Monday, February 26, 2007

A Dandy Little Nightmare

Here is a nice little doomsday scenario for all the left-wing tree-hugging, environmental do-rights out there who believe that man-induced global warming is real.

Lets convert all vehicle propulsion to renewable sources - like ethanol, and all buildings to solar and wind powered climate control.
Then lets have a nice famine and/or massive crop failure.
This could be caused by a big volcanic explosion like Mount Saint Helens.
Or from drought similar to the climatic cycle the affected the mid-western United States in the 1930's.
Or a nice big comet or meteor landing.
I am not talking about a huge movie-sized catastrophe, but big enough to throw some dirt in the air for a year or two.
Like Mount Krakatoa did in 1883.

Then lets watch the world economic system come grinding to a halt.
Then lets see what the eco-nazis have to say about their "perfect" little world that they fought so hard to establish with their fairy-science (as in, fairy tales).
We can all go over to Al Gore's house to keep warm (or cool).
Maybe he can invent some natural gas to keep us comfortable.
Oh, wait.
He already invented natural gas.
He passes it out when he talks.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Linux Experiment 4.0

Yep, this will be my fourth try at Linux.
Every other installation was a failure for some reason.
More specifically, every other attempt at complete removal of Windows was a failure.
All of them installed more or less okay.
I have tried Red Hat 7.2, Xandros ?.?, and Suse (twice, 7.?, 9.2).

In each case, these were dual-boot configurations and all of them worked just fine at managing the dual boot process.

But in order for one to use (and fix) Linux, one has (HAZ!) to have access to the internet.
In every case, I could not connect to the internet for some reason.
Either Linux could not see my modem or it did not have the correct driver for the modem I had.
One time, I bought a new modem, advertised on a Linux website, just so I could have modem driver for Linux (or more correctly, so Linux could have the correct driver for the modem).
The modem arrived smashed in the box (which was also smashed).
I sent it back and they sent me another one.
Indeed, there was a Linux driver for the modem on the CD that came with the modem, but it did not load or work like the instructions said it would, and I could not figure out how to move the driver file into the file it needed to go in.
In fact, I could never figure what file the driver needed to go to.
Every site I went to either ignored my questions or gave me information that I could not understand.
Finally, I gave up.

On another installation, the modem connected to the internet - I could hear it train, handshake and lock – confirmed by a real-time status log utility, but my browser could not find the internet.
Since I had more than one web browser included with my distribution package, I tried another browser.
Still no internet.
And no help from the Linux “help” sites.
Grrrr.

Now, in 2007, I will try again.
But now I will have two computers - one for Window$ and one for Linux.
They will be networked together using a new router and both will have access to the internet via my cable modem.
The router is not installed (or purchased) yet.

The plan is to get rid of Window$ forever.
Sort of my version of Vista.
The method for this is to get the router to work with the Window$ box first.
And to get Linux going on its new box.
I will be using a KVM switch (also not yet purchased) so that I can use the same keyboard, mouse and monitor on both systems.
That may present some issues also.
Wee shal see.
Then, when the two systems are up and running, I will set up the network so the Penguin machine can communicate with the Window$ box and (hopefully) the internet.

One consideration is which Linux distribution to get.
There are dozens of them to choose from.
But the top five are Fedora (Red Hat), Ubuntu, open Suse, Mepis, PCLinuxOS, not necessarily in that order.

I like Fedora because it is based in the USA, but have only installed it once, and had modem problems.
I am intrigued by Ubuntu because it very popular, so I want to see what all the fuss is about.
But it is based in South Africa, so it cuts against my national pride.
I have installed Suse two times before and had a good install experience both times (ignoring modem/internet issues).
But is it based in Germany, so it, too, goes against my USA prejudice.
I have investigated both Mepis and PCLinuxOS.
At this point, nether of them make me want to download them.
But I might, just to play with them.

The cool thing about Linux is you can have 14 versions of it on your computer at the same time.
It is not as territorial as Window$ (which does not like ANYTHING else on your computer with it).

If you compared the two operating systems to countries, Linux would be like the United States, it lets almost anyone in – even illegals.
Window$ is like the old East Germany – it will shoot anyone trying to get in or out.
(Apple OS X is like Window$ except more strict. It wants to run on only one machine – theirs. Oh, and their computers cost twice as much as the others. (TWICE!)

Anyway, I have not decided which disto to use this time around, but I am leaning toward open SUSE.

More to come.....

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The New Machine

I have purchased a new computer.
I do not need a new computer.
At this I feel guilty and extravagant.
There are people at the Rescue Mission that have needs that my resources could have helped.
But I have been selfish.

It all started innocently enough.
You see, I like to follow the CPU war between Intel and AMD.
It is kind of like the Ford and Chevy guys.

