everything in my campsite from blowing away. I headed north on US-20 into the town of Thermopolis, home of the worlds largest warm mineral spring.

After taking a few photos, I continued on 20 into the town of Worland, where I grabbed a quick breakfast. It looked like it might rain on me, which would have sucked, so I dragged out the rain gear and prepared for the worst.

In Worland I hopped on US-16 and followed into Buffalo. If you're ever in Wyoming, you MUST take this route. Heading east, it takes you into Ten Sleep Canyon, and then into the Big Horn Mountain range via the Cloud Peak Skyway.

Ten Sleep is a small community with a very artistic feel to it. There are Bed and Breakfasts every ten feet or so, and the whole area is very scenic with rolling hills, snow capped mountains, rivers, and small workshops.

Continuing east on 16, I crossed into the Big Horn National Forest and Mountain Range. The fresh scent from the surrounding pine trees filled my nostrils, and deer were everywhere. US-16 has several gentle sweepers as you slowly make your way to an elevation of 9673'. At 9600', I was almost level with the snow capped peaks, and the view was breathtaking.

I continued on US-16 through the mountain range until I reached the town of Buffalo. I had to hop on the slab in Buffalo, but it wasn't too bad since most of this area of Wyoming is rural. I took I-90 east to exit 153, where I stopped for gas and water. Then I took US-14 north into Devils Tower National Park.

Devils Tower is one of our most recognizable landmarks, and our first national monument. Indian legend says that Devils Tower got it's unique markings when seven young women were being chased by a bear. They called out for help, and one of the spirits raised the ground they were standing on to take them out of harms way. As the ground rose, the bear clawed at the peak, dragging it's nails into the earth, thus creating the distinctive ridges which surround the tower.

Devils Tower is also recognizable from the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It was the meeting place where the aliens landed to meet with us. No matter how hard I looked, I couldn't find Richard Dreyfuss anywhere.. :-(

Maybe he was hiding out with Jodie Foster??

I paid the $3 admission, and played tourist. 200 yards into the park there was a field filled with little holes and several cars were stopped. Being the eternally curious sort, I stopped too and quickly noticed several prairie dogs standing up from their holes. Many were just sitting, begging for food. I asked a ranger if I could play "Whack-A-Mole," but he just threatened to throw me out of the park. Some people have no sense of humour.

I rode around to the forbidden side of Devils Tower, and searched in vain for the secret military base. I was denied in Roswell, and once again I was denied any chance to see the aliens from Planet X.

After leaving the park, I headed south-east on 14 until I came into the town of Sundance. Sundance, WY is not the same Sundance that is famous for the indy films, and it's better left undescribed..

Knowing my plan was to arrive in Custer, I hit the slab once again. If you're on a bike, and you're in south-western South Dakota, there's a place you have to visit, and I was on my way there. 35 minutes later, and I was in Sturgis.

I stopped in the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum, and took some photos. I asked if they had any postcards in their gift shop, but they reacted as if I was saying, "Mmmphf booklesplat smeagle," and then directed me to a gift shop down the road. You'd think that the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum would have had postcards...

After taking care of the postcard business, I took 385 south. My plan was to ride it all the way into Custer, but I was to be denied this simple wish. You see, it had been awhile since my nemesis had plagued me, and this time 'road work ahead' really had it in for me. Instead of 385, I was directed to take an alternate route (85) into the town of Lead, home of the Gold-Diggers. In Lead, I was directed to a dirt road which stretched 7 miles until it finally arrived back on 385, about 10 miles south of where I started.

Actually, the detour was quite scenic. It took me through a small valley with a pretty cottage, and a stream running right down the middle. Hey, I was in Ponderosa!! I think I see Hos over there!

(an aside) Why is the school mascot for Lead, SD the "Gold Diggers"? Didn't they ever think it through? "And everyone, let's welcome YOUR GOLD DIGGER CHEERLEADERS!" (yeah, great one guys).

Back on 385 south, I debated about whether or not I would stop to see Mt. Rushmore now, or wait until later. I decided it would be better to head into Custer and check in for the national, rather than potentially missing the group dinner.

About 15 miles from Custer, I was once again struck by my arch-nemesis, and was held up in traffic. This time there was some lady from Polk County slowing traffic down on top of 'road work ahead.' I looked down at the GPS, and saw that there was a turn off coming up that would put me right at the entrance to the American Presidents Resort, and would most likely take me out of the traffic. I double checked the route on my AAA map, and it looked good, but I was really curious what those little squiggle marks on the GPS meant...

I took 87 from 385 south to the entrance to Custer State Park, then hopped onto 89. 89 took me right into 16-A, and right next to the entrance to the American Presidents. So, that was my introduction to "Needles Highway" in the Black Hills. What a serious trip that turned into, it's awesome. Forget Deals Gap, this thing has all of the turns, and no damn traffic to boot. And those squiggle marks, well I've been scouring the GPS base maps to find more of them!

I checked in at the camp-ground, paid my $12.50 fee, and setup my tent. About 5 minutes after I finished getting my tent set, some guy on a completely mud covered SV-650 comes up and starts talking. He turns out to be Mike, King Kaz, from North Dakota where he's studying to be an air traffic controller. Hmm, what is it with people and blue SV-650's that are studying to be air traffic controllers? (I know two of them now).

We then met up with Dave from Texas, and shot the breeze for awhile. Eventually it was time to head to the VFW, and away we went. Dinner was fun, I sat next to Carl - "I'm on the road for the next five years, and pass the god damned pepper foo," and everyone had a good time. As soon as dessert was done, Mike and I split to go see if we could catch Mt. Rushmore at sunset.

I took him on 89, then 87, and showed him the road I had found. He was giggling like a school-girl on her first date when he was done riding that road, and to be honest, so was I. It's really a fun little road.

We made it up to Mt. Rushmore, but the monument wasn't lit up and it was too dark to get any decent photos. So, we decided to head over to the Crazy Horse Monument, which was lit up. We arrived at Crazy Horse just as they were closing, but the attendant let us in to check the site out anyway. We went ahead and rode up, and I took some photos but unfortunately they didn't come out.

We headed back to the presidents where I was ready for bed. I went to sleep, and was woken up about 1am my time (I stayed on EST for the whole trip) by mnrstrider (?) telling me that I was silly to leave so early because I had won an award at the dinner. He presented me with my award, "farthest person from home, roughly 1900 miles" which included a $50 gift certificate for Aerostitch.

Thanks! Oh yeah, and at next years meet I'll be presenting a little token to the winner of the award (and it better not be me), hehheheh.

Total miles: 483/3632

Thursday, June 5th

Being bummed out about the photos from the night before, I really wanted to get up to Mt. Rushmore and get some pictures in the morning. I also knew I was planning on heading into Minnesota (Land of Paul Bunion) that day, so I broke camp then told Mike my plan. I said, "I'm going to go to Mt. Rushmore and take some photos, I'll be back in 40 minutes if you want to go riding later."

He was cool with the plan. I headed toward Mt. Rushmore on 385, and got there in about 15 minutes. I took several photos, then headed back to Custer; total round-trip time was about 45 minutes.

Mike, Texas Dave, and myself headed over to the "Internet Cafe" where Dave and I had breakfast. Mike had already filled himself up with a filling bowl of students staples (ramen). At breakfast we discussed plans; the weather looked like it was going to be bad, so Dave decided to head to Colorado. Mike and I wanted to do the other half of needles, then hit the badlands, so that's what we did.

We headed back up 89 to 87, then took 87 south. We had to pay our $5 entrance fee, but that was fine. The southern part of 87 is not as challenging as the northern part, but it was still fun. There are several switchbacks to keep you interested, and it runs through a pretty forest filled with tall pines and birch trees.

In one of the switchbacks I felt this banging on my foot, and realized I was scraping my pegs with a fully loaded bike. 87 eventually ends into 16A, which we followed east to 36, then we took 36 into Hermosa. The route followed several little valleys, with gently rolling hills and forests. Deer were everywhere, and it was very relaxing and pretty.

Once we got to Hermosa, our plan was to follow 40 east for a ways, and then hop onto this road which had no number, but showed up on the AAA map. We weren't entirely sure if it was going to be a dirt road or not, but it was a short cut into 44 and would pop us right through Buffalo Gap and well on our way into the badlands.

About 5 miles down 40 my arch-nemesis struck again. Yes, that's right, 'road work ahead' was at it again. We were stopped for about 5 minutes until we were given the go-ahead. Half-way through the one-lane road I spotted the turn off on the left. Sure enough, it was dirt, but it looked like it was hard packed enough that it would be manageable. I looked at Mike, and he gave me the thumbs up, so off we went.

The road headed north for a mile or so, then veered east. It was packed well enough at the beginning that we were able to make reasonable time (~40mph). About 15 miles into the road though, the gravel was loose and the rear end of my bike was getting a little squirrelly. Not to be one bothered by trivial details like having my rear-end slide out from under me, I kept trekking on, and eventually we came to a junction which had the road I was looking for. We headed due north, and about 10 miles later we emerged on Hwy 44, a bit dustier for sure, but safe and sound.

We took 44 through the Badlands National Park to Cedar Pass. At Cedar Pass we each paid our $5 entrance fee, then stopped at a little cafe. The weather was looking really rough, and I really hoped to make Minnesota by nightfall, so we agreed to split up. I wished Kaz a good ride, and thanked him for the trip, then we each went our seperate ways. I headed North-East on 240, but didn't get more than 5 miles away when the rain finally caught up with me in Cactus Flats.

In the process of putting my rain jacket on, the plastic holder for my chatterbox broke; no more tunes on this trip for me, but this really just emphasized what a poor design the chatterbox is...

I continued north on 240 to I-90, then headed east on I-90 for 12 miles to route 73. I headed north on 73 into the town of Philip, where I got gas and water, then proceeded east on US-14 towards Minnesota.

This area of South Dakota was really empty. Grass prairies spread out in front of me as far as the eye could see. There were several cows, but not much else. About a hundred miles from Philip I arrived in Pierre, which was a medium sized city (probably population 100,000). Between Philip and Pierre I was able to escape the storm, and most of that stretch of road was done in the sun.

After a quick stop for lunch, I left Pierre and continued east on US-14. The area is dotted with large farms, and not much else. Visions of the Stephen King movie, Children of the Corn, flooded my head as I passed several of these farms. Would one of these farms hold a Malachai?

