Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Well, the new cat (Cinder) is coming along nicely. For a feral cat, she's becoming quite used to a warm house with plenty of hiding spots, abundant food and water, and a pair of litter boxes. She now claims the entire house (which she shares well with Opie), and comes out to play in the evenings. She's come a long way from the frightened cat in the kennel when we brought her home. Opie has been a great playmate and role model -- Cinder wouldn't be quite as far along without Opie's help.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

We had been visiting a cat at Lake Accotink Park over the past two weeks. The cat had been born in late April and had been trapped outside by park staff. We stopped by to see it every day (except Thanksgiving Day, because we couldn't get access to the office), to see if we could tame her. We picked her up this morning, and brought her home.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

President of American University Agrees to Resign - New York Times

Wow! I've railed about this in the car (while listening to WAMU 88.5FM, licensed to American University) every time this story comes up (which is quite often, lately). Now, I can rail about it in the so-called "blogosphere". I can't imagine the circumstances under which the former President of American University is owed anything more than his hat on his way out of office. This settlement is just way over the top, and reflects poorly on American University.

Friday, October 7, 2005

A little dancin', a little scratchin'

Ideal for all the stay-at-homes (and homeys) our there, the good folks at McDonald's bring us breakdancing-by-keyboard. It's amazing what time and Macromedia(tm) can get done: BBOYBATTLE.COM

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

I'd heard about this outfit on NPR the other day, and finally had time to check out their web site. I've always been intrigued about things like "living off the grid", and have daydreamed about a simpler existence. I can't imagine where all of our camping / hiking equipment would go, much less where the cat could race around, but it's still fun to look. Check out the smaller accomodations at the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.

Remember: Small is Beautiful...and, er, small.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

America Supports You Freedom Walk

From Friday's Washington Post: "The Washington Post and other corporate entities initially signed on as co-sponsors. But critics from within the newspaper and from the antiwar movement said partnering with the Pentagon raised questions about objectivity, and three weeks ago The Post pulled its co-sponsorship."

Critics from within the newspaper? If objectivity were the issue, wouldn't taking dollars from advertisers fall into this same category? I think someone needs to think up a better excuse for pulling out of this event....

Edsall Park Exxon: I took this picture last Saturday (3 September 2005), and haven't had time to post it until now. Shortly after this picture was taken, the station stopped selling gasoline altogether (they still haven't restarted). Posted by Picasa

America Supports You Freedom Walk

Lorraine and I, and several of our friends, took part in the America Supports You Freedom Walk this morning. It was a wonderful day for a walk, and the event was a great way to spend the morning and early afternoon. Well organized, the walk started about 1000 and the crowd hiked down VA 27 to Memorial Bridge, then across the bridge to the National Mall. It was a great group of people, and the organizers had plenty of water to keep the crowd moving safely.

There were a few exceptionally lame (and very incoherent) protesters along the route; security was very tight, so what few protesters were there, were quite a ways from the crowd.

We stayed a bit at the Clint Black concert, and heard Secretary Rumsfeld's remarks, then we headed over to Old Ebbitt's Grill for lunch. After lunch, we did a little geocaching on the walk back to Arlington.

Another good image of the Secretary.... Posted by Picasa

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at the concert at the end of the America Supports You Freedom Walk (Sunday, 11 September 2005). Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Nancy Grace. I hadn't really noticed her before this disaster. She's a perfecr fit for today's "it's not really news, because it doesn't change fast enough, so we'll editorialize" cable outlets.

What continues to happen in the Gulf area is a tragedy of remarkable proportions. That's not an excuse for the buzzards to bring their helicopters and RVs to town to pass along rumor and hearsay. Since the news crews can get around fine, let's see the support they're able to offer.

Listening to MSNBC this evening, I was wondering why I hadn't heard from Rev Al Sharpton. I didn't have to wait long. I was expecting to learn he was heading to New Orleans to lead relief efforts. I was surprised to learn he's going to Houston to attend a conference. A conference? I was heartened to hear him play the "race card" -- it's nice to be able to count on some things in life.

In a disappointing move, our host Keith Olbermann clucked about Dennis Hastert's remark about not rebuilding New Orleans, then ran an extended piece about toxic chemicals potentially making the city uninhabitable for years to come. Condoleeza Rice gets a crack for attending a comedy play after the hurricane (she's the Secretary of State, but State's portfolio hasn't included our states for years), but Rev Al gets a pass for rushing to attend a convention.