After reading about the latest increment in the battle, I was thinking, “I wonder what it would cost if I were to procure a cutting edge computing machine?”
To scratch this itch, I did a Google on AMD (I do not buy Intel products because they are the biggest CPU company on the planet and do not need my business. In the same way that Coca Cola, Nike, Levis, and Micro$oft are.)
I accidentally found a very capable machine made by Hewlett Packard and sold at Wal-Mart for $568.00.
After doing some comparison shopping for similar machines from other vendors, I realized that this was a very good bargain.

This was bothersome to me because I expected a machine like what I was contemplating to be so expensive that it would be no temptation to me.
Wrong.

But I did not need a new computer.
My trusty puter has served me well and is chugging along very nicely.
Even being two years old, it is one of the fastest machines I have ever worked on.
This includes all the newish Dell desktops and laptops that I occasionally used at work.
So I put the new computer idea out of my head.

That worked for a few days.
Then I looked at it again.
Then I made a spread sheet to compare all the various and similar models and prices.
I even threw in a couple of Apple machines just to see how they all stack up.
The Apple machines were almost exactly DOUBLE the cost of the PCs.
$1200.00
Forget Apple.

Then I went to Walmart.com and looked at it again.
It was sold out.
Wo.
This puppy is hot.
But I did not need a new computer so I closed the spreadsheet and forgot about it.

For a few days.
Then I did some more looking.
I found a company that I had never heard of called aJump.com.
They sell make-to-order computers, just like Dell.
So I configured a machine similar to the one I had seen at Wal-Mart.
But I left off Window$.
The total came to $522.00.
Even cheaper than the Wal-Mart machine.
And shipping was free.
I did not need this.
I left the site and forgot about a new computer.

For a day or so.
Then my federal income tax refund appeared in my checking account.
$518.00.
I went to aJump.com and configured another machine just like the previous one,
just to see if the total came out differently.
It did.
It was LESS!
$516.00
Shipping was still free.

So here is what is coming to my house in about a week:

Inside a In Win microATX case –
- AMD Athlon64 X2 4200+ processor (2.2Ghz)
- 1 Gb PC2-4200 DDR2-533 RAM
- 250Gb SATA HD (7200 rpm)
- Sony DVD R/W (dual-layer)
- on board nVidia graphics
- on board 5.1 sound

And also coming soon, a new version of Linux to install on the new monster machine. (more on that soon)

Another Night Terror

Let the record show that on February 19, 2007, at 11:30 PM yers troolee hand another night terror incident.
It was very brief and it seemed that I was only partially alseep because I woke up very quickly.
Interestingly, I said, "I rebuke you in the name of Jesus!"
And that was that.
I noted the time and rolled over and went back to sleep.
The time is of interest to me because a night terror incident happens fairly early in the sleep cycle.
This one took place about an hour after I turned the light off and began the sleeping process.
Textbook.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Woof - The Dog


It is strange how humans form bonds with lower lifeforms.
I am not speaking of Democrats here.
Rather, I refer to animals who, though capable in unique ways, are less intelligent than most of we humans.

I have had several dogs (and one cat) in my lifetime.
Each of which had special attributes which made them endearing.

When I was about ten, there was Dinah, sister to Dixie, a beagle that had a rather unhappy life because of the small space in which she had to roam – roughly 20 feet by 20 feet – and the emotional neglect from a kid too busy with other bipedal activities.
She was given away after several months to someone who could give her better care and attention.

Next was Duffy, a tan mixed breed (if you can call a mixture a “breed”) with Cocker and Beagle in her.
She spent most of her time in the small backyard of our suburban home.
But occasionally, she was allowed to come into the kitchen, where she liked to sit in a chair, like the people.
She liked to eat a raw carrot, holding it between her paws and chomping off bite-sized pieces until it was all gone.
Ice cubes were a special treat, also.
When I went off into the Army, she was sharing the yard with a desert tortoise and a black and white bunny.

Then, after I married, we acquired a puppy who grew into a medium-sized (mixed) German Shepherd.
His name came from the school kids in Mitchi’s class who suggested we name the dog Sherman Gepherd.
The name stuck.

Living in the country, Sherman had free reign to roam wherever he liked, and did so.
He was joined after a year or two by a small black and white dog we named Little Bitty.
I do not recall where Bitty came from.
The two became best friends and roamed and played and napped together for several years.

Sadly, both came to premature ends.
Sherman acquired the taste for fresh chicken from the neighbors yard, and had to be “put away”.
The way they do that in the rural south is with a bullet.

Bitty got into the habit of chasing the school bus as it went by each afternoon.
One day he miscalculated his trajectory and fell under the rear wheel.
Dog pie.