Eventually I started seeing signs on US-14 proclaiming it as the "Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Highway" -- Laura Ingalls?? Like the "Little House on the Prairie" Laura Ingalls??

Sure enough, when I arrived in the town of De Smet I saw signs proudly describing De Smet as the "Little Town on the Prairie." I always thought she was from Westville, Florida.. I wondered if this is where Nellie Oleson was from too.

Well, the rain started to catch me again, so I stopped at one of the many road-side parks and donned my rain gear again. Although it looked really bad with lightning and thunder crashing around me every which way I could imagine, I never saw more than 10 minutes of rain before reaching Minnesota.

Just before I reached Minnesota I caught up to two other bikers on Harleys. I waved as I passed them, and continued on. When I crossed into Minnesota I noticed windmills everywhere, and stopped to photograph several outside of Lake Benton. As I was taking the pictures, the group passed me again and I inadvertantly got a pretty good shot of one of them waving (or giving me the bird??).

I continued on US-14 into the town of Tyler where I stopped for gas. There was a little old lady trying to figure out how to fill her car (apparently it was the first time she ever saw a pay at the pump type of pump), so I helped her out. She said I had a nice bike and asked where I was from, then wished me a safe trip as I continued on my way.

After filling up, I headed east on US-14 into the town of Florence, from there I hopped on MN-23 into Granite Falls where I checked into a motel for the night. It was starting to get cold, and everything was wet, so I didn't feel like tenting that night. The last entry in my journal for that night read, "242 miles to Duluth, 350 to Canada, and a lake is calling me..."

Total mileage: 572/4204

Posted at: 21:11 on 22/06/2003   [ /travel ] #

TR and work
I put up part one of my travel report yesterday. Although part two is written, I need to touch it up a bit before posting it.

Last night Sandy, Geoff, Kathy and I went to the new Cuban restaurant in town. I was in bed by 9pm, but that was good because I was at work this morning by 7:45am to swap out network electronics in the 2nd floor closet.

Posted at: 19:07 on 22/06/2003   [ /diary ] #

Sat, 21 Jun 2003

My trip to the Sport-Touring.Net 2003 National, in Custer, South Dakota.

Part I. Gainesville to Salt Lake City

Thursday my trip started out OK. Sandy wished me "via con dios" and away I went, leaving Florida (Land of Grey Hairs) at 7:30am. Unfortunately, she also jinxed me by telling me in no uncertain terms that I need to gas up regularly out west so I don't run out of petrol -- I ran out of gas shortly into Alabama (Land of Forrest Gump), 1 mile from the first gas station in the state (Doh!). After pushing the heavily loaded down bike to the gas station, I filled up and grabbed lunch at the worlds slowest gas station, then made my way through Mississippi (Land of Swamps) and Louisiana (Land of Cajuns) towards Texas (Land of the Electric Chair).

Note: I-10 west of Baton Rouge is really messed up because of road construction (I sat in traffic for an hour, I even got off the bike and took photos for posterity). 'Road work ahead' would become a recurring theme, and antagonist, for my trip...

Once I hit Texas I continued like a mad-man until I reached San Antonio, arriving shortly after 11:30pm. I was pretty wiped out, so I just checked into the La Quinta, got signatures for my SS1000, and went to bed.

Total miles: 1035/1035

Friday I headed into New Mexico (Land of Enchanment). I took I-10 west from San Antonio until I hit US-285. I then took 285 north through Pecos (home of the worlds first rodeo) and Carlsbad until I finally arrived in Roswell (Americas first Space Port). I stopped in the International (and interplanetary I must presume) UFO Museum and Research Center.

After my visit to the research center, I headed west towards Socorro on US-70. On the way, I saw the Capitan mountain range, and thought it might be neat to visit the mountains. The only paved route to get there would have put me 160 miles out of my way, but my AAA map showed a 'short-cut' which looked to only have about 10 miles of dirt road.

Since there was a bunch of road construction on 70 through the Hondo Valley anyway, I decided to try my luck with the 'short-cut' to El Cap, and proceeded to head north on NM-368 until it hit the dirt road, 17 miles from 70. I took my chances and off-roaded the first 5 miles of the road until I the road went through a locked gate with a sign that stated unequivocally that it was private property and tresspassers were unwelcome. As if the sign wasn't a good enough deterrant, they had a few cow skulls sitting on fence posts, as if to say "this could be your head on this pike if you cross our property line."

So, I doggedly turned tail and headed back south to 70. Once on 70, I continued west until it split onto 380. I took 380, and came into the town of Capitan, the birth place of Smokey The Bear. I made a quick stop for some gatoraide and met two other guys riding beemers; an RT and an old R75. We chatted for a bit, and they told me they were headed back home to Maine (Land of Frozen Lobsters), and I thought I came a far way...

Continuing on 380, I passed the White Sands Missle Range (where you can buy "Trinitium" from road-side stands), and the "Valley of Fires" which was pretty with the lava rocks and saguro cactii in bloom.

I trekked on into San Antonio, NM, and hopped on I-25 for the 15 mile journey into Socorro, New Mexico (hey does that really mean "help me please" in Spanish???) where I crashed for the night. No, I don't mean "crashed" as in "vehicular wreck" but rather "crashed" as in "went to sleep." The sunset in Socorro was very pretty with the deep reds bringing out the best in the surrounding mountains.

Total miles: 711/1746.

Saturday I took off west on route 60 and saw the VLA (Very Large Array, radio astronomy geeks would know about it), but I couldn't find Jodie Foster anywhere. I guess she's still hanging out in the second base in Japan. The elevation at the VLA was around 6000', and it was COOOOLD! I was really glad to have remembered to pack my jacket liner.

After visiting the VLA, I continued west on 60 into the town of Datil. I stopped at the local greasy spoon, which I think was named "The Grilled Grizzley Inn," and enjoyed a western omelette, with green chili's and all. The waitress and I struck up a conversation about her running; I noticed she had on a "rock-n-roll marathon" sweat shirt. I told her about my two runs at MCM and one run at Disney, and suggested she avoid Disney. I wished her good luck with her running, and continued west.

Always in the search for a good short-cut, I took 60 west to 603, in the hopes that 603 would save me 20 miles or so. It was a dirt road, but I was undaunted. I trekked down it for about 2 miles before giving up; the road was so 'wash-borded' my teeth were chattering and I thought everything was about to fall apart on my bike. I turned around and continued west on 60 to the town of Quemado.

In Quemado I hopped on 36 north through the Navajo reservation. Just a few miles onto 36 and I was stopped because of "road work ahead." 36 was one-laned, and I had to wait for the pilot vehicle to travel 300'. While waiting, I chatted with the flag guy who was pretty impressed I was some idiot on a motorcycle from Florida standing around on a road in the middle of nowhere, but that nowhere being in the desert. Harumph.

After being given the go-ahead, I took 36 until I hit 53, and headed west towards Zuni. A few miles down 53 I turned north on 4 then north on 602. 4 is a really pretty stretch of road which goes through a valley of high cliff walls until it merges back into 602.

I took 602 into the town of Gallup where I stopped for gas and water. After Gallup, I hopped on US-666 (was I on the devil's highway??) up to Cortez, Colorado. US-666 north of Gallup is your typical "Classic Desert" with mesas and plateaus, and scrub brush, and not much else. As stark and barren as it seemed, you could feel the life breathing through the desert; the occassional deer stood and looked from the side, birds flew overhead, and plants were everywhere.

Once in Cortez, I noticed the words "ruins" on my GPS. "Ruins, hunh? Maybe I should check that out" and the 10 minutes later I was at the entrance to Mesa Verde. I went into Mesa Verde, where it looked like it might rain. The ranger said "they're calling for a downpour!", so I quickly setup my tent and sat around waiting for the storm that never came. Oh well, I got to read a few chapters of "Up Country" by Nelson de Mille. After giving up on the rain, I went into the park to look at the Anasazi cliff dwellings -- really neat stuff.

After my trip to through the park, I decided I needed to celebrate my wonderous vacation. I stopped in the camp store and bought a can of Budweiser, the king of beers, to celebrate my travels. That night I cooked Chef Boyardee, and drank bud, and felt like a king.

Total miles: 368/2114

Sunday brought me into Utah (Land of Polygamy). I headed east on the devils highway into Monticello, UT. In front of me were the Abajo Mountains, and they called to me. I rode up to the highest point you can ride (9000'), and got an incredible view of Canyonlands National Park below my feet. Inspired, I headed back into Monticello for some gas and water, then took UT-191 north to UT-211. UT-211 goes into Newspaper Rock state park, and ultimately ends in Canyonlands. Riding around in the valley for a few hours made me wish I had either a dual sport, a 4x4, or less sense because there were plenty of "back country" roads you can traverse to see many neat things.

After Canyonlands I continued north on 191 into Moab. A quick stop for lunch, and I headed down an interesting road, UT-128, which claimed to have 20mph curves for 45 miles. It stretches along the Colorado River, and is pretty scenic with the red cliff walls rising a thousand feet above your head. There were lots of "adventure tour" rafters in the river, and plenty of camping by the side of the road, but I had another destination in mind -- Arches.

I continued North on 191 and went into Arches around 5pm (EST). I arranged to check out the camp-sites, and proceeded directly there. On the way into Arches I ran into another biker on a solo journey across the country. He is from Virginia, but just took a job in Nashville, so arranged an extra month between gigs. I followed him up to the camp-sites, where we chose sites.

I chose unwisely and wound up between some college kids smoking dope and watching National Lampoons Vacation from their portable TV, and some other guy who couldn't stay off his cell phone (he kept calling everyone he knew to say what a lovely time he's having). At any rate, after pitching tent I went for a short hike. My short hike turned into two hours, which included a 30 minute break in a spot where I could hear no sounds except the wind and birds. I think I found bliss..

After my hike I decided "enough with camp food, I'm having a dinner in Moab tonight!" and headed into town. Riding through town I saw a magical sign which called me by name (Guinness Draught on tap), and stopped in at "The Poplar Place". The food was good, the pint was welcomed, and the whole meal (salad, lasagnia, and a pint of the inky stuff) cost $11.

