Saturday, March 29, 2008

Another Geography game...

The folks at Sheppard Software have some great geography games.

This game (link) is not too hard, at least for a geo tyro like me!

Just drag and drop the state onto the map where you think it should be located.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ain't Science Grand!

Last night at 830 post meridian, we watched the ISS fly overhead, closely followed by the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

The two objects were extremely bright, and it brought a sense of awe that both were created by human imagination and engineering.

“In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.” HDT

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dear Hewlett Packard

I'm afraid you have finally lost me as a customer, as well as my not-inconsiderable referral business.

When the smallest install package for a printer is 70 freaking megabytes, and worse yet takes 30 freaking minutes and answering a half-dozen prompts, you have gotten too big for your britches.

All I want to do is print, for crying out loud. I don't want to launch the Space Shuttle.

Let me offer some advice:

Consumers like simple.

You know what they like even better than simple? Fast.

You have gone completely off the rails with your huge installs, and I, for one, and completely sick of it and I'm not going to take it any more.

Lexmark is right out too, as that is the only printer I've owned that drove me to commit violence on a poor piece of technology. My Lexmark met a terrible end.



Monday, March 17, 2008

OST and Luckenbach.

I had a new part I had to put on the bike, and needed a ride to break it in. It took almost two years to get the paperwork processed, and was darn sure not going to delay as long in mounting it.

I met Tom, Carol, and her father at the OST.

After french toast, I planned a route to Luckenbach, tacking advantage of back and dirt roads whenever possible.

It soon began to cloud up, soon leaving only a small patch of blue sky.

I think someone hit a Chupacabra in the road.

Nice rock work:

This place had the most interesting guest houses:

Luckenbach had some great eye-candy.

And some car-candy too:

Home, sweet home:

Friday, March 07, 2008

Blast from the Past: Mt. Hood 2000

Back in 2000, my cousin and her then-boyfriend asked Amy and me if we wanted to climb Mt. Hood with them and a group of their friends.

We were non-committal, until she said, "It's the second most-climbed peak in the world, after Mt. Fuji. About 90% of the people who attempt it succeed. It doesn't require great fitness, or tricky mountaineering skills."

We decided to go.

Here's the group in front of the Hood.

The equipment list for the climb was pretty extensive, specific clothes, sleeping bag, lights, etc. Then they fitted us with these extremely uncomfortable plastic climbing boots, as we would be using crampons for the final ascent to the peak. Helmet and ice-axe completed the load. All told, we were toting about 40-50 pounds on our backs.

We set off from the Timberline Lodge (scene of the exterior shots from "The Shining") around 9 a.m. The first part of the climb is over loose volcanic scree. On the steep parts, I would take a normal length step, and my upper foot would slide back until it was just a couple of inches above the lower one. I felt like Sisyphus. It took us hours to get from 6,000 feet to 7,000 feet.

After about six hours of climbing, we finally reached base camp at 9,000 feet. This is my favorite photo from the trip.

We practiced walking on while roped together, and also self-arrest using an ice-axe. Loads of fun. Then we settled in for the night. Amy was snug in her Swedish-army sleeping bag loaned to her by Tom G.

That night it sounded like sand blowing against the tent all night. Around 3am the guides poked their heads in and said the summit attempt was off, due to weather. We had a good night's rest, and awoke feeling fine.

This is what awaited us outside.

A blizzard had blown in, and we were in near white-out conditions.

The women's bathroom was a little too exposed to the elements, so the girls decided to tough it out and wait 'til we got back down. Amy was not a happy camper.

We survived the trek, bud did not fully recover until the excellent dinner, drinks, and dessert at the Timberline that night.

Allison and Shane: Thanks for the adventure and stories!

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Xavier is another blogger I read frequently. This post (link) makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.


" ...handed Little Darling her bag and took her hand as we began to negotiate the maze of parked automobiles. I glanced back and saw that the two young men had spread apart, one on either side of us and to the rear. That is when I felt it. They had matched my stride and were circling me. Like an antelope, I knew I was being stalked by jackals, only I did not know why. Time was accelerating at head pounding speed, and Little Darling, blissfully unaware, was along for the ride..."