Then, came Sugar.
Sugar was a solid black mixed Cocker.
Cathi named her.
She was a compliant, mostly quiet dog.
She did not do a lot of barking or jumping on you.

She liked to tag along with me as I puttered around the yard but seemed content just to lay around and observe.
The kids played with her occasionally.
But we were all busy and Sugar was neglected much of the time.
I always talk to my animals and I did so with Sugar.
As with most dogs, she seemed to enjoy the attention and the occasional body scratch that never lasted long enough.

She lived the quiet life for many years.
In her last few seasons, she was hobbled by arthritis and a few small tumors.
And one winter day a realized I had not seen my black dog in several days.
And I smelled something bad.
A brief search found the source and I dragged the body of my dear, departed pooch out into the field behind our house and buried her.
She was a good dog and had lived a reasonably comfortable life.

About mid-way through Sugar’s reign, a gray puppy wandered into our yard one Saturday morning.
He was lost and confused.
He was probably dropped off on the side of the road by his former owner.
That happened often in our neighborhood.

But I already had a dog, I did not want another one.
Mainly because I knew that I did not have the time to devote to giving the proper care and attention I felt another yard animal deserved.
We tried to give him away for several weeks but got no takers.
It seemed that the new dog was going to stay.
And if an animal stays at my house he has to have a proper name.

James Dobson’s daughter wrote a series of books about a dog named Woof several years ago and the name intrigued me.
So I borrowed it.
The new little dog was to be called Woof.
He had a habit of jumping on you to indicate that he was happy to see you.
One whack on the nose and a “no!” and he never jumped on me again.
He was smart.

Woof grew and grew and grew.
And as he grew his short, ratty gray fur changed.
The base color on his face legs tummy and tail became tan.
But he added a black saddle on his back and sides with a streak of silver down the center of his back.
And all of this fur was three inches long or so.
He was a handsome dog.
Woof looked like a wolf.

And in the winter he developed another layer of dense, tan fur under all his other colors.
Thus equipped, he happily slept outside in twenty degree weather with the wind blowing.
Even in the snow.
He would find a pile of leaves, curl up on them and lay his long fluffy tail over his nose and sleep through the night.
One cold winter morning I came out early and quietly and found him still asleep, covered with snow – just like the rest of the yard.
It was only when it rained or the temperature dropped into the teens that he disappeared to I-don’t-know-where to stay warm.

In the spring, this heavy winter coat would fall out in big globs.
Woof required weekly brushing to get rid of the dense piles of down he produced.
He loved these half-hour sessions and I would fill a large trash bag half full of long light-brown hair each time I did it.
Sometimes he would walk around looking like a small, tan Yak.

He did not like to be inside.
I recall him being in the house only once for a few minutes and he was edgy and uncomfortable until he was able to go outside again.
The only time he wanted to come inside was when it thundered.
He did not like thunder.
And in such times, we opened the door to our small airlock back porch and he would lay down next to the freezer and wait out the rumbles.

Woof was my buddy.
Once he had finished his morning constitutional just after sunrise, he was mine.
Once greeted, he was happy to follow me around the yard as I did whatever needed to be done.
I would talk to him constantly.
He patently listened and responded the best he could.

If I was working on my car, he would lay down about six feet away and be available for random acts of petting, scratching and conversation.
If I piddled too quietly for too long, he would rise and nuzzle me to be sure everything was okay between us.
After a few words of endearment and a scratch, he would return to his station of defense and observation.
If I ran the lawnmower or power saw, he would give me more room - forty or fifty feet more.
He did not like loud noises.
Once I picked up on this tendency, I would warn him that I was about to start the saw, and he would rise and trot off.
As with many dogs, he adopted the personality of the family, which was generally loving and quiet, tolerant and low keyed.

Woof had an interesting attribute.
He would never lick you.
He would scoot his nose under your hand to indicate his interest in being petted but he never licked your hand or face.
Unless, of course, you had something yummy on it.

He did not bark a lot.
When he did, he had a big, deep bark.
Occasionally, he would bark at night.
If he did this during the summer, I would get out of bed and go out to where he was and sit with him.
I would ask him what was going on and tell him it was probably okay.
After a minute or two with him, he would settle down and we all went back to sleep.

Woof was a big, sweet dog.
And he was a bit lazy.
When the neighbors would walk by on the road and I was in the house, Woof would lay in the yard and silently watch them go by.
But if I was in the yard and the neighbors walked by, Woof would rise up and bark, as if performing his dogly duty for my protection and approval.
What a big fur muffin.

When I started running, Woof would trot along with me.
It bugged me that I would be huffing and puffing so deeply and he would be trotting along almost bored, his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth.
But he always seemed eager to go with me.
I clocked him in the car one day at twenty miles-per-hour, so pacing my six and a half mile-per-hour rate was only one quarter of his capacity.