While there I met a guy from New Hampshire (Land of a Thousand Snow Banks) who had just spent the previous two weeks in a 4x4 in the back country, and it showed. However, he also had tales of walking through Anasazi Ruins, finding woven baskets that were still partially intact after 500 years, and just about convinced me I should be on a dual-sport or 4x4 (see above comments about off-roading). I would have really thought he was a crack-pot, but his description of finding the lost City of Cebola was truly enchanting..

Dinner was finished, and I bid the waitress "Adieu" as I made my way back to the camp-site. Just my luck, the sun was setting! I rode through the rich red and pink valleys and hills on my way to the camp-site. The red light flickered off the rocks making their rich colors all the more vivid. I got back to the camp-site just as the sun was going down, and it was really magnificent; pinks, reds, purples and azures everywhere.

That evening, the sky was so clear I laid on my back on a picnic table and watched the stars; I swear it was so clear I was able to make out two satellites at perpendicular orbits (and a dozen or so jet liners, so no, the satellites were not planes).

Total miles: 314/2428

Monday I woke up at 7:45EST (5:45 local time), as the sun was rising. The pink and blue skies were so pretty I had to get a picture of the view from my tent. I broke camp in 15 minutes and went through Arches during the sunrise -- wow. My destination for the day was Salt Lake City, about 250 miles north-west, where I had a scheduled tune-up at the BMW dealership there.

I headed north on 191 until it ends at I-70. I then headed west on I-70 until I arrived in Green River, where I stopped for breakfast. While at breakfast, I met an Viet Nam vet (192nd infantry) who served in '68 (the same year as the Tet Offensive in Khe Sanh). He was returning to his home in Ventura, CA from a trip to D.C. for a big POW/MIA rally that he attended on Memorial Day. We talked for about an hour. The war really screwed up his head, and he's spent most of his life since as a traveling troubadoor (sp?), earning his living as a musician. I bid him good luck on his quest, and continued on I-70 until it reached 191 north.

191 north of Green River was pretty, but we had to stop 3 times because of that 'road work ahead' bastard. There was even one two mile stretch where 191 was nothing but a gravel road. I followed 191 north into the town of Price, where I hopped on 6 north-west to Spanish Fork.

6 was fantastic -- a valley with snow capped mountains surrounding me, a true delight for the eyes. And, although we were stopped for 'road work ahead' once, the 'road work ahead' was to clear out a tree that had fallen on the road..

From Spanish Fork I took I-15 north to Salt Lake, arriving by 2pm (EST).

My first order of business was to find the BMW SLC dealership, just so I knew how to get there on Tuesday when they would be open. Sure enough, the dealership was five miles north of where I thought it would be because it was in NORTH Salt Lake City, which is a completely seperate town. After finding the dealership, I got a hotel in SLC proper, and checked the city out.

It'd been 4 years since I last visited Salt Lake City, and it's changed for the worse. The air quality is down, the traffic is up, and everyone drives like they're from Miami; maybe they are??

I spent the afternoon running some other errands, buying a 128mb CF card for my camera, since I think my 256mb card will be full soon, and some woolite so I could do some laundry. Oh yeah, a shower too; I was a tad grungy after three days in the desert sans shower.

Total miles: 338/2766

Posted at: 19:47 on 21/06/2003   [ /travel ] #

Travel and Work
My vacation was fun. I wound up hitting fifteen states and two countries while on the road. Obviously, I took a fair amount of pictures on the way. I was on the road for only twelve days, but during that time I covered 6500 miles and had a blast. While I was at BMW SLC, I started to write a trip report of my trip so far. I've got two of three parts completed, which I'll post on my travel page today. I need to finish up the third part, which was probably the most solitary but interesting part of my travels.

When I got back from the trip, I took a few extra days off before going back to work to take care of the little things; getting my social security card replaced, cleaning the bike, errands around the house, etc. I also finished Up Country by Nelson De Mille, and can recommend it.

I went back to work last week, and it's been quite hectic. The first two days were spent just getting caught up with what I've missed. Wednesday I discovered that David had formatted a users machine without first backing up the data, so I had to spend Thursday with her restoring her data from tape (doh!). Yesterday morning I came in to find that the sixty hours I spent preparing Flamingos 1 had been wasted because the other David decided to reformat Flamingos 1 while I was away; he was having problems compiling his uflib library, and rather than trying to properly diagnose it, he just reformatted it. Thanks guy, now I get to re-do all of that work.

I also had to go out to Rosemary Hill twice this week. The concam and two windows pc's had mysteriously dropped off the face of the earth. I went out there Monday and found out that a power failure which lasted longer than the capability of the UPS'es out there shut down the two windows boxes, but although I could remotely power down and back on concam, I couldn't get it to start. Additionally, it was raining so badly that I did not want to climb onto the roof of the 18" dome to grab it. Wednesday morning I did pick it up, and that's when I discovered the hard drive had died. Doh!

I guess that's what we get for having a laptop sitting in a pelican case in Florida during the summer.. Dr. Oliver and I talked a bit about it, and I suggested that since the CCD is driven by a parallel interface, we should run a long parallel cable from the observatory into the pelican case and leave the concam computer inside of the dome. While Michigan Tech is re-imaging the concam for us, we're going to run the parallel cables out to the top of the dome.

Yesterday afternoon I caught The Hulk by Ang Lee. I think anyone who had read the comic book series (like the original comics from the 1960's) will probably enjoy it, but if you were a fan of the TV series with the same name, you'll dislike it. Ang Lee really did his best to make the movie comic-like, and I was happy with it. Next week we're either going to see "28 Days Later" or "Charlies' Angels Full Throttle".

Posted at: 19:08 on 21/06/2003   [ /diary ] #

Thu, 22 May 2003

My life as a Nielson test subject
So it's been way too long since I've updated my blog. I suspect my last entry might have mention Edosan's triumphant return to Hoggtowne, and then left it at that. Then again, I've been pretty busy since then..

The first three weeks Ed was back we went out almost every night. Usually just for dinner, but it still kept me busy. We visited Bento almost daily since we've both become addicted to Boba Milk Tea with tapioca pearls (yummm). On the 13th, Edosans woman, Ayaka, moved to Florida. Our house was starting to get a bit crowded with Ed & Ayaka, Dali & Thor, and myself & Sandy. Plus, my mother came into town last weekend dragging her cat on her way to Jensen Beach. Last weekend was a zoo with everyone here. Ed and Ayaka were able to move into their new apartment Saturday morning, and mom arrived about an hour after they left -- eek!

Last Sunday Sandy walked for her graduation. She still has one more class to finish, but since St. Leo only holds commencement once every year in Gainesville, she walked early.

Work has been hectic. I've had a number of 20 hour days this past month; we had a drive failure on my E450 which dragged everything to a screeching halt. It's all better now, but it made for some long weeks. I also had to miss a day to go down to Orlando and have the shaft seal on my bike fixed.

I've been reading a little bit again lately. Although it's been hectic, I've found enough time to read a few books. One of them was Defcon One which I picked up at a local geocache. I dropped off The Lions Game in exchange. I enjoyed DO, but only in the manner that it's sometimes nice to read dimestore trash novels.. Pinkman lent me Odyssey to Ushuaia, which I sank my teeth into and read in a day. That book was a bit dangerous because it just strengthens my dream to head south of the border to chase penguins. I'm currently reading The Memoirs of Fredric Mistral, who was a French poet in the 19th century, and Take Time for Your Life, which is about time management. I found both in the hall outside of my office, and although I'll probably finish Memoirs, I think TTFYL will wind up in the circular file cabinet before I am done..

We also have had the opportunity to perform our duty as a Nielson Media family last week. Our week started on the 15th, and it was probably pretty boring as far as TV viewership goes; remember all that stuff I mentioned about 20 hour work days and people running in and out of here? Well, Sandy was pretty busy with her finals as well, so we've not been watching much telly, and what little we have watched is probably a little odd. We caught "gun tech" on OLN - they had a neat segment on WWII era weapons, and although we had never seen "gun tech" before, I found the segment fascinating. Sandy watched "Texas Justice" one day. And, the rest of the shows were just the evening and morning news. I think we bored them.

Well, I'm off on vacation next week for three weeks. I'm leaving Gainesville at noon on Thursday and riding to Texas. There I'll camp for the night, then head on to Socorro, NM on Friday. A quit visit to the VLA, then off to Moab. I've got to be in Salt Lake City on the third for a tuneup and tire, then I'm heading to Custer for the Sport-Touring National Meet. Who knows when I'll be back, but I've got up to three weeks of vacation that I'm approved for (and another 6 weeks of leave still in reserve on top of that, damn I need to vacation more).

Posted at: 22:10 on 22/05/2003   [ /diary ] #

Sat, 26 Apr 2003

Flu, Garmin, SuSE, and cachin..
This week I came down with the flu. I suspect it's dna's fault because other people who also hung out with him last weekend became sick as well... Wednesday saw my fever rise to a wee bit over 102 (102.4F), which was anything but comfortable :-(. My fever broke by Wednesday evening, and now I'm just stuck with the coughing crud and dripping throat. This has probably been the worst year as far as getting sick that I can remember...

On Wednesday I went ahead and ordered a Garmin GPS V. I was originally not planning on buying a GPS for the trip, but in a moment of weakness I went ahead and ordered it on Wednesday. See above about the fever :-). The Garmin arrived on Friday, and Sandy and I played with it a little bit last night. I downloaded the Gainesville and surrounding maps from Mapsource, and we used it to plot our way to dinner and back home. The built in nav function worked like a champ, and was pretty cool to boot.

Heeding the advice of Matt Grover, I decided to take the Garmin out for a day of geocaching today. I wanted to find the Book Lovers cache, so I set out with Dali in tow to go find it. When I was within 200' of the cache I knew it wasn't a good plan, the trails were really muddy and I was in sandals. Oh yeah, the skeeters were ferocious. So, with dog in tow, I headed home.

Ed came into town around 2pm and I convinced him to go with me to find the cache. This time the dog was left behind and I went in hiking boots. Within 10 minutes of getting to the vicinity I found the cache. I took the book Defcon One by Joe Webber and left The Lions Game by Nelson DeMille. Defcon One got 4.5 stars on the Amazon scale, so I hope it's good. I was surprised to see The Lions Game only received four stars.. I hope whoever takes it will find it as enjoyable as I did.

