Waxing Crescent In Deep Twilight

As I was leaving the hangar tonight, there was a gorgeous two-day old waxing crescent moon just above the horizon in an orange and yellow and red sunset!

And the panoramic view (click to enlarge, as always!):

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Filed under Astronomy, Panorama, Photography

Well THERE’s Your Problem – December 7th

It’s a whole new adventure putting up Christmas lights at the new house. Everything’s new and different. Where can I attach things? Where can I plug things in? Where can I put things so they stay dry if it rains?

There are…”challenges.”

We had some pretty significant rain a couple of days ago, and while we didn’t have to deal with any of the major problems that deluge brought to Southern California (especially to the burn areas), I found myself scrambling on Monday and Tuesday to try to waterproof my Christmas light installations.

Something failed.

The lights on one end of the house were plugged into a power strip at the end of a long extension cord and that was the likely source of the failure. It’s pretty exposed to the elements, so I had wrapped it up in plastic and I thought it might be okay. When I got home and saw that the lights were out it was pouring, so I just checked to see if it had tripped a breaker at the main panel and taken out any of the other electrical circuits in the house. We were fine, so it must have just been the circuit breaker on the power strip – which is how it’s supposed to work.

Tonight it was finally dry-ish, so I went out to see what was up, figuring a little bit of water might have squirreled it’s way in.

As Adam Savage is so fond of saying, “Well, there’s your problem!

Yeah, that’s a bag full of water and electricity. Not so good.

The reality is that the electricity got cut off as soon as it hit the electricity on Tuesday and from there the water just kept coming in from wherever it came in and made it look really impressive now.

Things are drying out now. We’ll see what’s working and what needs to be replace tomorrow.

(Now what REALLY would have been neat is if someone else had seen this and put a goldfish in there before I got to it!)

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Filed under Christmas Lights, Photography, Weather

Music For “Breaking Strain Redeux”

Last night I waxed poetic about a favorite Kipling poem.

I realized after I posted that I’ve never pointed out that it’s been done very well as a song as well, by the legendary Leslie Fish.

And having implored you to “stand up and build anew,” how could I not also pass on this treasure from Stan Rogers?

Because the second most important lesson to be learned is that it’s not just one time that we have to get up, pull ourselves together, put our failures and defeats behind us, and try again.

While we can hope it’s not EVERY day, in times like these it might be a whole lot of days.

Do it anyway, if for no other reason than to piss off those evil bastards.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Music

Breaking Strain Redux

A bit more than a year ago I wrote pretty much the same thing that I was going to write tonight.

Go ahead and read that first. I’ll wait. (If that link doesn’t work, just search this site for “Breaking Strain” and you’ll find it. And please let me know that the link doesn’t work – how can I fix it if no one tells me it’s broken?)

Interesting to see the concept, desire for, and borderline desperate need at times for pillow forts. I had thought that particular recurring theme was recent, but everything old is new again apparently.

I’m thinking about this gem from Kipling tonight in terms of expectations, dreams, desires, reality, and hopes.

The juxtaposition of gratitude for what I have, the recognition of how much worse it could be, and the desire for what I dream of.

The memory of passions past, the despair of passions lost, the lust for passions regained.

Those are some nasty little three-ways to be caught betwixt and between!

And yet…

As Kipling reminds us, we don’t just fail…

Abide the twin damnation- 
To fail and know we fail.

…unlike the inanimate stuff we build with, we KNOW we fail!

And yet…

In spite of being broken,
Because of being broken
May rise and build anew
Stand up and build anew.

…we try again.

A year ago I said, “We’re badasses! Even when we don’t think we are.”

I wonder now just how much thinking is involved. It’s not the brain, it’s the heart. It’s not the body, it’s the soul. We’re badasses not when the world knocks us down, but when we get back up anyway.

Get some sleep. Hug someone you love if they’re there with you. Think about someone you love and smile if they’re not there with you.

Tomorrow morning stand up and build anew.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul

Beacon Of Hope (Real World)

Even a bit of double hope over there on the right…

It’s not without justification that the Bible says that God gave Noah and his family the rainbow at the end of the Flood as a sign of Hope.

(I’ll pause to allow some recovery time for those of you who passed out after seeing me reference the Bible…)

Aside from the biblical references, multiple societies refer to the metaphor of rainbows (hope) following storms (difficult times).

This one was from a few days ago when LA got it’s first decent rain in a long time, which helped put out those fires. (And brought mud slides and flooding to the burn areas, but let’s not get too nit-picky here.) Tomorrow and Thursday we’ll get more rain and perhaps more rainbows.

I fear that the worst “storms” might be ahead of us in any number of dimensions, so I’ll start stocking up on rainbows now. I think we’re going to need them.

When the storms hit, whether they be in our personal lives, the lives of those near and dear to us, in our state, country, or across the whole world, let’s remember that there are going to be rainbows if we can just hold on to see them.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Photography, Weather

Beacon Of Hope

In the distance a lonely train whistle wails. The hangar is dark, cold, lonely, a bit spooky as it creaks in the wind. What little light creeps in through the cracks separating the giant doors is barely sufficient to outline the looming shadows of the planes stored all around.

P-51 Mustang. F8F Bearcat. F6F Hellcat. SNJ Texan. B-25. Zero. Spitfire.

Off in the far corner of the hangar is a light, a beacon of hope, a symbol of better times to come. There, far beyond the dark aisles of P-47 parts it lies…

There is a God! One Diet Coke left!

Warmth will have to wait – tonight we have caffeine!!


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…It’s Another

As in, “If it ain’t one thing…”

Anyone know what a “SMART event” is when your computer pops open a window to tell you you’ve had one? Neither did I until about a week ago when they started popping up once a day about 10:00 every night.

It’s not good.

Basically it’s software built into your operating system that monitors hard disk health and gives you a warning when your hard disc drive is about to fail. Once might be an anomaly. Daily isn’t an anomaly. Running a second set of diagnostics (the first was from Intel, the second from Dell) that gives an even more panicky warning will put a hitch in your getalong all day long.

The good news is that the Dell drive is under warrantee, hasn’t actually failed yet, and it looks like Dell will ship out a replacement quickly. I’m hoping that means that I can just install the new drive, do some imaging/transferring/installing/copying “computer magic” and just go on my merry way.

We’ll see.

(We’ll probably see what the NEXT thing is is what we’ll probably see, but I’m trying to go to bed on an upbeat note.)

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Filed under Computers