Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

A quick rundown:
  • On Saturday I drove down to Kennewick to visit David, Becky, and Eric. [see previous post]

  • My parents came up to visit from Saturday afternoon through Tuesday morning to spend some time with me and Elizabeth and her family.
  • On Monday, we all celebrated Elizabeth's brother Loren's birthday in the afternoon
  • Then we made a brief party hopping appearance at Josh's place.

  • We spent some two-on-two time with my parents in the evening, then headed over to Elizabeth's house to toast her little sister Katherine's engagement to Dave (Yay!), which had just been surreptitiously effected.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Visiting My Nephew

On Saturday I drove from Renton to Pasco and back (in one day), a total of over 450 miles and 7 hours to see this guy:

His parents were there too. And some other relatives from his mom's side. They were in the area looking at housing. It looks like they're going to be moving up from California in June.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Darkness, Evil, and Burning

The other night I was on the computer, doing Linux-y things, while watching a star trek episode (I'm so geeky sometimes that it hurts), when the power went out. Actually, come to think of it, I wasn't seated at the computer; I had gotten up to remove a load of laundry from the dryer, and was just exiting the bathroom (where the washer and dryer are located) when the power suddenly died. "What did you do now?" Casey (heretofore known on this blog as RFH1--but I'm trying to be nice) immediately blamed me. Apparently he thought that I had caused the circuit to blow by turning off the bathroom light. Meanwhile I had come to the slightly different hypothesis: that having so much electronic equipment on in the apartment (TV, speaker system, several computers) had tripped the breaker. I stepped over to the breaker panel and opened it up. It was dark, so I whipped out my trusty cell phone and attempted to discern which switch had flipped. My eyes had not yet adjusted to the low light conditions, so there was about 5 seconds of staring at the panel before Casey piped up again "You don't know how to do it. If I was doing it, it would already be fixed by now." "Oh, really?" I said, finally concluding that there were no switches flipped, and did LCD TVs really suck that much power? And wouldn't any sane electrician wire the lights on a separate circuit than the outlets? "Maybe the whole complex is out of power." Once it was suggested its obviousness immediately sank in. It was dark outside: too dark for it to be just our apartment. Too dark, in fact, for it to be just our building. Our smoke detector was beeping, but so were many others within earshot--from other apartments. Thankfully (in this situation) ours wasn't one of the louder ones. The power came back on in a few minutes, and I fired up the two computers that I had been using before the outage. I had been installing Gentoo Linux on one of the hard drives of a computer that I have named "thebeast" (every computer needs a name; OEMComputer and localhost just aren't sufficient in a network situation--nor are they any fun). I named it that because:
  1. The number on its inventory tracking sticker is E280666.
  2. When I bought it (at the surplus store) it had an exceptionally loud SCSI hard drive inside. The drive was only hooked up to the power supply--the motherboard doesn't support SCSI--so it's only purpose was to "roar".
  3. This computer is destined to be a chimera: it will have four different operating systems: Gentoo Linux, Gentoo/FreeBSD, FreeBSD, and Windows 2000 (I've been thinking about sticking Solaris on it over the Gentoo/FreeBSD partition once it becomes GPL'd.)
The power went off again after a few minutes, just as I had finished booting up the two computers that I was using. This time it stayed off. Casey has a candle fetish (his word, not mine), which on occasions such as this comes in handy. We had the apartment at adequate lighting in no time. He then attempted to get on the Internet from his laptop by connecting the wireless router and the cable modem to a UPS. It probably would have worked had it been just our apartment, but the apartment's cable hub was also out of power, so there was no way he was getting on. It was about midnight. Went outside to confer with the residents and firemen about the extent of the problem (no one had any idea--I don't even know why the fire truck was at our apartment complex). The firemen looked around and then left. There wasn't much interesting going on at midnight in an apartment complex parking lot, so we went back to the apartment. At this point was when I realized that I was very hungry. The problem with being very hungry in a power outage is that your options are limited. You can't open up the refrigerator and stare, because the power is out. In fact, you have to use a candle to see what's in the refrigerator. You can't cook anything because there is no gas in the apartment (unless you want to use the barbecue, but not at midnight with work in the morning: it takes too long to set up, and do I really want to cook and eat meat at this hour? I ended up making myself a cold bean and cheese burrito After eating, I remembered that I had an LED lantern somewhere. I grabbed a candle and went to my room closet, emerging with said lantern. The problem was, it wasn't working. Had the batteries been drained? I had never used it, but that didn't stop my trunk flashlight from draining its battery: apparently the flashlight had been knocked on accidentally. But the lantern had not drained its batteries. I knew this when upon removing them, I noticed that a piece of plastic had been installed covering the electrical contact spring on the one battery (out of three) with the plus side up (or down, in this case, as the battery cover is on the bottom of the lantern). My attempt to remove the plastic piece resulted in the spring coming off, which was no good at all. The spring had been attached by two prongs protruding out of the back of the compartment. In order to reattach the spring to them, I had to use my pliers to hold the spring firmly against one prong so that it would snap in, then rotate the spring so that the leading wire would thread through the opposite prong. By candlelight. Funny thing about this candle: as I leaned forward in order that the light of the candle would shine on what I was doing and also be thence reflected towards my eye (one eye was all I could manage) I noticed a crackling sound. I looked up. "That's a strange sound for a candle." I thought, but I didn't hear it again, and I assumed there was an impurity in the wick. I leaned back over to resume my work and the candle crackled again. Come to think of it, it was more of a sizzle than a crackle. The kind of sizzle you hear when human hair is being singed. No, I did not burn my hair off. Nothing so dramatic. I adjusted my distance from the candle, fixed the lantern, and then went to bed. I'm not sure when the power went back on, because when it did, it apparently tripped the breaker for the bedroom outlets, and there is no built-in lighting, so when Casey flipped the breaker switch at 5:00AM, the lights in my room turned on. That was not fun.
1"Roommate From Hell"

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

BSF Photos

I know, it's been a while since I've updated this blog, and much, much longer since I've posted a real entry. This is not a real entry; it's one of those quickly-thrown-together blurbs with links to pictures. I've been busy. My time is now constrained, and to do anything I have to actually make the time, pushing other things aside, which is something I haven't experienced in a while for an extended period. It's looking like it's going to stay that way too, at least in some respects. One thing that's ending soon is BSF, though that's shortly being replaced with the quasi-affiliated softball league. As promised, here are some pictures. They are of the recent BSF Picnic, and hanging out at Red Robin.