Speaking of book trading, Greg Pink just wrote me back saying that he enjoyed The Ghost Rider which I had sent him last month. He said he's got another book for me, so I guess the book trading game is going well, but I need to get cracking since I now have three books to read.

I also received my copy of SuSE professional 8.2 on Thursday. I went ahead and reformatted my laptop and installed it on there. I'm testing it out to see if it'll be a viable replacement for RedHat, especially considering the fiasco that has become the RedHat support policy. So far, so good. It's definately different, and I've run into a few kinks (like my keyboard was goofy until I fixed it), but I think it may work well. And, with the backing of IBM and United Linux, (and the German Government), SuSE should remain solvent for awhile.

Oh one last thing. On Monday I dissected the hard drive that crashed last week on the Flamingos server. The platters were see through because the magnetic substrate had been scrapped off. That's what the pictures are of in my photo album.

Posted at: 22:09 on 26/04/2003   [ /diary ] #

Tue, 22 Apr 2003

The Federal Government has gone stark raving mad!
I thought this was a great article on what one small town is doing to tell the feds they're nuts. Personally I'm not a big fan of the patriot act, or any legislation which attempts to erode our constitutional rights under the false pretense of national security.


Local officials defy the Patriot Act

Small towns say some federal measures would violate rights
By Evelyn Nieves
ARCATA, Calif., April 21

This North Coast city may look sweet old, low-to-the-ground buildings, town square with a bronze statue of William McKinley, ambling pickup trucks but it acts like a radical.

ARCATA WAS one of the first cities to pass resolutions against global warming and a unilateral war in Iraq. Last month, it joined the rising chorus of municipalities to pass a resolution urging local law enforcement officials and others contacted by federal officials to refuse requests under the Patriot Act that they believe violate an individual's civil rights under the Constitution. Then, the city went a step further.

This little city (pop.: 16,000) has become the first in the nation to pass an ordinance that outlaws voluntary compliance with the Patriot Act.

"I call this a nonviolent, preemptive attack," said David Meserve, the freshman City Council member who drafted the ordinance with the help of the Arcata city attorney, city manager and police chief.

On the homefront

The Arcata ordinance may be the first, but it may not be the last. Across the country, citizens have been forming Bill of Rights defense committees to fight what they consider the most egregious curbs on liberties contained in the Patriot Act. The 342-page act, passed by Congress one month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, with little input from a public still in shock, has been most publicly criticized by librarians and bookstore owners for the provisions that force them to secretly hand over information about a patron's reading and Internet habits. But citizens groups are becoming increasingly organized and forceful in rebuking the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act for giving the federal government too much power, especially since a draft of the Justice Department's proposed sequel to the Patriot Act (dubbed Patriot II) was publicly leaked in January.


Both the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act, which created the Cabinet-level department, follow the Constitution, says Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo. Federal law trumps local law in any case, which would mean Arcata would be in for a fight, a fight it wants if the feds did make a Patriot Act request. LaRae Quy, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco FBI office, whose jurisdiction includes Arcata, said that the agency has no plans to use the Patriot Act in Arcata any time soon, but added that people misunderstood it. Although some people feel their privacy rights are being infringed upon, she said, the agency still has to show "probable cause for any actions we take."

"We want the local police to do what they were meant to do, protect their citizens," said Nancy Talanian, co-director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee in Florence, Mass., which gives advice to citizens groups on how to draft their own resolution.


Although cities across the country passed antiwar resolutions before the attack on Iraq with little notice from the administration, Talanian said that the anti-Patriot Act resolutions are not quite as symbolic as those that passed against the war.

"Normally, the president and Congress don't pay that much attention when it comes to waging war," she said. "But in the case of the Patriot Act, the federal government can't really tell municipalities that you have to do the work that the INS or the FBI wants you to do. The city can say, 'No, I'm sorry. We hire our police to protect our citizens and we don't want our citizens pulled aside and thrown in jail without probable cause.' "

In Hawaii, home to many Japanese Americans who vividly recall the Japanese internments during World War II, Democratic state Rep. Roy Takumi introduced a resolution on the Patriot Act as a way to raise debate, he said. Although the resolution may be seen as symbolic, he said, "states have every right to consider the concerns of the federal government and voice our opinions. If a number of states begin to pass similar resolutions, then it raises the bar for Congress, making them realize our concerns. I hope to see what we've done here plays a role in mobilizing people to take action."


Lawmakers and lobbyists on both ends of the political spectrum are beginning to sound more alarms about the antiterrorism act, which gave the government unprecedented powers to spy on citizens. Rep. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) has introduced a bill, the Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157), that would restore the privacy protections for library book borrowers and bookstore purchases. The bill has 73 co-sponsors.

Earlier this month, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), the ranking Democrat, asked the Justice Department for more information on the government's use of the Patriot Act to track terrorists, questioning what tangible things the government can subpoena in investigations of U.S. citizens.

Sensenbrenner and Conyers sent an 18-page letter to Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, challenging the department's increased use of national security letters requiring businesses to hand over electronic records on finances, telephone calls, e-mails and other personal data.

They questioned the guidelines under which investigators can subpoena private books, records, papers, documents and other items; asked whether the investigations targeted only people identified as agents of a foreign power; and asked the attorney general to "identify the specific authority relied on for issuing these letters."

The Justice Department said it is working on the request.


But citizens groups, worried about a timid Congress, are not waiting for their elected officials to act before launching a campaign against the proposed sequel to the Patriot Act, the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act." The Idaho Green Party has begun the Paul Revere Project to stop Patriot Act II before it can be passed.

The proposed addendum to the Patriot Act, which the Justice Department has insisted is only a draft of ideas, would enlarge many of the controversial provisions in the first Patriot Act. It would give the government authority to wiretap an individual and collect a person's DNA without court orders, detain people in secret and revoke citizenship, among other powers.

The proposed sequel to the act has galvanized communities in a bottom-up, grass-roots way, Talanian said. "Before a community votes on resolutions, they engage in forums and petitioning to show the town council they want this. After, communities band together and do things like visit the offices of their entire congressional delegations and say our communities have these concerns and now we are asking you to help."

In Arcata, where forums drew little debate, the new law is an unqualified hit. It passed by a vote of 4 to 1, but has what looks like near-unanimous approval from residents.

Meserve, a weather-worn builder and contractor in his fifties who wears a ponytail and flannel shirts, hasn't felt so popular since he won his council seat running on the platform, "The Federal Government Has Gone Stark, Raving Mad."

"The ordinance went through so easily that we were surprised," he said. "We started going up to people asking what they thought. They thought, 'great.' It's our citywide form of nonviolent disobedience."

The fine for breaking the new law, which goes into effect May 2, is $57. It applies only to the top nine managers of the city, telling them they have to refer any Patriot Act request to the City Council.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Posted at: 14:06 on 22/04/2003   [ /essays ] #

Mon, 21 Apr 2003

scam scam scam scam
Today I received a bill for $37.50 in the mail. It was from the "Internet Corporation Listing Service" -- The bill was for an 'Annual Website Search Engine Listing' to run from May 1, 2003 until April 30th 2004. The bill states that the subscription includes "domain name submission to 14 major search engines, eight keyword/phrase listings, and quarterly search engine position and ranking reports."

All this for the low price of $37.50. That's an offer I almost can't refuse!

The bill came with a return envelope, and a tear off portion clearly stating my customer number, listing date, and the amount paid. It looked pretty official, and just like any other bill I've ever received, until I noticed the small print that says:

This notice is a soliciation and receipt of payment will confirm your annual listing

I think I'll probably give them a call to ask why they're billing me. I'll go ahead and use some of those free cell phone minutes to rant and rave. Although the bill didn't include their phone number, whereis did.. If you wish to call and raise hell:

   Internet Corporation Listing Service
   2530 Berryessa Rd. #912
   San Jose CA 95132
   San Jose, CA 95132

   Registrar: NAMESDIRECT
   Domain Name: ICLS.NET
      Created on: 23-JUL-02
      Expires on: 23-JUL-04
      Last Updated on: 07-MAR-03

   Administrative Contact:
      Service, Internet Corporation Listing
      2530 Berryessa Rd. #912
      San Jose CA 95132
      San Jose, CA  95132

   Technical Contact:
      Service, Internet Corporation Listing
      2530 Berryessa Rd. #912
      San Jose CA 95132
      San Jose, CA  95132

   Domain servers in listed order:

Posted at: 21:01 on 21/04/2003   [ /diary ] #

Thu, 17 Apr 2003

Ed, Travel, etc.
I finally got around to writing up my trip report from my trip last weekend. I had a blast, but I've been running on overdrive ever since I returned.

Ed Drannbauer came into Gainesville yesterday. He stayed at our place and looked for a job today.

Posted at: 02:03 on 17/04/2003   [ /diary ] #

North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia
April 11th
After farting around getting
everything packed on the bike, I was finally ready to leave the house by 8am. I really wasn't sure just where the heck I was going, but I knew it was some place out of dodge. My plan was either TWO in Suches, or this BMW shindig in Cherokee, NC.

I stopped real quick for breakfast at the Mickey Dicks, and by 8:30 was ready to really hit the road. Crap, I had forgotten to charge the chatterbox, which meant no music for me...

I rode on up I-75 to Valdosta, where I stopped for gas at the BP off exit 12. While there I met a fairly friendly guy named George, who I think was supposed to be taking paxil or lithium but had forgotten to take his pills for quite sometime.. He chatted me up for a good 15 minutes before I could finally break free.

Why is it that whenever I am on the road camping by motorcycle everyone wants to chat with me???

About 15 miles after the BP I hit a really bad traffic jam. It took us almost 40 minutes to go a lousey 3 miles because I-75 was turned into a one-lane road at MM29. Between 10am and 11:15am I only managed to clock in 40 hours -- ouch!

It finally cleared up, and I headed north-bound. At 12:30 I stopped in Macon (exit 9 on I-475) for lunch and gas. I stopped and had one of the worlds greatest hamburgers, and boy was it yummy. While at the restaurant I met a guy who wanted to talk about my K1200RS. He apparently wanted a K1200LT, and wanted to chat about traveling and camping by motorcycle...

