somewhat daily mutterings

/Miscellany My Weblog Doesn't Own Me

6.25 %

My weblog owns 6.25 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?

Posted: Tue Mar 25 12:18:16 -0800 2003

/Miscellany Satire? You Be the Judge...

If Objective: Christian Ministries is satire, it's brilliant! If it isn't, it's still funny as hell!

Posted: Tue Mar 25 10:09:01 -0800 2003

/Miscellany Blizzard of 2003 Movie

I hacked together a little movie of our blizzard activities here in Denver. The quality isn't so great, considering it was created from DV shot on my Canon G3 digital still camera. But I think you can still get a feel for what it was like here for the past few days.

NOTE:You need the QuickTime Player to view the movie. If you don't have the player, you can download it for free.

Posted: Thu Mar 20 18:58:43 -0800 2003

/Miscellany Pup Rescue

As we were shoveling snow off our patio cover (both my sis-in-law's and father-in-law's patio covers collapsed due to the heavy snow), a young black lab found its way into our yard. It was getting late, and no one seemed to know to whom he belongs. So, we're putting him up for the night (geez, I hope it's just for the night). Jake, our 13 year-old Weimaraner, is not happy about it. However, the pup is a pretty good dog (aside from the usual puppy traits), so we hope it goes smoothly.

lost pup

Posted: Wed Mar 19 20:08:01 -0800 2003

/Miscellany More Snow ... More Pix

Not much to say about this other than, "it has snowed". A lot. Apparently this is the biggest snowstorm to hit Denver since 1913!

Cold comfort

Snowbird feeder

Why do they call it a 'shed'?  It hasn't shed a thing!

Oh, I guess I have one more thing to say: I'm using iMovie for the first time, to stitch together all the little DV clips I've taken with my Canon G3 during the snow.

Posted: Wed Mar 19 20:02:20 -0800 2003

/Computing Thoroughly Beaten by External DSL Modem

OK, I spent at least half of this snowy (about 2.5 feet so far) day trying to get a Cisco 675 DSL modem to work. Hack, hack, hack. Read, read, read. Hack, hack, hack. Never got it to work. Why? Read on.

Why all the fuss? Well, I'd like to be able to access our corporate VPN, and I just can't do it with my internal DSL modem and WinProxy in the picture. Not that I haven't tried. Ositis (maker of WinProxy) claims that WinProxy is IPSEC-compatible, and therefore VPN-ready, but the site provides no help in actually setting it up with my particular VPN client. I tried a variety of things, and finally called Ositis tech support. After spending 10 minutes (on my dime) collecting my profile information and having me explain the problem, the tech says I have to pay $30 in order to get support. I was beside myself. Hopping mad. What made it worse was that the guy was a complete and total robot. I could tell he was reading from a script, and he wasn't listening to what I was saying. Eventually I hung up on him.

So, back to the external modem. My idea was to run an external DSL modem (generously given me by a co-worker) and then use a router/switch to do my firewalling, inbound proxy-fying, and connection-sharing. My lovely wife picked up a LinkSys router/switch for me on her way home from work (this was a great thing she did, given the conditions). However, hours later, I've no connection via the 675 (and the LinkSys isn't even in the picture yet), and am ready to give up. So, I call Qwest as a last-ditch effort. There's a simple reason I can't connect with the 675 -- it's not supported on my circuit. I need a 678!!

Naturally, after all the hacking, my old network config (not to mention the office) was a shambles. It took me a while to get everything back to the WinProxy config. I guess I'll start trolling eBay for a 678.

Posted: Wed Mar 19 00:03:00 -0800 2003

/Miscellany A Little Snow Today

We've been dumped on! We're in the midst of the biggest snowstorm Denver has had since 1997. Some pix for your pleasure:

All for naught

Different kind of snow-ball

Awww, that's  purty

Posted: Wed Mar 19 00:02:50 -0800 2003

/Geocaching Restashed/Maintained a Few Caches

A couple of my caches had been reported as needing maintenance, and one was just plain missing (again). So I decided to visit all of them. I replaced Goodson, and restocked Highline Giant, Highline Falls, and Dry Creek Open Space. Interestingly as I was returning from the Dry Creek Open Space stash, I came upon a group of cachers who were looking for my cache. We had a nice conversation. I'm just glad they didn't catch me in the act of maintenance - it would have spoiled it for them.

