18 April, 2006

100th anniversary of the Great Quake in 1906

lets face it folks – if you live in California (actually, the entire west coast) as I’ve noted prior, you live on or near a known, suspected or unknown fault – deal with it!

The 1989 Loma Preita quake was one of those ‘life path altering experiences’ for me. Aside from missing the only air date in my professional career it also clearly marked my shift out of production and back into pure engineering as the quake managed to destroy my facility. For the next two years we were the ‘techno homeless’ as we designed and built a really very nice facility – as well as several iterations of temporary facilities in the interim. – lots more to that story

Short entry for now, at the present I’m in Denver, then back to Mendoland, to Palm Springs, back to mendo and then the haj to lost wages for NAB

14 April, 2006

Defend Science

Please check out
  • this site
  • and do as you need to. while we only have the fundamentalist religious right to deal with – at least so far they’ve not killed anyone over a cartoon – some of the soundbites from the religious right differ only in a matter of degrees from the imams. While science has its share of frauds and scoundrels it does tend to be self correcting – at least in the hard sciences (ones where you can measure and test), although it may take a while. Religious fundamentalism of any sort is dangerous to thinking.

    Back in the saddle again

    Home again in mendoland after a week in ATL for The National Cable Show.

    As “one of those” (tech nerd) trade shows like NCTA (mostly programming and regulatory) are not my true venue however when you have such interesting juxtapositions as the Gospel Music Channel stuck behind Hustler TV and next to Penthouse TV (O.K. - I’ll concede 2 points for ‘creative layout’ but I’ll say it again in case you didn’t read it the first time - ITS ALL SHOWBIZ!).

    The content shows do have the best swag though, for me the bet one this year is a nifty, tinny universal IR TV, Sat & cable remote, about the size of a half dollar, has only three buttons and two rocker (volume and channel up/down) switches but as far as I’ve been able to test (walking around the show and turning off or changing channels), so far worked on any set I’ve tried, great for the sports bar (got to watch Discovery) more fun than Mitch Altman’s
  • “TV off” fob
  • which just turns them off.

    Random show note, one of the stranger shows I’ve done is the NRB (The National Religious Broadcasters) convention, after all, everyone there is in a literal mission from god.

    Some observations, the bar was never crowded. They would congregate at the top and bottom of the escalator or in the narrow portions of the hall with no regard to anyone else’s desire for passage, after all, they are all on a mission from god.

    When coming in before the exhibits opened to turn up the equipment there was a prayer meeting going on in my booth (in tongues no less, while my language skills outside English are limited to ordering beer and inquiring directions to dispose of said. The former I manage to master in quick order, the latter has the universal sign language of jumping up and down on one leg and holding the required portion of my anatomy - for some reason its always down the hall to the left - and there are some who will argue that my mastery of English is not much better – suffice it to say I’ve heard a lot of different languages and that ain’t one that anyone else uses) and they all want it donated!

    06 April, 2006

    No one bothers the astronomer with a .44

    …at least, not more than once…

    don’t get me wrong, given the opportunity, I’m a coward – but read Hienlein’s definition before ye judge me

    One of my life long interests has been astronomy, initially specifically optical / photographic and then as technology advanced attempting realtime and compressed time video sequences of Halley’s comet and others since, and on to other wavelengths/energies above and below the narrow amount that we discern with our eyeballs. This interest has brought me to some ‘interesting’ places (isolated hilltops accessible only by 4x4, chain saw, winch and determination - funny thing, the same attributes are required for some aspects of my ‘day - job’) there are some other tools that should be considered for such work

    First and foremost - a Leatherman or other ‘multi tool’ - then a flashlight (I carry at least three, and two have red lenses - don’t you? – why not?)

    As I reside in one of the few counties in CA that is perhaps too permissive with CCW permits (Carry Concealed Weapon) its (IMNSHO) far too easy to obtain a one - I have had one from a former position in Santa Clara in the late ‘70’s when it was somewhat more difficult to obtain - with justification and qualification (company I worked for then did surveillance and access control systems for, um, well, ‘interesting’ places - including those where deadly force is authorized, and, as I was often a ‘first responder’ – “…hey, the video camera just went dead…” - -‘nuf said)

    I will admit however, since my Bien tui rod and gun club daze, having been shot at in anger, I’ve become a tad, um, ‘careful’ - ‘paranoid’ implies delusions that ‘they’ are out to get you, having been the target of someone who what doing his best to kill me changed my POV somewhat.

    I’ve packed (when possible) for the last 30 years or so - legal or not (I’d much rather be the one explaining why there is this dead body laying there than ‘be’ the body…) current ‘best friend’ is a model 36 Glock.45 caliber ACP (for Automatic Colt, Pistol – refers t the round it chambers), a ‘compact’ (relative term when attempting to carry concealed if you are of slight stature and have any fashion sense, one of which eludes me) but it should settle any arguments with some alacrity.

    If you make the decision to carry, there are a few details you need to come to grips with;

    First and foremost, a pistol (or a rifle) is not a magic wand (notice, I did not say ‘gun’ - having endured peer refereed remedial rifle drill I will never make that mistake again), it will not make anyone you wave it at do as you wish, it has but one purpose, to propel a metal slug via a chemical reaction, which usually results in a void where the slug passes through.

    If you present, your next action is to fire at the center of mass at the target(s) presented to you.

    In truth (to date) I had to present once since ‘those’ daze, I was the last one out, late at night in a very industrial area in San Jose, there were these two guys in a secluded area of the parking lot involved in some activity that involved a small blow torch in close proximity to their faces, who for some reason objected to my presence, when one approached me and presented a switch blade, I responded (rather awkwardly as ‘Gaston’ was in my backpack, dropping, unzipping and presenting was a bit of acrobatics that I don’t recommend under those conditions), however in this instance they decided it was their turn to be cowards – or, “…don’t’ bring a knife to a gun fight” – oh, Gaston has one of those nifty laser sights – way cool…

    A few other bits to note (us gun nutz are sticklers for proper nomenclature), unless you are shooting a M1 or a few other (rather esoteric and historic) firearms, you don’t have a ‘clip’ - you have (with most semi auto pistols) a ‘detachable box magazine’

    Where I live (when not ‘elsewhere’) rural NorCal, as such, it’s 28 miles in a straight line out my back door to the nearest ‘anything’ – road, house, ranch, whatever, we’re on the edge of ‘civilization’ as such is in NorCal, we’ve had large kitty sightings and I found one paw print between our house and our uphill neighbors (The Judge and The Nurse practitioner) – it was over 4” across and there were no other prints for 15’ feet in either direction, kitty was booking through…

    And the odd bear (Hey Hon, bring out the Ruger….(44 Mag.))

    The saddest thing is the deer (mostly fawns) that get hit by idiot drivers who then drive off and leave the crippled deer on the road, Gaston has helped more than a few.