When I got to Macon I had decided to go to Cherokee, so I called Goddard to ask him which hotel the thing was at. He told me, and I continued to make my way north.

I took the I-675 bypass up to I-285 North/East, then proceeded up I-285 to I-85 East, then proceeded up I-85 to I-985. Pretty soon I was in Gainesville, but I was still 400 miles from home. I continued on I-985 until it turned into GA-365, then took that into 441. From there, I just stayed on 441 heading north.

Just before 4pm I got into Clayton. By this point I was feeling pretty road weary, probably due to dehydration -- I had only stopped twice on the way up and was undoubtably thirsty. I filled up the gas tank and drank some water. I also thought about stopping at the package store for some scotch, but figured there'd be plenty of opportunities in Cherokee...

During the rest of the trip, it was pretty overcast, but there were periodic breaks in the clouds which made everything look pretty.

I continued on into Cherokee, and promptly drove past the best western. I didn't realize my mistake until I was about 5 miles away -- whoops. I turned back, and found the best western. It turned out to be the same one with the rude wait staff that I had had breakfast at last year when I camped in the area, oh well.

I hung out front and met Bruce Smith and Gene Smith, who were not related. Gene and I had dinner around 7:30. Gene told me that it was snowing on 441 southbound from Gatlinburg and that the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed due to snow. It was pretty cold, but I figured there should be some decent riding anyway..

After dinner I went back to my room. The was another blue K1200RS parked next to me. Only this one had what looked like a keg strapped to the back. I met the owner, and he told me that it was an extra 3gal. fuel cell.

I finally went to bed around 10pm. I was pretty pooped, and fell soundly asleep. Total mileage for the day, 486

April 12th
I had breakfast with Tim from Indianapolis and some guy from Tampa. Tim is on the board for the Indianapolis Jazz Festival, and he had some interesting stories. The guy from Tampa was a retired teacher.

After breakfast there was a "group meeting" at 8am to discuss that days events. There was a big deal about an accident that happened the day before, and the event coordinator wanted to make sure there would be no other accidents. I wound up getting together with Gene & Bruce Smith, and Dave from New Orleans for our ride.

We left at 9am, and headed out on the planned course in reverse. The summary is that we took 74 to 28 north, took 28 north to Fontana Village, then on up to the Dragon. We rode the dragon north bound, and stopped at the overlook. At the overlook we met a guy who had been on the road for over a year. We then took the first left past Tallassee on 129, which was TN 72 -- note the Tallassee General Store is now closed, and Geoff's ex-girlfriend was nowhere to be found..

We then took 72 to 411, then 411 to 380 into Tellico Plains. This was the same route Geoff, Lee, and I took back in 2001. After a nice refreshing meal of bean soup, we took the Cheriholla Skyway back into Robbinsville, NC. Then we headed south on 129 until we got to 74. Then north on 74 until we hit the Nantahalla River Road, which we followed until it turned into Wayah Bald Road.

By far Wayah Bald Road was the most technical road we had been on for the entire day, but that's probably because of the twisty turns interspersed with gravel all over the road. We stayed on Wayah Bald until it intersected into 64, then took 64 into 28. We took 28 north, which was one hell of a fun road, until we intersected with 74. From there we headed back into Cherokee.

The farmers in Tennessee and North Carolina had been plowing their fields with the intent of planting this seasons tobacco crops. A rich pungent scent lofted in the air from the rich earthy loam whenever we passed one of the farms. It really was an amazing olfactory sensation.

We stopped for beer in Bryson city; it turns out Cherokee is a dry town, so we needed to stock up.

The order for most of the riding was Gene led, which was the best thing. He has over 30 years of riding experience, and has been visiting the NC area for close to 25 years. Watching Gene ride his R1150RT was like watching Yo-Yo Ma play a Stradivarius -- he was a master practicing his craft. Not a single one of us could keep up with him, even though he was riding a pretty porky touring bike. It just prooves the point that it's not the bike that counts, but the nut loose behind the handle bars.

After the ride, there was a group dinner, which was pretty good. 63 people were at the event, which I guess is a pretty good turn out. I met some guys from Jacksonville, whom I thought I might ride home with (more on that later).

I finally hit the hay around 11pm. The total mileage for Saturday was only 251 miles.

April 13th
I had originally planned on leaving Cherokee by 9am. My thinking was that I should be able to be back home by 5pm, and I wouldn't have to drive like a lunatic to get there.

Andrew and David, the two guys from Jacksonville I had met before, had expressed similar interests in making a 9am kickoff. I woke up at ~7am, and started packing up the bike. While doing that I ran into David who told me they were going to leave earlier than 9.

I asked if they planned on at least having breakfast, and he said that he wanted to get back to Jacksonville early, and that he'd probably just grab something at Hardees. I asked if he'd mind doing a detour on the way back to go ride War Woman Road, and he insisted they were in a hurry.

About 30 minutes later I ran into Andrew, and he was singing a different tune. He said that he wanted to have breakfast with his dad in the hotel, but that he was still on for a 9am kickoff.

I went ahead and hit breakfast in the restaurant at the hotel. I had breakfast with this nice guy from Chattanooga, and we chatted for a bit, but I was done by 8:30am. Because Andrew and David couldn't get their stories straight, I just decided to bail on my own and do my own thing. I was on the road by 8:45am.

On the way out of Cherokee I saw a temperature sign -- 41F, brr, pretty cold for doing 60+ miles per hour. Oh well, I guess that's why the good lord blessed us with heated grips.

I headed south on 441, and just started making my way home. I stopped and looked at the Telila Gorge in Georgia, which was pretty. While there I ran into a harley rider and his wife who were headed up to Cherokee to ride the BRP.

I told him about the BRP being closed due to snow, but gave him some alternate route plans to think about.. He thanked me, and we bid each other a good ride. That's one thing I enjoy about riding -- every other rider I've ever met has always been friendly. Please note, I'm differentiating between "rider" and "biker". I've met several bikers that don't ride, and aren't particularly friendly; you can usually recognize them by which bars they hang out in, or their pride in telling you how many rear wheel horse power their bike puts out.

Just before I hit Milledgeville, I was nearly in an accident. A turkey decided he wanted to cross the road, and he flew right in front of me. When he realized he might be killed, he turned around and flapped his wings as hard as he could back to the side of the road. Although I was startled by the 20lbs avian flying in front of me, I was equally amused by the sight of the portly bird frantically flapping with all of it's might in the hope that it wouldn't become road splatter. Needless to say, I'm glad he made it.

I continued south, until I hit Douglass. I stopped for a quick snack and gas, then headed south again. By this time it had warmed up substantially, and I was *REALLY* glad I had my summer gloves that I could switch to.

By the time I got down towards the southern tip of Georgia, I was feeling really bad. The heat was taking it's toll, and I was not in good shape. Although I knew better, I had only stopped for water twice on the trip down and I was now paying the price. I found it difficult to concentrate on the road, and just difficult to concentrate in general.

I remember seeing a sign for "Willie Johnson Road" and thinking to myself that they couldn't spell Willie Nelson's name properly, and that with all of his tax problems that was nice they named a street after him. Yup, I knew I was in trouble.

The last town in Georgia on 441 is the bustling metropolis of Fargo. Lake City is 34 miles south of Fargo, and I probably would have tried to push on, but a train was going through town and 441 was closed. Sometimes providence really does show you your foibles, or at least looks out for you -- I stopped at the BP and bought a couple litres of water in an effort to recuperate enough to finish the ride home..

One litre went straight into my belly. Another litre was split between my head and my belly. The entire time I just sat on a bench relaxing.. Within 20 minutes the replenishing liquid had its' desired effect and I was feeling like a human being again. I hopped on the bike and proceeded home.

I finally got home around 4:30pm. The total distance I had travelled on Sunday was 462 miles, all on back roads. 441 is still my favorite way to travel to North Georgia because you get gentle sweeper roads, very little traffic, and interesting scenery.

Posted at: 02:02 on 17/04/2003   [ /travel ] #

Thu, 10 Apr 2003

Well, it's not really the weekend, but I'm taking tomorrow and Monday off and going camping.

Where? Who knows. Either TWO or the BRP. i'll make up my mind in Milledgeville.

What else is new? I get to port some really crappy software which hasn't been touched by anyone in about 11 years to Linux. It's using old headers (ieeefp.h for example) which are long since gone. It's now low-priority, but it was dropped in my lap on Tuesday with a "we must have this by the end of the day Thursday."

2 days and 20 hours of wasted time later I explained that it wasn't going to be done in the time period and that next time they should really really really give me more notice. They have an out because at kpno there's a copy which is already compiled for an older version of sunos out there that they can run but since they'll need it again in the future, I'm going to go ahead and finish the port.

At least I got past the problem with their fortran 77 program included in the source. Egads, I don't know fortran!

Oh yeah, I'm officially a:

You are 60% geek
You are a geek. Good for you! Considering the endless complexity of the universe, as well as whatever discipline you happen to be most interested in, you'll never be bored as long as you have a good book store, a net connection, and thousands of dollars worth of expensive equipment. Assuming you're a technical geek, you'll be able to afford it, too. If you're not a technical geek, you're geek enough to mate with a technical geek and thereby get the needed dough. Dating tip: Don't date a geek of the same persuasion as you. You'll constantly try to out-geek the other.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at

How I got the picture of Drew Carey is beyond me...

Well, that's it for now. Toodles!

ps - The pics are from spending the afternoon out at RHO. The link's been down since Saturday at 4am (it's still down), and we went out to replace all of the stuff out there. no luck, nuts.

Posted at: 20:27 on 10/04/2003   [ /diary ] #

Mon, 07 Apr 2003

Government misconduct and how little we've come in 33 years
On a May day in 1970 members of the Ohio National Guard
opened fire on students attending a peace demonstration at Kent State University in Ohio.. Today, the Oakland Police department opened fire on a group of people protesting a business that was profiting from the war in Iraq.

Although the Oakland PD used "non-lethal" projectiles, the bullets that were fired obviously caused physical damage to the victims of the assault.

And what was the crime that drew this sort of retaliation? The protesters were blocking the entrance to a business.

Elsewhere in the news, the state of Oregon is to equate protesting the government with terrorism. Couple that with the fact that the FBI no longer need be concerned with the accuracy of the NCIC database and you just might get a little worried about where our government is headed.