Posted: Sun Mar 16 18:45:52 -0800 2003

/Motorcycling Test Riding the BMW R1100RS (and the R1100S, again)

Yesterday, MB had to go to work, so I goofed around on my bike, eventually ending up at BMW of Denver for another test ride. I intended to ride the R1150GS, but it was very popular that day, and I had to entertain myself by riding other bikes. So, I decided to try out an R1150RS because I had been impressed by the R1100S before, and the R-RS is similar, but with a more sport-touring than pure sport orientation. I also like the way they look, even though the basic design is over 10 years old now.

Riding the R-RS

They didn't have an R1150RS for me to ride, so they set me up on a black, (barely) used R1100RS. Upon mounting, I immediately noticed that this R-RS idled more smoothly than the R-S that I rode last week, which is a good thing. Upon take off, I also noticed that the bike is not as firmly sprung as the R-S, which is less of a good thing. Still, the R-RS has a telelever front-end, and that makes a huge difference in cornering behavior (and a difference that I like a lot).

I put into action a new plan for testing bikes from this particular dealership: I took the R-RS down to the Denver Tech Center (DTC) to get in some relatively agressive turning and acceleration. The DTC has quite a few twisty streets that are little-traveled on weekends. There is one in particular that I always take home on my K1100RS, so it's a great way to directly compare my bike to the test bike.

What I found was that I like the handling of the R-RS more than that of my K-RS. The footpeg position, while nowhere near as tucked as with the R-S, is still more tucked than my K-RS. This gave me more cornering confidence (even though I'm sure I'm nowhere near dragging pegs on my K-RS), and just felt more comfortable for fast riding in curves. I believe I took these curves around 5mph faster than on my K-RS, which is saying something about how well the bike handled for me, since it's an unfamiliar bike. I have to believe the telelever front suspension, with its rock-solid feel, plays a big part in giving cornering confidence, as well.

The one downside that I noticed, and perhaps it's just this particular R-RS, is a flat spot in its power curve. When returning to the dealership from the DTC, I have to make a hard right turn followed by an acceleration up a fairly long hill. The R-RS didn't bust a move up this hill like my K-RS does. A little disappointing.

Re-Riding the R-S

When I returned to the dealership, the GS was still not available. The R-S looked at me with its cock-eyed mug and said, "you really ought to ride me through the DTC." I agreed, and asked to ride it. My immediate impression upon mounting (again) was that it idles pretty roughly (maybe it's just this particular bike?). The whole fairing shakes. But again, once up to speed (which happens very quickly), the bike is solid and smooth.

Heading down to the DTC, I had the opportunity to wind it up a few times, and found that the engine pulled much harder than the R-RS (probably shouldn't surprise me). I loved the torque available while putting around in 3rd. Still, even when wound-up, that odd R-engine calmness is there. The engine never sounds like it's working.

My trips through my favorite turns uncovered something interesting. While I enjoyed the trip, I didn't seem to do it any faster than on the R-RS. I think when it comes down to it, I was just more comfortable on the R-RS. The tuck on the R-S (in the legs, as least) is pretty severe compared to the other bikes I've ridden, and I think this was just uncomfortable enough to throw me off a little in the twisty sections. There's also a bit more of a "sitting-on" feeling on the R-S, than the "sitting-in" feeling of the R-RS,and perhaps that made a difference.

Conclusions

I have a feeling I'll end up with an R-RS, if I can get a used one for a reasonable price. I may have to replace the shocks to get the taut suspension feel that I like in the R-S, but even stock, I liked it a lot. I have to think that the flat spot in the engine performance was just this particular bike's level of tune. Even if it's not, I could live with it. I don't think I'll get an R-S, or if I do, I'll have to lower the pegs just a bit to make it more comfortable long-term.

Next week, if the weather is right, I'll head back up and try again to ride the GS. I'm also going to ride the R1150R again - I haven't ridden one since my very first test rides, when I bought my K-RS. I believe it's tuned for more torque than the R-RS, and definitely has a great riding position, so perhaps I'll dig it.

Oh, and I'm going to crank the pre-load on my K-RS up one more notch to see if that tightens up its rear-end a little better. I always notice that the K-RS feels a little "wallowy" when I get back on it after riding other bikes.

Posted: Sun Mar 16 07:04:18 -0800 2003

/Music 338 Albums Ripped, and Counting

I'm almost done. I've tried to follow a rigorous process to make sure I don't miss anything, but I'm pretty sure I'll have to make a cleanup round to double-check. The iPod is very near to full. In fact, it's so near to full that I had to create a special "smart playlist" just for the iPod and sync only that. The playlist excludes certain genres (like "Holiday", etc.) and certain titles that I just don't feel the need to carry around.