Then there's the mellifluous Rita Cosby over at MSNBC. Rita brings her own brand of drama. Based on what I've seen, CNN isn't any better, and Fox (as usual) is worse. There's nothing like a crises to bring out the best in cable news.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Annual Credit Report

Well the northeast region will be able to order free annual credit reports starting tomorrow. It's a good idea -- I was surprised to learn, today, that I really live in California...we're going to try to get that fixed real soon now.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane Katrina came ashore [twice] this morning. What a mess. Given the widespread destruction, it's surprising there weren't more fatalities. That says a lot for the emergency management folks who got as many people out of the way as possible.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

A category 5 storm aimed right at New Orleans? It's going to be a tough night for quite a few folks, and if history is any guide, the next few weeks and months are going to be tough, as well. It looks like quite a few people are heeding the evacuation orders, so with a little luck, the loss of life will be minimal.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Memo to the marketing department

While taking a break from real work this evening, I did a quick Google(tm) search on the phrase "Joint SIAP System Engineering Organization" just to see what people are saying about us. Lo and behold, I find a nice mention on the Lynuxworks(tm) site, which goes so far as to call us ambitious! We're aren't a graphical representation, though. That word "picture" gets us into more trouble....

A note to the marketing folks is in order, though. When pulling clip art that talks about the future, don't use a picture of a ship that is LONG gone. The USS WILLIAM V PRATT (DDG 44) was sold for scrap just a few days short of 10 years ago.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Why I love the World Wide Web (August 2005 edition)

I was doing something important [honest!] when I ran across a reference to International Talk Like A Pirate Day, which will be celebrated on 19 September 2005. How have I gone so long without hearing about this?


While looking for something else, this evening, I ran across this helpful little paper from Eric Steven Raymond. I've fully incorporated Google(tm) in my everyday life, and visit web-based bulletin boards frequently to solve problems or share solutions. Raymond's paper is a nice refresher on how to get the most out of any question -- answer dialog.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Lorraine and I went to the Manassas Hamfest this morning. It was her first -- they're quite an experience. There was stuff there that I haven't seen in years. I'd forgotten about the old table-top AM radio receivers we had when I was a kid -- receivers with real tubes. It reminded me of the old tube testing machines that were in some stores. I haven't thought of those machines for at least 30 years.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Current News

I noticed a print advertisement for this website in the Washington Metro this past week, and thought I'd check it out. Someone's been thinking about how to show solidarity, which is interesting.


Monday, February 28, 2005

Joe and I participated in the Pathfinder program at Space Camp this past weekend. I'd been through the Astrotrek(r) program two years ago, so it was nice to have a different experience.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Blood & Guts in Virginia (aka Iron & Stone)

I learned this afternoon (actually about an hour ago) that our team (alas unnamed) cracked the famed geocache Blood & Guts in Virginia (aka Iron & Stone). We'd been working on this off and on for two months, but had really put some time into it during the last three or so weeks. I completely understand claims by previous teams that this cache is all-consuming.

It was a lot of fun, and there's a real sense of accomplishment at having solved it. Now I'm ready to build one or two puzzle caches of the same caliber.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

"Street Smart" -- The Apprentice(?)

Oh, brother. What a DISASTER. What were those people thinking? Leadership, team building, cohesion, ..., the whole group of loose cannons should be sacked, and the game restarted. The casting directors must be proud of the drama, because there certainly is enough of it.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The ARRL VHF Sweepstakes were this weekend. I completed a modest number of QSOs on 6 meters, and fewer on 2 meters and 70 cm. It was fun to get the additional operating experience.
Blood & Guts in Virginia (aka Iron & Stone).

The frustration continues. We're SO close -- all we need to do is crack the last clue. ARGHHH!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Amateur Radio Service vanity call signs

VanityHQ.com was the place to go to learn about how to obtain a vanity call sign. The fellow that ran VanityHQ.com did a bang-up job in keeping up with the FCC database and the FCC filings, so you could get up-to-date information on the program. Alas, VanityHQ.com is no more. Before it was put in deep-freeze, I learned how to compare the qrz.com, fcc.gov, and Social Security Death Index databases to determine which interesting Amateur Radio Service callsigns (usually 1x2 or 2x1) should be available. Okay, it's a form of hearse-chasing, but it really does work. I'm sitting on a PILE (about 20) callsigns that are eligible to be cancelled; all that is required is a faxed letter to the FCC. I was going to go after one of these, but have decided (at least for now) that the new sequential callsign I was issued (AI4IO) is pretty nice, and probably doesn't need to be replaced, at least in the short term.

Anyway, if anyone is looking for the gouge on how to research available callsigns, or if someone wants to see what I have so far, just drop me a line -- use my callsign at arrl.org.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


My new Amateur Radio Service license was posted this afternoon. I'm now AI4IO, a call sign that's far easier for me to say than KI4HHL!

Saturday, January 8, 2005

Amateur Extra license

I [finally] passed the 5 WPM CW test this morning, so when the FCC takes action next week, I'll be the proud owner of an Amateur Extra class license. It's great to get past this hurdle!

Saturday, January 1, 2005


Did a little geocaching in Hallowell before we hit the road to Waterbury. The cache was located in a nice private forest. The sun was out, but there was a breeze and a lot of ice on the ground. The cache container was frozen to the ground, so we couldn't open it.

Stopped by Freeport briefly, then geaded south again. Had a quick lunch at the Maine Diner in Wells. Arrived in Waterbury at 1900, and had dinner at the Hometown Buffet.