Gee Mr. Sallot, we're sorry we had you locked up in a federal prison for the past few years, but our NCIC database had an error in it and we thought that you might be a witness to a terrorist act, or possibly a terrorist yourself, because we thought you had attended a peace rally

Freedom of speech is being thrown out the window under the guise of national security; I'll bet Mr. Jefferson is turning over in his grave.

Maybe it's time to pack up and leave? I understand Serbia is wonderful this time of year.

Posted at: 21:15 on 07/04/2003   [ /essays ] #

Sun, 06 Apr 2003

New Look
I spent some time this morning redoing the look of my web-site. I had been thinking for awhile on how I wanted it re-designed, and this is what I came up with. My blog is now the entry to my site, and I've put appropriate other links on the page as well.

This weekend's been interesting. I went to Daytona for the day yesterday with Dave Superhawk (what's his last name anyway??). Ed Drannbauer had just moved back to the States so I wanted to track him down and say "hey dude." He's currently living with his mother and hating it, so I offered to let him move back to Gainesville and move into our place for awhile until he gets settled down.

Last night Sandy and I had dinner with Christy Nichols (nee Jackson). I hadn't spoken to her (aside from some sporadic email) in lo, about a dozen years or so, even though I've known her since fourth grade. We went to Moraghot and had the green curry, then went to the Starbucks right next door.

(aside) Why couldn't we have a Jittery Joes in Gainesville? Why do we have four starbucks?

At any rate, we stayed out past 11pm, getting caught up on old times. It was fun.

Posted at: 15:27 on 06/04/2003   [ /diary ] #

Fri, 04 Apr 2003

Atomic Dog
"Hey dude, are we going to go see Clinton today?" Keith asked me this afternoon.

Sure I thought. That'd be fun. I was always a big George Clinton fan, and any chance to go see Parliament would be too good to be true. Boy, was I surprised when Keith showed up and told me he was referring to William Jefferson Clinton, former president of the United States.

Seriously though, Clinton spoke this afternoon at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center at the University of Florida. He gave a 25 minute speech about his views on what it would take to make the world a more peaceful (and safer) place, and then he answered questions for an additional 25 minutes.

During his talk he discussed three different views of world politics as discussed in the books by three different authors. The first book Clinton discussed was Warrior Politics by Robert Kaplan. Supposedly, Kaplan contends that in world politics, power is more important that virtue and that it is the duty of the more powerful nations to impose their will on other nations in an effort to establish world peace. Clinton describes the book in the context of our current foreign policy; it is very clear that our president feels that it is for the good of the entire world that he enforce his vision of peace among other nations.

The second book Clinton discussed was Nonzero by Robert Wright. Clinton described Nonzero as a middle-road approach; generally societies will come around and recognize that it's in their best interest to get along and work together.

I don't remember the third book, but I want to say it is Emergence: The connected lives of ants, brains, cities, and software by Steven Johnson.

Clinton spoke about the best way for nations to accept and get along with each other is for them to recognize that all nations are interconnected. Anything bad that happens to Nation A is bad for Nation B, while what's good for Nation C may be good for Nation D. He used Palestine and Israel as an example, describing how both Palestine and Israel are inextricably intertwined and sooner or later they will need to recognize that about each other, and then they will be able to have peace.

Clinton talked about foreign aid for other countries was good for the United States; he gave as examples Honduras and Ghana. He pointed out that the US offered financial aid for infrastructure in the form of schools and medical services to those countries during his administration, and as he pointed out, Ghanese and Hondurans aren't out to kill americans. Clinton said that of the top 5 countries in the world, we provide the lowest amount of foreign aid, and that it would only cost us 1/6th of the increase that we've had in military and defense spending during the past year in order to double the amount of foreign aid we give away.

I have to admit that I was surprised when Clinton said he felt it was important to disarm Saddam Hussein. I would not have been surprised if he was in the "I support the troops, but not the war" camp, but it appears he supports the war. He said he felt it was important to keep weapons of mass destruction away from people who might drop them into the hands of terrorists, and I can agree with that point. However, Clinton did say he felt that North Korea was a bigger threat. He pointed out that while we made a big deal about removing Saddam's missles that have a 120 mile range, it's silly to ignore North Korea's missles that can be dropped on the continental united states.

The Question and Answer section was a little unusual. Due to security concerns, people were not allowed to ask questions directly. Instead they were submitted via email 2 days in advance to Accent Productions, and the president of Accent asked the questions. I suppose this probably helped reduce the risk of the otherwise inevitable Monica Lewinsky question... The only question I'll go into detail were the questions about North Korea and Palestine.

Clinton was asked if North Korea was a more serious threat than Iraq, and he said that he felt that was the case. Clinton described North Korea as a country that is incapable of growing food, or making goods which could be sold on the international market to buy food. Instead, Clinton asserted that North Korea's forte was making bombs and missles. Clinton also compared North Korea to an unruly child desperately seeking attention; they know that they can't really drop the bombs themselves because they will be wiped out of existence, but they'll continue to be bad if it's the only way they can get noticed by the world governments.

It was an interesting analogy on a number of points.. One, it was fairly humorous (comparing Kim Il Jung to the kid sticking his hand in the cookie jar after being told no). Two, it was a candid look at how Clinton sees North Korea; he obviously has little respect for the North Korean government and sees them more as a pain in the ass than anything else.

The second question of interest was about Palestine and Israel. Clinton went into detail about how it's really a shame that Palestine and Israel haven't worked out their problems. He pointed out that the two were really intertwined, but that they'll continue to have problems until such a time as they recognize that they are. He also said that he feels that Rabin's assasination really hurt the chances for peace in the region because the Israeli people have elected the "most militant and uncompromising person they could find." Clinton also discussed his disappointment with Arafat for not signing the peace treaty in 2001, and that he believes the problems there could have been resolved.

The last bit that he talked about was Rwanda. Clinton spoke about how he feels his greatest mistake was in not sending the military to Rwanda, and that he's troubled that so many people died while he did nothing. I had not remembered, or realized, that almost 800,000 people had been slain in a period of less than four months during the uprising. It really puts my fathers depression into a easier to grasp light.

Oh well, I might not have gotten the chance to hear Atomic Dog, but I did get to hear a pretty interesting talk.

Posted at: 02:25 on 04/04/2003   [ /essays ] #

Wed, 02 Apr 2003

My dogma ran over my catma
I've been thinking about religion and my religious/spiritual beliefs lately. I guess it's understandable that I've been thinking about it, with the death of Sandy's granny, and what looks to be the start of the first "Holy Crusades" in almost a thousand years.

I was really annoyed with the Southern Baptist Minister who spoke at the services last Wednesday. How dare he pontificate about who would be saved, and who wouldn't, at a funeral! Who the hell was he to decide who is worthy in God's eyes of salvation????

I'm still steamed about it, which is why I'm taking some time to think about my religious beliefs and put them down in writing. Maybe, hopefully, someone else out there can find comfort through my approach to religion.

Although I consider myself a Christian, that is to say I believe that the creator gave up his (or her, if you believe Alanis Morrisette) son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice so that all mankind will be saved, I do not believe that any one particular denomination of Christianity is "the only true way."

At first glance, because I consider myself a Christian, it might appear that my beliefs follow along the path of the Unitarian Universalists, and indeed Sandy and I were married by a UUA minister, I don't really consider myself Unitarian. Instead, my belief follows more along the lines of the Bahá'í faith.

Essentially the way it works is this. I don't feel that there is any one "true" way to reach God, but that it's more important to live a life where you're respectful of all others around you; people from the Indian sub-continent would call this belief ahimsa, or cruelty-free living of compassion and unconditional love. It's my belief that all peaceful "religions" of the world that show tolerance, compassion, and consideration for others are truely blessed and are equally valid in the eyes of our creator. This includes all religions, even "non-religions" such as atheism and agnosticism, as long as the individual is kind and caring to those around them.

To explain my belief, envision all of the faiths of the world as the spokes of a wheel. God is at the center of the wheel, and each spoke represents a different path that a person may take to reach that center. In order to truly follow a spoke towards the center, a person would have to practice a life of ahimsa. It really doesn't matter which spoke(religion) you follow, just that you follow one of them. The spoke itself may be nothing more than living a good, caring, life while not expressing any particular devotion of faith; that would be fine, it's the living of a good life that is what is truly important.

I believe there are many misguided people that feel they are doing Gods work, when in reality they aren't. These people may be Muslim, Christian, Jewish or any of a number of different religions. I believe that when someone is so blinded that they believe their faith is the only true way, then they're not on their spoke. I believe that when someone believes that their God does not tolerate good people of other faiths, then they're not on their spoke. I believe anyone who shouts at passer-by's that they're going to burn in hell or should that they're whores and harlots, then that person is not on their spoke.

I believe hypocrasy is contradictory to living a life of ahimsa. A minister who wears large flashy jewlry while preaching a life of piety and frugality to their congregation is not on their spoke. Yes, even Jim and Tammy Faye would not make it in my book.

Essentially, I believe that there is a creator, that we often refer to as God. I believe that our God is really a caring God, and he loves all of his children; even the misguided souls. I do not believe that our God is spiteful, hateful, or cruel. I do not believe that our God would want good people, who live a kind, generous life, to suffer simply because they chose another religious path to follow. I do not believe that there is only "one true way."

Posted at: 02:42 on 02/04/2003   [ /essays ] #

Tue, 01 Apr 2003

There's a stinky dog on my bed.
When I first typed the title for this blog I typo'd dog. There really is no stinky dong on my bed, just a stinky dog.

Today was a pretty long day. I wound up spending close to 13 hours at work because someone created a network loop by plugging in one too many workgroup switches into our network infrastructure. Oh well, it's fixed now.

I'm ready for my vacation in June. I spent most of yesterday buying stuff for the trip; I picked up a new sleeping bag which because it's made of thermalite it compresses small; I picked up a tire repair kit with a portable tire inflator; various tools and some spare bulbs. I've still got some things to buy (ex officio underroos and pants, riding pants and boots), but I'm ready to go.

We went to Dallas' place on Friday evening for a party. I took a lot of photos of Nicole getting hammered. I think I'll be able to hold them over her head in exchange for the negatives from my NYE bender. Muahahaha.