I've also finally got Kung-Tunes working after a bit of a struggle (it publishes the "Recently Played" box to the sidebar under the Music category). It was my fault, of course, that it wasn't working before. It's a very long story but suffice it to say that it was due to a fat-fingered 'chmod' that I'd done as root on my web server. That broke FTP, and prevented Kung-Tunes from doing its magic.

I do have a complaint with Kung-Tunes - it only includes songs that were played while it is running in its list of recently played tunes. I'm not sure this is the best way to approach the creation of the list, since iTunes tracks the 'last played' status of all the songs that it knows about, and that includes tunes that you've played on your iPod, if you have one. I do most of my listening at work on my iPod, so the list you see is not the real story.

Posted: Wed Mar 12 20:36:10 -0800 2003

/Computing/Mac Ordered a New Power Supply

I ordered a new power supply from Apple tonight. The mirrored-door Macs are known for very loud fans, and mine is no exception (it's louder than my old Sun Ultra 10, and that thing was plenty loud). The "upgrade" kit is $19.95, which I guess is OK. It'll be nice to have a quieter machine.

Posted: Tue Mar 11 18:56:24 -0800 2003

/Issues_and_Commentary Dennis Miller is a Class Act

Dennis Miller appeared on the O'Reilly factor tonight. I guess O'Reilly was trotting out the lonely two conservative folks in Hollywood (he did the show from LA, and his second guest was noted conservative mind Pat Sajak (who also emcees a game show on the side)) and seemed to want pats on the back for finding them.

Don't get me wrong -- I like watching O'Reilly, but tonight he didn't do himself proud. He just seemed to want to get his guests talking about the damn-liberal-Hollywood-cabal-of-evil (this actually surprised me a little because I expect a bit more from O'Reilly), but neither of them were having any of it. Dennis Miller, especially, was good at staying quite rational about the political views of Hollywood freaks, and it seemed to bug O'Reilly a little (or maybe I was just imagining it -- I wanted to see O'Reilly get frustrated in his quest for liberal blood).

At one point, after O'Reilly worried out loud about the impact of Hollywood types on the national psyche, Pat Sajak responded that he didn't really think Hollywood actors realistically stood any chance of changing anyone's mind about the subject of the moment, and actually congratulated those who do present their views as courageous since a requirement of success in public careers is for people to like them. O'Reilly, again disappointed, said something like, "but they have the ear of the people [with a tone that implied something more like "ignorant numb-nuts"] in the malls". I thought to myself, "now who's elitist?"

I would have included Sajak in my Class Act title if only he hadn't, earlier in the program, said something along the lines of, "I think those who have read a lot and have knowledge naturally lean towards conservatism". Damn, I thought liberals had the lock on elitism. Good to know they don't.

Posted: Mon Mar 10 20:53:43 -0800 2003

/Cycling First Bicycle Commute this Spring

Well, I finally got around to bicycle commuting to work today. Usually, by now, I've been cycling to work for a couple of weeks. But this year, the weather hasn't been very bicycling-friendly (although the late-fall and winter weather would have been perfect for it -- but I was too busy riding my motorcycle).

The ride went pretty well, although I don't yet have my bike computer set up right after having changed the battery. It's a Shimano "Flight Deck" and to get the most out of it, you have to program in the tooth counts of your chainrings and cogs -- one of those pain-in-the-ass activities that brings out the procrastinator in me.

Posted: Mon Mar 10 20:25:25 -0800 2003

/Motorcycling Ride Report

Temperatures were around 65 degrees today, so I got in a nice motorcycle ride. Since we've had snowy weather, and therefore, the roads could have gravel here and there, I decided to take a known route. So, I headed down Santa Fe (85S) to 105, and took 105 to Monument. From Monument, I took 105E to 83N, and from there up to Frankdown and into Parker. I saw a lot of bikes - quite a few BMWs, and of course a boatload of Harleys (yawn).

The wind was just crazy. It had to be gusting up over 20mph, especially when I was out on the plains east of I25. The wind kept getting into my jacket and blowing it up, and then using the grip it had on my jacket to throw me around. I eventually had a chance to pull over and close up my zippers, which helped a lot. I had to keep reminding myself to relax, as I'd find that I was tensing up in reaction to the wind's buffeting.

Here are the trip stats, according to my GPSr:

MetricValue
Trip Length96 miles
Moving Time1hr 59min
Stopped Time53min
Moving Avg48.3mph
Overall Avg33.3mph
Elev Low-High2101ft

Posted: Sun Mar 09 16:47:01 -0800 2003

Thanks for visiting! Send comments to Mike Thomas.

Site 
Meter