When I left Morgan City, I wanted to take him with me.
I was the only person in the family that ever showed him much attention or fed or watered him.
But I knew that I was going to live in an apartment complex and there was no place for him.
He was an outside dog, he could never stand to be cooped up in a small city yard or apartment.
So I left him in the country where he could roam and be happy.

When I came back to visit him the first time, he looked at me so strangely, as if to say, “Where have you been?”
I will never forget that look.

And now, February 16, 2007, Woof is gone.
The good thing is, dogs (or animals in general) do not anticipate very much.
And certainly not very far into the future.
He did not know about death.
There was no dread on his part.
He just had to deal with the present discomfort of his body shutting down.
Fortunately, it seems he did not suffer very long.
I am thankful for that.

For him, death was just a thing that happened to other creatures.
They stopped moving and it made them smell different for a while.
Then they were gone.
It was just a part of life.

And so it is with Woof.
He is gone after giving many years of affection, pleasure and protection to his adopted family.
And he had some fun along the way, too.
He was my friend.
I will miss him greatly.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Killer Song

I was on my way to the annual Valentine's dinner at our church yesterday.
I was listening to a Christian radio station when a song came on.
It immediately got my attention because it did not sound like anything they had ever played.
The longer the song played, the louder I turned up the radio.
I liked the song so much that I wrote down (while driving - don't try this at home, oh, wait, you can't try this at home, you have to be driving, but don't because, well....never mind) what I guessed was the title.
As is often the case, the radio station did not tell who the singer was or what the name of the song was.
When I got home after the dinner, I started searching for the song on the internet.
It took some doing, but good ol' Amazon came through for me again.
Here is the link to the website of Michael Obrien, the singer/writer.

http://www.michaelo.org/

The song plays automatically.
Enjoy.....

I have ordered the CD.
Can't wait for it to arrive.
Happy Valentines day.

Still an old romantic.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

THE LAST! VACATION PICHERS





After cooking dinner (a nice grilled thickburger with grilled onion, mustard and relish), and doing the dishes, I decided I needed eine wenig Nachtmusik. For my first selection I put on Deep Breakfast. Sort of a Swan Lake for synthisizers. Now I am ready to post the last of my vacation pictures.


The white building with the red roof is the Columbia Gorge Hotel. It is about 100 years old. They serve a 8-course breakfast that has to be eaten to be believed. So, me, sis, and bro-in-law did the marathon breakfast while looking out on the mighty Columbia river.

Running next to the hotel is a small stream. It was filled with fresh rain water and snow melt. The water fall drops 208 feet to the river below

After visiting the hotel, we headed back toward Portland and stopped at Multnoma Falls. This fall drops 620 feet. We walked around and shot some pictures then went home to where it was not 36 degrees with a nice breeze blowing.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mo Picher from My Trip 5? 6?

















Just as we were leaving the Heceta Head Lighthouse, the light came on.


The next picture is of the Yaquina Head lighthouse. I tweeked the colors a bit to give a more dramatic feel to the late afternoon gray colors.

















Some words come to mind as I look at this shot.....

There's a lighthouse on a hillside
that overlooks life's sea.
When I'm tossed He sends out a light,
light that I might see.
And the light that shines in darkness now
Will safely lead me on
If it wasn't for the lighthouse
This ship would sail no more.

Everybody that lives around us
says tear the lighthouse down
The big ships don't sail this way anymore
What's the use of it standing 'round?
But then my mind goes back
to that stormy night,
when just in time, I saw the light
the light from that old lighthouse
that still stands up there on a hill.

Oh I thank God for the lighthouse
I owe my life to Him
Jesus is the lighthouse,
Upon the rocks of sin
He has shone a light around me
That I could clearly see
If it wasn't for the lighthouse
Then where would this ship be.





This is a cool shot of the coast to the south of the Yaquina Head lighthouse.
The contrast is pumped up a bit to give better color.








This is a sunset taken at the Hecena Head Lighthouse (the first one we visited).
Again, thanks to the captain of the fishing boat that turned on his big light just as I was about to take my shot.































And finally, here is yers troolee at the Yaquina Head lighthouse.


A few more to show next time.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

THE BILZZARD OF 07

I was going to really be on top of the big weather event in this locale and post the first pictures of the "big snow".
This is until I looked at a couple of my frequently visited blogs and saw that they had beat me to it.

Other postings not withstanding, here are two views of the great blizzard of 07 on Azalea Road.

Note the father and small child frolicking in the deep drifts across the street in the first picture.

I shall return to the Oregon coast for more pictures in my next posting.