Aside from that, I'm disappointed by the continued erosion of personal liberties. More people are being detained by our government and held in violation of their constitutional rights. Sure, I understand that when your country is at war you should expect certain liberties to be restricted, but then who brought us into war??

While I'm on this final rant, I hope everyone will take a moment to look at this commercial and this commercial brought to you buy the numbers 1 and 7, and The Detroit Project. I find the commercials quite timely and on-target.

Posted at: 02:19 on 01/04/2003   [ /diary ] #

Fri, 28 Mar 2003

What a Whacky Week
So my last installment left off with the
death of Sandy's Grandmother last Sunday evening.

Tuesday night there was a memorial service at the Guerry Funeral Home from 5pm until 7pm. It was a quiet memorial; Sandy's uncle Charlie came up to pay his respects, and Richard and Cheryl showed up. The open casket thing kind of freaked Sandy out, but...

Wednesday we had a formal service at 10am at the GUerry Funeral Home. It was presided by a Southern Baptist Minister that really offended the both of us. He gave the entire spiel about how he was saved because his name was written in the book of life, yadda yadda yadda.

(an aside) Who really cares if he's saved? It really irkes me when I hear from these pontificants that I'm not going to be saved because I'm not a southern baptist, but they are because their name is written in the book of life. I'll address my religous dogma later, this isn't really the time to do it..

So after the services, we were able to coordinate methodical chaos with Sandy's parents and aunt; we drove Sandy's dad to Gainesville to pick up a rental car while Mrs. Durham took her sister (Eloise) to get their dog, drop the dog off, and meet us at our place in Gainesville.

By 12:45pm everyone was at my house, and Sandy and I were ready to tear up the road to Miami. Tom was going to drive Mrs. Durham and Eloise down to the hotel, and Sandy and I were going to drive ourselves. They wanted lunch, so went off on their own. Sandy and I hit the highway and made tracks.

At about 3pm we stopped for gas and lunch. I had a dog and fries, Sandy ate a nutritious meal of ice cream. Once we hit the road again, we got a call from Mrs. Durham. It turned out they were only 20 miles behind us -- pretty surprising considering I was pressing 75-80 the whole way down and we only stopped for 15 minutes at Ft. Drum.

We continued on to the Holiday Inn at the University of Miami. We made it down in 5 hours and were greeted with a glass of champagne, which was much appreciated after the drive down.

About 15 minutes after I paid for the rooms, The Durhams showed up with Eloise. Mrs. Durham complained that they hadn't stopped to use the WCs at all on the journey..

Mr. Durham wanted to go to Shorty's for dinner, and we figured that would probably be the easiest for everyone else involved. Eating at Shorty's was like stepping through time. I suspect that the majority of the "Southern White Florida Cracker" population must have been at Shorty's on Wednesday judging by the looks of the patronage. It was definatly a throw-back to Miami pre-mariel.

We were done with dinner by 8:30pm, and I fell asleep by 9:30pm in my bed.

Thursday there were grave side services held at the Miami Memorial Park at 5300 W. Flagler. The minister who presided over the services is the head chaplan at Baptist Hospital off Kendall drive. His words were kind and comforting, and I think he helped Sandy, her mother, and Eloise.

After the services, there was a bunch of paperwork to take care of. Sandy's Grandmother hadn't prepaid for her headstone, or the opening of the grave, so her parents had to spend a few thousand dollars to get those things squared away.

While the paperwork was being straightened out, Eloise mentioned she wanted to see the grave of her husband who had passed away in 1985. Unfortunately, it turns out Eloise didn't remember that he was buried in a different cemetary and she was upset when she was told he's not at Miami Memorial Park. I wound up photocopying a list of all cemetaries in Miami, and next week I'll run down the list in an effort to help Eloise find her husband.

After the services and paperwork were straightened out, Mr. Durham went to see the graves of his mother and father. They were both buried at Miami Memorial, and there are either four or six plots still owned by the Durham family there. Who knows, maybe Sandy and I will wind up in Miami again afterall?

Finally, by 12:30pm everything was said and done. The Durhams (and Eloise) took off to find a diner and then head home. Sandy and I went to go get some Cuban Food at La Carreta. Although it's not as good (in my opinion) as Latin American, it's still pretty good..

After lunch we went and saw Karen and her three kids. We met their tenants dog ("molly the manatee"), which although this picture is not of Molly, I think you'll get the drift...

Geordan got home a little while later and we hung out until about 4pm. Sandy and I were both coming down with a cold and were rather antsy to get back to our own house. Of course, about 10 minutes after leaving Geordan's house we were caught in a minor rainstorm. To make matters more interesting we were also caught in a little traffic. Oh yeah, I did mention the weather, right?

It took us many hours to get home, about 2 hours longer than normal. The weather was really pretty bad and driving on the turnpike was a challenge. When we finally made it back to our neighborhood, we found that we couldn't drive up to our house because of the amount of water in the street. I called Philip and asked him if he had this problem earlier, and while I was talking to him the water raised a whole foot -- aye caramba! (btw, those photos were taken Friday morning, after the water had a night to recede).

Well, it's Friday. I've got a cold. Sandy's got a cold. Our street is now dry. I have a yard to pickup. I'll get the photos from the past week (or so) on the album sometime this weekend.

(Addendum. here's a picture of molly the manatee)

Posted at: 21:43 on 28/03/2003   [ /diary ] #

Tue, 25 Mar 2003

Crappy Week
I've had a crappy week now. First I gave blood on Thursday and the folks at Civitan blew my vein out. Oh well, they made up for it by awarding me a galloneer pin and mug.

Then on Friday I destroyed my ATM card while doing laundry (so I'm a dumbass), and had to argue with the lady at the bank to get a new temporary card. She didn't want to assign me a temporary card because the check-card number of my old (destroyed) card would then be invalid. I explained to her that I was OK with that since I never used it for anything except to get cash from an ATM machine anyway, at which point she finally agreed to assign me a new card.


Saturday I was bitten by a fire ant, and had a minor allergic reaction. My hand swelled up to the size of a grapefruit and I couldn't close my fist. A few doses of Benadryl did me wonders.

Those were the good things that happened in the past five days. Sunday evening Sandy's grandmother passed away. She would've turned 98 on April 3rd.

Sandy's a wreck. Thankfully we had the opportunity to see her on Sunday afternoon, I think she'd be in worse shape if we hadn't.

Tonight we've got a viewing, and tomorrow morning we have services in Lake City. Thursday we're burying her in Miami.

Posted at: 12:58 on 25/03/2003   [ /diary ] #

Mon, 17 Mar 2003

Flower Power
The rain we've had the past few weeks has done the Gainesville floral scene a world of good. The
Azaleas are out in full force this year. The purples, pinks, and whites are fantastic; this is probably the best azalea season we've had in five years.

Friday I take off for holiday. I'm going to go out into the desert and wander for a week or so. I'll probably swing by Tucson to see Kitt Peak, so there will be one day of work. I want to find out how much data they're going to be generating in five years.

Posted at: 18:40 on 17/03/2003   [ /diary ] #

Sun, 09 Mar 2003

Greg emailed me yesterday and said "Let's go to Daytona so I can see
Corbin, rather than just going to lunch." We wound up leaving at 9am from Joe's Corner (tm) and made our way to Bike Week.

Once Greg was done screwing around with his bike, and we were able to really get on the road (9:27), we made pretty good time and arrived in Daytona by 11am. I wanted to stop at the Honzuwasaki dealership to get some new rain gear, but they were closed :-(.

After stopping for a moment, we continued on to the Corbin Factory.. Boy, was that a mess because it's right on the "parade route" for Bike Week. Greg and I did our obligatory parade lap, but that was just because we were trying to get to the Corbin parking lot. There's a photo I took while doing our parade lap.

Greg bought himself a new saddle, and then we decided to walk up and down the strip. I'm currently looking for a pair of riding pants, new rain gear, and a pair of riding boots, so we hit all of the shops on Main street.

Unfortunately, there was nothing that I was looking for. I suppose I could have gotten Sandy a leather bikini but I've never really been a big fan of that look.

While we were walking up and down the street, I saw a grungy looking couple which turned out to be Simon and Monika who are on a world tour by GS. I thought it was pretty cool seeing them on Main street since I had just seen their web-site within the previous 48 hours.

Goddard and I then grabbed lunch before heading back in the rain. As I was expecting, it poured cats and dogs on us. c'est liet vie.

Posted at: 22:00 on 09/03/2003   [ /travel ] #

Fri, 07 Mar 2003

Wrist part deux
Well, I just got off the phone with the hand surgeon. They can't see me until April 2nd. I've scheduled the appointment, but the hardback copy of Dave Barry's new book, Risky Business, might turn out to be more useful than Philip thought when he lent it to me...

Posted at: 16:09 on 07/03/2003   [ /diary ] #

Return, Pollen, and Wrists
We got back from the SANS conference yesterday. I was pretty wiped out, mostly because I didn't sleep very well Wednesday..

I received a call from Nicole Wednesday evening before we arrived in Athens. She had been trying to get ahold of Geoff, but his phone was dead. She finally got through on mine, because I finally got cell signal again. Kathy, Geoff's girlfriend, suffered the loss of her brother on Wednesday morning, and Nicole tried to convince us to get back to Gainesville that evening.

Geoff spoke with Kathy, and they decided with the craptacular weather (hail, lightning, wind gusts up to 80mph) we were having, it'd be better to just get a good nights sleep at my Moms and continue home on Thursday.

So, I slept on the couch again. Crappy sleep, dreamt of IP packet decoding and whatnot.

We got in yesterday afternoon. The Santa Fe River was really flooded due to the rains, and the pine trees said "Spring is in the air" and have turned Gainesville yellow. The tires on Gowan's stationwagon were yellow by the time we got to my place from all of the pollen.

This morning when I got up I headed over to our local Doc in a Box to get my wrist looked at. I've had this ganglion cyst on it for about two months, and during the trip to VA it was causing me some minor discomfort.

Dr. Eckell gave me a local and tried to drain it, but the thing wouldn't budge. He told me I could always try smashing it with a book, but I'm not really keen on that idea. They're setting up an appointment with a hand surgeon for me. Although there are contradictary stories, there is enough medical history that suggests hitting it with a book can help, and one place even says that for many years doctors kept Grays Anatomy for just this purpose. Ouch.

Posted at: 15:59 on 07/03/2003   [ /diary ] #

Mon, 03 Mar 2003

SANS EDU Institute
So, I'm up in Blacksburg, VA at the SANS institute. Their normal conference rate is $3500 or so for a week, and this one is only $100 for the week.

Geoff and I drove up to Athens on Saturday. We spent the night at my moms and went pub crawling. Sunday we split around 10am and finished the trek up to Blacksburg where the conference is being hosted by Virginia Tech.

We caught up with Rick, and went out for dinner. After, we found a pub and threw darts for a few hours.

Posted at: 14:27 on 03/03/2003   [ /travel ] #

Fri, 28 Feb 2003

What price is war?
The fascination of our president with a war against Saddam, and the behavior of the mainstream media in backing any executive decision is frightening.

Last week there was a Virtual March on Washington. Hundreds of thousands of americans picked up their telephones and called the Whitehouse and their state Senators offices to say they do not want us to go to war.

I participated in this "march." So did my mother, and several other people I know.

Recent polls show that most Americans do not want us to go to war. Most of us do not want to see our children die. Most of us do not want to spend the financial resources that a war will cost. Most of us feel we should focus on the real threats to our nations safety, Osama Bin Laden and Kim Il Jung, rather than Saddam Hussein. Yet, the march on washington barely emitted a blip in the mainstream news radar.

There's no doubt in my mind that the mainstream media shapes the thoughts of many Americans. The media needs to accept the responsibility that goes implicitly with their power to influence the minds of millions. So why is the media silent when it comes to anti-war protests and rallys?

It's pretty clear that the mainstream press in the United States gives Bush a free pass. He does not come under the scrutiny that former leaders have. Part of that has to do with September 11, 2001; the Media chose to support our leader in our countries greatest time of need. I'm OK with that.

The other part though is the insidious, cancerous, part. The US "Free Press" needs ratings to survive. If they were locked out from the upper levels of our executive branch, they would undoubtably lose millions in advertising revenue due to a drop in their ratings. The fear of being locked out by the Bush Camp prevents them from presenting truly unbiased opinions.

This bothers me. Our media is not living up to their responsibilities to the populace that they shape. They are only reporting the news that certain parties want printed.

Although there independent sources of news (?), they're often mocked, ignored, or discounted by followers of the main stream media. The result is the only media you can "trust" is the media which is censored and controlled by our executive branch.

I wonder how foolish, ignorant, and dumb we must look to the rest of the world.

Posted at: 12:35 on 28/02/2003   [ /essays ] #

Mon, 24 Feb 2003

Licks and Tickles
All in all, I had a pretty full day today...

I was up late last night hacking on the linux kernel. I was trying to get the ACPI patches working on my laptop. I was able to get it to turn the fan off, but could never get it to suspend. I finally went to bed around 4:30am, figuring it's not that important that I needed to pull an all-nighter.

Around 7:30, while enjoying my gentle slumber, I was rudely awoken by 75lbs of bouncing (and smelly) girl. Dali had jumped into the bed I was on and decided my face needed a serious cleaning. We wrestled for a few minutes, while my ears and face were given the most brutal licking I've ever faced!

Brutal licks aside, I understood I had no options. I *had* to get up.

I putzed around and checked on the systems for work. There had been some power failures yesterday around campus, but it looks like none of my stuff went down.

After my shower, I went ahead and joined the Sunday Geek Breakfast Crew over at The Atlanta Bread Company. I spent some time chatting with Craig about my recent fascination with Macs, and he did his best to convince me to buy one.

*sigh* -- I think I will just have to wait until next year..

After breakfast, I came back home for a bit. I touched up some of the photos I uploaded yesterday, then headed out for lunch with Josh. The day was gorgeous, so we decided to go for a small little ride.

After the ride, I convinced Josh to swing by the Harn Museum. There is an installation titled "Culture of Violence" which is about Americas fascination with violence, murder, and firearms.

I took photos until I was asked not too (whoops!). Some of them made it to my photo album. One interesting piece was a series of photos of places where acts of violence occured; KSU was one of the pictures. It should be in the album.

After the museum, I came home and decided to upload the pictures to the web-page. I then wrote the photo album cgi which I'll use for people to view all of the pictures online after they've rolled off the blog page. The album cgi is still a bit rough, but I think it's feature complete for my needs... If anyone wants it, they can have it.

Well, the dog needs some food. the cat needs a spankin', and the wife wants to chat, so I better take off.

Posted at: 00:04 on 24/02/2003   [ /diary ] #

Sun, 23 Feb 2003

Blog pix
Although I've taken a few month hiatus from working on my blog, I've decided to try and be more serious with it. To that end, I've added "blog pix" to the bloxsom blogger-cgi I'd been using. This will allow me to provide both a visual outlet as well as my writing.

It'll display the 10 most recent photos in my digital camera archive. I started the archive by copying some photos up from tonight. Sandy pestering the neighbors cat, Sandy at starbucks, the Hippo, and some others. The cat and dog in bed together are pretty funny since the cat hates just about everyone, but he insisted on jumping in bed with Dali.

I'll probably re-write bloxsom from scratch soon. It's really ugly code, I'll put something a little prettier together for the rest of the world soon.

Posted at: 04:34 on 23/02/2003   [ /code ] #

Sat, 22 Feb 2003

Why DRM's bad!
Microsoft is at it again. They're once again going to make a drastic change to the most important file format on the face of the planet, which will have a serious impact on the way the world works.

The change they're making is adding Digital Rights Management capabilities to Office 2003 (and outlook). The article about the scheme doesn't really go into some of the insidious problems with this plan, but it does allude to the issues.

Q. How do you prevent a disgruntled employee from making copies of internal memos which show the company(tm) is engaging in illegal practices?

A. Why you can use Office 2003 Information Rights Management to make sure that the memo can never be forwarded, and only read from location x.

Q. How do you sexually harass an employee and get away with it?

A. You send sexually explicit emails in Outlook which disappear once they have been read by the recipient! (of course)

Q. How do you modify the MS-Word(tm) .DOC file format in such a way that you can prevent other people from making .DOC compatible office-products, thus ensuring your dominance in the business marketplace?

A. Why, you make Office encrypt all IRM documents so people can't read the contents of the document through some other means. And, since you're already making the API's to encrypt IRM enabled documents, you go ahead and have the program encrypt _ALL_ documents.

And, as a bonus, the DMCA will then prevent your competitors from reverse engineering your encrypted document format because it's against the law! And although some hobbiests may be willing to bend the law for their hobby, I'm pretty sure that Corel and Sun won't risk breaking the law for their Star Office and WordPerfect products.

I suspect Gates originally wanted to look at DRM/IRM inclusion into Outlook (and word) because of his own problem with digital memo leakage but I'm sure the idea that it will give them an opportunity to extend (and embrace) the DOC file format in new ways, breaking compatibility for competing products was not lost by Microsoft either.

DRM in conjunction with the DMCA will make it impossible for third-parties to read document formats. DRM will make it easier for companies to engage in illegal activities and have no fear of reprisal. DRM is just bad.

Posted at: 15:05 on 22/02/2003   [ /essays ] #

Fri, 21 Feb 2003

iBook? TiBook?
I'm thinking of buying a mac.

Yeah, it's troubling. But, I've been playing with Ata's G3 powerbook lately, and been quite impressed with it.

I've got OroborOSX running on it. XDarwin. OpenOffice with the SO fonts / templates. Emacs w/X11 support (yeah, I'm one of those guys). And I'm pretty impressed. The gimp runs well. Safari's pretty fast.

I'm torn between the tiBook 15.2" and the iBook 14". Goddard claims ej will give me a 15% price break on the laptop, which makes the tiBook more affordable. But, I do like the look of the iBook's and the longer battery life is nice too.

But, I'm not sure how much of a performance hit the G3 takes versus the G4.. I have to play more with the g4's.

So, then the question becomes which one...

Posted at: 01:52 on 21/02/2003   [ /diary ] #

Sun, 02 Feb 2003

Who weeps for Columbia?
The events of yesterday, February 1, 2003, were tragic. I won't dispute that.

People throughout this country are shocked, and filled with sorrow. Churches, synagogues, and mosques are having memorials to allow people an outlet for their grief.

7 brave men and women went up in space to touch the face of god, only to burn up in a fiery death while they were so close to home. Tragic? Yes, it was.

But, who's weeping for the other victims of Columbia?

No, I'm not talking about the families of the shuttle disaster. I'm talking about the peasant farmers in the South American country. For over a hundred years, the United States has waged one war, or another, against the country of Simon Bolivars dreams.

The first war was waged by Teddy Bear Roosevelt. You see, he had a man, a plan, and a canal. But he didn't have Panama. Roosevelt wanted a canal to allow him to expand the United States' military might. The problem was that Columbia, the country that owned the Isthmus of Panama, didn't like the idea.

In 1903, the United States provided aid to a revolutionary group that wanted to seperate from Columbia. These people wanted their own country. We provided them with money, and military advisors. Shortly after the revolution began, the citizens of Panama won their independence.

The US ackowledges Panama's independence within 24 hours. Within a week we had a signed treaty giving us the right to build a canal.

Now, a hundred years later, we wage a different kind of war in Columbia. The war we wage is the "War Against Drugs". It is a war in which we have spent countless billions of dollars, taken countless innocent lives, and given up many of our freedoms.

For the past several years, the US State Department in conjunction with the military government of Columbia, has had a campaign aimed at eradicating the coca and poppy fields of Columbia. The eradication is most often done by having helicopters spray a herbicidal witches brew over villages suspected of having poppy fields.

Young children are gassed by the herbicide. Livestock and food crops are killed by the herbicide. Groundwater is contaminated by the herbicide.

All of these crimes occur under the orders of our President and State Department. Families watch as their lives are stolen by someone they don't know, by a policy that is unfair, and with goals that are impossible to achieve.

Sure, the shuttle is tragic, but, who in the United States weeps for Columbia?

Posted at: 14:17 on 02/02/2003   [ /essays ] #

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My photo album
My resume

Presentations and Papers

SAP Filtering 1998
Border Manager 1999
Astronomy Status 2002
Astronomy Update 2003
Linux on a CTX FC2A300
Honeynet Challenge entry